Saturday, 21 August 2010

In the words of Andy Williams

'We're almost there' ............... through the summer 'season' that is! About another fortnight to go that's all. I have to say that its been quite a mixed bag! We have had most days when you haven't been able to see past the bar at the Victoria Inn as the customers just kept appearing and we ran out (almost) of glasses on a number of occasions and all was as you would expect it to be at this time of year and yet a few others when it's been eerily quiet and we've wondered if that's it! Our BBQ hasn't gone so well this year, but talking to our Butcher he told me that a lot of customers having been buying their own BBQ stuff - so maybe (and with the dodgy weather as well!) it just wasn't our year for that this year. Having our new upstairs restaurant open as much as possible has paid off dividends though and most people have really liked it - a couple have said they missed the 'buzz' of the main downstairs bar but most like the gentleness and peace of the upstairs restaurant and although I love the fact we're a child and dog friendly sort of place we tend not to put children up there (no dogs at all).

The town in my opinion doesn't seem anywhere near as busy as it was last year in our first ever season, and talking to some of the other shopkeepers etc it's evidently been a pretty odd time all round. Some have openly said to me that they are as much as 20% down, while others have said they're holding their own..... who knows, but in the worst recession this country has ever known - holding your own can't be bad - can it?

We had a Restaurant/ Travel critic review us this week - Anthea Gerrie, (she writes for on line publications, The Independent etc and the Jewish Chronicle) her Husband and gorgeous big old dog! Now I can't lie and say that these sorts of visits don't fill me with dread but I have the confidence in my staff here at the Victoria to know that they will deliver - and boy, deliver they did! Just as they always do with all our customers................. but suffice to say there was just a little more cleaning done that day than perhaps nomal!! :) Fortunately, they seemed to like us and actually, I warmed to her much more than I expected to - she was really down to earth!

In another article, she puts the Victoria as the best pub in Salcombe - with even Captain Morgans getting a few words...... considering the controversial reviews we've had on Trip Advisor lately it was heartening to read such a nice, unsolicited review.

The White Hart in Modbury has told a similar tale trade wise, but the Hotel and the rooms part of it are particularly busy, and Sunday lunch trade is growing a treat. Finding staff for the pub is proving just as hard as getting staff for the Victoria - I've been searching for a cook for the last 3 weeks now - countless newspaper adverts and chivvying calls to the Job Centre have not attracted one single applicant. Not one!! For God's sake - there's a recession and (supposedly) record unemployment.......... With the Victoria being so full on we haven't spent much time there at all, but Christine and Mark are doing a fantastic job and I know that the White Hart is in safe hands!

Captain Morgans is doing well - the last couple of weeks have seen record numbers, but I want us to do some work on this place over the winter and try to re-organise the (exceptionally) small kitchen so it all works smoother and is more streamlined. It's hot, hard work though for our boys and girls over there and I have the deepest admiration for them.

As for SOH and I, well, we had a whole day off yesterday (well almost a whole day!) and we went for a jaunt into Cornwall......... we couldn't have chosen a worse day if we'd tried! It poured with rain and in places we couldn't see 6 feet in front of us in the country lanes - but we had a fab time. We went to a place called Seaton, Portwrinkle, Corsand and then back to Torpoint for the car ferry back to Plymouth.

The photo is of us at Seaton - a fantastic beach where yesterday the waves were like full on winter ones! As you can see, the sand on the beach is almost black in colour - and the sea really was that grey!!
But I came away feeling totally exhilarated -for someone who can't swim a stroke and who is totally terrified if the sea has more than a gentle swell when I'm paddling, I do absolutely adore the sea when it's at it's roughest and most dangerous like that. We sat in the car after our walk eating sandwiches and crisps (sorry JC!!) like a pair of pensioners - but it was the best time in ages!!

We've also started to seriously consider where we might buy a house for our future, so this visit took on the timbre of other similar explorations - house looking.......... too small, too new, definitely too expensive etc etc....... by the sea or in the country? 6 months in Spain and 6 months in UK? Buy a plot of land and build or get an old country cottage?? How about a marine apartment....... Devon, Cornwall - Wales?? Who knows?? I blame 'A Home in the Country' (a late tea time TV programme) for our debates!!! All I do know is that I think we're going to have fun finding our dream home........must make sure there's room for our matching Zimmer Frames though :) :)
Then last night we ate out at a great Italian restaurant in Salcombe, 'Catch' run by our lovely mates Micha & Donna, wearing trousers and a top that I've not worn in a long time thanks to my new fitness regime. They joined us after our meal and we went for cocktails at the newest establishment in town - The Island Street Bar & Grill. We ended up having a slightly raucous night thanks to a couple of 'Long Island Teas' (sorry again JC!!) and Mojito's (my fav!!) but felt surprisingly ok this morning! Our first proper day off in almost 5 weeks was celebrated in style and I feel ready to take on the world again...........

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