Puppies and parties

PuppyHe’s here!  He’s here!  The puppy has arrived!  More beautiful and cute than I imagined.  More fun than I had pictured.  More adorable than I hoped.  And also more poo and wee to clear up, than I had expected!

Borgust the dog arrived on Tuesday.  My stepson wanted to call him Boris but, as a Londoner, I associate that name with our crazy-haired mayor Boris Johnson.  I wanted the name August to match our surname, and so in the end we settled on Borgust – a mixture of the two.

Borgust is a white and brown lagotto puppy with a teddy bear-like face.  He is settling into life as a hotel dog very well so far and as I write is sitting contentedly near me on the dining room rug.  It is really touching how we have bonded over the last 2 days and he now pines when I am out of sight.  This is normal for a young puppy who, like a human baby, needs their “mummy” to be close by at all times.  Borgust enjoys having lots of cuddles, feeding, sleeping and playtime in the garden.

An example of how he needs to be near me is his response to me preparing breakfast on his first morning here.   I put him in the neighbouring bar, while I prepared breakfast for 4 hungry guests.  However,  his pining moans soon made me bring him into the kitchen and sit him on his blanket so he could be closer to me and watch while I cooked.  This, along with intermittent cuddles, seemed to restore him to a happy calm.

The guests who stayed here on Borgust’s first night were enchanted by this cute and energetic ball of fur.  By coincidence, they had brought their very own adult lagotto with them to the hotel and so we shared our experiences of these beautiful dogs at different ages.

As well as commenting on my new puppy, this celebratory post would not be complete without a mention of the fantastic party we hosted on Monday night.  This event was all about meeting local food producers and business owners, getting to know each other and hopefully working together in the future.  We had over 20 guests at the hotel, who all brought their food/drink to share.  It was a feast of delicious smoked ham, organic pork-belly and sausages, home grown apple juice, local beer, nettle pesto, home-made tomato ketchup and potato salad.  Then for dessert we had those famous Urshult Bakery buns I love so much and Swedish cheesecake which, unlike English/American cheesecake, is served hot from the oven.

The company was as delightful as the food.  At one point we all went around the table introducing ourselves and saying a little about our business.  In the warm light of our vintage chandelier I heard about the local 17th century mill that now rents out holiday cottages, the 1920s stately home that does weddings, the humble millionaire owner of the local supermarket, the apple orchard, the jam makers, the pork farmers, herb producers and many more.  It was exciting to feel that we at Urshult Hotell are part of this dynamic and successful business community.

And the most exciting part of the evening for me was our late night visit to the bakery.  At 10pm after we had had our fill of cheesecake and coffee, the bakery managers spontaneously invited us to visit their premises.  My head spun with the idea of visiting a business this late at night.  I know from living in France that bakeries there tend to open very early in the morning to produce their bread. However, this bakery is so large that it runs throughout the night producing bread and buns to be delivered all over Smaland and beyond.  The bakery shop, where I normally purchase breakfast items, is tiny (about 3m x 3m) but is housed in a massive building and so I had always wondered what lay beyond the shop door.  And I was about to find out – how exciting!  Also, as regular readers will know, this is the bakery which started out in the basement of our hotel so there is a strong historical connection between our 2 businesses.

We walked the short distance to the bakery from the hotel and, once inside the side entrance, were handed hygienic white coats and hats.  And then…we entered.  Just like Doctor Who’s tardis, the building behind the tiny door was MASSIVE!  A large warehouse full of giantesque baking machines.  It reminded me of the machines that animator Nick Park shows off in his Wallace and Gromit movies!  Huge sacks of flour get turned into dough in the titanic mixing machines.  The bowls for these machines are probably as wide as my stepson is tall.  Kenwood and Kitchenaid eat your heart out!

Once the dough is mixed it is put into a special machine to rise and then it is shaped into bread or buns.  Some of the dough is frozen in a freezing room and the rest is put into the giant ovens.  We saw the whole process starting with the sacks of separate ingredients and ending with the clever packaging machine that puts the finished bread into a bag and ties it up!  Then the individual orders are prepared in crates and loaded straight into lorries to be driven to their destination.  Urshult is a small and quiet village but its bakery is like a thriving metropolis!  There were so many staff there all actively working to make the bread and fulfill the orders.  It was a quite sight to behold!

So, in summary, it has been an exciting few days here at Urshult Hotell.  I look forward to posting again soon with more Swedish delights.  Greetings to all my readers!


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