We had a plan to stay with Phillip and Miriam at the Aston Hotel in Dumfries and go to the Scottish Chamber Orchestra New Year Concert for our wedding anniversary. The hotel is on the Crichton site that also includes the Easterbrook Hall, a multi-university campus and a business park. We all checked in on the Monday evening and enjoyed a good meal in the hotel restaurant. During the night it got increasingly stormy but we had a good night’s sleep. Around 7 a.m. however we heard the wind outside gusting violently followed by a loud banging and scraping sound. We looked out of the window to see a lot of pieces of the hotel roof in the car park and on top of the roof of an adjacent building. The fire alarm went off and most of the hotel residents headed for the door then realised that the muster area was where the pieces of roof were landing.
For the next hour or so there was a lot of activity from the fire brigade and structural engineers then the hotel manager informed us that we would have to leave because rain was getting in through the big hole where the roof section used to be. They booked us into a hotel with an intact roof in the middle of Dumfries. It was still pretty windy and our room in the new hotel was up in the roof where there were a few ominous creaking noises every time there was a strong gust of wind. Eventually the wind died down and we were back at the Easterbrook Hall that evening for the concert which was excellent.