Category Archives: 2017

We’re British, you know


How do we know we’re British?

Because we love a queue.

This was proved beyond any shadow of a doubt last Sunday when I went to a very nie hristmas fair at a very nice hotel with my lovely friend.

As we walked in we were faced with the most enormous queue. Without question we joined it. There must have been a hundred people in this queue, all standing patiently. After a couple of minutes a couple walked in behind us and also wordlessly joined it.

It was at that point, being a veteran of many a wedding fair, I tonight, hang on a minute. I’ve never seen a fair of any kind attract this much attention. Not only that but this queue was heading in the wrong direction.  After staking my place in the queue I walked up to the front. “Excuse me, are you waiting to get tickets for the Christmas fair?” “No. We are waiting to check out of the hotel.”

Bugger me! A hundred people stood in a queue and at least a third of them were stood there because they hadn’t had the nous to ask a simple question. For goodness sake! I know we love a good queue but I love a good Christmas fair more.

We hotfooted out of the hotel queue and into the non-existent Christmas fair queue. Within seconds we were happily munching on mince pies and sipping mulled wine as we explored the myriad sparkly and shiny festive items on display. The best bit of all though was the vintage clothing stand staffed by an elderly lady who was as mad as a box of frogs.

She positively encouraged us to try on all the 1920’s hats and coats, draping jewellery over us as we admired ourselves in the mirror and imagined ourselves in a more elegant era. We must have spent half an hour there, laughing, trying on clothes and soaking up the atmosphere. It reinforced that we are really only big kids after all.

Once we had finished playing in the dressing up box we sauntered out to listen to the choir sing. It is the same choir that Lashes and I joined a few weeks ago. We weren’t invited to sing at this event as we are a new choir and don’t know all the songs yet. Ha! I knew enough to be merrily singing along, drawing a few looks from the bass singers we were stood next to as I warbled quietly away to the soprano parts.

All in all it was a great start to the festive season. Since then I have attended two wreath making workshop and  two parties and watched a bunch of people perform a Christmas story round the harbour. It was all very sweet.

I think Boofuls would rather have put pins in his eyes than listen to the folk songs and watch the dancers dancing to music from a fiddle as the storyteller cleverly unfolded the story for us.  Street performances don’t seem to be his thing. Bless him, he put up with it all to keep me happy.  We still have a carol service, a lantern making event and umpteen parties to attend this side of Christmas. I’m not sure will help my convalescence but it will surely make the time go a lot  faster.

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Advent


Advent is here! Yay!

That means that is officially Christmas. No. Wait. What?

By the standards of some people we have been posivitely lackadaisical when it comes to getting up our Christmas decorations, I mean, it’s the 2nd December. I know some people who have had them up for a month already.

Lashes made a start on our decorations today. Off I went to a Christmas fair and an event put on by the council celebrating Christmas by the sea. By the time I got back there was a hoofing great Christmas tree in the reception area of Boofuls Towers Lodging Emporium, half decorated and with various bits of tinsel, baubles, beads and innumerable other items of Christmas paraphernalia littered all over the floor, the stairs, the landing, the dining room and the living room. Obviously having got bored with the job half way through, it is still all over the place. She left the reception lights left on as well so all and sundry can admire the glittery detritus and half decorated tree through our humongously large glass doors and floor to ceiling windows. Basically, the front wall is made of glass. Good advert, eh?

Moving on to the dining room, that is in a state of total disarray due to the fact that we are having a new carpet put in there next week and I decided that all the woodwork needed a good coat of fresh paint before the new carpet went down. Boofuls and Lashes got to work moving out all the furniture and pulling back the old, disgusting carpet. Not that that room is big or anything but it was as cheap to buy a whole roll of carpet as it was to get it cut to the room size, so we decided to do the stairs and landing with the offcuts.

Those of you who know me or are have read the blog a few times might have noticed something odd.

What’s that? I can hear you saying. That, dear reader, is the fact that I have allowed another person to get involved in the decorating of the Christmas tree and other decorations. Unbloodyheardof. Lashes had to wait till I went out to make a start without my getting in the way and trying to muscle in on the job.

Why’s that then?

Convalescing, that’s what.

On the one hand, having a major operation in November is brilliant as I have all winter to get back to full strength.  On the negative side, it’s Christmas!  So much to do. So many parties to go to. So much Christmas shopping to do. So much decorating and renovating to do.

God, it’s hard handing it over to other people. It’s just not in my nature to let other people do all the work. If I wasn’t so exhausted I’d put up a hell of a fight. As it is, I just look at it all and go “That’s my job….I’ll just have a little snooze.”

It’ll all be worth it in the end. In the meantime, I have to take a back seat and let the other get on with it all.

Right, I’m going to sign off now, time for another little snooze. With a bit of luck all will be decorated and tidied up by the time I wake up.

Spike


Well that was a surprise.

Normally when I look at my blog stats it shows two, maybe three visits a day. Sometimes it gets are far as eight or nine but rarely goes into double figures these days. The price of not bothering with it while I was too busy living my life to be writing about it, I suppose.

Imagine my surprise yesterday then when I looked at my stats and it showed 176 views!!  apparently all of them of my copyright page. Wow! That must be  some  good copyright notice! I’m not sure what caused the spike but just for a moment I thought I’d hit the big time! professional blogging here I come!

On a more mundane note. The long dreaded date for my further surgery has been and gone. The deed has been done and I’m recovering with a cocktail of some rather splendid painkillers. If I were to sell them round town I am certain that there would be   pretty penny to be made from them. However, my need is greater than the local crack heads so I’ll be guarding them jealously for the next few weeks.

Lovely Boofuls, knowing how much I hated being housebound last time, decided to get me a motorised wheelchair so I can get out and about at least for short periods.  While he and my good friend Lynn took care of the breakfast service this morning at Boofuls Towers Lodging Emporium, I whizzed round the local park in my buggy with Douggie the doggie racing alongside me.

It’s not a bad start to the day. Get up at a sensible hour, shower at my leisure, a quick trip round the park in my buggy and then back for a cooked breakfast courtesy of my guest chef, Lynn. Followed by lounging around watching a bit of weekend telly. Blummin’ marvellous!

The plan for later is to go to our local stately home and make Christmas wreaths. Not that I am going to admit it but I am already starting to tire after all my exertion this morning so it might be a shorter day than I reckoned.

Whatever you are doing this weekend I hope you have a great time.

Good times


Boofuls Towers is a bit quiet at the moment. In fact, we only have one room booked out this weekend so if you fancy a nice weekend in Devon, give me a shout, I am certain I could find a little discount under the fridge.

Anyway, making the most of the peace and quiet we decided to crack on with a few jobs. Room seven has been beautified, just in time for the hotel inspector’s visit.

What a pularver that was, untucking my beautifully made beds so she could feel the mattress.
“It’s a bit lumpy, time you changed it.”
“It’s a new bed.”
“Hhmm, well put a topper on it then.”
“It’s got a topper on it, all our matresses have toppers on them.”

It was like she was determined to find something to criticise even when there was clearly nothing. Overall, she told what we need to do to improve our star rating and surprise, surprise we already knew. Fancy us knowing what needs doing in our own house?!

It does make me wonder what exactly it is that we pay for with Visit England other than using the logo and having the star rating plaque outside.

We started her tour in what we knew was our worst room and progressed from there. Suggestions were made to change the usage of a couple of our rooms from family rooms to suites. tempting idea, not taking kids but it’s oh so lucrative. These suggestions fell on stony ground with Boofuls who, when he heard them, just harrumphed and walked off.

When she reached room 7, which I’d been saving till last, she actually let out a squeal of delight. “Now THIS is what I’m talking about.” Obviously the bright yellow wall teamed with graphite grey worked for her. I must say, I’m very pleased with it. Even though I had a few collywobbles when I chose the colours but it does work, I’ll post photos for you when I get around to taking them.

So. Back to yesterday.

“Let’s have a bar night.” Boofuls said last week.

A bar night is when the hoteliers with bars fill up the long winter evenings by all going round to each others bars for food and drinkies. The host provides everything for the evening and it can get a bit pricey but then everyone takes a turn so it evens out over the course of the year.

For ease of catering we decided that cheese and biscuits would work well for the food. Beer, wine, prosecco are generally the drinks of choice so we make sure we are well stocked up. Approximately twenty hoteliers rocked up and with seconds of them arriving the party was in full swing. I have never seen a party kick off so quickly. There was no polite small talk, it was straight in to belly laughs and general silliness. What a great night.

Boofuls and our, bordering on being a giant, friend decided to have a karaoke. Dear Lord, what a racket.

People had tears streaming down their faces, I’m not sure if it was because they were laughing so hard or because their ears hurt but it was hysterical to watch.

It’s a hard job being a hotelier and during the summer we don’t even see our friends but my God, we make up for it in winter.

Next social – Tuesday!

Happy anniversary!


Despite all the odds, Boofuls have managed to stay avoid killing each other, running off with a younger model or dying of some medical condition for 32 whole years. In fact, after all these years we still actually like as well as love each other. There is no one else in this world that I would rather spend my time with, although Douggie the doggie does come a very close second.

Today, dear reader, is our thirty second wedding anniversary. Just to be clear, I mean mine and Boofuls, not mine and Douggie’s.

Although we don’t, and never have, made a big fuss about it anniversaries with cards and flowers and meaningless gestures, we do like to spend the day together.

Today’s anniversary outing is going to be to Plymouth to look at the poppy wave on The Hoe. It’s a warmish, dry and sunny day. perfect for a little jaunt out with my two best mates, yes Douggie the doggie is coming too.

Tonight we’ll be going to a very nice restaurant, sans dog,  where we will eat and drink far too much and reminisce about all our years together. Then we’ll drink a toast to the years we have left.

Lat night we were at a ‘we survived the summer season’ party thrown by some friends of ours. Lovely gay couple, he’s English and he’s Thai. That made for an interesting mix of food. Thai red curry, beautiful, spicy salads, hot and spicy side dishes…and a shepherd’s pie for Boofuls. How thoughtful was that?

The whole evening was amazing, relaxed, comfortable and just the right mix of people. Amazingly, for a room full of hoteliers, we manged to avoid talking about linen or laundry. I think all talk of linen should be banned until at least April of next year – but I digress.

When we got home we sat and chatted for a while. We chatted about life events that have overtaken a few people this year. We chatted about our own lives.  As we chatted it struck us that we have now lived more of our lives than we have left.

It was a strange realisation.

Life is so busy, we don’t often have time to just sit back and take stock. Never before have I considered my mortality and that the end might be nearer than I imagined. How did those years just disappear without us even noticing them?

For some time I have been banging on about buying a smaller B & B emporium or even retiring. Mostly for health reasons but after our conversation of last night it has made me think about it even more. We deserve to have some precious time together before one of us shuffles off our mortal coil and leaves the other wondering what the hell just happened.

I can feel another life shift coming on.

Angelo


Half term.

The kids have only been back at school two blummin’ minutes and here we are again. Shouldn’t be allowed. Get back up the chimneys, I say! All my peace and  quiet has gone to pot again.  Ah well.

In an attempt to keep Munki out of mischief I decided to take her up to a place called Wildwood Escot.  A guest told me about it during the summer. It’s got wolves!!!

It took us a while to get there but it was worth the time and effort. It was BRILLIANT!

Not only has it got wolves – it has wild boar, a lynx, otters, an epileptic wild cat, red squirrels, and all manner of other critters.

As well as the animals it has, among other things,  a maze,  a play house and a Saxon village. More than enough to keep the hoards of rampaging kids amused for a few hours.  As for me, I just enjoyed wandering through the woods and admiring the cleverly placed sculptures. Am I going on about it a bit too much? It really was a charming place.

It was all done up for Halloween and in the Saxon village the kids were able to carve pumpkins and toast marshmallows. The smell of wood smoke filled the air (and the eyes). the children gathered round to hear stories and the cast played out their parts beautifully. The atmosphere was one of a gentle and rustic idyll.

In one of the huts apples had even  been strung up for apple bobbing. There’s a disgusting pastime if I’ve ever seen one.

Random kids were taking chunks out of apples and then another would follow quickly behind. My stomach heaved just watching it. I don’t suppose they bothered much about hygiene in saxon times so in that respect it was certainly authentic. So much shared spit. Ew!

Anyway…back at home I was telling Lashes about the witch in one of the huts in the Saxon village stirring her cauldron and scaring the kids. “Hello child. I’ve been waiting for  a child to come in. Come and stand here next to me, child and help me stir my cauldron.”

I watched, highly amused as small children backed away from her, fear all over their little faces. It was hysterical.

Lashes looking totally unimpressed asked me:

“A saxon village? a real one? Was it not just mud huts?”

“Well, basically, yeah, daub and wattle.”

“Saxon? Is there not a bit missing from that? It’s a name.

Isn’t it Angelo Saxon?

Oh. My. God.

Seriously, Lashes? There’s a face palm moment if I’ve ever had one. All that money on her education. Wasted. Angelo Saxo. For God’s sake!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doorstop bereavin’


It’s no secret that we love living in south Devon. Now its autumn and we have a bit more time on our hands we’ve been getting out a bit more.  One thing I’ve noticed on our travels is that so many of the business names are so similar.

Salt Rock, Rock Salt, Rock Fish, Salt Water, Wierd Fish, On the Rocks, all names that have been carefully picked to conjure up images of the coast, the seaside, fresh fish, fantastic food, holidays, sailing and generally how good life is on the coast.

Trouble is they are all so similar that they all run together in my mind.

Can I recommend a good restaurant? Yeah. Try Rock Water er….I mean Salty Fish Water.  Eh? Oh no.  I mean Weird Cod Rocks. Or do I mean Rock Fish Balls or maybe Water Salt?

Come on guys. Come up with something a bit more memorable!

*****

Did I mention that Lashes and I have joined a choir? No? Wow! You must be the only people in the world who don’t know.

We are LOVING it.

One of the songs we are learning at the moment is ‘Don’t Stop Believin’.  Every week about fifty of us traipse up to the local village hall to warble away like little (and not so little ) rocking songbirds.

One of the choir members is a really lovely Chines lady who just beams all the way through the evening. She’s a delight to be around. Or so I thought. She sits in the alto section where Lashes sits. I sit in the soprano section so I’m never really near her when she’s singing.

Last week as we left the choir lashes glowered at me and announced that she wouldn’t be sitting near the Chinese woman again.

“She puts me right off.”
“Why’s that then? I thought she was lovely.”
“She is but her accent is so strong and her voice so loud I can’t tune her out.”

It turns out that this lovely lady booms out her own version of the lyrics:

‘Doorstop bereavin…hode on to a fee-ee-eeri-i-i-n’
street rife peepoh…ohhhhh-ohhh-OOHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!…

Strangers waitin’ up a’ dow’ a’ bourevar..shadows searching i’ a’ niiiiiiigh’

Bless her, I liked her even more when I discovered this.  I’m not going to be sitting near her anytine soon though.

Just as a Saturday treat, here is the original  version:

My brain hurts


Oh my Gawd!!!

It’s been a long time since I’ve felt like this, slightly queasy, slightly dizzy, slightly blurry vision, extremely windy and with a little man inside my head using a pneumatic drill.

I feel terrible. Do you feel sorry for me?

No? Oh. I see you’ve put together my symptoms and come up with a diagnosis of ‘major hangover’.

You’re not wrong. Yes, it’s self inflicted.

Now anyone who knows me well knows that even though I come across as a party girl I am in fact a very light drinker. Our next door neighbour, also a hotelier, caught me putting water into my wine once and was disgusted with me. Now I get teased about it all the time when we have a hotel ladies get together. The hoteliers social life is about to take off as it is, in case you haven’t noticed, October. A week or so to gather up a bit of energy and then the party season will start right up until March. We were begging for a break from it all last year. “Noooooo….not another bloody party, I caaaaaaaaaaan’t. It’s more knackering than working!”

Actually, now I come to think of it, it’s already started. That’s how I came to be out last night.

A really lovely hotel manager and her oppo and I hit it off as soon as we met. Always doing other things we kept saying, we must meet up for a drink sometime. Anyway, ‘some time’ was yesterday. “Come out for gin cocktails and a curry. Bring Boofuls”, came the missive.

It would have been rude not to.

Have you noticed how gin has become a fashionable drink recently?

Served in a goldfish bowl sized glass with half a rain forests worth of greenery in the form of herbs or other ‘botanicals’ in it. Mine was served with star anise and rose petals. Very pretty, very nice. I only had one to their two.

We chatted, caught up with the gossip, debated where to eat and generally chilled out, we were having a lovely time. Until the only other person in the bar came up to our table. A woman, probably in her thirties and very, very drunk came up and put her arms round one of our friends. “You’re so beautiful. Can I come and join you?” She staggered around a bit and we all looked in horror at each other. The silence was deafening.

Eventually, Boofuls piped up with, “Well, not really, we are going out to eat in minute.” “Thash ok *hic* I’sh come wiv ya.”

Once again we all stared at each other and then at the table top. Not wanting to be rude but absolutely not wanting the extra company. The table top became utterly fascinating as we all stared at it. Eventually, she got the idea that she wasn’t joining us and staggered off, straight to the bar where she picked up a glass of wine from someone’s order and started drinking it. At that point she got thrown out. WE heaved a sigh of relief. I bet she has a humdinger of a hangover today.

Anyway, we toddled off, after much debate, to a local Indian restaurant. Boofuls hates Indian food but he was out voted on the basis that they serve English food as well, as long as he wanted an omelette.

It’s ages since I’ve been for an Indian, it was delicious. The waiter brought our wine. After one mouthful each we realised he had brought chardonnay rather than the sauvignon we’d ordered so he rectified his mistake while saying, “just finish the other bottle off.” So we did. Oh God.

MY little head was starting to feel a bit swimmy when we left the restaurant. All in all it was a brilliant night out.

Shame that Douggie the Doggie decided to alert us that he was going to have a seizure at 2.30 this morning. Take it from me, nothing will sober you up faster than that. I leapt out of bed, got him downstairs and dosed him up with his tablets. It always scares me giving him an extra dose but if I can catch a fit early enough I can stop it in it’s tracks. As it did last night. The only trouble then is that he goes into such a deep sleep that I spend all night feeling his chest to make sure he’s still breathing. So, Douggie’s world record of over three months without a fit still stands.

Now I’m sitting here, contemplating going back to bed and watching my snoozing dog. The world is making waking up noises and my brain isn’t giving me ‘it’s morning, get moving’ signals. Actually, my bed is looking more attractive by the minute. No work for me today so… beddy byes it is for another hour. G’night all, I have to go and sleep off my excesses – so I can do it again tonight!

I love October, I may have to go back to watering down my wine if I’m going to survive, though.

Sssshhhhhh…listen…I think they’ve all gone


After a mad flurry last weekend, the house is now empty of paying guests and peace has been restored.

I do have to question whether we are in the right job as we are always so thrilled when we have no one in but then I remind myself that we’ve had exactly three days off since March and I’m feeling a bit entitled to some r&r.

Our last guests were a mixture of UKIP disciples, some repeat guests who have become friends, leading to some ridiculous, alchohol fuelled and very funny conversations in the bar of an evening, and a couple who flew in from Dubai for a funeral, flying out again after only three days. Poor buggers.

At this point I hasten to state that the UKIP-ers politics are not my own and I actively tried to avoid conversations with them. It only took a moment of conversation for the opinions they harbour about all sorts of things to surface and I find most of it deeply offensive. They were hilarious at breakfast though.

One of the ladies ordered a full English breakfast and then asked for mustard with it. It’s quite unusual for anyone to order mustard anyway but the instructions that came with the request made me laugh. “It must be ENGLISH mustard, I don’t want any other kind, it has to be ENGLISH.” I was tempted to go out and say to her, enjoy your English mustard along with your German sausage, your Danish bacon and Spanish tomatoes but I didn’t. Mostly because a paying guest still deserves to be treated politely and actually, all our food is locally sourced. The thought of it made me chuckle enough to put it on the hoteliers forum on Facebook though. Bugger me, three other hoteliers had had exactly the same conversations in their dining rooms! Patriotism a step too far methinks.

So. Now we have an empty house, what to do with our free time?

We could…or…maybe we could…or…just sleep. Blessed sleep.

Yes please! Let’s do that. See you soon, folks, I’m off for the first of many little naps.

Tie dye, bleach and general clothing customisation


Oooooh, what’s this? A new line of business?

I suppose you could be forgiven for thinking that I’d gone into the hippy clothing business since Torbay is so close to Totnes, that Mecca for hippies, artists and musicians but no.

What I’m talking about is an entirely different way of customising clothes. I’m talking about the ‘cleaning a bathroom and accidentally getting bleach everywhere’ approach to dying clothes. It’s reaching ridiculous proportions.

Yesterday I had to go out and buy myself half a dozen new tee shirts and work trousers as I’m starting to look a bit bleached out, and not in a good way. This week alone two tee shirts and a pair of pants have bitten the dust. By pants I mean trousers, not knickers, even I haven’t managed to bleach my knickers yet. Although I did manage to bleach my eyeball this morning. All I can say about that is, BLOODY OW!!! Anyway, I digress.

To be fair I quite enjoyed my little foray into town for some new clothes. It offset the trauma of going to the dentist and having my gums jet washed. Again – BLOODY OW!

Now that most of the tourists have gone home it’s quite nice in town. The beggars have buggered off since they know they aren’t getting anything from the locals who all know that these ‘homeless’ folk climb into a nice car and drive to their homes after a hard days begging. I kid you not. Not only that but the jay walkers who don’t seem to realise they are supposed to stay on the pavements and the foreign drivers who drive round with a look of pure terror on their faces, usually on the right side of the road but not always, have also gone. During the height of the season it’s like a three ring circus on the main road in town I flatly refuse to drive in that part of town during July and August. Anyway, I digress again.

After two and a half years of running a lodging emporium you’d think I’d be quite adept at cleaning the bathrooms without spraying bleach everywhere but no, no matter how careful I am I still manage to get it everywhere. In an attempt to try and look at least a little professional in case any stray guests happen to still be around I popped on a nice new pair of trousers and a new tee shirt before starting to service the rooms this morning and within half an hour I’d sprayed them both with bleach- along with my aforementioned eyeball.

With the benefit of hind sight, my brilliant idea of putting the bleach into a spray bottle was not such a brilliant idea after all. It wasn’t so much a spray as a powerful jet that ricocheted off the tiles and all over me. Sigh.

Maybe I should just embrace the concept of bleach speckled clothing and call it a fashion statement.