With the autumn now well into its stride and my short break down to the family apartment in Spain quickly becoming a faded memory its time to restart the winter work. When the weather is good then outside work in the garden is a major priority, it's the time to remove the last of the summer bedding plants, to collect up those fallen leaves even though they have not all fallen yet as they stain the light coloured patio slabs and generally make the garden look untidy. It is surprising how one can get depressed when the skies are grey and the paving is dull and one starts to wish that spring would hurry up and come, yet just the brightening up of patios and the tidying of garden in general can lift the spirit.
There is of course other work needed to be done, the general maintenance of the buildings, treating all the outside timbers, filling those bits of jointing in the stone walling that have worked loose, those bits of damage the guests have caused in the garden and around the buildings, on a vast site like ours there is always something needed to be done.
When the weather takes a turn for the worst or when a change of work is required to ease those aching bones then inside there is endless work awaiting. The Tournesol gite is nearing completion of its make over, the new laminate floors are down in the bedrooms, it just needs the skirting boards to be put in place and we will be there. Then it’s on to the Frene Gite with a new tilled kitchen and upstairs bathroom.
Over in the games hall the new toilet block is all but finished and a start on the new storage rooms is under way. We try to keep at least one spare of everything from complete toilets to curtain poles for during those hectic summer months you know someone will have an accident, something will break and as Murphy is alive and well in the Vendee you know it will happen at an inconvenient moment, the week end, bank holiday or what ever when getting a replacement is impossible, so having a spare is not only convenient but saves money and frustration and usually leaves the guest well impressed at your efficiency. The main problem in the past is having all those spares where I can find them. We have precious little storage space except for the large barn, but that needed compartmenting so that it can be easily found and out of the way from the guests, so new rooms have been formed for specialist things like, furniture with racks for new mattress's, chairs, bedside tables etc., another for everything for the kitchen, one for sanitary and plumbing and one for electrical.
The draw back to all this new organisation is that now many of my competitors with gites will now know that i have that convenience store that they can tap into in their hour of need and as I never refuse I may just have to add a few extra items to the store.
The other major job for the winter ahead is to review the websites, perhaps take a course in how to get better exposure for them and plan the campaign for new pages of information for the visitors to the site; this is of course hampered by not knowing exactly what information they would like. This years offerings on Restaurants especially around Fontenay le Comte was well received as was the pages on the beaches of the Vendee, which though finished in general is still being added to by the addition of image galleries as and when I get round to resizing and reviewing the hundreds of photos I took of all the beaches in the Vendee during the summer and Autumn.
Well the sun looks like I may come out so I best off out and start the work instead of writing about it.
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