As part of my blog series Wales : In their own words I am delighted to introduce you to the people behind the business, thank you to Gail of Borderers Guesthouse in Brecon who kindly gave up her time to answer a few questions.
Name Gail Sequeira Business Name Borderers Guesthouse
What does your business do? Hospitality, B & B What prompted you to start your business? An accident and a redundancy. What is your most popular product? Room Un (1) because of its romantical olde worlde charm and exposed beams. What is your personal favourite? Room seith (7) for its rooftop views. Where are you based? The Watton, Brecon. How long have you been in business? 3 years in April 2020. What are your hours? 24/7/365 What is your favourite part of the day? Early morning, when the world is still asleep and I'm pottering around the kitchen and dining room peacefully preparing for breakfast and the day ahead. What is the easiest/most fun part of your business? Never knowing who is going to walk through those doors, interacting with people from all walks of life, making friends I would never have met otherwise and having the opportunity to put something meaningful back into the world using the business as a platform. What is the hardest part of your business? Setting boundaries, telling people NO and not feeling bad about it.
Where do you live? Brecon
How do you relax? Cooking, reading, baking, building, writing and walking (the dog)
Is this the career you thought you would have? Never in a million years
What have you learnt most since starting your business? I am the master of my fate to a certain extent, I don’t need to wait for the winds of fate to push me in a random direction, I can row towards the shore I choose.
Where did you train/learn? Had a 5 day B & B course at Coedllys Country House, and hit the ground running, the previous B and B owners showed us the ropes. It was a steep learning curve. Where did you grow up? India Where else have you lived? Bombay, Delhi, Vizag, Goa, Chandigarh, KL, Jakarta, Crawley, Gatwick, Horley, Brighton and Cardiff. What is your favourite meal? Depends on the day of the week, time of the month, season of the year of the year! Beans and rice, Indian street food, chicken and leek pie, Sunday roast. Are you a Welsh speaker? No, but typin bach o. Would you ever leave Wales? Except for holidays I doubt I would, I have found a community here and for the first time in my life I feel roots. What makes Wales so special? Its people. It’s kind, friendly, resilient, hard working, innovative, welcoming people.
How have you adapted your business during this pandemic? We have offered rooms to Key workers, through official channels, and are waiting to see if permission is granted. Once a new normal is established, I plan to work on my book of childrens poetry inspired by Trixie the Rhyming Rescue. I also enjoy cooking and am considering running a small scale takeaway business. What are you most looking forward to doing when the pandemic is over? STREET PARTIES! Absolute rampant Bacchanalia! And on a serious note, as soon as flying is safe again I want to fly home to India and hug my mum. Could you recommend a website? www.borderers.com!! Who inspires you? Poetry inspires me, some of my favourite poets are W E Henley, Emily Dickinson and Julia Donaldson What is your favourite telly programme? Gogglebox Anything else you would like to say? The heart of my business has two chambers:-
The first is inclusivity, everyone is welcome. Having grown up with a disabled grandma, and dogs, I feel very strongly about families being able to go on holiday together. The way the building is laid out enables this in a large part, we have 3 ground floor rooms, two are dog friendly, one was modified in our first winter for differently abled guests and wheelchairs. We have 5 rooms upstairs, 4 of which can be isolated and are perfect for people with allergies.
The second is to reduce the impact that our business and livelihood has on the environment. We reduced our recyclable waste by 66%. Simply by buying all our food items from local suppliers and insisting on having it all packaging free. We do not use single serve butter, jams or sauces in the dining room and are moving away from individually wrapped teas and coffees in the bedrooms. All our rooms will eventually have a selection of loose-leaf teas and self-fill corn fibre tea bags which can be composted. We use compostable bin bags in the bins, once they are emptied after use in the guest rooms, they are filled with any food waste we produce that can be composted and taken away by a friend who owns a farm and vermiculture system and are safely composted. Waste teas and coffees are used to feed our hanging baskets, which the plants seem to love.
Our non-recyclable waste has been reduced by 75% because we take the time to sort bins in guest rooms, take apart multi component packaging for recycling, and collect soft plastics and cartons to take to the recycling centre.
We planted a wildflower nook and baskets with plants like nasturtiums to attract pollinators, and set up water butts to collect water for the garden.
Among our future projects are aeration and smart watering systems to conserve water, motion sensor lights in common areas, solar panels, energy efficient infra-red heating systems and electric charging points in our car park to encourage electric travel among others. There is so much to do, the biggest problem we have is where to start!
Gail is also a Brecon Beacons National Park Ambassador, the Ambassadors are a fabulous network and we are all passionate about the Brecon Beacons.
Thank you Gail, I look forward to seeing you again as soon as it is safe to travel. Diolch.
Next up Mike at MJ Health & Fitness, Crickhowell.