Emerging from Lockdown

It has been a difficult time for everybody throughout Scotland and the world. A virus that can kill indiscriminately. It has felt like living through a Hollywood blockbuster movie, except it has been real and deadly. The lockdown has been a shock to us here at Powdermills Bed & Breakfast. Only nine months into our new business venture with a fantastic 2019, we were looking forward to a busy 2020. Indeed, up until March, all was good with our world ticking over through the winter off season and considerable bookings for the summer. Then the wheels fell off the bus! The sudden financial cost has been hard but there has been a silver lining for Sue and I.

I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I have enjoyed the seclusion. Firstly, I have spent much time in the Garden, weeding, cutting the grass and painting various chairs and tables. In short, I have never completed as many D-I-Y jobs in my entire life. My first project was building memorial benches from my Mum and Dad and Sue’s Dad. They are placed in peaceful positions around Powdermills. The quiet and peace that lockdown has brought has been vivid. It is usually quiet here but with no cars or trucks on the road the silence has been deafening. I now regularly sit and watch the world go by listening to the birds feeling closer to my Dad who died in January.

The Gardens have been stunning. The Daffodils, Bluebells and the Rhododendrons were even more beautiful than ever. The tragedy is that our guests have not been able to enjoy Powdermills.

To rub salt in the wounds, the weather has been wonderful and uncomfortably hot for us pallid Scots. This has meant everything has been growing at an alarming rate. My obsession with cutting the grass to a neat level has meant that I am mowing most days. But it has left the lawnmowers in need of repair on more than one occasion, much to the amusement of the family! Also, I have now detailed most of the trees and fauna at Powdermills thanks to a brilliant app. I will write a separate blog detailing the fantastic varieties that can be seen on the grounds.

Which brings me to the highlight of the lockdown – both our daughters Islay, 27 and Izzy, 25 have been with us for three months. Their company has been fantastic and not the great challenge it seemed to be when they were teenagers! They say that they have finally trained me to be the parent I should have been! The house has been full of laughter and with me being the brunt of most of the jokes. Our son John the oldest, is in lockdown in Mexico City but we have been in contact by Zoom on a regular basis. It does seem odd that we have been closer to the family in this unfortunate period. The family did discover ‘Jay’s Virtual Quiz‘ on You Tube. This guy just set up a pub Quiz on Saturdays and Thursdays. The whole family tune in on Zoom and try to answer the questions. Last week, John played in Mexico, Islay now back in Belgium and us in Scotland. Great banter and fun.

Mabel and Boo have also enjoyed lockdown. Constant attention from the family and fine weather to enjoy the grounds.

The news has been scary over the last three months. Thankfully, the Scottish Government has been cautious and taken slow steps. It is important that we all do not open up too quickly and have to shutdown because of a spike in Covid 19 cases. We are really grateful for this steady leadership and the deliberate steps for starting business again. We re-open on 16 July and already have bookings. We are only going to open the Campbell and the Ross Room. We have had to change the way we operate to ensure social distancing and ensure safety. Therefore, we have changed the Garden Room into the area for breakfasts. This ensures that there is proper separation. Guests will have to eat at different times. These restrictions are necessary and we hope will not diminish the Powdermill’s experience.