Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A house full of people

I love when the house is full of people. As we are located in what I often think is the most marvelous place on the globe, hospitality is sort of a given. How could I not want to share this place and all its glory with friends and family???

I really enjoy cooking for everyone and the clean up is so often shared I have no complaints. Serious cleaning is not necessary, and laundry can be done, hung on lines and dry in a morning.

What's not to like? Well, I suppose the only sticky point I can find is that everyone who comes here is on vacation. And it would seem that for some reason when they come here, they want to go on vacation--- WITH US! Only we're not on vacation. We LIVE here!

For instance, a shopping expedition in town to buy gifts for friends or shop for clothes, is an individual experience, I think. Not least because I HATE shopping and telling the shopkeepers that "yes, I DO live here on the island and have for 9 years and blah, blah-blahdy, blah, blah." During the tourist season, even I can't get a great bargain! So, honestly? They're your friends/etc and you know what they'd like far better than I would.

On the matter of a day at the beach? Wonderful! We'll drop you off and let you experience it -on your own. Trust me you will enjoy it ever so much better without me along. I can't lay in the sun for hours -or even longer than 20 minutes!- without getting bored to tears and too hot to be comfortable. (why you may ask did I move to this climate??? I often question my sanity in the summer heat, on that one too...)

As for a romantic evening on your own? I would recommend one. You'll love it! Renting a car can be expensive, but not too bad if you just rent it for a couple of days out of the length of your entire visit. That way you can go off and do a little adventure to remember for when you are home in whatever winter climate you may find yourself! [We'd lend you our car, but it's our only mode of transport. We gave up the lifestyle that included a second car long ago.]

T. is really amazing. Over the years he has evolved into the chief tour guide (sans accurate running commentary) of the island for all our guests. He loves to drive all the little back roads, down to the little lost beaches and through narrow villages. He's familiar with all the secret parking places in town. And mostly he love to take people around with him to show them "his " island.

I used to go along and give little snippets of history and background on this or that place, but after the first couple of years, T. really liked to do that part as well. Usually tho, he remembers a lot of things about some places but often he just makes things up as he goes. I think it's creative- not true of course, but certainly interesting.

This means that it's much better for me to stay home as when I hint at correcting the stories, there is much sighing and eye rolling, and yes, even sometimes the odd bark of frustration with my "nit-picky-ness".

Then too, I admit, we have a small car. When out touring with friends, I spend much of the time in the back seat which is not my favorite place to sit in the car. I don't mind on the way to dinner, or a destination we're all agreed on, but every day for sightseeing - nope. Been there, done that. I am better humored having spent the day at home alone.

Being retired doesn't mean you're on vacation all the time. Usually T wakes up at 5 to have some quiet time to himself and water the garden and take the dog for a hike in the hills before it gets too warm. He sort of paces himself for the day. He's not shy about telling people he needs a little quiet hour in the afternoon while he dozes in front of World Sport on CNN. And he's totally charming with all our guests.

I used to be Ms super-Hospitality, but I have passed the crown over. I love to have a house full of guests, but T actually loves "going on vacation" with them!


  1. It sounds to me like you have the patience of a saint. I gave up hosting a house party every week of our lives long ago, even though we live in a pretty country cottage in the middle of nowhere but still only couple of hours' drive from London. You should put this post just inside the front door as a 'joke'. xx

  2. Actually I really do enjoy having house guests. I just get snarky with the heat. tomorrow it will be 36-38.) This week we still have our grandson for the final week of his 2 month stay, and today my two young cousins from Brussels arrived. (well, young is relative:
    grandson is 14; cousins are in their late 20's.)

    We actually live pretty boring lives in between houseguests! So I shouldn't complain too much. Still I have to admit it is a little bit weird to have people taking their annual vacation at my house! and they're not even my children!

    I am pretty flattered that they would like to spend their vacation with us. if only I didn't have the niggling doubt that it's all really because it's much easier to let us figure things out and argue with the locals!

    ah, my cynical gene is showing!

    all is well, and everything is fine as long as I still find live amusing !

  3. Well, I like it, but then everyone's been coming for years,they are all considerate people and they muck in on the work.

    It is great to have other people to discuss things with, have impromptu debates over the lunch table and just to hear opinions other than one's own.

    They also bring proper, U.K. newspapers! I store them up for after the summer rush and have a newspaper orgy all to myself.

    Yes, I know that they are on holiday while we live here, but they make it a holiday for us...I look forward to the invasion.

  4. YES! I ask them to save all the Times Book Supplements they can remember to save and bring those! In May our friends came with a whole stack that I periodically look at longingly! (I have to wait until November, as my mother is coming for a month in October)

    We have such a variety of people who come. We even have "friends of friends" and those are the ones who are sometimes a bit tricky. But yes, I find it great to get into debates with people who have different ideas. I enjoy playing cards with people who don't play the same way as by dear one--- or who use other words when they play scrabble!

    It is worth the hassle or we wouldn't do it!



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