"I was set down from the carrier's cart at the age of three...
...The June grass, amongst which I stood, was taller than I was, and I wept...
...Snow-clouds of elder blossom banked in the sky, showering upon me the fumes and flakes of their sweet and giddy suffocation. High overhead ran frenzied larks, screaming as though the sky were tearing apart."
extract taken from the opening of Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee
When we arrived at the pub on one of the hottest summer days Laurie Lee's words were all I could think about and how our lives were about to change.
Our entire belongings rammed into a large removal van that only just made it down the lane to our new home. The removal men who had started the day in cheerful voice now were silent as they were faced with not one but three spiral staircases to navigate our furniture up. They did their job efficiently and quickly, pulling away at 4pm, and by 5pm the pub opened for the first time.
Lots of people came that first evening to check us out and see who the new landlords were, questions were asked, polite introductions were made, business cards for local meat were left. By 11pm I was upstairs in a state of frenzied exhaustion trying to find bedding for three beds for three very tired children on a school night.
We were offered the tenancy of the pub just weeks before our move and I had only just handed my notice in at work which meant that for a month I was still working a day job, then in the evenings and weekends working in the pub and at the same time trying to be a parent and unpack boxes. Looking back now I'm not sure how we managed to juggle everything.
At the same time that we were learning our craft there was the snagging and renovations to finish. Unbenowsnt to us when we moved in, the wet room & loo for the campsite had been taken off the renovations to save money and then added back in again at a later date. We then had to deal every morning with different workmen who came to finish the renovations and the never ending snagging list.
In the car park a generator was left which growled for 24 hours a day supplying power to the kitchen as the renovations included a new kitchen and the need for three-phase electricity had been overlooked. The generator would regularly break down but by the end of August we had mains electricity and the noisy and costly to run generator was taken away, and would you believe it, the weekend after we waved it goodbye we had a massive thunder storm and power cut - bring back the generator!
Looking back these were such difficult days, trying to create a good impression for customers, trying to learn about running a pub, trying to find staff, it was so so hard. I didn't blog or talk about our problems for fear of people not wanting to visit the pub. The exhaustion of the early days has now been replaced by the worry of finding a chef and how quiet it will be over the Winter months. There is still so much to do, so we take one day at a time and pray that people will visit and like what we do.
We get things wrong but the support we've had from family, friends and the lovely people on social media throughout this crazy journey has been amazing and keeps us going!
To be continued...