Tag Archives: work

…and take a deep breath

Just a short three months ago I was looking at the prospect of a long season in front of us and thinking I can’t do it! I can’t do it! I can’t do it!

With Boofuls on death’s doorstep and Lashes about to give birth and the disappointment of losing the sale of the business, and the consequential change of attitude towards paying guests, the business as a whole and life in general I really couldn’t see how it was going to happen.

But it did.

Yesterday morning we were sitting outside with the staff having an apres breakfast service coffee and it suddenly struck me that that we’d done it. The season is over. Hundreds of happy guests have gone home having eaten a sizeable mountain of food between them and had a jolly good time doing it. I have to say my game face is damn good! No one realised anything was or had been amiss.

So here we are on the doorstep of September. Boofuls is still alive and kicking. The staff are returning to school/college next week. Guests have been drifting away and the rooms aren’t filling before we’ve even had time to service them. An air of calm has returned.

Now we can take a deep breath, slow down a bit and enjoy what’s left of the summer.

What a strange ​week​ that was!

Actually, the strange week started some weeks ago when I was talking to a local business woman via email.

“Oh, by the way, do you know anyone who might be looking for some work? I need someone for a few hours a week.” I quickly put myself forward for the position as Boofuls Towers Lodging Emporium has gone more than a little bit quiet for the winter. Keeping the proverbial wolf from the door has moved higher up my priority list over the last few weeks.

“I haven’t worked in an office or been employed by anyone except myself for over twenty years.  I can’t do spreadsheets, never used a PC for many a year, cappuccino drinking Mac user that I am. Boofuls Towers has to take priority so hours will need to be flexible.”

“Ok, come and talk to me.”

So I did.

We agreed that we would give each other a month’s trial and at the end of that time if either of us wasn’t happy then we would call it a day with no hard feelings. It sounded like a plan to me.

On Monday I rocked up at the appointed hour, having quickly prepped, cooked and served breakfast to our B&B guests. Stressed wasn’t in it!  Acutely aware that I smelt of bacon and eggs I sat my designated computer and began to familiarise myself with its workings. “Can you just knock me out a quick spreadsheet?” came a cheery voice from the office next door.

“I..er..um..of course.”

Not so much knocked out as dragged kicking and screaming out I eventually managed to produce a fairy passable spreadsheet. A spreadsheet I might add that was promptly laid on one side and not even glanced at.

That was the start of a learning curve that set off  in a vertical direction dragging my poor aching brain behind it.  “Do this, cross reference it to that, log it on this ledger, that has to be cross-referenced with this, file that, make a note on here and it all has to be spot on as we can be inspected by the FSA at any point. No pressure.”

” No pressure? There were times when I thought I wasn’t sure if it was going to be my brain exploding or my heart exploding from its many palpitations.

At the end of day one I sloped out at the appointed hour crestfallen, tired, headachy and glad to be leaving. On day two I left positively depressed ( is that a contradiction in terms?), the headache had developed to a migraine. Day three I got home to a dog bouncing off the walls demanding to be taken for a walk, a ton of my normal work to do and an alarm on my phone telling me I had an appointment in ten minutes. At that point I burst into tears and admitted to Boofuls that I hated the job.

I hated the quiet, tap tap tap of the computers, I hated the quiet efficiency.  I hated the lack of bustle. I hated not knowing what I was doing. I hated being out of my depth and overwhelmed by the responsible nature of the job.  On day four I went in and resigned. Although I know my employer was disappointed, I suggested that it was better if I left while I was still completely useless rather than after I achieved a level of usefulness.

I was sorry that it didn’t work out as I’d hoped. If I had enjoyed the job I could probably have coped with the rest of the disruption to my life but I can honestly say that they were four of the worst days of my life. I was so relieved as I left for the last time.

So. What have I learnt from this debacle?

Mostly I have learnt that squiggle shaped pegs do not fit into square holes. Every single person who knows me knew that job wouldn’t suit me, as they all told me later.

Noise, a certain amount of chaos, creativity, music and laughter – along with a good dose of organisation, hard work and responsibility. Those are the elements that will make up the perfect job for me. Hmmmmm.

Any ideas, anyone?

Ibble Ibble omnom

Ibble ibble omnom
Sorry, what?
ibble ibble omnom
Ok. I give in, I still didn’t get it?
One what?
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.

Gi’ ‘n’ tonc dahling

It’s all a bit of a whirlwind lately. Here I am just about to tell you all about Boofuls’ birthday on 4th July and it’s nearly August! 

They weren’t fibbing when they told us July and August were busy, busy months, our feet haven’t touched the floor for weeks!

Anyway, without further ado…

The birthday bash.

Since it was Boofuls’ birthday it seemed a good idea to invite some of the local hoteliers around  for a few drinkies and to make a few new friends. Invitations were sent out and every single person accepted. In our wisdom we thought that we’d make it an afternoon ‘do’ as it was a hoteliers school night and we all had to be up early the next morning.

What on earth was I thinking? This lot can party like there’s no tomorrow.

The sun shone, the patio was decorated with tubs of flowers and umbrella’d tables. It all looked lovely. One by one the guests turned up – heavily laden with bottles of champagne, prosecco, wine, beer and cider. Why oh why did we buy so much booze? They all brought enough to sink a battleship. 

Or so I thought.

As the afternoon wore on I realised that everyone except me had drunk their own weight in alcohol. I’d decided several days earlier that I’d be staying on the wagon for this one. One of us needed a clear head in the morning. I was glad I stood by my decision. Fair to say that Boofuls had a great time.

There was much ribaldry, banter and laughter, the wine flowed like water.

One woman had to be carried home and half an hour later so did her husband.  they run a five star establishment round the corner.  I’m absolutely sure they managed to get a decent breakfast out to their guests as they are consummate professionals but I’m also pretty sure they would have gone straight back to bed after.

The afternoon turned into evening, the music played,  the conversation flowed as easily as the wine and a great time was had by all.  As the evening came to a close, Boofuls and I were sitting in the bar with a couple of German guests having a conversation via Google translate – which was hysterically funny.

Just after the clock struck 11.00 pm  two other guests walked into the bar. Two middle aged, knocking on the door of elderly, ladies who had been competing in a bridge tournament. I’m going to call them Strident and Curly.

Strident burst through the bar door; “Where’s the party? We know there’s a party, we saw it from our bedroom window. Where is it? HAVE WE MISSED IT? Oh Blahddy hell! Never mind. Get me drink!”

Clearly three sheets to the wind, I think it’s fair to say they’d also been partying.

The Germans looked at me unnerved by the somewhat wild and dishevelled looking woman shouting at me and staggering across the room.

Curly, waddled unsteadily behind her on her chubby, inebriated legs, collapsed on the sofa, and in a manner amazingly like Patsy Stone from Ab Fab, leaned off the chair arm, almost sliding to the floor and said wearily, “Gi’ ‘n’ tonc,  Dahling’.

“I’m sorry ladies. It’s gone eleven, I can’t serve you.”

Strident  answered, “Don’t be ridiculous. It’s only us, no one will know.  Just get us a drink!”

“Sorry ladies, can’t do it, we are only licensed till eleven.”

“Well don’t sell it to me, then  just GIVE me the blahddy drink” announced Strident stridently.

Once again I refused to serve them, at which point they took great umbrage, got unsteadily to their feet and declared;  “Oh, we might as well just go to Blahddy bed then, THEY’VE  (the Germans) have got a drink! So unfair!” They staggered angrily out of the bar. 

The Germans, who’d managed to get the gist of what was happening, and we ignored the complaining as it faded into the distance and carried on with our chat.

Before too long we trotted off to bed ready for a bright and early start the next morning to prepare breakfast for all of our lovely guests. Funnily enough, two of them didn’t make it down for breakfast. I wonder why?




Sunday Morning

It’s a peaceful Sunday today. A light misty rain is falling and it feels calm and relaxed.

As you’ve probably guessed, we have no guests in at the moment. It’s been a scarily quiet week, let’s hope we don’t get too many of those.

On the plus side, we’ve got loads of jobs done. The awful smoked glass, light sucking in an already dark room, mirrors have come off the pillars in the dining room. It used to be a coaching hotel here with 30 bedrooms. You know, the pile ’em high and sell ’em cheap  type of hotel. The dining room/bar/dance floor were all located in the basement.

Some years ago a wise person decided to halve the number of rooms. Now we have 15 large and comfortable letting rooms of which Boofuls and I use one and three others are used for storage. What the wise person didn’t do though was change the basement. It still has its 1970’s brown mirror wall, its brick wall and its dark, mirrors on the pillars, along with the shiny white and pink 1980’s bedroom paper which adorns the walls and the, make your eyeballs roll round in your head, busy hotel carpet which is probably at least thirty years old but has another thirty years left in it.

It’s fair to say that the dining room is my least favourite place in the entire house.

We have got rid of the twee burgundy and pink tablecloths and the frilly,  more than a little bit dirty net curtains. Boofuls has moved the kitchen worktop from its previous position in the middle of the dining room to make an actual bar with it as there wasn’t one in the ACTUAL bar. It already looks a whole lot better and this week it’s going to get the paintbrush treatment. I’m looking forward to that.

I really should be taking before and after photographs shouldn’t I? The trouble is that all may cameras are still in storage. we’ve been over several times to get things out but still haven’t been able to get as far as the cameras. I only got my clothes last week.

Talking of last week: I only went and dropped my phone down the loo. I never put my phone in my back pocket but on this occasion I did. I  completely forgot about it and down it went. Before rather than after the onset of micturition you’ll be glad to know. Even though I fished it out, dried it off and put it straight into a bowl of silica, my poor phone has died. All I can get from it now is a picture imploring me to plug it in to iTunes. When I do it tells me it has an unknown error. It’s not unknown to me – I know exactly what the error was.

Ok. That’s enough chat. Time to get the dog walked and then get back to the painting. have a nice day y’all.

Gainfully employed

It’s amazing how fast the novelty wears off, isn’t it?

Just a few short months after finishing work there I was tearing my hair out and getting grumpier and more bored by the day.  The I was thrown a lifeline.

My florist friend sent me a message asking me if I’d like a part time job with her until we move house. OH YES YES! YES! YES PLEASE!

I popped over to see her last week and she told me she wants me to be an extension of herself but more organised. Could i keep her diary, website and Facebook presence more up to date and also to help with day to day jobs.

First task. Make some Christmas trees. That involved going into the garden to cut twigs of various colours and then cutting them to size and wiring them into the shape of a Christmas tree and then decorating them. Beautiful, rustic, absolutely up my street. I felt like I should have been paying her. Who knew that floristry involves so much cement?

Second task. Make three Christmas garlands. Again using natural materials, I was in my element. I think I’m going to enjoy this little jobette until we move.

Talking of moving. We have actually got someone to come and view the house next week. Keep your fingers, toes and anything else you have crossed and send us your vibes. It’s well past time we were living in Devon.

This morning I was going to do a round up of all the week’s news but to be honest I’m exhausted. We had a little dinner party last night and invited people who hadn’t met before as I knew they’d hit it off. Good grief. They hit it off alright, they were still here at 1.00a.m. Boofuls and I were almost asleep at the table. I’m normally in bed by eleven at the latest. You might have to wait till tomorrow for the week’s round up. I’m going for a little snooze now. G’night.

Ho Ho Oh!

Hello? Complaints Department?  You haven’t posted a blog for 11 days. That’s EL-E-VEN whole days.

Get to it!

Crap. Eleven days? Well. In my defence……. *begins a long list of excuses and whining*

It would appear I’ve gone form a moderately successful wedding photographer to a stonkingly good baby photographer. I’ve got orders spewing  out of every orifice at the moment. Working till stupid o’clock every night just to try and keep up with it all.

While we’re on the subject of spewing ( I know! I can hear you saying it, “Just leave that one right there, Lesley. Just put the subject down and step away from it”).

Sorry. Can’t.

Munki started it all off. Grey faced and wan she shook, shat and projectile vomited while they tried to put up the Christmas tree. It kind of takes the fun out of it ( the trimming up, not the vomiting) . Singing along to Deck the halls with boughs of *bluerggghghghghgh*.  The poor little  mite wished on a star that she could never be sick again.

Then she passed the bug on to Lashes. Not to say she was illl or anything but she lost ten pounds in a week. Oh well, they do say every cloud has a silver lining and there it is!

Lashes then passed the bug on to Boofuls.  The less said the better, I feel.

I went into full on germ phobia mode. Nary a door handle was touched without me disinfecting it first. Kisses were  blown from across the room and cuddles were straight out of the window. I haven’t got time to be bloody ill!

I was dispatched to the chemist’s for remedies. It reminded me of my friend, who, when we were on holiday and I was ill, walked into the chemist and said loudly as she pointed to me ” WHAT HAVE YOU GOT FOR MY FRIEND?SHE’S GOT THE SHITS?” The shame!!!

I chose to take a lower key approach although my mission was the same. I slipped quietly into the chemist’s and enquired discreetly as to suitable remedies for Lashes’ predicament so as not to attract the attention of the  family of four waiting who were waiting there for a taxi.

Yes, really. I thought it was a bit odd but then I had to remind myself that this is Dingleville and anything goes. They obviously thought as I pulled up outside in my car that I was the taxi and glowered angrily at me when they realised I wasn’t. Intimidating, much.

I was asking the pharmacist  advice on the best way to stop, er, emissions when a woman walked in, barged past everyone, threw a Christmas card onto the counter from a distance and snarled ‘Merry Christmas’ in a voice that suggested she’d rather be saying, ‘fall down and die, bitch’. Then she turned on her heel and stropped out.

The pharmacist and I looked at each other shocked  until I said, “and a merry Christmas to you too.” At which point we started to giggle.  When the pharmacist told me that the woman who delivered the card had done  so on behalf of the local church I  giggled some more at the irony of it all, then I laughed till I cried. Tears streamed down my face. The family of four waiting for the taxi looked at me warily, obviously thinking I was an escaped lunatic. I left the chemist’s still laughing, clutching my various potions for delivery to Lashes. It kept me going all day, that did.

Last weekend I had a full list of appointments booked at the studio. The trouble was I was feeling a bit like Old Mother Hubbard but just couldn’t find the time to go shopping and I was getting mightily fed up of living on sandwiches.  Boofuls offered to do the weekly shop. Reluctantly I agreed to let him do it. It’s not that I don’t trust him but we can’t just live on bread, ham, wine and chocolate. I’d give it  fair go though. Anyway, he hopped off to Sainsbury’s while I talked doting Mums through their sprogs photos. 

Bless him, he tried, he really did. I could tell by the contents of the shopping bags that he’d tried to shop like I do. I could almost see him thinking, ‘she always buys fruit……and vegetables so we’ll have some of them’. ‘Some’ in this instance meaning enough to keep a whole zooful of animals in fruit and veg for an entire month. Dear Lord, there’ll be no shortage of vitamins in this house for a while! The rest of the shopping basket was  bread, wine, ham and chocolate.

Here I am holding my two huge melons. Lovely melons, eh? Teeheheee.


Munki and I were in the woods today taking Douggie for a walk. There’s a tree in the woods that locals have decorated with baubles. I put one on this morning in memory of my dear old Mum, she loved Christmas. Munki wanted to put one on as well so we went this afternoon.  She wanted me to lift her up so she could put it on one of the highest branches but we negotiated and we settled for one of the child height branches instead. Here’s my bauble. Green because Mum always told me that heaven was green.

green christmas bauble

And here is Munki next to her bauble. Pink because Mum loved pink.

pink bauble

And the tree in it’s entirety with it’s ‘stripe’ of baubles.

christmas tree and dog

Right. That’s enough gossip for now. Tonight’s appointment has cancelled which means that Boofuls, Douggie and me get to spent (almost ) a whole evening together. I just have a few small jobs to do first…..

That’s a nice castle

Did you know that your average goldfish has a memory of about three seconds?

That means that every time they swim round their bowl and see their  castle they think they’re seeing it for the first time.

That's a nice castle

Every circumnavigation of his bowl warrants another little flurry of bubbles as he tells anyone present; ‘That’s a nice castle.”

Boofuls and me have been more than a goldfish like with our memory lately. I have to write everything down because I know I’ll forget it otherwise. We have so much going on in our lives at the moment that we haven’t got room for any more information in our heads. I’m even considering getting my name tattoo-ed onto my arm so that’ll  be one less thing I have to remember. I will however have to remember where the tattoo is.

As for Boofuls,  every time I stand close to him I can hear a slight whistling sound. It’s the sound of information  whizzing  in one ear and straight out of the other without even stopping for a rest in between. No wonder he’s exhausted.

Someone said last week that at our age we should be considering slowing down ready for retirement. Ha! I’ve never worked so hard in my life!  I’m loving the fact that the portrait side of the business is taking off beyond my wildest dreams but flippin’ ‘eck! let me draw breath and admire the scenery.

That’s a nice castle, did you see it?



We’re all going on a summer holiday…

No more worries for a week or…well, actually, a week.

Boofuls and me have made it to the end of mad June!!!

Now it’s time to relaaaaaaax and where better than on a bleeding great cruise ship?

Right up to ten minutes ago I was running round like a headless chicken only worse because soon as I went forward one step I’d have to go back two!  At least a headless chicken gets somewhere.

The last  pre holiday drama ( I hope )  was when I was framing two photos for a client this afternoon and the framer had made the frames the wrong size.  NNNOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Client due in one hour, framer not answering his phone and actually what could he do anyway – conjure up two new frames and send them over on a magic carpet? Cue nervous breakdown.

The client decided she wanted to take the smaller frames as she didn’t want to wait another ten days, which meant I had to scrap two 16 x 20 photographs, reprint two more at 16 x 12  and refund her £50!!!   Not a happy bunny.  I’m over it now though.

Big N has been left strict instructions not to have any mad parties, not to forget to feed the cats and let them out for an occasional toilet break and not to destroy anything while we’re away.

Boofuls sent a text and left a message on our  our dance reacher’s mobile phone last week to cancel our lesson as we were just too busy to go. “I picked up your message as I left for the ballroom so I turned round and went home.” he said.

Boofuls and me looked at each other puzzled. “But we sent that message the night before. I wonder why it didn’t arrive.”

“Well you sent it to my mobile but I was at home.”

The look of puzzlement deepened.

“Well I wasn’t mobile was I? I was at home so it was turned off.  That’s why it’s called a mobile. When you’re moving use it, when you’re not, use the land line. It’s obvious; you don’t ring a mobile when the person is stationary. Tsk.

That told us.

I’ve got a million other things to tell you but they’ll have to wait. I have to PACK!!!

I’ll be back!

Hi!  I’ve just popped in to tell you I’m missing you and I can’t find time to blog right now but I’ll be back soon!

After a busy and not without it’s issues, weekend and a 400 mile round trip to Glasgow for a so so seminar I now find myself playing ‘catch up’ and ‘try and get in front’ with my work.

I’m drowning under the weight of it all at the moment. So much so that I had to cancel my long awaited trip to Blackpool with Lashes to Blackpool Festival. Sob.

Since this week’s wedding is on Friday Im hoping me and Boofuls might get along on Saturday if we aren’t too wiped out!!

I’ll be back with all the latest gossip, moans rants and laughs soon.