Friday, 31 December 2010

Farewell 2010 - What a Year!!

Farewell 2010 - What a year it's been, what a flipping year!!!! It's almost like an inventory when you look back on previous years isn't it..??? The good the bad and the ugly - and this year I'm so happy there's been so little bad or ugly!

In 2010 there have been great moments of joy and pure pleasure.......not least of course our marriage in March! Apart from the birth of my beautiful children my wedding to Tim was the greatest day of my life.....

I loved every moment and if I could live it all again I would!! Someone said to me that it was the most incredible informal / formal wedding they'd ever been to - it was everything we wanted it to be.. it was our dream come true!

I've proved to myself that if I really want to, then I can put my mind to do anything! I really concentrated on getting fitter and healthier this year - and the result was I lost almost 2 stone and was so fit at one stage I could do a good hour of exercise with 15 minutes of steps.

2010 was the year I decided to stop hiding behind different hair colours and show my true colours - and again, I wish I'd gone grey a long time ago!! Everyone comments on how it suits me, it's cheaper and it means I'm not spending valuable time sitting in hairdressers chairs - as much as I love you Leah!!

I also showed that by really concentrating and conquering an innate lifelong nervousness that I COULD learn to drive - and I did!! Passing as you know first time.

We also got our little Archie - a perfect playmate for Rosie and two little dogs who couldn't be loved anymore than they are......... and 2 little loves who give us so much joy and pleasure.

The Victoria Inn grew even more business this year and we cemented great friendships with people from all over the country. Considering we've been in the worst recession in living memory, business was frankly amazing at times. We are also both so grateful to all of our amazing staff at the Vic who deliver our vision of a fantastic pub.

Captain Morgans is at last finding it's feet and we have found our way with it........ some hiccups and frustrations along the way, but it's now feeling like it's ours in it's own right! Again - huge thanks must go to our staff over there who are making it work how we want it to work!
So what for 2011?? Firstly and as always in my life: My son, and now of course his wife have always been my top priority - so as always I hope that life continues to be kind to them in 2011 and that good health and happiness (and maybe just a little extra money!) continue to be theirs.
For SOH - I hope that he achieves things he has planned and that the love we have now continues and grows even more!
For the Vic we hope that customers continue to like what we're giving them.......... we already have some great ideas for the next year, which we'll uncover as we go on. We never rest on our laurels and we are constantly seeking to improve.
I hope that for my friends it's a year of joy - for one in particular I hope it's the start of the best years of your life, you so deserve love and happiness.................YOU know who you are!
For me? Well I have 3 resolutions this year:
To stop giving a toss this year about what people do or don't think of me
To live every single day that God gives me this year as fully and as joyfully as possible
To lose another 2 stone and get even fitter ....................!
I hope you have great New Year celebrations and that 2011 will be good for all of us - giving you all good health, fair wealth and huge happiness.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Happy Christmas everyone.........

Well, I don't know about you dear readers but we had a perfectly splendid Christmas..... hope you all did too!

After such a truly awful trading week last week as the rest of the country struggled with freezing cold temperatures and unprecedented snowfalls and people were unable to travel, it was looking as though we were in for a quiet Christmas - and we had resigned ourselves to it being so........ but no, on Thursday the faithful Salcombe visitors started to arrive and what a welcome sight they were! Following a couple of Christmas parties the Victoria quickly got it's Christmas sparkle and a lovely 'buzz' went through the pub. What followed was a couple of days with old faces popping in and saying hello, I had a great time with my staff behind the bar spreading joy and goodwill(!) giving out packets of Christmas sweets to the children and generally having a lovely time as pub landlady.

Christmas Day we opened our pub from 11.30 to 2 - and my goodness what a great session!!! We were packed out and had a fantastic atmosphere in the pub. After that we were able to take our lovely Archie and Rosie out for a quick walk before going home and having OUR lunch...... Roast Duck (cooked by my handsome Husband) and all the trimmings followed by one of our chefs Xmas Puds............ some gorgeous pink fizz and a big snooze!! Pure heaven........

Talking of heaven, I did my bit at Church on Christmas Eve. My new found spirituality is fast becoming so very important to me and there is a communion service most mornings which I try to go to at least once a week. In that forty minutes or so I find great peace - I am at last learning to lose myself into Him. We sadly have a funeral next week for someone in our community who was very much loved and respected and I'm 'doing' it as Church Warden......... so I'm hoping that God will guide me and look after me and help me do the best job I can.

Aside from all of this I've only managed to go out in my little Betsy once........... I was quite nervous to start with as it was a little icy, but I settled int o it after a while and all was good. Such a great freedom to be able to just hop into her and go to the shops.... no more waiting for buses at cold bus stops or asking SOH for lifts! My next big challenge will be when I eventually get to go to Portsmouth to visit my son - a 3 and a bit hour drive...........

So for now that's about it - I'll do a quick blog before the end of the year, but in the meantime there are New Year menu's to sort and finalise, staff rota's to finish, business plan for 2011 to start and at least another dozen tasks to do!!!!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Let it snow, let it snow etc, etc................

And so on and so on................... my goodness what disruption the recent snowfall across the UK has caused, and as much down here as anywhere I think?? Salcombe has certainly seen it's fair share of the snow plus hailstorms, thunder and lightening storms and some of the coldest winds I've felt in a very long time!! But worse still (and in common with a lot of the country) what a dreadful effect it's having on our business (as well as the rest of the town)! We regularly do between 70 - 90 covers every Sunday lunchtime - what did we do this last Sunday?? 8! Yes 8 - EIGHT!!! Yikes!!! Visitors of course have been unable / unwilling to take the risk of getting down here and then worry about being able to get home. Exeter / Halden way has been blocked and the outlying villages around us have been completely cut off. 15 minute trips into Kingsbridge have spread into an hour and cars being abandoned became less isolated incidents. I drove a little in the snow and ice - but called it quits at an early stage......... no point denting a confidence just yet!!
Local people have been slipping and sliding their way around and who can blame them for not wanting to break a leg getting down into town. However, I'm really pleased to tell all of you potential visitors to Salcombe this Christmas and New Year that things down here are slowly but surely getting back to normal - snow is still on the fields but roads (particularly the major roads) are fine and even the minor roads are far easier to get through on than they were, so please don't be to worried about travel when you get down here

So then moving on - Salcombe had it's first ever Christmas Street Party on Saturday and what an amazing day it was........ the picture above from is my SOH dressed up and ready to man our Mulled Wine / Roast Chestnuts and Hot Chocolate stand with James our chef, and they were kept very busy thank you! The picture of Whitestrand (opposite the Victoria) gives you a flavour of what had to be done to get the area cleared of snow and ice to able to lay the ice-rink and erect various marquee's / stalls etc.
The Victoria held a children craft 'shed' upstairs and my goodness, we were very pleasantly surprised how many children visited....... that was a great success!! The children made Mint Creams and craft'y stuff!
Father Christmas made an appearance in the square by sledge and stayed for several hours - and for me, it was the start of Christmas, particularly when I took little Franscesca's hand (main picture at the top - her Daddy is Father Daniel my friend) and took her up to him to say hello...... I had to gulp back a sob that threatened to escape :( The magic of Christmas that is children!!

But everyone played their part in the day and it all came together exceedingly well. It was especially fantastic to see so many local people, whole families out enjoying themselves and making for a great atmosphere! Hopefully it's the start of a bigger and better Christmas Party next year and maybe, just maybe also some sort of regular street market, which would be absolutely amazing for Salcombe, but there's a fair bit of negotiation and work to be done yet.......... so watch this space!
In common with many thousands of people, my own travel plans were disrupted and I wasn't able to go to Portsmouth on Sunday to see and have an early Christmas with my son and his wife, so SOH and I took ourselves off to the Harbour Hotel (formerly the Marine Hotel) for a rare Sunday lunch treat. We had a lovely large G & T, a very nice bottle of Rose and an even nicer 3 course lunch, (very tasty!!) followed by liquer chocs at home, a delicious nap and snuggles watching dreadful Christmas slush.......... but it was a great way to make me feel less miserable!! Even if at about 5.30 I remembered why I no longer drink in the day time!! Closely followed by a beautiful Carol Service at Holy Trinity Church that evening, and the spirit of Christmas slowly but surely came into our home on Sunday...........
We also had a really nice impromptu evening last week with our friends Donna & Micha from Catch, whose travel plans to Germany were also disrupted, where I cooked far more food than was needed but somehow all got ate! Don't you think that those times when it just happens are often so much better than the planned events??
What else?? Well thats about it really...........just hope that all our planned visitors are able to come down for the festive period. We have quite a few bookings for the Christmas Eve and NY Eve, but it's all in the lap of the Gods of the weather at the moment, so it's fingers crossed and a keen eye to the weather forecasts!!

Monday, 13 December 2010

Wow...... I passed!!!

Wow - I passed my driving test today!! I can hardly believe it........

My biggest thanks go to Guy Parfett who was my instructor - I've spoken before on my blog about him & I couldn't have wished for a better instructor. No messing around, make it simple and don't make mountains out of molehills....... that was my Guy!! Despite having had three nearly four weeks of being really terribly unwell (ending with acute bronchitis at the end of last week!) I was totally fixated on getting to do my driving test, in fact it really gave me the impetus to get better almost! A mock test 2 days ago was a fail and I was on the verge of cancelling, but a 3 hour lesson yesterday saw me drive like an old hand and my confidence soared................. This morning it was like preparing for a job interview, a high level of excitement but not nerves until about 10 minutes before the test and then the nerves hit me like a steam train!!

Six of us waiting to take the test - I was by far the oldest, the others were really young men & women, slightly bored looking instructors, and then the examiners walked in and picked us off one by one! It turns out I had a senior examiner who tried really hard to put me at ease (reminding me to breath at one stage!!) and off we went. Both questions about the car and how it worked done, turn left onto the dreadful Pen Inn roundabout (Newton Abbott, Devon) hoorah we did this the other day and that was it really.................. a turn in the road (Thank you God for not letting it be a parallel park!!) drive back round the Pen Inn and off on the dual carriageway to was here that I convinced myself I'd gone wrong but it was only here that I picked up 2 of the 3 fault points for late signal and a mirror. After that, I figured I couldn't do much more and just about relaxed when we got back to the test centre.

He said congratulations - I screeched, burst into tears and he said I'd had 'a good drive'............ You're not advised to drive home after a test, whether you fail or pass, and I can see why now!! I don't think I stopped shaking for about 3 hours afterwards..........So that's it, the fun really starts now doesn't it. I would quite like a Guy cardboard cut out to have in the passenger seat, but I will just have to put up with talking to myself the first few times I go out.

A huge thank you then to Guy - who kept saying it was just his job - well, yes it was, but he was genuinely nice, very good at instructing and I have his number if anyone local wants a great instructor.

Secondly and as always to SOH for encouraging me and also putting up with me (!) and now lastly to ME!!! In future in my life I just have to remember that there is very little I can't do if I put my mind to it - the only person stopping me achieving anything in my life in future IS ME!!!

Now then - where did I put my car keys............................. X

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Good Morning Salcombe...........

Its nice to be back!! Oh sorry, you don't know do you???? I've been back in to the delights of the hospital in Plymouth known as Derriford......... Went downhill from writing my last blog and feeling fairly positive to gagging for breath and wondering if I'd see Christmas this year! Of course I will - but I do love a bit of drama!
Seriously - this is all getting a bit repetitive isn't it, but I think my mental attitude (and physical aptitude) is a whole more different to January when I was last in for any length of time.
So then, Wednesday started with me feeling rubbish and practically unable to keep a breath in me - so a quick, (well, nothings quick down here in Salcombe really!) quick'ish trip to the chest clinic, a couple of tests confirmed my breathing ability had been reduced by about 2/3rds (yikes!!) and then a 7 hour wait in MAU to find me a bed............... SOH agreed to stay with me - that in itself a bit of a feat as he's not best keen on hospitals and there he observed that in previous ramblings I hadn't exaggerated one bit about the horrors of the NHS! In fairness the staff are battling against 'the system', the lady sure ain't for turning and almost nothing goes out of the routine procedures and system.
If I was asked 3 / 4 times my whole symptoms and medications etc, then you may understand why I snapped at a Nurse on the umpteenth time of asking if I took 'blue and brown inhalers dear?' that surely she had my notes to read... (oops, sorry Nurse!)
Despite having been referred to MAU by a hugely experienced (and absolutely lovely Asthma Sister - Beverley) I still had to be 'assessed' by a junior (very) Dr who then had to 'present' me to the duty Consultant many hours later............ who in several short sentences advised (as by the terribly lovely Beverley even more hours earlier) that I needed to be admitted for a little while! Sorry, but no shit Sherlock!!!!!!!!
Still at least I had a bed in MAU ( a feat in itself!!, off toddled SOH (about £10 lighter due to parking charges - thats another whole new story!!) and I thought I'd attempt some kip.......... nope! Just couldn't..... totally exhausted, eyeballs hanging out with tiredness, but no such luck! About I felt my eyelids start to be successful in closing - then guess what? Yep, they come to tell me they've found a proper bed for me on the chest ward - so at 2a.m I'm off!!!!!
I have to say that on this stay I have felt quite well looked after, as opposed to my previous experience. I guess it helps that I saw my own consultant both days - Dr Matt Masoli - and he's not only very good at what he does, he has a very 'human' face and approach and he's quite dishy as well.............But the NHS continues to have its challenges. Still no where near enough staff - the majority of those I saw were very dedicated to what they did, but they are (as so oft reported) rushed mad off their feet, just completely chasing their tails. There needs to be far more privacy, and there has to be a line of accountability. I saw several patients having to wait far longer than they should for meds etc.
On the plus side, I thought the ward was kept far cleaner and I saw much more evidence of addressing infection issues by hand cleaning etc. Some bonkers stuff though - a new inhaler Dr M wants me to have - the hospital don't stock it!! Have to wait now for my GP to prescribe it. Running out of bedpans for the elderly who can't go to the loo......?? Having to wait nearly 4 hrs for meds to take home - but not being able to release my bed????
So then - now I'm home again, rest, rest and a bit more rest, but already (I think) apart from retaining the cough (that'll last for weeks now) I'm pretty much on the road to recovery........... and the one single thing spurring me on is my driving test!! Very close now (not saying quite how close to you lot though) and I'm absolutely totally determined to take it.!!!
Keep warm, safe and dry lovely readers - till the next time and a whole lot less drama in between - God willing!!