Tag Archives: hotel life

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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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!

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.

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.

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.

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!

Tursey and tinkle


Somewhere along the line I seem to remember someone saying to us that summer’s were busy in B&B land but we’d have the winter to count our millions and have a few months off.

I WAS MIS SOLD!

I haven’t noticed any millions and we’ve had a total of four days off in eight months!

However, every morning I walk Douggie the doggie along the sea front and thank my lucky stars. I love my new life and I’m truly grateful for everything we have.

Not that I’m tired or anything but I was chatting to my friend on the phone the other day and I mentioned about the tursey and tinkle weekends.

“The WHAT?” She hollered down the phone before descending into cackles of derision.

At that point when I mentally replayed the conversation I realised what I’d said.

Oh bloody hell. Turkey and tinsel.

While I’m out I’ve noticed that the coaches I see are decorated up for Christmas.

Yup. It’s that time again, folks. Torbay is awash with pensioners enjoying their annual tinsel and turkey weekends. A guest was telling me he’d stayed in another hotel recently and was astounded to see dozens of inebriated pensioners having a good old Christmas knees up. “It was their Christmas day”, he told us. “Christmas dinner, party hats, crackers, the lot!”

You should see them round town, scores of rowdy pensioners with zimmer frames coming at you like drunken, belligerent snow ploughs. You’d better get out of their way because they sure ain’t getting out of yours. Bless ’em.

I suppose it will break us in gently for the young farmer’s conference next year.

Now things have calmed down a bit and most of the guests have gone home we are getting on with some decorating and revamping. I missed my way, I should have been an interior designer. I love it!

On Tuesday we are having a table top sale of all our old curtain, pictures, lamps, shades and all manner of other stuff we need to get rid of.The other hoteliers will descend like a plague of locusts in search of a bargain. It’s very true what they say, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

Here are a few random photos from this summer. I think I might get a few together and put a little slideshow on of beautiful Torbay just to give you a little taste of how lovely it is here.

Bye for now folks.

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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.

Yay!

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

“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.