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Dianes's Achievements


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  1. I have been looking through the earlier threads but can't find much about this. Will there be no BF crossings from Poole to Cherbourg next winter at all? We used the Barfleur regularly. Use the fastcrafts in the summer.

    We used to go Portsmouth - Cherbourg with P&O, now that's gone.

    Portsmouth is nearer for us, but Poole OK too. The crossing to Caen is so long and we have the dog with us (so overnight crossings no good either).

    How frustrating.
  2. We were due to travel on the Portsmouth to Cherbourg fastcraft on 2nd May, but have been called by Brittany Ferries to say the craft has had to go into dry dock because of a problem with one of the engines. (It's been in dock for the whole of the winter - surely this could have been sorted then?). It's caused us a lot of problems because the cruise ferry is too late for us. We now have to go a day earlier via Caen (a horrible long crossing for the dog). But they did give us complimentary reclining seats.
  3. Dianes

    Pet passport

    We have travelled on Brittany Ferries with our dog numerous times over the past 5 years, usually from Portsmouth or Poole to Cherbourg, and a couple of times to Caen. We have never put a muzzle on our dog, or been told to do so. But I have just looked on the BF website, and was surprised to read that dogs should be muzzled. I don't know if this is a new thing, or has always said that, but everyone ignores it!

    How can you leave a dog in a car for several hours, with a muzzle on??
  4. When I think of all the times in the past we have cleaned madly before departure and left the place gleaming ...! Would have hated the owners to think we were dirty and thoughtless. As a gite owner I now know that not everyone feels the same! Apart from some Americans, all of our guests have been Brits, so I cannot compare with French, etc. I do have to say that most are OK, but some people have no shame.

  5. On the other hand some photos can deceive! We know someone whose photos on the advertising site manage to make their small above ground pool look like a huge olympic pool, and the main photo shows their large house, not the small gite tucked around the corner!
  6. I don't understand the acceptance that you should expect to have an initial sense of disappointment when arriving at your gite. I would be very disappointed to think our guests felt like that, and on the whole I feel that most feel the opposite. We are not a high priced property but it is a house (rather than purpose built gite) with a huge garden with a 'wow' view, and it is well equipped with generally good quality furniture and equipment. Actually the photos don't really do it justice, and that is why I feel guests are pleasantly surprised on arrival.

    We do know how you may feel though, as numerous times in the past (mostly in the UK, but a couple of times in France) we have felt like that on arrival, and I lost count of the times my husband said, "Well, it's only a base". But that was years ago, and I feel that on the whole rental properties are much better than they used to be. (We went to one in Porthleven in the 80's where the damp was running off the walls, and the whole place was like a squat - but I do have fond memories - my son was conceived there!!
  7. Rose, the gite you stayed at looks horrendous and you have every right to complain.

    After reading everything on here, it seems there are good and bad guests and good and bad gites.  I agree with the person who said that everyone should spend a night or two in their own gite.  I know someone who had friends stay in theirs before they advertised it, and asked for honest feedback on what could be improved, or should be changed.  Ours is a second home and we stay there as often as we can, so we want it as nice for us as possible obviously and the guests get the benefit. It is also beneficial to be a renter once in a while too, so you can see things from the other side.  We haven't been in another gite in France since we bought our house, so can't compare current French ones.  We did consider going somewhere different at one point and started looking at other gites, but some were too basic for us, and we were worried we would hate them.  We have had one or two short breaks at cottages in England which were interesting.  Two were lovely and we picked up some good ideas from them (little touches they had added, and the wording of their letters and term and conditions), but one was horrendous.  It looked lovely from the outside - but inside it was a hovel, with cobwebs on the cobwebs, mildew, ancient rickety furniture etc.  We did complain to the letting company, but it didn't get us anywhere - and they are still advertising it this year.

    Some guests seem to want 5 star luxury at 2 star prices .... and some 2 star gite owners try to charge 5 star prices!

  8. What is the strangest thing guests have left behind in your gites?

    We regularly have guests leaving items of clothing, spectacles, toiletries, pens, etc. And of course a lot leave food, drink, charcoal, etc.

    We live in the UK and rely on local cleaners for our changeovers, but a few weeks ago we didn't need them as we were arriving for our holiday on the day the previous guests left. To our surprise we found a hidden stash of £150 inside the microwave oven!

    The guests had been frantically phoning our home, and left loads of messages on my mobile, which I hadn't noticed. They had been using the microwave as their safe!

    If we hadn't been there it would have been a good test of the honesty of our cleaners - and also a check on how thoroughly they cleaned.

    Have you had any surprises like this?
  9. We don't have a website, but have plenty of photos on our listing sites. When people make enquiries I also direct them to our picasaweb albums of the house and garden, and of the area. I feel sure we list everything that renters need to know about the house. We have a narrow spiral staircase, so state that the property may not be suitable for the elderly or for very young children.

    We keep our availability calendar updated regularly, but what annoys us is when people make enquiries for dates without checking it, thus wasting our time.

    We give comprehensive directions from all the ports, and the information we leave in the cottage actually got 10 out of 10 from our last guests! I love putting together details of all the local attractions, beaches, supermarkets, etc complete with photos. It also includes details of doctors, dentists, etc and what to do in an emergency.

    We don't live in France, so we have to rely on cleaners for the changeovers, but have luckily found them to be very good. Some of the guests have been friends or colleagues of ours and they always say the house was immaculate when they arrived. We always have our annual holiday in the middle of the season, so before we leave the house gets a special deep clean and everything checked.

    We had holidayed in cottages and gites for years before we owned our own, and we always said if we ever owned our own holiday rental we would never furnish it with a mish mash of secondhand or cheap furniture. One of our bug-bears was tiny kitchen bins that were full almost immediately, and freezers that were little more than glorified ice-boxes. Unfortunately we cannot fit a dishwasher in our kitchen, but we have all other mod cons. When we bought all the crockery we made sure we had two matching sets of everything so we could replace breakages like for like. However, I think only one piece of china has been broken in 5 years, but glasses are always being broken. Mostly guests replace them - and because they come in sets of 4, etc, we have ended up with loads of new glasses!

    One point you have mentioned is a feedback form at the end of each holiday. We may consider this. We get a lot of positive feedback from comments in our guest book, but that would give an extra chance for guests to mention things they don't like to write in that. But would guests be bothered to reply, I wonder?

    You have brought up some very interesting points. I do feel that every gite owner should have experience of being a guest at some time, so they can see things from both sides.
  10. Catering for our gite is not easy as we don't live in France. We charge £10 per person to supply bedlinen. We have to do this as this is what our cleaners charge us to launder it. We think it is a bit steep - especially as it is per person, not per bed! If we were to always supply bedlinen and include this in the overall charge and so put the prices up, it would be difficult to work out, because we have 2 bedrooms one double, one twin. So we would have to put each price up by £40, regardless of whether 2 or 4 people are booking.

    We do not supply towels at all. We have always had plenty of bookings though, and no one has commented about the lack of towels. However, our gite is in Brittany and most people drive rather than fly.

    We do include cleaning at changeover, we supply all loo paper and bin bags. The only welcome pack is a couple of bottles of wine. However we get wonderful comments about how well equipped the house is, and have had lots of thank yous for the wine.
  11. I've read good things about the new Star Trek movie, and that most Trekkies approve of it.   We've just been to see State of Play with Russell Crowe (I don't mean he came with us [:D]) and it was great.
  12. Dianes

    A Sad Day

    When this happened to me a couple of years ago, I posted on here like you, and was overwhelmed by the support of people.  It is such a sad thing, and my heart goes out to you.  Someone posted me a poem, and I can't remember how it goes, but the gist of it is that your dog will play in heaven with the other dogs until one day his ears prick up and he turns and runs to be reunited with his owner.  It's not the sort of thing I would normally read, but it was a lovely and comforting image.

    We were going to wait about 6 months before getting another dog, but in the end got one a few weeks later.  We couldn't bear the house feeling so empty.

    Good luck,



    Edit:  I wasn't swearing above ... lets just say his ears perk up!

  13. Rocky's story:  well we got him from a rescue centre a couple of years ago when he was 18 months old.  Apparently he came from Wales and we were told a lady owned him who had to have operations on her knees so she could no longer cope.  We're not so sure.  We think he has been beaten in the past as he cowers from the newspaper and has a phobia of people's feet.  He has a few anxieties, but has settled in well and now we wouldn't be without him.

    He is a GSD X greyhound ..... and part kangaroo I think.  See him here jumping for pesky squirrels!



  14. Wow, I can't believe it worked.  I feel so clever.  Here he is again ...


  15. Trying again .....



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