Friday, 31 December 2010
Sunday, 26 December 2010
Christmas Day we opened our pub from 11.30 to 2 - and my goodness what a great session!!! We were packed out and had a fantastic atmosphere in the pub. After that we were able to take our lovely Archie and Rosie out for a quick walk before going home and having OUR lunch...... Roast Duck (cooked by my handsome Husband) and all the trimmings followed by one of our chefs Xmas Puds............ some gorgeous pink fizz and a big snooze!! Pure heaven........
Talking of heaven, I did my bit at Church on Christmas Eve. My new found spirituality is fast becoming so very important to me and there is a communion service most mornings which I try to go to at least once a week. In that forty minutes or so I find great peace - I am at last learning to lose myself into Him. We sadly have a funeral next week for someone in our community who was very much loved and respected and I'm 'doing' it as Church Warden......... so I'm hoping that God will guide me and look after me and help me do the best job I can.
Aside from all of this I've only managed to go out in my little Betsy once........... I was quite nervous to start with as it was a little icy, but I settled int o it after a while and all was good. Such a great freedom to be able to just hop into her and go to the shops.... no more waiting for buses at cold bus stops or asking SOH for lifts! My next big challenge will be when I eventually get to go to Portsmouth to visit my son - a 3 and a bit hour drive...........
So for now that's about it - I'll do a quick blog before the end of the year, but in the meantime there are New Year menu's to sort and finalise, staff rota's to finish, business plan for 2011 to start and at least another dozen tasks to do!!!!
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
Monday, 13 December 2010
My biggest thanks go to Guy Parfett who was my instructor - I've spoken before on my blog about him & I couldn't have wished for a better instructor. No messing around, make it simple and don't make mountains out of molehills....... that was my Guy!! Despite having had three nearly four weeks of being really terribly unwell (ending with acute bronchitis at the end of last week!) I was totally fixated on getting to do my driving test, in fact it really gave me the impetus to get better almost! A mock test 2 days ago was a fail and I was on the verge of cancelling, but a 3 hour lesson yesterday saw me drive like an old hand and my confidence soared................. This morning it was like preparing for a job interview, a high level of excitement but not nerves until about 10 minutes before the test and then the nerves hit me like a steam train!!
Six of us waiting to take the test - I was by far the oldest, the others were really young men & women, slightly bored looking instructors, and then the examiners walked in and picked us off one by one! It turns out I had a senior examiner who tried really hard to put me at ease (reminding me to breath at one stage!!) and off we went. Both questions about the car and how it worked done, turn left onto the dreadful Pen Inn roundabout (Newton Abbott, Devon) hoorah we did this the other day and that was it really.................. a turn in the road (Thank you God for not letting it be a parallel park!!) drive back round the Pen Inn and off on the dual carriageway to Exeter...........it was here that I convinced myself I'd gone wrong but it was only here that I picked up 2 of the 3 fault points for late signal and a mirror. After that, I figured I couldn't do much more and just about relaxed when we got back to the test centre.
He said congratulations - I screeched, burst into tears and he said I'd had 'a good drive'............ You're not advised to drive home after a test, whether you fail or pass, and I can see why now!! I don't think I stopped shaking for about 3 hours afterwards..........So that's it, the fun really starts now doesn't it. I would quite like a Guy cardboard cut out to have in the passenger seat, but I will just have to put up with talking to myself the first few times I go out.
A huge thank you then to Guy - who kept saying it was just his job - well, yes it was, but he was genuinely nice, very good at instructing and I have his number if anyone local wants a great instructor.
Secondly and as always to SOH for encouraging me and also putting up with me (!) and now lastly to ME!!! In future in my life I just have to remember that there is very little I can't do if I put my mind to it - the only person stopping me achieving anything in my life in future IS ME!!!
Now then - where did I put my car keys............................. X
Saturday, 4 December 2010
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
We stayed at a superb hotel - Hotel de France - in St Helier. I should know better than to believe what Trip Advisor says given my previous love / hate relationship with TA but the hotel had certainly had a couple of dodgy reviews, but I'm relieved and delighted that any fears I had were completely unjustified!
The hotel was very central and whilst not quite a 5 star in my opinion it was an excellent 4 star. Lovely staff, great food and an end bedroom away from the lifts........ A previous bad experience next to a lift has scarred us for life!!!!!! There is nothing worse than laying awake at one in the morning listening to lift shafts clanking away!
The main restaurant in this hotel is 'Saffron' a spice / Indian themed place, in which we had some of the best flavours ever in that style of food. But it was Saturday that was to give us the most incredible food experience ever.......... And that experience was 'Bohemia'!
Set in the main area of St Helier, Bohemia is a Michelin star restaurant led by Sean Rankin, one of the better celeb chefs. With the best customer service I've experienced
In a long time, our evening started with the most delicious canapes and pre-dinner drinks, and the whole evening was one of pure food theatre.
Sunday, 14 November 2010
It really must be something to do with getting older but for the last few years in particular I have found Remembrance Sunday to be particularly poignant, and I have spent a lot of time today trying to think why that is............There is certainly the element of my new found spirituality, but there is also something I guess about getting older and have a much better understanding of life in general - at least I think that's what it is............
I can remember my dear Mum watching the telly and getting a little bit 'sniffly' over this special Sunday but never wanting to talk about 'the old days' or be seen to be getting to 'soppy' about it. I can also remember being vaguely bored by the whole process of old men marching and much preferring to read a book or go and moon over the latest 'Jackie' magazine...........
Yet nowadays, I feel myself more and more drawn to wanting to know and be able to understand more about the terrible first and second world wars and the conflicts in between and those going on today. I suppose there is also a certain understanding of how dreadful Mans inhumanity to Man can be, and a certain sadness that I as an individual can do so little to stop it happening??
Today up at the Salcombe Remembrance Sunday Service I looked out across the 'Bar' at the entrance to our harbour during the two minutes silence, where the waves where crashing across it, the rain was lashing down and the wind blowing a gale and I thought of my own dear Father: Ernest Samuel Williams. A Welsh miner who served in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) for 3 years in the war and then went on to be part of the D Day landings. I can never begin to think what life must have be like for him and some of the sheer terror he would have known. So my thoughts were of my Daddy - they were also for all the Mum's today who have lost their beautiful young sons in more recent conflicts. Those who will never again be able to pick up the phone and say 'I Love you Son'.
So I guess today's blog is a little sad and possibly even self indulgent, but I so wanted to share with you 2 poems that have been written by children from schools in the Ivybridge area and organised (I think) by the Royal British Legion, Ivybridge. my SOH bought a copy at a recent meeting he went too in Ivybridge.
But first, let me urge all of you to consider the great work that the Royal British Legion do for Servicemen, ex-servicemen and their families. The RBL is not a great sexy 'in' charity, this is a long burning charity with great history itself. They work quietly and with amazing fortitude. They help those of all ages and in all circumstances. They help get monies from the Government that otherwise would go unclaimed, they help ex-servicemen & women who have fallen on hard times, who need assistance with medical and housing issues - and sadly as wars continue to happen and our service people get ever more injured or killed leaving families that need their help - then theirs is a Charity needed more now than ever. Please remember to support them as much as possible.
Now to these two amazing poems out of many very simple but incredibly moving poems, written I think by children of Primary School age. If after you've read them you would like a copy for yourself, then they are just £3 and if you send me your address I would be happy to get you a copy.
Mixed emotion is light Blue
It tastes like sweet chilli sauce dancing on my tongue
It smells like musty perfume
Mixed emotion looks like a rainbow on a stormy day glinting in the sky!
Mixed emotion makes me feel like I am in a tropical thunderstorm
Mixed emotion makes me thank all the soldiers that have lost their lives
Sadness brews in my belly as I put that Poppy upon my body
As I feel the sadness grow and grow
I will know to thank you though
'Remember Me' - Bethany Madge
Seasons may pass, yet I am always here
Underneath this grave I shed a small tear
But do not cry for me my dear wife
Although, I am not alive my spirit is still full of life
Still remembering every kind thing that you do
You remember me and I will always remember you
Friday, 5 November 2010
Tuesday, 19 October 2010
This is quite a personal post for me this time - so swap pages if you're not that interested in me as a person.............! Oh dear , that sounds a bit confrontational doesn't it.???? Don't mean it to be.
Most people when they meet me either like me or hate me - I'm a definite Marmite person! I have always come across as a very larger than life character, full of life and oomph, very much in control and not scared of anything or anyone......... I once had a manager tell me that I certainly didn't need an assertiveness course as any more assertive and I'd be aggressive.........So you can see my starting block can't you. It's true there are certainly few people I'd afraid of and in my life that has served me well.
When I was about eight years old, my darling Daddy died and it was left to my Mum to bring me up. In common with a lot of kids in that situation I was severely bullied about it and that bullying carried on it to my adult life in one form or another. I was in Junior school - I think about the 2nd term and I was really struggling to understand life. No Daddy and a Mum who was forced to go back to the workplace to support us. I remember so clearly being in a needlework lesson (yea - that's how old I am!!) and I had tried so hard to make this apron, but when cutting a thread I cut the apron itself! My teacher (Miss Stewart) snatched the apron, told me I was 'a stupid girl and that I would never make anything of myself'......................
For most of my adult life I've been surrounded by that sort of re-inforced message from many people in one way or another - until, I met SOH (by the way - that now stands for Scrumptious Official Husband) who immediately seemed to see something in me that few other people saw. So it started - my first ever flight and holiday away, fixing things that previously a male had done, instilling a confidence to do things previously I'd have shied away from. Now, I realise I've got a few important men in my life and they are all bringing something pretty unique to my life:
First and foremost, there is of course SOH - encouraging me (and chivvying me) where I need it and constantly re-assuring me of my right to be in this life.
Then there is my personal trainer JC - who not only trains me but helps me see things from a different perspective. So this last week or two has been a bit difficult - I had a weeks holiday, ate and drank too much so the training was hard - and now of course, its that time of year when my Asthma will be a bit twitchy, and the weight loss has stalled .......... but he understands me - he 'gets' me, and he brings me books and articles to read that help re-inforce the good messages and take away the bad. He has patience when I can't quite do the reps and real delight when I succeed.
Now there is also my driving instructor - Guy! A Saint in disguise I think.................. I've had about 12 lessons so far - and don't forget we live in the land of hill starts, bendy lanes and winding roads. Now I'm driving in my own car, I seem to have had a little set back in confidence..... does he care? He certainly does and with a smile on his face we trot round and round the car parks of Kingsbridge (a local town) until I'm 'Happy, Happy, Happy'. Today gave me an everlasting memory - going across a junction, I decide to go in front of a 4x4 which was a bit closer than I guessed - the driver gave me a look that said 'I can't believe you just did that', Guy very gently said ' I probably would have waited till he'd gone past'........ and I am still smiling at that instead of berating myself for ever!
Lastly of course, I have the big Man upstairs on my side as well........... a new(ish) addition to my life but a huge part of it.
So with all these lovely blokes in my life I believe a new more confident chapter in my life is slowly but surely opening up before me - don't you think??? As for needlework - I still don't do it..................
P.S The picture is of Rosie and Archie in the back of Betsy my Smart car................ Cute or what??
Thursday, 14 October 2010
Thursday, 30 September 2010
Sunday, 19 September 2010
Wednesday, 8 September 2010
Spent time with my lovely son Paul & his wife (pic above) met with my fabulous friend Tanya, did a fair bit of eating out and generally had a cracking couple of days! Came back to Salcombe to find summer had officially ended - the town was just SOOOOO much quieter, but it's settled down to a normal (ish) September - I would say it feels a little quieter than last year, but overall ok.
We had a super 'celeb' at the Victoria recently - the utterly gorgeous and very charming Nick Knowles from DIY SOS etc. Yes folks, he really is that gorgeous....... I would go so far as to say that he is my favourite 'celeb' in our pub so far. Polite and friendly, spoke to staff so easily and he also had a crackingly gorgeous lady with him as well....... I hope he comes back another day very soon! Thanks to Mr Knowles SOH got a new Quba coat! Nick had bought a new edition that day - a lovely Red Quba coat http://www.quba.com/ from one of their fabulous shops here in Salcombe and SOH said how much he liked it, so blow it, I bought one for him...... We also had the footballer Ian Wright in as well, so us women have had plenty to swoon about over the last few weeks!! A shortage of female celebs though for the boys..............
Back to business - The White Hart Hotel has come 6th on Trip Advisor out of the entire countries B & B's / Hotels that serve real ales...... that's a remarkable achievement and our Manager's Chris & Mark have worked so hard to get there, so a massive well done to them.
Here at the Victoria I had one of my favourite jobs this week - menu planning for the Winter with James our Chef, and also working on Christmas menu's which will go out this weekend, looking with Saltaire Garden Services to re-work certain aspects of our garden here to make it even more fabulous for next summer. SOH has re-designed the wine lay out in the bar area and very good it looks as well........ Our main aim for the winter has to be to ensure that despite the worst recession in history, we continue to stay at the top of our game and offer the best we possibly can in all aspects of our business! On that note, the rooms continue to do really well, but we are shutting for a week in October when we go to Wales for a holiday so that the ghastly green can become a more subtle Buttermilk! Oh blow, I should have asked Nick's advice..............
Then on to my next own personal challenge - I AM going to learn to drive! A couple of hesitant calls this week and I have my first lesson booked for Monday and SOH bless him, has already looked at little SMART cars for me!! Dependant on whether Monday proves I'm totally unteachable or not! But I have a new mantra posted up in several places (office/flat etc)to help re-inforce a positive attitude:
Thursday, 26 August 2010
It's been a pretty horrendous week weather wise, with rain water cascading down the middle of the street. I had to take the dogs out in the middle of it all (dogs bladders wait for no one - rain or not!) and stepped straight off the kerb and into an ankle deep puddle....... trust me, the words 'f'ing hell' came out a lot louder than I meant them to!!!! But the Bank Hols promise better weather apparently.
Talking of the dogs they both had haircuts today, as did I yesterday - pictures of both to follow next blog. Suffice to tell you that I have gone from long flowing blonde locks as per the wedding photo's to growing all of the colour out and a very short crop........... But I love it, and more to the point so does SOH!!
My latest love arrived this week at the Victoria - a York Fitness Bench!! Whoever would have thought that I would EVER get so excited about a piece of fitness equipment........ and oh yes, 5kg weights as well!! When the weights arrived I could barely lift the box - now JC has me using them like they're feather dusters..... ok, a slight exaggeration, but still can't believe how easy I've got to grips with all of this training malarky - and I'm still loving it!!!!! A record 6 minutes on the 'step' today and I could still talk and breath at the same time!! No respite for the poor man..................
After the Bank Hols I'm off to Portsmouth for a few days to see my lovely son & his wife, catch up with some old friends I haven't seen for a while, spend time with my bestest mate and hear all her news and probably (hello - probably!!) do a little incy, wincy, tiny bit of retail therapy.
Until the next time dear readers ...........................
Saturday, 21 August 2010
Friday, 6 August 2010
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
“Dire. Ghastly over friendly landlady, service station tables and chairs and poor quality re-heated pub food.”
The Victoria Inn
Wodehouse9 1 contribution
London, United Kingdom
Jul 24, 2010
If you enjoy sharing your meal with the smells of wet dogs and chickens and accompanied by screaming children then this is the place for you. Awful over friendly and intrusive landlady has spoilt what was once a great, traditional, fishing village pub.The decor is now of the typical bland pub chain type where terrible tables and chairs have now appeared in the restaurant upstairs. The landlady comes from Portsmouth local government so that will give an indication of the quality to expect when it comes to decor and food. Overpriced and mass produced food that had clearly been re-heated, in the case of the lamb and vegetables many times, is being passed off as some sort of new gourmet experience. Is it necessary to plonk frozen oven-chips on everything? Mind you, they obviously came from the same supermarket freezer cabinet as the puddings. Avoid anything on the menu that contains the words "scrummy" or "yummy" - yes it is that sort of place. Slow service and staff who have obviously been trained to smile but who are pretty clue-less at explaining either the food on offer, other than "It comes with chips", or the wine list, other than to point to the most expensive one rather desperately. Great shame as this used to be a great pub in the old days when it was run as a pub and not as some sort of theme park for the masses. Avoid at all costs.
Now then counter balancing that is this review:
“The above person is talking rubbish...”
The Victoria Inn
OOdevon 3 contributions
Jul 26, 2010
The Victoria (Burners to the locals) has filled a big gap in the Salcombe market, namely providing for families, hence the chickens, play area etc...if you have kids they will absolutely love this place! Liz the landlady is a star and the place is regularly packed during peak times.The summer BBQ is excellent value and again the kids will love it.To top it all the beer garden is about the only place in Salcombe that gets the evening sun! So as parents you can enjoy a cold beer and relax safe in the knowledge your kids are enjoying themselves and won't come to any harm.You don't go to this place expecting Gordon Ramsey style food, just good simple pub food.
I'm very thankful to 00Devon for writing that to re-dress the comments (again, whoever he or she is) but all I can see and read is the first review...... and the worst of it is that I have absolutely no right of reply in an open forum.
Where we've spent so much of our own personal money re-decorating the pub and making the garden so lovely, where all of our food is home made and cooked from fresh, my staff are wonderful and well trained, and me personally - well I love what I do (or it's starting to feel like did!) and we work our socks off regularly working a 15 - 17 hour day - do you know how it feels tonight to read something like that?
As I sit here tonight tired and stressed from another exceptionally long hard day and now having shed more than a few tears all I can sit and wonder is why am I bothering?????