Thursday, 22 April 2010

We're on You - Tube!!

A very quick blog post as I sit here past midnight and eyes are steadily closing. Our wedding video / stills footage is on You Tube and this is the link (hopefully) for you to be able to see it.....

I haven't yet been able to watch it without crying, although the tears are a bit less of a river and more like a steady trickle.................. I really hope you love it as much as Tim and I.... what a great thing technology is!!

Love and hugs to you all.................. X

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Here is Archie..........

And ain't he blooming gorgeous!!!!!!!!!! Archie is the latest edition to our family - he's an 8 week old cockerpoo, the same breed as our darling Rosie (but from different parents). You must know what I'm like by now.... if I want something, I want it now. So we (sorry, I) went from talking about another puppy to looking on the Internet to getting Archie from a lovely couple in Lostwithiel, Cornwall in about 5 days flat!! Tim was wearing the air of a man who knew he was beat, but he is the one who now can't stop playing with Archie and cuddling him.

Its been a fantastic few days as Rosie and Archie get to know each other - you can almost see the conversations in their heads,
From this on the first day:
Rosie: WTF is this.................??
Archie: OMG I'm scared - I want my Mummy....what is this huge black thing panting and slobbering all over me???
To this on the second day:
Rosie: Will you stop trying to hang off my ears and for Gods sake boy - I'm not your Mother so move away from my belly!
Archie: I'm not scared of you, you big bully - now, where does the milk come from you??

Its been sooooo funny to watch them having power struggles over the toys and also trying to get affection in equal measures, but what is just breathtakingly fabulous is Archie was crying and yapping today, because he was stuck halfway up the stairs and Rosie was straight there to see what the matter was..... ohhhhhhhhhhhh!! AND, they curl up asleep together on the settee's!!! Double ohhhhh...
So life in the Hore household is far from normal right now - in fact so NOT normal is it, I was up at just gone 6 this morning and witnessed the most beautiful sunrise!! Consequently, I was half asleep this afternoon......
Business wise, the Victoria Inn has had a great 3 weeks trading over this prolonged Easter break and we look forward now to the May holidays. The garden has been very well used this weekend as the weather has been glorious, and we have had very favourable comments on our re-styling of the garden - the awning, the new steps and now some new garden furniture. You might notice a few problems with the web site over the next couple of weeks, but I'm taking this opportunity to get it re-vamped when the White Hart Hotel website is developed!
We had a'celeb' in our garden this week - and it was really quite funny because I wouldn't have recognised him had he not been pointed out to me..... it was Ben Shepherd from GMTV with his family. I was talking to his wife and children mostly - getting lollipops and feeding the chickens with them (as I do with all children!!) and it was only afterwards that my giggling, swooning girls told me who he was! It's just as well these celebs don't like a lot of fuss isn't it......!! I have to recognise them first!!
Back to business, our latest venture the White Hart Hotel is moving ahead at a brisk pace - the builders are on site tomorrow and last week SOH and I ran 2 evening courses. I did one on customer service and SOH did legislation, serving drinks in general and the 'perfect serve' - that's the way to present a perfect drink - proper branded glasses, ice, fresh cut fruit etc etc etc! Seems like we have a great team, they were very interested and enthusiastic, and we are all very excited to be opening in 2 weeks.......... yes, that's right, 2 weeks!! Goodness knows how we're ever going to be ready, but we will.
Right now though, I have to go - Archie is terorrising Rosie behind my chair as I sit typing and the yapping and barking is giving me an 'eadache..........................

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Another challenge

So here it is then - our new challenge.................. the White Hart Hotel in Modbury, South Devon. This is a 6 bedroom hotel, with a really large bar / dining area, a massive function room upstairs with the most glorious acoustics, brass fittings and chandeliers and a fantastic bar area. It has the most amazing potential and SOH and I are incredibly excited about running it.

St Austell brewery are purchasing this building to add to their evergrowing portfolio, and they have asked my Husband and I (Just had to put that in - sorry!!) to be tenants of it........... now then, lets be clear about this - we are keeping the Victoria Inn. It's our baby and we love it!! We've worked hard to get the Victoria the reputation it has today and Salcombe is also our home, so we have no intention of leaving for a few years yet!!

But sometimes, you have to go with your instinct, and our instinct is that the White Hart Hotel is like a box of mediocre chocolates at the moment - potentially good ingredients and interesting wrapping but nothing making it very special! At the moment the WHH is empty and has been so since well before Christmas, the last couple of occupants / owners have found it challenging and failed to make it why do we think we can make it work any differently???

Well firstly, St Austell wouldn't be buying it if they thought it wouldn't work - and they wouldn't have asked us to work with them for the very same reasons!! Secondly, and without sounding too boastful we have made the Victoria into a really special pub and we believe we can do the same to the White Hart. With the help of St Austell and their magical design team we'll turn the
bar / eating area that's presently cold and gloomy into a fabulous area where friends can meet, enjoy great ales and eat reasonably priced fabulous home cooked food.
The function room is where there's some huge potential so we'll put on occasional live music evenings - probably blues and jazz. I'm also hoping to put on comedy nights and maybe an element of 'open mike' or 'X Factor' type evenings!! We''ll be actively pursuing as much use of that function room as possible! Then there are the bedrooms - 5 that we'll be able to use as 1 is being used as an office....... they are gorgeous! Not a lot of work to be done on them - just a bit of 'prettying' up........

The staff are almost recruited and I have two training sessions planned for this coming week - Getting to know each other, Customer service, alcohol legislation etc. Needless to say I've been pretty much glued to the computer working on all the paperwork and training stuff, as well as trying to manage a couple of very busy weeks here at the Victoria.

Talking of the Victoria, we have had a really good Easter and there are still quite a few holidaymakers down here. The weather has turned warmer thankfully and the sun certainly makes people happier!!

Our wedding and the glorious honeymoon all seem such a long way away now and yet, they're only 3 weeks past................ it already seems a lifetime away. However, our very good friends Phil and Lisa visited us this week - and they were especially welcome as of course Lisa took our wedding photo's: so just in case you wanted to see a reminder of our beautiful day here are one or two of my favourites...............

Saturday, 3 April 2010

The Honeymoon - Part Three

Part three and the final blog of what has been the most amazing part of my life so far........ The honeymoon!! As the wedding preparations gathered momentum there were a few times that we both said we should have kept it much smaller, but it was entirely my fault as there were always people I felt we should /needed to ask - and so like topsy the wedding grew and grew. Now as it happens everything turned out beautifully, but come Sunday afternoon we were both really tired - Saturday had been great and we had a ball, but as always in this business, you can never (well we don't) just walk away.

So on the Sunday morning after the wedding, we were both up at the crack of dawn - there was the bookwork to do, food orders (on the computer) to ensure were done in the few days we were away, banking to get ready, wages to input, staff rotas to check and finally verify, bit of cleaning and tidying in the flat, Rosie to welcome home from her 'dog sitter' etc etc etc........ you get the picture I'm sure! So at 4 o'clock when we finally drove away from the Victoria Inn it was certainly with a huge sigh of relief and expectation of a great few days in Normandy. We drove to Portsmouth where we were catching the ferry on the Monday with my son Paul and his wife Caroline - needless to say we dissected the wedding a dozen times over, with much laughing and joking and generally the journey went very quickly.

The overnight Premier Inn was clean tidy and ok for 1 nights sleep, but the pub nearby (part of a chain) was pretty ghastly! Anyhow, Monday morning saw us up Early again and off to catch the 8.00a.m ferry to Cherbourg................ hence the picture of Tim asleep on the journey. Me - well, I was far too excited to sleep. The car drive to our destination was fun - we made at least a half dozen wrong turns and the journey took almost twice as long as it should have - but we treated it exactly like the adventure it was!

All of the journey and fun was just leading up to our honeymoon destination - and crikey, what a destination: the Manoir de la Riviere, at Saint Louet-sur-Seulles, and run by two fabulous British people - Maureen & Ian.
I've been trying to think how we came upon the Manoir - I think it was by pure chance when browsing google and trip advisor and I am so Glad we chose this very special place. From the very moment we drove up their magnificent drive and them coming out to welcome us - right to the time they waved us off 4 days later, absolutely everything at the Manoir was perfect! A pool and sauna was available for use (which we did) and huge woods which we never got the chance to explore. A beautiful 4 poster bedroom with views across the woods, and you could walk through Ians rustic farmhouse type kitchen to the elegant restaurant area where an eclectic mix of furniture and objects met you. But without doubt - the warmth of welcome from Maureen and the amazing cooking of Ian are what made our honeymoon complete! Oh, yes - plus they lent us their sat nav to help us get around the countryside!!!

Seriously, the food we had was totally amazing - right from the delicious and plentiful breakfasts - through to the most amazing dinners.......... a fantastic wine selection, a roaring grated fire and candlelight..... romance personified!! But the fourth night we were struggling to eat all that was put in front of us - but we struggled valiantly!

Alongside of all of this romance, we went and did the 'tourist' things of visiting the beaches where the great battles took place in the 2nd world war - Omaha, Gold etc. It didn't have the 'feel' to me that I expected - perhaps because the weather was reasonable and their were scores of schoolchildren, but Pegasus bridge did have that 'feel'...... some quite remarkable story boards from British forces personnel made it all feel so very real! The British war cemetery was very moving and to see so many young men's names and ages on headstones was breath takingly sad. Of course in Normandy and like any tourist site - The Vatican, the Eiffel Tower, Barcelona etc, all great places I've been too - it's us tourists and the tourist tat that tarnishes it for me........

We saw lots of French countryside, went to Bayeaux, Caen, Hon Fleur, Deauville, met some lovely people - a great young American boy called Hunter who knew more about the 2nd World War than any person alive I've ever spoken to!! Ate loads of French Chocolate.......... also bought loads!!!
Took lots of pictures, walked a fair bit and just thoroughly enjoyed our honeymoon.
Now, though, it's a fortnight behind us, and real life is catching up with us.... we're in full swing for the Easter holidays here at the Victoria and yesterday we did almost 200 covers!!! Today, the streets of Salcombe are full of children with buckets and 'crabbing' nets, lots of damp dogs and the economy would appear to have done well - judging by the amount of carrier bags of clothes!!
So - onwards and upwards - the next blog post will be telling you all about our next adventure - the taking on of yet another business............... the White Hart Hotel in Modbury!!!!
Happy Easter................ X