Saturday, January 23, 2010

Busy times!

Too long has passed since I last was able to blog - apologies for that but it has been a busy two or three weeks.

Our week in Lech, Austria was just perfect - all four of us had a great week's skiing and all four of us returned unscathed - well, apart from a bruise the size of Africa on Tracy's leg from a mightly crash into one of her ski school colleagues! Both girls were brilliant in adapting to their full week of ski school and they exceeded expectations in the end of week ski school races with Annabelle winning Gold and Louisa winning Silver - they were so chuffed!

We returned to a snowy Britain - in fact much more snow fell here than in Austria that week - and we have been hard at work in preparing everything for opening on Saturday 13 February 2010 and in preparing generally for the season ahead.

The calendar of events for the year ahead is virtually complete but we still hope that a larger corporate booking or two, plus some potential film location business, may be achievable.

Work surrounding the emerging new organisation for Oxfordshire to drive forward tourism is progressing well and the next couple of months will be critical to determine whether this baby will be born and as to whether it will thrive - hopefully the private sector will engage with enthusiasm!

The last week has been dominated by my birthday and by the ongoing work to get the papers ready for our next Trustees meeting in early February. Turning 53 does not really seem much cause for celebration but, as always, Tracy and the girls have spolit me with lots of presents and we are off to London this weekend with the girls to see "Billy Elliot" and to do some other fun things.

And finally, yesterday saw closure on the prosecution of one our former employees for fraud. This has been one of the most depressing things that I/we have had to deal with - the fact that she is now behind bars for an 18 month jail sentence is some comfort but it has been distressing at so many different levels. The support and work from Thames Valley Police has been fantastic; the resolve and grit demonstrated by all of our employees has been impressive; and the determination to get justice and to recover a substantial amount of the money stolen has been appropriate given the huge breach of trust. This has hurt us all but we have a fantastic, loyal and dedicated workforce on the Estate and in a strange way it has actually made us all stronger and even more united us in our resolve to drive the business forward to new heights in 2010. This chapter is closed and we move on.

2010 is going to be an interesting year at many different levels - world cup; general election; new DMO for Oxfordshire; year 2 of our Annual Pass scheme; and so much more.

Please engage with Blenheim Palace in 2010 - we need your support and we value your input.

Have a great weekend.


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Anonymous Paul Walklet said...

Festival for heroes was going to be a fanastic event, it was such a shame it didn't go ahread - will it be returning????

February 2, 2010 at 8:27 AM  

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Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Christmas has flown by in a blur and 2010 has already arrived - best wishes to everyone for a very happy and prosperous new year.

We have had to do an early christmas clearance at home as we head off to Austria tomorrow for a week on the ski slopes - everyone very excited but tinged with sadness to see cards coming down and a sorry looking christmas tree stripped bare of its sparkling lights and decorations and already banished to the rubbish heap at the end of the garden.

Hopefully we will survive our week in one piece and we will post again when the real work for the year ahead starts from 11 January onwards.

Much was achieved in 2009 despite the gloomy predictions a year ago; lets hope that we will all fare well in 2010 and lets hope that we all enjoy much happiness and success.

Cheers one and all - be happy, have fun and be safe!


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