All posts by Lesley

There’s nowt so queer as folk


August is in full swing! The hoteliers’ Facebook groups are full of stories of weird, wonderful and not so wonderful stories of the ‘August People’.

This week we had a very nice Austrian couple turn up for a four night stay.

Boofuls showed them up to their room. “Oh no. This won’t do at all. It’s on the ground floor, I want to be able to open the windows.” Boofuls explained that he could open the windows as much as he wanted because of the giant ‘well’ to accommodate the windows for the dining room below them which is in the basement. It would take Spiderman to be able to get across there and into the room. “No. No. It won’t do. I want an upstairs room.” Boofuls explained that we were fully booked and we didn’t have a spare upstairs room. That was that.

Boofuls went back downstairs.

Two minutes later, the man was back. “Where is the sea view? We booked a four star hotel and a sea view. Where is my sea view?” Boofuls looked at the man aghast. Well, we aren’t a hotel we are a B&B and we don’t have a sea view, not unless we knock down the six hundred year old abbey that stands between us and the sea – and the neighbours house. I’m pretty sure that could be considered un-neighbourly.

“It clearly says on Bonking.effingcom that you are a 4* hotel and you have a sea view. I’ve seen pictures of it.”

Boofuls has the patience of a saint, really he does. I’d have been getting a bit short with the chap at this point.

“Sir, we are a 4* silver bed and breakfast, it does not say the word ‘hotel’ anywhere on our bonkers.com page. Also. Any pictures you have seen of the sea on our page are pictures of the surrounding area. With the greatest of respect, sir, we could not possibly have views of all those different places even if we were situated actually IN the sea, not unless we were a mobile bed and breakfast.”

The man decided that he wasn’t happy and was going to book an actual hotel with a sea view. Boofuls pointed him in the right direction. “I’ll see what I can find and then we’ll move. We’ll pay you for the first night.” Boofuls stopped him right there. “Excuse me but you’ll pay for all four nights. We have taken those rooms off the market for you and we won’t be able to resell them at this stage. They must be paid for.” The man actually paid without the usual argument.

He found himself a room at a sea front hotel and off he went. We know the hotel and we knew that although it has sea views the rooms are a bit grim and they wouldn’t like it there. However, not our problem.

I posted the story on to a hoteliers FB page. The point of my tale was that guests repeatedly fail to do any research and then blame us when they aren’t happy. Expensive mistake.

Anyway, One of our fairly close neighbours said they’d exactly the same situation with an Austrian couple. Austrian? They weren’t called Blah and Blah were they? THEY WERE!!!!

So. They had been to the hotel. Didn’t like it. Ended up at our friends B&B (not hotel), further away from the sea (no views) than we are and on a much busier road. An hour after they arrived they said that the chap had been called back to work so they couldn’t stay..and they left.

Some people obviously have more money than sense. They paid us, they paid at the hotel and then they paid at another B&B and didn’t stay with any one of us.

Tsk. August people. *shakes head* You couldn’t make it up!

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Daily prompt – communication


There has been a little lull in the bar at Boofuls Towers for the last couple of days. Although we are run off our feet we have at least had the last couple of evenings to catch our breath and even to, wait for it…watch a bit of telly!

So. While I’ve been deliberately doing nothing I decided to have a catch up with my little blogette. Sitting down in front of my computer and pulling the keyboard towards me I pondered on what little tales from the last week or two I should delight you with. Um…er…sigh…I know! Er….maybe not…*drums fingers on desk*. Ok, I admit it, I’m all out of ideas.

It’s not that nothing has happened. Quite the opposite, so much has happened I’m in sensory overload. Ask me anything more difficult than my own name and I’ll be stumped.  Even poor old Douggie the doggie has had to take a back seat as we’ve been so busy. He’s definitely been short changed in the walk and training department. Mind you, with all that hot weather we had he hasn’t really been up for much.

Anyway, enough waffling. In my attempt to find something to talk about I went to the Daily Prompt page for inspiration.  The prompt was ‘communication.’

Communi-bloody-cation? Can I pick another one?

I spend my whole life comm-bloody-unicating! I’m trying to get a break from that! “Can you tell me where to go today?” Yes indeed I can tell you where to go, you can go and….”   I say brightly and then notice Boofuls giving me a stern look as he knows what’s in my head and is praying I don’t say it out loud.

So here’s a typical conversation:

Me: “Hello, room service.”

Guest: “We don’t need anything today, thanks.”

Me: “Ok, have a great day.”

Fast forward to five hours later just as we raise the first forkful of our dinner to our mouths. That’s on the days we get dinner, usually we grab a sandwich in between all the mayhem…*knock knock* “Can we have a toilet roll, and some milk pots, oh, and some hot chocolate and oh yeah, some of those little biscuits. No one came into our room today. *shocked face*

Me: “We came to your room. You said you didn’t need anything.”

Guest: ” Well we didn’t then.”

Me:  “Yes, but we top everything up in the morning for the day.  The staff go home at lunchtime.” *sigh* sits down eventually to another cold meal.

Yet another card payment has failed just now when Boofuls has put it through. That from the pious family who are going to visit a whole list of churches recommended to them by their parish priest. The ones with the rude, silent, dirty look giving, not able to answer when asked a direct question kids. That includes the one who whispered to her dad that she wanted to see the dog she’d seen on the website and when I brought him to see her her face didn’t even twitch, she totally ignored me and the dog. It was like he was invisible.  He should have peed up her leg!

Am I communicating a vibe?

It’s August.  I’m tired, grumpy and sick of being nice to chuffing morons. We haven’t had a day off for months. And if one more person ties my net curtains in a knot, nicks stuff, damages stuff and says nothing or hangs their knickers out of the window to dry I’m going to punch ’em (the person,  not the knickers).

……………………………………………..dog walk break

So…It’s a couple of hours later, I’ve just been in the bar with the most delightful and funny couple. We have chatted and had a good old laugh about, well, nothing really. It was fun.

That reminded me about the lady who came to stay a couple of nights ago. She turned up very late, 10pm. She looked a little bit odd. I thought maybe she’d had a bad journey so I asked her a bit about her day. She was clearly struggling to control her emotions. I asked her if she was ok. The floodgates opened. This poor woman was here to visit her mother and she was worried sick about her. She told us the whole sorry tale. Hugs were exchanged and after a while I showed her up to her room. She seemed much calmer and able to cope.

Reflecting on all of this while I was out with Douggie I have realised that actually, the majority of people are lovely. When we’re busy it’s so easy to get overwhelmed and irritated with all the small stuff. I’ll still be glad when it all calms down though. Roll on October!

 

so easy to please


The two sixteen year old chambermaids we have working for us at the moment are still a delight to work with. Not once in the last few weeks have I wanted to kill either of them. They turn up for work on time, every time with smiley faces and great attitudes.

They still make a lot of mistakes but they do try their best and I can work with that.

This morning was a particularly busy breakfast service and we had four full room changes to do as well.  It was hot and humid and we were tired but determined to get through it quickly.

We put the quieter of the two girls on to room refreshes as it’s an easier job and less stressful for her. At one point she came into see me, while I had my head down a particularly gruesome toilet, to ask me if I’d taken her master key.

If there is one thing I can fault with these girls is that they have been careless about making sure their master key has been put back safely when they have finished work. I have stressed umpteen times that it gives access to every single room in the house and the security risk that that poses. Several times one or the other of them has taken it home after work with them only to get an angry phone call from us telling them to return it immediately.

So, back to today. Bridie stood at the door of the aforementioned bathroom, out of strangling reach, and asked if I had her key. “It’s just disappeared”, she told me. “Well, it can’t just disappear, where was it last?” It turned out that it was in the door. of the room she was currently servicing. We deduced that these were  the guests with the kids in one room and the parents in another. They were in and out of each other’s rooms, they saw the key in the lock, thought it was theirs and took it out with them. Oh my Gawd!

A quick phone all to the guest established this to be exactly what happened. They promised they would be straight back and they were. End of drama. Not Bridie’s fault but she was really upset about it.

To be fair to the guest the master key looks exactly like theirs, until it’s turned over. When they did turn it over they were horrified and full of apologies, returning within minutes to give it back.

I was wracking my brains for a solution to stop this from happening again and came up with the idea of putting the keys onto a lanyard so it was safe around the girls’ necks at all times. I mentioned the idea to Bridie.

“You mean one of those straps around your neck with a name badge on?” She threw up her hands in delight. “REALLY? OH WOW! That’ s amazing! I’m getting a lanyard!”

I’m not going to lie, I was a bit surprised at her very positive reaction. “Yeah, I’ll get you a sparkly one of you like.” I said laughingly. “OH MY GOD! REALLY? WOW!” Her eyes shone with delight. She walked off up the corridor laughing and singing, “I’m getting a lanyard.” She bumped into our male waiter and told him excitedly, “We’re getting lanyards, how cool is that?”

Like I said. So easy to please.

Let’s get to the point


We have three new members of staff. Two sixteen year old girls and one very, very Welsh chap. All three are shaping up beautifully, they are hard working, pleasant, punctual and helpful.

I was working with one of the girls, I’ll all her Gracie because that’s her name. “Make sure that toilet roll has a point on it.” I said to her. “Of course”, she said as she almost skipped into the bathroom. She came back out looking horrified. “It hasn’t got a point on it.”

“It hasn’t, Oh God! What shall we do about it?”

She stood and stared at me like a rabbit in the headlights. “I don’t know. Shall I see if I can find one with a point on it?”

“Well, let’s go and see if we can  fix this one first”, I said to her, struggling to not guffaw out loud.

We walked into the bathroom together and I folded the toilet roll to a neat point. “Phew. That could have been nasty. Thank goodness we fixed it.

She looked at me shocked, disgusted and then started to laugh. “Oh my God, I can’t believe I just fell for that!”

Hahahaaa. Small pleasures.

Is Happiness An Illusion?


That was what popped up when I was casting about on the daily prompt for something to write about. Wow! That’s deep, I thought. Really I was after something a bit more light and fluffy, you know, not quite so cerebral.

Then I stopped in my tracks.

The old brain kicked in and reminded me that actually, happiness, or lack of it, has been the subject of the week for some weeks now.

At this point I know some of my many (3) readers are thinking, “Oh no! What’s happened? What’s gone wrong?” Don’t panic dear readers (all three of you).

It’s exactly because nothing is wrong that the subject came up.

Our mammoth adventure and move to pastures new is still the best thing that we have ever done, we still love, living here.

Before we moved we had all sorts of stresses. Business was, let’s settle for calling it ‘stressful.’ It’s a bit like calling Mount Everest a hillock but it will have to do since dwelling on that nightmare won’t do my current illusion of happiness any good at all.

We had numerous family and friends die in the months before we moved. Some were expected, some were sudden. All were horrendously distressing.

We travelled up and down the country looking for our perfect home, finding it and then losing it when the chap decided he didn’t want to sell after all. We had Boofuls breaking his leg shortly after we sold our house and needed to be moving, albeit with nowhere to go but hey ho.

We had the trauma of moving away and leaving our family and friends behind (my heart actually hurts as I type that). Living in a cramped holiday flat for a month until we finally bought Boofuls Towers Lodging Emporium.

We had the challenge of building up a business we knew nothing about from scratch and making it work, at the same time as learning how to live as a family unit again with Lashes and Munki now living with us.

Talking of Lashes, we had to cope with her illness and the tempestuous events that came along with it. It’s difficult to write this bit without telling you things that I have no right to share on here but honestly, her life has had more ups and downs than a Swiss cable car.   I am going to pause for a moment to reflect on that and how horrendous that time was………ok, I’m back.

Then we had my surgeries and subsequent changes in lifestyle to think about and in a couple of months it will be Boofuls’ turn to go under the surgeon’s knife when he gets his new hip.

Those are the heavily edited highlights. The reason I am bringing them up is not so you can say, Oh poor you, hasn’t life been difficult. (even though it bloody has!). It’s because of two things, which is the (eventual) point of this post.

Firstly, when you go through all this stuff, you just get on and deal with it. Fighting each fire as it appears. No time to think it through properly, you just get on with it. Strangely, while it was all going on, we would occasionally check each other out, “Are you ok? Are you happy?” Strangely, we were. As tough as life was we were generally happy.

Now that life is on a much more even keel, we, and by ‘we’ I mean ‘I’ have finally had time to process everything that has happened in the last four years or so.

Boofuls’ Lodging Emporium has been steady but not over busy so we have had time on our hands.

I have had time to mull everything over.  To think how we might have done things differently. I can finally find time to grieve for my brother, our friends, Boofuls’ brother.  I long to see the faces of my family.

Holy crap!

I’m not so sure that this thinking time is such a good idea.

Thinking about it all, trying to process it all has left me sad, lonely, homesick and angry. Poor old Boofuls hasn’t got a clue what to do with me.

How ridiculous. At the moment we are sitting pretty, I should be enjoying life.

So, to the point.

Is happiness an illusion? I believe it is. It’s a coping strategy.

An illusion to get you through the difficult times. You imagine and look forward to being happy when life gets easier. Don’t be fooled. That is just the universe having a big celestial joke at your expense.

When life does get easier that’s the time it will pull the happiness rug from under your feet and leave you wondering why you bother.

Truthfully I don’t really think happiness is an illusion, I think it is a state of mind. It can keep you going when you need a boost, it can desert you when you expect it to be there.

 

 

 

 

Sing it loud, sing it long!


We had a few of the choir round for a ‘practice’ last night.

You know me well enough now that when I say practice you know I mean drunken singing.

The plan, as we had a quitetish weekend at Boofuls Towers Lodging Emporium was to have a bbq with a few choir friends. Of course the weather didn’t play ball so we ended up inside. Quite fortuitous really as rather than have the bbq we planned we managed to use up the box of Indian buffet items that have been logging up the freezer for months. Everyone brought a few snacks and we quite the international buffet going on with bhajis, pakoras, nachos, sausages, pizza and various other items.

It’s amazing really, guests never, ever come into the bar during the day. Ever.

Yesterday of course was different.  The German couple who had just arrived decided to come down for a mid afternoon drink. They walked into the bar and instantly worked out that there was a private party going on. Their faces were a picture but it was too late to back out, they were there. We tried to make them feel welcome but it was a bit difficult as they spoke very little English. Try explaining the English delicacy of mushy peas to a person who hardly speaks English. They practically necked their drinks in one and cleared off.  I did feel sorry for them but I was glad when they left.

Equilibrium, banter and hilarity were restored until, bugger me, the guests from room 1 decided to come into the bar! WHAT?  How do these people know we are having some down time? They must have a bloody alert implanted in them, you know, the one that goes off when we are about to eat our evening meal, go out, go to the loo or have some time with friends. The one that makes guests instantly become demanding and needy of our company? You couldn’t make it up, it works like magic. Every. Single. Time.

At least the second lot spoke the language and even decided to have a go on the karaoke, they were good fun but they too cleared off after one drink.

Anyway, the afternoon turned into evening and then late into the night. The singing became more raucous as the day wore on. What a hoot.

Some of our hotelier friends are envious of the fact that we have friends who aren’t hoteliers. Personally, I think that is vital. Can you imagine what it would be like if all we ever had to talk about was occupancy rates compared to last year, gossip about other hoteliers or the merits of various laundries? My eyes are glazing over at the thought of it.

As I’m typing this it has reminded me that recently someone has commented to me that I tend to compartmentalise various sections of my life. I keep personal, hotelier, choir and other sections of my life as separate as possible and really don’t like them to cross over if I can avoid it.

It’s not a new thing, I have always kept various sections of my life separate. Difficult to do when you work from home and harder still ow we own a B&B but I try my best. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? What are your thoughts on the subject?

In the buff


I stumbled across this blog post and it made me laugh. I hope it makes you laugh too. Have a great day!

Tripping Over Pebbles No More

So there I was shooting a christening a little while ago. We don’t get so many christenings, in fact we’ve only had the one so it was a bit of an event in itself.

As all the action happens so much earlier in the day than it does at your average wedding the guests were on the beer so much earlier – and it was showing.

One lairy young chap on his third can of ‘wife beater’  was watching me work and then decided to show off a bit to his friends.

He’d obviously made a few deductions in his head, middle aged woman, shooting a christening? Fair game for a laugh.  He thought he’d have a bit of fun at my expense.

“Here, love. Do ya do noods?” he asked tongue in cheek and leering and expecting me to blush and get all dithery.

Well, dear reader, can you…

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A week of onions and roses


It’s been an onions and roses kind of week.

Some things have been lovely, others not so much. Read on, dear reader and discover more about the week that has been mine, wonder about my fortitude and resolve, my ability to keep going in the face of adversity and yet still find time to be gracious… rather than knock someone’s block off!

It’s been a busy few days. We have had far too many guests and not enough staff so it’s fair to say we have been run off our feet.

The staff we have had have driven us to distraction.  One wonders how many times one has to repeat the same training and how many different methods of learning one has to try before one either kills the trainee or fires her. She knows how to make beds, I mean, it’s not rocket science, is it? She’s made many a bed under Lashes’ supervision and on her own. For that reason I was a bit surprised when I walked (ran) past one of our guest rooms to see a sheet laid out on the bed ready to tuck in and find the same sheet in the same state ten minutes later,  with the trainee on her hands and knees looking as if she was going to cry. Being at the point of wanting to kill I thought it might be better if  I hollered down the stairs to Lashes. “Come and give Denise a hand, she’s clearly struggling with this bed.”

“What’s going on with this bed then?” “I can’t tuck the sheet in, it keeps bending my nails back.”

What the actual feck?!?

Let’s not even mention out latest member of staff ‘Creeping Jesus.’ She keeps sneaking up behind me. I’m going to have a heart attack soon. This one makes me wonder how slowly a person can move and still actually be moving. It’s painful.

So between the staff we have and the staff we have been interviewing and the staff we have offered the job to who haven’t turned up for the job it’s been an interesting week over the bank holiday and half term.

So between staff not turning up, cock and bull stories, outright lies and being full to the gunnels. It’s been a laugh a minute.  Tell me again why I wanted to be a hotelier? Why do people even come for the interview if they don’t want the job?  We had a woman come for a  job and then tell us she’s 25 weeks pregnant and it will be too heavy for her. Why bloody apply then? Gggrrrrrrr. I could go on with these tales but I won’t.

Instead I will give you a nice little series of pictures to look at.

Munki decided to be safe and wear her cycling helmet under her headphones while she was sitting at her desk, eating her breakfast and watching Youtube. So many things wrong on so many levels in this one image. I couldn’t help but laugh, she didn’t find it funny when I took her photo.

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The swans had babies!

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We had some gorgeous sunsets.

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Douggie liked the flowers, the gardeners didn’t like Douggie.

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My plant had babies! So did my niece, yesterday.

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A cruise ship came in. How exciting! Not as exciting as being a passenger on one but it’ll do…for now.

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We celebrated the royal wedding with a suitably grand afternoon tea with prosecco.

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A seal decided to join a swimmer for his afternoon dip. It was amazing to watch them interact with each other.

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Sea mist through the trees.

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It was hot – I melted.

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The beaches were busy. This was one of the dog friendly beaches. How lovely to watch, kids, dogs, families and everything in between all having a lovely time. The dog unfriendly beaches were even busier. Not sure I’d have enjoyed that.

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How I love a good air show.  We managed to get down to watch for a while. I love the Red Arrows, watching them makes me all patriotic and just a bit teary.

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Boofuls imagining himself as a wing walker.

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Our vantage point away from the crowds. We will be right in the crowds tomorrow. Can’t wait!

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Not a bad old view, eh?

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Did I tell you Lashes has a new hobby?

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So.

 

Let me solve all your problems


Bit of a stream of consciousness, this one. It might make sense, it might not…

Of course it’s dead easy to solve everyone else’s problems, isn’t it? I can solve all of your problems standing on my head. My solution will probably start with…”you should”.

Nothing I like better than being, as an old boss of mine used to say, ‘should upon’. To be honest not much will get my back up quicker than someone telling me that I should…

It’s not so bloody easy to solve your problem when it’s right in front of you and you are emotionally attached to the issue though, is it?

I have a well meaning, but somewhat bullying friend who has ALL the answers. At this present moment she is giving three of us the full brunt of her opinion. As we strolled along the beach the other day she told me that she is disappointed with all of her closest friends. Not wanted to engage in another nagging session, I simply replied, “I know.” and left it at that.

It’s not even that her opinion is wrong. Annoyingly, I know she is right.  However, what she doesn’t take into account is that it’s not always black and white. Except that for her it is. ‘Here’s the answer, just do it’, is her attitude.

So. What is it that has become such an issue. Obviously I’m not going to discuss the others, that’s none of my, or your, business. My issue is my big, fluffy, lovely  ball and chain, Douggie the doggie.

You all know I adore the boy and he adores me, he is my shadow. Most of the time it’s not an issue. Occasionally it is.  Occasionally, we have to go to places where he can’t go.  She’ll happily step in to dog sit and when I’d been in hospital she walked him almost daily for me. That was brilliant. The problem is that Douggie prefers to be with me and won’t settle terribly well at her house. That means overnight stays or holidays become difficult. Now, if Douggie was an ordinary doggie, he’d just have to toughen up.

But Douggie isn’t an ordinary doggie, is he? Douggie is an epileptic doggie who has fits when he gets stressed. Like I said, big, lovely, fluffy ball and chain. Yes, he takes medication, yes, I know she would know what to do in an emergency.  It sounds perfect, doesn’t it?

Except that I know any fit could be his last, the strain on his body is horrendous.  His last fit was a humdinger. The sight of a six stone dog thrashing about on the floor having a fit stays with you. He managed to kick me in the face last time as we lifted him off the sofa where his grand mal started. OW!

First, I don’t want to put him in a stressful situation, like being away from home. Second, I would never forgive myself if he had a fit (possibly his last) while I was away. The whole situation makes me feel ill. Even though I know that Boofuls and I desperately need to get some time together and not have a break that revolves round the dog and his needs.

So, my friend’s solution is to stop letting the dog follow me everywhere. Stop taking him up to bed when I go. Stop considering his needs. Basically ignore him so he doesn’t care if I’m there or not so he will then happily stay with her.

Um. No.

I really don’t think I can do that. I like being the centre of his world. I am aware of the strength of that sentence. I know, I know,  I am my own worst enemy in this situation.

We made a commitment to him when we took him on and I take that very seriously.  We are leaving him more often and trying to build up more independence in him but it’s very difficult for both of us. Since we took him in six years ago he has never really been left alone as he used to come to work with us.

It might be a while before we get this one sorted. In the meantime I’ll just have to put up with the sighs, complaints that I treat my dog like a baby, dirty looks and snide comments from Mrs Black and White