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.

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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.

That’s a bit ironic


Driving through Paignton today it was stuck by the irony of them having a great big ugly, box like building that is the Vue cinema situated in such a place as to completely block the view of the beautiful shoreline. It should be called ‘Not such a great view’.

So, the summer season is gently slowing down. The leaves are turning all sorts of gorgeous colours, most of the tourists have gone home and it all feels very different. More relaxed. It’s as if the town has taken a deep breath and has finally got time to enjoy what is left of the summer.

Hundreds of people have passed through the doors of our lodging emporium, some have been lovely, some not too lovely but after a week or two their names and faces all seem to blur into one anyway and all we are left with is a fuzzy memory of a busy season.

We even had a day off last week. That’s almost like normal people. Boofuls worked out that the last time we had a full day off was way back in March. Time off is over rated anyway.

Lashes and I have decided to join a choir so we can warble our way through the winter. Funny thing, that. Never in the pats have we been tempted to join choir but suddenly everyone seems to be joining choirs.

I tried one out in Newton Abbot which was a bit gospelesque. It was ok but it’s fair to say it didn’t make my soul soar. Then a friend invited me to go to the Gilbert and Sullivan Society. That was a challenge. So many words, so much music and so fast! I loved that one. The only thing that put me off was they way all their faces lit up when I was introduced, they kept referring to me as a youngster and saying things like, “We need young people like you to join.” Ummmmm……I’m pushing 60, youngster I am not.

The following week Lashes and I went along to other choir and at the risk of sounding like Goldilocks, we found it to be just right. Not too highbrow nor too simple. It suits us perfectly. Membership forms have been completed and we are off to our second rehearsal any day now. Exciting!

Now that the summer season is over I might even have a few moments to write down some of our stories from the summer.

Wow!

All this free time is looming over me – I’m not sure what to do with it all. Watch this space and I’ll tell you as events unfold.

and a partridge in a pear tree


It’s fair to say that summer is in full swing at Boofuls Towers Bed and Breakfast Emporium.

We’ve had hoards of Norwegians eating me out of fruit, eggs, salmon and kippers. Not a single full English did I cook that week.

Then we got the Germans, more fruit, more eggs, more salmon and lots of pancakes.

Then we got the English golf chaps. Full English after full English went out of the kitchen. Not a morsel of fruit was eaten.

Saturday we had eleven vegetarians, two gluten free, one diabetic and one dairy free, and a partridge in a pear tree.

It’s a good job I now know how to judge my guests taste in food. It’s not too often I get caught out these days.The eleven veggies were a bit of a surprise though.

Later in the day we had nine room changes to do. NINE!!!!! We were half dead when we’ve finished. Our cunning plan to employ lots of staff and have them all work that day fell apart like a house of cards. Firstly, Molly Daydream daydreamed her way through the day. Peggy Kickass chose to not follow instructions i.e. work with Molly Daydream and make all the beds. Instead she took herself off to work on her own in room 16 leaving Molly to do what she does best, daydream. The end result of that is that I’d cleaned five bathrooms in the time it took those two to make one bed. Sally Swot, being a brand new member of staff can be forgiven for spending the day looking like a rabbit in the headlights as she tried her best to be helpful but actually ended up in the way as no one had the time to train her. Lashes, House Elf No.1 and me all ran around like idiots trying to get it all done before the new guests arrived. Added to that – we completely ran out of linen as the laundry failed to deliver – again. All in all it was a bit of a train wreck but we got through it eventually – and without anyone ending up in tears.

Tell me again why I wanted a B & B?

Last night a lovely Spanish couple turned up and immediately demanded to be taken to A & E. They didn’t even check in or get their luggage to their room. Working on the basis that we didn’t want any dead guests in the house, Boofuls took them to hospital to get the lady checked over and get the tablets she needed. Phew! Another disaster averted.

Then a three night, three room booking remembered a wedding they needed to attend and left two days early. That cost them dearly but they didn’t bat an eyelid. I think the dad just wanted to put a stop to the earache he was undoubtedly getting from his daughters about not having enough time to get ready for the wedding, they needed at least two days! God. I’m lucky if I get two minutes to get ready to go anywhere!

Over the last couple of weeks a scrote has been burgling hotels in our area. He tried to jemmy our door open, actually got into next door, robbed a neighbour, attempted to rob at least five other B&B’s and eventually got arrested. Luckily, we had some great cctv footage of him which the police found very useful. All the hoteliers worked with each other and with the police to protect each other and get him caught. I do believe he’s now residing in a prison somewhere at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

Oddly enough. The biggest security threat is guests. They will let strangers in thinking that they are another guest, even though we dedicate a full page in the room directory specifically saying not to. They unlock the front door and leave it on the latch or even leave it wide open. I should go round to their house and leave it wide open for anyone to walk into and see how they like it.

Anyway, that’s the latest round up. I’m off to bed now for an early night. I was so tired this morning that I was a danger to myself and everyone else. Lashes pushed some food into my hands and threw me out of my own kitchen. As I protested, saying that I was fine and could finish off, I spilt a panful of oil onto the floor. At that point I gave in and left.

G’night all, see you in October!

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.

It’s just a walk in the Park


I came across this article on Facebook today.

It was a good read.

It’s about how some dog owners think it’s ok to let their dogs just rampage round, running where they like and approaching any and every other dog they see.

It touched a nerve.

Usually said dog owners are a hundred yards away while their little darlings are having fun. My opinion is that if your dog is a hundred yards away then by no definition ever can it be deemed to be ‘under control.’

Now that might be ok if your dog is well mannered enough to leave other dogs alone but all too often they aren’t.

It’s about time we all started to understand that dogs, like people, are not all the same and a little courtesy and understanding can go a long way. The article talks mainly about fearful and reactive dogs but actually, the issues it addresses are relevant to all.

I don’t have a reactive or fearful dog but I have also experienced much of what is said in this article.

If a dog is on a lead I don’t allow Douggie the doggie to go up to them until I check if it’s ok. If it’s on a lead, it’s for a good reason.

If my dog, Douggie is on a lead I don’t allow him to interact with other dogs.

Have I had people be offended when I’ve said so?

Absolutely I have. “snotty bitch’ has been heard muttered more than once.

Why I keep Douggie the doggie away from other dogs when on a lead is my business – but I’ll tell you. After he’s had a fit he can be unpredictable. He’s never turned on another dog or a person but I don’t know what’s going on in his head at that point and I prefer to be safe than sorry. Also, he’s a big, powerful dog. If he decided to drag me across the road because his best mate was on the other side of the road he could. By teaching him that other dogs are off limits when he’s on a lead he knows to keep himself to himself and me safe from being run over by a bus. Common sense. Other dog owners leading their dogs, often on leads, up to him and telling them to ‘say hello’ undermines everything I’ve taught him.

I’ll politely point out that I don’t allow him to socialise when he’s on a lead. At that point they will either give me a dirty look and walk off or ask me in a very surprised voice why. My reply is usually, “for exactly this reason”, as Douggie
pulls me round from pillar to post to get a better sniff at the other dog’s nether regions. Not so much of a problem with a chihuahua, bit more of a problem when you have a six stone golden retriever.

While I’m in mid rant, may I also point out that my dog is not public property. He might look like a great big, soppy teddy bear but that does not mean he’s there to be petted, have his ears pulled or generally act as entertainment for your kids. At least have the manners to ask before parading your kid up to him telling them to stroke the nice doggie. Although I suppose that’s better than when your child runs up to him, arms outstretched and screaming, “Doggie!” in his face.

Please be aware that when I tell your child to keep away I’m protecting the dog from your child not vice versa. Shouting at me “Well it should be f*ckin’ muzzled then” is just aggressive nonsense. Actually, I think you should be muzzled as your mouth is much nastier and far more dangerous than my dog’s.

Now I don’t want to come over as holier than thou in this post. It took a lot of training and a lot of training mistakes on my part before we ended up with a well mannered dog. I vividly remember when Douggie was just a few months old that if he saw another dog ten miles away he would run like the wind to get to it. On day I stupidly took him to a local playing field.

There was a person with a leashed dog at the other end of the field. Douggie took off, I took off after him, frantically calling his name as the irate owner of the other dog swore and cursed me and my dog while fighting to keep his leashed dog under control, “GET YOUR DOG AWAY YOU STUPID BITCH MY DOG’LL KILL IT! I was running as fast as I could to get to Douggie before he got killed.

I was mortified that I had so little control over my dog that he, and by that I mean, I, could have caused a really nasty incident. It certainly taught me the value of training and respecting the needs of other dogs and their owners.

After that I never took Douggie anywhere where he had a clear line of sight. For months we only ever walked in the woods where he could only see a few feet in front. That way he learned to stay near to me. Eventually, once I knew I could trust him we braved the open spaces again.

Training and mutual respect. It’s not that hard is it?

Oooh, this article got me all fired up, didn’t it? Rant over.

Playing out


It’s nice at this time of year, before our lodging emporium gets too busy. I have time to go and play out with my new toys.When I’m not going out with the girls for lunch or dinner or drinks. Tell me again why I’m not a size ten?

I’ve been playing out with my camera recently, here are my offerings from the last couple of days. I hope you like them. Do you have a favourite?

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You treat this place like a hotel!


No. Wait. Ok, it IS a hotel but you don’t need to treat it like one.

So what am I wittering on about today?

Munki. That’s what.

She’s got into the habit of strolling into the kitchen during breakfast service and ordering as a guest would.

For those of you who don’t know, Munki is our eight year old granddaughter who lives with us here at the Boofuls Towers B & B lodging emporium.

Yesterday she wandering in, looked around disdainfully, walked out again and into the guest dining room. Two minutes later she returned with a giant bowlful of the fruit salad, having taken all the strawberries and blueberries out of it and left the bits she didn’t like for the actual paying guests. Once she’d finished that – and I’d finished refreshing the fruit salad, she returned to the kitchen, “Can I just have two slices of bacon today please?” If I’m not too busy I’ll generally make it for her and yesterday she was lucky.

This morning we only had two guests in for breakfast and only one of them wanting a cooked breakfast. Service was over in about three minutes, long enough to produce two poached eggs on toast.

Munki strolled into the kitchen at her usual time. Her face fell. “What? Have I missed breakfast? I’m not late!”

I explained to her that breakfast was over and suggested she make herself some toast since she isn’t actually a paying guest. Her little face lit up and off she went.

The only trouble with Munki having toast is that she absolutely slathers it in my home made lemon curd. I can’t keep up with her demand for it. Only last week I made a fresh batch and it’s almost gone already. I may have to start rationing it. It wouldn’t be too bad if only I could stop her putting the knife into the jar after it’s been used for butter. Ugh. I can’t serve that to guests now. If I’ve told her once not to do that I’ve told her a thousand times, No exaggeration!

I think it’s a ploy she uses she she can have it all.

Anyway, still on the subject of Munki:

Her mum, Lashes has been picking up her old hobby of doing magic tricks.

She got really quite good at it at one point but then as so often happens at that age she lost interest and moved on to other things, boys, mostly.

Now she has started doing magic again. Please note that I was very careful not to say she was doing tricks. I said that last week to someone and then stood there mystified as they doubled up with laughter. I’m so innocent sometimes it’s ridiculous. I had no idea what I’d just said.

Anyway, I digress.

Lashes had just learned the old ‘coin in a bottle trick.’ She did it using a plastic bottle and we were all mighty impressed when this coin magically appeared inside it. She showed the same trick to MUnki who was astounded, begging her mum to do the trick again and pleading with her to show her how it was done.

Lashes, in the manner of all good magicians didn’t do the trick again but handed the bottle to Munki, “See if you can work it out.”

Lashes walked off smirking as Munki shook, rattled, peered into and generally gave the bottle a good inspection.

Five minutes later she came into see me. “Nanny, can I borrow some scissors, please?” Without giving giving a thought I handed over a pair of scissors and Munki disappeared into her bedroom.

Five minutes later again I heard a shout, “Why would you do that? Why? You’ve completely destroyed it.” Munki had only taken a pair of scissors to the plastic bottle to see the mechanics of the trick. Lashes was LIVID.

Well, you did tell her to see if she could work it out. You didn’t say she couldn’t destroy it to find the answer.

She’ll go far, that kid!

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