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Copy of a postcard of the Royal Dornoch Golf Hotel c1950

Copy of a postcard of the Royal Dornoch Golf Hotel c1950

Date Added: 14 May 2013 Year: 1950 Institution Name: dnhhl Cat No: | 2013_030 | Picture No: 11654

A4 size mount with copy of a monochrome postcard of 'The Royal Dornoch Golf Hotel, Dornoch' with no. B 9751 at bottom right. An Austin car c 1950 is included in the foreground.

Dimensions: A4

1 Comment

This is a photograph that stirs a lot of happy memories for me. As I reported before, I worked as a waiter in the Royal Golf Hotel in the summer school holidays of 1956 and 1957…give or take a year. A very young and efficient Alastair Gardiner and his wife managed the hotel in those years. Jessie MacDonald was then the head waitress at the hotel and she was a hard task master who stood no nonsense from her staff. Other dining room staff always referred to her as 'Jessie Point' as she was a Gaelic speaker from the Point peninsula (Gaelic: An Rubha) on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. I believe that some years later Jessie married a policeman stationed in Dornoch and spent many years in the town.

The three ground floor windows of the dining room can be seen above and forward of the bonnet of the car in the photograph. These three windows were very important to us waiters as we could use them to be on the look out for people who may be arriving at the hotel as 'chance' diners. A 'chance' diner was what we called prospective diners who were not residents in the hotel. If any of these chance diners were known to us as good tippers we would pull out all the stops to ensure that they were seated at a table in our 'station'. A 'station' was a group of six to seven tables which was attended to by one waiter/waitress. In this way we hoped to increase our tip earnings. Of course, equally important was the planning done to ensure that bad tippers landed anywhere else but on our station. The art of identifying potentially good tippers from first time diners was also an art that many of us learned quickly. Surprisingly the better the car that a diner drove often signalled a bad tipper. And believe it or not I personally avoided Rolls Royce and Bentley drivers as they were more often than not the worst tippers of all! Perhaps they believed that they had no reason to impress or be kind to a lowly waiter or perhaps the cars were still on the never never!

The two storey tower with the conical roof to the left of the dining room also reminds me of another story. If my memory is correct...and I am sure it is ... there is an identical tower at the rear of the building overlooking a sort of services courtyard. In my first summer at the hotel I was housed in a wooden cabin at the rear of the hotel building. There were no showering facilities there and I used a staff shower room in the main building after work each night. One night after showering I was returning to my room with my towel over my shoulder when I was suddenly soaked to the skin by a bucket of cold water being thrown from a window in the upper section of the tower. From the laughter that followed I recognized the perpetrators as the Kirkhope twin boys who were guests at the hotel and whom I was friendly with. I then immediately entered the doorway at the base of the tower and ran up the fire escape stairs to a room on the second floor where I was certain the Kirkhope boys stayed. I also could have sworn that I had heard giggling coming from that room. I then put a knot in my bath towel and knocked on the door of the room. As the door opened I laughed and lashed out with the knotted towel only to find that the person answering the door was not one of the Kirkhope boys but a lady guest. Luckily this lady was not hurt in any way and after my spluttered explanations and apologies she accepted my mistake as genuine. Equally luckily she did not make any report of the incident to the hotel management. However the next morning she took great delight in pointing me out to the other guests in her golfing party while telling them what had happened.

Comment left on 16 May 2013 at 21:39 by Kenneth Mackay Many thanks for your entertaining comment Administrator
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