Wow, 2020, where does one begin? I can only assume that this is a year that no one will want to repeat. Certainly not the chancellor, the NHS or any of the poor folk that lost someone they love or their business, livelihood, or immediate prospects. So much for the year of the rat, although I am sure that there has been many that have prospered in the face of adversity or because of the adversity, as is often the case.
Scotland will not remember 2020 as ‘the Year of Coasts and Waters;’ or will anyone remember that 2020 was the year the Tories took us out of Europe, and I am sure we will all try hard to forget the American 2020 presidential election and the unusual circumstance that prevailed afterwards.
For us here at Coul House 2020 started off as usual with great pace, it looked like 2020 was going to be a very prosperous year, with an abundance of forward bookings throughout the year and no major building works in the budget, I was looking forward to a relatively stress free year. Susannah and I even managed a long weekend to Oslo mid-February, blissfully ignorant of what was to come.
I assumed that here in the UK we would be immune to succumbing to a pandemic. Having listened to the media over the years reporting on outbreaks in foreign lands that dominate the news for a period, before becoming less of a story, naively I imagined this virus outbreak in Wuhan China would be similar.
Mid-March came and a news flash announces that restaurants and bars must close, no mention initially of hotels, but what are we without our restaurant and bar? The hotel is empty, bookings are cancelling rapidly, deposits are being refunded and the staff are wondering what is going to happen to their jobs and to Coul House Hotel. I tried, as always, to be optimistic; people are asking questions I did not know the answers to, and I cannot even blag something convincingly. Then the chancellor announced the furlough scheme, and a huge wait fell off our shoulders. The hotel closed March 23rd and we did not reopen till July 15th.
Who would have thought four months “off” work could be so stressful? After the initial two months of uncertainty and several sleepless nights I did come to terms with having a sabbatical, thankfully the weather was beautiful, my girls and my father were all here with us during the entire lockdown which was lovely and I managed to relax and enjoy a few barbeques on the front lawn, fitness workouts in the Octagonal Room and “master” a couple of Tik Tok dance routines with Aurora`s help and much laughter from all the family to boot. I think my father rather enjoyed taking up residence in the Master Bedroom and particularly enjoyed eating his way through the scones, shortbread, and desserts that we had in stock!
We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone of our fabulous guests for your loyal support and encouragement over the years and particularly over the last eight months. We are all feeling much more optimistic as we look forward to a new year, and as it happens a bicentenary year for Coul House. We are at the early stages of planning a series of bicentenary events to celebrate the house`s history, including Georgian Gourmet Dinner Parties, Music Recitals and a rendition of a long lost play written by the original owner of the house, Sir George Stewart Mackenzie.
As I said at the end of last year`s letter, if you are looking to get away from it all and bask in the relaxing atmosphere that is Coul House then give us a call; we will be here for you when you need us most.