Friday, 18 February 2011

Hoorah it's half term

Victoria Inn Frontage
Hoorah it's half term and we're all ready to welcome our guests and give them a great time!

The new spring menu is up and running and wow, it's been given the thumbs up by everyone who's eaten with us - absolutely everything is selling well. The closed sandwiches with new exciting fillings are proving hugely popular especially the Chorizo & Brie and the Crayfish Tails. The Steak & Onion Baguettes are to die for......... they are juicy and full of flavour - it's difficult keeping me away from them!

As for puds - well the Pan Seared Pineapple with Lime & Chilli Ice Cream is amazing.   As well as a great new menu we have an improved 'specials' board and high upon it are Scallops, Monkfish and a wonderful Rack of Lamb with fresh Asparagus at the moment......Crikey, I'm salivating!  

 Other new ideas to look out for at the 'Vic' are firstly, a basket of reading glasses - how often do you get to a pub or a restaurant and you've forgotten your specs (all the time in my case!) well, know we have a basket of reading specs on the bar for you to help you see the menus or papers.  Then if you want to sit out on the terraces right now, well it's still very cold - but we have some really colourful blankets for you to wrap yourself in and enjoy the fresh clean salcombe air. 
Next, my lovely SOH has been working hard , planting up the tubs, and great new boxes we had especially made for the garden - and very nice they're starting to look as well. We also have something really, really exciting going to take shape in our garden,  but until; it's done and looks as fabulous as we think it's going to look it's staying a secret - but I think all of the visitors to our garden will LOVE IT!!!!

 SOH has also been working on the wine lists to make sure that they are reflecting what's popular and what people are drinking - AND - we've also introduced a loyalty card!  You nominate just one item, and that could be a pint, a glass of wine or a Steak meal, but you pay for 9 and we give you the 10th one - COMPLETELY FREE!! Anyone who comes in the Victoria will offered a loyalty card as a way of us saying 'thank you' for their custom.  On the Ales front we have the utterly amazing Admirals Ale on the pumps as a spring 'special'.  I'm especially excited about Thursday 24th February at 8.00p.m - we have our first visit from the OLD GAFFERS!  Devonian Men of the Sea singing singing Sea Songs (try saying that when you've had a few!!)  

The Victoria 's own 'Likely Lads'!
Behind the scenes there's a lot going on as well and here are a couple of boys you'll be unlikely to see 'front of house' but this is Mattie and James - 2 of our kitchen hands who work their socks off ensuring the kitchen works to full capacity, they do most of the prep, cold section and the washing up and clearing down. 

Our lovely Jessie
This young lady Jessie - well you will see her... she's one of our front of house staff and is really great either behind the bar or serving in the restaurant! Always a cheery smile and although quite shy, we think she has great potential in the hospitality business - in fact we're going on a 1 day course together in March (now I can drive I think there'll be more courses to go to!). Jessie is also very talented at writing the blackboards - an art all in itself! Lastly, of course there is James our Executive Chef with his back to the camera - working hard as always making sure that we have enough dishes to satisfy our guests!  So it's off to the bar I go now - see what's going on, check up on the bookings for tonight and the weekend...... Hope we'll see some of you very soon!
Chef James doing what he does best!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

The Dash

Since I've been officially sworn in as Church Warden at Holy Trinity Church in Salcombe I have pottered about a bit in the Church, attended a couple of meetings, sat and had informal meetings with Father Daniel our Vicar but not much else yet really, except sadly having to 'look after' two very large funerals for local people. The Verger is the person who does the hard work of getting the Church tidy and ready - tidying and sorting etc - but I had to be around as the 'face' of the Church.  The two funerals I've attended in that capacity were for people who were much loved in Salcombe and who made great contributions to Salcombe as a small town. 

The funeral this week was for a lady called Jean Furness. I only met Jean a handful of times and found her in some respects to be a quite formidable lady - she had a great sense of humour and she was polite to me, but I always felt she was also a little guarded with me.  I suspect that this guardedness was about us being outsiders coming into her beloved Salcombe, but the one thing I think we both had in common was our love of her home town - Salcombe!  As well as a wife and mother she had been a councillor for many years, Vice Mayor and Mayor of the town and was instrumental in homes for local people as well as other important town decision making.  

But until the tributes were read out I was unaware quite what part she'd played in the traditions of Salcombe and it's young peoples welfare. She'd been part of the Regatta committee ( a massive part of Salcombe tradition) since she was a very young girl, and played a huge role in making sure the event happened year in and year out as well as numerous other activities including the local swimming baths and the local Brownies etc.

It got me thinking about what small communities will do as the stalwarts of our communities start to disappear through age and death.  Who will take up the mantle of ensuring that traditions carry on for generations to come. Does anyone care enough to step up to the plate and take on the responsibilities??  My own Church is a very good example of this (as I expect it is up and down the land) the average age of the congregation can't be much under 55 and for tasks around the Church I seem to be calling upon the same people time and time again - for that, I guess we need to look at how we get younger people to attend the Church - but is there that spiritual draw for people? I don't know the answer - do you...??

Anyway, back to the funeral - of course a very sad affair but with a Church absolutely full of people eager to show their love and pay their respects to Jean and to support her grieving family.  I was reasonably detached through out the proceedings until a poem was read out called 'The Dash' by Linda Ellis, which moved me to tears with it's beautiful, simplistic message. 

For me personally, this poem has been a sure sign from God that He is watching over me, as in the last couple of weeks when I've been mulling (short hand for worrying/anxious/stressed!) over various financial, business and personal matters it has put my life completely into perspective - and I'm really grateful that I was able to be at Jeans funeral to hear this poem.    So there is no more in this blog post except for this short poem that I want to share with you, and I hope it moves you to reflect on what your life is and what you can do with your 'Dash'! 
The Dash
Linda Ellis 
I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the beginning to the end.
He noted that first came the date of her birth and spoke of the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all was the Dash between those years.
For that Dash represents all the time that she spent alive on Earth,
And now only those who loved her know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own, the cars, the house, the cash,
What matter is how we live and love and how we spend our Dash.
So think about this long and hard; Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left that can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough to consider what’s true and real
And always try to understand the way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger and show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile,
Remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.
So when your eulogy is being read with your life’s actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your Dash?

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Good evening from the Victoria Inn

Good evening blog readers and what I thought was going to be a straight forward normal Sunday evening blog write is anything but as the B*****ds at Google have changed the way you add text and photo's and not told me!!! Hence this is my third attempt and as for photo's?? Well, that's going to be more luck than judgement and all because I have got a new camera and lots of pics to show you!! Growl.............   Why change things when they're working so well......... I just don't get it! And I don't like it either!

OK - moving swiftly on - otherwise you'll think I'm auditioning for Grumpy Old Women! No thank you, I am not quite one of those just yet but I'm sure getting close! 

Firstly, have you seen anything of two great TV programmes on recently - Mary Portas and Michel Roux? Both about customer service in their own way and both quite fabulous! 

Mary shows customer service at its worst and how she would put things right and Michel Roux has taken a bunch of kids who've barely been in any thing other than McDonalds and turned them into good waiting staff with some showing signs of a great career in hospitality.  But he's done it in such a lovely way - no hysterics, no Mr Ramsey swearing episodes and I think even I learnt a lot from the series - and even though I think we're great at customer service here at the Victoria I'm going to try to put some of his ideas in action.  I started today with talking to a customer about Champagnes and then taking a glass to the table (we sell it individually) and going back to check she was happy etc ( ala Michel Roux's sommelier) and really enjoying doing it all a bit more fully! I've even got staff enthused about a different kind of customer 'experience' so watch out for some changes!!

Also I have a new camera thanks to SOH, so I've been out and about happily snapping away....... whether I can get them loaded on here is a different matter tonight! So here goes..........Ah - now I have to load the photos on to the net to load them on to the blog! Ah well - I have  nothing else to be doing..... so then, here are some of my first offerings!    

The gentleman here is Mr Smith MBE - known to all as Smee! He had a very prestigious Lifeboat career here in Salcombe and is a thoroughly nice man - photo taken obviously in the Victoria Inn bar. Great character and it was him who supplied the tractor for our wedding.  The scenic one is of Salcombe 'bar' this week, the entrance to the Estuary - very wet, very windy, very wild and fantastic - Salcombe at it's best as far as I'm concerned. Lastly our little dogs: Rosie and Archie, both under 18 months and harder work than any child alone!! But we love them to death!  The photo at the top is of our great sign outside the pub.  

That's it for tonight - putting those 4 photo's on has taken me the best part of 30 minutes, loss of temper, a bar of chocolate and a glass of wine!!!! Hopefully next time will be easier.......................Night night all. X  

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Introducing Captain Morgans

Just a quick blog tonight to let you know I've started a second blog - I know I can hear you - where do I get the time!!! I have to make the time to advertise our business's and blogging is a great way to do it! Plus, I think the Pub Landladys blog is getting a bit crowded with all the things I have/want/need to write about.......... hence the new blog:

This new blog is all about our other business Captain Morgans - the breakfast cafe over the road from the Victoria.

I hope you like it and will follow it.................... I will write another exciting episode on the Pub Landlady's Life hopefully tomorrow! But for tonight, I need to go and sit down and let my dinner go down - I cooked for a change and it's nearly always calorie laden, tonight, was no real exception to that!!

Night all x