Friday, 22 May 2015

The waiting's almost over!

Liz meets Michael Ball
So before I tell you about our trip to London for the last round of judging, I simply must tell you about meeting Michael Ball before his Plymouth concert.

As I told you last time I had treated myself to a 'Meet & Greet' package. I thought I'd be one of dozens, but there were only 5 of us! An eclectic bunch and 1 very bizarre young lady who had not purchased the package but tried to push herself in!! I don't think so dearie!!!!

So the big moment came and all 5 of us were ushered into the auditorium of Plymouth Pavillions where we sat slightly hushed and occasional teenager giggles (disconcerting when the combined age was close to under 400!!)

I have to say that as he approached where we were sitting I had what can only be classed as one of those moments that feels totally surreal.  Here was the man who I had swooned over in Les Miserables, and who's Radio 2 show has me smitten.  Do you know what?? He was as lovely as you would expect him to be.............. full of twinkly eyes, crinkley smile and a filthy laugh.  One of the ladies meeting him had lost her Husband not too long ago and she was keen to tell him how important his music was and he was just charming.

My photo opportunity was amazing and I came over momentarily shy! (I said momentarily!!) within seconds I was inviting him to the Vic for supper (never one to miss a chance) and we talked like we'd known each other for years!! The lady sat next to me in the other photo was 84 (I think) a Plymothian and she was swaying and tapping along with the best of them.

But you know, it's a bit like the Michael Buble concert I went to - I do love these singers (and when Michael Ball sang Empty Chairs from Les Mis I was in bits) some of the fans are a bit full on...........some of them had been to 5 or 6 concerts - they must spend a fortune!!!

Anyway, that put me in good spirits for our London trip for the last round of judging for the BII Licensee of the Year.  A very pleasant night before the event at Quaglinos with very good friends took my mind off it a treat and the Amba Charing Cross Hotel was quite delightful so this time round I was far more relaxed about it all.

The other finalists were lovely and it's always interesting how quick you form a camaraderie with people and share your experiences of the process. Last years winner Lee Price had read my blog (he was a judge this time) and presented me with a giant safety pin at breakfast which had me in fits of giggles!! (go back and read it - you'll see why).  Anyway, no wardrobe malfunction and on the whole I thought it went reasonably well, but just like any interview you walk out thinking - should have said, should NOT have said etc etc etc!!!! We were first to be filmed (thankfully) as we both find that quite an ordeal.

Anyway - its done, the dye is cast, the decision made, we can do no more - we'll know whether we were good enough at the lunch bash in London on 2nd June. We've both bought new outfits, (any excuse - although I thought SOH would faint when he bought his!) and we will wait and see the outcome. We have a function at the Post Office tower the night before which should be fun, and we are taking 2 of our team with us.

The Vic has been humming.  Hugely busy still and a packed weekend looms ahead of us. We're running a special promotion on Champagne all weekend, and the new Prosecco menu is being VERY well received. 

We welcome Kaytie to the kitchen team as our new Chef de Partie - here are some of the team on the pontoon opposite the pub.  The sods know I hate going on it but they thought it was a 'good photo opportunity'!!! They'll pay for that.

I have also had another Chef accept a job with us today, so we are absolutely on a roll and I have some big plans for our business after the summer holidays, but you really are going to have to wait and see for more news on that front!! Front of house we welcomed another full timer to our team - Jess. Lovely lady with bags of experience, and also a new 'runner' Emily.

On that note, I'll say ta-ta for now - be sure to keep an eye on our facebook or twitter account for news of how we get on in London!!

Much love to you all,

Liz x