Spotlight On…Jayne Bray, Director & Owner of Cobblestones Bar and Grill, Sowerby Bridge Canal Basin

What’s the best bit about your role?

I really enjoy welcoming customers and watching them leave happy. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing our guests enjoy their food and drinks. I often have a little chat and a laugh with them and I genuinely feel as I watch them leave that they have really enjoyed themselves and their time with us.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

“Laugh out Loud” what spare time?

Setting up a new Restaurant and Bar is always time consuming, however on the rare occasions that I do have time off, I really enjoy going for walks in the local countryside with my husband and my dog.

What’s your favourite drink if you have one

It has to be a Mai Tai and our bar tenders make the most delicious cocktails around, so I am very lucky!

Favourite food

My favourite food is actually Sushi, which I do struggle to get locally. However our chefs do make some delicious seafood specials  (which I have to sample first…of course!!)

Favourite local restaurant / pub and why

Other than Cobblestones of course….it has to be The Maypole Inn, in Warley. It is our little escape, although a lot of our customers are actually in there, they are also our friends and we can always relax and enjoy ourselves.

The food is always good and the staff are very supportive of Cobblestones too. We support each other.

What’s been your most embarrassing / funny / proud / memorable experience?  (choose whichever most appropriate)

As much as I would love to talk to you about an embarrassing situation as there have been many in my life. I have chosen to write about a  memorable one instead.

As a struggling new restaurant and bar trying to develop a name for ourselves in Sowerby Bridge, we found ourselves unfortunately flooded in the Boxing Day floods of 2016.  We had a very busy day planned with many bookings, however the canal basin started to flood, as the river broke it’s bank straight into the canal with nowhere to go except the basin (first time since 1968..concerning as that was the year my husband and myself were born). After moving as much furniture upstairs as we could, we finally decided to send our staff home to enjoy Boxing Day with their families. However my husband, myself and our little dog could not leave. We hadn’t spent the last  7 months trying to build Cobblestones to just leave it to be destroyed in one day. We watched miserably as the water started to rise and threaten to destroy our beautiful bar area.  We slowly made our way upstairs watching from the steps until we could watch no longer.  We decided that there was nothing more that we could do until it stopped rising, we opened up one of our many bottles of wine from a fully stocked Boxing Day Bar and sat down to wait.

Finally, the water stopped rising! Yes, we lost the electrics, fridges, kitchen equipment, food, trade etc. etc. But we were determined!!  We opened up the doors to the canal and started to mop and brush the water back out before it got chance to settle and cause even more toxic damage.  The following day all our Fabulous Staff came in, mops in hand and we cleaned and cleaned for 3 days straight!!  We were very blessed to be open again in a few days, just in time for a fully booked New Year’s Eve.

To this day, we remain extremely grateful, that we were not as badly affected as many other businesses in Sowerby Bridge and the surrounding areas. We only hope that for everyone’s sake, this never happens again.

Favourite Book – why?

The Harry Potter Books. I just love magic and fantasy, they remind me of my childhood when everything was so much simpler then. Not to mention, my wild imagination of fairies and witches back then.

However…Fifty Shades is also one of my favourites, if I am allowed to admit that out loud!

Desert Island Disc?

It has to be “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding

I lived in New York for 6 years in my early 20’s and this song always reminds me of the hot and sunny days at the beach.

What’s at the top of your ‘must have’ experiences list still to do?

I would love to jump out of an aeroplane. I will definitely do it one day.

What are you most excited about regarding Halifax this year?

The Regeneration of the Peace Hall. Not only are they conserving the beautiful grade 1 Listed Building but they are regenerating the whole area bringing Bars, Restaurants, events and learning opportunities to this lovely space. This can only help to encourage more visitors to Halifax and the surrounding areas including Sowerby Bridge, I hope.

Thanks to Jayne for sharing your favourite things with us.  Your account of the day of the floods is frightening and it’s amazing that you’ve managed to come back from this dreadful situation.  Congratulations!  Long may you continue!

Liz Kenny

May 2017