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 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

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