Monday, 28 July 2014

Lets re-visit this blog!?

So I was in the shower this morning thinking (where all my best thoughts are thunk) and I thought that I would re-visit this blog and just go back to details about what a Pub Landladies life actually entails. So what follows is a pretty fair description of my average day (SOH's day would take another blog all of its own!):- 

Wake up about 8a.m - cup of tea on the side bought up by SOH
Put on Iphone and check for recent Trip Advisor posts - feel a heavy heart of depression or a lightness of spirit dependant on results of TA
Write a face book post for the Vic and then also update Twitter
Check e mails for anything heart stoppingly urgent
Check voice mails to ensure no staff phoning in sick with bubonic plague! 

Get up, shower and do some housewifely chores
Sit in garden for 10 minutes enjoying my porridge and the peace and quiet of my new tranquil garden space

Today - go into work and water garden, flowers, bushes and say hello to chickens (important part of the day - the chickens!) 
Meet new potential Chef apprentice and spend a few moments making sure he's not quite as terrified as he looks
Speak to Chef and ensure all worked well on last shift I worked with him and that the kitchen is setting up ok for a potentially hugely busy day

Set off for Kingsbridge to get Chicken Pellets (feed for our pub chickens) berating children on bikes in the main street for causing me unnecessary stress by cycling too close to me as I attempt to negotiate round tourists intent on committing suicide by stepping in front of my car! 

Must stop in T***o to buy bag fulls of summer fruit to keep my sugar levels up and stop me mindlessly eating chips in the Vics kitchen (!).  But, every other person in the South Hams has the same idea so a quick trip turns into an hour long journey.

Back at the pub and speak to Rob our General Manager to ensure he has everything in hand - all ok?? Yes?? Phew.......... One member of staff down front of house, but we'll be able to cope I'm assured! 

Check in the office to see if SOH has anything HR wise I need to be doing, or PR enquiries to be answered / worked on. 

Work on bar for a while, but all well under control so home for lunch and then answer e mails and do any admin I can do from home (includes Blog writing - a surprisingly good form of advertising!!) 

Sorting out the website to make it current takes longer than I hoped thanks to a slow connection, but also put a new pub playlist together as team are sick of hearing Mr Buble and Rod Stewart!! 

After an afternoon rest (walking the dogs/ maybe a snooze / bit of gardening) its back to work for the evening shift - starting at anytime after 4.p.m. As we enter the summer season I'm working a lot on the pass (that's the bit of counter between the back of the kitchen where the works done and the front of the kitchen where the food is put to go out - the bit where you see Gordon Ramsey standing shouting orders) I'm (attempting) to orchestrate getting the food from the kitchen to the guests table in 30 minutes or less (more if we're placing an order every 1.72 seconds as we were the other night). So there have been I'm afraid a little bit of raised voice from me every now and then, and when I've said 'Now' the team know I've meant it!  

On top of that, I also get called to the bar to help out as they battle against a tide of empty glasses, customers vying to be served and tables needing to be cleared.  Our biggest issue in this warm weather is trying to keep wines cool and so every half hour or so the shout goes up for 'More Ice Please'.....................  

I also do the 'Hostess' bit checking on customer satisfaction, any complaints (we never said we're entirely perfect!) are dealt with quickly and to everyones satisfaction.  This involves running up and down many flights of stairs many, many times! Out to the garden back down to the bar and round and round it goes. We put a lot of miles in now in this pub of ours! 

Maybe about 9 in the evening we'll remember that we've barely eaten ourselves (even though we've fed the 5 thousand it sometimes seems) so we try to at least sit together for half an hour once in the day. 

About 10.30 I / we start to ferry staff around to pick up their cars from the corners of furthest Salcombe so they don't have long walks after their shifts. 

Somewhere in the day (every day) there'll be a drama - electrics tripping, washing machines leaking through the ceiling and a seagull in the upstairs part of the pub are just a few recently! There will always be a member of the team (or two) that need my time to discuss issues they have. In between things there are regular meetings with Chef to check all is ok. 

Because we have a couple of Managers and a key holder we can generally be back in our house by about 11.30 enjoying a cup of tea and mulling over the events of the day. Both of us find it quite hard to go straight to sleep so generally its gone 12.30 before we turn in. 

I do a last check of Trip Advisor, Twitter and Facebook and then finally turn off my phone.   
I've worked since I was 15 1/2 and I can truthfully say that I've NEVER worked so hard in all my life - but aside from the days when I just want to pack a case and dissapear I can truthfully say that I've never enjoyed a job as much as I enjoy this - but it's so much more than a job, it's a complete way of life. 

If you count on the fact that you will NEVER have the day you think you're going to have, if you remember that you must always expect the unexpected, be prepared to spend time away from each other (even though you're in the same building) and then when you do work together you're likely to want to commit manslaughter - you'll make a fair pub landlady!!!! 


Liz xxx

P.S I wouldn't change a thing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

P.P.S _ I'm just off to raid T***o for Ice as we're already out of what we had!!!!!!!!!!!!


Monday, 21 July 2014

So it continues

The warm sunny weather that is! How glorious is it to have all this sunshine, smiling bronzed people, happy laughing children and generally the sun making everyone a bit more light hearted! Personally, having had the gardens at our home re-worked its lovely having a pleasant space to have breakfast in the sun! A great start to what are long busy days. 

Our baskets are looking totally gorgeous this year again, they come from a local firm Potters Nurseries. They always do a great job and every year we reckon they're the best ever - but this year they definitely are! 

The pub is really busy as usual. It feels like we are finally getting to grips with having a three tier pub, and having our summer staff in full swing is really helping.  On that note we have a fantastic team this year who are so willing and best of all really able to cope with the demands of summer! Brilliant, just brilliant! 

Having a separate garden menu seems to be working for the customers and also our kitchen - the garden menu has a limited menu choice but the old favourites of Burger and Fish & Chips are on it as well as great salads which are just flying off the menu! Lobster Bisque is really popular as is the Seafood Plate (or Platter). 

We've also just purchased a new Wine fridge as the other one couldn't keep up with our demands for cold wine - naughty fridge!! This new one can hold about 80 bottles at any one time so we can be sure that we're offering our guests consistently chilled wines. 

We are also having a glass fridge installed - that means that gents can have Lager and Cider in perfectly chilled glasses. Not sure yet if we can put wine glasses in there - but once again, the Victoria Inn offers its customers something extra and special! 

Having a bigger pub has meant that we have discovered a host of challenges! For example: increased demand  for food has meant that appliances in the kitchen are being used more, for example the dishwasher is wprking harder as is the Rationale oven (the best thing we EVER purchased!) As a consequence we had to have the circuit board looked at and elctrical improvements made to it......................??? Its all a mystery to me, but it does mean that the kitchen electrics aren't tripping 10 times a day! 

We've lived with our new look pub for 6 months now and forget that many customers are starting to see it for the first time as they come down for their regular 2 weeks hols, and it's quite delightful to see their expressions as they view our glorious pub for the first time. 

One thing that continues to be a runaway success is our Al a Bark menu and I know we have a guest visiting very soon who has something very special for our pub - I can't wait to see what she's bringing with her and YOU will love them!!! Curious?? I hope so! 

Ok - well the pub is calling me. It's a Monday morning and probably just about anything could happen today - I've learnt to expect the unexpected in this business. Saturday my SOH walked in to find the washing machine door seal had ripped (thanks to a member of staff who left a knife in the washing!) and water had gushed through to the gents down below! In this game there's no such day as a quiet day at the office!!! 

Love to you all, 

Liz x x x