Why I haven’t been out much, lately

Sky over Newark

In the last month, our Airbnb bookings have really taken off.  We’re in the middle, right now, of more than a fortnight’s worth of back to back bookings and that, plus my casual job in the local libraries, has taken up so much of my time and attention that this week’s blog post is only just scraping into what is still, technically, this week.

I’ve never done so much bed changing, house cleaning, and laundry.  I’ve never waited for so many people to turn up at the door, rarely arriving anywhere close to the time that they say they will.  I’ve never set so many breakfast tables or bought so much bread and toilet paper.  But it’s been good – everyone who’s stayed so far has been lovely, it’s been interesting to meet and talk to so many people, and it’s producing a goodly amount of much needed income.  The guest before the current ones also presented us with a freshly-caught trout, which was great but led to some consternation about which of us was going to gut it.

Out of all the people who’ve booked, there’s only been one awkward customer and he hasn’t even arrived yet.  He’s booked in next week for five days, made the booking several days ago, and has been bombarding me with messages ever since.  First off he wanted to know exactly how far we were from his place of work.  This seemed to me like something he could have worked out for himself, but I duly found the website for his workplace, got the postcode, entered both postcodes into Google maps, hit Directions, got the info, and sent it back to him.  Then he wanted to know if he could have a discount for a longish stay, so we took a bit off the usual fee.  To do this, I had to send him a Special Offer, and he then wanted to know every step of the process – answer: I don’t know because no-one’s ever sent me one – and could he pay with this card or that card, and what did he have to click on, etc, etc – answer: click Accept and try following the instructions.

After he did this and booked, the next message I got asked how he could cancel and what the terms and conditions were.  Not that he wanted to cancel, he pointed out, but he wanted to know.  I didn’t say that perhaps it would have been a good idea to check this out before he booked.  I suggested he clicked on the clearly marked link on our listing, where it says Cancellation: Moderate, which would take him straight to what he wanted to know.

Then it was: could he cook his lunch and dinner in our kitchen? – he’d bring his own implements.  Answer: No – because it clearly states in our listing that it’s light use of the kitchen only and not for serious cooking.  I suggested various takeaways close by.  OK, he said, could he put a week’s worth of frozen meals in our freezer?  I gave him a yes on this one, because although our freezer is very small it’s fairly empty at the moment and I was getting tired of saying no.

After that it was: could he drop off his luggage early in the morning before he went to work, and if he couldn’t do that, could he bring it the night before and leave it here.  Answer: No – because I’d already made it a condition of taking the booking that he couldn’t check in till after 5.30pm as we had other guests staying, I was going to be out for most of the day, and Geoff will be out the whole day into the evening. First thing in the morning I’ll be tending to our departing guests, running Geoff to the station, stripping the bed and getting the room and the house ready, and trying to get out the door and have the long and leisurely lunch with a friend that I had planned long before I knew he was coming.  I also had the feeling he wouldn’t turn up when he said he would (hardly anyone does) and would probably keep me talking and be hard to get out the door.

Every day brings a new request, and he hasn’t even arrived yet.  I’m rather dreading his stay.  I’ve turned it into a game now – we try to guess what the next request is going to be, becoming more and more outlandish as we rather hysterically try to out-think him.  Today I’m holding my breath because, so far, he hasn’t been in touch.

While all this has been going on, I’ve been offered more and more library work.  I’m very grateful for the work – it’s pleasant, not terribly badly paid, and the people are nice.  It’s just that I wouldn’t choose to do it if I didn’t have to.  Integrating the Airbnb commitments with the library commitments can sometimes be a major exercise in logistical planning.  Geoff is fantastic at doing lots of the practical stuff, like hoovering, but he doesn’t have the knack of making things look nice and dressing the room properly, so it has to me that does these things.  One or other of us also has to be in to receive them, which can be difficult when they turn up much earlier or several hours later than they say they will.

Anyway, this a very long and rambling excuse as to why I haven’t written anything this week, till now.  And I don’t have much to say this time.  Nor have I managed to get out and do any photography.  However, the skies as seen from my study window have been nothing short of spectacular, so I’m going to leave you with those.  I hope you enjoy.

 

Sky over Newark

Sky over Newark

Sunset sky trails over Newark

Sunset sky trails over Newark

Sunset sky trails over Newark