Saturday, 29 March 2014

Lazy Saturday

Don't make me laugh................ I've almost forgotten what it's like to have lazy days, but trust me we are certainly not complaining!!

Today is at last the day of Tims BIG celebratory birthday (it involves the no 6!!!) so the food orders stop at 2.30 and we close the doors at 4.  Friends and family are arriving from all over: Scotland, Wales, Hampshire, Cornwall etc, etc. 

Tim is immensely popular - not hard to understand really as he is one of life's gentlemen and the nicest, kindest and most lovely man I've ever known in all my life! I just hope that all my hard work at organising this and all the other Birthday surprises pay off! So off to London next week for 3 days and then back to London for the 9th and the judging for Licensee of the Year 2014- my nerves are going to be frazzled by then.

As a business we have had yet another amazing week having been awarded the Taste of the West Gold award.  This is hugely prestigious and awarded because of the local provenance, quality of food (cooking & presentation) customer service and ambience - amongst a load of other things! Last year we were awarded Bronze and I was really miffed (if you look back at old posts you'll see I phoned a friend and opened the wine - in the lunch hour at home!!)
BUT - as always, once I'd calmed down I took the critique on board and we worked hard to achieve what we received this week!

Right, I'm off and unlikely to blog again this week - so be kind to each other and see you soon,

Liz x

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Spring is sprung

Great Pic from Scot Baston
And it looks like I've sorted out not being able to put pictures on the blog - it was something to do with Google...............??? I've installed Chrome-something-or other and it seems I've turned into a computer genius!!! Oh I am pleased - blogs are so flipping boring without pictures!! 

So the picture opposite is from a couple of years ago and is from Scot Baston a local photographer who's not only a lovely man but is also very talented and this is from some great shots he did of the pub and garden. 

Talking of which - the garden at the pub looks NOTHING like this yet!!! The benches have been painted, as have the seats we bought from the old Tides Reach Hotel, as has the play area fencing - only the 'Boat-Henge' to do.  SOH has seeded the grass area again, but it gets so much foot fall I'm not sure that short of shutting the pub garden for 12 months that we're ever going to have much success in getting the grass to take any better than it does....????  Planting will start round about May time to ensure we have a nice riot of colour ready for our summer visitors. 

We had a really lovely surprise this week when we received a letter from the British Institute of Innkeepers telling us we are national finalists in the Licencee of the Year 2014 - we are one of only 6 in the whole of the UK!!! It's a massive honor for us, and also for our absolutely amazing team.  We go to London on the 9th April to be judged by three panels of industry experts and from that along with what the two judges have written about us (from their visit to us a couple of weeks ago) they will make a decision as the overall winner which will be announced on the 13th May at the huge annual lunch held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.  All I have to do is hold my nerves in check and remember not to talk to much (steady!!!). 

In the meantime, trade has rocketed following the re-furb and I desperately need another Chef de Partie, full time AND permanent to join our great kitchen team. You will also be seeing several new faces front of house as we grow our team their to help look after all our lovely guests and we have been so fortunate to have great people want to join us. Photo's definitely will follow!

Its a big birthday for SOH week after next and a huge party is planned for the weekend, followed by three days of surprises I've been planning for him for months - of which I'll tell you all about as and when they've happened! 

I'm off now - thoroughly delighted I've sorted out the photo issue on this blog (would have been a nightmare starting a new one on a different platform) and I look forward to being able to blog again more regularly..................... 

Much love 

Liz xxx

Saturday, 15 March 2014

I'm sorry...............

I'm sorry its been a while since I wrote a blog, but I'm having the biggest headache ever trying to get pictures onto this blog - not just professional big pictures, but any pictures at all and I have no idea why!!!! So frustrating, because I have loads I'd love to share with you.

So where on earth has the last 6/7 weeks gone since we opened?? Well, an absolute flurry of activity is the answer! Firstly the 'soft' opening at the end of January was swiftly followed by the 'official' opening in the 2nd week of February with about 100 to 150 people coming through the doors to have a look at this amazing pub, and quite frankly we have barely paused for breath since then.

Our customers seem to absolutely love the transformation and we have had few weekends when we haven't been absolutely packed out and weekdays we have seen a phenomenal rise in numbers of customers - so, if you're thinking if visiting and would like to eat with us, then you really, really must book in advance 01548842604. Mothers Day and Easter weekend we already have a number of bookings!

We have been swiftly recruiting front of house staff and my goodness we've managed to get some great people who have all the key skills we look for, and now we've just decided to recruit another Chef de Partie to come and work in our kitchen. We're also keen to take on another Chef Apprentice this September. Our existing 2 young men have been brilliant, and have good careers ahead of them.

I may not be able to put pictures on here at the moment, but we had some amazing pictures taken for Google - to provide a 'Virtual' tour of the Vic - so hopefully, if you click on the following link, you should be able to see us in all our glory! (Hopefully),-3.767422,3a,90y,173h,90t/data=!3m5!1e1!3m3!1s6YNTkYgifdQAAAQJPpizOw!2e0!3e2!6m1!1e1  I'd love to know what you think of the refurbishment..................???

We have met this week been judged for the national award of Licensee of the Year 2014 awarded by the BII. We have been shortlisted to the semi-finals but I would love for us to achieve finalist standards this time. The process is hugely rigorous and involved a 2 hour meeting in which they inspected the whole pub, then sat down with us and had a Q & A session where they looked at all our aspects of our business. We hope to hear as to how successful we've been in the next couple of weeks.

We have also been judged for this years Taste of the West award. I'm really hopeful we may get better than a Bronze award this year, but I always hope we'll achieve bigger and better every time we enter for anything! 

SOH is out in the garden as I type getting the garden up to scratch in readiness for the looming Easter holidays. Benches are being painted, the garden has been re-seeded and paint brushes are being used! The pub is also quite busy again - so on that happy note, I'll blog again when I can and by then I may have had the whole photo issue sorted out!

Liz x