Despite having said the next blog would be in 2014, I am writing an extra one as we have had such an eventful few days and I just had to write about it!
On 23rd December, our neighbours’ large tree was bought down in the heavy winds and crashed into our garden, with a huge branch hitting our roof as it fell. A part of the garden has been damaged, the roof whilst still intact is having a structural survey as soon as the weather permits to assess the damage and the fencing is all crushed on one side and we are now open plan, which is very tricky with an inquisitive dog!
However, that all paled into insignificance when we got a call just after midnight, in the early hours of Xmas eve, to tell us that the power was off at the hotel due to the horrendous weather. We were of course worried, but believed that all would be repaired very soon- how wrong we were. There was no real information obtainable from Southern Electric, so no way of knowing when power would be restored and the power did not actually get restored until late in the afternoon on Xmas day and when it did, due to power surges, much of our larger pieces of equipment, such as computers, tills and kitchen extraction exploded! Thus for over 36 hours, on the busiest days of the year, we had no heat, light, power or telephones.
Whilst giving me something to blog about, sadly the lack of power meant we had to cancel, 33 people for lunch on Xmas eve, 47 people for dinner on Xmas eve , disappoint x27 hotel residents who were staying for the two days and 101 guests for Xmas lunch. We did offer cold food to all and a hardy few did brave a cold hotel, lit by torches, candles and with blankets provided to wrap around shoulders and chilly legs- we had a camping stove set up outside for emergency hot water supplies for the kitchen and so we could provide tea and coffee at least, but that was all that we could offer that was hot.
What struck Gerard and I were two things- firstly what a brilliantly loyal, brave and hard working team we have working with us at TerraVina, as they all did a fantastic job to keep the guests as comfortable as possible for the short time the guests were with us; they kept everyones’ spirits positive and didn’t complain in the least about the cold and dark conditions – in short they were all fabulously good humoured and hard working about the whole fiasco.
The 2nd thing that struck us were how brilliantly stoic all of the guests were and how understanding each and everyone was when we had to start calling round to explain the situation and disappoint so many people and spoil so many people’s Xmas plans- the Dunkirk spirit kicked in and everyone was just lovely. Thank you to all those effected who may be reading this- your kindness, words of comfort and sympathy were so greatly appreciated.
The hotel has suffered enormous financial losses due to the power failure and we are so hoping and praying that the on going storms do not wreak even more havoc on us all. However, we do at least, for now, have restored power, but we are aware that across the country there remain homes and businesses with no such luck and our hearts go out to them at such a special time to have been made to be so uncomfortable and miserable.
Whilst we are not overly impressed with the communication or administration of Scottish and Southern Electric; their phones went unanswered for hours, with callers being left on hold, we were on hold on Xmas eve for over 6 hours and eventually gave up, until I managed to get through eventually at 2am on Xmas day morning and speak to a person, but she had no real and useful information to give me; their website wasn’t updated very regularly and when it was, it was merely to state to check again a few hours later, however, we do appreciate the sterling efforts of the engineers who worked through the horrible weather conditions, throughout Xmas time to try to restore power to as many people as possible and we thank them very much for all their hard work.
We can only hope that after what has been a year of trial, tribulations, illness, bereavement and generally a whole lot of turmoil and stress and now high financial losses and costs for repairs and not much joy, that 2014 starts with a little bit more positivity which continues throughout the New Year.
We all at TerraVina wish you a very healthy, happy and prosperous New Year and hope to welcome you all to the hotel throughout 2014.
Till next year!