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Guests and Fish

Francesca Silva

Summer’s here, which means our “bed & breakfast” is up and running again, with various relatives and friends visiting from far and near.

A good friend of mine, who comes to visit once every few years but stays no longer than three days each time, says we should have a sign put up on our front door: “Welcome: please remember that guests are like fish – after three days, they begin to smell”. Love it, but we haven’t been driven to that extent – yet.

Last year, I was exhausted and thoroughly fed up by June. This year, however, I’ve decided not to “sweat the small stuff” but to initiate what I call some basic “courtesy rules” that will make everyone – visitors and hosts alike – enjoy the stay more.

So, for anyone who is going to be either a host or a guest, you might like to skim over the following “courtesy rules”, which Hubby and I always put into practice when we are guests at other people’s houses:

  • Please keep your room and bathroom clean. I’m not a maid and don’t enjoy cleaning up after anyone.
  • Please don’t expect fresh sheets and towels every day (yes, there are some who have “requested” that of me). See above for maid service.
  • Unless you have food allergies or health requirements, please don’t expect me to cater to your dietary wishes. If you’re a picky eater and don’t like what I cook, there’s a grocery store up the road from us. Oh, and also feel free to pitch in and help with the cooking – I’d love it!
  • Please don’t treat our house like a free bed & breakfast by coming and going as it suits you. Since you’re staying with us, we’re assuming that you actually want to spend at least some time with us, although we’re perfectly happy to have you meet up with your other friends, of course.
  • Please rent a car or rely on public transport for the duration of your stay. While we will enjoy spending time and going out and about with you, we don’t want to be tied into driving you around, especially if you’re meeting up with people we don’t know and “just need a ride” to and from the venue.
  • Please don’t say you’ll be back early and don’t need a key – and then come back after midnight and expect us to be waiting up for you. We’re more than happy to provide a spare key for you to come and go.
  • When you do have a key, please remember to lock the door on your return (you may think that this is a given but I have come downstairs some mornings and found the front door not only unlocked but wide open…a little disconcerting).

The above “rules” certainly aren’t intended to be mean-spirited. On the contrary, we’ve initiated them to ensure that everyone has a good time and enjoys each other’s company – and so far it’s worked out really well. Of course, we don’t slap down the rules the minute our visitors walk in (and some don’t need them at all because they’re exemplary guests) but we do diplomatically “suggest” them to those who we feel don’t quite get it. While we love having family and friends over to stay, we don’t want to spend the entire time with chef, maid and chauffeur caps perched on our heads!

Okay, so who’s next on our visiting list?

[tags]bed & breakfast, b&b, welcoming guests, courtesy rules, manner at friend’s house[/tags]

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