No sooner back from sunny Spain than Christmas is upon us
Thursday 31st October 2002 14:44
The only thing that comes around faster than the diary column are the VAT quarterly returns. In the blink of an eye they are there tapping you on the shoulder.
Returning from a week's holiday, it's straight into Christmas function enquiries and a party of 24 journalists out on a jolly to mid-Wales. Saturday night was fully booked and this extra function contributed to the kitchen being extremely hectic, with Rob gearing everyone up for a focused, attentive service.
However, this was not helped along by news filtering down to the kitchen that the last review one of the visiting journalists had given to a restaurant had been "a right slating".
Although it wasn't the best team morale-building exercise I have witnessed, the evening went really well.
From the front of house side I received heaps of praise for our young and attentive waiting staff, which always makes me immensely proud as they try extremely hard to make everyone happy.
Spain now seems such a blur, although the weather could happily be recalled, especially now that the monsoon season seems to have arrived.
We had some wonderful seafood, buying from the quayside. We saw the boats arriving at 5pm, watched them unload and sell directly to the quayside market traders and the rest in the large auction room on the dock at Santa Pola. The speed with which all of this happened was just a blur. We stood in the viewing gallery and watched the fish from boat to conveyor belt, auctioned at a price per kilo, stamped, labelled and into their purchasers' distribution vehicles in a matter of minutes.
After struggling again with my basic command of the Spanish language I have finally decided to look for tuition, so on top of everything else it's homework before bedtime and hopefully "una cerveza por favor" will get you a pint of lager at the Bricklayers Arms.
We were really pleased and proud to have received a commendation from the Which? Good Food Guide 2003 as we put 100% (100% is maximum, 110% is hypothetical and unachievable) into our business, as do most owner-operators.
I have thanked my staff personally but I would just like to reiterate that in writing, well done and many, many thanks.
Sara Pezzack is the proprietor of the Bricklayers Arms, Montgomery, Powys
Next diary from Sara Pezzack: 5 December