Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Happy, Happy, Happy???

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

Well - we do feel rested.............

Thanks to this gorgeous cottage in West Wales and called Murmer y Ceri. We rented the cottage through a firm called http://www.qualitycottages.co.uk/ and we all (we took the dogs) had a fantastic 6 night break. I would recommend the firm to anyone looking to have a break away, they had some great properties in their portfolio and it took us ages to choose - but I'm so glad we settled on this one. It was surrounded by fields and the Teifi river - Archie & Rosie Posie were in heaven!

The owners Alan and Meirion had left us a welcome hospitality tray complete with welsh cakes, and a vase of fresh flowers...... what a nice touch and just what we needed after almost 5 hours on the road. The house itself was absolutely spotless and they had thought of everything - including a blanket and towels for the dogs. What was really interesting, was that although we spend 24 hours a day with each other, we haven't actually had more than a couple of holidays over 3 days together since we met, so to spend 'proper' leisure time together is a new experience - but I'm pleased to report that we still were as much in love at the end of the holiday as we were at the start! Because we don't cook much at our home in Salcombe, it was a real novelty to cook and eat together in the evenings - so I treated us to great food and lovely wine and then SOH cooked breakfast.......... well, I say breakfast - we actually didn't surface much before 10.30 most days!!!

We're used to lovely beaches and scenery here in Devon now, but some of the beaches we visited in Wales were exquisite! Aberporth was gorgeous, Cenarth had a river that roared as it went past you and we looked hard for the Salmon leaping but to no avail! It was at Cenarth that we experienced a meal of Cowl or Cawl - basically a meal of chopped gammon in a stew and served with a roll, butter and a piece of cheese - £9.00 for lunch!! Fabulous and we were full for hours after that! I have to say that except for one lunch in a seaside pub - The Ship Inn, Tresaith - we didn't even venture near a pub. Firstly, I have to say that on the whole (sorry!) they looked decidedly grotty, but we didn't want to go in one on our holidays anyway! We'd only have been comparing and talking business anyway!! We went to St Davids and did lots of walking and just enjoying fresh air and relaxation.

The weather was a bit iffy to start with, but rained mostly at night and we were able to get out and about in the day time. On the way home we took a detour round Cardiff (mmnn, less said about that the better!) but I was delighted to look up at the precise moment we passed the birthplace of the singer Ivor Novello - his Mother gave my Father some singing lessons apparently, so that was quite special for me!!

James our Chef looked after the Victoria admirably, and we have taken a decision to do something like this at least twice a year. Life is just too short not to!! So I think it'll be Cornwall in February after the half term next year! But of course we have our romantic weekend in Jersey to look forward to in November first........

Then this week we had a lovely evening away for a Dinner Dance in Plymouth as guests of our friend Keith de Bruin (and his wife) the Chairman of the BII in the West. Frank Carson (yes, he is still alive!) was the entertainment of the evening and he was really quite funny with a fantastic memory - which for someone knocking on the door of 84 made it even more incredible! We ended up going to a pub open till 4 in the morning and not calling it a day until almost 3a.m - I was a little 'tired' yesterday that's for sure.............. :)

So then - back to work! The White Hart is over and done with - just some remaining bills to pay and that's that! I must confess to a feeling of relief now that we're back to just the 2 business's, and talking of which they are doing ok! The fire is lit at the Victoria in the fantastic fireplace and already with the weather turned a lot cooler its a huge draw for customers - this photo was taken this afternoon. The new Autumn / Winter menu is selling well and James has put a fantastic Lamb Hot Pot and Chicken Chausseur on the specials........... good rib sticking food for this time of year. The accommodation is doing reasonably well - weekends in particular, but again tonight both rooms are booked - hoorah!!

Captain Morgans is quieter than I'd like it to be, but still ticking over and I'm looking forward to planning a bit of a make over for December! I think the main part of the Cafe needs a whole new look - and we have plans...???? But not telling you what they are for now - you'll have to wait and see.
We are already looking to the future for the Victoria - work is starting in the garden this week to brighten it up a bit, do a little landscaping and also sort out some of the grassed area where the intense rain we had in the summer combined with hundreds of pairs of feet walking up and down has rendered a particular area of the garden into a mud bath. We're also going to be doing some work with WaterAid - a charity that is dedicated to providing safe domestic water to the poorest parts of the world. We are just waiting for the pack but I think it will be a great way to make some contribution to people who don't have access to the thing we take most for granted!
Lastly, we are having a gala night here at the Victoria on the 13th November for my favourite local charity - Salcombe First Responders, and we're going to donate every single penny of the tickets and raffle money to the charity. Think that'll do for now - I really need to get down down to a bit of tidying up in the office!
Till later my dear friends......................... X