Saturday, February 20, 2010

High's and low's

What a frustrating week - such a variety of high's and low's amidst generally depressing weather!

The high's included enjoying "Les Mis" in London on Wednesday with Tracy and the girls (such a powerful and emotional musical) and a number of very positive meetings for future events at Blenheim Palace - including the first Orvis Fly-Fishing Fair to be staged on Sunday 11 April 2010. There was also a very positive meeting to look at the future restoration of the Willis Organ in the Long Library at Blenheim Palace and some fund-raising efforts to be launched over the coming months.

The low's, apart from the weather, were particularly centered on Thursday - when it also managed to rain virtually all day. They say things come in three's - well that was certainly true on this particular day.

Incident one was two of our retail staff crashing one of the staff cars into a tree into the Park and writing it off - the car that is! Thank goodness both members of staff survived virtually unscathed, as did the tree, but the car is a mess. Still not entirely sure what caused such an outcome as no other vehicles appear to have been involved - but not a good start to the day.

Roll forward to lunchtime and incident two. I was concluding a lunchtime meeting with Kelvin Thomas (the Chairman of Oxford United Football Club who are closing in on promotion from the Conference) when Grace from the office ran into the dining room at The Bear Hotel (where we were lunching) to announce that there was a fire at the Palace and the fire service were on site! I can move fast when I need to and so I departed quickly from the Bear (promising the staff that I would return later to pay - which I did!) and I raced over to the Palace to catch up with the incident. About 10 appliances were in the Courtyard and the full evacuation procedure had run smoothly - within minutes of my arrival (no connection) it was determined that there was no fire and that the incident was indeed merely a false alarm - caused by burnt toast in one of the flats on the west side of the building. The all-clear was given and staff/visitors were allowed back into the building - panic over! Much will always be learnt from such rare incidents - access to keys, the whereabouts of residents in the staff flats, etc are all ways that we can improve - but fundamentally the evacuation procedures where handled superbly by all of the staff on site and the response from the fire service was first class.

Having returned to The Bear Hotel to settle my lunch bill, the day was finally topped off around 5pm when incident three was reported from our retail team. They feared that some French school children had stolen some books from The Churchill Shop next to the Palace and our review of the CCTV footage proved that their fears were correct. We will trace the group, we will sent them the footage and we will hope to get a sensible response from them with regard to the behaviour of a few members of their party - but a depressing end to a long day and not the first time that we have had problems with groups of French school children!

Friday seemed to pass off very smoothly after the challenges of the previous day and some blue sky and sunshine was even spotted - let's hope the weather maintains a more spring like air for the weekend so that we can get a final positive half-term surge before the children go back to school on Monday.

The high's and low's of life do excite and challenge us every day - but it is true that Blenheim Palace creates so much diversity and opportunity because there is so much going on each day around the Palace and around the estate.

It certainly is a wonderful place to work and it is a wonderful place to visit - we hope to see you soon and at least we got everything out of the way last Thursday!

Have a good weekend.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry you had all those problems to deal with, but Blenheim sounds such a happy place to work in with everyone pulling together!

February 24, 2010 at 3:34 AM  
Anonymous John Hoy said...

Most times yes - very happy - but some days (like that Thursday!) can be challenging!

Let's hope that we goteveything out of the way in one go - and that sunshine will soon appear!


February 28, 2010 at 10:22 AM  
Anonymous Mary Monfries said...

John - love your blog and Dominic's. Particularly the sense of "high's and lows are part of the rich tapestry of live and isn't every day precious and something to be grateful for." So looking forward to meeting you both later. Mary

March 12, 2010 at 12:41 AM  

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