Tuesday, 20 January 2015

A Hotelier’s memories, by Iris Ansell: 3. A hairy story


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

Staff were a big problem. In our early days, and before having good staff who returned year after year, we relied upon the Job Centre.

They sent us two girls who with four other friends took a holiday flat, intending to earn enough to sunbathe all day and nightclub all night. They arrived the first day on time, second day one hour late, third day didn’t arrive at all. 

I went to find them and were told “We get more money on the dole, than you pay us, so we won’t be back.”

After that we put an advert in the local paper shop and found lovely local, mainly young housewives, who were perfect.

We did have some characters though. One, a slightly older lady, whom I felt had fallen on hard times, having looked after elderly parents, and was then on her own. 

She was a lovely person, so willing to help and always getting it wrong. She would appear in the office quite regularly with “Oh Mrs A, I’ve made a 'faux pas'!"  My answer was always: “Yes Yvonne what is it this time?” 

This time, she had picked up somebody’s vey expensive can of hairspray, instead of air freshener and sprayed all the bedrooms. 

It took a long time to locate the room where she’d left the hairspray, and even longer to find a replacement can of hairspray.

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