After being closed for over three months the list of things to do has been long but we’re good to go! We’ve read every single guideline available to be able to open safely for us and our guests. This has involved buying specialist cleaning materials, PPE and removing all the books, DVD’s, games and toys from the cottages. Barry has disinfected every showerhead with Milton to prevent legionnaires disease and the cottages have been recleaned from top to bottom ready for arrivals from the 4th.
There has to be some changes to our operations – we won’t be personally welcoming our guests as key safes have been fitted with towels and sanitising fluid to hand, and cream teas are off the agenda to reduce the amount of touch points. We’re also asking guests to strip their beds before they leave and place the linen directly in the laundry bags, and to also open all the windows before we go into the cottages to clean. Earlier departure and later arrival times are also important in order that we have more time to ensure the cottage is clean and safe for our next guests.
It’s all been a learning curve but we’re as prepared as we can be. Lots of businesses in Beer are getting ready so you’ll be able to eat out including The Dolphin, The Anchor, The Smugglers Kitchen and Steamers (for takeaway initially). Osbornes Wine Bar which is under new ownership is also opening and will be doing takeaway drinks as well. We wish all the businesses good luck!
We’re looking forward to saying welcome (in a socially distant way) in 7 days time and fully booked until 3rd October. Beer is open for business (in a safe way).
How appropriate that on Devon Day our copy of Devon Life magazine drops through the letterbox! And on page 61 a great article on how Beer has reacted during lockdown supporting the local community, the NHS and giving care home residents a lift.
We’re on day ‘whatever’ of lockdown and whilst some restrictions have been lifted the village is pretty much the same. The beach was busier during half term with local families and visitors however overall we’ve continued to be impressed with how local people are behaving – none of the terrible scenes like Durdle Door here thank goodness.
There are still no overnight stays allowed so whilst we’re hoping to be welcoming guests a month from today, we wait to see how the infection rate reduces. Meanwhile we’ve been trying to get Covid19 ready for our visitors. So far we’ve pre-ordered hand sanitisers for a mini welcome pack plus a larger one for use near our key safes, and masks and disposable gloves for our extended cleaning regime between guest stays. We’ve also managed to order some heavy duty surface spray that kills 99.9999999999% of germs in order to keep ourselves and guests as safe as possible.
So we’re playing a waiting game like many others. Some of the cafes on the beach are open for takeaway, IKEA in Exeter opened (to massive queues around the car park!) and some of our shops will open from the 15th. I love a message I saw this week about shops starting to re-open –
“Businesses are now starting to open in the first phase as per the governments plan. If you go into a commercial premises and see some mistakes, don’t start recording or taking photos to upload onto social media. Please speak to the owner. We have to help each other. This is new for everyone and business owners will be trying their best to make it safe and get their businesses running again. Let’s help each other through the transition”.
Day 9 of lockdown in Beer and due to the coronavirus our business is closed for the first time ever. Of course many people’s lives have changed dramatically but cancelled bookings and applying for a government small business grant were things I never envisaged. Despite that there have been a lot of positives over the last week or so.
We’ve vowed to do more to support our fellow local businesses so here’s what we’ve managed so far –
Andy at Steamers Restaurant is making takeaway bread and yesterday we had the most delicious fish pie and greens for lunch that he cooked for the villagers.
Woozies unfortunately had to close however we visited on her last day and bought milk, cheese and other items that would have gone off and been wasted.
Our roast dinner on Sunday came from products all purchased at Colyford Butchers and Stores and Beer Village Stores.
Friday night was taken care of with a takeaway pizza from The Smugglers Kitchen thanks to Rob.
Due to the lovely weather I’ve continued running and now I can’t drive to Seaton Esplanade I’ve run up and down the hills from Garlands to the Axmouth Yacht Club and back without stopping. Barry has been running very slowly with me to motivate me to get up the hills. To be fair he can fast walk as I run but my Fitbit told me I was at 100% peak today so my heart is working hard. Running and doing yoga in my new studio has been a way to keep my mind healthy, so important in times like these.
We’ve kept in touch with our family and friends with Facetime and Houseparty and even did a virtual quiz on Monday which was great fun despite not being altogether. Thank goodness for WiFi – these times have really shown that this is a utility and not a luxury. Speaking of luxury, a bonus of some of the product shortages was that Barry came home yesterday with a proper bar of Imperial Leather soap. This was a luxury item in our family when I was growing up and the smell transported me back to different times and memories.
I’ll admit to have gone a bit rogue – I’m spending most of the day in my gym kit, I haven’t worn make up, I’ve watched the sheep alot in the fields opposite and the whole of Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers on the iPlayer in two days. However on the plus side I’ve washed every bit of bedding I can find and the house is the cleanest its ever been since we moved in – I even got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed the kitchen floor.
The Beer community has rallied and we have a Beer Action Group (BAG) which is made up of lots of volunteers who are all supporting whoever and whatever needs doing to help people get through these times. The world is certainly a different place and will never quite be the same afterwards.
Beer and our cottages will be waiting for you to visit when the coast is clear. I saw a Facebook post this morning that summed it up nicely – there will be a lot of businesses who will need to get back on their feet afterwards – let’s spend our holidays in England, eat in local restaurants, buy British products, buy local meats and veggies and support local businesses.
Stay safe everyone!
I haven’t written for a couple of months as I was about to launch my yoga business and then this virus exploded and I wasn’t sure what even to say………
Then I saw this photo on Facebook – Beer Needs You, posted in relation to pubs that need custom to stay afloat in this crisis. This message is close to home as my brother runs a small pub in Swanage and for the first time ever this week he didn’t put in a beer order.
I’m reminded of what the late Steve Jobs said when he was sick. He sadly passed away in October 2011 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Despite all his millions and the best healthcare money could pay for, his death couldn’t be avoided, and he said at the time that the six best doctors in the world are -Sunlight, Exercise, Rest, Diet, Self Confidence and Friends. So this morning I thought which of these six doctors do we have in Beer Village?
On Monday we had sunshine, it was 17 degrees outside and the forecast is looking better for next week – TICK!
On Tuesday we walked to Lyme Regis on the wonderful South West Coast Path which is on our doorstep. Fabulous exercise and 23,000 steps – TICK!
Yesterday we had our rest and carried on watching Designated Survivor on Netflix – truly gripping. We have a WhatsApp group of our friends in the village and we’ve shared our viewing recommendations across all the Apps and TV channels. Feel free to message me if you’d like a list. Whilst our book club meetings are cancelled we’re continuing to read and the local library is still open – TICK!
Today we went down to the village and purchased items in Woozie’s to support our shops. Our local facilities are still open – ‘keeping calm and carrying on’. Whilst Barry and I are not the best of chefs, we’ve got time at home to maybe focus on a better diet and cook from scratch – TICK!
Tomorrow my home yoga studio opens with a class of one – my husband. I’ve written six Yoga Nidra sessions and he’s going to be my guinea pig along with the other Breathe and Flow sessions that are coming along nicely. It feels good to have the time to devote to this – mental health is so important and this way I’ll have lots of confidence when it comes to doing private sessions – TICK!
On Saturday we would normally be seeing friends – Beer is such a social village. Whilst we won’t physically be seeing them there’s way more remote contact, each person checking in and offers of help if anyone needs it. There’s been an amazing community response to supporting people who are vulnerable and need support – TICK!
So we are grateful in Beer that we have all six of these doctors. Oh, and what about our business? We’re also still open for business. We’re doing deep cleans between guests and as they are all completely self contained we’ll stay open for the duration.
Stay Safe Everyone………
Regatta Week is over for another year, the fourth one we’ve experienced since moving to Devon permanently in June 2016. It was as fun filled as ever, jam packed with activities such as barrel rolling, decorated rafts and beach huts and the best fancy dress competition ever.
At the end of Regatta there is a Seaside Songs of Praise service on Charlie’s Yard. This is right by the beach and it used to be where boats were built years ago. So much about Beer is centred around our beach and our love of the sea. The beach and sea are still the providers of a way of living, with working fishermen and boats that can be hired out to fish for mackerel. Then you have the keen luggers and sailors who use the sea for the thrill of sailing.
One of my favourite hymns was sang at the service and it’s about asking God to protect those who are on the sea –
Eternal Father, strong to save, whose arm doth bind the restless wave.
Who bid’st the mighty ocean deep, it’s own appointed limits keep.
O hear us when we cry to thee, for those in peril on the sea.
O Trinity of love and power, our brethrn shield in danger’s hour.
From rock and tempest, fire and foe, protect them whereso’er they go.
And ever let there rise to thee, glad hymns of praise from land and sea.
Enjoy the rest of the summer and if you are lucky enough to swim in the sea stay safe out there!
The Folletts at Beer won Bronze and Gold at the Visit Devon Tourism Awards 2018 last week.
Little did we think when we purchased our three cottages in the quintessentially British fishing village of Beer, that three and a half years later we would win Bronze in the Self Catering Property of the Year award, and Helen would win Gold in a special award of Customer Service Superstar which was announced on the night.
We think the judges were impressed by our free dog sitting service and the addition of our wonderful complimentary use of the beach hut. The way we have integrated into the village we think made a difference – I lead the Beer Coastal Community team – a volunteer group that exists to ensure Beer continues to be a wonderful place for people to live, work, visit and holiday. This team have recently been awarded a grant from the Government’s Coastal Community Fund to further enhance the village.
We both also supported the village in Channel 4’s Village of the Year competition where Beer won the best village in the South West region to make it to the national finals.
In our press release I said that we were thrilled with both awards –
“Barry and I are delighted to have won the Bronze award for Devon’s Self Catering Property of the Year. It’s particularly pleasing considering we’ve only been in business for a short time. Winning Gold for Customer Service was amazing – to win an award which is all about how you treat people is the icing on the cake! We’re so lucky to live and work in beautiful Beer and East Devon, right on the Jurassic Coast and the South West Coast Path”.
All of the winners can be found on the Devon Tourism Award website.
This week of the year is always a sad one for me as it’s around this time that my Dad passed away and it’s also Remembrance Sunday soon. However it’s also the time I feel grateful that positive changes were made in my life as a result of the very saddest times. Grief actually gave me the wake up call I needed to be brave enough to wave goodbye to the corporate London life I lived, to live and work in wonderful East Devon and beautiful Beer.
Today we have another family arriving to stay in The Boat Shed for ‘Mike’s Week’. Barry and I launched this last year and it’s where we host a family who have been chosen by the Macmillan Hospice in Christchurch for a free holiday. This week allows a person who is very sick to create lasting memories with their loved ones. We’re proud to continue to support the work of this hospice who took such great care of my Dad when he had terminal cancer. They are not linked to the national Macmillan charity and rely on fundraising efforts to continue their good work.
There’s so much research around as to why holidays are so important for people and it’s been proved that taking a holiday is good for your health. Here are the 8 benefits of taking a holiday –
Reduces stress, increases creativity, boosts emotional stability, makes confidence soar, improves your intelligence, improves low moods and helps you fight cold and infection.
This week we’re proud to welcome and host this family and we hope that this time away gives them a change of scenery and the chance to be together to create long and lasting memories.