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Everything posted by betoulle

  1. we have a strict rule with all our 'friends' to please phone 1st to ask before 'turning up'- mainly cos we are so busy a lot of the time it is often not convenient to down tools for a social cuppa & the pool is strictly for residents only - we restrict our guests 'outside' visitors to 2 adults only & NO NON-RESIDENT CHILDREN ...............we have enough problems if we have old friends staying with us who use the pool - the gite guests often feel the pool is for their use only..........even we are not welcome sometimes......
  2. Thanks for the vote of sympathy - will be putting a notice on the pool gate ASAP, but doubt it would stop the likes of that particular family - they only stayed one night for Gods sake, but as often happens with the house hunters they think you are their only friend in the village.....grrrrrr....... but I think that OHs attitude should have got the message across........very calm & extremely cold......As to the phone & PC we tend to work from our entrance hall during the season so we are around to answer questions, offer advice etc & be generally friendly - something our guests welcome as a rule.  Rather than sit & twiddle the thumbs though we do our emails, accounts, bookings etc from that desk so there is always something to do & it doesn't look like I am being a formidable concierge...........from now on though it will all be disconnected when we are not around & the hotel in the village has just opened an Internet Cafe so if they are not wireless we will deny access from now on.  As always the 1 bad apple spoils it for everyone - we learn by our mistakes, sometimes on a daily basis.  Am looking forward to a day of sitting reading a book for an hour or two - once I have tackled the 2 days of washing & ironing of course....  
  3. We all love this job really & yes we do make friends for life who come back time & time again, but once in a while I think this would be a great job if it wasn't for the b****y guests - which was one of my reasons for leaving the medical profession after 33 years to start in this game........... (great job, but the patients can be very irritating...)  Anyway, has anyone had either of these problems: a) we took a much needed few hours off last Sunday afternoon after the Saturday from hell - 23 people coming & going in our 2 gites & 4 B&B rooms - came home at 5pm to find B&B guests from 2 years ago had turned up on the offchance to see us, found us 'not at home' & went down to the pool for a couple of hours - our residents were not pleased on our return & my husband was to put it politely furious........we will not be seeing them again, but it does make you wonder how often it might have happened in the last 2 years without us being aware.....we have had other ex-guests turn up with friends to 'take some pictures' - an event reported to us by a very irrate gite guest on the 1st day of his stay with us..........moral of the tale - beware of getting too friendly with house-hunters, especially those doing restoration projects they may come back to haunt you...... b)currently have 2 American ladies staying with us - a charming mother & daughter here to investigate their ancestry.  Last night (11.30pm)we 'discovered' daughter sitting at our office desk.....very flustered & said she had been having problems with her cell phone could she possibly phone a friend in Paris - obviously thought we had retired for the night............I made the call for her & 'hovered'.  Husband again furious & on further investigation he found someone had used our PC the night before.  We do let guests have access for picking up emails during daytime hours when we are around to monitor use - most people bring their own laptops as we have WiFi.  This however was done on the sly as she obviously used it & probably the phone too during the wee hours - time difference to LA being what it is..... no mention made in morning of 'Oh I used the PC last night'  When we eventually retired last night we disconnected phone & PC for the night......... Question is do we confront her - looks like we dont trust our guests - something we have never had to do before & we dont normally charge for PC use as all our guests ask first & are never on-line for more than an hour.  Its the underhand way it has been done that gets us - am not looking forward to the arrival of the next phone bill - something tells me there may be a few transatlantic calls......... We have decided to shut up shop for next 3 days & take some much needed time off - no B&B guests till weekend when we have a French 'do' staying with us - the French are easy we find (fingers crossed) they rarely use the bathrooms if staying 1 or 2 nights, so fewer towels to wash & will often put a set of pillows &/bedspread in the wardrobe, they are always very appreciative, pay by cheque & rarely ask for internet access...........& they come back year after year      
  4. www.manoir-la-betoulle.com B&B near St Claud - no evening meals but a short 5min drive to La Grange Aux Oies at Chateau de Nieuil - a very special place to eat & stay....
  5. Hi, Many thanks for the link - interesting site and nice looking test kit. I may just have to buy one when I get fed up with crushing the little DPD tablets.....and it would be nice to know the levels of stabiliser. I checked back with the DDASS figures from last year and they were similar so, apart from the normal backwashing & topping up, I hope to make it through the season with discarding large quantities of water given the shortages! Thanks again,      
  6. Our pool is a lot older and has the same problem so I would appreciate help too but I have another problem with the tiles - some have come off and are missing. Can anyone tell me where I can get replacements (blue 2cm sq.ceramic) and what type of adhesives and grout are used to fix them? I used to brush the algae off with a wire brush (stainless steel) which was quite effective on really bad areas, but I think it removes the grout and make both problems worse!! Advice welcomed.....thanks
  7. I think I've finally got the hang of free chlorine, combined chlorine and pH but can anybody advise how I measure the Acide Isocyanurique (Residuals) that the DDASS test for.......at my recent inspection the level of these was 67 mg/l and the limit is 75.......does that mean I will have to change the water (or some of it?). I drained about a third off this winter - is that enough to keep the residual levels below the threshold? Thanks.....
  8. SAFER is a government organisation that values,sells and assists in use of agricultural land amongst other things - we came across it because we have had considerable problems with our agricultural land and have leased some to SAFER who sub-let it to a local farmer, but by using their "Mise a disposition"  scheme you can get the land back under your control. We have been to court over farmers rights twice (so far!!) - it appears that in France an agreement (even verbal) to let a farmer farm your land constitutes a lease which is a min of 9 years long and very difficult to break. Even at the end of 9 years there will be an automatic renewal unless you intend to farm it yourself........and if you sell the tenant goes with the land or has the right to buy it..........I would speak to your Notaire asap and stay on good terms with your farmer as he may well honour his commitment to you but the law will be strongly on his side.......details of SAFER and all their regonal offices at www.safer.fr   - good luck!!
  9. Said goodbye on Saturday to our first family in the 3 years we have been in the gite business who did not use the washing machine at all - a lady after my own heart who said 'I don't come on holiday to do housework......' I dont object to washing being done, what really bugs me is the size of the loads - running a machine for 2 hours for one change of clothes is such a waste of water & not good for the environment - particularly when it is done every day & sometimes twice a day across 2 gites..........& I have never had anyone wash the towels/bedlinen provided in the gites...........I wish they would sometimes........We do provide all the washing liquid etc as we have a septic tank so need to ensure that the right products are used or my husband has the horrible job of hiring a digger to unblock the run off pipe - not pleasant, particularly at the height of the season - for the same reason we also supply the correct toilet paper.  Have never had anyone request a dishwasher in the gites - it would just be another thing to breakdown & repair on our already very busy Saturdays......why don't guests tell you when the microwave, kettle, iron, blinds etc are broken...............  If we had a gite which accommodated more than 6 people regularly we would have to provide one as per the GdF rules & regs - we only ever have more than 4 in the school hols, so I guess the kids get to wash up...............
  10. welcome to the wonderful world of holiday rentals..........it gets better - they lull you into a false sense of security by doing loads of washing - you think, hope & pray that all will be clean & tidy when they leave, then you find that despite the daily washing of their 'smalls' they have left badly stained sheets on the childrens beds, so you end up throwing out the bedlinen after 3 unsuccessful Vanish washes & they have used the towels to mop up God knows what..............Fortunately, the families from hell are few & far between - the 90% of guests who are friendly, thoughtful, considerate & leave a clean & tidy gite on departure far outweigh the 1 nightmare family of each season.  We are into our 3rd season & have many families rebooking every year, so we must be doing something right, & at the end of each season we are totally exhausted & stressed but overall the praise makes up for it all - till next year........  We have found though over the last 2 years that it is better to make a small charge for the linen & towels - we always have a problem with the last minute, special offer bookings where we throw in the linen as part of a 'package'...........sounds crazy, but guests are more careful with something that they have paid for as an 'extra' - also applies to bikes & tennis racquets etc.........As to the washing machines it bugs us all - see previous postings - personally I worry about the ones who do no washing at all - I have my fingers crossed for changeover day tomorrow............
  11. There is a big brocante in Marsac in the Charente the 1st weekend in September - same weekend as the Braderie in Lille.  We went to Lille for many years, but found it got too busy & too expensive.  Marsac has approx 900 traders with something for everyone at really good prices.......has a great atmosphere too - takes a whole day to get round the numerous fields & copses where people pitch their stalls.
  12. In conjunction with www.anglo-french-solutions.com we will be starting total immersion French courses this autumn - minimum number of students 4 for stays of anything from 4 nights - they will be tailored to your individual needs & promise to be informal & 'fun' - contact us for further details.  We are situated in Charente Limousin - midway between Angouleme & Limoges.
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