Thursday, 13 May 2010

Sleepless nights and Cream cakes.........

I guess the title of my blog post sums up how I'm feeling right now...I think that we've probably had the worst couple of days since we opened at the White Hart Hotel and yet some of the best at the Victoria - so where shall I start?? How about I get all the angst about the White Hart out of my system....... Bear with me dear readers - I'll try to be sharp and to the point. Firstly BT - where in God's name do I start to talk about the horrendous things they have put us through - no phone lines, then they thought that because I now have a new married name that we were a new account and cut off our Internet access!! Therefore, customers couldn't get through to us in any way, shape or form - for either pub!!

After the umpteenth phone call to BT sat in a car park somewhere near Bristol - I thrust the phone at SOH got out and sat and sobbed......... and actually I've done a fair bit of crying this last week - some of it in temper, and some of it in frustration and some of it because I've had moments when I've simply longed for a 'normal' life!

On top of that the kitchen at the White Hart has continued to challenge us all - now currently Chef -less until next week, SOH has been there 14 hours a day - every day! Equipment has defied all laws of normality and thermostats on cookers and fryers have declined to behave in an appropriate way!!!! Modbury Fair weekend saw us horrendously understaffed as we quickly came to grips with the vastness of this little towns fair! 75 plus covers on the Saturday saw SOH knackered out as he valiantly struggled to cope with those 75 covers - with a resulting 2 letters of complaint this week..........

The obscene dishwasher that had been spewing water out all over the floor was finally fixed this morning 13 days after we first opened. We parted company with our Cook of 4 days - lovely lady and a great cook (I had the BEST steak ever off her) but not a pub cook - don't under estimate how tricky it can be trying to balance orders all in at once and getting the food out on good time and looking great as well! She's now going to try her hand at being a dinner party cook - and I wish her love and luck! She said we gave her the impetus to do what she really wants to do!!!

I let 2 members of staff go quite quickly as it was immediately apparent that as bar people they just didn't have IT........ lovely people but not bar people! Oh any thing else........ how about the function that we're doing in a fortnight (can't say what in case I'm sued) where the gentleman today practically gave me a third degree interview before saying OK to using us!!

Then there was the shopping trip to Ikea - £800 later and a whole car full - what should have been fun was actually hard work as we were both tired and SOOOO cranky!! A lovely lunch out together was lunch in Ikea - mmmnnnnn, not my idea of fun!

So back to the White Hart - how do we go forward from a difficult few days...???? Well dear readers, with a smile painted on our faces, heads held high and a determination and resolve to make the White Hart as bloody marvelous as the Vic is!!! A curry night tomorrow has at least 30 bookings...... The Conservative association have booked us for another function - Cheese and Wine evening, a birthday party has been booked with an expected 200 guests. The menu has been torn apart and put back together again, staff have been trained a bit more, difficult conversations have been had with staff to help them understand our expectations and we are off on Saturday to the Orient Express for a wonderful wedding present lunch!! Our first day off since we came back from honeymoon...........

As for my longing for a normal life - well tell me, what would I do if I wasn't working till well past midnight most nights, eating on the run and schmoozing with customers......... as my friend Jim said to me today, I have to learn not to take it all so personally! He's right - I do!!

As for the Victoria Inn - it's my sanctuary and our home - and it continues to grow from strength to strength. A wonderful christening this last weekend for 2 of our fantastic staff was just wonderful, 89 covers this lunchtime (mid week........... and schools are not on hols!!) and a fabulous summer menu released today lifts my spirits just thinking about we just have to show Modbury what we're really capable of!!


steveroni said...

Liz, I have not been here for awhile...MY bad!

My family--since 1920 had been in the hotel and restaurant business for nearly half a century. My own birth year 1933, put me right in the middle of it all. (Also lived on the family farm, and played a violin in the symphony--all in Cincinnati Ohio (US).

As the result, I find your blog extremely interesting, because I have personally lived much of what you have lived, except I am neither female nor wife.

And I shall return, evidently I forgot having been here before--sorry, it IS my age which has been playing tricks with my head.
(Just a fact, not an excuse--grin!)

G Brown said...

I blame the new Government

coasterscoffeecompany said...

Great talk tonight on your blog Liz. Good to see you've got such a great following. Hope all goes well at the White Hart and we hope to pop in soon. In the meantime got a bit of bedtime reading catching up on all your past blogs!