Friday, 30 December 2011

Happy New Year

Well almost...............not quite there yet though are we -  one more day to go!! I've never been a festive season sort of gal - but being with SOH this last few years has altered all that, as much for being in the business and HAVING to like this time as it is to be in love with someone so very, very gorgeous and who makes every day of our lives together so special!

Nowadays, I tend to look back at the previous year with a great deal more contentment in my heart and an awful lot of pride again this year at what we have achieved together and with the assistance of our fantastic team of colleagues who help us each and every day to make the Victoria Inn the fabulous pub that it is. Every single one of them - front of house, kitchen, cleaners and holiday staff - they all work to help us achieve our aim of running a busy, vibrant, successful and fantastic pub.  Both Tim & I know how lucky we are to have these people supporting us, and I hope that in return they continue to enjoy working with us.

We've spent a lot of money on training this year, but we are both committed to having a highly skilled team and we believe it has paid dividends and we are hopeful of continuing this in 2012. The garden has grown and thrived with even more planting and additional work done at the top of the garden to give even more pleasure to our visitors.

We personally enjoyed the success of being St Austell's 'Tenanted Wine House of the Year' for 2010 (awarded at the start of 2011) and the amazing visit to Champagne as our prize in September.  Despite being in the middle of the most awful recession we have continued to see our hard work pay off with a steady trade, many repeat customers and lots and lots of new ones as well!

I continue to slave away at the social media side, facebooking, twittering and blogging..... It all takes time but I think it's worth it. It doesn't come without it's pitfalls though and I have just had to put up with the fact that if you put yourself 'out there', you have to accept the 'brick bats' as well as the praise. I know I sometimes get tetchy about Trip Advisor but unjustified criticism will always wound me, whereas a true complaint (and we are no more perfect than any one else) will spur me on to make sure it doesn't happen again or that we try to make amends there and then. In the summer particularly when you are sending out in excess of 300 meals some days - try as we might we will just never please everyone all the time.

I've had a few issues about my blog at times - 99.5% love it and I get loads and loads of messages of support and soooooo many customers say that it helps them keep in touch with their beloved Salcombe - especially now I've branched out a little with more photo's and some of MY favourite places in Salcombe. I'll try and perfect my photographic skills in 2012 and take and publish even more pictures of this beautiful area.

What else about 2011 has been memorable for me???????? Well we sold Captain Morgans, we had a whole weeks holiday together, I went to Greece on my own (and probably wouldn't go again), I continued to cultivate friendships with some very special ladies here in Salcombe and worked to keep the threads of friendship with dear friends far away. My Church and it's people keeps growing in my heart and soul, my driving continues to take me to places previously unvisited and the freedom I now have continues to astound me - particularly being able to pop to Portsmouth to see my son Paul and his wife Caroline - who I continue to miss badly. Lastly, we have of course bought our very first house together (me a born and bred council tenant - who'd have thought it!!) and we are both very excited at the prospect of another chapter of our life together starting.  Unbelieveably I thought I was going to have my first ever nervous breakdown this year when life seemed to get completely on top of me, but I didn't, with the help and love of those around me and a little time to myself I came through and I'm all the stronger for it. In fact I was talking to a young Salcombe man last week and he said some very, very wise words: He said that every one who comes to Salcombe goes through three phases - firstly, they LOVE it! Then they don't love it and then they fall back in love with it....... and thats where I am right now....... falling in love with it all over again!

So to all of you who read my meanderings on a regular basis or as one person wrote to me the other day - they were 'blog walking' (!!)  and stumbled upon my blog and loved it. May I wish you all a very peaceful, prosperous and a very, VERY happy 2012.

I hope you will continue to enjoy reading this blog as much as I enjoy writing it Xxx

Thursday, 22 December 2011

My VERY favourite place...........

Well then peeps, my last blog before Christmas and hopefully as a business we enter a busy period - this really is my most favourite place in Salcombe - Holy Trinity Church.

The top picture is of the Lady Chapel within the Church and the 2nd picture is of the stained glass window at the top end of the Church.  The Church of Holy Trinity was consecrated to God in 1844, and I am always struck by this feeling of real history emanating from its very core. Of Salcombe people and it's visitors making memories through the years - celebrating sad and happy times. I have visited a lot of Churches through the years always seeking THAT feeling and never found it until we came here to Salcombe.   It is an absolutely beautiful Church - a Grade 2 listed building with many interesting features and memorials. In the Lady Chapel East window there is a Russian Icon designed by N.H.Westlake and the most stunning and unusual copper sheather art nouveau chancel gates beautifully decorated with enamels at the main alter. The wooden alter was made by Salcombe craftsmen in 1900 and there are 10 painted depicting angels with musical instruments - a truly gorgeous work of art.   
For those of you who've read my blog since I began, you'll know that my 'relationship' with God has not always been an easy one over the years - and it has to be said there are still times I sit in the peace of Holy Trinity and have more questions than answers swirling round my head - but on the whole I think I now understand what He wants of me and more importantly what I can do for Him.

So when I sit in one of the chairs in Church and I stare at this beautiful window, absolutely nothing else matters - all that matters is that I try to be the best person I can possibly be for Him and the world that I live in. As we enter the Christmas period full on, and we all get caught up in the whole consumer experience it's easy to lose sight of why we're celebrating Christmas at all - is it really about the amount of food and drink we can consume?? Is it really about partying and buying the most lavish and expensive gifts we possibly can't afford? Or is it about remembering the start of a magical journey.............

So, if the Church is my favourite place - then some of my favourite people just have to be Father Daniel and his lovely wife Fran......... great people who make the Church a living, breathing place of love and life and we are very blessed to have them for our guidance and our friends.

It's now onto the business in hand of running a business. We are hopeful of a busy Christmas with people visiting friends and relatives and probably an even busier New Year. Christmas Eve we still have a few tables left for you to come and eat with us, but New Years Eve we are fully booked!!  We will open for just 2 hours on Christmas Day and it's only SOH and me............... but it's usually very good fun, and better still - SOH cooks my Christmas dinner!    I'll write again if I possibly can before the start of another wonderful Year!

I'd like to say a very, very Happy Christmas to all of you who either read my blog on a regular basis or just wander by every now and then. I hope you get everything you hope to get, lots of love,laughs and kindness and hopefully the company of those you love the most. X

Sunday, 18 December 2011

MY Favourite things - part 2

I almost feel as though I should start this with music from The Sound of Music - My Favourite Things..... there is no doubt that there is a theme of food and beautiful things in these threads and today my chosen Favourite Things is: Cranch's Pantry run by Suzanne, Angela, Peter and a host of other lovely helpful and friendly people.  I remember when we first moved here being absolutely mortified that I was so far away from my usual stomping ground of Marks & Spencer, Waitrose etc and wondering how on earth I was going to survive without those Gods of shopping............... I stocked up with lots of foodstuffs to bring with us convinced my days would never be the same without the staples of foods I had come to rely on and that clearly we were going almost to the ends of the earth!  But oh my goodness, once again all my pre-conceived ideas flew out of the window the first day I walked into Cranch's Pantry - firstly, to see the foods laid out in front of the shop was a joy to behold and then the smells as you enter the shop is practically indescribable! As to how they can stock almost anything you could ever ask for and it has to be said for very little extra (if at all in many cases - particularly with fuels costs factored in!) is amazing! As for those Marks & Sparks staple foods I talked about - let me tell you there is a certain brand of fruit cake that Cranch's stock which knocks spots of M & S!!!!  Then of course there is Chanch's sweetshop next door - a veritable Mecca to all that is holy in terms of sweets, chocolate and other confectionery............. you can have 20p's worth of this or a fiver for something else. Gorgeous pale brown/dark brown/ coloured fudges - so you can a little of each if you like............ and lets be honest, when it comes to the sweet stuff what isn't there to like??  

But once again, what makes this shop so special and used to be replicated throughout our land in thousands of other similar small towns and villages?  Well, it's that old magic called 'Customer Service'. Staff and customers knowing each other, feeling like you're a valued customer and not just a number to make up the profits, a place to meet and discuss the weather and any other dozen numbers of discussion points. Even if you're only walking past the door with the dogs there's inevitably a cheery wave and a 'hiya'..... I defy you to try that with one of the big supermarkets......

So what else - well the weather has cranked down a good few gears with face startling cold winds and freezing rains, but at last the visitors appear to have started to return ready for the testive season. Good news for us is that we are SOLD OUT for dining New Years Eve but we will still have room for you to come and join us for drinking and frolics with the Old Gaffers - our sea shanty singers, and maybe have Alan Dark amaze you with some Magic!!

We fed about 80 people from local business's on Friday and had nothing but compliments, so huge rounds of applause to our great staff - especially Chef and his team for making it happen!! 'Hoorah.'........  

SOH & I have been busy 'matchpotting' in our new house and planning for our future - all very exciting and frankly a little tiny bit terrifying as we start to see what we need to spend and where we will have to make economies - but the house is generally in really good nick, its a couple of major jobs and a few minor things - but with all meeting to make a substantial whole in our pockets! Scarey!

Then this time next week, where will we all be?? I predict we'll both be slumped in front of a very quiet TV with our 2 babies, Rosie & Archie snuggled up having opened for just a couple of hours in the lunchtime, followed by great food (which SOH will cook for us) a bottle of good wine, Christmas Pud and a large liqueur?? 

I hope to get one more blog post in this week about another favourite and VERY special place in Salcombe of mine this week.......... Until then, take care and be kind to each other - life is too short to do anything else X

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Excited? Moi?

Actually I don't think I can tell you just how excited I am right now.............. We have this week completed on our little dream house!!!! I swear if I get any more excited about it all I shall just burst!!!!  In a few short months of talking about getting our own place to live in and then actually doing it, here we are - homeowners!  We completed on Monday, with Tuesday seeing us go out and starting to buy furniture and lighting, Wednesday saw a succession of tradesmen to quote for a myriad of jobs we shall need doing and the buying of paint 'match pots' to see if the reality will live up to the colours in our heads. Because of dreaded planning application rules and our desire for a couple of new windows it's unlikely we'll move in until end of February but I just know that this time is going to fly by in a rush of on line buying and shopping in the sales for all those things we need (no really, we do!!) to make our new home perfect. There have been so many times in my life when things seemed pretty bleak and I could never have imagined that I would feel this overwhelming happiness that I seem to feel so much of the time these days - but I DO, and I constantly thank the Big Man upstairs for it! In one of my next blog posts I want to introduce you to Lee, the young man working for us now as assistant manager and who will take the live-in role when we move. But trust me - we will still be around lots and lots - in fact I bet you'll see more of us than ever..... no intention of taking our foot of the gas too much!!!  

Trade is incredibly quiet again this week - with the awful weather not helping much either, but tomorrow we have the Island Street bash at the Victoria Inn. This all the traders like boat builders, craftesmen, fishermen etc.  They take it in turns to go to one of the pubs in town every year and this is our first ever year - so I'm determined we'll give them the best pre-Christmas meal ever.  I think we're catering for just over 80 so should be a great buzz about the place tomorrow!

If you're still debating where to spend Christmas Eve Dinner or New Years Eve Dinner - then you really need to get on to the phone to us fast as we have only a few tables free for Christmas Eve and for New Year we only have 2 tables left! New Years Eve we have the Old Gaffers and Alan Dark with his 'Touch of Magic'.

Christmas Day it's just SOH and I working from 12 - 2 only - so come in and say Happy Christmas and enjoy a pre-lunch drink why don't you???

Also again this year we are doing our fabulous Homemade Curry Buffet but ONLY on New Years Day: 12 - 3!!! £10.95 with a choice of 3 or 4 curries including a great vegetarian Balti, Chutney and Poppadum............ every year the numbers grow and grow for this - so don't miss out!

Right then - I still have some cards to write, a couple of pressies to wrap and tomorrows paty to sort out for seating and crackers etc.......... If I can manage another blog before the big day then I will.

Keep warm and dry my lovelies x

Saturday, 10 December 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.........

Well that's what Michael Buble was singing just now on my Ipod in the pub!!! First time of putting the Christmas music on in the Victoria Inn this year and we certainly had some very jolly customers and staff at lunchtime! The pub looks gorgeous as usual with even more decorations in the restaurant this year - so looking festive and smelling festive with the great mulled wine that we're selling! It's been a very (and I mean VERY) quiet week this week at some stages - a couple of lunchtimes that we didn't see half a dozen people come over the threshold and then a couple of evenings where we did really, really well - so it's very hard to call at the moment as to what trade will be like over Christmas and new Year - but today has been exceptionally good with quite a few bookings in for tonight - so it's any ones guess really. I can't help it, but whenever we have a quiet spell I always worry that it's us, what we're doing etc etc - but then when you speak to other traders and they are saying the same thing - I calm down a little. The menus are written and up for Christmas Eve & New Years Eve, and I have had a major triumph with SOH about putting together a special children's menu for this holiday period............. He wasn't at all happy about it, but I just want to see how a good, wholesome and healthy Children's menu will work??

Think he's trying to tell me how to play!
We had a great night out in 'Plymuff' last night with 2 friends of our who run the restaurant Catch in Salcombe - we went to a Casino. First time for both men and I have to say it was a fairly eye opening experience for many reasons............. Firstly, may I say that I have a fairly limited experience of Casino's myself. I used to love to go to the casino in Gibraltar when it was next to the posh Rock Hotel but on my visit back last year it had moved to being part of a huge marina complex and it was decidedly down market! Anyway - back to last night.......... I was really disappointed in the fact that people just don't dress up to go out anymore - unless you count dresses that are showing bottoms (& Tattoo's) and men in tatty jeans. Oh my - now I sound dreadfully old AND old fashioned, but where has the glamour gone from our lives???? Then there were the people you see in all casino's across the world - the ones with the haunted pallid look, inwardly praying for THEIR numbers to come out and that look writ large across every muscle of their face! The orientals who would bet on the first thing that moves and the little old ladies spending dead husbands money and maybe their pensions. The drunk blokes blowing their wages ( & their wives housekeeping) and then those men with an eye out looking for the main chance. I can say this as a man stepped forward from the shadows and commented on my diamond earrings............. and I quickly commented back on my Husband less than 10 yards away!!!  So as much as I really enjoyed the evening and our £25 quids worth of fun - I walked away slightly unsettled at the overall experience. As for Plymouth late at night...?? Less said the better..........  Anyway, I must go as I have Christmas cards to write still and just a couple of pressies left to wrap!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

What jollity!

Heavens - it's either all or nothing in our lives at the moment! Been to not 1 but 2 bashes this week - the first one being very grand indeed at the Royal Naval College in Greenwich, in the painted hall. The entrance in to this hall certainly gave us both the wow factor and we were not disappointed. We were there for the BII's  (British Institute of Inn Keeping) 30th anniversary. A truly memorable evening in great company and a performance by the Band of the Welsh Guards.  I had a lovely day before this event playing at being a true tourist and cruising up the Thames!     

Then last night we went to a Help for Heroes Ball in a nearby hotel - Soar Mill Cove. This time with a Michael Buble tribute act, and wow, that young man could sing!! I'm sure that lots and lots of money was raised (as I was under instruction my arms were mostly pretty firmly down by my side!) but again, I just could not help feeling that this sort of support shouldn't come from charitable donations but from Central Government......... What do you think???

The Victoria Inn has been a bit up and down this week, but very busy last night and hugely busy again this lunch-hour, so I think we're just trying to see how things go at the moment and keep staff costs (hourly paid) and other costs to a minimum where possible. We are almost fully booked for New Years Eve, and as well as the Old Gaffers appearing, I'm hopeful that we're also going to have another quite special act - so watch this space!

On the positive side of things, it looks (Please God, Touch Wood, etc etc etc) like all our water issues and boiler issues are nearly sorted - 2 out of the 3 fixed with only the main pub boiler to be mended now. Also and at last, we have a shower that's neither scalding us or freezing us!!! A pump has been fitted that allows us to shower when we want, rather than around the opening hours of the pub and the usage by the kitchen!! Hoorah - only taken 3 years to get it figured out and sorted, but done now!!!    

An end is in sight for our house buying with a completion date of the 9th on the cards, but with a lot to do the house (it's in good nick - but it's what we want to do to make it ours) I doubt we'll be in much before end of February, however, the fun part of planning and spending money will start soon.  As it is, there are already a good few parcels arriving and I am pretty much on first name terms with the delivery men! :)))  

Anyway - I have to go now, Christmas cards to start writing as I am determined that it won't get left to the last minute this year..................

Saturday, 19 November 2011

My favourite Salcombe Places Part 1

 So, in keeping with the fact I'm going to talk about Salcombe as much as the Victoria Inn and my own goings on, I'm going to start tonight with 2 of my favourite things in life these days (well no 1 has always been a favourite part of my life!) Food and Jewellery!  The first 2 photo's are of Pam and Pete Bennets place - the Salcombe Yawl Sandwich Shop and Deli in town - but sooooo much more there than sandwiches!! We're very blessed in this part of Devon to have some of the most amazing produce I've ever been lucky enough to taste - and this shop is no exception......... we're fortunate in as much as living in a pub we can pretty much eat and drink anything but even we get a bit tired of having OUR food all the time so we sometimes treat ourselves  to either a tasty  Salcombe Crab tart, or a pastie or hot sausage roll or one of their dozens of sandwich/baguette fillings or simply do what I did this week and that's wander in and buy great unusual cheeses, olives and fantastic homemade coleslaw then get some crusty bread and have a 'carpet' picnic!  They stock the fantastic Cornish Yarg, wonderful Devon Ham and great Scottish Oak Smoked Salmon. They also supplied the buffet at a meeting I went to recently and that was excellent!! So maybe worth thinking about if you come down on holiday and you're having a birthday or celebration in your house??? 
My next favourite place in Salcombe is Michael (Mike) Yeomans place in Island Street - Salcombe Antiques. When we first came down to Salcombe I didn't really take too much notice of this little shop and then like a piece of metal drawn slowly to a magnet I started to be attracted to the beautiful jewellery in  his window. Now, there are a couple of really nice things about this shop - firstly, you are never ever going to see the same things in his window year in and year out. This is because all of his jewellery are one offs! New or secondhand he has beautiful pieces and I  have to say I have become ever so slightly addicted........ Secondly - he is never ever pushy! If you want to browse, feel and just try on and admire then you can. He has even let me take a ring home to see if I really liked it when I got it home - BEFORE paying!!! Then lastly - if you want to sell items or sell back to part exchange, then he really does give great prices - in fact he buys back at what he sold it for. I've had a couple of people say that surely in the middle of Salcombe Mike must be expensive?? All I can say is that if you want classic, classy items of jewellery you'll go to Mike - if you want rubbish and to see the same on any other woman......think High Street names!  I can't speak about his antiques because I know nothing at all about antiques - but I have seen one or two silver picture frames I quite fancy!!!

So thats the first of my favourite Salcombe places and there are many more to come...... I hope you enjoy this little deviation from my normal blog!  

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

This Blog's future

Just a short quick blog to say thanks to everyone who replied to me when I asked about the future of this blog - and general opinion is that it should remain but be a mix of goings on at the pub, a bit more about happenings in Salcombe and the usual drivel about my life!!!  So that's what it'll be, and I'm also going to try to include a lot more photo's - but instead of clogging up the blog post I'll put a link like the one on today's post to Picasa (oh get me eh!!!) and you can choose to look or not then! Hopefully this will be popular and also means Salcombe gets a bit more publicity when anyone goes to Google..... well at least I think that's how it works!!

Weekend just gone was of course Remembrance Sunday and the weather was breathtakingly gorgeous up at Cliff House and in the 2 minute silence all you could here were the seagulls............ really moving as usual.

The Victoria Inn continues to be awash with builders trying to locate leaks and fix boilers..... one boiler fixed and one to go with the leak almost sorted - well, that's the thinking so far..................

As for me? Well I'm off out today for a girlie lunch with 2 fabulous friends and a good old natter planned!!

Friday, 11 November 2011

There are times...........

There are times when being a pub landlady drives me flipping nuts!!! Just this week we've had the Hobbit House boiler break down and a new one installed only for that to break down the following day. The pub boiler is on a temporary mend as we await parts for that. A water bill for £4k more than it should be as there's a leak - Lord only knows where, because a succession of workmen have failed to locate it yet..... etc, etc, etc and yet, there are other times like yesterday when this job is just perfect!!

In the picture above you can see my SOH (looking awfully intelligent - don't you think) with James Fineman from St Austell Brewery wine division and the gorgeous dark haired gentleman opposite them is Roberta Perez from Bodegas Santalba,

They were here for James to talk through with Tim about changing some of our wines - although both men congratulated SOH on his excellent choice of existing wines and then also to introduce us to Roberto's wines. The company is run by him and his Father and the wines are not only gorgeous but totally organic as well. We tasted about 5 from the Ermita range and we were particularly taken by the Tinto, but also the Crianza and the Reserva - I think we shall be stocking the Crianza and hopefully the Rose when it comes to St Austell - maybe a couple of bottles of the Reserva for our own collection!!

It was a thoroughly enjoyable lunchtime and as usual I learnt so much about the product from Roberto who's enthusiasm and passion just shone through in everything he talked about!  Roberto kindly gave us a bottle of the Rose as a gift and we shall enjoy drinking that at some stage this weekend I'm sure.   

It's been a strange old week - markedly quiet from Monday and it looks like the closure of Salcombe Harbour Hotel (for renovation work) will hit the town hard this winter - and yet we have lots and lots of bookings for the weekend in both the Hobbit House and the Restaurant - so all may not be so gloomy after all.

Seven weeks to Christmas and a couple of bookings in the diary for parties - in particular the big Town Bash for fishermen etc - and as for New Year? Well, we have just 3 tables to spare - so if you're thinking of coming to us for New Year, you're going to have to book fast!!! The Old Gaffers are going to be entertaining us that night so I have a feeling it's going to be a terrific end to a terrific year................

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Captain Morgans is no longer ours..................

And it has to be said I'm not particularly  sad.......First of all a great photo on the side of the interior of Captain Morgans taken by my lovely friend Scott Baston at another photographer friend of ours whose work you really should look at!

So back to Captain Morgans. I remember sitting outside CM's with my lovely brother in law Richard when he was down here on his hols some two and a half years ago and a small for sale notice in the window caught my eye. SOH and I knew that we ran a really successful business in the Victoria Inn and the more we thought about it the more we though we could transfer those skills in to making CM a success. Fast forward a few months and the involvement of 2 sleeping partners to make the numbers add up and we found ourselves stood inside CM just a couple of days before Christmas faced with the prospect of opening at one of the years busiest times and not really knowing where to even start!

Staff transferred over from the Vic (it was quieter and they could be spared) economies of scale for purchasing were great, a re-vamp of the menu to give even better value for money and off we went!  In theory all should have been wonderful and we should have been 'sat on a goldmine' as I've often heard said to me over the last almost 2 years.............  But what didn't we take into account?? Well firstly we didn't take into account just how much of a 'family' business it had been run as previously and also how much work the main person put in. So staffing (and the associated staff costs) was always a huge issue for us right from the off - and in the end was the thing that killed it off for us.

We know that customers loved our breakfast offering and they liked the prices and the inclusion of free teas and coffee's with breakfasts - but they didn't like long waits whilst staff tried to get to grips with the peaks and troughs of service. Try as we might we just could never seem to get the staffing just right - that is when we could get the right staff in the first place.

We didn't like that on occasions some staff just didn't turn in when they should have done - believe me, getting a call at 7.15 to say the cafe wasn't open was no fun.. especially when we had perhaps only got to bed at 1.30 during the summer after a very long day at the Victoria.  Then this summer when we seemed to have the staffing just as we wanted it and we were ready to rock into the summer not one, but two members of staff left............ and for both of us that was really the end of the matter.

So we sat and talked about what had driven us to Salcombe in the first place........???  A great business opportunity in the Victoria - which we have both worked very, very hard at and the results speak for themselves. The opportunity to enjoy this glorious countryside and the sea and for SOH to get a little boat and have some fun.  Fun?? For very many months we have barely had a day off together, and half the time have not even had time to walk our little dogs - a very good friend does it for us more often than not. So tough business decisions had too be made - did we stay and limp on in the vain hope that eventually we'd get the staffing and those associated costs right or should we just make a clean break regardless???  

So here we are - Captain Morgans is no longer ours - it has passed in to the hands of Susan & Michael Fink, names well associated with Salcombe and we know from all there relevant catering / hospitality experience that they are going to make a massive success of it. But before I finish I must say a huge thank you especially to Marcus Lewis who had done an excellent job of looking after it for us for the last 9 months - many times he has kept it afloat and done over and above what he had to do. We also still have the Hobbitt House (the accommodation at the Victoria Inn) but its on a room only basis now.

It's been a challenging, frustrating and difficult time for us - but it was a business opportunity we thought would be good for us and whilst we didn't get it all right I don't think we got it all totally wrong either.  

Our next exciting challenge is to buy a little house in Salcombe and start to get our work/life balance better and better and better and enjoy a little bit more of what we originally came down here for. Not take our foot off the gas in any way - oh no (if anything we'll probably be around more as we'll be more structured!) but work at the business much more as a job than a way of life and enjoy our own lives just a bit more!

On that note - I am yet another year older on Sunday (groans not so silently)  and I am looking forward to a little celebration time with the man who makes me so happy - my scrumptious other half!!  

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Afternoon all!

Afternoon all - blimey the first day after the clocks going back, and already at just gone 4 there is a familiar gloomy darkness settling over the estuary. I have to say that the Autumn early Winter is a time of year I quite like, except that next weekend I'll be yet another year older.. :( 

I hope you like the photo on the side of the Victoria Inn in all her summer glory. This photo was taken by a delightful woman called Sam Appa who is a professional photographer and here is a link to her website:

I get lots of people taking pics of the Vic and most of the time we never get to see the finished article but true to her word Sam sent me a CD with some images on and I chose this one because I like the angle, it shows off the window boxes and frontage of the pub really well and I just think it's a great photo - so thanks Sam.

I'm aware that I'm not blogging as much as I used to and I think that's 2 fold - firstly we've been pretty consistently busy for almost the last 5 months (hallelujah) and secondly, its becoming just harder and harder to write about new things. I don't want this blog to become just a repetition of previous blog posts and despite having a couple of people ask me to talk more about Salcombe - that could also be difficult as I don't want this blog to be associated with 'gossip' - because God knows there's enough of that in this town!

So then - we've been really busy again since the end of the summer hols...... talking to James our Chef he was saying that before we took over here you could pretty much say that at the end of the 'season' and after the last half term trade virtually died until Christmas - well, we're pleased to say that doesn't happen any more and that if you want to be sure of a table with us if you want to dine at any time of the year now really, then you must book. This last half term we had quite a few disappointed would be diners and I hate turning trade away when I have a great restaurant upstairs that could seat customers - but sadly, I don't have the staff to facilitate that choice.  Said it before and I'll say it again - getting good quality staff for the Victoria Inn is not always easy, and we are remarkably choosy as well!

Talking of staff, Tim & I are very very proud of 2 of our team who undertook 4 days training at St Austell Brewery in Cornwall - Jessie Day & David Gravitt. They can now hold their own personal licenses and learnt loads about various functions of running a pub and will get a certificate to prove it! Training staff is such an important part of running a successful business such as ours and you have to be prepared to put in the time, money and energy into your staff to get the best out of them. They also came back bubbling with enthusiasm about their new found learning.

But on that note we have 2 delightful e mails this week from very happy customers and here is a little text from them:

Having just returned from a short break in Salcombe, we would like to respond to a wonderful evening we spent in your restaurant, Tuesday 18 October.  You were very busy but made us welcome and provided us with a table.  We were not disappointed.  Everything was excellent-the food, the staff were very attentive and worked hard to ensure our needs were met .  We thoroughly enjoyed the meal and it was one of the highlights of our stay in Salcombe.

We have just spent a couple of days in South Devon revisiting places from holidays of a few years ago, enjoying the scenery and sunshine. The Victoria was recommended to us by a friend so we called in Thursday (20th) lunchtime to have a drink and book a table for that evening. When travelling around it is usual for us to try different places to eat and we had intended to go elsewhere on Friday. However we felt that it would be difficult to better the time we spent at the Victoria hence our easy decision to return and we managed to get a table at a moments notice. The reason for this mail is to compliment you on your pub and to ask that you convey our thanks to all your staff for being both professional and very welcoming.The whole experience was a total pleasure due to the staff and enhanced by excellent food and drink.  Next time we are in the area you will see us again and we will recommend the Victoria to anyone we know visiting the South Hams

I always print off any e mails such as these so that all the staff know the good reports that they, their service and the food receive - it more than makes up for some of the smaller niggles we sometimes get!

Now then, what else??? Well the Hobbitt House is shut for a few days to allow a bit of repair work on them - some new flooring in the en-suites, re-doing the sealants round the showers and then a good Autumn clean. They have had such good use since we opened it's no wonder we have got give them a bit of an overhaul really.

The garden is now shut as well - SOH has re-seeded the grass (vaguely resembles a war zone at the moment with mud, mud and more mud as far as the eye can see) so that it has the Autumn/Winter to repair itself, and get all beautiful for next year!

We have decided our opening and closing times for Christmas & New Year and what we're going to do food wise - this year we are doing our normal menu on Boxing Day lunchtime and NO FOOD in the evening. Last year we only sold a portion of chips! Then New Years Day we will be serving our legendary Curry Buffet! The Old Gaffers will be here Christmas Eve doing Christmas carol stuff and then we're going to have a party with them on NY Eve!!! And we have loads of NY bookings already!!!

Christmas - can you bear to hear that word yet??? Now then, where's my Christmas pressie list........

Till later friends...................

Sunday, 9 October 2011

It's Autumn - the fire's lit!

Not lit large yet, but certainly alight and taking off the chill thats just started to be in the air!!  It's no good I absolutely love the Victoria Inn at this time of the year - I know I should like it best when it's the height of summer and we're really busy, but now when it's all the regular people coming in (Holiday homes / regular visitors/people from the top of town) it's just like welcoming back old friends and I absolutely love it!!

In fact can I just share how happy I am with life on the whole at the moment - business continues to be blooming excellent and our new Autumn/Winter menu is going down a storm as well as our new approach to the Specials menu.  Now, EVERYTHING on our specials menu is just £10.95 - lots of fresh fish, and that all depends on what our suppliers have on THEIR catch menu. Some great winter warmers like Chilli and Curry, as well as home made pies etc.  We no longer have the IPA on our drinks list but we now have St Austell Dartmoor - a fantastic alternative and still only £2.40 a pint! A couple of the local men have been in to see me and they want their annual Christmas bash at the Vic this year so thats great news as well! We'll shut the pub just for them for a lunchtime and give them a pre-Christmas party to set them up a treat!

A couple of days in Portsmouth last weekend and I do love going to see my family in Portsmouth but I hated driving in such a busy town, and yesterday I was driving through our luscious countryside with my little dogs and with cows and sheep looking at me and passing tractors and people who smile at you and I just thought....... My God but I'm lucky to live in such a beautiful place!!!! My first chest infection of the season is slowly (very slowly) passing and it just feels that all is well with the world!  

I've been inspired by the 'Great British Bake Off' programme with Mary Berry (she's been in the Vic!) & Paul Hollywood and the last couple of days have seen me making Bread, Cakes and Flapjacks as well as main meals.......... My chef James is being used as my own personal tutor and I'm determined to prove my worth in my own kitchen!! The staff seem to like my offerings as well............ But you're ok general public - shan't unleash myself on the real world of paying customers!!! 

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Last part of France and Duncan Bannatyne

Blimey this has turned into a mammoth blogging post.......... sorry dear readers the Victoria is still really busy and I have been hit with my first bad chest infection of the season, so not getting on to do my tasks as fast I would have wanted.

So where the heck was I???  Ok yes, in France. We did a huge tour of the De Castelnau winery and saw thousands and thousands of bottles Champagne being filled, stacked, stored. saw the library where bottles go back to the 1940's - absolutely fascinating. The process from start to finish is highly complex and I understand now why Champagne is the price it is - but I honestly think I love it more than ever! We had the most amazing Michelin Star 'packed lunch' that you could ever imagine and with yet more Champagne............. everyone at the winery was so welcoming and friendly and Pascal the MD shook hands with every member of staff he met! A great lesson in staff management! What was even more amazing was that a member of staff knew about our 'Man Creche' sign at the Victoria as his family were in Salcombe in the summer.. how cool was that! So ended our Champagne tour and our biggest thanks to everyone who made it so special for us.

I will gloss over our second night in Reading and move on to the next part of our road trip - 2 nights at Charlton House Hotel - part of Duncan Bannatynes group (him from Dragons Den who doesn't tolerate fools with no business plans!!).  There's no doubt that because of who he is (and I do Twitter with him) that this influenced our decision to go to Charlton House in Somerset, and I am soooooo glad we did because what a great experience it was.

Right from the centralised booking system where I was guided through a maze of deals to the right one for us right up to the warm welcome we received at reception - we knew we had booked well! We were upgraded to a super four poster room with a claw bath situated right in front of huge windows, fabulous shower room and a private balcony area. Food and service was first class and we both enjoyed the pampering at the Spa that we received..... although I wasn't so keen on the flotation thingy - but I'm assured I wasn't the first to say STOP!! Get me up!!!  Girls in the spa were lovely - no snideness that you sometimes get and they seemed to genuinely want to do a great job.

Food and service was excellent but a couple of diners left a lot to be desired on the first night as they discussed birthing plans loudly during dinner despite a few coughs/splutters from me coupled with a filthy look - no hint was taken. Time and place people, time and place or at least keep your voices down!!!  Barman made a great Hendricks G & T - almost as good as me I may say!!

Beautiful grounds and noise from the road was minimal - thoroughly enjoyed sitting in the massive four poster bed with a large glass of wine imagining this was how I always spent my leisure time!!

I'd just like to say a word or three about Mr Bannatyne (I respectfully call him Mr B) - several people have said how he comes across as a bit of a git on Dragons Den, and maybe he does (and is!?) but he actually has a huge heart of gold and does an awful lot of charity work that like a lot of famous / wealthy people goes unsung. He works a lot with Harry Mosely and his family.  Harry has a brain tumour and is the sweetest little boy going - please do what you can to support this cause:  Mtr B also works with our injured armed forces personnel from conflicts abroad - a thoroughly nice bloke!!!

Moving on, the 2 days at Charlton House flew by and our last port of call was North Walk House in Lynton, North Devon. A delightful B and B run by Ian & Sarah majoring on Organic produce. Lovely rooms overlooking the Bristol Channel with home made flap jacks to accompany your tea and coffee! Dinner was round a large table and you shared it with complete strangers - yikes!! That's a bit of a challenge to English reserve, but it was actually very entertaining and interesting. The food itself - well, absolutely fabulous and as for Ian's porridge in the morning? Yum scrum!! Give it a try if you're ever in North Devon:

So there we go - and t last we're back to normal here at the Victoria - visitors are still here in big numbers thanks to the glorious weather we've had and we start to think of winter..... yuk, what a depressing thought!  But I have lots of exciting things in the pipeline which will be shared with you in due course!!!!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

LIZ & Tim's great trip! Part 2

So where was I??? Oh yes,  we arrived in Calais and started our journey onto Riemes and Eperney travelling on near empty toll roads at a reasonably swift pace - UK - There is such a lesson to be learnt from other European roadways!! Anyway, I digress........ we stopped for lunch in Eperney before starting our tour of the vineyards at a charming and very typical french corner restaurant and I just could NOT resist taking a camera picture of the menu above - have a close look! It certainly made us laugh......... and there was also a Sephora cosmetic shop (my absolute favourite grown up version of a sweetie shop!!) across the road from the restaurant so a fabulous start for me - food and make up!!!

After our lunch break we headed for the vineyards passing most of the big name Champagne houses and what seemed like dozens and dozens of smaller ones and some in what seemed just like private houses...... an amazing thing to see I must say! Out in the countryside in some areas all you could see for miles in each direction were rows upon rows of vines.......... absolutely amazing! We were taken to see Dom Perignon's burial site with in a church and there some really beautiful old pews with what now would be classed as graffitti but all sorts of dates scrawled on them. As we drove through the various areas Charles Ancliffe our host explained to us about the chalkiness of the soil and the effect this has on the grapes and their taste, he told us about the different types of grapes and that 1and a half kilo's go into just 1 bottle of Champagne........... we learnt all about first and second pressings and oh yes, had another bottle of Champagne on a hill top overlooking the most spectacular view and listening to the wind rustling through the tree's.......... very, very romantic (well for me anyway - not sure about my 3 male companions!).

Our third and last stop before hitting the hotel and trying to get just 40 winks before a night on the town beckoned was on a hill top where the Mumm windmill is and time for our last Champagne of the day (not the whole day you understand - just the daylight hours part!!) this time a Vintage de Castelneau... ohh I didn't half like that one!!!!! By the way, that's a bunch of grapes you might just see that Charles is holding behind my head.......

We were booked in to the Hotel de la Paix and my goodness, what a fantastic hotel!!  A hotel used by many of the big Champagne houses to put guests in and recently renovated, we were pleasantly surprised and delighted by our room. Now this one could be called a real Boutique room and guess what?? A bottle of Champagne from Monsieur Pascal Prudhomme the Directeur Generale of De Castelnau was waiting for us in our room..............

Part 3 and I'll tell you about the fab meal we had that night (what I can remember of it!) and our tour of the winery............


Monday, 19 September 2011

LIZ & Tim's great trip! Part one

This great trip of ours is going to have to be done in tiny pieces as it was sooooo fantastic and I don't want to spare you any of the fantabulous details!!!

So lets start with day one. Tuesday 6th September saw us get off eventually after having done all the 'pubby' things and leaving all in good order, getting a couple of miles up the road in my neatly packed Betsy (Smart Car) and then having to turn back as I'd forgotten to pack the Sat Nav............. well it was only a couple of miles - no big deal (!). SOH wasn't over amused but I only had to remind him of the numerous occasions we have had to turn round because HE'S forgotten something and all was well in the Hore household very quickly!!

First thing was to drive to the Wee Waif in Reading where our brewery St Austell had paid for us to have the first night of our prize winning 'Wine House of the Year' last year and then the actual Champagne tour was hosted by Champagne de Castelnau. 

Now then what can I say about the Wee Waif in Reading - clean, reasonably comfortable and frankly, you get what you pay for! The room on this our first night was far better than the one we given on our return, but for what we wanted for the few hours we were there it was perfectly acceptable. It was also close for our host Charles Ancliffe from Patriarch Wines, and quite a central location to get us to Folkestone the next morning for the 'chunnel'. With us was James Finneman who is a wine development manager for St Austell, so I was quite pleased to  find myself the only lady amongst three such charming gentleman. 

Our first meal was at the St George & Dragon in Reading, a dinner for four in a very relaxed setting with exceptionally good food and a prime example of not believing all you read on Trip Advisor!! However, we were relatively modest with the alcohol as I think we sensed it was going to be a heavy few days..............

The next day at 6.30A.M we were packing our thing into Charles's car who was going to be our chauffeur for the next 24 hours and off we set for Folkestone. A beautiful sunny (ish) day and a congenial host who told us how many times he had done this before and how much he loved showing Champagne country to people like us. So accomplished at this was he that when we got to the port and he asked me to put his credit card in to gain access on the booking he was staggered to find he hadn't actually booked the train.........!!!!  Doh. and there's me thinking I'm the only one who could do something like that!!  

However eventually and safely ensconced on Le Shuttle at 9.a.m and heading into the bowels of the earth Charles announced it was our first Champagne of the day - a charming De Castleneau Rose Champagne. Bearing in mind we had only had 2 coffees, half a kit kat each and a small croissant  - 2 glasses had the desired effect of going straight to my knees!!! A remarkable short trip saw us on French soil within about 35 minutes - my how time flies when you're having fun!!

Part two to follow in the next couple of days....................

In the meantime I'm glad to say that whilst the summer 'silly' season has ended, the Victoria is as busy as ever - so if you are coming to visit and you want to eat with us I would recommend that you really do book :)

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Wine Pub of the Year 2010

Do you remember that we won an award from St Austell for being the Wine Pub of the Year 2010?? Well, we are off on our prize trip this week to Reims sponsored by Champagne de Castelneau combined with a couple of days in Duncan Bannatynes Charlton Spa Hotel when home and a cliff top B & B in North Devon - so next blog I write I'll have a load of things to tell you..........I'm very very glad we're having a week off, we are both exhausted and so far this year whilst we've had a few breaks apart we've only been away together for about 5 days..... So I'm very much looking forward to some time together and away from the pressures of business. Now that a lot of the holidaymakers have gone home we haven't really taken our foot of the gas as yet - yesterday I was at the Kingsbridge show advertising our newly re-furbished upstairs restaurant and it's suitability for functions/weddings etc.

How big??

Happy as pigs in ????
Ok - I'm ready!!
Really good fun and Glo, my bar manager and I made some good contacts I think! Certainly made us think about doing a wedding fair proper.....???  For a previous Big City girl (and I think still one to some extent) I have a real liking for the County Fairs. I've always been quite opinionated about fox hunting and hunting in general but when you start to talk to country people about the ban and the effect its had on local communities etc and I saw a hunt in action yesterday I'm tending to not be so small minded about it............ When I was a very small girl and my Daddy died, my Mum used to send me to Selsey in Sussex to be looked after in the summer holidays by my lovely Auntie Doris & Uncle Edgar. I can remember thinking it was all such a great adventure and you were so safe to walk through the village and to the sea in 'those days'........ and there was always a village fair, and I'm sure it's that memory that triggered so many of the feelings I had yesterday as I browsed round the stalls and 'best  of's' - cakes/flowers/marrows and onions etc etc.   I felt quite weepy at one stage - I think it was the realisation of passing time and old memories.

So there you are - another summer season over and done with - our 3rd! I must say I think it's been very hard work this year for lots of reasons, but as I sit here tonight with a distinct autumnal nip in the air around me I'm grateful that we've done as well as we have and that our customers still rate us and like us. All we must do now is keep in touch with our market conditions, keep on giving our customers what they want: Value, great service and a pub they want to spend time in!!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Not long now.............

Till it's all over that is! What?? Oh sorry, the 'Season'!!  What a weird one its been as well........ You can see that many of the visitors are watching their pennies - here at the Victoria we can gauge it by a few things:

NO amount of the bottles of Champagne being sold as there was in our first year
Nowhere near the amount of 'doubles' being asked for
Nowhere near the amounts of Cokes/J20's etc being sold for the children - but lots and lots of jugs of tap water................. 
Our St Austell ales are going well though as are the more reasonable wines etc, but very few customers are having 3 courses - lots of 2 courses or sharing desserts. I'm really glad that I won the battle with Chef to keep our food prices at a reasonable level - although having said that the Lobster and dressed Crab, both a good price have been selling really well! The next challenge will be to get the Autumn/Winter menu's right, both in content and price - so if you have Victoria Inn favourites you'd like to see on the menu PLEASE tell me!   

The Hobbitt House has been fully booked all of August and looks set to do the same for September, and yet no takers for our November special deal of £50 a nt for a minimum 2 night break. Having said all of that we are almost booked out for NEXT July already.............

On another note Archie and Rosie become firm favourites of our Hobbit guests and just recently 2 delightful ladies who stayed with us for a week took them out for very long walks on a couple of occasions - look at the pictures of 2 very happy dogs and enjoy the enjoyment on their faces after a fantastic afternoon on the beach............. !  

Monday, 15 August 2011

To speak or not to speak?

Well, I think I really have to after having witnessed some of the most awful things happening in my country over the last week or so.............

So many words have been spoken, so many pictures taken. So many depressing images of buildings burning, young and old being injured and murdered. I think I will never forget seeing the images of a young man, obviously injured and traumatised being mugged for what little he possessed in his back pack. So many young people (and now being seen through arrests the not so young!) displaying such violence and disregard for the property and lives of others.

Of course the Police were criticised - too slow to react, too few, not tough enough........... yet how many remember the awful death of PC Keith Blakelock on the 6th October 1985, when he was practically de-capitated and knifed to death as he entered a part of the riot with little or no back-up. A not too dissimilar story of violent riots on the Broadwater Farm estate in Tottenham following the death of a black woman who had a heart attack after Police raided her home. 

However, they were riots of a quintisenntially racial nature - these riots that started in London and spread out to other major cities like a virulent cancer growth were not. But then, what were they??  Were they dissaffected youth protesting at injustice? Were they poor people with no other means of showing anger at there impoverished lives? Were they true anarchists intent of destroying the very fabric of our lives?

Following the arrests and subsequent trials it would appear that very little of the above can be applied to these people as we see 'normal' people being charged and tried. Nursery nurses, teaching assistant and even a millionaires daughter amongst them...............

I have said loud & often, I am not from a rich or middle class background, I am working class and lived all my formative years on a Council Estate. We had very, very little and my Dad was a coal miner, then in the 2nd world war and lastly a postman. My Mum worked 'in service' (cleaner) and did any job possible to get food on the table.  But I never recall being angry about it (apart from the school trips that Mum just couldn't afford!).  I may well have had a cry and a sulk but I don't recall feeling the urge to go and smash windows and reek havoc.

So why is this happening as it is?  Is it to do with expectation? Have we all become so wrapped up in our lives and a culture of 'I want it and I want it now'..................??? Is it about a lack of regard for 'normal' behaviours and values? Is it because we are no longer a predominantly Christian society with the values that go with believing and trying to be a 'good' person???  Is it simply that the moral values I believe I grew up with are no longer given to our young people??

I wish someone could give me answers as I sit here puzzled and anxious for the future of my once wonderful country, my own future as I get older and my childrens children in this emerging lawless and violent society that seems to know no boundaries.......

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Grey clouds lifting.............

Yep, metaphorically the grey clouds that have loomed large over my head for the past 6 to 8 weeks or so have started to lift. The awful gut wrenching tiredness and apathy that I was experiencing have started to move away........... Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am a 90m.p.h person. I rarely sit still and when I do I am planning/working on paper or on the computer, nearly always something to do with the business etc. So in my 19 year old head I'm good to go for a 16 hour day with irregular meals and little sleep, but in my 50 something body I was on the road to being quite ill. So with a few words of advice from my Doc (and a few pills which I didn't take for very long!) 2 whole weeks away from the 'shop' (staying in our flat listening to relaxation tapes, sleeping and reading BOOKS) and 4 days staring at the sea and sun in Spain I am starting to feel a whole lot more human - trick for me now is to keep things that way........... So for all of you who have asked why no blog posting recently and who have said 'what- another holiday' that's the reason behind my 'holiday' last week. Having said all of that, I'm off to my friends canal boat next weekend for 2 nights -pure unadulterated pleasure, but more on that little jaunt when I post next time. 

So back to the Victoria and business. Well, what a strange old week we had last week............!! An incredibly great Sunday followed by 4 days that were so quiet I was re-checking my menu in case people had gone off us! But speaking to colleagues in town, nearly all (certainly in the hospitality sector) have reported a poor season so far. Then from Friday, the visitors started to arrive, but it has to be said that it is not so far the bumper 'staycation' expected or talked about. So we'll see what happens this week with the Regatta's kicking off. Having said all of that we are doing about 260 - 300 meals most days, but people are thinking very hard about where to spend their money. Our seafood BBQ kicks off this coming week - Thurs to Saturday - so I'm hopeful that this will be popular!

In an effort to keep prices affordable in our menu, this week we have put on some really reasonable specials and one of them has been putting Mussels on the menu. They have just flown right out - and it has to be said that they have been the tastiest I have ever had! Superb taste and really fat and juicy, simply cooked in white wine, with Garlic and Onions, served with a crusty baguette and only £9.95............. 

Our Head Chef James has been on holiday leaving my 2nd chef Tanya in charge and she and the kitchen team have done an absolutely amazing job. Tanya says she has never worked cooking with the sorts of numbers that we now do here - but she has done so well and SOH and I are very, very proud of her!!

Talking of staff, nearly all of our summer staff are in place and what a lovely bunch they are! Most of them I take on unseen as their family have holiday homes down here and therefore they just e mail me for a job. So always a bit risky, but once again this year, I've got great kids who pick up the work really easily, work hard and have fantastic positive attitudes!

The Hobbitt House is doing really well, fully booked for the whole of August and the delightful picture above is of Georgie - one of a charming family who stayed with us for a fortnight. As you can see, Archie welcomes and gets lots of cuddles from guests but Rosie is a little bit more discerning and not quite so easily won over.  Rosie remains her Mummy's dog and as I sit typing she is laying right by my side with one eye almost constantly on me! In fact I may take her on to the Canal Boat with me to test how she settles on it as we have been talking seriously about our future and where / how we may want to live. Quite a lot of options on the table, but a wide beam canal boat (no smutty comments please!) is top of our list right now............... SOH doesn't want to live anywhere too 'ordinary' and I don't want to sacrifice too much luxury. I tell you what though, there are some amazingly beautiful and palatial boats around AND at a very good price! So - we'll see what the next few months bring.

On that note - I'm off to follow my plan of making sure I don't see an early grave by having an afternoon rest, cup of fruit tea with honey and then a look through the Sunday papers................. Take care friends x

P.S Our newest addition to the Garden - Our Budgies - have 2 little eggs.............!!! We'll have little baby Budgies!!! Just not sure when........???

Sunday, 24 July 2011

November Newsflash

Ok - I know we're only in July but thinking ahead, we've decided to offer a great deal on the 'HOBBITT HOUSE' for the month of November:

Stay any TWO nights for only £50 per night!!!! Still includes a great start to the day with breakfast at Captain Morgans and it doesn't matter if it's single of double occupancy. It'll make a great break for the period leading up to Christmas - a chance to do a bit of Christmas shopping maybe??

Don't spend too long thinking about it - I think this will be a very popular offer. 

Friday, 15 July 2011

What a day!!!

HRH talking to me before starting his visit!
Wow - what a fantastic day Monday 11th was!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HRH Prince Charles and Camilla came to Salcombe. The excitement started on the Sunday evening when one of the Royal security squad asked if we would let the Royal party use our 'facilities'........ Would I???? You're joking! If I'd had my way SOH would have been gold leafing the loos over night!!!

So when will I know when HRH wants to use the loos then says I to the (very slightly gorgeous!) security man - 'oh about 30 seconds before the event' says he............. Ok then!! After about 3 hrs sleep (I was excited ok! I admit it!!) the day started with the most beautiful sunrise - yes I saw the sun rise, and the arrival of Radio Devon to use the Victoria as a base for their Royal transmissions. SOH was interviewed about his new role as a First Responder and I was interviewed about what the visit meant to me! I tried to hide my excitement but I don't think I did a very good job.............

Then walking down the street about 2hrs before came all the suited and booted security blokes..... It was like a scene from Reservoir Dogs!! Then the people who were going to be officially presented arrived in the square, with hundreds more starting to throng the streets. Dead on the dot (and I mean to the second!!) the royal party turned up on my doorstep at 10.30!! Prince Charles got our of the car (the photo at the top is taken by Janice King who runs one of Salcombes superb B & B's) and turned in my direction - imagine my heart at that precise moment!!! I said 'Good Morning Sir' he said 'Good Morning - business good for you I hope' I said' Very good thank you Sir', he said 'Jolly Good' turned and buggered off into the crowds.................... The disappointment was like finding out Father Christmas didn't exist!!! But I had just had a conversation with the future King of England so that made up for not  using our loo somewhat!!!!!

Anyway - they did their walkabout in the square (SOH was introduced and had a conversation - the contents of which he found hard to remember - Doh!!) and then they came back down and round the crowds......... and I got a 2nd bite of the cherry. A hand shake from Camilla and another short chat with Prince Charles as you can see by the photo's below - where I swear it looks like he's pointing his finger at me?? I have to say that both Prince Charles and Camilla came across as 2 very nice individuals and you couldn't help but catch a bit of the magic dust that was around that morning.  EVERYONE I spoke to who spoke to them or shook hands was made too feel very special and individual and for me personally it was a great moment and made the dark clouds that have hung over my head for the last few weeks temporarily disappear.

Right then - no more from me for a week or 2 as I'm off to Spain on Monday to get my head cleared and batteries re-charged in time for the Summer rush. 

The start of a fabulous day!

Mike from Radio Devon

What a magical moment!

Salcombe's First Responders - what a great bunch of people!