High hopes

We're getting good results from Googlemaps, our web-site and our road sign. Everyone says this is in general a poor year for visitors to Wester-Ross. The well below par weather, the notorious Icelandic ash clouds and the World Cup (football) are getting the blame. Oh, and of course the so-called recession that I call a re-alignment might have something to do with it! However, as I say, we are doing OK with the new B&B. Occupancy better than expectations. Thus far we have welcomed visitors from Holland, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy and Australia. Plus a couple from somewhere called England. Actually this is a real bonus for us because all of our visitors have been great for the craic ('chat' to the non-Highlander); a virtual window on the world outside. Of course the work load on Dee is no small imposition - cleaning to that final speck of dust, linen and towels washing, cooking a miscellany of mouth-watering breakfasts, etc - but all in all a great success.

On the other hand our Pictures and Poems micro business has struggled to beat last year in spite of the promising new products we created over the winter. In general the markets are well ahead in sales value but shop sales a little bit down. On the brighter side, some hotels are saying the visitor enquiry rate for the Autumn is looking good. Sept / Oct is a particularly good time to visit this region. Purple hills, distant roaring of sex-crazed stags, apart from that all the peace and the quiet ...

But continuing with the commercial picture from Kirkhill House, sales of Going with Gabriel, More Deaths Than One and On Wester-Ross have been disappointing in spite of some good recent publicity and my signing / reading session in Gairloch. I've said it before but selling books by an unknown writer is akin to swimming up a waterfall. Never mind, taking my cue from the mighty salmon, I shall not give up because most folk say the books are worth it. (P.S. The next Bryan Islip book will come out this Autumn and the one after that next Spring.) Spring! You see - hope does spring eternal in the human breast. Shakespeare said so and I believe him.

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