Happy New Year!
I’m a little late with this one. Forgive me, it’s been a very busy but very successful Christmas and New Year across all the businesses.
We had our fair share of sickness in the team – I don’t think we were alone! So I was glad I’d kept myself free to fill in wherever needed. I spent most of the week with Oli in the Titchwell Manor kitchen, cooking Christmas morning, between Christmas and New Year, and very much enjoying being part of the New Year’s Eve celebrations. With my other responsibilities, it’s hard to get time in the kitchen these days, so I really enjoyed the opportunity to think about food and be part of that team.
We had fantastic feedback from regular guests who thought the New Year meal was the best they’d ever had at the hotel – so really well done Oli and the rest of the team! You did us proud.
We shut all our Eric’s fish & chip restaurants on Christmas Day and Boxing Day when people are tucking into turkey, but the days after Christmas are always really busy, especially New Year’s Day when people are out walking their dogs, getting some fresh air. Hot, fresh-made fish & chips is just the thing to keep energy up, and it was wonderful to see so many people drop in.
We recently appointed new managers at the Holt and Thornham shops, and I’m really looking forward to the enthusiasm, new ideas and gusto they’ll bring. Obviously I don’t think there’s a lot wrong with the businesses, but no doubt there’ll be some improvements we can make, and I always enjoy re-evaluating things during the winter. A massive challenge this year has been rising costs, whether it’s energy, fish, or general ingredients such as oil and butter, so we’ll be working on that among other things.
The pizza restaurants have also been very busy, especially at Yalm in Norwich. It’s fantastic to see the team settling in well, and it’s wonderful to be part of such a brilliant concept in the city. Have you visited yet? I hope you like what you’ve seen and eaten if so – do let us know!
Art with a view
Lydia and I have always greatly admired the work of local artist Harry Cory Wright. He does the most amazing photography and paintings, and when he held an open studio last year we dropped in with the children. We were blown away, and the open way he explained his work really helped me in particular understand his creative process.
We got chatting – it helps that he’s a member at Brancaster golf club so we also had a brilliant game of golf! – and, long story short, he’s now working on a unique piece for the hotel that will hang on the wall opposite the lounge windows. It will reflect the stunning views from the front of the hotel and the unique marsh landscape.
We met up early December to walk on the marshes, and wow did we luck out! It was the most incredible morning, one of those frosty days where everything was semi-frozen, and there was a clear sky with an interesting cloud line. It made me realise I don’t make enough of the beautiful area we’re in; it’s such a beautiful landscape and there are such gorgeous beaches, all just down the road.
I’m excited about this piece coming together, and I really hope you like it and appreciate the thought behind it. We will redecorate the lounge with colours that will fit, and we’re going to try and document the whole process. I feel very privileged; I think we’re going to have quite an iconic piece, something that will become part of the hotel’s identity.
Watch this space and keep an eye on our socials. We’ll post updates as the piece progresses!