Tuesday, 28 July 2015

and looks at them from both sides now

Last time I mentioned that we are dipping into the B&B world before our building works start; well it all begins today!!! No more time to practise our fry ups, guests are due this afternoon. Yikes!!  I'm quite confident about the room, we've had guests stay in it a few times already and it's got the thumbs up from them, and I think it's clean enough to pass muster with most "Four in a Bed" contestants. What is unknown is how we'll cope with the logistics of breakfast. I've watched that show often enough to know the pitfalls, overcooking, undercooking, big waits, burnt offerings. Double Yikes!!!!!
I'm also hoping that we can deliver on what I think is the most important thing, customer service. We're just back from a trip to Wales. It goes without saying that we had exemplary care from GlamourPuss and the Prof. but that's different because they're family, what of the other places we ate and stayed?

She controls the weather you know

Watermelon daiquiri, delicious but deadly

The Prof does food too

GlamourPuss grew this. The rose

Well as ever our stopover at The Bear's Paw http://thebearspaw.co.uk was a positive experience, it's very comfortable, the food is good not ground breaking, it's conveniently placed on our journey, but those are not our reasons for staying.  Because of the reliability, yes, but above all the friendliness. We are all -  me, MrS and DogStarke  thoroughly welcomed. Now it might be that they have a magnificent guest welcome training program and everyone has been taught how to behave? But it seems genuine; and there doesn't seem to be a high turnover of staff which suggests it's a happy place.   If the smile is fake,  it's fooled me.

On our way home we stayed at The Castle in Conwy http://www.castlewales.co.uk. It's an old hotel which is being brought back to life by its owners. Its rooms are more individual, with large pieces of antique furniture and original windows. There's no lift because it's listed but we were offered help with our bags so don't let that put you off. We had a lovely dinner and were delighted to be able to have your breakfast in the courtyard area, which meant DogS could stay with us. But once again it was the friendly helpful attitudes of the staff which sticks in my mind, not least during  that al fresco breakfast

Conwy castle

and a bit later on

 Our next overnight stop was another lovely, family one, with the  MacStarkes this time, catching up on their travels  and then we were back on the old familiar road home. Even though the day was damp it was hot so when we got peckish we looked for somewhere DogS could join us indoors. And she was very welcome. But... They forgot to take our order, then one set of cutlery and whilst the open kitchen is fashionable,  I don't want to lose the fourth wall to the extent that the owners are discussing their business accounts at the next table. That's not a thing now is it????
 The food was tasty as always and could be managed with minimal cutlery (fingers for me, fork for the more fastidious MrS). I know, we could have asked for another set but the staff were not that attentive and we were hungry...
It's a well reviewed place, if you go there you'll get a good meal, and maybe good service. But it left us with a sour taste.

So here I am, waiting and hoping. That we can deliver a good taste.

PS they've arrived!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

and resolves to check opening hours

It's been all change. Nine months of commuting are over and now our new(ish) house is our permanent  home. Our planned extension and conversion is going to  turn everything topsy turvy but until building work begins we are going to start offering B&B using the existing spare room. This has meant making a few cosmetic changes and lots of breakfast practice. So to work off all those extra calories we've had lots of lovely walks . Dogstarke has been having a wonderful time;  you can read about them here http://sheilingchat.blogspot.co.uk

And as we're not likely to have a "proper" holiday this year  I've been especially keen to have little adventures slightly further afield; soothing my itchy(and tired) feet by exploring the local area.

Along the way we've had plenty of cups of tea.

At Airds hotel http://www.airds-hotel.com

Dolce Vita, Oban http://www.dolcevitaoban.com/find-us/

sometimes at home

Mmm, not this sort
And there might have been the odd slice of cake....

too delicious to capture at The Temple, Oban https://www.facebook.com/SeafoodTemple

But it's not all been tea and cake, we've visited some local heritage sites

that's the cottage Taigh Iseabal Dhaibh at Lismore Gaelic Heritage Centre http://www.lismoregaelicheritagecentre.org, - from the cafe

St Conan's Kirk, Lochawe http://www.stconanskirk.org.uk - it has a tearoom

I have a guide to some of the less well known Parisian museums, and i've really enjoyed visiting them, so I've rooted around for similar sites here.

Research delivered what promised to be a great little heritage centre at Bunessan on Mull,  http://romhc.org.uk/index.php?id=2   I thought it would be particularly appealing to Mr S with his background in Archives, and so feeling fidgety, persuaded him there was no time to lose and off we sped to catch the ferry.  The crossing was lovely, sitting out on the top deck, and the bus connection worked out well and we arrived at Bunessan and there was the Heritage centre.

But first, I wanted lunch. And what did I see? "Community cafe today - All welcome".  And indeed we were, even DogStarke.

So after a very pleasant lunch

I *could* have eaten all of this

 we made our way up to the Heritage centre. A little concerned that the rain seemed to be starting a few hours earlier than forecast.  I'd persuaded MrS he didn't need his coat. Anyway it was just a short walk  to the centre and then we'd be back indoors.

                                                                         It was closed.
                                                                              Had closed before lunch.

                                                                                     Oh dear.

But all was not lost. We'd noticed a charity shop and decided to go for a rootle about. http://www.mict.co.uk/islandcastaways/

I bought myself a couple of souvenirs. One practical,

the other a little less so, but it does look pretty on my bar.

no whisky left inside

And guess what? I checked that website when we got home, the Heritage Centre does open in the afternoon. It's a small village so maybe the custodian was helping with the lunch?  But no matter.
MrS really wants to visit which means we will just *have* to go back.
                                                 And next time we'll stay over.

                                                              A good result all round.