Sunday, 29 January 2012

Its Sunday already

And at long last the proper work on our new home has begun! The painting...............!! Which indicates we're on the homeward stretch!!! The structural/building bits have been mostly done, but we remain in the hands of the planners for 2 small pieces of work but an answer is promised on that this week (maybe?) and as an ex local government officer it's been an interesting (read into that word anything you like!) experience being on the other end of the process....... In more ways than one - but I know better than to piss off your planner by being arsey!! So Mrs Nice/Respectful/Polite customer is working hard to remain just that ....... But it's certainly difficult at times when all you want to do seems perfectly straightforward and easy. But as I was always told many years ago, ours is not to reason why. Still, that aside our home is starting to look like a home instead of a builders yard, and we are both getting very excited (well maybe not quite SOH at the moment as he IS the painter!) about this brand new chapter of our life.  

My health is slowly but surely returning to a bit more like normality although my first walk today that was longer than up to the lifeboat, left me feeling as weak as a kitten and needing to sit down for a while upon my return to the pub.......but I know that its baby steps for a little while. I have a whole load of hospital appointments to keep, but the care I have received this time has been amazing and I can't fault it at all.

SOH & I went away for the weekend last week to a place near Preston (yes - ooopp North) as it was my sister in laws Birthday celebration and I would have felt so mean to have not gone, as it's not often the whole family get together. The last time was our wedding nearly 2 years ago.  I also knew that she had a singer and that he was in her words 'to die for'............. Now I have had one or two near death experiences in the last couple of years so I guessed I didn't want one of those, but my goodness she was right about him being a fantastic singer!! His name is Stephen Bayliss and he has a voice you want to listen to for ever, a fantastic personality, gorgeous body and an all round nice guy!! Oh dear, re-reading that sounds like I took a bit of a fancy to him..??? Actually, I did - along with every single woman in the room. This is his website - judge for yourself:  why there aren't more people like him on programmes like XFactor I don't know - well, I do actually. He is clearly just too good and doesn't maybe have the sob story to go with his voice! He had everyone in the party (over 270 people) having a fantastic time and he worked his socks off.......... Oh I do wish he lived closer I'd have him at the Victoria Inn any time. O;) 

Today, we just met with the people in charge of the allottments here in Salcombe and we have been offered a quarter plot which SOH has accepted, so we are going to be even more a part of our great new community. Who knows, if we're any good at it we'll have home grown vegetables (well some !) on our menu to go with our home laid eggs from our Chickens??? Did I say 'we'...... oh yes so I did! lol.

Thursday saw our annual pilgimage to the St Austell Tribute awards evening in Newquay - Oh I just adore Fistral Beach! - alas this year we didn't win anything (although I wasn't overly surprised that we didn't) but we had a really good night. As usual St Austell made everyone feel very welcome and it was lovely to see a lady called Vicki Crossimgham get a lifetime achievement award. I think she's been connected to the pub business in one way or another for most of her life and with St Austell for many years in training, HR and a whole lot more besides as well as sitting on the BII main committee's. I do think St Austell as a company have got it just right in the way that they run things - I am constantly amazed at how all the senior management team know EVERYONE'S name for a start, and there is a general mutual respect. Yep, I'm really glad we work with this brewery.

Work continues on the sewers/gas/water pipes in the Fore Street here in Salcombe and of course in Kingsbridge too, but I think some of the business's here in Salcombe are feeling the effects much worse than others, as to all intents and purposes if you look up the street from our pub it just looks completely closed. So here's hoping it's not going to last for too much longer. Its making the car park even harder to get in and out of as well, particularly when people don't obey the traffic signals............ as I found to my cost last week when I drove for the first time in ages and had to do a fair bit of reversing as a car had come down the road despite a red!!

As far as the Victoria is concerned we have been hit a little by the roadworks - but the sun bought lots of people to Salcombe yesterday and today so that has helped a lot! Lots of guests have been saying they are back for half term as well, so hopefully that will be the start of a better trade.  I don't really have a whole lot more to write about now, so I'd best be off and do the dreaded Sunday paperwork..............

Thursday, 19 January 2012

One of my favourite people!

So along with my favourite places in Salcombe there are some very special people here in Salcombe that I/we've become good friends with and like very much. Some of these people went out of their way right at the beginning to come and say hello, introduce themselves and generally make us feel at home right from day 1! 
One of these people is 'Tricky Clayton' - to many people who know Salcombe you'll know him and his gorgeous blackspaniel Frodo as the'Ferryman' and it was Tricky  who took me out to show me Salcombe from the sea in the early days of being here. In fact if you look at the photo's on the side bar of this blog you'll see one of the first pictures is of Frodo.
Tricky is one of those nice quiet, totally unassuming men and is so well liked by everyone! But what I hadn't realised until last week is that he is also a fantastic photographer!! The two pictures of the seals are two that he took and are of our resident seal in the estuary (which I am yet still to see!!), don't you think they are just amazing pictures!!!!
I have also seen some land/seascape pictures that he  has taken and they are truly awesome!! So not only is he a lovely bloke he also has the most incredible talent..................

Now then, did I manage to escape with my chest infection? In short - no!!! A day in and out of hospital and at the moment recovering feeling like I've done a few rounds with a big hefty boxer.

Trade is remarkably good considering the state of Salcombe at the moment with road works, sewers, gas pipes etc etc............ I've instigated a 'Fabulous Friday' where we take 4 items and put them at half price for the lunchtime trade on Friday lunchtime - and that went really well last week so we'll see how that goes this week.

That's all I can do for now folks, but I'll blog again in the next couple of weeks - in the meantime enjoy looking at the incredible photo's ................

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Thats it then!

All over, done and dusted for yet another year............. Hope you all had a great night celebrating the New Years arrival? We had a great time here at the Victoria Inn, fantastically full - I think we fed in excess of 50 and with the Old Gaffers and Alan Dark, Magician for entertainment. Eventually got to bed and asleep about 2.30 so not too bad really, but could have done with a longer lay in on New Years days:(   After a relatively poor run up to Christmas trade wise we were certainly surprised and delighted to see so many people descend on Salcombe from Boxing Day onwards - so many lovely old friends and new faces who became friends. The usual dramas on the day before NY eve of the blooming drains becoming blocked! What would my life be like without the drains in Salcombe to give me sleepless nights! Salcombe just can't cope with these old drains and sudden influxes of people and also all the rainwater........... but thanks to a lovely on call 'jetter' he found and sorted the problem really quickly. Then bless me if the lights didn't fuse on NY day for the ladies loo's - but again, thanks to the lovely Steve Doyle electrician the problem was soon sorted!

Lee and David
So then, 2012 and it's onwards and upwards and I'd like to introduce you to 2 of our newer full time permanent staff -  Lee Flynn and David Gravett (purple shirt). David has worked on and off with us for some time now, but November last year he joined us as a permanent full time front of house member of staff. He's already done some formal training with the St Austell brewery and because of exams he's passed he's now entitled to apply for his own personal license. A lovely young man with a great skill for serving customers and adapting his style to the very different types of customers we have, he's going to be a huge asset to the team. He also has a wickedly dry sense of humour and is well liked by all the team.

Lee Flynn is our new Assistant Manager and he will also be our live - in manager when we (eventually) move into our new little house. Lee has a well travelled background and is fluent in Spanish - which may come in handy as more and more overseas visitors seem to be coming to Salcombe. He has a great background in the hospitality trade and even better he is a local lad. Another one with a lively but dry sense of humour and he's proving to be great with customers, Lee has settled in fast and is already popular and a great part of our team.  We're delighted to have 2 such lovely young men working with us and we are both sure that the contributions they are making to our business will continue to enhance what we're trying to achieve.
We also had a couple of our summer staff come back at Christmas to work young Alex and Sam, and hopefully they will return at Easter and Summer as well.  Already we have one eye towards what we are sure will be a busy summer - Olympics and Royal celebrations - and how we can maximise our offering to the customer and go on to bigger and better things.

Personally I start this new year with a chest infection, but hopefully I've caught it in the early stages and it will pass as soon as possible - but for the time being I'm taking a few days off to get over it.

Road works have started in Salcombe with parts of the main street being closed off for up to 8 weeks - so we expect bedlam!!! I'm off to put my feet up now................see you all again soon.