I stayed open through lockdown


We have been fully open for 3 weeks. We are doing well. We are all very sensible here and people can see that. They feel safe. We had 52 people here for lunch yesterday, separate bookings, not one big event. Once the diners were all in and seated that’s it. Nobody is allowed to use the bar, not to stand at the bar, or sit in there to drink, it’s just a thoroughfare now. We have a function room and a restaurant. There is social distancing space between the tables and people know that common sense is prevailing here, that we are doing it properly. Customers that come here expect us to do that. We have a one-way system going.

It is scary of course, but we have just got to be sensible. We have reduced the amount of staff we have on duty at any one time. The staff are so organised. They are really good. We have made sure that the tables are well-spaced. We are not turning tables for two sittings, so guests can stay for as long as they like. They can go in the garden too. Some did, before or after, yesterday. That was quite nice.


The dog didn’t like lockdown. She is a pub dog. She’d wake up in the morning and, well, it’s just me again! Usually she is so social, and the staff and customers are here with her.


I stayed open through lockdown. I registered to take key and essential workers on a BnB or room only basis. In mid-May non-essential workers could stay away from their homes for work, so I accommodated them. But it wasn’t for people who just wanted a weekend away for example. That was the 4th July, three weeks ago. We were given permission to reopen all services. We opened the restaurant and we are doing well because we are adhering to rules.


So yes, we had 52 people yesterday. 52 is a comfortable number. Normally we can take up to 75 people in both rooms. With social distancing we feel that 50-55 is our safe number, depending on how many guests are at a table.


We have had some lovely customers returning. We’ve had families meeting for the first time since… Inside they had to have two separate tables, but outside it was all hugs to see family again. One gentleman met his granddaughter for the first time, which was lovely.


We try to have a ‘can do’ attitude with guests. For example I have one customer who lived in London and runs a business in Brislington. In early March, before lockdown, he said to me he didn’t want to go back to London, didn’t want to be in London. He said he could be working from here, so he stayed. His business ran throughout the lockdown. He finally went home in mid-July. You have to make things work, so we came to an arrangement regarding safe access etc.


I live on site in a little cottage in the garden. I used to live in Bath and came here 11 years ago. I knew the previous owners, went to a party, drank too much, and agreed to buy the place! That was in August 2011. I haven’t drunk Prosecco since. Now I drink gin. It is so much safer! My passion for gin has really grown. The staff here are very knowledgeable about it, which customers love.


We have a herb garden too now. You might add lemon thyme to some gins, or sage to certain London dry gins. Elderflower tonic too. It really transforms the taste of the gin. We do all the complimentary fruits.

People say we have Keynsham’s secret garden. Once people find us, they keep coming back. We do advertise, it just feels that it doesn’t matter how many times we shout it out, people always say they didn’t know we had a garden.


That was one nice thing about lockdown. I got to sit in the garden without thinking about guests or what to do next for that party arriving for the first time in all these years. It was nice to sit in the garden.


https://www.oldmanorhousehotel.co.uk/


#HumansOfKeynsham, #WeAreAllHuman, #StrongWoman, #Keynsham, #KeynshamHighStreet, #COVIDStories, #Summer2020, #PassionateAboutGin.

Bristol, Bath, England.  +44 7825 912 368