We're brown, chubby, healthy, happy and rested! In fact, we were so laid back by the end of January that we nearly missed our flights home as we got muddled with the dates.
I am sure that you don't want to read 500 words about how cold this country is and how wonderful our month's holiday was. Suffice to say that we enjoyed being "customers" but I knew that we were ready to come home when I started getting frustrated with the speed at which the staff were working on the maintenance of our resort on Palm Island.
Although Palm Island is for sale, we have decided not to bid for it. Granted, the millions required may be a little difficult to raise, but working in that heat...
Anyway, repaired and renewed, we are back with a vengeance. Our planning permission was finally granted in December and I feel optimistic that we shall be ready to start early in the autumn.
So it is now time to start collating all the marketing information from the questionnaires that our guests have been completing, get the calculator dusted down, and start the endless round of meetings with bank, tourist board, accountant, etc, that are sure to become monotonous before the end of the year.
The new year always turns our staff's thoughts to their holidays and for the nth year in succession I find myself repeating the rules about checking dates with us before they book, and ensuring that none of the Bank Holiday dates come as a surprise to them.
While I am basking in the glow of the success they have made of running the hotel in our absence, one or two of the cannier ones are trying to see whether I am more open to their persuasion that I really won't miss them over the Whit Bank Holiday (it's not working, guys!).
We are also recruiting. Business has been strong over the past two years but, having lived through the recession, we have been nervous of taking on additional commitments. However, with our anticipated expansion, planned to open for next Easter, I need time to train people into our way of doing things as well as establishing a more sophisticated administration system.
Simon certainly needs more support in the kitchen and we are both determined to have at least one day off a week during the season. Word of mouth works well for us here and I am seeing potential candidates for two Modern Apprenticeships this week.
So 1998 looks exciting both professionally and personally.
Building, our 10th wedding anniversary, my 40th and our son's 21st - it's going to be an expensive year and we shall need all the energy we have put into our mental banks, as well as plenty of customers.
Next diary from Barbara Baldon: 12 March