Dear Trimstone Manor Friend

Things are changing daily. Just after I penned the last message and it went out a few days later, new measures were introduced. We don’t want to be joining the irresponsible in this crisis and the Government package announced last Friday allows the hospitality trade some respite in the face on no or very few customers of any form.

Our children are all home and quarantined away from us for seven days, not because they are manifesting any symptoms but because that is a sensible thing to do as they have returned from busy places.  It may sound an over-reaction but we are hearing disturbing stories of how too many people are disregarding even basic guidance; it is not only to protect ‘you’ but more importantly to protect vulnerable people with less chance of survival if they contract the virus because you have passed it to them.

Friday saw measures to close restaurants, cafes and bars and Trimstone is of course doing the same.  We are still here (we live here!) but practical and helpful measures which even only last week organisations (like us) introduced to try to keep staff engaged and employed by encouraging a little safe trade so they can keep a financial, productive and active existence have been thwarted and a very welcome programme of government support introduced. Unusually in our industry we have always tried to keep all staff engaged over the very quiet winter even if there is very little for them to do – it’s always been our goal even if it has cost us dearly with little revenue (and not always reciprocated when the busy times have come either sadly!).  We shan’t be offering any take-away as have been authorised I regret but have to hope that in three months (well, the residue of eleven and a bit weeks) that things will be able to consider reverting to some semblance of carefully managed normality.  However, no-one can say what the ‘summer’ may look-like or in regard to future bookings and honouring them – we must all just wait and see.

It is a shame, however, how acidic or patronising some people can be with their comments about others in general, whether on social media or whatever, assuming that decisions any enterprise has taken and takes are theirs to adjudge based on their own personal views, prejudices and decisions.  They choose not to appreciate that those having to make their judgements have not firstly tried their very hardest to consider all aspects of the matter and guidance from government, etc. They also don’t seem to realise that things have and are changing rapidly and thus decisions taken ‘yesterday’ may need to change ‘tomorrow’.  For example, do we cancel the Hotel’s self-employed gardener’s contract to reduce even the outside likelihood of contact or keep him engaged so he has an income (and the garden keeps growing even if we have no customers to pay to maintain it)?  Properties still need to be maintained too so there is a need for prudent and careful consideration to whatever new rules may or may not be introduced.  It is a horrible thing to say but it is not a surprise to expect that too many of those same negatively critical people of others’ decisions are the panic-buyers hoarding ‘toilet rolls’ etc and making sure selfishly they have all they need for themselves and their families even if their elderly or vulnerable neighbour or the care worker arrives at the shelves to see them bare. They don’t want anyone else in their lifeboat consuming their vast hoard of provisions or taking their prospective bed space at the local hospital.  That is a sad indictment of the worst in a worried population but I hope it will blow-over soon and people will work together better for the common good.


It is awful out there – not only the virus but the financial catastrophe unravelled and unravelling is unprecedented and if unchecked, that will kill millions more people than ever this virus will.  Will many do exactly the wrong thing and panic-sell their investments at awful prices when it may be just a matter of days, weeks or months before the tide turns – as it will – and some normality and rational behaviour on markets begin to reappear?  Many trite sayings apply – from ‘it is darkest before the dawn’ to ‘buy when the blood is running in the streets’ but do they help?  For perspective, I prefer to continue to repeat what I have said in the face of many previous catastrophes.    If you really think you and our Society will stop eating, drinking, clothing yourselves, telephoning, banking, buying pharmaceutical products, amusing yourselves, caring for others and our properties and gardens, taking leisure time, running our cars, heating our homes, insuring our assets and lives, saving for our retirements, educating ourselves and supporting noble causes, then the world is going to end and nothing matters – your cash in your pocket and at the Building Society will be worthless – if it is still open.  If you think we’ll all stop moving home, buying new equipment as things change and old items break, employing electricians, plumbers and builders then the future is really bleak.  Conversely, if you have a realism to imagine that the world’s population post-Corona Virus will be roughly the same as it is now and indeed will continue growing regardless (we have had the awful news of announced deaths of just over 11,000 so far but that number will escalate) when guides before this outbreak suggested our global population is growing at a rate of 83million people a year, then these new additions will also be consuming the same sort of things you have now and someone somewhere will be producing and selling them to them at a profit.

It may be very different through the other side, different to reduce consumer excess with short-term (or longer?) limits on things we have taken for granted like ‘cheap flights’ and products simply because the ‘over-reaction’ has seen such entities disappear as they cannot withstand the economic hit.  The impact on the environment may be rapid and positive too, even if protestors won’t be able to fly around the world for global environment conferences and demonstrations.  We may well find that social interaction improves dramatically – and indeed a faith in God suddenly grows again as people realise that so many existences and the sense of ‘entitlement’ to enjoy an excitement instantly and ‘now’ were really a sheer pretence and totally transient.

And yes, through the other side people will still very much enjoy their wonderful holidays in North Devon – maybe different – and entertainment and eating-out and let us all toast to when that time can come back again.  Meantime, please stay healthy and occupied and respect others and their conditions – but remember it is not all about ‘you’ and what you do.

Our very best wishes,

Philip & Helen Milton