Saturday, 31 December 2016

Happy New Year All

So as I sit here Saturday afternoon 321st January 2017 thinking about getting ready for  one of the most special evenings in our calendar - I want this blog to be all about the team! The guys in the photo and some that sadly weren't there for the photo shoot! 

SOH and I are firmly of the opinion that this incredible bunch of people make up the most amazing team we've been fortunate to work with. Actually when this bunch are in full swing - then the 'magic' really does happen, because they all really do love what they do at the Vic!

Each and everyone of them; from the 15 year olds who do the 'running' and clearing and tidying to the Managers who keep a watchful eye on things, to the Chefs who cook and clean and feed so many thousands and thousands of you every year -  they all work so very, very hard and Tim & I consider ourselves to be incredibly fortunate to have them working with us! 

Every single one of them brings something special to the business and collectively they work together as a really great team.  They all socialise with each other as well - so that says a lot about how they get on.  If someones ill, it doesn't take them long to volunteer to cover a shift - usually without asking and often expecting nothing in return. 

This year we've worked extra hard on education and training and it was a joy to see Jessie and Philly (21 tomorrow) achieve NVQ's in Hospitality.  They are now supervisors and undertaking the next level of NVQ.  Next year we hope to have to young ladies join us as Hospitality Apprentices. Front of House next year will be looking to raise their game even further with more training and a bit of fun along the way. 

In our kitchen - the machine room - Tom Huggett joined us as our new Head Chef, Sous Chef Sarah also joined us as well as Chef de Partie Aaron and in January we have a trained Pastry Chef joining us. That brings our team in the kitchen up to 9 and 2 part timers.  We're investing a lot of money into the kitchen, buying a water bath and some other better equipment.  It will all help give you the customer a better experience when you visit, as well as make our Chefs lives a bit easier.  I am excited about the food coming out of our kitchen and even more excited about developments in our kitchen for 2017. 

Now I've had a break from entering awards for a year, I shall be back on the paper trail in 2017.  I feel this will be our year to shine again! 

So from Tim, myself and all our amazing team - we wish you all a very Peaceful, Happy, Prosperous and loving 2017. 

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Happy Christmas my lovelies!

Ok - this is actually my third attempt tonight at writing this as for some reason the Gods that are gremlins in wi-fi are insistent that I should just watch Masterchef the Professionals! But no I have shut down and re-booted several times to enable me to deliver my wonderful Christmas words of joy, peace and light to you............. yea right!! 

Now I refuse to bow to cynicism and commercialism I WILL believe in the joy of Christmas......... I will not be bought down by the fact that I could not find my Grandsons preferred toy. I refuse to be hacked off that I had to join a waiting list for said toy!!! 

I cannot allow my hatred of big stores expecting me to shove a quid in to use their trollies - particularly when it's hissing down with rain - and their trollies are not under cover! M & S Dartmouth!! Yes - YOU!!! 

Dartmouth of all places......... what in Gods name do they think will happen to them in Dartmouth?? Will all the genteel folk start having wheelie races in them up and down the prom!?! Will they be pinched and exported as a national treasure??

I will not let the red mist descend because there just might be a shortage of Sprouts this year. WHAT!?? No sprouts they say......... the masses will riot! No - they just won't fart as much when they're sleeping off the effects of a meal that most third world countries can only imagine. 

I will not be forced into buying 3 extra boxes of chocolates and 6 packets of mince pies just in case we have starving people ringing our doorbell on the off chance of an After Eight or 3! I will not buy nuts that will languish in the dish until they've gone soft and require the dustbin as a kind ending.......... I will not buy a mound of cheese that requires me to eat every bit as I cannot bare to waste it!! Oh no I won't! Will I?????

Oh dear.......... I do sound a bit cross don't I?? I'm not, but when you're in a business that's been thinking about and talking about Christmas for a very long time it's hard not to be world weary about it.  I adore Michael Buble but when you've heard 'It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas' for the one millionth time it's hard not to want to commit hari kari!!! 

Anyway my lovelies - how are YOU all doing?? I know a lot of you are planning on coming down as soon as reasonably possible after the Christmas Day deed is done and we will be ready to welcome you with open arms. Salcombe has been fairly quiet the last week or 2 but we have still been remarkably buoyant trade wise, still achieving good numbers (particularly at the weekends) and this year we have a record amount of bookings for NY day and the couple of days following it! So PLEASE ring us and book won't you, can't be doing with tantrums because you can't get a seat! We are shut Christmas Day but open the rest of the time. 

 Right, moving on, the second photo in this blog is a painting SOH and I had commissioned by Caroline Appleyard - an incredibly gifted artist! I had a great photo lined up of her and I in the pub Sunday night, but no ....... my Mac has other ideas! It's getting above it's station if you ask me!!!

Now where was I?? Oh yes, Caroline and the picture.  I just love it and she has very kindly given me 2 prints as well.  One has gone to our friend Mark who does all the story writing and reading in the school holidays (also available for festivals, weddings and bar mitzvahs) and the other one we are raffling over the festive period to try to raise funds for the Salcombe First Responder Charity.  This service (of which of course SOH Tim is one) is run entirely by donations, so I'm hoping we'll make a good few bob from doing this. You can donate by post!  £5 a ticket! Please make cheques payable to Salcombe First Responders sent to the Vic. Cough Cough Jim /Adam et al...........

On the subject of being here with the family can I just put a plug here for a great local business that will actually come and babysit your children.  Not just at home but at functions - you know the ones where they're great for a while but then they'd rather do anything than sit quiet and enjoy an hours worth of speeches (who can blame them!)  Her name is Caroline Utin and her business is S.E.B.S - Salcombe Elite Babysitting Services.  She and her team are all CRB blahdy blahdy blah checked etc and she's a lovely lady who actually likes babies and children......... not saying I don't (you know I do really!) but I wouldn't get paid to glare at them although parents have suggested I could earn a crust! Here's the link to her website

Well then, the fire is lit and roaring away a treat (the cost of those logs 😄😄!!) mulled wine is on the go on the Bar at the Vic, the Champagne is chilling and the team are ready to welcome you back and ensure you really, truly do have a super Christmas and New Year with us. 

Tim, myself and all our amazing team would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for continuing to support us, whether just once a year or every week. 

We all hope you have a fab Christmas and that 2017 brings you joy, peace, great health and true happiness. 

Merry Christmas everyone and much love from both of us too,  

Liz (she writes this drivel on an occasional basis ) and Tim (He's the clever one!) X X X 

Wednesday, 23 November 2016


My Princess Di pose on my Birthday at the Taj Mahal
Namaste to you all................. we're back and pleased to say we survived the delights of India! 

Wow what an adventure it was as well. Delhi had the worst smog it has had in 20 years, some of the currency got withdrawn overnight and Trump won the USA elections!! 

There are no words
It really can't be called a holiday - no holiday has you setting your alarm clock at 5a.m and not once but several times. No holiday has you regularly travelling for 12 hours to get from one place to another! But I wouldn't have missed one single minute of our journey for anything. 

We saw great extremes - poverty and opulence on one hand and dirt yet beauty on the other. 

Sleeping Tiger! 
We saw not one but 2 Tigers, the clouds cleared for us to see the beautiful Himalayas range, I had 3 birthday cakes - 4 if you include the fantastic one our team did for me, we also saw;  queues of people at banks and ATM's when the currency was removed overnight, a dead body being taken for cremation (along the street on a stretcher type thing with the face open to the world!!), more than 5 people on scooters, a container truck held together with inner tubes, Cows and Goats walking across highways, dogs dying, children amused (and curious) at seeing white faces, Gandhi's resting place, huge birds of prey, crocodiles and much, much more. 

We also encountered great kindnesses with massive smiles from everyone - that is when weren't being stared at as many people have never seen white europeans.  We got asked loads of times for photos with them to show their friends and relatives back home.......... I felt like the Queen or a pop star! 

The Himalayas
If you fancy this sort of trip then I highly recommend
 and try to make sure that Tony Russo is the guide - he kept us safe and well ensuring that we knew what to buy where, use the hand sanitiser at all times and had a fiery Italian personality that seemed to work well with laid back Indians. The whole trip was really well organised and we covered a lot of ground and saw a lot of India in a short time - the hotels were also exceptionally good! Many people were on their 3rd or 4th trip so they must be doing something right! 

Along sideTony we had fantastic local guides Parol and Sanjay - amazing people who made the trip completely come alive. Particularly Sanjay who when the altitude affected my asthma ensured I missed nothing - particularly the Himalayas. 

We ate great food - not just curries but a wide assortment of cuisines from across the globe and there were no places where cooking something different from was a chore. 

We had a group of great people, Annie, Dawn, Phil, Debs, Mary and the 'Baron' amongst many will live on in my memory for a long time!!! For all the right reasons too..........

BUT, it has taken the best part of a 4 days to recover from all the travel - so if you decide to do this amazing journey get into training for it at an early stage!!

Back then to the UK in the throws of some dreadful rain and storms and a team who thought it fun to give me a Skydiving birthday present - thankfully it was a send up and instead I have a gift of Dinner at Gordon Ramseys 3 star Michelin restaurant in Chelsea, London.

So, it's now heads down and on to Christmas with decorations soon to be let out of their boxes, trees to be erected, the inevitable Christmas shopping (next week - Exeter) and the joy (!) of Christmas card writing!! 

The Vic is actually quite busy for this time of year and the team did an amazing job of looking after her in our absence - Thank you all, you can do it all again in January!! 

Till the next instalment,  

Much love, 

Liz xxx

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Last Blog for a little while!

Fear not, I'm not giving up on you darlings but I have a celebratory milestone birthday coming up and after much deliberation (party, slap up meal, hibernation, face lift!) we have decided to take ourselves off to India and see sights and hear sounds I've only every dreamt of!

Very excited I am too............the jabs have been had (flip me no one said the Typhoid jab would be SOOOO painful!)

Boots the Chemist have been emptied of hand wipes, bum wipes, immodium, rehydrate, paracetamol, savlon, packets of tissues, rennies, anti bite etc etc!! Every time I go over to Boots in Fore Street Salcombe I'm sure they think I've turned into some sort of paranoid neurotic with a very bad stomach!

The camera is fired up with a spare battery, visas have been sought and granted, the spare room slightly resembles a small section of a department store! Paperwork has been checked, re-checked and checked just once more for good luck!

In the meantime the team at the Vic will be ever so slightly (!) received when we finally go as there is a limit to how many times they will patiently listen to me checking with them the 'things to do', 'where to find.........', who to 'phone if..........', 'what to do if...............'!!

SOH has even been seen to be writing his own 'things to do' list - but thats a list no where near as big as my what to pack list! It seems like it's going to be between 32 in Delhi to 19 in the hills of Shimla - so a mix of clothes and shoes and oh my, what shall I be able to leave out so that I'm not over the weight limit??

I'll be back in a few weeks (Older!) with a whole load of photo's, memories and stories, in the meantime our lovely girls and boys at the Vic will be there to look after you and probably give you an update if t'internet is readily available over there.......................

Lots of love

Liz xxx 

Sunday, 16 October 2016

All things team...........

Head Chef Tom
 My life is all things Chef / Kitchen at the moment!! Firstly, please say a huge hello to my new Head Chef Tom Huggett. Tom joins us as a relatively young Head Chef but my goodness what he may not have in years he has in passion for the food he cooks. He is immensely talented and has a great palate, a real understanding of how flavours works together and we are SO excited to have him as our new Head Chef.  

A good background in pubs and hotels, and as you can see he's rather handsome, he has a great sense of humour and he's made himself very much at home in his new role quite quickly. A nice quiet approach to getting things done - I can't be doing with shouty Chefs! We prefer to have Raymond Blancs in our kitchen to Gordon Ramseys............but he's no pushover. 

You may remember me introducing him as a senior Sous back in the summer, and from his very first day we knew we had been lucky enough to have someone very special and talented join our team - who could have thought that he'd actually be leading it so soon! 

We were left in a bit of a pickle for the NYE menu as of course a change of Head Chef meant we had to have a change of menu, but oh my, I am so excited at what he has produced. I think due to a cancellation we have 1 table of 4 now available - so if you're interested I would call us NOW! Because otherwise we are fully booked!!!!

Aaron stirring his Custard
So we look forward to a long and happy relationship with Tom as he takes us on the next step of our journey at the Vic. 

The next Chef I want to talk about is Aaron. 

Aaron joined us about 4 years ago as a general assistant / KP in our kitchen. 

Another quiet soul, he was incredibly shy but very hard working. He showed a desire to want to get on in catering and took our opportunity of a Chef Apprenticeship. 

Part way through his apprenticeship we thought we might part company as he wasn't really displaying the qualities we expected him to show. But a little gentle coaching from his tutors at South Devon College and a lot of support from us got him through whatever it was that was holding him back and he went on to win the Chef Apprentice Cup for most Improved Student. 
Aaron's Fish dish - 

He has continued to work incredibly hard and at 20 is now a FT Junior Sous Chef within our team - he has a lot of responsibility and is an integral part of our kitchen team. Not quite so shy now and with a wicked sense of humour, he's a very much loved member of our team. I'm so proud of him - he never complains (well not in my hearing anyway) he's always a cheery smile, and his cooking has developed amazingly as you can see from this photo of his Mackerel dish -  Grilled Mackerel fillets served with butternut squash stuffed with herbs and panic breadcrumbs, orange infused carrots, a chilli salsa and a sweet mango and coriander puree! 

I'd really like to find another Chef Apprentice to train and bring on just as we have young Aaron.  We pay well over and above the recommended apprentice amounts and it gives a young person a real opportunity of a career.   So if you're a local parent or even a young person reading this - why not contact me. 

Lovely Philly and Jessie
Talking of young people we have had 2 of our team achieve their NVQ in Hospitality this Autumn - Jessie and Philly who are now recognised as 2 fully trained senior team members.  They will be responsible for mentoring and helping to train any new team members.  Both girls have great customer service skills and we are immensely proud of both of them. 

Next one training for Hospitality level 4 (phew) is Asst Manager Jess - so watch this space for her achievements over the next few months. 

We are having some new professional photographs taken in half term so be sure to look on here to see what we are all looking like. The team are starting to go into their winter uniforms of black for the girls (their choice- they like it!!) and smart shirts with smart jeans for the boys. 

The chimney has been swept and the fire is why don't you come and pay us a visit?? 

Till later my lovely readers, 

Liz x

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Goodbye to Summer and our Head Chef

Head Chef James is next to Chef Tanya

It certainly seems to be goodbye to summer tonight as I sit typing this blog and it's pouring with rain outside!! There's also a distinct Autumnal nip in the air - which is fine with me because it's my absolute favourite time of the year.  Soon be time to light a fire at the Vic then........

But it's also goodbye to our Head Chef James who has been us from the first day we walked through the doors of the Vic.  

James had actually been at the Vic long before us (well I think at least 3 years before us) and he has been the steady hand on the tiller as we've grown from a really quite small business to one today that is thriving and still growing. 

From a kitchen that had 3 people and SOH cooking on a Sunday to one that now has 8 full timers and a couple of part timers, all year round! From a kitchen that sent out a couple of hundred meals a day in the summer to one that is open all day from 12 - 9 and sends out well in excess of triple that amount in the summer.  

Whatever has happened James has been there consistently, even working with a broken foot! Him and I have been a lot like a married couple sometimes - we've squabbled, really rowed and yet we've laughed a lot together! Never mention the word Sherry Trifle to him...........or me for that matter!  

We've been out socially and the image of James very drunk hiding behind a curtain in a posh London Hotel then coming out from behind it and giggling like a child will stay with me forever  - as will his slightly ashen face on the train home the next day!!

So it's been a challenging few weeks since that day nearly a month ago when he asked for 'a quick word'! £1500 of advertising attracted very little in the way of people I would even want to walk over my threshold let alone lead my important team in the kitchen. I'm NEVER using formal advertising again, it has to be social media and free online advertising all the way for me.  Not that we need to advertise often - thankfully!!

However, to James we say THANK YOU! 

Thank you for all the hours you worked so hard, the blood sweat and tears, the amazing wedding reception you did for us and the Wedding Cake that was SO beautiful! Thank you for always looking out for the younger team members who needed a bit of loving support, thank you for all the times I phoned from home asking 'How do I............'???? Thank you for always making sure food went out quickly regardless of the numbers of times we all thought we were going drown in tickets! 

Thank you to your wife who must have hated the Vic at times (it's not easy being a Chef's partner and to your kids who sometimes missed you at events because work came first! 

We all wish you well as you go onto your next job James and Tim, I and all the team will miss you. 

But fear not dear readers and visitors to our pub, next blog I will tell you all about our new Head Chef.......... Tom! Fabulously talented (rather gorgeous too - always a bonus!)full of passion for food and bouncing with inspiration and incredibly excited about the challenge of being our new Head Chef - I know our beloved Vic is in great hands and I'm sooooooooo excited about the next stage of our pubs future. 

Till next time my lovelies

Liz x

Saturday, 3 September 2016

September blows in!!

So here I sit, 3rd September in the afternoon with a blank page (on my new Apple Mac!!), light on, pouring with rain outside, heating on and wondering if this is it for the summer??  I do hope not because we've had such a gorgeous one haven't we.......... But the huge Range Rovers have been leaving in droves this morning, boats are being towed up the hill and out of town and schools back next week! 

After a slow start the summer warmed up nicely, both in terms of heat and in terms of numbers - culminating nicely in a massive Bank Holiday that broke all records on the Sunday. We also retained our No 1 status on Trip Advisor for the first year ever, that was an amazing achievement and I was personally delighted as it's a great reflection on all our team. Our garden has looked absolutely beautiful this year and all Tims hard work and that of Bayleaf Gardening is really paying off. The food coming out from our kitchen - regardless of the numbers has been off a really high standard and we've had many, many hundreds of happy guests. 

Beer, wine and spirit sales have been high so St Austell Brewery should be pleased with us! :) 

Talking about our team they have been amazing again this year - we are so very lucky that every year we get such fantastic people to come and work with us. Here is Rob our GM with Jessie and Karen 2 of our full timers and below is the team who helped us get straight after the floods - more of that in a minute! 

Speaking to Freddie (summer team member) last night I asked him if he'd enjoyed it - he replied that it was a lot harder than he could have ever thought, but yes, he had lots of happy memories....... bless him.  Also his girlfriend Hannah who between them provided the backbone of the summer team.  Hannah ended up washing dishes last night - a mark of the teams willingness to do almost anything. 

The picture below this is the team that helped us clean up after not 1, not 2, but 3 floods because of the sewers in Fore Street being backed up and overflowing into the road - so our waste water had no where to go............ 2 summer team in that pic as well - Georgia and Ellen (although Ellen of course works for us all year round). 

Flood 1 at 6pm on Saturday with a bar full of people was challenging but huge thanks to the Hodder Family who were dining with us in the bar who helped us move tables and chairs - that flood was just about recoverable from! Thank God too as we had about 200 diners expected that particular night. 

The 2nd flood at 7.30 was a mere dribble compared to the flood that hit us Wednesday evening and meant we had to close the pub down very quickly............ Our team were beyond amazing as we suddenly found ourselves in about 3 inches of water coming from under the stairs into the bar and spreading to the hallway.  My heart sank as I looked at it, we looked at the booking sheet and realised this time we were defeated! 

But that night we cleaned as best we could with the kitchen team doing their bit to help as well and every one was in the next morning bright and early to steam clean the floors and get us cleaned up and ready to trade again!  

What reduced me to tears that night though? 

The flood - No not really! Anger because SW Water had not sorted our issue out the first time as they should have - Not quite! 

It was the loveliness of guests we had to turn away, the wonderful people who offered their services to come in and help us and the spirit of each and every one of my team who just waded in (literally) and set to cleaning up.  No asking or telling - they just did it! It was the lovely guest who bought us in a box of chocolates the next morning as they had seen me sat desolately with head in hands at a table late that evening waiting with SOH for SW Water yet again. It was the offers of help via Facebook - it was all the kindness's that made me cry and also made me realise we are surrounded by lovely, kind people; Guests and Team. Thank you all of you! 

What else was a bit of a blood pressure raiser this summer? The knives and forks being thrown at our little silky chickens, the deliberate smashing of a window by same said children of the Budgie house. But what made up for that:- The other lovely things that's what!!  The lovely, lovely children who say please and thank you with no prompting (who often get a bar of chocolate from me because of it!) The repeat customers who look forward to coming to see us for their fortnight of summer sun.  The welcoming of old friends as they walk through the doors! 

Also this year our fair share of 'celebs' in our pub and in town.  Amongst others in our pub we had Helen (Call the Midwife & Strictly star) George, Ian Wright, David Dimbleby and a brilliant author called Fionnuala Kearney - look her up and then read her books - she's fantastic! She also gave me a couple of signed books that I had won in a FaceBook competition.  

All of them, really lovely people, unassuming and generous with smiles, but my favourite it has to be said was David Dimbleby - he was an absolute charmer - as were his family members. What a legend he is and my overriding memory is of discussing Brexit with him - who'd have thought it!! 

It's funny, people ask me why I don't get 'selfies' or pictures with the celebs when they're in - I'll tell you why - It's because we want them to relax and enjoy their visit just like you and I do when we go anywhere

In town we also had Simon Cowell - I saw his limo, but we're so used to seeing big posh cars I didn't blink twice! I might have broken my selfie rules for him!! 

So all in all it's been a challenging summer at times with other times being amazingly fabulous. I hope you all had a great summer and lets hope for September giving us a lovely Indian Summer to make the winter shorter. 

Till next time my lovelies 

Liz x

P.S - We are already booking up fast for NYE so if you're still at the stage of thinking of it I'd give us a ring! 

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Schools out!

Hoorah!  Schools have broken up the sun is shining, the birds are singing and all is well in Salcombe's world................. ok, so its damp and a bit chilly but it HAS been glorious!!! And it blooming well WILL be gorgeous again soon - I've decreed it!!! 

One very positive note is that the rain at the beginning of this year combined with the recent weather has ensured the front and the back of the pubs flowers are absolutely stunning this year. 

Roast Duck with Hoisin Sauce

The summer menu's are going down a storm (whoops sorry - a Freudian slip and a nod to the weather) with the salads selling themselves virtually.  Good old Crab Salad leads the race followed hotly by Duck, then Sea Trout and last but not least feta and Watermelon! Minted New Potatoes are a popular side but good old Chips are still very wanted (don't want them getting a complex!).

Fish specials are as always much sought after but the horrendous price of fresh, local Lobster means they've not made an appearance yet. 

There's been a change round up in the Chicken house with the 3 oldest hens going to a friends small holding for a life on a farm. Why? Because despite intense work on ensuring they got along together (we got 6 new hens and a small Cockerel) they were absolutely vile to them and really bullied them (I now know where the terms 'henpecked' and 'pecking order' originate from!) so our good friend Dena took them. The new hens are much happier and whilst the pub resembled a scene from chicken run this week as SOH attempted to catch the old girls detente is now declared. 

Couple of extremely well known celebs in this week which has added a bit of excitement to the sweat of summer - 1 Author, 1 political heavyweight and 1 huge sporting hero! My lips are sealed - but for the price of a cream tea I could be tempted.  I'll only say that all 3 of them were absolutely lovely and it was a pleasure to meet them all. You see - you'll never know who you'll spot when you're visiting..........

Regatta week next week with fireworks on the Thursday for you all to enjoy.  We have a small jazz trio playing that evening and this Saturday we have the Old Gaffers. 

For those of you on Face Book I am going to attempt a LIVE FEED this Saturday with the Old Gaffers.................. so 21st Century of me - but can't promise it'll work. 

Keep smiling, enjoy the sun and we hope to see many of you over the next few weeks, 

Liz x

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Salcombe, Salcombe, Salcombe

Evening all - this blog tonight has absolutely nothing to do with the Vic at all! Well it may do if South Hams District Council (SHDC)  have their way but more of this in a minute! 

I'm writing this blog all about the shenanigans going on with regards to Whitestrand and Shadycombe Car Park. Why?? Because, every single person who reads this blog and then talks to me about it when they visit say they love to keep in touch with whats going on in Salcombe - that's usually quickly followed up by saying how much they like to know all the gossip from the pub! 

Anyway - first of all we have SHDC telling us that they would really like to re-develop Whitestrand Car Park seating area - you know the same car park that they will never let us close for more than a day or two as it raises so much revenue for them........... 

They would like to take away 1 space, 1 disabled space and motorbike space and build a platform over the slipway! On top of that they'd like to put safety rails around the slipway and then put glass and stainless steel balustrades to make it look smart! Wooden decking out over the slipway too.
But apparently the goals of the application are to and I quote: 

reduce congestion, make the well used benches more ideal, give more space to the public realm (choke) and increase the prominence of the War Memorial! Oh and boats will still be permitted to launch from the slipway'!!!  

How delightful!! (excuse the sarcasm that will undoubtedly sneak in as I write this!) 

Mmmmnnnn wonder who will get the job of keeping that clean??  

Oh no! It certainly won't be Chad our lovely, warm, hardworking Chad who has cleaned the streets of Salcombe for about the last 16 years! In an act of pure spite he was moved Friday afternoon to another location with effect from this week.  

Why?? Well of course it was absolutely all about strategic planning.................. was it hell! 

It was because we the general public of Salcombe had got wind that they planned to remove him and replace with a machine.  

You know one of those things that doesn't get into corners or clean up after the seagulls! In fact word has it that there will be NO street cleaner after September until the following 'season'?? Does that spell a machine one wonders?? Just what the hell does it mean?? 

A campaign is under way and a petition has been started for people to sign to get Chad back and keep him - please sign if you can:

Anyway, back to the Whitestrand development.  Over 150 people attended the public meeting and what a great cross section it was! Locals, 2nd home owners, business people and 2 representatives from SHDC. 1 in an official capacity and 1 in a suit who skulked on the sidelines and pretty much refused to answer anything!!  They also received 51 letters of objection (thank you whoever you were).  NOT ONE person agreed with the scheme! 

In all my years working for a local Council and handling meetings in neighbourhoods,  I have NEVER witnessed such patronizing condescension from the officers involved - they clearly have stopped all training for officers with interaction with the public! Damn it, there's that sarcasm again! 

Outcome of the meeting was that the scheme is still under consideration but without the A1, A3, A5 permissions allowing use of shops, take aways etc. According to Councillor Judy Pearce 'The town would soon realise it's a bonus'! Wow - really.................

For those of you who might like to be around, there is a site visit to Whitestrand planned for Monday July 25th (no idea when). 

Then the very next day, the bombshell was dropped that someone at SHDC thought it was an awfully good idea to get rid of Shadycombe Car Park (you know, the one nearest to the Church) and build 20 rabbit hutches  houses on it!! What a simply spiffing idea.............

I can only say that I urge any and all of you to look at the plans they have for Salcombe, get your pencils sharpened or your computer on and let the Gods that are SHDC know what YOU think of their grand ideas - before the Salcombe you know and love is reduced to nothing. 

You can see the plans at:

and email any response to:

Thank you for reading this rant, normal service will (probably) be resumed next blog post, 

Yours with love (and steam coming out of my ears) 

Liz x

Friday, 24 June 2016

Friday 24th June 2016

Now here's a date that will go down in history - and lets hope it will be for all the right reasons - but they do say a day is a long time in politics and today seems to have been a very long one! I don't know about you but I nodded off with the TV on last night as it got late and then when we turned it off I was awake every hour or so checking the Twitter feed! 

So let me try and inject a bit of normality into today.............. firstly, our new play area is up and running and looks absolutely fabulous. It's been very well received by our little visitors and I think Rhino Play have done a stupendous job on it. In the photos you can see children from the Russells and Vanstones families being the first children to enjoy the area.  One of the Mums told me that they had only just arrived in Salcombe but that they HAVE to come to the Vic first............. aawwwww isn't that nice. 

It is open to our little guests now but we have an 'Official' opening next Friday at 6.30. The Old Gaffers are going to sing, Magic Mark will entertain you and we have Burgers (off our menu) with Chips and Coleslaw for a FIVER!!! There will be a bit of fund raising for the Salcombe First Responders so lets hope for SUNSHINE and raising a bit of cash for the Charity. 

SOH has a new Chicken house to assemble and then he and a couple of the team will be off to buy some new chickens. All ready again for Friday 1st July. 

We've seen a couple of Chefs leave recently (Rich and Nick) to take up other positions and that's always sad, but we've been able to recruit 2 new chefs - here is Tom and he is our new Sous Chef.  

He has a good CV and brings a nice amount of experience in Pub kitchens and top end Hotel kitchens. My other young man I'll introduce when he starts. 

We also have a Roddy! He's our new(ish) KP and is probably one of the nicest blokes I've met in a while. A Londoner, (when he's working it reminds me of being back in Pompey when he's talking) he has a typical East End humour (and straightforward approach) and is so hard working - it's a joy to have him on the team. Every kitchen needs a Roddy! BUT - he's camera shy. So no photo!! That means our kitchen is back up to full strength again ready for the summer and beyond - remember - our chefs are for life not just the holidays 

SOH is back from his Spanish holiday and we've just had a week off together getting pre-season fit..................I had planned long sunny days in our garden but the weather had other ideas.  

My Greenhouse is at home and chock full of plants, which is reducing my stress levels no end. I'm growing stuff that hopefully we can use in the pub like herbs, spinach and peppers etc. Yet another USP to add to our bow. 

Now just a funny little story to finish this long day and leave you with a smile on your face: 

We had bit of a crisis at the pub (whilst SOH was away sunning himself) in the middle of a dinner service - but myself and the Manager of the day got it sorted (Thanks for YOUR help Freddie) and a table of four in the middle of the pub clearly witnessed a bit of toing and froing and as I was nearby to them when all was calm again I heard one of the older men say to his wife -

SOH the poor man married to me! :) 
 'Oh isn't she good.................... But I wouldn't want to be married to her'!!! 
'Shush' said the wife 'She's behind you'
'Yes I am' said I, placing my hand lightly on his shoulder 'But I'm not easily offended'!
Well it made me smile. And bless him he had the good grace to go quite pink! 

Till next time lovely blog readers 

Liz x

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

You couldn't make it up if you tried!

So that's the last Bank Holiday before the Summer season hits and crikey me - what a weekend that was!!! Salcombe was packed and it felt like most of the visitors came in our pub - hearing from SOH what the record breaking Direct Debit is to the St Austell Brewery this month for beers etc purchased it looks as though we're doing our bit for the national debt!! 

But this blog is ALL about the team - without a good team though the Vic wouldn't even operate and all of our team are fantabulously wonderful - BUT - extra special mention must go to the young people who help shore up our business! 

Who are these young people? Well, they're a very elite group and not everyone makes the grade as what I'm about to tell you later in this blog ably demonstrates! 

So who are some of our youngsters that have helped carry us through this weekend and all the other weekends in the calendar? 

From the top they're: Emily, Ellen and Emily (apart from the first letter E) they are all 17, still at college and they are all just 17!! Rain or shine they are at the Vic with smiles on their faces. They NEVER moan or grumble. They do the majority of the fetching or carrying when we're at our busiest and Emily in the bottom picture can clear a sink full of dishes as quickly as any KP with years of experience! We pay them far more than legislation says we have to pay them and why? 

Because they're blooming well worth it! If I could clone them 3 times over I certainly would do - they're totally amazing.  

Generally, we find that we take our young people in at 15 (with schools AND parents permission) and train them until they're ready to fly away to gap years/university or their own career aspirations and just occasionally they stay with us and turn their experience into a full blown hospitality career.  

These lovelies are now starting to be joined by 2 more 15 year olds, and of course our summer staff are starting to arrive - HALLELUJAH!!! The couple on the left are Freddie and Hannah who have come for the entire summer. 

As a matter of course I regularly advertise for team members as whilst we have a really low turnover of staff, it's natural that not everyone is cut out to do hospitality work, some youngsters are just not mature enough and bluntly, some are not at all used to hard work (that applies to some adults as well I may add!).

Generally, anyone who wants to come and work for us fills in all the usual forms, has a chat with me or one of the managers and then they get asked to undertake 3 trial shifts - for which they're paid. 

So whilst trying to keep this as anonymous as possible we had an interesting experience this last week with an individual who just wanted to make some money to retake their driving test whilst looking for different work. It was purely for glass/plate collecting, taking to the bar or kitchen. Plates get taken to the kitchen, scraped off, piled up and Roddy our FT KP or Emily our 17yr old will clean them and get them ready for more service. 

AJ our latest FT Front of House team member 
Glasses are taken to the bar, washed (by a machine) taken out and placed on the shelf............... now that's not rocket science is it??!! We also were going to pay £7.50 an hour for this person to do it. 

But it's apparently too much for some! 

Dear Blog readers this is an absolute reproduction (spelling and all) of extracts of a lengthy Face Book message I received from the individual after 2 and a 1/2hrs work on a busy Bank Holiday Friday evening:- 
' I'll tell you what I told Rob (our GM) and that is that I am sorry and also thank you for the opportunity but I just couldn't do it! The first 2 hours wasn't too bad I was sweating quite a bit but I was dealing with it but as it got busier it got worse'! 
(I'm wondering should I put may sweat on the job description)
'I was constantly back and forth from the garden to the kitchen and the bar and it seemed that every time I went out to the garden there was more and more stuff!' 
(I wonder what part of being a glass collector I didn't explain) 
'When I would go down to the bar there would be sooo many glasses to be cleaned and it was like that all the time because no-one else was doing them
(That's because it's what YOU'RE being paid to do??) 
I'm rambling on a bit I think I may be a bit dehydrated soooo I'm going to end it
(What? Your life? Oh no - you've left the building!) 
(At this point I fall to the floor in hysterical laughter!!) 

You absolutely couldn't make it up if you tried could you!! 

Boys, Girls, Men and Women of the Victoria Inn I salute you for your fearlessness and endeavour in serving the great British Public! 

Sarah - a new chef in the team
By the way do you notice how everyone is smiling in the photos except SOH?? That's because he wasn't impressed I was taking photo's of team on the 2nd busiest day of the year!!! Ooops.................. 

Love always and till next time dear Blog readers, I'm off to lay down in a darkened room!!!!!

Liz xxx
Jonathon Asst Mgr and Grumpy SOH 

Rob our lovely GM

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Evening all.......................

Evening all from Salcombe where the weather is decidedly dodgy!! One day last week I think it was we practically had every season in the calendar all in one day! 

Snr Sous Chef Rich and Licensee Liz 
So where to start this blog?? Some exciting news and a rather brilliant event since the last entry...........firstly we had Crabfest in Salcombe at the beginning of May and my goodness what an unexpected fantastic event that turned out to be! 

I (think) the concept was about promoting the fabulous Salcombe Crab which is without doubt one of the best there is, but I'm pretty sure no one expected it to be as successful as it was. Salcombe was rammed and I think the figures are at about 9,000 people came into town.  There were food stalls, drinks, Oysters and food demonstrations of which we (the Vic) took part - more of that in a minute! Mary Berry opened the event and was as lovely as usual.

It's fair to say that everyone in Salcombe - including the organisers I'm sure - were delighted at the amount of visitors and thankfully the weather was on it's best behaviour until mid afternoon. 

Of course few business's (including ours) have any extra staff available until the start of June and so when we were hit - Boy, we were hit!!! In fact we had to close food temporarily (45 minutes) as there wasn't a plate, cup or piece of clean cutlery to be had in the entire pub. Next year, we'll all be much more prepared!!  It would be great if this planned yearly event put Salcombe clearly on the South West Foodie map - just like the Dartmouth food festival. 

So, onto our food demonstration for the event. The whole thing was overseen by Alex Aitken - Executive Head Chef over the entire Harbour Hotel chain and what a lovely man he was too! Several Chefs were there including one from the Fortescue Inn, South Sands Hotel, and the Wardroom. 

The Chef representing the Victoria Inn was Senior Sous Chef Rich who did us proud........ He had prepared well and did it perfectly. We had some recipe flyers printed up and handed them out with his menu - Salcombe Lobster and Crab Ravioli with poached Lobster and a rich Crab Bisque.  I was so very, very proud of him, he did a fantastic job and as you can see he got a great round of applause! 

Our other big news is that we are having a brand new childrens play area installed in our pub garden!! Work starts on the playground proper 6th June but we are having some preparatory garden works done the week before. But we should be up and running in the garden by the 13th or 14th with an 'official' opening on the 1st July which we shall tie in with fundraising for the Salcombe First Responders - which relies ENTIRELY on charitable donations. We will be selling our normal farmers Beefburgers and Homemade veg Burgers with Chips and Coleslaw for just £5, Magic Mark the Magician will be there too and a Raffle.  Robin, one of our Assistant Managers will be going down the slide first (in suitable fancy dress I'm sure) and we have already had £100 pledged to the Charity for him to do this. 

Our summer plants are mostly planted in already in the back garden and the new window boxes come in next week.  We also have great bunting, all 40ft of it made to order by one of our lovely customers Judith Pinder - that goes up this week as well. 

So all in all, the summer preparations are well under way, and we're very very busy! 

See you next time my lovely readers, 

Liz xxx

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Easter - Tick

The sky from my garden yesterday
So! 2016 continues to whizz by in the blink of an eye............ How was it as a child that the year seemed to be never ending. That the summer's were longer, the seasons so well defined?? We weren't dreaming about Easter Eggs the moment Christmas went were we?? 

Yet here we were at the end of March celebrating Easter and all the madness that normally goes with it in terms of our visitors having the first proper outing of the year en famile and us not having a summer team to deal with summer numbers.  But all credit to our great team - they did a great job looking after everyone and making them all feel welcome in our great pub. 

Hair Braider makes a welcome return to outside the pub

No sooner had the first few people arrived than some of the derogatory comments started coming on social media (and in the local paper) regarding Grockles and what a pain it was having so many cars and visitors littering our streets.............????  Oh my life!! REALLY!!! REALLY!!!! REALLY!!!! Argh..........

I really find it so hard at times understanding the mentality of some people in small towns. What on earth do they think that Salcombe and places like it in the West Country and other places would be like WITHOUT our visitors??? 

I personally like to try and make all visitors in the town and to our pub feel special - I look at it that I am so fortunate to live here for ever and they are only passing through - so lets make their experience a great one, with a warm welcome and a wish for great memories.  
Anyway, off your soapbox Liz that will do for now - on with the news of the month: 

The flowers at the front of the pub are just about on their last legs really thanks to the amazing cold winds we've endured this year, so it will be nice to see the new ones in place for May hols. 

We now stock all but 1 Gin that St Austell Brewery have on their list, we now have 22 in total! We are just waiting for some great Gin Menu's from Fever Tree with ideas of which of their tonics go best with the different Gins. That will give YOU the customer lots and lots to choose from. 

The 'Champagne Sunday' concept with our fabulous Joseph Perrier Champagne has now grown to 'Champagne Weekend' and continues to go from strength to strength. But lets be honest it's not a hard choice with such a great Champagne at £4.95 a glass. 

New wine menu's are expected this week and wow, there are some great new wines including a second flipping lovely dessert wine (will go great with Tims Sticky Toffee Pud) and the most incredible Red wine - Appassimento - a hugely full bodied wine.......... phwoar! 

Spring menu's are at the printers too with some new dishes I'm quite excited about as well. Then it will be full steam ahead to work on the summer menu's in readiness for end of June. 

Team meetings have been held with the aid of great big fat jammy doughnuts from The Bake House in Salcombe. 
As you can see the doughnuts seem to make the meetings less serious!! 

Right here, right now,I'd like to place on public record that I think we have probably the best team we've ever had and what's more we continue to grow the team with 1 more Front of House - Antonia (AJ), (doughnut in hand and cheeky smile) and potentially 2 more Chefs joining our kitchen team. None of them temporary staff, but permanent. 

And so the treadmill of life in a pub revs up and we continue to motor through the year at a great pace.................... I feel quite worn out just typing this!! 

On that note and just in case you've read this far, please, please, please don't forget to book with us if you want to be sure of getting a table for dinner! 01548842604

Till next time my lovely readers, 

Liz xx