I got asked recently if I ran Hamilton Hall as a hobby and I wanted to slap the fool.
What hobby keeps you working between 8 - 19 hours a day - 7 days a week - all year without even a holiday in over a decade ?
After installing a huge new and massively expensive new boiler 3 years ago, and I will point out that the 35 year old boiler NEVER - EVER - LET ME DOWN but had to be replaced eventually as parts were no longer available, and since then, every year, I have had continuous problems with the new one.
Every morning since before Christmas, it has played up. It will not come on in the morning by the timer, and I have to get up every morning 2 hours before I need to, to turn the temperature down - and then up again, and then, and only then, will the boiler kick in and heat the house.
Bought a new timer control - £300 and a new thermostat - £45 - and still it was not working correctly. So it wasn't that.
Had the boiler man in on numerous occasions and he simply could not figure out what was wrong.
So tried another boiler man - in fact tried two at different times and both at high costs, and neither sorted the problem and one actually left me worse off as he stopped the hot water ... and thank goodness for my neighbout Chris who is an electrician who at least sorted the hot water out - and this was right at the beginning of a full house workshop weekend - and all adds to the constant stress of running your own business.
So every morning, my alarm goes off 2 hours early - and I get up in the cold - WHICH I HATE WITH A VENGANCE -and go down 2 flights of stairs and wrestle with the boiler controls and most days it eventually comes on, and may take me 10 - 15 minutes to sort out - BUT NOT TODAY - it simply WOULD NOT come on and when it did, it switched itself back off again within 10 minutes and this is not enough to heat the house.
So once again the boiler man came back and luckily I had heard something in the boiler room making a strange noise, and he changed that - whatever it was - and after 3 months, hundreds and hundreds of £ spent / wasted - it seems to be back on as usual.
It is enough to make me cry.
I work so hard. We struggle financially. I have now wasted £500 on something that is barely 2 years old and should have a lifespan of decades, but oh no....
The boiler man allowed 2 of his visits for free and charged for 2 others - which is still another £200 odd.
After getting up so early, there is no way I can go back to bed and / or back to sleep and I am now awake hours earlier than I need to - and with a long day ahead, it puts me in a bad spot - as I am somewhat pissed off at having to do this day in and week out for so long before the professional in charge gets it right.
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Being the winter months my arthritus is killing me and I have hardly any use in my left hand or hip which both give me agonies and I struggle along.
At a time when after so many years here things should be easy - it aint.
So I am sharing just a small amount of my frustrations and agrovation at running my own business as I cannot have a cold house for guests and I cannot continue geting up so early and having my sleep deprived for months and months.
Some think this is my hobby. Others do actually offer respect and value for the HUGE workload that we undertake - and some, simply do not see it at all.
And all along , I do not get paid a single penny. I do it all for love. The business covers its costs - and that's about it, and then there are those who try and fool us into giving away free holidays they can afford - or expect a level of 5 star service from a small guest house hotel and then give attitude which is comical if it was not so arrogant - and there will always be those who have absolutely no idea at all what is involved.
I am exhauisted before the season even really starts. Not enough sleep.
It's not all fun and it is not all joy. It is hard graft and long days. But I love it.
Felt for you John. Up so early to check the heating. I have ahair solon and we had this problem last winter. Heating refused to work. Had electric heaters which cost a fortune until it was fixed. Took 6 weeks dicking about with heating engineers who seemed not to have a clue but knew how to charge.
You have my sympathy John
Pete ( Southampton )
John. I watch the TV proigramme ESCAPE TO THE CHATEAU and the one thing the audiance does not get - is how many hours of hard work and graft are put in so the chateau and its events happen. Hundreds of hours between them every week, dirt and filth - rubble, bolders, dead flies by the thousand and at one time, no hot water or heating, and this is not glamouir - it is not living the high life, it is damned hard work. I admire you for the long hours you offer on our behalf and thank you John for 20 years of selfless service to the gay community.