Friday, March 23, 2007

Muizenberg or Muizenburg!

Grant was very lucky to get the house in Muizenberg, a thatched three bed house just back from the waterfront overlooking the sea (at an angle) wooden floors throughout, walled patio at the back with a Jacuzzi. What more could we ask for as our first house in Africa? Plus it was less than a hundred yards to the pub. The Pub was called Bulldogs and run by Reg.
Reg was an ex bank manager who fancied something different after years of refusing loans to all who asked, so he took on this franchise pub. What a mistake that was for him. First of all he had absolutely no idea what was going on in the catering trade and on top of that he had zero personality as a landlord of a drinking establishment of any type. Then to make matters worse the franchise was a complete con loosing him everything he had saved for over all those years as a Bank manager. Fortunately for him he was able to get his job back at the bank, so off he went never to be seen in a pub again.
Craig was the next guy to take it on and I have a huge amount of admiration for this guy.
He was a very tall thick set guy with long hair all the way down to his bum. His dream was to have a pub themed on Surfing with everything to do with the sport hanging from the walls and ceiling with TV's scattered about showing extreme sports on a constant loop. It took him a record 1 week to open and on the opening night he was a wreck. When we arrived for the opening night his eyes were sunken and his trade mark bum length hair was greasy and he stank. He had worked non stop and I mean non stop for 24 hours a day with a total of 4 hours sleep, resulting in him having a nervous breakdown on the opening night.

In the end it was a massive success and the place was packed day and night. Ruth Grant and I must have been his best customers as we were always in there after a trip drinking to all hours of the night and morning. A few months later he turned the cavernous upstairs into a Backpackers with another smaller bar and pool table where we virtually lived. His big problem was that he wanted to do food and had no idea how to do it and on top of that he was out of cash to build a kitchen yet alone employ a chef. What he did in the end was pure genius in my mind. I returned from a trip one Thursday and went to the pub as usual to find menu's all over the place for Pizza's, a whole range of them and a good price as well. I asked how he managed to get the funding to which he said "follow me". We walked through to the kitchen which was empty and then through the back door, and on the other side of the road at the back of the pub was a small arcade of shops with a pizzeria in the middle. He had negotiated a deal with them to get 2o% discount and then marked up the price by 10% above their prices giving him a whopping 30% for doing nothing except walk over the road to collect them. as I said Genius. I would love to know what he is doing now as I can be sure it would be a success whatever he does.

Muizenberg was on the edge of what was known to be False Bay. All along the bay were to Cape point were fabulous little seaside towns including Kalk bay, Vishoek and Simonstown. At kalk Bay we had The Brass Bell (pictured left) where we could sit and drink with the waves crashing over the wall and into the pub as well sometimes if the windows weren't shut. Then further along the famous Jackass Penguins at Simonstown. It really was a dream come true for Ruth and I and I shall remember those days forever with fondness.


ExAfrica said...

I remember those those days with fondness, too. It was a lovely spot, and a gorgeous house. In fact, a few years later we looked at the house when we were in the market. Sadly it was slightly out of our high-end range and was not a contender. That and the fact that the block of flats next door now housed Nigerian Drug lords. But it was a nice house.

ExAfrica said...

Go on then ... Post!

Our fearless leader is bachelor for a day and hasn't even bothered to post.

Now that I've updated mine, I'm free to harangue.

Head of the Family said...

If you are a bachelor, then you need to go out and party not stay in!!!