As you know we have four dogs, a cat, a donkey and three Shetland ponies. Every day they make our life better.
Guinness, our ancient house cat, thin, light as a feather, eats like a horse, is quite vociferous in her demands, and has been adopted by the staff. She has worked out if she yowls she gets fed by any passing member of staff and it’s not unusual for her to wangle several sachets a day. She knows where all the hot water pipes run and happily does her rounds gracing a few favourite spots with her presence. She is often found curled up in the ladies’ toilets but her favourite spot is on the piano stool near the hall fire; she isn’t really allowed there but that doesn’t bother her in the slightest. We have been asked several times if she is real or one of those very realistic fake cats. She is out and about on occasion and is very deaf so doesn’t hear cars, so please go very carefully down the drive.
Our darling Bracken, who has been gone four months now, left a huge hole in the group dynamic and it’s been interesting to watch Ted fit in and find his own niche while the others adjusted their roles in the shifting sands of doggy relationships. Some things don’t change; Nelson is top dog, in his mind anyway, and if he has his bear or food in his mouth the others stay away from him. Rusty wants to be top dog and, occasionally makes a half-hearted attempt to be so, but he isn’t that bright and forgets that was his ambition, and anyway he doesn’t really have it in him as, once again, he allows Ted to remove the chew from his mouth and is left with none. Rust is a typical lab, full of love and enthusiasm and bounce. Monty splits his time between us and dad. He adores my dad and the feeling is mutual, his days happily spent snoozing in front of the fire, eating the occasional (banned) digestive biscuit and grumbling muchly when we drag him out for a walk. Ted has cut a swathe right across the pecking order. Utterly fearless, stubborn and full of go he ignores the established hierarchy. He alone steals food from Nelson’s bowl and uses him as a trampoline to gain access to the sofas. He will goad Monty into playing with him for hours on end and curls up asleep on Rusty. As I type Rusty is rolling around on the floor with both terriers wrestling with him. Nelson has his bear so he is happy. They are collectively the Palé dogs. Ted, especially, is much loved by our guests and features in the Forbes article about us (click here to view). Actually, this is a great article and well worth a read.
We have had some more good news this week. A few months ago, we were visited by Condé Nast who were visiting new hotels to pick a chosen few to feature in their hot list of new hotels. We found out yesterday we had made the cut, one of just three in the UK and seventy-five in the world. (See the list here)
I put this on Facebook last night and have been left feeling humble and emotional by the support we have received. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it’s all about the people, so once again thank you to the team. Having just written that I realise how much that dates me and that there is a whole generation out there (probably two) who have no idea just what a broken record sounded like.
This weekend we are heading off to a Christmas-present wine-tasting and a visit to our beautiful grandson via our favourite source of antique tea sets. Our afternoon teas have proved very popular and we serve them on delicate antique bone china. Inevitably we have lost a few bits here and there so we will top-up the stock; oh, how I enjoy that search!! On Sunday, we will continue to London to meet with Small Luxury Hotels to discuss our marketing strategy with them. It’s very important we develop our international trade, and if we are successful in that it can only benefit the local area.
Have a lovely weekend and don’t forget our Sunday lunch is still a bargain at our opening offer price.