Pat & Ann have been running The Aberdeen Lodge for almost 30 years. They bought it back in 1989 when it was a run down and dilapidated building full of beds sits. Having put their heart and soul into rebuilding and refurbishing, this beautiful Edwardian building; they managed to turn it into their business and home, welcoming guests from all over the world into their B&B. In more recent years they have added new members to the household; their two children aged 12 and 5 years and Sandy their new puppy, a favourite with the guests.
Ann says that although “it’s hard work and you are on call 24/7, I can’t imagine doing anything else. I am in the kitchen by 6:30, when I start preparing breakfast and stirring the porridge. Then I take the kids to school, oversee the housekeeping, commence the baking for afternoon tea, pick the kids up, and finally sit down to a family supper, story tell and put the kids to sleep. When I eventually fall into bed I am exhausted but exhilarated.”
Pat is very much Front of House; having travelled extensively in his previous life, he is familiar with most destinations that their guests come from. They love his banter, local knowledge and his tips of where to go, eat and explore. He is of the opinion that “we must be doing something right as almost 40 % of our guests are repeat customers or referrals.” It is obvious from their reviews, how much care and attention is given to making their visitors comfortable, at ease and most welcome.
So how do they find that work-life balance? “That’s not always easy but we have a brilliant team of people who are keen, supportive and understand the true meaning of hospitality. We have to make time available for the normal family activities and Pat and I make formidable chauffeurs, be it drop off or pick up for at Girls Brigade, tennis, swimming etc. – just like any other household with young children and living on the premises makes it sometimes easier. We love walking Sandy on the beach which is less than 3 minutes away and on a Sunday we serve up a traditional Sunday lunch where the family. all pile in.
I asked Ann and Pat that if they were given the option to venture into a new walk of life, something which may give them more freedom away from the constant flow of checking guests in every day of every week – their answer was simple “we love our home, we love our work and we are grateful to the fabulous travellers that enter our home as paying guests and leave as friends. How could we do anything else?”
By: Tim La Digue