40th anniversary of our family at Highlands End
The 4oth anniverasary of the family ownership of the park featured in our local ‘free’ paper ‘View from Bridport’ – click to have a look at the paper and go to page 24 for the start of the 5 page feature. Excellent support from local businesses.
This evening (Saturday) we have invited our owners to the bar for a drink and some canapes to mark the occasion. Will post some photos tomorrow. The team in the Bar will be busy today with a wedding in the afternoon followed by our event in the evening.
Yesterday we all attended Derek’s funeral and with probably over 300 people in the church, with some having to stand outside, it was a real tribute to a popular local character and member of our team at Golden Cap (see blog on 8 June ).
Received our AA reports today for Highlands End and Golden Cap which scored 88% (5 pennants) and 83% (4 pennants) respectively. The inspector was impressed by the redeveloped area for the Caravan Holiday Homes for hire at Golden Cap and at Highland End he particularly noted the increasing use of solar energy.
There is a very user friendly iphone app from the AA which gives a listing of holiday parks.
Very good BH&HPA Management meeting in Coventry our discussions included the current market, government and european proposals which will have an impact on our sector, the red tape challenge, research and trends and our 2012 conference in London.
While at the meeting I managed to successfully telephone bid for 4 firemark plaques in an auction in Dorchester. I returned to Dorset last night to find that our Team Leaders were very happy with the leadership course – second day today.
The Engineers have arrived this morning to complete the solar work on the toilet block – it seems that it was too sunny yesterday to fit the solar tubes which get hot as soon they are exposed to the sun – that was their excuse for the delay!! Hopefuly, by tomorrow morning we will be using less LPG!
Rain stops play……
After a really good effort yesterday to get the chrome and brass nice and clean, we woke up this morning to heavy rain and strong winds.
A terrible day for everyone here on holiday and it also meant that the local vintage vehicle rally was cancelled so ‘Barkis’ the fire engine had to stay at home. I visited West Bay this afternoon and it was very quiet with a fairly rough sea.
The local farmers are pleased with the rain which should help the growing crops after such a long dry period – always a fine balance between the best for tourism and farming.
I am sure all the tourism businesses will be hoping that this will be the last day of bad weather for the next few weeks – and I am sure they are all hoping that the sun shines for the next 10 weeks…..
However, it was a good day for ducks and if you read this blog regularly you will remember that we had six eggs hatch over the Easter weekend – I have now released the ducks on the pond and they are enjoying their first few days of freedom.
I have 18 eggs the incubator at the moment including 12 I have purchased from a local waterfowl specialist so if I am lucky I should have a range of ducks when they hatch!! – should widen the range of breeds on the pond.
Busy and difficult week ahead – I am in Coventry tomorrow and Tuesday to attend a BH&HPA meeting and we have the first two days of our team leader training on Tuesday and Wednesday…Derek’s funeral is on Friday and I am confident that many caravan owners and regular visitors to Golden Cap will be joining us at the service.
Bridport Tourism Association Social meeting at the Swannery
We attended a social event organised by Bridport & District Tourism Association at Abbotsbury Gardens and Swannery today.
John Houston gave us a very informative talk about the marketing and advertising of the attraction and we discussed the various issues relating to brown signs, roadside advertising, marketing, the future of Destination Dorset and the various attitudes towards our very important industry. The photographs shows some members with John
I let him know my secret that although I live nearby I have never been to the Swannery!! Well I have now….and it is a beautiful and wonderful location – hundreds of swans, cygnets, geese and ducks. We even managed to arrange our visit to co-incide with feeding time. After a very quick tour of the Swannery, we visited the Gardens for lunch in the restaurant followed by a tour of the gardens.
A very enjoyable few hours away from the office and we now have the personal experience which will encourage our visitors to visit the attractions. I shall be going back and I have promised myself that we will visit the enchanted floodlit garden in October
Fire Engine…comes out to play!
For the first time since 1996 the Fire Engine gradually makes the journey down the ramps – first fresh air for 15 years!
Doesn’t seem a long time, but Tony Blair has come and gone, digitial cameras have been developed and we now communicate by Facebook and Twitter….
The fire engine is already creating excitment and on Sunday 11 June will make an appearance at the annual West Bay Vintage Tractor Show – hopefully we will make it there!
It has been a very sad 72 hours with the sudden death of Derek Taylor on Sunday 5 June
Derek started work with our family on Golden Cap in 1990, but our personal friendship and work relationship goes back many years. I was in the same year as Derek at school and we have lived and worked in West Dorset all our lives.
Derek started work with Mr Everidge who farmed in Seatown and owned Alberlon Caravan Park when he left school. He has therefore been associated with the park for over 40 years and I know that many Caravan Owners and regular visitors will have many memories over this period of time.
During the 1980s before we purchased Alberlon in 1987 and merged the park with Golden Cap, there was a close working relationship between the two parks and Derek spent many coffee breaks in our staff room. After a short time working with the Everidge family on the farm, Derek joined us in 1990 and he has been a very popular and well known member of staff for 21 years.
Derek was always keen to establish a good link between the park and the community. As a genuine local character he brought a valuable and respected contribution to the park
Everyday life on the park will never be the same – it is very much the end of an era for Golden Cap but in particular Alberlon…..
Last friday, Vanessa and I attended a four hour course on the skills of delegation; it is surprising that although we have been managing the parks for 25 years we can still benefit from new ideas. We are both always aware that it is so easy to continue in the same way and wonder why you are not getting different results.
We also completed the Herrmann Brain Dominance Test which gave some interesting results on our preferred approach to thinking and therefore management approach.
Our Team Leaders are attending a 3 day course later this month which will refresh all our ideas and approach to work on the parks. Our courses are being run by Training4Results based in Dorchester
You know when the peak season is approaching when the tractor arrives to mow the grass for hay. The field next to the church will provide a good number of bales this year and Robert is planning to keep some for his pigs which are arriving shortly – a new hobby for him (and us) – when taking this photograph of this very modern mowing machine it made me think of the farming changes which have been witnessed by our church since it was built in 1865.
We have taken a few minutes to look back over the Whitsun weekend and although the weather was not brilliant we were very busy – particualarly the bar on Saturday evening when the European Football final along with an overcast evening resulted in the busiest evening since we opened the bar in 1984.
I had to quickly learn how to use the new tills and work behind the bar for a couple of hours – tested the old skills!! I was very proud of all the team working that evening – the kitchen team were amazing with meals flying out of the door and with good communications all our customers were warned of delays and we had no complaints. Many of our customers recognised the pressure and were very helpful
The weather forecast is good for the week end and the phones have been ringing today with lot’s of interest in the coming weekend – so we appear to be moving towards the main season.
I joined Bridport Rotary a couple of weeks ago – the meetings are most Tuesday lunchtimes at Highlands End – so I have no excuses for being late. The meeting this week included an interesting presentation by two Colfox Students about a leadership course they had attended which had been sponsored by Rotary – the Mother of one of the students mentioned to me that she had her wedding reception in the bar in the early 1990s; it is really good when the park is such a part of the community and local life.