December came and went in its usual manner, with a lot of hard work, a lot of fun, and many visits from Father Christmas. The pay is not very good, but I enjoy it really.
We had a major problem during December that put a lot of pressure on us all and caused the person concerned some considerable pain - my wife, Christine, was run over.
It was serious, although we did laugh about her run-in with an electric wheelchair in the local supermarket. Her ankle swelled up like a cricket ball, and she had to supervise a lot of her work from a chair.
The chap who did it was, unbeknown to us, booked in for Christmas Day lunch. He turned up in his wheelchair, and I was dared to let his tyres down but, sadly, they were solid rubber.
His wife was also wheelchair-bound, and we discovered that the old chap had knocked her over as well - and broken her hip! After that, Christine didn't feel quite so bad.
We did find that our Christmas lunch and dinner bookings were down during the month, but we had at least three times more enquiries for Christmas Day lunch than we could manage.
Our suppliers also said it had been quiet during the month, although there didn't seem to be any tangible reason.
We had a good party on New Year's Eve, using a new disc jockey who turned up with enough equipment to light up the town. Everybody enjoyed his music, even the chap who fell over and cut himself on his empty glass. As usual, I had had no drink, so I was able to run him to the local A&E unit.
Since then, the phone has kept ringing with requests for information about any event planned for Millennium Eve. Oh dear. Like many hoteliers, we are still unclear about our plans, although we are moving rapidly towards being closed.
Many people are being scared off by some of the silly prices being quoted in the press, and we are becoming convinced that it could be the non-event of the century.
We will probably open our house to friends and relatives for a massive private party, with everybody putting money in the kitty and joining in.
That way, we can have a fantastic evening with people we want to be with, rather than with a lot of customers who feel they are being ripped off at the end of the evening.
No doubt, we shall just have to wait and see. n
COLINHILLYARD is proprietor of the Priory hotel, Louth, Lincolnshire
Next diary from Colin Hillyard: 4 March