Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Sizzling start to Mayfest

From House-Martin to House-Band

Fantastic start to Mayfest 2012 as Paul Heaton opened the celebrations on Friday night and entertained a packed Boots bar with a fine selection of solo material along with some great tunes from his back catalogue. What a cracker! Amazed he had so much energy given he had cycled from Ullapool to get here.
Woodsie and Stirton
Boots Bar virgins Mad Ferret were in great form for their Saturday night debut, normally we 'trial' new acts on quieter nights first but it was straight to top billing for Woodsie and Stirton and they certainly lived up to their own blurb with an extremely tight, technical performances with a driving knowledge and passion for Scottish and Irish folk music. A great night with much foot-stomping and hand-clapping.

Sunny outside so I may have to stack some keg

We went through a fair selection of ales over the weekend and judging by the picture above we've got some tidying up to do, mind you with weather like this we shoudn't be short of volunteers. Now to the cellar to see whats coming to a hand pull near you!
Loch Lomond Ales
Should you decide to take the high road or indeed the low road to Clachaig this week you're sure to find a great selection of Scottish cask ales. New to our taps this week are 4 fine ales from Loch Lomond Brewery. We could tell you what they taste like but why don't you pop round and find out for yourself.

Plenty of fun on the way as Mayfest continues this week and into the long bank holiday weekend with live music tonight from Mak-A-Din, Bonnie & Jim on Friday night and some jigs guaranteed from Finn on Saturday night. Music starts at 9pm in the Boots Bar. check out our What's On page for details.

It wouldn't be a beer festival without our ever popular Ale Tasting Masterclass and you can sample some great ales from Cairngorm Brewery this Thursday from 8pm in the Snug and on Tuesday River Leven Ales will be here to pass on some more cask ale enlightenment! 

See you at the bar!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Heroes...not just for one day!

Bank holidays always test our service provision to the limit as wave after wave of thirsty & hungry customers descend on us. No sooner has the queue in the boots bar been cleared when another has formed in the lounge snaking its way passed reception and out the front door. 

Residents, passing visitors, seasoned veterans mixed with a generous helping of newbie’s eager to sample our unique atmosphere stand in line, mainly in good humour – well, they are on holiday after all.
The weather helped this year, fantastic hill days with dawn to dusk sunshine, dry as well & not a midgie in sight.

The frontline staff take it in their stride, drinks are dispensed with great alacrity & food orders for all the starving including groups of anywhere between 10 & 30 are dispatched faster than lightning. In the searing heat of the kitchen only the strong survive, these guys are like the SAS - only they don’t take prisoners. Orders are orders and you get what you asked for, timely, hot and don’t dare drop it on the way out.

There is no let up during food service and little relief when the last meals leave the kitchen. In here the chefs have to scrub down and plan the early start required to prepare everything from scratch all over again. Meanwhile through in the boots bar the music is about to start & the big clean up is in progress. Very soon dozens of trays laden with glasses, crockery & debris are added to the already groaning piles behind the scenes……spare a thought for the brave soul who has drawn the short straw, buried somewhere between the sink & the dishwasher.

Back at the frontline the multitude hammer the bar round after round. Ales are changed faster than ever and whisky flies off the shelf, meanwhile the band have the audience stomping their feet & clapping their hands as the clock ticks away on another epic night. Shelves are restocked, floors are swept & toilets are cleaned….who fancies that job? Whilst the chosen trustees are busy with the abacus others serve ‘one for the road’ to a few hardy residents.

In the morning the housekeeping team grit their teeth, they know why the dining room is not quite in the same state that it was left and quickly tidy up before serving up hearty breakfasts with a smile to all our residents, some carry rucksacks with packed lunches whilst others carry hangovers. At reception the dawn patrol bid farewell to our guests who report ‘a great night’, ‘a whale of a time’ and ‘we’ll be back’

To all our guests & customers: We thank you for your company and hope that somewhere amongst the chaos of the bank holiday weekend we managed to look after you.

To our staff: There are times when you test my patience with your shenanigans and you may feel that you are underpaid, undervalued and overworked however; The contribution, resilience & good humour that you all demonstrate under pressure & under strength time & time again is hugely appreciated. 

Thank you!