Thursday, July 31, 2014

August at the B&B

Wacky season is upon us.  An Englishwoman lectures me at length on the finer points of email etiquette and then delivers a "terrible" rating on a travel site, the fact that she has never been here notwithstanding.  A former guest sends several messages asking me to search for a left-behind phone charger, clearly believing that I run a sideline selling phone chargers, abandoned Y-fronts and single socks on Ebay.   A woman has called twice now to ask the name of my inn and then to further inquire as to whether or not she has a reservation here.  As luck would have it, she does. 
And for some reason, (no doubt a travel program on tv) my guests have started confirming their already confirmed reservations, requiring me to re-confirm confirmations.  They also telephone me from the road giving me updates on their arrival times, despite a clear statement in their confirmations and re-confirmations that check in is any time after 3.  To me, this means that check in is any time after 3.  I've looked carefully at all the words in that sentence and I approve each and every one.  I think this is less to do with their reservation than the fact that they sit with a machine in their hands informing the universe of their every move interspersed with pictures of their cat.   Well, there is a full house checking in any time after 3 which inevitably means to someone that 1:30 is a good time to show up so I musn't dawdle. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

My dog ate my sofa

My dog has eaten 2 sofas in one week.  I think this might be a record for a furry person weighing in at 18 pounds.  (Those of you reading this before you visit Blue Skye, please rest assured that my animals are not allowed in the inn.  The sofas Jack ate were in our cottage. )

Last summer, Jack created a door for himself and his cohort, Rosebud the Cat, by knocking a hole in the sliding screen door to our deck, leaving a bit of flapping screen to act as a cat door, if you follow my drift.  By the time we discovered it, Jack and Rosie were prancing back and forth through it as if to say, "why didn't YOU think of this?"  So we, being who we are,  thought it was clever and left them to it.  This system worked well all summer.  It worked well until last week when I heard ripping, tearing and panting and grunting coming from our living room.  I went in to find Jack eating the sofa.  The mountains of it he couldn't eat were piled up all round the place.  Large piles of fuzzy stuff and bits of upholstery.  Now, it has to be said, he is a very good little boy for a Jack Russell, and tearing up the house isn't really his thing.  He looked at me somewhat sheepishly but also with a look that said, I'll explain everything later.  I got his message and lifted up the sofa to find a rather sad looking chipmunk.  City dwelling soft hearted readers avert your eyes.  Two loud crunches and chippy was sad no more.  He wasn't anything any more. 
What could I do but praise Jack for saving us from a chipmunk?  He was brave, we were safe and the sofa was, well, sort of beside the point.

It was at this point that I should have purchased a man-made catflap.  But I didn't. Okay.  So a week later the same thing:  the ripping, the tearing and grunting and growling.  Different sofa.  Different chipper.  Same result:  crunch crunch dead.  Only this time, Jack won't leave his kill.  He's turned into JACK THE WILD ANIMAL HUNTER.  He stood over his dead chippy and would NOT leave it, for like an hour.   After demanding he obey me (yeah, right) offering treats and threats, I put on my sunglasses, got my car keys and said, rather conversationally, "so, you want to go for a ride?
He did.  He ran to the door.  Now here is where sensible people line up on one side and nutters on the other.  I took him for a ride.  A little dog who had destroyed 2 sofas in 2 weeks.  I drove him into the village, turned around and came back.  I collected the dead, stuffed the stuffing into what remained of the sofa and settled down to relax.  Until I heard the noise. 
The scratching noise coming from the living room.  I went in and sat in a chair and stared at what remained of my second sofa.  Jack joined me and we both stared at the sofa.  After a long while we heard "meow".  Rosie,  in our absence, had come to see what the hoohah was about and got herself stuck in the springs of the destroyed sofa.  I managed to finesse her through the wreckage into daylight. 

This weekend we are fitting a catflap.  Wish us luck. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Spring Greetings!

When this winter started, eight or nine years ago, I determined that we wouldn't complain about the cold, ice, snow or whatever, but would rather allow ourselves to be dazzled by the beauty while enjoying cozy evenings by the woodfire and improving our chess game. Let others complain, we said, we will find something wondrous to behold each day: the cardinal flashing through the white landscape; otters popping up from holes in the ice making their fishy snuffly sound; homemade soup and bread and the world of netflix to explore. What a load of old bollocks.

Thus started my last attempt at blogging, written and abandoned sometime in February.  The winter was brutal and made worse by THE COUGH.  Everyone seemed to have it and like the winter itself it would not go away.
But friends, here we are.  Spring!  Oh Bliss.  I'm aware that most of you have long ago waved goodbye to your daffodils and forsythia but we are just in the midst of it now.  But hummingbirds are buzzing around, an oriole came looking for oranges (and finding none moved on) and woodcocks are spiraling out of the sky at dusk.  So I guess we made it.  No doubt some of you have reservations already for this summer and to the rest of you, what are you waiting for?  I look forward to making your acquaintance. 
   

Saturday, January 25, 2014

O Guest, where art thou?

Here's a way to feel really stupid. Haul yourself out of your cozy bed in the dark, face the subzero day to have a full breakfast on the table at 7 to accommodate returning guests with an early appointment. You wouldn't think that one hour would make such a difference but after putting several thousand breakfasts on the table, many times for 8 or 10 people at 8am , for some reason doing the same thing for a 7am deadline for 2 people seems difficult. Nevertheless, as I write, fruit has been prepared, bread has been baked, muesli has been made, eggs have been provided by the freezing chickens down the road, a fire blazes in the dining room and the aroma of freshly ground coffee fills the house. What doesn't fill the house are my guests. They aren't here. When they didn't arive at the table by 7:15 I went to see if perhaps they had overslept. Perhaps they did, but not in my house. There was their room with the welcoming light, just as I'd left it last night. Perhaps something ghastly has happened to them. I hope not. I'll keep you posted. Update: no one dead, apologies all round, life goes on, but if you want an early breakfast at Blue Skye in future, you can, as they say, whistle Dixie.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

End of Summer

The summer season is now officially over and we have about a week before the autumn seekers show up. We went out in style this morning with 14 guests and even Jack got a curtain call by guests who had read the blog prior to their visit and asked to meet him. When I went to get him my husband said, "but we're watching Arsenal". For those of you not in the know, that is an English football side. Jack ignored me completely and sat unmoving on the back of the sofa behind Peter's head. "It's alright Jack," said my husband, "I'll record it for you." Reluctantly he trotted over to me but was mollified when he realised we were headed to 'the big house' as the inn is called in our family. No pets allowed. We all live in cozy chaos in the cottage next to the inn and so it was with a great deal of excitement that he bounded into the sunroom to be cooed over by three ladies who admired his polka dotted belly and newly grown mullet hairdo and whiskers. He's not an entirely normal looking Jack Russell, it has to be said, but he has his charms. The ladies in the drugstore drive through window like him and keep biscuits for him. He's used to the drive through window at the bank where they give all the dogs biscuits and so when we went to the drugstore he expected his treat and was quite put out when all we got were pills. Since then he gets a biscuit there too. He won't eat them of course - well, look - there isn't time to play bad bikkie in the car and we won't eat one without the game which, it appears, has changed since I saw it last. Peter gets up first and that's when they play bad bikkie in the kitchen. Recently when Jack has asked me for a treat I make an attempt to please him by crawling on the floor and poking him with the biscuit but clearly it has become more complicated and he just looks at me with a "come on, play it properly" look. There's a lot for me to catch up on now that summer is over.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Blood pressure test

I'm not a very doctor-y sort of person. The circumstances have to be pretty dire before I put myself into the hands of one. However, since breaking a tooth I've been feeling mortal. So when I felt sort of lightheaded and off kilter, I asked my husband to take my blood pressure. I don't even know why we have this machine but we do - I think it has something to do with the exercise bike I pile my ironing on - anyhow, I thought I'd use it. He wrapped up my arm and started pumping. What the .. "Take it off! Take it off!" I shouted, headlines like," Woman explodes in Maine B&B, glasses found in New Hampshire" appearing in front of my bugged out eyes. "I can't it's automatic!" he shouted back, at which point the thing cut off and peace was restored. Having doubts as to the wisdom of being thrust into a state of panic prior to a blood pressure reading became moot when I realised that we had no idea what the reading meant. That was a couple of days ago. This morning, waiting for guests to arrive at the table I thought I'd check out the numbers on the computer. So I got this chart on screen which said to make a line between the 2 numbers to find out ....something. So I did. The only thing on the chart below my number was a section called 'coma' and under that, 'DEATH'. I figured that if my blood pressure was so low when I was in a panic that my chances of making it through breakfast service were slim. Hoping I wouldn't croak before the pancakes were ready, I tried to stave off panic by thinking who to leave my All-clad pots and pans to in my will. I decided on my current guests, as a little thank you for calling 911 when I fell over dead in the kitchen. After everyone left I summoned my husband to tell him the bad news. I showed him the chart and my position on the bottom of it next to coma. I told him about the All-clad pots. He pointed out that I was drawing a line between the same set of numbers and that if I did it correctly I was in the normal zone. "Normal as far as your blood pressure goes, that is," he amended.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Is Thirteen Unlucky?

Things are wacky around here. For a start, the leaves are turning. Then there are no Monarch butterflies. It's felt like September for a couple of weeks now which is odd, and then there's the business with 13. I'm not superstitious at all but I've had 3 mornings with 13 at the table, a fact I made note of not because I'm spooked by 13, but because I have 12 of everything that goes on the table and 13 is a pain in the neck plus it means moving chairs in from the kitchen blah dee blah. So on the first 13 morning, I'm in my kitchen with stuff in the oven, stuff on the stove and 13 people at the table. My feet feel wet. My feet feel wet? I look down and see that hot soapy water is coming out of the bottom of the dishwasher. While I am trying to take this in, I turn to the double sink and see that water is coming up from both drains. I stood transfixed thinking to myself, 'well, if you're going to have an idea, now would be a good time'. And so it came to me to TURN OFF THE DISHWASHER. I sloshed around the kitchen throwing tea towels in my wake and managed to deliver breakfast to the unsuspecting baker's dozen. A week or so later there were 13 guests again. Keeping a wary eye on the plumbing, I was taken by surprise when my tooth fell out. That would be the one that makes you look like a homeless bag lady when you smile. No doubt my guests wondered why I suddenly was doing a geisha impersonation every time I was called upon to speak or smile. A couple of days later, it was with a good deal of trepidation that I set the table for 13. But, I cooked breakfast without drowning or setting myself on fire and my bodily parts stayed where they belonged and so I was taken off guard when one of my guests turned to me and said, "was that your horse?" "Horse?" I said. Thirteen heads nodded. "The horse last night" they repeated. "Horse?" I said again. I couldn't seem to say anything else. Were they saying "Horse"? "The horse that came down the driveway last night" someone said and they all nodded at me, smiling and waiting for an explanation. "Horse?" I said. All the people on the north side of the house told how a horse walked down the driveway and around the back of the house. The people on the south side reported how a horse walked down the back drive and disappeared. I remembered how the sensor light on the back of the house had come on in the night and how our Jack Russell barked and how we said rather crossly, "go to bed, Jack. There's nothing there." We heard him mumbling in his bed something about there's a bloody great horse in the driveway, but you know how Jack Russells are, and so we ignored him. There is no end to this story. A horse walked down my driveway in the middle of the night and 13 people and a Jack Russell saw him.