Monday, 22 July 2013


We have just got to the end of a 5-weekend stretch of having clients every weekend, and we now have a small pause of 3 weekends before the next group arrive.  We are grateful for the break.

The gîte has beds for 30 people, and the ideal number is about 25, more if there's a big contingent of children.  Our main clients are therefore family groups; people who get together to celebrate gran's (and sometimes grandad's) 50th wedding anniversary, or brothers and sisters who get together once a year for a party, etc.

It's easy to imagine that since they only stay for the weekend, that the job is part-time.  That's only true insofar as we don't rent out every weekend, but the typical rhythm is a good solid week of work per group. They typically arrive on Friday evening, for dinner, and stay until late afternoon on Sunday, or with one day extra if it is one of the many long weekend bank holidays.  We serve breakfasts and the evening meals, and lunch also if required.

So a typical weekly rhythm starts on the Friday afternoon with the preparation of the evening meal, and welcoming the new guests.  We're usually up until 10:30 or so serving and cleaning up after.  We get up to prepare breakfast around 7:00 or 7:30 the next morning, and again, we're up late that evening.  If we're not making lunch we do get a mid-day break.

The Sunday (or Monday) after they're gone, we strip the beds, take the linens to the collection point for them to be washed by Blanchisserie du Maine, empty the dustbins, lock up the gîte and jump in the pool.  We have been known to have a glass or two of wine at this point.

Monday is gîte cleaning day; by the evening the place is clean, floors mopped, bathrooms done and the place generally rendered a hostile environment for bugs and creepies of all kinds.

Tuesdays Anita plans the meals for the next group and prepares the shopping lists.  I do gardening as necessary, ususally I mow the grass; it's kind of our day off. Anita also works in the garden whenever she has time during the week.

Wednesday we make the beds and make sure that the place is in a good state to welcome the next group, doing any repairs, replacements, etc.

Thursday is shopping day when we take the Espace to Promocash and the other shops in Laval and fill up with the meal ingredients as necessary.

Friday morning I prepare the pool, making sure it is clean and healthy for the arrivals.  Friday evening they arrive.

This is a tolerable schedule if taken steadily, but after five weeks of this I am thoroughly grateful for a break.

So here's a few shots of the garden.  This wave of high temperatures has dried the soil out at the surface, but I haven't needed to water very much yet.  I am hoping that the predicted thunderstorms will do the work for me.  There isn't a huge amount of colour right now, we're between the Spring and Autumn flowers.   The best are the Canna Lillies, Gladioli and Day Lillies, plus the sundry annuals like Nasturtiums and French Marigolds.  There are even a few early Dahlias, but they will be at their best around September or October.

I have been a bit negatvie towards roses in the past, especially if they need spraying or have had the scent bred out of them   But I think I might try to find a few that have healthy foliage and smell nice, to add some colour at this time.   And if they look really good, I might be prepared to forgo the scent.

I don't know what the little white flowers are called, nor the ones that look like pink jellyfish swimming towards the surface, which is unforgivable since I grew them both from commercial packets of seed.


Helen Devries said...

I remember the days of running holiday lettings....three months of trying to stretch the hours of a Saturday.
But running q group gite doesn't seem that much less hectic...

Steve said...

Hats off to you! It's plainly more hard work than holiday makers like me ever truly appreciate.

James Higham said...

It's easy to imagine that since they only stay for the weekend, that the job is part-time.

I wouldn't imagine that for a second. Damned hard work but the place is looking lovely.

Mark In Mayenne said...

Hi Helen, it's hectic while they're here, but then you have to be discuiplined about the slog in between.

Steve, there's a lot of work in between, discussing with the clients exactly what they want, what kind of celebration it is, and the style of meals.

Thanks, James.

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