A whole new world…
When I say ‘a new world’ I don’t mean that we’ve had some kind of epiphany and developed special, new techniques for making beds or cooking breakfasts; what’s different is us and our life in St Ives as opposed to when we opened up last season.
Still not yet able to look back on early last year with any more than forced laughter I am very, very grateful to be this side of it. As we settle into another season I can’t help but laugh at our learning curve. To all you office employees it must seem ridiculous that there is any more than one efficient way to put out cereal, cut fruit, clean a toilet or shop at the greengrocers: How wrong you are and how wrong I was.
It’s funny, as we come up to Easter 2012 I remember the little sign I felt compelled to put up in the breakfast room last year – the one that said “Please be patient with us, we have a full house and you may have to wait a little longer than usual for your breakfast”, such was my terror that people were going to be waiting for their full English for hours while Danny and I grappled with overdone poached eggs and raw sausages in the kitchen.
I should assure those of you who haven’t yet stayed with us that this didn’t happen but that was the worry; a worry so intense that I believe I got about 4 hours sleep a night for the first month as I lived in horror of over-sleeping. A luxury that would have much more dire consequences here than rocking up to my desk an hour late and missing a weekly status meeting.
There was a brief period where Danny and I split the workload per room rather than the standard ‘I do bedrooms Danny does bathrooms’ routine we fell into. Yells of “Pass me the squeedgy brush” and “Have you finished with the dustpan and brush yet” echoed up and down the stairs until we put that one down to experience.
Then there’s learning about St Ives in the Summer which makes Oxford Street at Christmas look quiet. We quickly understood that to try and park our car before 8pm meant that we would have to park in the next village over and while the whole world has been doing their shopping online for years there’s not two people that appreciated a delivery service more than we did last August.
Last year we opened on 8th April already needing a holiday – we didn’t then get one until mid-October. This year we’ve had a 3 month break, we’ve arranged a quick jaunt to France at the end of May to see my mother-in-law and a break early October to celebrate my parents 40th wedding anniversary. The season in front of us stretches out like a gentle, winding road rather than a large, craggy mountain path.
The road this year is also strewn with friends – an ingredient that was sorely missed last year as we hugged guests at the door and begged them not to leave as they were the only ones standing between Danny and I killing each other and offering us some semblence of a social life. I can call at least 10 people for a coffee date this year as opposed to wandering St Ives like a lost tourist (which I often was), ducking into the back of a café to read my book and escape for 5 minutes.
Bring on the season that’s what I say. It’s got off to a grand start with new breakfast options, a great flapjack recipe, the discovery that making gluten free cookies is easier than I thought it would be and lovely guests. The rooms are finished (finally) and efficient cleaning and cooking systems are in place.
For all those of you laughing and suggesting that we’ll be singing a different tune in September I would probably agree with you, but right now we are a million miles from where we were last year and, as far as comparisons go, that has got to be a good start.