What effect did this have on him? Well, he began to feel unwell and the responsibility of running the business fell to me. My decision was to sell the hotel. Buyers were found and settlement day anticipated, but on the day of settlement the buyers decided to go on holiday and defer settlement to a later date.
When our solicitor informed me of this decision, I decided the sale would be terminated. I phoned a different broker in Melbourne to find another buyer. On the day this occurred, my husband, John, was in bed and said he was feeling very unwell. I was so upset and angry I paid little attention to what he was saying. The next day he asked me to take him to the doctor, which I did. The doctor immediately admitted him to the local hospital. I had little time to wait around for a diagnosis and returned to my work at the hotel.
The following day I went to see John, but, on walking into his room, found the bed empty and his belongings gone. This happened to my sister when my mother had died, and I thought the same had happened again. I was unable to think or move. Just then a nursing sister came along and informed me that John had been sent to a larger hospital. She apologised for not intercepting me before I reached his room.
The new Melbourne Agent quickly found an energetic and enthusiastic young couple who wanted to buy the hotel. This time settlement went ahead as scheduled, much to my relief. John was in hospital for a couple of weeks and made a full recovery.
My personal challenge did not end there. A few days prior to settlement the disastrous 2003 bush fires began. The hotel accommodation was full of fire fighters and meals had to be provided. It was a hectic time for handing over a business, but personally our biggest problem was where to stay on the day we had to move out. We had planned to temporarily move into a holiday house in Mt. Beauty, but the road was closed because of the fire. We had a Pantec truck and a fourwheel drive with a trailer full of our possessions, but nowhere to stay! All public accommodation was full of fire personnel. What were we to do?
There was a vacant shop up the road from the hotel, so I contacted the owner and asked if we could stay there until the fire abated sufficiently to allow us to get to Mt. Beauty. He kindly agreed and we took up residence for several days. There was no furniture in the premises, no blinds on the windows. We put a mattress on the floor for sleeping, ate take-away means and endured the curious stares of passers-by who could see us through the large, uncovered windows.
A few days later we were able to access Mt. Beauty, however the fire situation was not over by a long shot.
But that is a whole different story.