Tanya Worsfold, 42, used to own a relocation consultancy in Hong Kong. Now she runs a b&b in the Scottish Highlands with her partner, Alex Stewart, 45. They are in their second year and also offer guests a range of classic cars to tour the surrounding countryside.
Tanya says: We dreamed about living the country life and Alex was brought up here so that’s why we chose Clackmannanshire. It’s only about 30 minutes from Edinburgh airport so it’s an ideal spot to tour anywhere in Scotland.
We decided to buy somewhere fairly small but make it as stylish as we could, and when we found this beautiful gamekeeper’s cottage on an old estate we knew it would be perfect. We gutted it completely and now have five en suite bedrooms, We’ve tried to be different by decorating them in a very contemporary way, and I’ve used some of the Asian artefacts I brought back from Hong Kong. There’s definitely no tartan here.
I didn’t worry too much beforehand about whether we’d enjoy the job. I like people and we were always having people over for dinner and always had an open house, but I don’t think I was really prepared for what it would be like to have strangers in our home. I’m also quite a quiet person and having paying guests is very different to having your friends to stay, when you can tell them to shut up and walk around in your jogging bottoms and it doesn’t matter. We’ve converted the attic space into our own flat and was very conscious of making a noise at the beginning and found it hard to relax. I’m a bit better about that now.
It’s also a much bigger tie than I’d anticipated. You have to be on call all the time in case someone wants something. I’m rarely more than 15 minutes away and you can never really leave the area, which can be hard. In my old job I worked 10 hours a day, six days a week but at least I knew at night I could have a glass of wine and put my feet up and forget about it. Living and! working in the same place you never feel you are away from the job. At 10pm you’re conscious of the computer and you never let go. You’re always checking in case there’s another booking
I suppose I thought it would be up at 7am to do the breakfasts and then by 1pm I’d have the rest of the day off to write and paint, which is my dream, but I haven’t written a word yet.
Sometimes I’m on my hands and knees, cleaning the loo, and the idyllic life I imagined seems very far away. But things are starting to work out now - we went into Alastair Sawday’s guidebook British Bed and Breakfast last year, which was fantastic and worth all the hard work, and I feel much more optimistic. We’re beginning to see money going into the bank, too, rather than live on our savings, we have a beautiful home, we are both together and now we’ve got two Labradors. I can go and spend an hour in the garden when I want to, and it’s great not having to commute to work.”
See www.guesthousescotland.co.uk or call 01259 742476.