English Cafe event x 1
Cafe customers x 100
Overnight guests x 26 Swedish army officers staying 4 nights
Choir rehearsal x 1
Birthday lunch x 1
Birthday lunch guests x 40
Puppy with very active bowels x 1
Mix all the above ingredients together and hey presto your busy week will be complete!
Yes indeed, this has been the busiest week yet in Urshult Hotell. The day after our English Café event last Sunday we had 26 male and female officers from the Swedish Army check-in. Our hotel was fully booked for the entire week and they just left this morning. Without exception they were polite, tidy, warm and friendly. I do hope they come back and visit again.
This morning we gave them their last 6:20am breakfast and there was much talk about last night’s fantastic concert. The national army have been training in the Urshult area all week and their training culminated in a musical extravaganza. At 6:30pm last night, Urshult church (which seats 800-1000) was packed with soldiers and local residents; all keen to hear the army wind band and singers. The brass playing was sublime and the trumpeting was incredibly inspiring. A personal favourite was the haunting flugal horn solo in You Raise Me Up and the finale Up Where We Belong. Thoroughly roused and uplifted, the audience trooped outside at the end of the concert to listen to the Smaland anthem played on the steps of the church. The Musical Director conducting the anthem was at breakfast this morning and I was able to congratulate him on his fabulous concert.
During their time here, I had some very interesting conversations with the officers and my favourite was with the army chaplain. He was preparing his talk for an event about how music can help soldiers grieving the loss of a comrade. We talked for quite some time about the healing power of music and I shared that my own paternal grandfather was an army chaplain during World War II. It seems I have a fair few experiences here in Sweden, which somehow bring me back to my roots!
Despite being pretty exhausted mid-week I did make it to my first ever Urshult Kyrka choir rehearsal. As I set out to the parish hall, I felt a bit apprehensive about following a full choir rehearsal in Swedish and also chatting in Swedish to lots of new people. When I arrived, the singers were standing outside in the warm spring sunshine eating ice cream! ‘This is my kind of rehearsal!’ I thought, as I was handed a magnum and began to relax into the familiar camaraderie of a musical rehearsal. Music is genuinely an international language so I easily followed the Musical Director as he led the warm-ups, counted us in and coached us through each piece. It also helped that we sang 3 songs in English by The Beatles!!
So, after a week of sharing our hotel with them, the army officers left this morning. Following their departure, I felt a real sense of satisfaction that we did it! We actually catered for a fully-booked hotel! And this came straight after all that baking and hosting for the English Cafe last weekend. If you had said to me in May last year, “Anna, this time next year you will be married, living in Sweden and running a fully-booked hotel” I would have thought you were crazy! But here we are and so far so good!
Hopefully we can ride on the waves of these successes through tomorrow’s 70th birthday party. We are catering for a very nice neighbour who expressly wanted to celebrate this milestone at Urshult Hotell. The menu will include my well-practised lasagne, shepherd’s pie and salade nicoise.
Finally, on Sunday, my husband and I will put our feet up and enjoy a well-deserved rest:)
Happy weekend everyone!