With 3 lockdowns behind us we're coming out firing on all cylinders!
2020 was a huge wake up call to everyone.
The first lockdown came as an enormous shock and sent us reeling. With our guests in as much shock as we were, we spent the first month or two coping with guest enquiries and refunding/moving bookings. Then came the prospect of reopening looming: with risk assessments, cleaning protocols and check lists for our cleaning team. Brain power was on overload! So much time was spent coping with the admin that it took us a while to realise what else we could be achieving during the downtime.
By Lockdown 3 we were well practiced.
With our assessments, protocols and check-lists in place, and our refund/rescheduling of bookings well-rehearsed the admin side went seamlessly, and our disappointed guests were as practiced and accepting as we were. So we seized the day and took the opportunity to achieve a huge amount of unplanned for maintenance.
In Lockdown 1 we attempted to install a new pool liner. We had got as far as ordering the liner, arranging the date and emptying the pool - but the company failed to deliver. So, with only a week to go until reopening we had to rapidly refill and reheat the vast volume of water in preparation for our guests. This was excellent practice for us, we learnt how to heat the water quickly using 2 wood fired boilers and our ground source heat pump.
So in Lockdown 3, we seized the moment, and successfully went through the same procedure again - but this time the company delivered! Along with the new liner we had the inspiration to make the changing room even more user friendly. We installed privacy frosting to all the windows and fitted additional mirrors and hairdryers.
So now you have the choice of drying your hair with the GHD dryers in the changing room or in your bedrooms, pure luxury!
Whist plenty was going on in the pool, the house was also a hive of activity.
Every room was visited by a paint brush or two, some more extensively than others. Cans of paint, varnish and tubes of silicone were emptied in the necessary places and Bedroom 4, the Snug and Utility Room were given the full works.
Several of the bedrooms had their bedside sockets relocated and upgraded, so no more grovelling around hunting the socket! All bedrooms now boast having sockets with USB A & C ports.
With favourable weather gardening became irresistible and addictive; once we'd started, we couldn't stop!
We always thought the garden beautiful but on closer inspection we were amazed at how the plants were encroaching on all the paths and the beautiful 'hard structure' was fast disappearing. The original landscaping of TCB's garden was completed many, many years ago and whilst it still looked gorgeous, we realised it needed a severe haircut! There was no chainsaw massacre, but the big loppers were deployed, and huge quantities of shrubs and bushes were removed. Paths were re-laid, paving regrouted and cobbles repaired.
We've had no need to follow Jo Wicks' exercise program; we've been fully engaged in our own 'moving barrow loads of stone and gravel' in and out of the garden - I've never been so fit!
So it is with optimism we look to the future, we can honestly say that TCB has never looked so good. Whilst it's been very tough not having guests, or income to keep us going, we are so proud of all we have achieved.
We've not just survived, we've come out stronger and fitter and very much looking forward to the enormous reward of happy guests returning.
And if there is ever another lockdown......you can guarantee we'll find more we can improve on!