Frrreeezing February

I have had to steel myself to come & sit at the computer to write this as the PC is in our bedroom, where the frost inside the window has only just melted today… & its 3pm. It is so cold here this week. Last night we had temperatures of -14c & when I walked the dog this morning it was still -9c. All the water containers in the garden, including the water trough in the hen`s enclosure are solid blocks of ice & have been all week. We have had a lot of snow this month but as my mother used to say it is now too cold to snow. We have had temperatures as low as this before but never for so long. It is really beginning to get on our nerves I can tell you. Happily, our new stove is keeping the living room & our bedroom warm but our wood pile is rapidly dwindling so we are trying only to light it when we have finished doing things & are settled in to watch TV. Mind you, there have been many exceptions to that rule this week as it has been so cold. I have to say I preferred the snow to these conditions. All the spring flowers which were doing OK under their snow cocoons are now looking extremely sad & I suspect we will lose many more plants if this continues much longer.

Needless to say, we have had no guests this month…they have more sense! I have had a few more B&B reservations though & the first booking for the summer season in the gite was confirmed the other day. It is from one of our very loyal returner families & I will be very pleased to see them back here again in July. Hopefully it will be warm by then! I also have a long weekend booking via Booking .com. I have a love hate relationship with as regular readers of this blog will be well aware. This booking is giving me problems as per usual …not because the clients are being awkward but because of b.coms reluctance to let me contact them directly. I am still waiting for their deposit….” le sigh”. It will all work out in the end I`m sure but it is hassle I can do without really. Unfortunately, these days all these big advertising sites have swallowed up all the nice little guys so we have to put up with these shenanigans. I much preferred having direct contact wilt folk so I could explain things & get the feel of who was coming.

Because of the cold weather we haven’t done a lot this month really. Geoff is up to his eyes trying to sort out contracts for the next years teaching & has had quite a bit of document revision work to do…which is good as it fills the gap moneywise until the teaching contracts come through. I have been spending a of time watching a lot of slippy slidey stuff on the TV, as for once the French TV coverage of the Winter Olympics has been rather good & varied for a change. It has helped me to pass many hours in the warm living room these last few weeks. & I have thoroughly enjoyed it all. In fact I`m feeling a bit bereft now that it is all over.

We did go out for lunch on Valentines day as usual. We went to one of our favourite restaurants Lauberge Margot at Usson where we had a very nice meal. We also had another nice lunch out with our friends, Muriel & Ron to celebrate Geoff & Ron`s birthdays which are only two days apart. Geoff had a quiet birthday but was happy with his presents. Geoff also enjoyed his short trip to the UK last weekend. He goes each year to pay homage to his lifelong favourite football team, Preston North End. He & a few of his old school friends meet up go to a match together every year. This year they were joined by our son, Matthew & his son, Ethan who was going to his very first football match. They all had a good time & Ethan did very well by lasting out the whole match…which I understand was a bit dire! His Papi was very proud of him :blush:

The Ford car saga continues. It is still sitting in our car park, although we are no longer its legal owners having sent the carte gris & all the documents, in triplicate of course, (this is France after all!) to the insurance people as requested. They tell us that a breaker will come & collect the car someday. Needless to say, we still have received no money…but we are still being assured this will happen. They just don`t say when :frowning:

I usually don`t do anything for Lent but this year after listening to Good morning Sunday as usual on Radio 4 one morning, I was drawn to the idea of “giving out” something rather than “giving up” something. So I decided to send messages to friends to say thank you or to let them know how much they mean to me. These messages are either via cards which I have made or via social media as I have many friends there…most of whom I have never met in the flesh but who are very important to me! I am really enjoying this challenge so far & have had such a positive response. I am not sure I can keep it up for 40 days…have I really so many friends? But so far so good & I would recommend doing this. It is much more satisfying than giving up chocolate!

So, February is now behind us & normally I would say we are moving into Spring. However, I need this sub-arctic weather to move over before I can genuinely say that this year. We are off to the south coast this weekend coming…it is our joint Christmas/birthday present trip away …to seek a bit of sunshine & warmth. And guess what? It is snowing down there at the moment! Sods law strikes again…

A bientot mes amis…

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Hi Christine, we are now suffering from your pet hate, as Homeaway has been taken over by Expedia and our clients now book “direct” and pay more for the privelege.
We wait longer for our money and have lost the personal touch.
They pay extra for access to a repair company, but we live on site and have our own tradesmen.
All in all not an improvement and we pay more.
We had a lovely Valentines Day lunch at the Auberge in Bourgvillain near Cluny.

I have always hated doing the marketing side of the B&B & gite business but when we had nice little sites to use like Amivac & Homelidays(before that got taken over) it was fine…i could send out my contracts, collect the deposits & all was good. Now its all a nightmare as far as Im concerned with these big bully boys who as you say take so much commission & im never sure what exactly they do for it. Fortunately Geoff has quite a bit of work again this year so I`m not worrying about having the place full all the time.

We don’t rely on our gite income, but there is a growing dislike of the monopoly.
There is a new Simply Owner’s site in UK, taking on Owners’ Direct and a case against them in the USA.

Just curious what you might think of this website:

I can’t say that the layout appeals to me.
It doesn’t seem to fit our offering and also it says avoid not being paid.
No one would be allowed to stay with us unless they had paid the full amount six weeks before tgeir holiday date.
Do you find it useful?

Hi Jane, I find it useful, as a customer, yes. Thanks for your thoughts, as someone from your side of things.