Monday, 28 May 2018

Almost June?? No, it can't be?!?!

Flip me sideways it really is almost June! Halfway through the year and I've realised I haven't blogged since March........... Well, I have to tell you, this has been one of my worst years health wise and bugger me if I haven't got yet another chest infection - my 3rd this year!! I have been ill almost 6 months now (give or take the odd couple of weeks here and there) so it's right that you know we have taken the decision for me to be semi-retired from the business.  


You're likely to see me for a couple of shifts over a weekend, I'll continue to drop in and out, issue a few orders, do a bit of 'hello darlings' and then come home to do work like this! Blog writing, computer work, social media etc. 

There comes a time when you have to put yourself first in this life and almost going into Intensive Care this year has made SOH and I re-evaluate my role in this stressful business of being a publican. 

One of my good periods a month or so ago saw me go on a 'Snow Shoe' walk in the French Alps on a women retreat with my personal trainer Claire Morgan-Hughes of Devon Fit Camp fame http://devonfitcamp.co.uk/the_elegant_you_retreat_from_devon_fit_camp/ I walked for 6 1/2 miles ups a mountain, round a mountain and then back down a mountain - so I know there's good health in me somewhere, I just have to tap into it, and then hold onto it! 

Happy ladies celebrating the Royal Wedding
So enough about me - how are YOU all doing?? I met loads of old friends yesterday down in Salcombe for the May Bank Holiday - the town has wall to wall visitors right now and everyone seems in jolly good humour! Nothing like sunshine to put a smile on peoples faces is there. Our kitchen has been highly busy the last 2 days producing just under 1,000 meals in 2 DAYS!!! I remain amazed by what they consistently produce and whilst under enormous pressures........ 

Our Front of House staff work so hard as well and yet still manage to have a smile on their faces! Such lovely people working with us, we're so lucky!! 





We're also exceptionally fortunate to have a new Head Chef leading our kitchen team; Jon Bell! Old school Head Chef who cooks with passion and enthusiasm, calls a spade a shovel (he's northern!) has bags of experience in award winning pubs. Jon is a huge softie and we have hit it off like a house on fire, not easily ruffled and just one of life's nice guys. We're very fortunate to have him!  


I'm soooooooooo excited about the menu he's going to bring you in the summer!  We also have our Christmas menu for parties small and large (not Christmas Day though) and also New Years Eve menu although we are 70% booked for that event already.............. how amazeballs is that! Those should be on our website in the next day or 2 so check back soon. 

Just a reminder that if you really want to eat with us, you have to book to be absolutely sure of a table with us, and sadly, we now take deposits for all booking of 6 people or more. £5 a head refundable if cancelled within 24hrs notice.  We've had to take this step due to people booking the tables, taking potential bookings away from other people and then simply not turning up. People apparently call it choice booking - they book several places and then make their choice on the night.......... I call it bloody mad manners myself! So give us a call on 01548 842604  and we'll do our best to get you a super table at our award winning pub. 

The 50 different gins that we have on offer are all going very well, with a couple of firm favourites for sure, but our customers do seem to like to try out some of the slightly more different ones, especially the fruity Gins with brilliant Fever Tree tonics. 

SOH is busy out in the Vics garden today planting up a few more plants, following Judith from Bayleaf http://www.bayleaf-gardening.co.uk/gallery.php having done the bulk of the work in planting up the back of the garden and Potters Nurseries East Allington http://www.pottersnurseries.co.uk/gallery.html having now planted up the front of the pub!, and all very splendid it's looking too! Photo's of that next time. 
As is this rather gorgeous painting from local artist Jon Woolfenden, painted right outside the Vic, I just think it's stunning - don't you? 

A quick round up of what entertainment we have for you over the next month or 2:

  • FIDDLERS GREEN - Folk/Rock/Easy Listening (Fabulous Darlings!!) June 30th @ 8pm and 14th July also 8pm

  • OLD GAFFERS - Our local Sea Shanty group (pure brilliance) 12th July and 21st July again an 8p.m start. 


So there you go. A quick catch up on all things Pub Landlady and I look forward to saying 'Hello Darling' to you all very soon, be kind to each other and enjoy the sun. 

Much love as always, 


Liz x




Saturday, 17 March 2018

March? Really??

This lovely photo of the Vic was taken by local man Pete Robinson when we had our last snow fall and blow me down as I sit typing this blog now if there aren't more snow flakes falling from the sky! It's also artic cold out there too............ I just hope this doesn't do to us what it did then! 

Salcombe hasn't seen snow like we had for many years and we were forced to shut for about 2 half days as we have some staff that live quite a distance away, so we couldn't compromise their safety.  

I had another spell in hospital just before all this snow happened, this time with Flu (proper Flu - not the stuff men have!) another 9 days in there this time and I'll probably not be fit enough to return to work until after Easter. But the pub continues to run like a well oiled machine. 

New wine lists are on the way, also a revised Prosecco menu as well as 50 gins!! As a business we've always strived to keep ahead of the game with our business planning and reviewing our drinks offering regularly is a big part of that. Gin is still a huge part of the drinks business so thats why we decided to increase the Gins we have.  




Some cracking gins we have too, mostly from the UK but there is one from Spain and also one from the USA. The American Gin is Bluecoat, this one is made with 100% organic botanicals, and the Spanish Gin is Gin Mare - this has arebequina olive, rosemary, thyme, basil and mandarin in it! 

Several are from Scotland and one that looks to be a firm favourite is The Botanist from Islay, the first and only Gin from this area is said to be a rare expression of the heart and soul of this remote Scottish Island. 

Then we have Peaky Blinders from Sadlers; a small batch, handcrafted spiced gin, undoubtedly going to be popular because of a certain TV programme with the same name! 

The team have already tried a couple and one they seemed to particularly like was That Boutique - Y Gin Company Cherry Gin served with Fever-Tree Cola. I'm assured that it is delicious.  

Another firm favourite was Boe Violet Gin (infused with Violets!) a beautiful colour. I could go on and on but I'll endeavour to tell you about another couple of our new Gins next time.  

Alternatively, do come in and try some yourself and perhaps post a photo of yourself drinking it like Lindsay who was drinking a Brockmans Gin along with Barnaby sat near the fire. 











Saturday, 27 January 2018

Longest January ever!


After an amazing Christmas and New Year, it was down to earth with a bang, although we have had quite a good trade this January. 

But for me this January has to be one of the longest and worst I've gone through in a long time! Yet again, my health has let me down (despite having got myself in the fittest shape ever with my personal training!) So after almost 3 weeks of having batted the cold, the chills etc etc etc (God this gets boring) I was really poorly and my GP had me go into our local big Hospital: Derriford in Plymouth. 

I was really reluctant to go there but there is a moment in time when you realise that sometimes you don't have a lot of choice as to what life has in store for you, and all the tablets and potions are just not working. But it also came at a time when the media were telling us how awful it was in the hospitals up and down the land and that corridors were the new wards, staff were on their knees and people were dying from lack of care.  So none of that made me want to chance my arm by going into a hospital that I've not always had the best of times in - let alone when they're on Black alert!    

But you know what?? When you can't get breath into your body and you're pretty sure that the last gasp you took really might be your last - well!? There's no more aces to play, its straight in to ED where a Staff Nurse took one look at me, told me to be quiet (in the nicest possible way) to save what breath I did have, whacked a cannula into my arm in the quickest time I've ever had it done and rushed me over to recuss!!                                                            Well bless me, it's all a bit of a blur after that as the medical team did what they do best..................they filled me with all the stuff I needed, drips, nebulisers and oxygen!  I'm telling you when all this is happening all I AM concerned with is getting out the other end! I have to remember to keep fairly calm (pah!) let the drugs do their stuff and hope and pray that this time ain't the time it doesn't work. Sound melodramatic?? Trust me it isn't!! It also isn't easy to keep calm!                                                                                    

Once stabilised, I was then transferred to the 'Majors' bays, where the treatment continued and you're monitored to see what they'll do next with you! In my case, it was for a few hours, but nothing like I had been expecting, and then transferred to MAU where normally you're observed for overnight or whatever, and then either home or too a ward.  I was then on MAU for 3 days after which a bed on a respiratory ward was found for their specialist care. 

My reason for writing such a personal account of my illness is that in all of this experience, and in each and everyone of the departments or wards, with all the pressures the teams were under I received nothing but brilliant care, kindness and amazing professionalism.  Derriford is a huge hospital and it's NOT always received the best reviews in the world in the past, but something IS clearly happening that is making a patients experience (my experience) so much better. 

There is no doubt that they are massively understaffed, I saw staff going home totally exhausted, there were night shifts in particular that saw a Senior teams with insufficient Health Care Assistants, staff pressured when prioritising call bells from disorientated patients (myself included one night as a fever broke),  endeavouring to get drugs and bedpans to patients in a timely manner. 

But from the Housekeepers like Anne Marie who remembered my name and the fact I liked Custard Creams from the first day on the ward, to young Bertie a first year Dr who was kindness itself - one of so many young earnest Junior Drs - to HCA Mia who made the nights shorter with her humour and dry wit and my undying gratitude to HCA Isobel who made a terrifying fever in the wee small hours of the night (very slightly) less terrifying!  To the Junior Sister Sarah who admitted me to the respiratory ward - took one look at me and said 'Don't worry, you're in safe hands'.  To the consultants & senior Drs I saw EVERY day, sometimes twice a day, their very manner re-assured me I was definitely going to be walking out, but patience was needed. All the radiographers, blood takers and pharmacists - Thank you! To the countless other professionals who I didn't take their names because I was too busy trying to breath! To the patients in my ward who also had their struggles but who became a big family very quickly, I thank you. I hope I also did my bit to help YOU.  

So how do we make the NHS fit for purpose?? I have no idea............. I do know it can't keep be being used as a political football and 'just' throwing money at it won't make it ok! There has to be a cross party approach with people who really understand what's needed. Those people are really not necessarily MP's!!!! 

I do know that friends of mine have left the NHS because they cannot stand to not do their job properly and as they trained to do it, they also can't stand the unrelenting pressure.  The NHS of now is not the NHS as it started out, is it an element of paid care that's coming?? I would pay more but would you? I do think we're being naive if we think the NHS won't crumble one day, and I think that's coming sooner than we think.  

So what for me next?? Well, its slow baby steps to full recovery and hopefully recommence my personal training beginning of March. But until then I'm off work until March, although even today I had a business meeting at home with some of the team - spring menu's etc. I'm also still doing all the social media stuff and getting myself on really top form for a trip to Rioja in February to Santalba Winery and our friend Roberto!! So whilst I'm not physically at the Vic, I'm still very much there and working behind the scenes! 

Here's to the warmer weather to come in the spring, my eternal gratitude to everyone who I came into contact with at Derriford and in the nicest possible terms I hope I don't see you again for a very, very long time! 

Love always 

Liz x x x