Nobody is perfect. Throughout the year, we always ask guests how we can improve things for those wishing to stay with us in the future. It’s amazing how useful this is. There are always little things that would never occur to the majority but could make all the difference to the few. There are also things that just need doing and simply can’t be practically done when we are open. This year, we are closed for refurbishment between Christmas and 22nd January, focusing on two main areas. The kitchen and scullery food-preparation area and the bedrooms.

Firstly downstairs. Our scullery dates back quite a lot further than 1797, when the whole front and upstairs of The Grove was rebuilt, we know that the scullery and probably the kitchen were already there, but as for when they actually date back to, it is anyone’s guess. This month, it’s getting freshly plastered and painted and a new ring main added. The kitchen itself is getting a new floor and a yearly coat of paint. Our pantry, used as a second food prep area, also received a fresh coat of paint and is looking sparkling in its new stainless steel.

Upstairs, Rooms 1,3,4,9 and 11 are all getting some attention. New carpets all round and fresh paint. Some of the rooms are getting an electrical rework. There is quite a bit of exterior work as well, to window sills and a general repaint to the whole of the western facing house, which is no five-minute job.

We are also soundproofing our office, which is also getting a face-lift and re-configuration; making it easier for our duty managers and guests alike.

So, three weeks, 12 large tubs of paint, 5 carpets, one kitchen floor, 27 sheets of plasterboard, one box of tiles and about £12,000 later we will be re-opening on the 23rd January.

We open with a Burns Night supper, an evening of bagpipes, poetry and fine food, which is not to be missed. For that evening, we are offering those dining with us a chance to look around some of our newly jazzed-up rooms. Of course, if you spot anything that we’ve missed, just let us know. We are always looking to improve things. After all, nobody is perfect.