As many of you know; well those who have undertaken big DIY projects, it can be difficult to see an end. You’ve made more mess, you’ve taken on a bigger task than you can manage. Just a few of the thoughts that went around our minds endlessly. The pub looked in a worse state than we started, the bills were mounting, and we hadn’t opened and no money coming in. Morale was somewhat down, we needed a break.
This came in the form of friends of ours who needed a few pairs of hands for a large wedding
they had booked with their outside catering company. A full day for all of us; paid. Doing what the 4 of us know how to do well. It was just what was needed, a break from painting, sanding, building, builder’s merchants runs and living on a building site. We came back to it, the following day with just under a week until opening but revived and ready to go again.
The last few days of work before opening day all kind of blur into one. The concrete floor had finally been covered with the reclaimed wood; a change that completely transformed the look of the place and so a major stepping stone of progress! The beer pumps and cellar system had been replaced and we all enjoyed a few draft beers and ciders that just tasted perfect. We had also celebrated Al’s birthday during this refurb time. Just Mel, Richard, Al and myself, with my folks and sisters who were at home. A small affair, but another excuse to have a night off building and decorating. In fact this evening of celebration coincided with the annul village Funday, and we could hear the raucous laughter and partying from the beer garden, and did think, ‘we cannot wait to become part of this village’.
Opening day. To say we were unprepared would be an understatement. The place still looked like a building site, we still had some painting bits to do, cleaning, and food to prepare for opening night (we were doing kebabs that evening). We had no float, no till set up, had saw dust everywhere, chairs and tables piled high. No loo roll in the toilets, no soap, no hand towels, no bins. I am not 100% sure how we did it, but I remember Al and Richard having to spend the morning tweaking a few building bits, while Mel and I flicked the last few bits of paint onto those much needed places. I then ventured into town to buy the toilet bits, grab some float and last minute extras for the food offering that evening.
Some refurb progress, new beer lines and new floor
When I returned, Richard was frantically trying to get food ready, while Al and Mel were
throwing anything building related up into the flat, rubbish into a heap at one corner of the beer garden and making what was left fit into places that made the pub look like a pub. 3pm, one hour until opening. Mel was cleaning all public areas, I was setting up the bar, Al was cordoning off the rubbish in the garden, screwing the last few floor boards to the floor in the ladies loo. 3.30pm, Al shouts that Mel and I should grab 5 mins and change ready for opening. At 3.45pm, I am writing a welcome note on the board in the bar, with an opening price list, while Mel is running a mop around all public areas, Al is still moving anything non-pub up into the flat. At 4.05pm (five mins late), I opened the door for the first time trading at The Black River Inn with Al watching and photographing the momentous moment; Mel was just finishing the mopping. Phew, we had done it; just!
Opening day still remains ingrained in our memories. Meeting so many people, new names,
local and slightly further afield. Being asked a million questions on our plans. At the close of play that evening, the 4 of us were absolutely shattered, but chuffed with what we had achieved, excited at the prospect of what was to come, and definitely ready for bed.
The pub opens, opening day and the day after