I have been in conversation a lot recently. In sandy beach bars, on the soggy pavement outside the fishmonger, at the school gate, around various friends' kitchen tables, on the stuffy London train and notably at a glamorous party where the guests were almost as beautiful as the Moroccan inspired canapés. Chat chat chat and all focused on the same question - How Are You Finding Business This Summer? Funny to now be part of that gang of ‘providers’ in the South West having spent so much of my life being the ‘enjoyer’. Funnier still that it actually becomes more and more enjoyable. The Husband says that is because he empties the bins and chamois leathers the shower and I replenish the breakfast hamper and arrange a jug of sweet peas. But he actually loves it too. Both of us feeling lighter about life and forever thankful that our little shack is keeping us in our bigger one.
So am trying not to give this away when speaking to fellow B&B owners, guest house aficionados, restaurant owners, boat skippers… Have perfected the mildly sardonic lip curl coupled with occasional dismissive head movements. Which probably now looks like the holiday trade has given me a nervous tic. Still better than them thinking I am a showy old show off. Except for the moment at the shzushy party, sloshing around in never-ending prosecco and talking Work with a debonair ultra profesh hotelkeeper and owner of successful restaurant chain. Mentioned we had our first bridal couple staying and he laughed then paled when he realised I wasn’t joking. I always knew this sort of booking carried A Responsibility Above and Beyond the usual but he had terror in his eyes. I tried the bridal couple line on a couple of other local tourist professionals and sure enough they cowed and gulped. I stopped drinking and went home to replan the plan. Heart of petals on the bed ditched. Bring in the jugs (plural definitely) of wild flowers, peonies and roses. Increase the breakfast hamper to include elderflower champagne, strawberries, chocolate and croissants for midnight nuptial return. Solar fairy lights not enough so tray of tealights taken out and strategically placed on steps, branches (eek), gravel. Bunting old hat? Yes? No? Oh god just wind it around the beams and keep moving. Offer to cook breakfast for newlyweds rather than first romantic morning frying bacon in pants. Accepted. And cut to our kitchen. Cooking our first breakfast for the B&B which prides itself on not cooking breakfast. Spending an inordinate amount of time on the layout of the plate, baked beans in a separate pot, home baked bread toasted and piled high and then whisked to the outhouse before passing children could dip a finger or lego mini figure in the yolk. Waved the newlyweds off with them shouting their promises to book for their first anniversary so the champagne must have hit the spot. Then the Husband and I poured a rare lunchtime gin and did our usual replay of what could have gone wrong and how awful it could have been and thanked our lucky stars that the couple were happy and in love and wasn’t that wonderful (think we may have been on the second gin at this point). And then I did a curious thing. I suggested we should think about expanding the business… and this time it wasn’t the drink talking.