Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bed and Breakfast - how to do it the easy way

Dear Potential B&B Owners,
             Before you go into this very lucrative business, which is also called homestay and other funny names, I thought you might like to hear from a couple who have actually done it.
        This is something I recorded when, through no fault of our own, my wife and I had to give up our life of fine living by the seaside because the South African Government was about to introduce another lot of helpful regulations to make life that much easier for B&B owners.

*   *   *
         The joys of running a Bed & Breakfast are never ending. As my wife will tell you she (She’s the brunette – not bad for 85 – in these pics) worked like hell while I spent my time chatting up the guests, especially the 20 year old blondes, and watching sport on TV.
        "No wonder you keep saying it’s a piece of cake," she used to say. "You do nothing to help." She refused to acknowledge the huge contribution I made.
         Anyway the argument will soon be over. We are bailing out. It has become obvious that at over 90 I am not making the beds to the same 5 Star standard that I did when we started eight years ago.
The other day I put the sheets on top of the blankets. It’s a mistake anybody can make. But do you think my wife will let me forget it.
         It was the same story when she found tomato sauce on plates I had washed the day before. Fortunately the guests were so busy eating the excellent breakfast I had cooked they didn’t notice.
         Another reason why we have to give up our luxury, five bedroomed B&B is that my knees are killing me. I have to face the fact I can’t go on polishing all those floors any longer. And I can hardly expect my wife to start doing something for which she has had no training.
         Also you should see my varicose veins. All that standing and slaving away over a hot stove is what has caused them.
         Would I have these afflictions, which you only get from constant hard work, if I spent my time slacking, as my wife tries to make out?
         Oh I forgot. I also did all the maintenance as well. Women are hopeless at this sort of thing. You don’t know what it’s like at my age climbing on the roof to clean the gutters.
         Do you think I got any sympathy from the old lady?  No. But she was quick to moan if it wasn’t done yesterday. And just because I once forgot which side I left the ladder, when I wanted to come down, that makes me incapable of running a B&B.
         I was prepared to suffer for a few more years so my lady wife could continue to enjoy the good life; going to bridge four times a week as well gym just when the guests are coming in to breakfast and attending church twice on Sundays and during the week.
         You would think I was the one who should have been praying. Now I’ve finally decided to quit because she said my rotten jokes and poor guesses were bad for business.
         My crimes……..I told a dour guest that if he had any complaints our MD lived on a farm near Kuruman in the desolate Northern Cape, where he was mostly in meetings; there was no cell phone reception and his party line was often out of order.
         "We don’t have party lines there anymore," was his angry reply. Kuruman it turned out was his home town, if you could call it that.
         Then I judged a couple by their accent. "Which part of Germany do you come from?" I asked innocently. "Eez my accent zat bad," the man snapped. Oops, he was from Switzerland.
         Next week my wife, who has never had time for bridge; doesn’t know what a gym looks like and only goes to church infrequently when the B&B is empty, is having me locked up in Fawlty Towers.
        There my delusions of grandeur will be recorded by the BBC (Bed & Breakfast Council) as part of the SA Government’s latest compulsory training scheme for all those men who think they can run a B&B better than their wives.
         Yours thankfully
          B&B consultant of note

PS. The Government firmly believes in building character through struggle businesses. So if you have any ideas for more regulations to keep the little man in check then pass them on to your MP, if you can find him. 

Buy my book 'Where have all the children gone?' on Amazon Kindle  It's a thriller with an underlying love story that defied generations of prejudice.

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