Friday, August 26, 2005

You're as cold as ice

Ever wondered where all these ice cubes in your drink come from?

No, I didn't think so.

However, being into nerdy engineering things I found it quite interesting. There's a chilled plate at an angle of around 30 degrees off horizontal which has water poured over it. After a while, a rectangular block of ice builds up. At some strategic point, the plate is warmed slightly and the block of ice slides off and lands on a grid of wires which are heated slightly. The upper wires cut the block into slices and the lower wires cut the slices into cubes which then drop into the bin below.

That's when things work correctly of course.

On Saturday night, the grid wires got a bit over excited, glowed bright red and then burned out. They were replaced yesterday evening and the machine seems to be working again. That's a relief because the replacement cost is pretty high even for a small machine.

I spent Wednesday afternoon plumbing the glasswasher in in the old kitchen upstairs. Much cursing and swearing, but it's done. That's in preparation for a birthday party a week tomorrow in the function room.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Ale-ments (and other woes)

It's been a bad two weeks for real ale. The cask we got two weeks ago failed to clear. It turned out that the batch had not been sufficiently fined (stuff added to clear it) and neither had a second batch. The cask delivered last week turned out to be from the second batch and hey, guess what - it didn't clear.

The brewery's sales director turned up and took the two casks away replacing them with one cask and a credit for another one.

Guess what - it didn't clear.

Meanwhile we had had a cask of Goldihops delivered from Kelburn brewery. It was spiled (opened) last night and had cleared by this morning.

Oh, and the ice machine blew up yesterday necessitating a panic buy of ice from the Co-op.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Starring role

Following the visitscotland appraisal we are once again a one star small hotel. Previously we were "awaiting inspection" and before we took over, the hotel was deleted from the visitscotland database due to the fact that the inspector couldn't get in (and other reasons that he hinted darkly at but didn't give details of).

His report was very fair. There was nothing highlighted as a problem that we didn't already know needed attention. The only unsatisfactory areas were the public toilets (agreed - there aren't enough and they're old) and carpeting in the bedrooms (particularly 9) which is due for replacement.

Full again last night, with our latest check in yet - 11.15pm for a German gentleman complete with teenage son and daughter. They'd driven from Edinburgh trying to find a place for the night and we were the only hotel they could find with room albeit only a double. The teenage boy ended up sleeping on the floor and we charged for his breakfast only. Nearly full tonight - just a twin left.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Italian coffee

"Zere is a technical difficulty" said one of the Italian guests at breakfast. The difficulty was that they'd never seen a cafetiere before and didn't know that they had to push the little strainer down before the coffee would come out.

National stereotyping may be dangerous, but is sometimes helpful when planning for breakfast. For example I sort of knew that the Swiss guests would be unlikely to want a fry up, and this turned out to be correct.

And if we have workmen staying we can be pretty sure that they won't want muesli!

Monday, August 08, 2005

The house of blue light

One of our guests (IT manager at a semiconductor manufacturer) has heard of L****'s uncle Guy the computer journalist (Oh, he writes... LOTS!) He was very interested in the white led spotlights we have in the back bar (A clever bit of marketing there - selling something as white when it's quite clearly blue!)

His wife was here to set up an exhibition in the arts centre just down the road from us and we took some time out to go and have a look. It's unusual to find... well, anything happening in Jedburgh. No one seems to bother to do anything. Looking at Borderevents, the listings magazine that we have in the front hall I see there's only one entry for Jedburgh for August, and it's our music session which took place last Saturday.

There's arts, music, drama, exhibitions, but they're all in Peebles, Kelso, Gala, Melrose, Berwick, Hawick.

And the solution to this is...

(answers on a postcard to 20 High Street Jedburgh.)

Enough ranting. Bedtime. Goodnight!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Witching hour

Just past midnight and I've finished counting the evening's takings (on the good side of OK) and am having a glass of very pleasant New Zealand Pinot noir. Full again tonight. Two Finns, four Swedes, two Canadians, three English. Our absolute maximum is 14 people, that assumes four in the family rooms and two in the others. If our plans to create 12 rooms are realised it's going to give us a total capacity of...

well, let's see.

Four suites out the back. They'll have a double bed and single bed at the very least, so that's 12.
A family room(4), a double room(2), a suite(4) and a refurbished room 9(2) up the main stair - that's another 12, and the current rooms 2-5 giving another 12.

36 people. Hmmm.

Friday, August 05, 2005


One of the main employers here is a company that makes coathangers. Employs around 160 which is significant in a town of 3600. They're changing shifts which will result in reductions in wages. The workforce are responding by joining the union and several meetings have been held here.

The function room isn't used much, so it's nice to get some income from it. The meetings last week were on a per head basis, but today's was simply a flat rate for the room.