The Hotel TerraVina Blog

All change in 2018- a momentous decision has been made as to the future of Hotel TerraVina

In a number of recent blog posts I have alluded to the fact that Gerard and I have had much time to reflect, re-assess and re-balance our lives in the past few months and it has often felt like a journey that we are embarking on; sometimes it is as if that journey is fraught with challenge, sometimes adventures and at other times excitement. In recent weeks it has been an emotional roller coaster of all three, as we have made a momentous decision to change the direction of the business. We have been mentally preparing for Gerard’s major op (taking place today, 2nd Feb), as well as going through a two week HR process, informing all of the team of the planned changes we have decided to make.

We have been thrilled and delighted by the positivity and excitement of the team at the news that the business is changing and whilst it is very sad that we will be losing the wine team, (all of whom will go on to new adventures and thrilling career prospects in London and beyond), as well as a couple of other evening only staff at the end of February, the rest of the team are all staying and are energised, invigorated and excited by the plans- their positive reaction has been more than we could have hoped for.

Last Sunday we hosted a wine dinner, filled with friendship and laughter as six of Gerard’s much loved protégées returned for one last wine adventure here at TerraVina, with many loyal and stalwart supporters of us and the business. Gerard was well enough to be with us and it was a fantastic evening and a fitting way to end the series of wine dinners that we have held once a month for the past ten years. We decided it was the most fitting event to start to tell our guests and friends the news of the planned changes and whilst there were tears and gasps of surprise, there was also much compassion and understanding for the difficult decision we have made.

On Monday of this week we told the news to our other loyal, lovely guests via social media, our newsletter and personal emails from me to any guests who had booked an event with us over the next 12 months and beyond. To say that the rest of this past week has been anything other than one filled with emotion, drama and exhaustion would not be over dramatizing it. Rowena and Marie have been super stars. They have worked around the clock, fielding calls, answering queries and taking bookings galore, as past guests are so keen to come back for one last stay before we re-open our doors on 5th March, (yes really that soon!) as a B&B and all day kitchen café, open 8am-5pm and thus no longer serving dinner.

I am operating on auto pilot as I am so overwhelmed by the literally thousands of messages Gerard and I have received supporting our decision, the palatable excitement around the changes announced and the kindness of so, so many people. It really has been a momentous decision for us to make, but it feels like the right one and will give me the time I need to spend with my mum and with Gerard whilst he is recovering….. his operation today, (I am writing this to keep my hand busy, to stop me chewing my nails and pacing the floor!), is 10-12 hours long and the long recovery at least 12 months or more before he will be able to eat properly again, with puréed foods the order of the day for a little while… for someone who’s career has been so food and wine focused, this is truly a lifestyle change, but Gerard is taking it all in his stride and remains as positive and upbeat as possible considering the circumstances.

Whilst “Thank you” doesn’t seem adequate – Gerard and I are truly thankful for having met so many wonderful people who have come through the door of TerraVina as guests and left as friends. It has been a pleasure to own and manage TerraVina over the past ten years, to have mentored and nurtured so many young people and help them at the start of their careers and to watch with pride as they gained their confidence, learnt new life skills, left the “nest” and have succeed on their chosen career paths, many of them to heady heights. It has been a privilege to have created TerraVina and to have had you all share the journey with us- Thank you one and all from  the bottom of our hearts.

Watch this space for details and updates on the new business…. we will soon have further news of its progress, along with the new name and other snippets of news and information. We hope that many, many of you will still visit for a B&B stayover and if close by, you will pop in to sample the delights of the kitchen café, still with Gavin, Lucy and Moyra and their team at the helm, along with Marie, Rowena, Kayleigh and Ana front of house and of course Lin and Pearl still with us too, to name just a few.

Until next time

N and G x

 

 

 

 

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Exciting news to start January 2018

Happy new year to you all and we hope that all of the Christmas festivities went well… for us it was an odd one. For the first time in many years Gerard and I were not together over the festive time as I was working at the hotel, with the help of Romané, our son and our lovely team and Gerard was recuperating at home with my parents… in fact both he and my mum had chemo treatment in the immediate lead up to Christmas day and so dad was in charge of them both. New Year’s eve was similar, except I was “flying solo” as Romy went back home to London to enjoy some time with his university pals. I was very grateful to have such a lovely group of guests stay on NY eve- they, along with our marvellous team, ensured it was a great end to what has been a fairly traumatic year all told and thus as we start a new year, Gerard and I have had much to discuss and reconsider and for sure 2018 is going to bring some very real and positive changes both personally and professionally and we will share some of these changes with you as the weeks and months progress.

For the start of January I had a very important mission… Gerard has been in hibernation since the start of his chemo treatment- the only places he has ventured out to being the doctor’s surgery and the hospital and gentle walks in the forest with our beloved Boxer dog Malmsey, when he has felt strong and well enough… thus when we were told that Gerard was amongst four prominent figures from the British wine trade to receive the ‘Ordre du Mérite Agricole’ we were thrilled. The ceremony was attended by the French Ambassador, M. Jean-Pierre Jouyet at W8 restaurant in London on Monday 8th January and Gerard was determined to be well enough to attend…however, his consultants were not so sure he would be able to so soon after his last and final treatment, thus I had to come up with a plan to appease the doctors and medical team, who have all worked so brilliantly to look after Gerard in recent months AND ensure Gerard could attend to receive his award.

I planned the trip to London with military precision and covered all eventualities… I drove Gerard to London, to ensure no contact with anyone poorly on the train…. I picked a hotel with car parking and taxi rank on the doorstep and with a central location, close to a pharmacy and hospital. I packed a suitcase full of medication, chemo alert card, lists of drugs recently administered and clothes for all weathers. In case Gerard was well enough to attend the ceremony and spend time with Romané in the evening, I booked a restaurant with secluded tables and booths and asked that we be completely isolated from any other diners. We took taxis across London so as not to have to endure the tube and all the germs it harbours; in short, I thought of everything I could to ensure Gerard was as safe and well as he possibly could be… it paid off as he had a great day. Seeing friends and past colleagues at the event really boosted him up. We left after lunch with ample time for him to rest and relax before we met with Romy for an early dinner and Gerard was back at the hotel and tucked up in bed by 9.30pm…..I was like a demon, planning, stressing and keeping a watchful eye on him, but it was so lovely to see him back amongst his wine industry friends that all the planning was worth it.

Speaking at the ceremony, His Excellency, the French Ambassador in the UK M. Jean-Pierre Jouyet commented, “The ‘Mérite Agricole’ is highly regarded in France due to the importance of the agricultural and rural community. Therefore, I am delighted to present this medal of ‘Chevalier of the Mérite Agricole’ to Gerard who has done so much to promote French wines.” It was an emotional occasion for Gerard and it was great to have played a part in ensuring he could be there to receive the award in person.

That said, as with all the best laid plans…….on Tuesday morning before Gerard and I drove home, we met with Romy for breakfast and both Romy and I had woken up with shocking colds… despite all of the careful planning, Gerard was surrounded by us both coughing and sneezing, but amazingly, so far he has resisted catching our germs and is doing very well and already planning another London trip at the end of the month, before his operation ensures he is out of action for a number of months!

Do keep an eye on our newsletters, the blog and our social media pages as we have much to share with you in the coming months

Until then we hope to welcome some of you back to TerraVina very soon and happy new year from us all

Nx

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TerraVina bids farewell to 2017 with relief in the hope that 2018 can only be better!

As 2017 draws to a close we will be very pleased to see out this year and welcome in 2018, which we hope can only bring positivity instead of tragedy, adventures instead of challenges and hope instead of despair…. For so many across the world 2017 has been a horrible year and here in our little corner of the New Forest we too have had our fill of more downs than ups…. The most horrible tragedy being the loss of our dearly loved Assistant Manager, Ross in early Spring- he was taken from us far too young and we are all still reeling from the shock of his passing away before he had even had chance to reach 30. We think of him every day and talk of him often, determined to keep his memory alive and vivid.

The implications of Brexit will of course continue into 2018 and the impact this is having on the business is very hard. Thus economic forces, as well as personal challenges have made us reflect on priorities and the future moving forward into 2018 and so certainly during this coming year there will be a number of exciting changes within TerraVina and we will share these with you as time progresses….. watch this space and do read our regular newsletters for updates.

In the meantime, Gerard and I must thank our lovely TerraVina team for their unstinting hard work, loyalty and commitment, in what has been our 10th Anniversary year and undoubtedly the year that has been the hardest, not only for us personally, but also for the business…… we have seen off rumours of divorce, I can only assume this rumour came about due to Gerard’s absence from the hotel, firstly due to him travelling far and wide across the world in the early part of the year and since the summer due to his illness. Other rumours abound that there has been a sale of the business to some anonymous buyers…… again all untrue and without any foundation. We remain very much here and ready for new adventures within TerraVina during 2018 and beyond. We have survived suppliers price increases, guests’ demands for lower rates and a turbulent 12 months and through it all our team have been brilliant in their determination to ensure TerraVina survived the storm- thank you to them all.

Thank you too to all of our guests who continue to return with enthusiasm, some of them very regularly indeed and unstintingly over the past 10 years- without you all TerraVina would not have survived and would not be the special place it has become- you have all helped to shape it into a “Gem in the Forest”, as one guest so prophetically named us.

Please do come to visit us in the new year- we have lots of exciting plans, truly great value offers and a super friendly team who are looking forward to the new year and fresh adventures together.

Happy New Year and we will see you all soon
N and G x

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The Spirit of Christmas is truly felt at Hotel TerraVina

Every year at Christmas time we get whipped up in the decorating, the present buying and the looking after guests to ensure we help to make their festive celebrations as special as possible….. Each year it is lovely, but I have to admit that it leaves me with an empty, slightly unfulfilled feeling, which gets more acute as each year goes by…. I am more and more disappointed by the commercialism of the time of year and the selfish attitude of so many who expect so much from others.

However, this year, perhaps due to the circumstances of this particular year, my outlook is different. This year, I have come to understand the true meaning of Christmas and to really feel and enjoy Christmas spirit at its best.

Last week we hosted an event which was organised by Care for the Elderly, in conjunction with one of our suppliers, Hildon Water. I had agreed to the event with some trepidation as the guests were elderly, some over 100 years of age, some were frail, some very reliant on their carers and generally on a busy Sunday, leading up to Christmas, I was a little unsure we were up to the task of looking after 30 odd elderly guests. I need not have worried… those older people, most of them ladies, save a token chap or two, were simply delightful and so full of “joie de vivre” that it put the younger generation to shame! They laughed, chattered and sang their way through lunch with so much energy and verve.. They were enormously grateful to those who had arranged the treat, to us for hosting it and to their carers for making it happen. There were no dramas, no divas and the atmosphere was both inspiring and humbling. There were poignant moments when the brilliant trio of Acapella singers… they could have been the Anderson sisters; so glamourous and perfect replicas of 40’s fashion were they, with lovely voices, singing some old favourites in harmony and encouraging a sing a long…. All in all a great time was had by all and we were touched by their gratitude, their enthusiasm and their love of life.

At the other end of the spectrum, I remain involved with our son’s Pre-Prep and Prep school, even though he has long since left and is himself now at university. This week I helped at two Christmas events back at school… one was a busy day when the youngest children met Santa on his sleigh, then had Christmas lunch, all dressed up in their party clothes, followed by the older children meeting Santa in the Woods, by an open fire, toasting marshmallows and drinking hot chocolate and mulled apple juice, with horses dressed in reindeer antlers and carol singing thrown in for good measure- a magical event at a very special school, filled with happy and delightful children, who are encouraged to stay children for as long as possible….

Being amongst the kids and experiencing such simple pleasures and seeing Christmas through their eyes was a privilege and full of very special moments that make you realise what Christmas is all about- it’s the innocence of the young, the simple pleasures that delight the elderly, the giving of gifts with thought, love and care, however simple those gifts may be, but most importantly it is sharing special moments with the people we love, care for, admire and respect and just ensuring that those around us know they are being considered and appreciated.

Thus this year, for all its challenges and unpleasant moments, has still managed to deliver special memories too and given us the opportunity to feel very grateful for the many friends we have, who have shown their consideration and concern in recent weeks

Thank you all

Until next time

Nx

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Nina is speechless (doesn’t happen often!!) at a surprise visit that knocked her off guard

In the past few weeks, Gerard and I have been bowled over by the hundreds, no, thousands of messages of support, love, encouragement and others’ inspiring stories, which so many have so kindly and generously offered to both Gerard and my mum. Acts of heartfelt kindness that have touched us both as a couple and as a family and for which we are truly grateful to one and all….if we were ever in doubt that human kindness is all about us, we have been proved wrong a thousand fold by the recent out pouring of sheer love and generosity of spirit that have flooded our way… in amongst such humbling times, I received an unexpected visitor last week; it was a visit I had never expected, was not hoping for and never envisaged happening and I was thrown off guard for a moment and rendered completely speechless, (something that happens very rarely!!) but, which has left me with a renewed faith in people.

Let me explain… I was at the hotel as the invited guest speaker at an entrepreneurs event, that was being co-hosted by a bank, a firm of solicitors and an accountancy firm. It was kind of them to invite me, but I am under no personal illusion that actually Gerard would have been their preferred choice- they were too charming to say so and as Gerard was originally going to be out of the country travelling, the event was planned long before his illness was discovered, I had reluctantly agreed to be his very less able stand in. If I am honest, I was not flattered to be considered a worthy speaker, more, I was embarrassed to be addressing a room full of very successful business people, all of them far more successful than I will ever be and I really wondered what I had to say that would be of any interest to them;  however as they were dining “chez moi”, I thought it would be rude to duck out and so it was that I found myself waiting in the wings to speak for approx. 20 minutes, between main course and dessert.

Whilst I was waiting for my moment in the spotlight- actually read that as, more a scared rabbit caught in the headlights (!)… there’s  no denying that whilst Gerard is far better used to such attention and can manage such tasks with great aplomb, I don’t like being the centre of attention and am much less accomplished than he is at such events. Sorry I digress… whilst waiting, in popped a face from the past, one which I recognised immediately as being someone who had been a regular visitor to the hotel for many years, but who approx. 18 months ago, I had had cause to exchange heated emails with, over a complaint that had been made, which I deemed as unfair to the team and for which I had responded with a measured and honest response, accepting the constructive comments and politely pointing out where our opinions differed…. The response back had been that my reply was “ludicrous” and the person in question would never visit again- that was fine by me as I had no wish for them to do so as they had, in my view, been offensive. Thus I was completely taken aback to have the said person standing in front of me at the hotel, so long after the event, which I had filed way away in  the recesses of my consciousness.

What followed was a heartfelt and most sincere apology, which was so unexpected, not only in it being offered at all, but also in the kind and humble way it was offered, that I was shocked to the core and was speechless for a moment… it touched me greatly, to the point where I was truly lost for words and even now I am still humbled by the bravery and courage of the person concerned to admit their error and to even want to make amends…. I hasten to add they knew nothing of the situation with Gerard or my mum’s illness, so it was not out of pity, just a sense that they wanted to apologise for past actions and make amends…. In that moment, that had so affected me, how I wished I was brave, strong and humble enough to follow their lead and have the chance to right wrongs through the years.

And so it was that I then walked into a room full of entrepreneurs, albeit in a bit of a daze, as I was so shocked by my unexpected visitor and what they had said to me. I spoke to them all the only way I know how, with honesty and passion for an industry I love. I answered questions, gave snippets of news, told funny stories and actually, I loved every moment of being “caught in the headlights” as they were all so charming and interested and they all thanked me profusely as they left and said what an entertaining time they had all had and how much they had enjoyed my honesty and insightful talk… who knew I could step into Gerard’s shoes and not let him down- phew!

Once again, Gerard and I send our heartfelt thanks to the many, many of you who have read my recent blog posts, comments, sent messages, called and posted on FB, Twitter, LinkedIn and the like… we have been bowled over by you all- Thank you

Until next time
Nx

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Finding humorous moments amongst the challenges here at TerraVina

How does the song go? Always look on the bright side of life…….. a very catchy tune and one which I am adopting as my mantra, I just now need to learn the words further than the first line.

Amongst the hundreds of messages recently received, a number have mentioned how important it is to put family first at this time of shifting priorities. Of course re-configuring a better work life balance is on the agenda and a priority, but I cannot easily stop prioritising the hotel either, or more importantly our team, as they too are our “family” and just as we are re-adjusting to the current challenges, they are too and as head “mother hen” I need to guide them and support them just as much as Gerard, Romy and my parents need supporting. The weight of responsibility is heavy and I have to say my shoulders are feeling weighted down at present which is why some moments of humour and light relief are most welcome in amongst the more serious, sombre moments… laughter really is a great therapy.

This week thus far has been an eventful one (and its only Wednesday”!). My mum collapsed in my kitchen yesterday lunchtime-honestly, that’s the last time I invite her over for lunch!

It was all happening between an emergency ambulance coming and me having to get Gerard to the hospital for his pre-chemo checks. In the meantime my dad was out walking the dog for me and was completely oblivious to the goings on at home. Having waved off the ambulance, explained all to my bewildered dad, got my mum back to her house (she lives across our drive, so not far to stumble!) and into bed to rest, sorted the dog out, who was very excited to have so many unexpected visitors on her return from her walk, eventually we got Gerard to hospital, where they checked his blood pressure. They should have been checking mine, which I am sure would have been through the roof!

During the hospital checks they asked me to start giving him his prescribed steroids (the ones he was to take 3 days before his 2nd chemo session), to get him ready for the next infusion and I said I hadn’t got them. There were many puzzled frowns as the notes clearly stated they had been prescribed, the pharmacist at the hospital confirmed she had definitely dispensed them. On further investigation, I realised that I had given them to him for the 1st 3 days after his chemo, when it should have been that I gave them to him the last 3 days before his next chemo… I had read the instructions wrongly. I have no excuse as I even had my glasses on and cannot defend my stupidity in any way, except to admit that nursing is most certainly not my obvious forte. Apparently the nurses and oncologist have assured me that no harm will be done, as the medicines were extra steroids that make him feel well and raring to go, but I definitely think I need to be sacked as a health care assistant!!

I am sure that all are unimpressed by my ditzy nursing skills – I told the wonderful nurses who are caring so brilliantly for Gerard that I won’t be applying anytime soon for a career in healthcare and they were most relieved to hear that! Gerard has taken it all in his stride- he doesn’t believe I was trying to kill him off, and even if I had been, actually it had the reverse effect as he was high as a kite on too many steroids and pain relief and getting through the first 3 days of treatment brilliantly thanks to the extra meds- he’ll not thank me for this 2nd round when he won’t have the extra pills to make it more bearable, as I will triple, triple check the instructions before I administer anything this time round!

My mum is recovering from her collapse and is resting this week- she has demoted me from medicine administrator and I am back on tea making duties instead!

Thus I obviously need to ensure I come back soonest to the hotel and our amazing, marvellous team and help them to run the place, as on occasion I am much better at that than nursing!

Back to the song… I am learning the next few versus and here they are:

Some things in life are bad

They can really make you mad

Other things just make you swear and curse

When you’re chewing on life’s gristle

Don’t grumble, give a whistle

And this’ll help things turn out for the best

And 

Always look on the bright side of life

Always look on the light side of life

If life seems jolly rotten

There’s something you’ve forgotten

And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing

When you’re feeling in the dumps

Don’t be silly chumps Just purse your lips and whistle, that’s the thing

And

Always look on the bright side of life (Come on)

Always look on the right side of life 

There are further versus but I can’t absorb them all in one go… it’s an age thing! Thus, following my new mantra, we have a busy week or two ahead, decking the halls with boughs of holly and twinkling fairy lights in readiness for Christmas, we have lovely new stock just arrived to help take the stress away from Christmas shopping and we have some fantastic value rates to entice you back for a day or two of R&R before Christmas arrives with a whoop!

Until next time and remember… always look on the bright side of life!

Nxxx

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Heartfelt thanks from TerraVina

Following my long overdue blog post of last week, Gerard and I have been touched and overwhelmed by the messages of support, kindness and encouragement that have been sent by so many guests, friends, past team members and judging from the volume of messages, it would seem, simply anyone who has ever met Gerard. We are both genuinely shocked by the number of messages and the kindness of so many- thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Personally I have always tried to be as positive as possible- obviously I have moments of doubt, distress and negativity from time to time, but overall I try to emulate Pollyanna, (a film I watched when very young and which struck a chord in me, so much so, that I try to have as many “Pollyanna” moments as possible when life is tougher than one hoped for) and I try to look on the bright side, see good before bad, calm before turmoil and be positive about whatever challenges lie ahead. I am a firm believer in fate and “que sera, sera”.

During this time of challenge, of which there are many, as Gerard is struggling to eat and more importantly drink and has lost over a stone in weight, (no bad thing!) and now has a beard, so he is almost unrecognisable; but this time has also afforded Gerard and I the chance for reflection. The time spent away from the hotel and Gerard’s hectic travelling schedule has offered up opportunities that we would not have had time to seek previously- a time to take stock, to look at what we do and how we do it and to work towards finding a better balance between work and home, health and happiness and to realise what is important and what is simply too time consuming and superficial…

Whilst I would most certainly have never wanted Gerard or my mum to be diagnosed with such a cruel disease, and there are certainly difficult and troubling times ahead, in one tiny way, Gerard being ill has afforded us a number of opportunities to try to make some positive changes which we would otherwise have overlooked, been too time pressured to bother to even think about and we would continue to be running around, too busy to notice so many important things.

This time has so far given us much to worry over, to contemplate and to absorb- medical terminology, frightening prognosis, a rollercoaster of emotions; we have gone through them all in recent weeks, but there has also been the chance to start to mend fences with people we once held dear, but for varied reasons we had grown apart from, to understand each other better, to reconnect, to tackle projects that had never seemed possible because there was never a spare minute in Gerard’s hectic schedule- in short Gerard’s illness has thus far given us much to worry over, much stress and angst, but also offered us a very precious commodity, time and space to think, to re-evaluate and re-calibrate.

At present each day brings another challenge… the effects of the treatment are varied, none of them pleasant, Gerard has had to be admitted to hospital for emergency treatment and it is wearing and tiring for him, but if the chemo does some good and ensures that better health is the ultimate outcome, then it will be worth the discomfort, unpleasant side effects and bone shaking tiredness.

For sure, Gerard is being very brave, strong and has retained his sense of humour… I am learning patience, getting used to having him at home (he’s normally away more than he’s home) and my cooking skills are being utilised at last!

Thank you all again for your kindness and support- it is hugely appreciated by us both. Whilst Gerard is not at the hotel at present I and all the team look forward to welcoming you all back again very soon to take advantage of our fantastic pre Christmas offers!

Until next time
Nx

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Keep Calm and Carry on here at TerraVina

This blog post has been many months in waiting and I did not envisage writing another blog post that was less than positive, but sadly sometimes the curved balls just keep coming at you! 2017 has been a challenging one and as it nears its close I have to say, we all at TerraVina will be relieved to wave goodbye to 2017 and welcome in a new year, hopeful that it will be more positive, productive and less challenging.

The challenges this year have been and continue to be numerous. Brexit and its negative impact on the business has been a huge challenge and one which is still very much being felt. Tragically, in early Springtime, the sudden death of our beloved Ross, our super special assistant manager hit us all hard. We watched and supported the team to deal with their collective and personal grief and the feelings of pride we had for them all are immense, as they supported one another through their loss and now, we are grateful to them all, as they have come together again to lend support, firstly to me as I dealt with the news that my mum is bravely battling wide spread cancer and more recently in the past couple of weeks, their support to both me and Gerard, coupled with their hard work in ensuring the business keeps going, whilst we deal with the recent news that sadly Gerard is also battling an aggressive cancer, for which he is undergoing immediate and urgent treatment, with a major operation to follow, hopefully in the Spring.

There is a saying that when life serves you lemons, you should make lemonade.. well metaphorically speaking we will have made gallons of lemonade then by the end of the year. Crisis certainly do prove if you have character and with certainty I can vouch for the fact that each and every TerraVina team member has character a plenty.

Despite so many setbacks this year, we remain positive, determined and strong in our conviction that the business will survive the knocks it has experienced over the past year. Gerard will win his battle, as will my mum and we will come through this period of challenge ready to rejuvenate, re-invent and kick start the business after 10 (long!) years of trading…. Watch this space as 2018 will be an exciting one and whatever the next challenge may be we are ready to tackle it!

I and the team look forward to welcoming you back to TerraVina again very soon. Gerard may be conspicuous by his absence in the short term, but he remains very much a vital part of TerraVina and whilst we will miss him being with us whilst he concentrates on his treatment, we will all be cheering him on in this latest challenge!

In case you have missed our latest newsletter, full of special mid week rates and reasons to tempt you back, please follow the link: http://hotelterravina.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/r/C4C94DA4EF97D9FC2540EF23F30FEDED/6F8A4811B7DA49C4F990754F028F0E8F

Until next time

Nx

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A TerraVina blog post (at last!!) and a tribute to a very special team member, Ross Craig.

It has been far too long since I wrote a blog and I am surprised at how quickly the weeks and months have slipped by without me feeling compelled to write; but in recent weeks I have started to miss musing and ranting (!) in my blog and so at long last I feel ready to write again…. It wasn’t so much ‘writer’s block’, a falling out of love with writing the blog, or even not having something to say, more that everything I wanted to say was too controversial, too explosive and would have come across as me simply being angry and barring my teeth at all and everything- I still feel like that often as the challenges of running a small business get bigger and bigger, people get ruder, the world around us becomes less tolerant and generally we all seem to have less human kindness to share and then WHAM! I was stopped in my tracks one ordinary, but fateful day at the end of March, when I was bought up short with a bang, when put simply, life will always be a little bit different since that day..

Many of you who know the hotel well will know that Gerard and I have, over many years taken on team members who we have mentored, nurtured and guided and we have watched with pride as to how their careers have flourished and how successful they have become… we choose team members not always for their abilities, but often more for their character, their personality and their potential. We see something special in them that we hope we can draw out and then we watch them with pride as they grow in confidence, expertise and maturity and then they ‘fly the nest’.

One such lovely chap was Ross Craig, who joined us a year ago in March and who in that time we had watched flourish and grow with confidence and gain a self assurance that would have ensured he had a very promising career ahead of him, both here at TerraVina and beyond at some future stage… but life is sometimes cruel and works in mysterious ways and tragically Ross was taken from us all too soon, when he sadly passed away in his sleep. It is no exaggeration to say that it has rocked our world and tipped us off kilter. The team are very close knit and Ross was without doubt the most popular member of our TerraVina ‘family’- we all loved him and had all looked on with pride and encouragement when Ross had joined us and started his journey of growth- we marvelled at his courage and bravery when he embraced each new challenge we gave him- I personally pushed him out of his comfort zone on so many levels and he took each one in his stride, with a smile and blossomed as his confidence grew. He was simply a lovely young man and he

touched us all with his smile, his kindness and his integrity. Whilst I shouldn’t admit to having a favourite, I unashamedly do say that Ross was my absolute favourite and his loss has been hard to bear for all of us and has left us feeling bereft of a very dear and special person. A month on and the sense of unfairness and loss has not diminished or dimmed and our thoughts remain with his dear parents and brother and his extended family, all of whom have been so brave and strong and shown such strength of spirit.

TerraVina is a better place for having had Ross work within it and he will always be remembered by us all- he touched our lives and taught us much about human kindness. As the summer starts to peep around the corner, life here will move on apace, but Ross will remain in our thoughts and his family will be welcomed warmly into our TerraVina ‘family’… many of our guests tell us that’s what makes TerraVina special, the sense of family, of unity, the closeness that the team share and the warmth of those who are part of the TerraVina team. Our team have all been troopers this past month and have helped Gerard and I and each other come to terms with the tragedy that has happened and we are very proud of them all. God bless Ross, sleep peacefully and know how much we all loved you and will always remember you as being so special.

Looking ahead we are getting ready for the sunshine, preparing the pool to re-open in May, planting the flowers and tubs, dusting ourselves off and planning new dishes, new colour schemes and generally moving forward in readiness for the summer. We are looking forward to continue to welcome many familiar faces back again to TerraVina and thank you all for your on going support and enthusiasm for TerraVina- it really is very much appreciated

Until next time

Nx

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Ten Years of TerraVina…

Hello!

It has been a while since my last blog but today seemed a good day to start writing again- I very much enjoy writing the hotel blog. but since the last time I put ‘pen to paper’ or more precisely fingers to the keyboard I have been grappling with some fairly major problem changes which precluded me either having the time, inclination or wish to write- but my writing mojo is returned so here we are…

Ten years ago in 2006 Gerard and I purchased what is today Hotel TerraVina- we don’t think of the hotel as being ten years old yet as TerraVina didn’t emerge until the refurbishments were complete in August 2007 but certainly next year it will be the 10th anniversary of TerraVina.

When we opened he hotel full of hope and expectation we couldn’t have begun to imagine hat a rollercoaster the past ten years have been – we have loved, hated and had periods of indifference about the place in equal measure- it has bought us much worry, heartache, hardship and stress, coupled with lasting friendships, a sense of pride in our achievements, a loyalty that we have appreciated enormously and some moments of real enjoyment, pleasure and even joy.

Over the past years much has changed about being a hotelier- some for the good and other aspects not so positive, but one thing is for sure, no matter what style of hospitality business, a place is only as good as the standards it upholds, the attention to detail and the team of staff who work within it. We have had some very special staff over the years, some of them remain, in fact we still have many familiar faces who we love and appreciate. Of those who have moved on, we are still in touch with many and we are proud of many of them too.

Mentoring young people and watching their careers soar is a sense of pride and achievement to both Gerard and I. We are thus delighted that after a stumbling, stuttering and bus frustrating few months, when we appointed some nice people into various roles, but then quickly parted company with them, as they were not right for us, nor we for them, we have now gathered a team of people who we are keen to develop, nurture and mentor as our management team and who we feel will ultimately fit into the TerraVina ethos and who will work closely with us to continue to ensure that our mission to make TerraVina the most liked hotel in the forest remains our goal and objective.

We do hope you will visit soon to meet the newest members of the team- headed up by James and Sarah-Jayne, ably assisted by Kayleigh, Ross and Jordan. Do keep in touch be it via social media, our newsletter, website or personal visits- we truly do appreciate our guests and are thrilled to welcome so many of you back to what we hope remains, not only in its tenth year, but for many further years ahead, a gem of a place tucked away in the forest, with food, wine and friendliness at its heart.

Hope to see you soon

‘Til next time Nx

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