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The B&B is Open....(Just Without a Front Door)

Well it went pretty well. In the end. All things considered. After the initial hiccup when the guests arrived and THE FRONT DOOR TO THEIR ACCOMMODATION WAS MISSING. I can’t even type it without hyperventilating again.

January came and went. The entire month spent moving the family into the house from the outhouse. And then magically transforming the outhouse into Mr & Mrs Smith worthy accommodation, with a dash of vintage, a nod to architectural appropriateness and a large swathe of White Company linen. Nobody was very interested in which fire blanket to install but managed to spend a lot of time and opinion on the homemade granola. Eldest son ditched the dried cranberries while the Daughter lobbied for chocolate chips. Gub strode back and forth scattering gravel, cake crumbs and cigarette ends which I spent an inordinate amount of time picking up. Tutting loudly. Raising eyebrows skyward. Once he had gone home obviously because I couldn’t risk him not coming back. The Husband may as well have had the paint brush surgically attached. All the old sheets that he has stored over many years for just this occasion had been strewn around making the place look like Downton Abbey once the Lord has left for his summer break in the Highlands. It was all going so so well until I decided we should change the front door. In all the months of planning I had forgotten the mangy cat flap dangling from the outhouse door, clattering annoyingly and sending a draught around the ankles. The morning of the inaugural guest arrival Gub pitched up for a little light snagging and was immediately drawn into my panic door buying. Still calm two hours in with his reassurance that it would take an hour to swap them over I baked a welcome batch of scones and potted a few narcissi plants up for the doorstep. With an hour to go before official 3pm check in there was no door, new or old, the frame had warped and Gub was hand planing. Suddenly the cat flap seemed like a luxury and then the purr of expensive engine as a brand new Range Rover drew up. I can tell you right now I was nearly sick all over my wellies. Nothing for it but to be honest, apologetic and handle the situation in a grown up manner. So I cried. Not full on sobs, just tear welling eyes and hand clutched to heart. The guests, after a drive from London which took them far too many hours for the distance were looking forward to a pot of tea and a sit in the courtyard garden with views across the valley. Instead they got an emotionally wrecked landlady saying sorry in 25 different ways.

I can laugh about it now. No, actually I can’t. I don’t think I ever will. Luckily for me the guests were perfectly wonderful and went off into the local town while Gub finished the job. And then we drove them to and from their restaurant booking as part compensation for the shoddy beginning. They left a lovely reassuring encouraging note in the room when they went, signed Mr & Mrs Smith…



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