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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!

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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.

When you wish upon a star


Ah yes…those wwere the days. It brought it all back, reading this.

Maybe when I have a particularly trying day I should just come back and read this post and it will remind me of the turmoil in our lives at that time and that actually, life is pretty darned good here in Devon.

Tripping Over Pebbles No More

When you wish upon a star

Makes no difference who you are

When you wish upon a star

Your dreams come true

Well. We’ve only been and gone and done it.

Never under estimate the power of a wish, dream, positive thought and good old blood, sweat, tears and hard graft. Also, never listen to the nay sayers who tell you you’re being unrealistic and to forget your dream and do something ‘normal’.

When Boofuls and I wished upon our star it took a couple of years to come true but it finally happened last week.

We’ve packed up and shipped out.

No longer Lancashire hotpots. Now we are oficially Devon dumplings.

I’d love to say that it’s all been a breeze, however, it’s been anything but.

For non regular readers ( where have you been?! ) who haven’t a clue what I’m talking about, I’ll fill you in.

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Can you just loosen this?


You couldn’t make this stuff up!

We’ve had a couple fo really nice ladies staying with us while they attended a family wedding. This morning was their last morning.

As they came into the dining room I noticed that one of them was carrying a flask. She asked Boofuls if he would open it for her as she was unable to remove the lid. Being the gentleman that he is he duly obliged.

Just as he gave the lid an almighty turn one of the ladies said, “Be careful, it’s had a fruit smoothie in, it might explo……….

As the words left her mouth, the three-day old fruit smoothie  exploded. Clearly having been fermenting in the warm room it left the flask with the force of a rocket. The chairs, tables, floor, crockery and people were all covered in purple smelly slime.  Everyone jumped back in surprise as the lid went flying across the dining room to land three tables away.

The ladies were mortified. Being of that age where they have to step in to clean up rather than watch another person do it, they immediately started trying to clean it up – with my cream damask napkins. Oh no! L et’s make a bad situation worse and destroy some expensive napkins, I don’t think so!

I quickly jumped in and removed them from her hand. “Leave it to me, ladies, it won’t take a moment to clean up”. Still they hovered and faffed trying their best to be helpful but actually just getting in the way. “Sit down, girls, we’ll get you some tea.” They continued to stand there flapping their hands and trying to grab napkins to mop up the mess. By now my smile was starting to slip. “SIT down! I ordered in what I hoped was a jollying along kind of voice and not a ‘I’m going to lose my temper in a minute’ kind of voice.

Finally they did sit and the clean up operation took a couple of minutes. The trouble with the carpet in the dining room is that it is a typical English hotel carpet, very busy and colourful and about thirty years old ( I only mention that fact to remind Boofuls that it’s days are very much numbered). If anyone drops anything not this carpet they have to get down to ground level, ear to the ground like a red Indian scout listening for rattlesnakes, and scan the floor. That’s because it’s height will give it away, trying to find anything on it from a standing position is almost impossible, I once lost Douggie the doggie on it.

The reason I mention the carpet is because I’m hoping that we did actually manage to clean up all the slime. If not then I can pretty much guarantee some guest will come walking in with bare feet and walk straight in it. Ugh, doesn’t bear thinking about. Look out for THAT review!

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:

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.

Why On-Leash Greetings with other dogs can be one of the single biggest mistake you make with your dog.


Absolutely agree with every word of this. Spread the word far and wide, folks. Then I might not get filthy looks rorm other dog owners when I tell them I don’t allow my dog to socialise when she’s on a lead.

David Tirpak

On leash greetings with people and dogs are the number one cause of behavioral issues on the walk.  They cause reactivity, condition excitement, and put dogs in immensely uncomfortable situations.  Lets break this down..

First and foremost the number one reason why we discourage on-leash greetings is due to the unnecessary social pressure that it creates for the dog.  In ideal social situations between dogs and dogs or dogs and people the dog is free to roam.  If they get stressed out due to another dog or person they can get up and walk away giving them space and reducing the social pressure.

Being on a leash is very restricting to most dogs.  They are stuck within a 4-6 foot radius of you at all times and are very aware of it.  This puts them in an innate position to tap into their fight or flight responses.  Since they do…

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A few photos of frolicking


When we first moved to Devon we were told that the novelty of living by the sea would wear off after a few months. I think someone forgot to tell Douggie the doggie. Two years on and he loves it as much as ever. In fact, if he doesn’t get a swim every day he positively sulks.

I’ve thrown in a couple of pictures taken with my fancy new filter as well. It’s amazing how a camera on a tripod acts like a magnet to snotty nosed little kids on the beach. 500 yards of beach to play on and yet they come and stand two inches away from me and seem determined to either stand right in the shot or stand next to the tripod, lose their balance and almost knock it over. Note to self: don’t take photos on the beach during school holidays.

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Ibble Ibble omnom


What?
Ibble ibble omnom
Sorry, what?
ibble ibble omnom
Ok. I give in, I still didn’t get it?
I’M HAVING A NIBBLE ON ONE!!
One what?
Mushroom
Eh?
The left over mushrooms, I’m having a nibble on one.
Flippin’ ‘eck! All I heard was Ibble ibble omnom. It wasn’t worth all the effort!

And so went the kitchen conversation this morning while we patiently waited for the last two guests to turn up for breakfast.

Art the moment we have a house full of mostly elderly people, it’s a bit like God’s waiting room. The all queue up outside the dining room door to be sure of getting the table closest to the buffet when breakfast starts at 8.15.

The only young couple we have in come down for breakfast just as it’s ending at 9.15 which means we stand around for half an hour not able to put anything away or clean up until they’ve been. The boredom leads to some ridiculous conversations, as you’ve just found out.