A belated happy New Year to everyone. I haven't gotten to post lately largely because I've been working extra hours over the holidays. From Boxing Day up until January 3, which I had off, I worked every day, and then I'm working today and tomorrow to take care of some stalkers that are booked in (we're otherwise closed) and then I will have Wednesday and Thursday off. The hotel's then closing for two weeks starting January 15 and that day I will be flying to Dublin to tour around Ireland for a couple of weeks.
Things are slowing down at the hotel again but it was quite busy over the holidays. Hogmanay (New Year's Eve) we were full for meals and had other people in the bar. There were winds of around 80mph and rain that night, which caused the parties in Edinburgh and Glasgow to be cancelled as well as other parts of the UK as well.
The weather did not foil Hogmanay at the Coylet though. Just as we started serving food to our first diners the power went off at about 8pm, which meant that many things would not function of course. All the food is cooked on gas appliances so that was alright, but we had to rig up some lights in the kitchen so that the staff could see. Victor cooked with a headband flashlight for a while until some people with camper vans ran an extension cord from their camper into the kitchen and hooked up some trouble lights to it. All the tables in the dining room have candles on them at all times anyway so they were alright, and we had placed candles throughout the rest of the building as well in anticipation of the power cut since our lights had been flickering earlier in the day. Poor Fraser had to wash all dishes by hand and we had to keep track of all the food orders and bills by hand, but everything went right ahead with just some minor delays. All the food was cooked to the usual standard and people were quite happy and enjoying themselves. We had planned a games theme for the evening with table-top games on the restaurant tables and that worked well with the lights being off as people had something to entertain themselves with. The electricity came back on just before the last table got their food, at about 10pm. Some people actually requested that we turn the lights back off as they prefered the atmosphere in the dark.
Also on Hogmanay the wind blew off the chimney pot and cowl for the bar fireplace. The cowal is a piece of shaped metal that had been installed recently to prevent the wind from blowing the smoke back down, but it unfortunately acted as a sail in the high winds. Oddly enough, now that the chimney has no chimney pot it hasn't been blowing back too often at all on really windy days.
We had a stretch of a few really rainy, stormy days after New Year and now it's back to the occassional really rainy day and other days of just some rain and some clear periods. I was out for a walk last Wednesday through the forest and saw quite a few trees down, many of them being quite healthy trees and not the usual old ones that come down in the wind. Power crews were out cutting down trees near the lines, and at the time our lights were still flickering.
As I mentioned I'm flying to Dublin next Monday. I'm going on Ryanair on a flight that cost £0.01 each way before you add on airport fees and the fee I opted to pay to check a bag (£7.00) since the carry-on bag size is quite small. So my return flight from Preswick airport to Dublin is $50 which ain't too shabby, and then I just have to pay a few pounds to get to Paisley to take the train directly to the airport. I just learned today that if you show the ticket agents in Paisely your flight confirmation that your train ride from there to the airport is free, so that's pretty sweet. Haven't decided exactly where I'm going to go in Ireland but I've been getting suggestions from people and I'll just take it as it goes.