Thursday, 2 January 2020

Hello roaring 20's

I've been having a day of reflection and contemplation in order to evaluate where we are with the business at the close of 2019 and trying to formulate some sort of (very loose) plan for what we want to achieve in 2020.
Always start with a list of thoughts- this is mine for 2019:


Top of the list is always costs, keeping costs down is obviously fundamental to the profitability and ultimate survival of the business especially in uncertain times.
Which leads me on to our BIGGEST UNNECESSARY EXPENSE:
Something I've been thinking about A LOT lately is how to reduce our burning of fossil fuel in our lovely open fireplace, obviously a big draw throughout the year.The amount of money going up that chimney on a daily basis does not bear thinking about and has led me to remove the logs from the fireside and store them behind the bar so that the staff can ration the fire feeders that love to chuck six logs on there then stroll straight out of the door.
A Scrooge like move which has not been greeted with warmth by drinkers.
Admittedly this action was motivated by money and not for ethical reasons- though climate change has been the big issue of 2019.
A month or so ago I spoke with our log supplier who has an anal interest in the forensics of the fire and the log burning properties of each particular wood variety.I thought I'd ask him if he could supply logs with a higher moisture content so that they'd burn slower and longer and was not disappointed with his comprehensive response.I won't bore you but suffice to say you can expect the bloke who once provided me with silver birch 'show logs' for display purposes only, was indeed able to increase the percentage moisture content to an exacting degree.
Anally stacked highER moisture content logs

So for the last month we have been able to pleasingly reduce the amount of logs being burnt on a daily basis despite the regular 'your logs are a bit wet' comments from the drinkers, which I validate by playing the 'just doing my bit for climate change' card.

Whilst considering this I happened to be thinking the big trend for cooking over open fire and how it continues to grow with no sign of abating and happened to notice this article about the Connaught Grill being reinvented with YES another wood burning grill and rotisserie.
Whilst most restaurants aim to run in a sustainable way these days, I've not once seen any comment about the impact of these grills, I mean I know there's no doubt food cooked over flame tastes great but I wonder how the use of them sits ethically with business owners when there is talk of wood fired stoves in homes for example being banned in the future.
There must be some reading matter on this subject somewhere-but if someone has seen any please point me to them.I'm interested.
I seem to remember reading an article by Jay Rayner ( I think) about how the discovery of fire and rendering protein edible by cooking and how it enabled the human race to develop in that the eating of cooked food, not raw, enabled the the digestive tract to shrink and the brain to develop.
So it's a primitive pleasure rediscovered - how bizarre it could be contributing to our undoing.
It's an over simplistic view I know, but its full circle isn't it?

I was listening to an interview with Greta Thunberg's father the other day and he was asked the question 'Do you consider yourself a climate Activist?' He answered by saying no he wasn't, but he acted in a way that made his children happy and if that meant taking actions that they believed were right then he would do everything he could to support them.
I don't consider myself a climate activist but you can't disagree with that view.
The planet belongs to our children, not us.

We all know the basics-using local & keeping food miles down etc but changes we've made include reducing our plastic usage which has involved not buying plastic straws and drinks stirrers.
Reader,I cannot tell you the trouble this has caused -so much so that we've had to buy in paper straws at a cost of 5p per straw which we then CHARGE the customer for, in an effort to discourage them from using them.It seems some people are physically incapable of drinking from a glass receptacle  despite having an amazing shapeshifting object -namely a mouth -which can customise itself at will to any form(within reason) but seemingly favours the the most difficult shape -the tiny pursed hole to place neatly around the flaming straw. Moreover its seems many children are unable to drink other than through a straw which is beyond belief.

Keeping wastage down is a key to business success but also comes conveniently under the sustainability heading also.We do very well with this one, all the veg peelings, teabags,coffee grinds, cardboard etc go to our compost heap which feeds our vegetable plot.Some go to some local pigs which eventually end up on our menu also-I find this quite pleasing's the circle of life innit?

This is something we have very much enjoyed doing and have managed to produce a significant amount from our not huge plot.So its' definitely something we'd like to spend more time on and develop further.And with Brexit looming why wouldn't we?
Whilst I was thinking about this and attention diverted to what I could grow this year I started thinking about the nasty chlorinated chicken that might come in from the States and feeling quite self satisfied with how lucky we are that we buy all our meats locally.
Then I got on to thinking about all the amazing vegetables I've grown and how they're not uniform in shape and lovely and muddy when they come out of the ground but how beautiful and original they are once I've meticulously cleaned them..

It's not easy is it?
AND there are no simple answers...

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Thursday 26th March 2020

The new cooker turned up today which was AMAZING given that Boris has decreed that all non essential work must stop.There seems to be a lot...

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