A day in the life…


Days start early on the Innchanter, or as early as you like. On an average day, I leave it up  to the guests, but suggest that if they want the hotsprings to themselves, to grab a dingy or kayaks and head to the springs before the first tour boats arrive. Out the door by eight is a good idea. Some guests have used the springs until late the night before and are sleeping in, and others are up bright and early to enjoy the springs in solitude. If they are new guests , I usually get up to see them off and make sure they have drinking water, towels, and are comfortable with the row boats. I let them know when to be back in time for breakfast / brunch. The first flurry out, I have time for a cup of coffee by myself, as I set the breakfast table and decide what is on the menu for the morning. This is usually a long quiet patch with time to sit in the sun and nurse a latte in solitude, keeping quiet , so as not to wake the sleeping guests .

When the guests finally get up, or return from their early soak, I have the french press full, a pot of  tea made, and brunch ready to be served. The kitchen island is the focus, so I can chat while I serve coffee, and organize those staying and playing for the day, and those who have to check out and leave. I love this part of the day, as the guests are enthusiastic eaters, and I enjoy spoiling them with holiday style breakfast treats. Papaya and camembert omelets,  or apple puff pastry are my favourites.

After breakfast, the guests are either off exploring  the area, or checking out before their flights. This leaves me free from noon until four , to remake beds and tidy, plan dinner, and prepare for the new arrivals. Planning dinner is usually no harder than finding out if any of the tour boat drivers or local fishermen have any fresh catch for me. That decided, the rest of the menu falls into place , based on the guests and their restrictions ( vegetarian or any allergies ). With new guests not arriving until four, this is the quiet time of the day , my time to go for a kayak, or out to the beaches for a few hours for some solitude.

At four I am around to receive the new arrivals on the afternoon tour boats. Coffee, tea, and tours for everyone. This is the time of day when all the guests meet, and decide what the schedule is for the evening. Do they want dinner early, and to go out for a late night soak, or go soaking as soon as the last tour boat leaves, and then to come back for a late dinner, and a quiet evening on the Innchanter?

I have been doing this for twenty years, so no matter which option they pick, I can have dinner for twelve on the table within an hour. Fresh halibut in wasabi pea crust, wild rice on a bed of sea asparagus, grilled bell peppers, and a salad of pears, blue cheese and candied pecans with a sesame seed oil vinaigrette as dessert. This is my chance to sit down with the guests for a meal, but mostly to get to know them, and of course regale them with stories of life here on the coast.

It is never dull at dinner, and I love the changing dynamics as guest go and new ones arrive. Coffees, teas and the fire on if the evening is a bit chilly. Dinner finished, the guests either hang around the dinner table talking, retire to the living room to read or head to the springs. This is my time in the kitchen to relax, and do the dishes. No really, I LOVE doing the dishes, as an art form, and as a meditation. There is something very satisfying about it, and the galley design lets me keep an eye on the needs of the guests, while I putter. I get as many compliments on the layout of the drying dishes as I do about the food presentation. I like that. They are both art.

Here I can sit down again with the guests, tell bad stories, or bit of local history, or sneak off on my own, either to the springs for my soak, or upstairs to a good book. For me this is the longest part of the day if I have stayed in. I really can’t go to sleep until the last of the guests have brushed their teeth, and headed off to their rooms, so I can shut off all the extra light they have left on and check that all is ready for the night; boats tied up, doors closed, taps off etcetera. Guests who have gone out for a late soak usually sneak back in quietly and are fine on their own.