The sunny side of work

01 January 2000
The sunny side of work

Barbara Baldon, proprietor of The Lodge, Tal-y-Bont, Gwynedd, sees a few personality changes for the better

Isn't it fun being a hotelier when the weather is this good? The entire hotel-staying and dining-out public seem to have undergone personality transplants. All my customers have been smiling and our residents have come away to enjoy themselves, which as we all know, isn't always the case.

Of course, there are always one or two who stand out of the crowd. We've had the Mr "there isn't enough fluff on my towels" and Mrs "why isn't the central heating on?" but, to be truthful, I have felt too "smiley" to let them upset my equilibrium. I have beamed, obliged or not, as was the case with the heating, and merrily gone on my shorts-wearing way.

Which brings me nicely to the subject of dress. Much has been written in the national press of the dress of the public, but what about the poor guys in the kitchen? I can only applaud their stoicism because in all those kitchens without air-conditioning, there have been some very hot, sweaty people who have uncomplainingly (well most of the time) got on with it. It has been hard to insist that the girls cover their legs and arms, but I drew the line at one of our women washer-ups who came in the tiniest of handkerchief tops and shorts exposing young long legs! (It was not jealousy, as was suggested by some here.)

Occupancy has been fantastic, and our garden setting has drawn guests from more conventional buildings. Each evening contented tourists have sat on their verandas, chatting to their neighbours. The silent breakfasts of earlier months are but a memory. We have been visited by friends we had forgotten existed, and our home has been full of undemanding relatives.

Husband Simon and I even managed a day off to follow a leisure pursuit of our choice. I went on a mountain scramble and abseiled; he birdwatched in Conwy.

The staff are brown and cheerful, the purchase ledger is looking tidy and forward bookings are up a good percentage on last year. We feel cautiously confident that we can spend some money this winter on updating our phone system and restaurant chairs. And my niece got four As in her A levels.

I know I should say we need some rain for the gardens and the farmers, but just now we're happy hoteliers and I wish it could be like this all the time. Now who did I say had had the personality transplant?

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