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Lockdown at the Quaich Experience: A Scottish View from Hvar

By 24 April 2020

How does a Scottish lockdown on Hvar look? The view from the Quaich Experience in Vrbanj through the eyes of owner Chris Connor. 

Mick and I left the UK in 2009 and created The Quaich from an old ruin which had not been lived in since WW1II, the Quaich Experience. With hindsight I’m not sure I would do it again but we finished up with not a bad place to spend this recent lockdown!  I know our children are happy we are here on Hvar rather than back in UK at this time.  But how I miss them!

Vrbanj is a very quiet little village even during normal times so at the moment we are grateful to hear a donkey heehaw or even a dog bark.  Thankfully our little village shop is open and we have been allowed to travel within our ‘Opcina’ area which is Stari Grad so the Big Tommy has been our go to for food and gin!

On my worst days I cry and mope about but a FaceTime with my grandchildren always picks me up again and of course my Mick who is always ‘splendid’ bless him.  My rock.  Normally at this time I would be flying back to Sussex to spend time with my little family but alas………. 

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I was a little too late to get to the Frizzer (hairdresser) before the lockdown so in a moment of rashness allowed Mick to shave my head.  After two weeks it’s starting to look not bad.  For a while I did resemble Ian Beale from Eastenders!  

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We are not the kind of folk who can watch endless Netflix or daytime TV so finding projects to keep us busy has been a challenge.  It started with renovating the odd chair we would find at the bins but we have now moved on to making toys for the grandchildren from old timber!  On wet days (not had many of them) jigsaw puzzles and knitting for me and Mick is still able to find some old football matches or rugby.  

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All in all we are doing OK although must admit not looking forward to the humid nights and the mozzies!

We have had a lot of cancellations but still hopeful for July when we still have some guests booked in and as we have all this spare time The Quaich is looking pristine and ready to welcome guests as and when.  We rely on the income we receive during the summer months to get us through the winter so the future for us is a little uncertain financially but heyho!  a day at a time for now.

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Turning our thoughts to the future we realise that the very personal service we have provided at The Quaich will have to be toned down as I believe guests will be very cautious about leaving home for some time to come.  Fortunately, we can be very adaptable in that respect - the cottages are all self-catering with lock boxes for keys so no need to have contact with us at all if that is what they prefer.  Information regarding swimming pools is quite clear in that the normal chemicals used to keep water healthy will kill the coronavirus.  Staying within the area of The Quaich can be like an isolation in itself and maybe for the future, guests may be looking for longer-term rentals.  We can either stock up groceries for them or I think driving to us and bringing their own goods will become more the norm.

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For those of you who know Mick and I and The Quaich, you will know that in the past couple of years we have been for sale.  This is still the case for us.  We have enjoyed our time here immensely but for me especially, it’s time to go home.  Maybe our lifestyle here, whether as a holiday home or as a permanent home, will be far more appealing once the world gets back to some sort of normality.  After all this is paradise and until we sell we are still welcoming guests.

Do you remember Terry Waite.  He spent 1763 days as a hostage in appalling conditions.

He just told us all to stop complaining!

Change your mindset he said, you're not STUCK at home, you're SAFE at home 

His advice:

*Keep your own dignity - get out of your PJs! 

*Form a structure for the day

*Be grateful for what you have - shelter, home, possessions 

*Read and be creative

Stay safe everyone xx