Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

Reader diary

19 March 2003 by
Reader diary

And here it all ends - my last Reader Diary. It has been fun, often time-consuming, but definitely worthwhile.

Being able to put my thoughts and feelings down on paper has made me see things more clearly. This column was always a favourite read of mine, even before I started to write my diary.

I was intrigued to know about others' lives in the catering trade and how mine compares, and, to be honest, I think I'm doing something wrong.

I work, on average, a 60-hour week. I finish work, come home, clean and tidy, iron and cook, and look after my children and my husband. I'm always bogged down with paperwork and a take-away pizza is the height of luxury.

I don't get to go for long walks in the hills with my family. And I don't get to have "business lunches with associates". I'm usually lucky to grab a quick cup of coffee and a mouthful of free samples with a rep while working.

We're always short-staffed and stretching to make ends meet. I'd be rich if it weren't for the Government. I get really angry with the way the Government treats small businesses, but I don't know enough to retaliate - and, if I did, who'd give a damn?

Staff can be a pain in the arse at times; so can I, but I wouldn't swap them for the world. I have great respect for my staff and value their input.

I wish the customers could be more polite and keep their children under control. We're a restaurant, not a bloody crèche, and why can't they tidy up their mess? I would.

Truthfully, I've had enough. So I'm buggering off to Oasis in the Lake District for four days with my family, to relax and rejuvenate. I can't go far; I have to be a phone call away in case anything happens. And I couldn't go abroad - the pressure would kill me.

I work hard at what I do so I can stay good at what I do. The restaurant has gained a good reputation, as it had in the early days. I have seen how easy it is to lose that, and I'm damned sure it's not going to happen again.

Just enough time to thank the staff - to Michelle and Sharon, for all your hard work; and Mrs G, you know I'll never let you retire; Sophie, one day you'll make a great doctor; and Matthew, are you sure you want to be a maths teacher? Dan, don't do anything stupid in the Army; and Gary, just a little bit faster and you're there.

And Shaun, you know that'll make you go blind?

Helen Cutts is chef-proprietor of the Greenhouse restaurant in Warkworth, Northumberland

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Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

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