Firstly I must apologise, I have just checked and realised that I haven’t posted an update since the pub opened and that is now over a week ago!
So where do I start? Its been an interesting and challenging time that is for sure and one that has confirmed my decisions were most definitely the right ones. We had a soft opening, well I think that is what they call it at least. The stonemason worked up until 11:00 and I opened the doors at 11:05 on the 31st of July with the roofers still in mid flow. Lots of people have told me that I should have advertised the reopening but I remain convinced that curiosity has driven more trade than advertising would have.
As you know I am fiercely protective of both the little island and my little old pub so I guess the critical question for me was how she was received rather than how well she traded. The response has been nothing short of overwhelming with everybody pleased to see the old name back and the pub opened. I can honestly say that I am very proud of my old lady and the affection that everybody has for her. One of the things about a closed pub is that you can never tell what people’s views are until you open so its great that in this case they are 100% positive.
The trade has been mostly local and it’s really good to see such a high level of returning trade. Those that pop down for a ‘swift half’ to see what is happening invariably stay for several pints which is testament to the old girls charms. Whilst the lack of a food offer doesn’t directly encourage the tourist pound I am pleased to report that I have had a number of tourist families in already and again they return daily before promising to return on their next holiday. She is a long way off of funding the next works but she is starting to pull her weight and is certainly way ahead of where I predicted she would be.
As for me, well between 5 and 6 hours sleep a night is almost luxurious and I am working on trimming it down to get some of the other jobs done. Eating remains a complication that I have solved (temporarily) with protein shakes and vitamin pills but the stone that I lost when I started is well and truly gone so it’s not all bad. The people are nice and I am enjoying getting to know them and generally being a host again. Am I tired? hell yeah but I can power through a 14 hr shift with ease before hitting the paperwork. Of course the reason that I can do this is not because I am a machine (sorry Phil) or that I have some special power it is simply because I love my little old lady and the love seeing her trade. No matter how many times I miss-count the till drawer in my tiredness I still have to walk through the dark pub and grin at the fact that I am the landlord here.
Ms Nature does not share my love of the trade and is complaining bitterly. Despite the reduced level of physical activity my wrists succumb to vicious stabbing pains more frequently than ever and right recently swelled to a stage that it was a struggle to release my watch. The great thing about this happening in a pub is that if it is noticed it normally starts a conversation about somebody else rather than eliciting concern about me. My medical opinion is that this is just a stage and that Ms Nature will learn and will start to behave.
Despite what some people think this is entirely a labour of love, it’s not about making loads of money it’s about funding the rebuilding of a wonderful old pub. I remain humbled and proud to be the landlord of this old girl and custodian of over 200 years of history. No matter how exhausted I am when my alarm goes off it only takes a quick mental scan through the job list and I am up. I still take/make my morning calls from a bench overlooking the bay before returning to the pub and retain the feeling that I am privileged to live here.
I am still convinced that any of the ethereal spirits that roam this building are pleased to see her trading because, despite copious records of hauntings, the old girl has been good to me. I am looking to complete August on my own, giving me a chance to meet and understand people whilst setting the dynamic of the business. I would hope to look to have some staff in place next month to release me to look at the growing list of other jobs.
In summary, the old girl is doing ok and so is this old boy, don’t believe me? come and see for yourself its only a short stretch of water…..