The situation of the pub at the moment is that it's completely emptied out, including the bar. It's an absolute shell but it's very tidy, although it probably won't stay like that! We are trying to dry it out, but when the weather's like this it takes longer and longer because the air's quite damp and the dehumidifier keeps breaking down.
Dealing with the aftermath of the flooding is just an enormous task. Earlier this week people came and removed the seal of the walk-in freezer. They'd taken all the electric bits out a couple of weeks ago, but the amount of water under the seal was amazing. It's also expensive to replace.
Last Saturday we went on a big protest against building on flood plains and walked to the local council premises. There were about 1,500 to 2,000 people, even though it was raining. We got involved with it because we're part of the community and wanted to show our solidarity. They don't clean out the drains anymore and they don't dredge the rivers, so when it does rain we've got a problem with flooding. I've cleaned out my drains in the car parks several times but it still floods, so there are clearly problems there.
After laying off my head chef, I've had to lay off my cleaner who's worked here for 27 years. It's a sad state of affairs but until you have seen disaster like this, you don't look at your insurance policy in that much depth. You have to show that you're actually trying to reduce your costs, and there isn't much work for people to do.
I really miss the customers. A lot of elderly people used us and they are great, I miss the chats, like asking after Alf or George and seeing what's going on. We are trying to keep our spirits going by doing Christmas menus, and just being ready. I am also meeting with the council to discuss getting a grant for marketing the restaurant when it re-opens. At the moment it's all going a bit slowly.