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Everything posted by Coco

  1. [quote user="mascamps.com"] Just had a rather extended conversation in French with a Londoner before we realised that neither of us was French. At nearly 5 minutes, it's my personal best before the penny dropped. Has anyone beaten that? If nothing else, at least it shows that my French accent must sound more French than Brit now :)   Arnold   [/quote] I had a similar experience with an Irish lady a couple of years back Arnold.  She had been married to a French guy for about 20 odd years.  She had worked out that I wasn't French but thought that perhaps I was German or Dutch.
  2. [quote user="daisymay"]I recall two men walking past the oldest hotel in St Albans (forgotten the name) The English guy said to the American "that pub is older than your country"[/quote] The Fighting Cocks
  3. That's very interesting Arnold and we have been told stories in the past from our military visitos about how they can buy "gas" on base at US prices, as well as all their vital foodstuffs.  However, it is strictly illegal (or at least against military orders) to buy stuff on behalf of people "off base" ie, US friends who just happen to be living and working in Europe but are not part of the military.  All our previous military visitors have had US plates on their vehicles because they have imported them from US to the base but this lady has a German plate.  She is actually only in the reserve so don't know whether she's entitled to full military "perks" (don't know why she shouldn't be).  So perhaps she's treated as these other US citizens who aren't allowed to benefit from the base prices.  Otherwise I don't know why she would have German plates rather than US ones???.
  4. Similar one last night Cerise - Military Gal's OH asked how old the house is, "about 275 years old" I reply, (quite modern by French standards of course)  "Oh my God, California isn't that old, it can't be"  He then spent the rest of the evening, standing in the courtyard, looking at the house in disbelief.
  5. I think you need to learn the meaning of rhetoric Q. Mine's a pint of rum Cas, especially after my Italian fiasco the other night!!!
  6. No I didn't ask IF you earned over 30,000 euros and I wouldn't be so presumtious as to ask what you earn in the first place.  You stated that you would be paying a fair amount of this year's earnings in tax, which I said would mean that you must be earning well in excess of 30K and that is quite hard to do in a 4 bed B&B run by only two people.
  7. Oh NO!  Not cars - not on a two-way road, coming in the opposite direction!!!  Whatever next. We've just had dinner with an american guest who turned up in a 5 series BMW. She's based (military) in Germany so OH asked if she'd bought it whilst over here in Europe.  "Oh no I ordered it from the US"   Derrrr....[blink]
  8. Forgot to add maintenance of the new pool, they need cleaning, filtering etc every other day or so don't they?
  9. [quote user="Mozman"] Oh dearie me. Look, while I sympathise with folks who've had their gites trashed.....I really don't understand the whinging about cleaning up a few soiled nappies etc. Sorry. (And BTW I speak as one who always leaves rooms/gites clean and tidy.) Every job has downsides and this is part of that. There are always going to be people who are untidy and dirty. You ain't going to change that. So If you don't like it, feel bitter and p-ed off about it,  there is no point ranting....just quit the job! :lol [/quote] No, no, no Mozman, people should NOT under any circumstances have to clear up dirty nappies left in baths.  Not only are they a health hazard but it is downright FILTHY behaviour.  Would you feel it OK to defaecate on the floor of the gite and leave it there?  It amounts to the same thing.  Fortunately it never happened in my gite because we didn't accept young children but I think it is totally out of order for people to behave in this way. As for "there being no point in ranting, just quit the job"  This particular forum is for B&B owners to discuss with other B&B OWNERS and every now and then, to preserve sanity it is necessary to let off a little steam.  Have you always thought every aspect of every job you have ever done is wonderful?  Perhaps you're fortunate enough to have been in that position but not many people have and to be able to "sound off" here and discover you are not the only one in the world experiencing these problems is a great stress-reliever. As for the customer is king.  Well only so far.  I have worked in the service industry - on first-class only cruise liners on world cruises in fact and even there I have seen 4 separate passengers put ashore for differing reasons and their money reimbursed for unacceptable behaviour.  Money doesn't buy you the right to do anything or behave exactly how you like, no matter how anti-social it is.  And as Clair pointed out, if the customer has signed and agreed a contract then they are not king if they break it.  Try arguing that fact with many of the world's top companies who wherever possible DO regard their customer as king.  My OH worked for Xerox for 25 years and it was one of their mantras but if a customer didn't look after a machine as they had contractually agreed to do and then demanded a replacement, it was not forthcoming under any circumstances.
  10. [quote user="Quillan"] So I guess filling 21 weeks is not going to be a problem but it's very hard work especiaaly if you are doing half board.[/quote] The fact that you are able to do 21weeks 100% occupancy with evening meals and that huge garden to maintain so beautifully, go to bed often around 10pm, as you tell us here on the forum you are doing, as well as taking on the role of moderator and thus keeping an eye on just about every thread going on this and other forums and clock up so many postings as well as all the interaction that occurs between you and your local businesses/tourist organisations, with just two of you.  You must be Superman [;-)]  My OH and I are used to working extremely hard but nothing compares to how hard we have had to work since we have taken on this B&B.  The ironing, cooking, cleaning, entertaining and shopping alone keep me occupied from 7.30am to at least 11.30pm most days from June to September.  I just don't know how you do it all - well done!!! [:D]
  11. [quote user="Quillan"]The down side is that much of the extra money will disappear when the tax becomes due.[/quote] You mean you're earning well in excess of 30,000 euros from 4 rooms?!?!?
  12. Well said Pun. We felt much as you, that if people are on holiday they shouldn't have to spend time doing a lot of cleaning (and besides, they may not do it as well as I want it done!) that's why we factored in a full and proper clean by people we could rely on, in the price.  We also always left fresh flowers, a welcome pack, 2 cold beers and a bottle of cold wine in the fridge.  A large percentage of our guests were repeat business - I wonder why?[8-)]
  13. I haven't worked it out yet (and I do because it helps to decide where to advertise) but last year it was about 45% Brits, 25% French, 20% North American, 5% Australasian/S African and 5% other European.  This year I would guess that we have had quite a few less Brits and more Americans and other European and if we weren't now full for the rest of the month the French percentage would have taken a sharp upturn from the amount that are phoning or emailing daily, wanting rooms at very short notice.
  14. [quote user="JJ"] So is Coco saying if you charge top money you get a better class of client? Sorry, but that is rubbish, the better off are used to employing cleaners in their own homes, so even less likely to leave the place clean and tidy. The class os clients has got naff all to do with it. Rant over. [/quote] I don't believe I mentioned the word "class" anywhere in my posting, or that I rented to "better off" people.  What I did say is that I charged top rates for a gite sleeping only 4 people and that the people that were prepared to pay top rates obviously respected my property more than those that were looking for a cheap and cheerful place that was the same price but took twice as many people. If my property was left in a clean and tidy fashion 100% of the time and our keyholders told us that probably 80% of the time the other gites they cleaned were left in a state then I can't be talking rubbish can I? In fact, the place that was left with the dirty nappies in the bath and the cupboard door pulled off was being rented by a solicitor and his family and a barrister and his family - neither wife worked, probably had nannies and so had no idea what to do with a dirty nappy or how to clean a house. [:P]
  15. Has anyone else experienced the same srange booking patterns this year? I know that for our last 4 seasons it has been slightly different each year, and as our dear departed friend Miki used to say, you can never judge the season until it is over and you have banked the money. But this year is exceptional.  We usually get a flurry of bookings in January and February for July and August.  We then get a steady interest for April-June, usually booked anything between one and 4 weeks in advance.  The remaining free days of July and August tend to be booked anything between two nights and 2 weeks in advance and the first half of September is usually booked during late August. This year, by early March we were about 35% up on bookings at the same time in our previous best year.  By the end of April we were about 50% up on nights already stayed between January and April and about 20% up on advance bookings.  Then it all went very quiet.  June always is quiet but the first half of July was DEADLY, nothing for ten nights.  Then all hell broke loose.  We have been FULL since 21st July and are now fully booked to 23rd September, with one free day next week, which I am determined to keep free!  So no chance for any of those that leave it until a few days beforehand to book.  This week we even have some young French boys camped in the garden because we didn't have enough rooms for the whole family.   I just can't understand the booking patterns.  And just to make it even better, we have had only about half a dozen one-nighters in August instead of the usual 20 or 30.  Most people have booked a minimum of 4 nights and ALL of our September bookings are for at least 4 nights, some for 6, and also groups of 4 or 6 adults travelling together - perfect! [:D] We've already taken more than the whole of last year (when we had visitors through until the end of November), so at this rate I may even be tempted to close for November and December.  Who said you can't make a living out of B&B?  We're doing very nicely thank you!  And we can't even thank the weather. What are other experiences of this peculiar summer?
  16. The best and easiest solution I've found after 5 seasons is to buy good quality bedding int he first place - then the ironing is easy no matter what iron/system you use.
  17. Interesting varied experiences.  We rented our hosue as a gite for 3 seasons before we moved here and turned it into a B&B.  As another poster has said, we hate "extras" whether optional or not in rental prices, so we factored in a full clean each turn-round day by our key-holders.  This used to cost us £40 a time (2000-2002 seasons) but we knew (from comments in the guest book and the keyholders own house) that the place was always immaculate.  We charged accordingly for the gite, always being at the top-end of the local going rates.  Our key-holders looked after two other properties and told us nightmare stories of what they found on turnround day.  Presumably they cleaned these other properties as thoroughly as ours so it wasn't a case of people having less respect for a property because it wasn't as clean on arrival; however, they came across chocolate on dining chair squabs, red wine on cream sofas, dirty nappies left in the bath!!!! Kitchen cupboard door hanging off - real nightmare stuff.  My only explanation was that these other gites were housing 6-8 people for a similar or lower price than we were charging for four and perhaps therefore were attracting a lower end, less respectful market.
  18. Idon't think Catalpa has a crystal ball, I think you have to follow her links, ask the Maire of your potential new commune and do your own research.
  19. [quote user="Susie"] Having read everyone's level headed (and some not so..) comments we'd do it slightly differently next time - we'd throw 'em out at 10.30 for being so rude and aggressive towards us! If they're going to bad mouth /report you anyway let 'em start at 10.30pm rather than 10.30am after you've fed them breakfast and cleaned up after them! [/quote] When I told my OH your story this was exactly what he said he would have done!  We have had some horrors, perhaps not quite this bad, but probably many more that make it well worth doing as an enjoyable way of making a living, albeit hard work.  It always gets me when someone like Anton comes onto this forum and starts moaning that we have had the audacity to moan about a particularly rude or aggressive customer.  Surely it is better to come on here and let off steam to other B&B owners who will understand, than to bottle it up or take it out on our customers. This last week we have had our most delightful family ever staying with us.  They were German and hardly spoke a word of English and no French at all.  Consequently, even though I now say I will only cook 4 nights a week in August I ended up cooking every night for them because they didn't like trying to get by in French restaurants - it was extremely tiring as they spent every evening firing questions at us about anything and everything and our german is pretty limited so the 25 year old pocket dictionary came in for a hammering.  The two little boys got through over a litre of hot chocolate every morning and a couple of evenings I ended up cooking chips for them because they had demolished the HUGE bowl of one form or another of potatoes that I had prepared.  I don't think they would have got that kind of service in many French hotels!!!  But because they were all so polite and so grateful it was a pleasure to do it for them. Tomorrow we have a French family arriving with six kids!!![:-))]  I have said they can pitch a tent in the garden for 3 of the kids because we don't have enough bed space and they are competing at the Saint Lo Horse Show and left it too late to find adequate accommodtion - OH says I'm a soft touch and perhaps I will regret it, but again, what hotel would allow this?  Long live flexible B&Bs I say. [:D]
  20. Sounds like a lot of back-peddling to me.
  21. CA-SISE!!!! [:$] Sorry, just put my glasses on, you said Master Baker, my mistake [:P]
  22. I can't answer for the rest of France because everywhere seems to be different, but here in Manche (Normandy) there is no problem if it is on your own property.  In fact, our maire has no problem with signs in any of the lanes in the commune either.
  23. SO WHAT!!!!!!  Do you walk into the kitchens of a restaurant?  Do you go into the cellar of a pub?  Do you go rummaging through the stock room of a shop?  Do you go backstage in a theatre?  They are private areas and NOT for the general public!  Muzzie has clearly marked with signs and a rope that this is her private part of the house and no one has the right to enter without her permission, let alone use her private facilities.  If the whole house is a free for all then why didn't he walk into one of the other bedrooms and use their facilities?  Because he knew he was in the wrong and that another guest was bound to be a lot ruder (justifiably) to him than the host!  If someone has come upstairs at that time of the morning to my private quarters they would have been asked to leave BEFORE breakfast, I think Muzzie was very restrained.  I have plenty of absolutely charming guests who know how to behave and who I genuinely miss when they leave, without having to put up with a***oles like this bloke.  We are making a living by doing B&B not becoming martyrs to it[:P] Edit:  One correction to my previous posting, it was Leo who was talking out of his proverbial, not Darnsarf, got the names muddled.  
  24. I totally sympathise Muzzie.  Some people are just rude beyond belief, we have a Privé sign on to the kitchen door, beyond which is our bedroom, living room and bathroom, but to no avail.  If guests want to come in they do.  If it is mid afternoon and we are upstairs having a well-deserved break before starting evening meals and they want something they just march into the kitchen and start coming up our private staircase.  At this point I now shout down to them to "wait there, I'll come down, this is our private bedroom up here"  It really, really infuriates me, not only have they ignored the private sign to come into the kitchen but they then proceed to come up into what is clearly a private part of the house.  I'm thinking of getting one of those push-button locks on the kitchen door.  I shall then put a rope across the stairs and if that fails an electric tripwire halfway up.  Letting five rooms in your home does not mean that it becomes a commercial free-for-all.  Darnsarf is talking out of his proverbial and probably ignores such signs himself.  People are not paying hotel rates, CdH is invariably cheaper yet offers the same standard of accommodation.  These people are indeed ignorant and need to be told they are so, if need be!!! [:@]
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