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Progress Report Number Seven

Posted by Stuart and Susannah Macpherson - 15:55 on 06 January 2011

Progress Report Dec 2010

In China it was the year of the Tiger however here at Coul House it was the year of compliance. Coul House has been grandfathered until this year, from so many of the modern regulations, unfortunately for us this year is the deadline for Coul House to become compliant. We have been required to install door closers and intumescent foam strips to thirty-eight of our doors, upgrade our fire alarm system and renew one of our oil tanks. We have also renewed three of the roof pitches with new cross-timber and slates, only sixty-one to go. It looks like Mark our full time roofer/handy man has a job for life!

I finished off last years letter by optimistically saying that, “2010 will see us begin the bedroom and bathroom refurbishment that we have all been looking forward to”. Well it is now December and all we have managed to do is paint eight bathrooms and renew all of the mattresses, duvets and pillows.

So often it seems when we plan to start something that seems fairly straight forward, it ends up escalating into a major project that gets beyond our budget very quickly. Our intention whilst upgrading the bathrooms has been to address the water pressure problems that hamper the enjoyment of having a shower. For those guests that are used to more pressure than Coul House currently offers (which we acknowledge…. is most people) I apologise, I know it causes frustration. Gone are the days of a weekly shower from a damp squib. Most of us these days have become used to being pressure washed daily. Almost all of us have lost the old British art of water temperature regulation first thing in the morning with the advent of thermostatic temperature controls. No more impromptu dancing in the shower as the hot water turns frigid.

So with this is mind we have been quizzing plumbers since March on how best to address these issues. Then came all the new questions….vented or un-vented pressurised water system? Will the old pipes handle the increased pressure? How will you heat the higher volume of water? Are the old boilers efficient enough? Do you have sufficient water pressure being supplied to the building? Is the main water supply pipe coming into the building big enough? Should we replace the boilers with a new wood-burning boiler and if so what type; solid fuel or wood chip? Should we consider solar panels? Are there grants available to assist with this type of capital improvements…………………………? Ahhhhhh.

So many months and several other plumbers later we are still confused, but I believe there is some light at the end of the tunnel (ever the optimist). We have managed to pare it down to a more manageable project by eliminating what I now know we can’t afford. I am currently waiting for the latest solution and the dreaded quotation.

As well as all of the above it has been an extremely busy year here again at the hotel. Once again we have increased the number of visitors and hope to keep our bank manager happy. The tough part starts now with December through to March looking like it will be very quiet. So if you would brush off the snow from you car, clear you drive way and come visit. I will have the log fire on for you and a good meal is never far away with Garry and Gediminas in the Kitchen.

Yours sincerely,

Proud owners
 

Your Comments

Comment by Marie Jo McCrossan at 22:38 on 28 February 2011.
I have been raving about the quality of pheasant sausages, since Saturday past...and I had a private chuckle to myself about the parsimony regularly shown by my thrifty Mum, when she would use 1 lamb shank for a pot of soup, and place the shank in the middle of the dinner table, and watch(probably with great disappointment as several children squabbled over slim pickings...) and there I was, at a wedding reception, with my very own lamb shank. Had there been more room at the dining table, had I known my fellow diners more intimately,to the left and right of me and had I not eaten two shortbread fingers before the wedding dinner, I would have stripped the meat off the bone with my bare hands, and supped the juices from the dinner plate. Probably, to the relief of my husband, I did not. The meal was a triumph, and an unexpected opportunity to be amazed and delighted by flavours, textures, and presentation. I wanted to weep on the chef's shoulder. The room was so comfortable, the bed relaxing, and I was not fazed in the slightest by your plumbing issues... The breakfasts were a delight, and the staff were so pleasant and helpful. Chris appeared exhausted by the Saturday evening, but was gallant enough to smile wanly as I complemented him on his ability to stand at that point in the evening without falling into the open fire. Lastly, the sudden appearance of the owner through the scenery decorating the wall/door at the front desk will live with me for a while. I was quietly fazed, but recovered quickly enough to be highly amused and entertained. We loved our experience at the hotel, and have flung some silver in the duck pond as a promise to ourselves that we will return later in the year. We will be highly recognisable as the travellers wearing scuba diving gear plundering the pond for the recovery of our 20p before registering at the reception desk for a further surprise welcome from the gap in the painted scenery... Many good wishes for an exceptionally kind plumbing quote, and looking forward to seeing you all soon... Marie Jo McCrossan

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Coul House Hotel, Contin, Ross & Cromarty, Scotland IV14 9ES E: T: +44 (0)1997 421487