Sunday 2 October 2016

A new fence for the cottage

Our cottage is a Victorian terrace block of three houses. They are small 2 Up 2 Down style buildings built originally for quarry workers. When they were build there were no bath rooms, the toilet was in a an outhouse and the bin was a tin tub in the kitchen. The back yards of the cottages is an open brick surfaced area shared between the cottages. 

When we purchased the place a couple of years ago there was a tatty dividing wooden picket fence across the back yard to separate us from the neighbouring house. The fence is not our "responsibility" as in was owned by next-door's landlord.

We are a pet friendly holiday cottage which means we have to make sure any guests' pets do not stray from the back yard. We renewed all of the fences around the property when we refurbished the place, except for the neighbour's yard fence. However the extent of wood rot in the neighbours fence became so great the fence fell over. So this summer I built a new fence from raw timber and with our neighbour's permission installed a new fence in the yard.  Another expense to be charged against out "profits".

Thank heavens for PostCrete to assist in installing the fence and gateposts. My own design picket gate swings nicely and latches reliably every time.

Will they use our orchard?

Part of the deal in our holiday cottage is access to our orchard. The orchard is a one acre site with the River Ecclesbourne running along one side. The orchard can be accessed from the road, via a local bus, public footpath  along the riverside or just a short walk from the local railway station (Ecclesbourne Valley Railway). There's a couple of great pubs nearby.

We took on the orchard site a couple of years ago. It was a piece of waste land overgrown with weeds and thorn bushes plus some un-managed woodland to one side. We've put a lot of work into clearing the land, rebuilding the hedges, installing fences, hanging new gates and planting fruit trees.  We've even added a barbecue area as well. More detail can be found here.

The fruit trees are growing well and there some nice areas to set up a picnic on the grass.

Sadly though no one has yet taken up the offer to access the orchard. Here's hoping people will do so.

Problem guests

Most of the guests staying in our holiday cottage are delightful and we enjoy having them stay. However there are those who stretch our patience and we wish they'd never booked in the first place, let alone do a repeat booking. We don't make a fortune from the rental fees so it is not as though we are offering the Ritz in terms of accommodation. Sometimes people expect too much.

We allow guests to bring their pet, for example a large dog or two small ones. We have two boisterous German Shepherd Dogs in our own home and know that dogs, if properly trained are no problem and cause no real damage. They do make carpets dirtier and sometimes scratch paint work, but we've already allowed for that in our cleaning/decorating budget. From the pet owner's side there is the obvious benefit that they save of boarding fees and their pets are less likely to be distressed.  

We recently had a couple arrive and they had a large dog. They arrived straight from their journey to Derbyshire, but had not given their dog a chance to "stretch its legs". I was showing the guests around the cottage and their male Labrador lifted its hind leg and urinated over the settee and carpet. After they'd left we had to get a professional cleaner in to clean the carpet and furniture to remove the "markers" left by the dog.

Another couple complained to the rental company because I'd taken too long in showing them around the cottage on arrival and because the security light over the back yard wasn't working. If they'd listened to my greetings briefing they'd remember I'd said "call me (via a freephone) if anything wasn't working as it should be and we'll try and fix it". This same couple left the cottage dirty and rubbish on the kitchen work tops. They also left wet towels on the bed on departure causing us to have to swap out the bed mattress in time for hand over to the following guests. We installed a new security light over the back door before handover to the next guests.

Other guests have left dog poo in the garden even though we provide free dog poo bags.