Thursday, 18 December 2014

A Hotelier's memories, by Iris Ansell: 2. On the sherry

Friend of Fairlynch Iris Ansell, who helps in the Museum’s Costume Department, recalls some memorable moments from her time as proprietor of Southlands Hotel in Budleigh Salterton

Like most hotels of a certain size, to elongate the season, those of us that could, took a coachload of pensioners, early and late season.

As we were newcomers to the hotel life, we employed a cook for the season. She was a treasure and stayed with us for many years. She did however enjoy a glass of sherry while waiting for everyone to be seated for dinner. (Pensioners who came on very reduced rates had fixed meals and times, so everyone arrived at the same time and took a while to be seated). 

Peg, as she was called, enjoyed her sherry, stirring her lovely home-made soup and waiting.

My husband bought sherry by the box, putting it on a shelf above the hatch where Peg was waiting with her soup. Unfortunately the tap came unattached and the sherry poured into the soup below. Peg calmly carried on stirring, and sent it out with the waitresses.

Everybody loved the soup, some even asked for seconds, and by the end of the meal we had a very “happy” dining room, with much laughter and even singing.

However we did notice quite a lot of early retirements, and luckily no ill effects.

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