A Life in The Day of Maria Carroll
September 23, 2016
Unlike Peter Linacre, my boss – the MD of The New Pub Company, I’m a creature of the night, so mornings are a slow burn for me. My mornings start about 6.30 with, as you might expect, a quick online check on the previous day’s sales and a scan of overnight emails, just in case Peter has had a sleepless night! My drive to work is usually a chance to speak with Peter prior to the start of my working day.
I arrive at the office at about 9.30 and prioritise my workload for the day. This isn’t as dull as you might imagine – it’s not just a case of deciding which spreadsheets require immediate attention (although I will admit that Excel is the love of my life!).
Working as part of a very small, but perfectly formed, support function for the pubs is wonderfully varied. Of course preparing the weekly and monthly trading flash reports and the monthly management accounts is the mainstay of my working day but it’s not all number crunching.
I speak with each of our site managers every few days – covering paperwork queries, IT, training requirements, HR and a whole host of other issues, from wedges of lemon stuck in glass washers to where to buy the best Christmas trees (although part of me wonders if they only ask because I drive an estate car big enough to accommodate a 7ft tree!).
Every month Peter and I formally review P&Ls, trading performance, social media activity, customer reviews and site vision with each of our managers. We also have regular management meetings, with all our managers and the senior team, usually at the offices of one of our suppliers – our recent meeting at Sipsmiths ended with a tasting in their distillery.
All this gives me a welcome break from my beloved excel and ensures I’m up to speed with what’s happening and not out of touch, cloistered in the office.
Evenings give way to my creative side (no, not creative accounting!). I am responsible for our marketing. All the flyers, posters and emails you see from our sites are my handiwork. I have spent many an enjoyable evening fiddling about on publisher putting together Christmas menus in June (with my Christmas albums playing on iplayer, just to get me in the mood), or researching beer tasting notes in March for our beer festivals in the summer.
If I plan my creative evenings well they coincide with live music playing downstairs in The Glasshouse (The Mac Big Band, a wonderful seventeen piece jazz band, are a particular favourite – no need to turn on iplayer when they are playing – their marvellous huge sound travels beautifully up the stairs!)
Sounds like all work and no play? I’m a keen gardener and over the years have discovered the roof terrace outside our office is the ideal place to bring on seedlings. Spring and early summer evenings you will find me on the roof potting and re-potting hundreds of gazanias, geraniums, lobelia, dahlias and begonias on the roof with a nice glass of something crisp and cold.
Summer weekends are often spent at the seaside – more often than not with Gill Ruse, our payroll manager, and her camper van “Hetty”.
Or in one of our pub gardens – The Hare and Hounds is such a firm favourite they even hosted my mum’s 80th birthday party.
Winter weekends find me out and about doing a little market research with my mum at lunchtimes on Saturdays or with friends in the evenings. My friends thinks it’s hilarious that I can’t walk into a pub without checking all the lightbulbs are in working order, but working with Peter for thirteen years has taken its toll!