Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Fish and chips

Monday was the return of the Fish and Chips van. They had been on holiday for 6 weeks so their return was eagerly anticipated by the expat community and some of the French.

They arrived at 6pm and were quickly followed by car after car some people coming into the bar for eat in and other for take away.
We were very pleased with the way the evening was progressing, the bar was filling nicely. But then it changed, murmurs of discontent, the chippie had run out of chips and fish!! They had calculated their requirements based on previous years and then loaded the van with double what they thought they would need. They ran at out 7.15 which was earlier than they would previously have even been here.
Fortunately we carry plenty of stock so my evening of no cooking very quickly changed and we ended up cooking 15 meals. Everyone that was in the bar was fed but we know that some people turned up and were dissapointed and didnt even get into the bar as they tried to order, failed and went home

whilst this meant we had a good day, it is a pity that people who came out couldn't get their dinner. Last year the customers could only queue in a cold car park and buy take away, this year they have a warm bar to eat in at no extra charge. It is bound to change the demand but working how much is required each week is going to be a learning process for the guys.

I hope they get it right next week as i too missed out on my large cod and chips with mushy peas!!


Just a thought, why did Tesco do buy one get one free on their large valentine cards?
what next buy one get one free on wedding dresses

Sunday, 13 February 2011


Tomorrow is one year to the day since we came to France looking at cafes. We had accepted an offer on the house and were out looking for a business and a new life.
As you know we opted for the bar in Champniers and our story has been told on this blog. I haven't updated since the new year so here goes.
We were told that the winter was long, cold and boring and business would be awful.
We were told wrong!! December was cold and we have had to get used to not living in a double glazed, fully insulated home but the heating works and you just pull on a jumper. January was a mixture of cold and ok but no snow. February has been excellent so far, even to the point that I have been able to sit on the terrace in the afternoon reading a book in shirt sleeves
The work is never boring, we have times that we don't have customers but we use these to read, to catch up on the sky plus, to go for a walk (not together) or to do bits around the house.
We opened Christmas Day for a couple of hours and have been open as normal since with the exception of New Year's Eve and a couple of weeks holiday when we closed the bar.
Business has not been awful, we have had some slow days and some very good and in general are very pleased
We have had two quizzes so far this year and have had over 70 people each time. We think that we can squeeze about 85 people max into the room so still have some potential. The Top Hat team who run the quiz and supply the food are very professional, stress it's for fun and not really about winning and have a very good banter with the participants. We have really hit lucky with them as partners.

We have restarted line dancing, with a group here every Friday morning, lots of stamping and yee hahs
we have Social (ballroom) dancing two evenings a month and again this is growing in popularity
Last night we had a charity Ceilidh in the function room. 45 people "danced" to a great band named Shoestring who are from Falkirk but on a short break in France. They had donated their services to the evening which raised money for a charity working with street children in Romania.

Fish and Chips starts again tomorrow and our partners in this, David and Suzanne, have now committed to us every Monday. Up until now their time was split between two locations, they will now spend all their time with us.

J and I took a break for two weeks to re-energise. The holiday was excellent but the high point was the enthusiasm with which we were greeted on our return. We could not believe how many people wished us a good holiday and said how much they missed the bar on our return.

A year ago when we were looking at cafes, one of the criteria was to be the hub of a village and to have a bar that would be important to people. I think we chose well