Re paypal payments to/from family and friends - please Jo can you point me to where you found this on the paypal website as neither I nor my daughter can find it!
As above - beat me to it!
Just an addendum - and a bit off-topic - you shouldn't use this for goods as there's no seller or buyer protection attached.
There are different ways of sending PayPal payments; different rules and fees apply according to whether they are personal payments, payments for services or payments for goods.
If someone sends a payment for services or goods, fees apply (can't remember off the top of my head but it's approx 30p plus around 4%). There's also a 'cross-border' fee if it's between two different currencies, and not very good exchange rates. If you refund, the percentile is refunded, but not the standing fee of 30p (this latter came into effect a couple of months ago - before that the payment would be refunded in full).
For personal payments (strictly speaking for family and friends) there's a small fee which can be paid by the sender or recipient.
You can refund up to sixty days after the original payment by finding the transaction, clicking on 'details' - the 'refund' link is there.
[:D] at the squirrels!
It's the towels that haunt me - over the years I've gained more than I lose, but they don't MATCH!
There is an advantage to NOT keeping availability calendars updated... [:D]
A week ago I had an enquiry for two weeks in September, Sunday-to-Sunday.
If my calendar had been up-to-date, they'd have looked elsewhere.
As it happened, I phoned them and converted to two later weeks, with Saturday changeover.
Depends what time of year, what size gite, its location...
If it's not high season, and you don't need a huge place, 300€ per week should be plenty.
Most people's changeover day is Saturday, but many will accommodate other requirements off-season.
Why not simply find one in the right area and contact the owner - most people advertise their rental rates and specify changeover day.
I don't take animals any more - due partly to:
1) A fluffy cat. Lovely fluffy cat. Lovely fluffy bedcovers. Lovely fluffy sofa and armchairs. Lovely fluffy carpets & rugs...
2) A female dog on heat. Stank the place out [+o(]. My male dog thought it was his birthday, but couldn't work out why he wasn't allowed his present and howled all week.
3) A poodle who wanted chicken for dinner. Our chickens.
I just wanted to know what time they'd have liked their breakfast (not being over-enthusiastic on early rising myself)(and don't do it any more)(early rising or B&B).
Between 8 and 10 were our suggested times. I can't count the times we heard "Oh, we're early birds, us, can we have it at 6.30?" - well, no. The boulangerie doesn't open until 7.30. They reluctantly agree to 8am. We make the effort. They appear at 10. "Eeh, we've never slept so well!" Yes, we'd have liked to, as well[:(].
[quote user="dave21478"]Re the rubbish, very few places outside of cities in France have a refuse collection service as we know it in UK ie binmen going round the houses.[/quote]
Ooo, we do [:)]. (Very rural Normandy.) When we first were here it was a tractor and trailer, once a fortnight. Upgraded to a pickup driven by a lady in full makeup and high heels, accompanied by a chap who threw the bags in the back. Now we have a proper bin lorry, once a week. What really p's me off, however, is that we pay two lots of rubbish disposal tax because of the gite. We put out a half-filled 50L bag each week due to recycling / burning, plus usually one not-full 100L bag each gite let for the weeks it's let - usually half the year. Yet one lot of neighbours (family of 3 adults, 2 children) put out 6 to 8 big bags every week. They pay half what we do for around 10 times the amount of refuse. Bah!
Salt and pepper No, no foodstuffs whatsoever - the agency we use actually instruct that any opened jars / packets etc. should be removed. I do, however, ask people if they'd like us to get anything in for them, and when they arrive I ask whether they have everything they need - teabags, coffee, milk etc.. And give them a nice bottle of wine.
Bin Bags Yes, plenty. Along with instructions that all rubbish be left securely tied inside said bags.Also a couple of boxes for bottles / recyclable plastic.
does that include toilet bin bags Yes, plenty, and sanitary disposal bags. I don't want to handle other people's rubbish or other things [+o(].
Washing up liquid Yes.
Dishwasher powder No, no dishwasher. But I would if I did.
Washing powder for clothes No, too many preferences and allergies.
BBQ charcoal and firelighters Yes
Plastic glasses for using round the pool No pool, but I usually leave some plastic glasses in there for garden use.
Perhaps other consumables that I have not thought of
Copious quantities of cleaning materials - it's to be encouraged!
Lots of loo rolls - don't want imported Kleenex Velvet down my fosse.
Foil & cling film & kitchen roll.
Light bulbs, matches, candles, a torch.
A couple of shopping bags now that most supermarkets don't supply them free.
Oh, Cerise, I have also suffered the Dutch camping-cars. We held a meeting for H-Van owners here. Limited to 60, book in advance. Three days before the start date (when we had 'real' guests in the gite), two Dutch vans turned up, accompanied by two more campervans, at 8am (we weren't up). Our house, gite and barns are around a central courtyard with a lawn in the centre. They set up on the lawn, with tables, chairs, children playing games, shouting and shrieking. They hadn't booked for the meeting, and we sent them away to the nearest campsite. Fortunately the gite guests were collectable vehicle fans and were quite fascinated.
Never saw that lot again, but on the start date the deluge began... The general idea was that people come in their H-Vans and camp INSIDE them, not bring supplementary campervans, tents, gazebos and shower tents. The English, German, French and assorted others managed this quite satisfactorily but the Dutch each managed to take up five designated spaces each. Had to ring our neighbour to extend into his field... and still they came.
Never again - a group of Dutch children were found fishing in the kind neighbour's Koi carp pond (fortunately before they'd caught any), they kept trying to come into the house to use our bathroom, and one even had the temerity to have a heart attack...
I have had some wonderful Dutch guests, and they're lovely people, but they are notoriously tight - in 2005 (the most recent figures I have handy) the Dutch made up 15.3& of arrivals in France, 12.9% of the overnight stays, but only 5.4% of receipts - here are the top three by arrivals (the table might not work):
Country Arrivals Overnight Stays Receipts
UK and Ireland 19.7% 18.7% 15.5%
Germany 17.4% 17.6% 11.2%
Netherlands 15.3% 12.9% 5.4%
The US, in contrast, are 3.6% of arrivals, 4.9% overnight stays and 13.4% of tourism expenditure!
Ours today had "a problem following the directions". (They've worked for 19 years for people who can read.) The directions say to follow the D# to C****, then, opposite the church, turn onto road D##, direction B*****. The road passes straight through the town and the church is a big pointy building on this main road with just one road leading off opposite. But they evidently couldn't / didn't read, as Mr asked me if I'd be back next weekend to give them the deposit back. Erm, we live next door - the property description says so...
And they have two teenage girls which always makes me fear for the septic tank.
Those little computer thingies in cars don't do us any favours either - people either put in the name of our commune, and ring up from miles away (the written directions say DON'T go there, it's just part of the postal address) or they put in the name of the hamlet, there are dozens with the same name even in this department.
And I had to change three of these today [I] [I] [I]. (Just wanted to use a smiley [:D].)
Funny all this because in all the years I've been renting property for holidays I have never been met on arrival by the owners! This doesn't bother me at all so maybe it's the answer for all of you who have this problem. Just leave a key somewhere pre-arranged and get on with your lives. You can always pop round some time during the stay, maybe the next morning?[/quote]
We all choose different ways of doing it. I prefer to meet the people - we're next door, the main house and gite being two of the buildings around a central courtyard. I don't want people turning up when I'm out, thinking our house is their holiday home*, or poking around in the other buildings, and I prefer to establish a rapport with them as they're going to be living next door for a week or two. I want them to know how things work - many haven't encountered double-locking doors, twisty window-openers, French pull-up waste thingies on the basin, weekly rubbish collections, etc. And, of course, the dire warnings about putting unsuitable items down the lav [+o(]. If I didn't do the guided tour I'd have to have notices stuck everywhere - not nice, and people often don't read anyway.
*And, despite having seen photos of the property they're about to stay in, and, presumably, the booking having been made partly on the strength of its appearance (the first thing people respond to in an ad is the photograph), we had one family move into someone else's gite ½km down the road. They unpacked, put their food in the cupboards and fridge, started cooking, sat the kids down to watch TV, apparently not having noticed it was an entirely different cottage with a different number of bedrooms. When the 'real' occupants turned up an hour later there was a bit of an altercation (which we weren't aware of as we were patiently waiting...).
So the first thing I do is check their name!
[quote user="cooperlola"]You'd have to pay me a small fortune to persuade me to do it.[/quote]
Oh, it's fine most of the time. We're just letting off steam amongst people with similar experience[:D] .
[quote user="cooperlola"]Re mobile phones. It costs a lot to use one abroad so maybe this is a factor in people not ringing if they're late.[/quote]
Not much compared to the overall expenditure, and it's far cheaper than it was a few years ago. Sorry, but that is the one thing that really riles me - all the others are simply 'grumpy old woman' moanings and funny stories. But not telling someone who's expecting you at a certain time that you're going to be four hours late is very bad manners, pure and simple.