Great news!!

This will be a brief blog, because I am very tired… (I know, I can hear your violins playing from here).

Mike and I have been running the show on our own for the last couple of weeks whilst Jane was on holiday, so I have been in the cafe every day. Mike has also spent a lot of time in the cafe, but has managed to escape to do some little (?) jobs around the place, now that we are open as a hotel!

Not that we are complaining, you understand. It has taken us the best part of 10 days to connect our web pages, and our booking platform to Booking.com, but we think we finally achieved that earlier today.

In the meantime, we had guests on two of the floors this weekend and a very busy cafe, so we might need to have a little sit down this evening.

Much more importantly, and in the words of somone you might have heard of a while ago, we are a grandmother! Our eldest daughter Charley and her husband Damien made us very proud grandparents earlier today. We welcome Edward to the family and congratulate all involved in a happy outcome.

Guess who came into the cafe..?

We are both still waiting for the reality of Tuesday to sink in. We have approval (subject to sending two certificates to Building Control) to open. We have received one certificate, and the other is due here tomorrow, so progress is still creeping by.

I have been working on the web pages and various electronic interfaces, so that people can book rooms remotely. Just one or two wrinkles to iron out, but that process is also slowly reaching completion.

We have had a friend to stay this week, and Gill has heroically been prepping the platform outside one of the suites, amongst other glamorous jobs…

Just a quick lick of paint needed, I think

…so not much more sanding required now before we can paint it, then finish the railings, and then another task knocked off the To Do list. Mike has been fitting curtain poles and curtains, door locks, towel heaters and the like whilst I played at running the cafe last week.

Having said that, I did have a wonderful morning on Tuesday. I turned to greet a customer entering the cafe and got quite a surprise…

Is this a Welsh Rarebit I see before me?

…the most delightful couple had arrived who were on a road trip of unknown length, so brought their rabbit with them. It was fantastically well behaved and, in case you are interested, in only 6 months old at present so still has quite a bit of growing to do!

Ah well, onwards and upwards…

The man from Building Control…

…he said YES.

As of about 30 minutes ago, we are cleared to open as a hotel, providing we can let him see our electrical certificate and the fire certificate. Both of these have been promised by the companies who have tested our systems, so we should be getting them any day now.

In the meantime, I am back to work in the cafe, and then get some curtains tonight and then…. I will let you know more soon, when the emotions have settled down a bit!

So near, yet so far…

This week has been fun, but completely not photogenic.

We have taken delivery of our last big order for bed linen, so I have been washing and ironing everything, ready for when we open. But even I recognise that a photo of someone ironing sheets is not what most of us are hoping to come across.

Mike has been tweeking fire doors to make sure they fit precisely as they should, whilst I have been fitting the last of the intumescent strip to ensure a smoke-tight seal. We have been fitting skirting board and wooden beading to the last bits and bobs. Mike has connected the exterior lights for the floor 1 and 2 balconies to the electrical circuits and, in quite a change from the norm, invited Stuart (a rash volunteer) to help him fit two of the shower enclosures.

Nearly good friends

When he tried to relax one evening, he needed to speak a little firmly with Lola who was trying to tell the cat a thing or two. As you can see, his influence with animals worked well as both are contentedly lying by his side, but I think he might need to talk a little more firmly with his face before he takes the next selfie…

Welcome to the Eisteddfod

Having worked on lots of bits and bobs all week, we granted ourselves Friday evening off to visit the Eisteddfod. We can now see why the cafe was quiet last week: the Eisteddfod ground has everything you need to get through the day, so there was no need to leave the site to find stuff – there was even a phone recharging place!

Mike tucking into his Welsh specialty dish of chips and mushy peas

As it happens, our visit was late in the day and also coincided with some pretty heavy rainfall, which may be why things look a little murky, but we were surprised how busy it was, and what a lovely atmosphere there was.

So now back to the future, as it were. The fire alarm installation team were here on Friday, so the alarm points are all now installed and ready to work. Mike and I will be in the cafe for the next fortnight, covering for people on summer holidays, except for tomorrow when Mike will be furiously trying to do all the little things we ideally still wish to complete before Building Control arrive to inspect on Tuesday.

I will try to blog on Tuesday, just to let you all know whether we will receive permission to open then.

Close, but no cigar (#2-ish)

Woe is me. Not really – I don’t rate woe as a phase of life, but I do have a confession to make. You have probably guessed, but that doesn’t make me feel any better about it. So to distract you from the moment of truth for a sec., I will instead ask you to consider what might be going on in North Wales …

Whatever can bring so many people to Pont y Pant railway station?

Meanwhile, back to our little project. Long story short – Building Control phoned on Wednesday morning (31st July), just before our appointment, and asked about progress. Mike explained that he hadn’t quite finished plastering the stairwell whereupon Building Control cancelled the visit, since they would need to return to see the plastering completed before any sign off. So far, so fair. Unfortunately, the next available appointment was for 13th August, meaning we totally miss the Eisteddfod slot, of which more later.

Anyway, as Mike carried on working, he put in the last fire door of this sequence. He used expanding foam to secure the frame, which has to be pink (the fire-proof version) and, as you can see, some of it dripped onto Mike…

Don’t panic – it’s not blood…

…and what a mess it made. That stuff is clearly not designed to come off, so Mike now sports quite a tonsure where I pretty much had to shave him to get the sticky gloop off.

Mike was in a directorial mood

Nevertheless, the fire door frame is in – which is what I was hoping to illustrate, but I think Mike just wanted to show off my double chin, charmer that he is.

The fire doorway is nearly complete

Here is the frame for which Mike sacrificed his hair…

Notice how Lola is trying to show she is innocent of any charge of pestering the cat

and, looking the other way, you can now see the lobby after Mike had plastered it and I had given it two mist coats.

The view from the cafe towards the toilets…
…now showing off the new fire door

Here you can see that the stairwell is now enclosed within two fire doors on the ground floor and the whole area is plastered and (by end of play tomorrow) will be painted. Yes, we still need to add some architrave and skirting board, but have done all that Building Control needs to see.

Don’t get me wrong – there is still stuff to do. We have a few bits and bobs to finish in the bathrooms before the floors are completely ready to go live, but we should be ready on the 13th, so when we get the go ahead, all rooms should go live. Here’s hoping, anyway.

Back to my earlier teaser…

As some of you may know, the Llandudno Junction to Blaenau Ffestiniog railway had been out of commission since mid March, when Storm Gareth caused all sorts of problems. With the Eisteddford in town, there was considerable pressure for the line to be open and in the event it all reopened last week. To celebrate, a steam train came down the line yesterday…and many many people turned out to hear, smell and taste it!

The first Eisteddfod weekend is drawing to a close, and we can report it has been – – – a very quiet weekend in the cafe. The word on the streets is that the streets are empty because either (a) people are in the events or (b) they are at home because they are worried about traffic. We will keep a close eye on this and report further in the next post.