Room 8 it is then!!

Fed up of having the worst room in the house, Boofuls and I (ok, just me) decided that some decorating was in order.

The trouble with owning a B&B is that if anything breaks in one of the guest bedrooms it quite often gets replaced from our bedroom. The end result of which is that we have the ugliest, scruffiest, dirtiest, most out dated room in the entire house.

Well I’m fed up of it. Fed up I say!

When I go to bed I turn the light off quickly so I don’t have to look at the dump that we call our bedroom. It’s just depressing. Especially for someone like me who has studied interior design and loves colour, beautiful lights and fittings and gorgeous curtains..

I think it was last decorated circa 1980 and the wallpaper has been patched up for various reasons over the years with the added on bits having a marked difference in colour. No attempt at shade matching being possible I suppose after years of fading away in the wall. The worst bit though was the bit above the bed where it looks like someone has smeared the excavations from their nose onto the wall. It made me sick to look at it.

The carpet, apart from being a grim green fleur de lys patterned eyesore has been thrown up on by the dog at least three times and has also shrunk away from the wall over the years.

The furniture, in putrid pine, was obviously used by the teenage son of the previous owners, it has stickers on the drawers, scratches, engravings and none of it matches anything else except that it’s all putrid pine.

So. Not having money to fritter away on rooms that don’t earn us money I engineered a master plan.

I decided that if I sold all my old professional cameras I’d get enough money to completely refurbish the room. Genius!

I got in touch with a camera shop who specialises in ‘pre loved’ camera equipment and shipped it all to them. Now all I have to do is sit back and wait for the money to roll in.

In the meantime, Boofuls and I decided that we’d use room 8 as our bedroom until ours was ready. It wouldn’t be possible to stay in our room as it needs to be completely gutted. I’ve ordered the new furniture, we’ve picked a new carpet and I’m researching curtains, wallpaper and light fittings. The furniture is due to be delivered in about four weeks. So exciting!

Wait! What? Excuse me Boofuls. What was that you just said? They got the date wrong and the furniture will be here Monday?

Well that puts a little spanner in the works. We’re not ready.

In light of this new information, Boofuls and I were in room 8 this afternoon deciding where we’d put all our stuff. It transpires that we have both always secretly loved that room. So much so that we’ve decided to keep it and make our room a letting room.

Busy week next week then. Happy days!!

Bloody hell

We’ve done it!! We’ve survived the summer season.

On the diary I can now see without scrolling across the screen the great big blacked out space that means we are closed for five whole days.

Five days of not getting up at 6.30 every morning. Five days of not frying eggs or any other breakfast related stuff. Five days of not having to smile and wish everyone a good morning.


It’s been a fantastic season, we have knocked spots off last years figures but now we are totally exhausted and ready for a break. Since April we have had two days off. Once to go to a dog show and once to go to a funeral.

I’m so looking forward to waking up in the morning and my first words not being ‘oh, bloody hell’ as I have myself out of bed and stand in the bathroom brushing my teeth with my eyes closed and my head leaning against the wall.

Do we regret buying a mahoosive B&B now that we really know what it’s all about? Not at all. It’s been great but now need to slee…..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


Now that summer is in full flow it’s all getting very exciting at Boofuls Towers Lodging Emporium.

Since we last spoke we have converted a junk room into another bedroom so now we have a total of 13 rooms with a total capacity for 32 people. What were we thinking? We are meeting ourselves coming back at the moment but it’s been a laugh a minute.

We have a Spanish family who have been here with us for a month and all manner of nationalities, Swedish, Danish and German mostly.

But ask me about the Algerian family…go on, ask me.

Well I’ll tell you anyway…

An Algerian family with a kid at the language school came to stay for a few days while their sprog settled with his host family and began his two years of learning Devonian English. I’m pretty sure the family are expecting him to go home with a cut glass English accent but I think they may be disappointed. It’ll be ‘Ah’ll ‘ave a paaaaaaasty and a pint o’ dumpling my lovely.’

Lena, our house elf, not being a well travelled girl, asked us if Algerian was the same as albino. “Well, actually, Lena. They are kind of the opposite of albino.” She looked at us blankly while we all fell about laughing, bless her.

Anyway, I digress: A week before the aforementioned family arrived we took a phone call from a minion at the language school saying they wanted to book a family room for three nights. We didn’t have a family room available for the first night so we said we could put them into two rooms for one night then move them. This was agreed with the minion. As the minion signed off they casually dropped into the conversation, “By the way, they don’t speak a word of English.”


The family arrived. Mum, dad, three small boys ranging from toddler sized to small child sized. As we struggled with the language It became clear that dad wasn’t happy about the two room situation. We tried to explain in our long forgotten school French that that was what had been arranged.

It was all getting a bit tricky when the older son turned up from the language school. He speaks pretty good English so we explained it all to him. “They already know this! I made the decision to take two rooms, there is no problem, I don’t know why they said this!” We showed them to their rooms.

All was quiet until about 6.30 when the older boy came downstairs with our hospitality tray from the bedroom full of cakes. “My mother has sent these for you.”

Lovely, we’re always up for free cake! Little did we realise they were a sweetener before the big event.

Half an hour later all hell broke out in the dining room. BANG! CRASH! BANG! BANG!

I ran into see what was going on.

The Algerian mum was going through all my dining room cupboards and drawers looking for plates and cutlery. Oh please madam, help yourself, I thought ungraciously.

I provided her with plates and cutlery and she proceeded to pull mountains of food out of various bags, including a plastic bag of braised meat and sausage that she had clearly smuggled into the country. I wondered how long the meat had been festering in the bag but decided since I wasn’t going to eat it I didn’t care. That was a mistake, it later transpired.

After she repeatedly tried and failed to get into my kitchen, I compromised and put a spare microwave into the dining room – for the baby’s milk, she said. Ha! Lies! All lies!

The meat went into the microwave as well as various other concoctions she produced. In the end she had a full buffet going on.

Boofuls and I left to take Douggie the doggie for a walk and left lashes to keep an eye on things. Half an hour later a text message came through, “It’s reckon’ chaos here!! They’ve caused a fire!”

It appeared that they had decided to help themselves to our rotary toaster, the kind that is designed for flat slices of bread, and pushed a baguette into it. Surprise surprise, it got stuck, and then it caught fire. Lashes went running in to see flames and smoke billowing out of the toaster. The Algerian mum had it all under control though. She decided to remove the stuck baguette by pushing THREE other baguettes in behind it, which also got stuck and caught fire! It was mayhem.

By the time Boofuls and I arrived home it was all under control and the mess cleaned up. Lashes was totally unimpressed but had handled it brilliantly. Ranting at me later I gently pointed out that the mum was just trying to look after her family and the best way she know in a strange and complicated place.

I had to laugh when she told me that, trying to be polite, she had indicated that the braised meat smelt tasty. The mother took a chunk of it and literally put it straight into Lashes’s mouth. I am far too polite to repeat what Lashes said but it made me laugh.

The following morning they all come down for breakfast. Like a plague of locusts they took just about everything off the breakfast bar, not eating it, just piling it up on their table. It was at about this point that one of the younger children egan to throw up. Not once, four times, following his mother all round the dining room vomming as he went. Lashes was thrilled.

Eventually mum removed the sickly child from the dining room while we hastily cleaned and and anti bac treated the area.

Ten minutes later dad walked over the the breakfast bar and picked up four yogurts and four packets of cereal.Then he asked Boofuls for a carrier bag to take them upstairs. “OH NO!!! I said, that’s not happening, they’ve already eaten/collected/wasted a ton of food here, they aren’t getting it all over the bedrooms as well.”

I strode out into the dining room and amazed myself, “Non, monsieur, le petit dejeuner c’est ici.” Which i believe means, breakfast in here. I don’t know if it was correct or not but he shrugged his shoulders, got up and left the room not to be seen again all day.

Other than having to get the carpet professionally cleaned after they left we didn’t really have many more dealings with them. It was certainly eye opening, frustrating, and hilariously funny. You really couldn’t make this stuff up.

John Bull please

What do you mean what’s a John Bull?
It’s a delicious and nutritious delicacy. Ok, it is delicious but it’s not so much nutritious as a heart attack waiting to happen and delicate? Well, not so much.

Today happens to be Boofuls’s birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BOOFULS!!

As it’s his birthday it’s up to him to decide what he wants to do from a dazzling array of options.

This morning’s option, once we’d finished work, was to choose from lunch at his favourite cafe, lunch at a posh restaurant follow d by a game of golf or whatever else he decided to do.

Lunch was a piece of cake and a nap.

The plan for this evening was for him to go out with Lashes and The Prof for a game of bingo. I offered to watch some paint dry as I thought it would be the better option.

BoofuLs decided he didn’t want to leave me alone on his birthday so he isn’t doing that either.

Poor old Lashes is at the end of her tether with him, all she wants to do is give him a lovely day on his birthday and all he wants to do is sleep.

This afternoon we thought we might go out for tea (dinner to you posh folk) since we didn’t get out for lunch (which is dinner to us poor folk). He didn’t want to do that.

Options then changed to, do you want pie, mash and beans or a takeaway, or a roast dinner, or a ……whatever. His reply was; “what do you want?”
It’s not my birthday, just decide.”

“I can’t”.

Eventually, just when I’d go to the point of wanting to inflict physical violence he decided he’d like a chinese takeaway.

During the conversations about what to eat I suggested John Bull and chips. Nom nom nom.

The Prof looked at me with his disbelieving face.

“John Bull, you’re making that up, there’s no such thing”.

If you are anything like the Prof then I expect that you are imagining a stout little man with a red face and a union flag waistcoat, not unlike a Toby jug – and you’d be correct, that is indeed John Bull. However, the John Bull I’m talking about is the edible one.

Still not convinced there is any such thing? Well, you doubting Thomas’s, let’s sort out this out once and for all.

Feast your eyes on this:

Cor lumme, I can feel my arteries clogging just watching that! All it needs is a pile of chippy chips and a huge dollop of mushy peas.

Hmm, it just goes to show that you can take the girl out of the north but can you totally take the north out of the girl?

Maybe not.


Summer’s here and the time is right for dancing in the street

Oh yeah! Summer is most definitely here and there is indeed dancing in the street.

Not a million miles away from where we live and well within Douggie the doggie walking distance is the screen on the green in Torquay.  It’s brilliant!!

In the last week or so I’ve danced to the Blues Brothers, sung along to Mama Mia, walked past and steadfastly ignored the football and tonight danced  to footage of  ZZ Top at Glastonbury while Douggie made friends with everyone he met. The atmosphere is fantastic and I can think of no better way to spend a summer evening than going down the to mingle for an hour or so.

We’ve see the Red Arrows at the fantastic Torbay air show, played at being pirates, spent  a lovely couple of days in Ilfracombe at a dog show (where Douggie totally refused to join in), been to the theatre and been wined and dined. It’s exhausting!

I love my life!!!

After rushing like mad to get all the rooms clean and tidy today I went to Plymouth today to do a craft fair and sell a few of my jewels. If I say so myself I’m getting much better at this jewellery making and wire wrapping lark.

We’ve had brilliant fun with the guests this week. They have been lovely, a pleasure to look after. One couple from Germany have had  fun laughing at my attempts to speak to them in their own language. I was sad to see them go this morning, we’ve had great fun. Who said Germans have no sense of humour, they are brilliant!

Another really nice couple from Lancashire have been trying to talk a bit posh and failing dismally.  Their attempts at poshness have had us in hysterics.  The lady clearly loves her luxuries, we went into their room to service it and saw ten, yep, ten – count ’em, bottles of perfume on the dressing table. Almost as many bottles of perfume as there are handbags. Lashes was green with envy.

I ended up in tears of laughter this morning when the German couple left, I wished them auf wiedersehen and a safe journey home.

After they’d gone I said to the Lancashire couple that I’d have wished them a good journey in German but the German word for journey is fahrt and I couldn’t have said it with a straight face. “Have a good fahrt.”

Well, Lancashire nearly fell off their chairs laughing. They laughed and spluttered and went red in the face, all pretence of poshness forgotten about. It was lovely, kept me laughing all morning.

Clearly creatures of habit, they order the same thing for breakfast,   every day, full English with black pudding, and sit at the same table to eat it.  Some new guests had arrived so Boofuls put a reserved sign on Lancashire’s table in order that they wouldn’t lose ‘their’ place.

A South African couple walked into the totally deserted dining room and sat themselves at the one table with a reserved sign on it. Boofuls had a bit of a  Basil Fawlty moment, walked up to the table, picked up the sign, looked at it silently and then put it down on the next table before turning back and wish the couple a good morning.

” Oh. Shall we move?”

“No *sigh* stay there, it doesn’t matter.”

Poor old Lancashire looked distraught when they walked in.  It clearly did matter. It’s amazing how quickly people get possessive about the table they sit at

So there we are, a lightning round up af some of the recent news. I’ll pop back as often as I can and keep you all updated on the life of a seaside landlady.





Mite shite and seagull stools

It’s a bit of a shit post, this one. The reason for this is that we seem to have more than our fair share of er…emissions form various critters round here.

Firstly, Lashes decided to put a bird feeder in a tree in the garden. The tree that we tend to park under when the car park is full of guest’s cars. The result is that the birds gorge themselves on the delicious goodness that comes in the form of nuts and seeds and then poop it all out  – all over our car!

The other day it looked like we’d been bombarded by a squadron of seagulls suffering from the aftermath of a night on the beer followed by a good hot curry. Seagull stools covered the entire roof of the car and down the sides, so disgusting that it warranted an immediate trip to the car wash.

I wouldn’t have minded so much if the bird feeder had encouraged the song bids into the garden, oh no. All we got were the dive bombing seagulls. Tsk

Moving from the back of the house to the front, it would appear that the lime trees on our road are host to a colony of mites. Mites that drop their poo will nilly wherever they feel, but mostly all over our car, leaving it a sticky, dusty disgusting mess.

Oh well, at least our almost daily trips to the car wash mean that for once in our life we have a lovely, shiny bright car – until we park it up again. Haha.

Mermaids Tears

Did I tell you I’ve been making a few bits of jewellery from the sea glass I pick up on the beaches?

Well, here they are anyway, the latest ones in my collection. Ok, only the first on has any actual sea glass in it but I did all the wire work myself on the others and I’m quite pleased with my little self.


Sea glass is often referred to as Mermaids tears.  Courtesy of Sea Glass , who has written  about it far more eloquently than I ever could, here’s the reason why:

“Sea glass is often called “Mermaid Tears.” Here is the legend of the mermaid tears and why people call sea glass mermaids tears. Legend of Mermaid Tears. The maidens could change the mighty course of nature, but were forbidden to do so by Neptune, the stern, watchful god of the sea.
One dark, storm-ravaged night, with sails ripping and masts cracking, a schooner fought to find safety in Friendly Cove off Nootka Island in the San Juans. The ship was familiar to the mermaid who swam along its side . . . she had weathered many crossings with the ship and its captain. As the ship heeled in the violent wind, the captain lost his hold on the wheel, tumbling perilously close to the raging sea. In an instant, the mermaid calmed the wind and tamed the waves, changing the course of nature and saving the life of a man she had grown to love from afar.
For her impetuous act, Neptune banished the sobbing mermaid to the oceans depths, condemning her for eternity never to surface or swim with the ships again. To this day, her gleaming tears wash up on the beaches  as sea glass . . . crystalline treasures in magic sea colors, an eternal reminder of true love.”

Aw, aint that cute?

I seem to have started something with the old sea glass. Just about every b & b-er in the area now walks up the beach with their heads bowed looking for little treasures. A fired and I have booked a table at a craft fair to sell our little treasures. I’m also considering an Etsy or Ebay shop. What do you think? Good enough to sell?


Funny thing about bacon. No matter how much I cook and serve to other people, when I step outside and smell it from someone else’s kitchen I always think, ‘Mmmmm…bacon.’

At the moment we are enjoying the calm before the storm. From next week the bookings really step up and it starts to get busy in hotel land. To while away my time  in this quietish period and to prevent boredom (ha! Fat chance of being bored with a to do list as long as my arm) I have been having a go at making some jewellery using the sea glass and shells I pick up on the beach and a few pictures. What do you think?


Then we decided duet the bank holiday that we’d pop over to Brixham on the ferry to have a look at the pirate festival. Well, you can’t turn up in a car can you.  Any self respecting pirate would hop on a boat, so we did.

It was a cold and blustery day but Boofuls cheered it up by dressing as Woodstock pirate and I went as Adam Ant pirate.  A couple of tots of rum once we landed warmed us up nicely and we soon got into the spirit of it all. There is a video of  Lashes and I having a sword fight with a couple of  buccaneers, I’ll post that when I retrieve it from Boofuls’ phone.


Taking a drive round Torbay the other day we were a little bit surprised to see this at the traffic lights.  A ship at the lights isn’t something you see every day, is it?


Dougie the doggie was so excited, he thought it was a huge fish to play with. haha. Once he realised it wasn’t he looked a little bit glum. Not for long though. A quick dive into the water soon sorted him out.


“It was very good” “Damn you”

It’s been a bit of an eye opener the last year or so as our new career as hoteliers has really taken off.

We’ve discovered that guests, or would be guests to be more precise, are totally driven by rating and reviews.

We have worked our little tushies off to make everyone’s stay here as comfortable as we possibly can. We have spent all our time since we moved in making it as clean, cosy and pleasant as possible.  It really does matter to us that people have a nice time, not only for the ratings but it’s fair to say that most hoteliers live in fear of trip advisor.

You know how it works, guest leaves, guest leaves review, end of story. Yes? Nope.

After months and months, about twelve to be exact, of hard graft we managed to get our little establishment into the top ten in our area on Trip Advisor.  YEAH!! TOP TEN!! Hearty back slaps all round!!

Next along comes a review from a guest who left that day. The review pretty much said everything was fine, they enjoyed their stay. Perfect. We’ll take that.

The guest rated us as ‘Very Good’. YEAH!! Very good! Well done us.

Next thing you know is that we have dropped FOUR PLACES in the ratings. WHAT? Why?

It would appear that being very good is not good enough. It’s so not good enough that you will get penalised for only being very good.

Anything less than an excellent rating isn’t deemed as good at all. Anything less than an excellent rating is essentially a poor rating.

That, my dear reader, is why hoteliers live in fear of Trip Advisor.

Get one of those people who say to your face that everything is lovely and no, there really isn’t anything you can get them, they are having a lovely time – and then leave a stinking review are absolutely the worst kind of guest. We’ve only had one of those, luckily.

So. on behalf of all the bed and breakfast and small hotel owners, the  people who live, breathe and sleep their jobs, who’s whole livelihood depends on the income they get from their guests, I beg of you. Please play fair. If you have a complaint, give the hotelier a chance to put it right rather than lie sweetly to their faces and then leave a stinker review.

It’s all very cosmopolitan

You may or may not know that before Boofuls, Lashes and myself relocated to the best bit of England we lived in a small northern town that had it’s heyday in the time of the Victorian cotton boom.

It is still dirty, grim and industrial.  Attitudes are still pretty much fixed in the Victorian era. Fair to say we haven’t missed it much (at all). It  does have some nice moorland around it though which can be lovely when it’s not raining, which is almost always.

Since we’ve lived in Devon I keep being reminded about the contrast between our northern home, all very Lowry-esque and our new home. The work of a local artist who’s work I like very much, Yvonne Coomber  sums up in an instant how I feel about living here. It’s light, bright, colourful and jolly. Sums it up beautifully!



I was chatting with a fellow dog walker today about how attitudes  differ in different parts of the country. Where we used to live you really didn’t see  gay people around. If you did then it was a talking point. “Oooooh, he’s gay you know / a shirt lifter/a poofter/ a lino carrier. Whatever the term used, it was never complimentary and the gayness of that person became the thing that defined them as in:  “You know, gay Steve.”
Just as an aside: Do you remember when gay used to mean happy?

Down here there are so many gay people that it’s just a normal thing. It doesn’t become the thing that defines them, they are just another person. I like that. What on earth has anyone’s sexuality got to do with anyone except themselves?

However, it’s not all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. We are right in the heart of UKIP country.  In the north there was a massive Asian community and while there were race issues the majority of the people all just got along nicely. Down here it is rare to see a non white person. If you do, you notice it. That causes massive racism.

I suppose everywhere has it’s down side.

One nice old lady who walks here dog became a hissing, spitting harridan at the thought of Syrian refugees being homed a few miles away. I’m not going to repeat the things she said as it was just too vile but I did point out that if my home had been destroyed, my family had been murdered and I lived in daily fear then I didn’t think it was unreasonable to try and find a better life elsewhere and I hoped that I might get shown some compassion. Let my tell you that those words fell on some mighty stony ground! Now when she starts a discussion about ‘Pak..’ I can’t even bring myself to type it…Asians, it starts with “Well I suppose you’re all in favour of it but…” Well, I probably am. We’ve only got the one world and we’re all in it together so why don’t we all just try and get on?

That’d be nice, wouldn’t it?

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