Graham Ellis - Regular updates - my diary
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Four in a Bed
When running our Hotel on Spa Road, Lisa and Graham took part in the Channel 4 Reallity TV show "Four in a Bed", where four sets of B&B owners visit each other's places, stay overnight and critique - paying only what they think it is worth.
We visited "Knock Castle" in Crieff, Scotland. We visited "Barton House Hotel" in Blackpool. We hosted. And finally we visited "Applewood Gamping" near Worcester. In payment terms, we came second to Knock Castle. But in our view, almost everyone was a winner and we made many good friends.
We loved introducing Melksham to the world, showing off our history in The Church, Melksham House (which looked much better at that time - 1993) and the Town Hall, and had all the contestants town crying - with many thanks to Peter Dauncey.
Melksham is, very much, a town we are proud of. It was a delight over more than a decade to welcome people to our place on Spa Road (where we now live). All those early morning breakfasts (we were open 365 days a year) made a pleasure by the lovely people who stayed, and we had a fabulous team of people on staff. Don't let anyone tell you that the youngsters of today are [critical word]; they're not - they could (and did) do the job better than I, and handle any and every curved ball customer serice threw at them.
Published Thursday, 1st April 2021
Restoring old buildingsWe bought 404, The Spa, as a wreck in 1999. There were no working toilets, water came in from next door through a lead pipe, and if you stood on the top floor and looked down through the gaps in the floorboards, you could see all the way down to the ground floor - 55 steps lower according to my daughter, who lived there with us until she moved away to University.
The main reception floor at 404 was fitted out as our IT training centre, and from the summer of 2000 we ran specialist IT training course there - four to eight delegates at a time, coming from different companies far and wide across the UK and sometimes beyond. Such were our topics that delegates were always keen to learn, always bright, and interesting people too - we make some really good, and extraordinary, friends. We also got to know Melksham and the area really well - businesses in town, places to take people of an evening (not part of the course - done for pleasure).
By 2006, course were outgrowing our training room, and it was getting harder to find places for delegates to stay, so we bought out "The Old Manor" on Spa Road and christened it "Well House Manor". Another major investment - it had been up for sale for demolition (planning in for 22 retirement flats on the site), but we redid the place from top to bottom (and below when we found foundation issues!).
Two training rooms - one more than we really needed - and the smaller room became a "Museum for Melksham", also known as "The Well House Collection". A winding down over the last couple of years; the museum is now in the larger room (open on request and undergoing re-arrangement this year) and the smaller room now my Zoom Studio - happy to have people around as the rules allow (writing during Coronavirus) but, please, by appointment as retirement has turned out not to be the quiet time we expected!
Published Wednesday, 31st March 2021