Saturday, 29 September 2012
When we first took on Pentre Bach Holiday Cottages and started receiving guests, we thought long and hard about whether to accept pets. The previous owners didn't despite owning a dog and two cats themselves. In the end we decided to allow one pet per cottage, and of course this usually means a dog (although we did have one group who brought along their tortoise on holiday- fair enough!).
On the whole we've been satsfied that we made the right decision. there's a huge market out there of dog owners who refuse to leave their much loved Spaniels, Jack Russels and Collies at home when they go away for a weekend or a week. We reckon that about 30% of our guests bring a dog with them. So if we'd not accepted pets , that would've been a sizeable chunk of income that we would've lost.
The vast majority of our guests who bring along their best friend, are considerate, careful and clean. They clear up after their dogs, bringing doggie bags with them, with which to dispose of the dog mess and very often bring a dog bed or blanket for the dog to sleep on. They keep their pets on a lead at all times and make sure they don't upset other guests or our sheep-rearing farmer neighbours. They make good use of our large field to exercise their dogs or take them off to enjoy the many dog friendly beaches nearby.
However ...............very occasionally come along some dog owners who give other dog owners a bad name. We had one couple last week in Y Popty. They allowed their Alsation to roam the garden and lawns unattended (thank goodness the main house wasn't occupied last week!) and let it leave its messy deposits here , there and everywhere. This is not nice to get caught up in the lawn mower or trodden in and tramped into the cottages. The poor animal must have also been sick in the garden on a number of occasions but again this was left for us to clear up before the next guests came across it.
The cottage carpet was coated in a thick matt of long dog hairs, both downstairs and up in the bedrooms. I even found dog hairs in the cutlery drawer! It took me over 2 hours to vacuum the lounge carpet, down on my hands and knees, using the nozzle of my Little Henry! The whole cottage stank of wet dog throughout. To make matters worse, they'd left the log fire unguarded, with the result that we had burn marks on the carpet. Oh and they left early in the morning before we were up and about. could it be that they didn't want to face us?
We had to refuse a last minute booking from a family with a toddler because we couldn't guarantee that we could get the place cleaned and odour-free before they arrived.
Don't get me wrong; I love dogs and if we didn't have to travel as much as we do, we'd most likely have a dog of our own. Its just the odd thoughtless, selfish owner that thoroughly gets up our noses (and other places!).
We do make a small charge of £15 for a dog , to cover the extra cleaning, but this would not have come anywhere near the cost of extra cleaning this week. We're going to have to have all the carpets cleaned before we can let the property again. We also ask owners to abide by a set of commonsense 'Doggie Dos and Doggie Don'ts' before they arrive, just things such as keeping dogs on leads on our property and picking up their 'Doggie Dos'! Most owners are happy to comply and do.
As holiday cottage owners, we're constantly at the mercy of guests who could post a derogatory review on Trip Advisor, if we happened to have a problem such as the heating failing unexpectedly or poor weather which made our guests feel miserable and then find fault with something in one of our cottages. Its never happened yet, but we're always nervous that it could , and then our business could suffer. Perhaps there should be a cottage owner version where we could name and shame people such as those we had the pleasure of hosting last week. We wouldn't but its an idea.
Rant over. I feel better for getting that off my chest!
Dogs and their considerate owners are still very welcome.
Friday, 28 September 2012
For the last six weeks or so, we've had a bit of a problem with badgers digging up great lengths of the grass verges alongside our drive leading down to our cottages, leaving us with a bit of an eyesore. It doesn't make a very good impression when guests initially arrive at the start of their holiday.
So.......what to do about it?
Well my mum and dad had a similar problem in their immaculately kept garden down in Oxfordshire until my mum remembered a speaker who had come to give a talk to her WI group many, many years ago. He came up with the solution with which my brother-in-law obliged, and the badger never returned to their garden.
We thought, 'Why not?' so over last weekend, Mike filled up a plastic bottle every time he went to spend a penny, then under cover of darkness, went out and poured the contents of the bottle down the badger hole and along the grass verges either side of the drive.
So far, so good. No more digging has occured this week! Where have they gone? We don't really care, as long as they're not digging up our drive!
Sunday, 23 September 2012
These are some of the comments written in Y Llaethdy's guest book this year. Carina , from Holland, who's been many many times, even drew us a picture!
A wonderful sunny week we had in Llwyngwril. I guided my friend Marieke, who had her 50th birthday here and her wish was to come to Wales. We went on my favourite walks and visited other nice spots. It was great to be back again and hope to return again one day. Thanks Mike and Wilma for keeping the place as it is ….such a peaceful haven.
Carina and Marieke, Holland
We have had a wonderful stay in Llwyngwril and have very much enjoyed staying in Y Llaethdy. One day we took the train to Harlech which had the most amazing castle. Purely by accident we were there on the evening of Glyndwr Day, as there was an amazing torchlight procession winding its way into the castle.
We have had a brilliant time. Thank you very much, and hopefully we will be back some day! J
Tom and Penny, Kent/Surrey
Diolch am ‘wg liau bendigedig!
Dick and Dina Allard
( I translated this online to something like ‘thanks for wonderful egg turns’! but heh!)
We’ve had a fantastic time! Peace and tranquillity. The cottage is divine, so homely we couldn’t wait to get back after we were out and about each day. We went on the train to Fairbourne and caught the ferry to Barmouth- a great day out.
We absolutely loved the little touches you’ve given to the cottage; they made it very welcoming and it felt like home from home. We will definitely be returning. Thanks so much.
Sally, Clare , Jasmine and Teddy.
Our second visit- very comfortable and warm, despite the horrendous weather at first! Hope to return when we can stay longer. Thanks very much.
Graham, Sally and Charlie
Thank you for your great hospitality. We had a great time. People here in Wales are really welcoming. Our dog Oscar was happy as well. We had a wonderful time in your cottage with the beautiful sea view. We’ll definitely come back soon.
Marta and Krystian
Saturday, 8 September 2012
Here is a selection of guests' comments from one of our visitor's books this year. It's so nice to feel that our guests appreciate all this beautiful house and the stunning surrounding area.
The perfect house for a family Christmas, we all felt right at home! Hope to come back again soon. Thank you!
The O’Byrnes, Jacks, Sfakianoses and 1 Zvesper, Christmas 2011
What can I say?
We had a fantastic weekend. The house was warm, inviting and beautiful.
We played hide and seek, had great meals in the dining room and congegated in the cosy kitchen.
Best of all, my best friend had the best weekend with all his family and friends.
Thank you so much.
We will never forget Pentre Bach!
Shelley, Feb 2012
We have had a lovely week, lovely place to stay as a family. We felt like royalty in the dining room! Beautiful scenery from all of the windows. We enjoyed visiting the Blue Lake and our day trip to Barmouth on the train. Definitely would love to come again.
An absolutely wonderful long weekend with a fabulous group of friends!
Pentre Bach is gorgeous - warm, welcoming and very homely. We all loved it!
Climbed Cader Idris, beautiful views and a lot of laughs white-water rafting in Bala!
We will definitely be back!
Laura, Tel, Maggie, Alan, Paul, Liz, Albert, Charmaine, Flash and Grace, May 2012
We had had the lovliest weekend celebrating Maggie’s 21st. Felt like luxury in this beautiful house, and the scenery is amazing! Don’t think I’ve ever been in a more picturesque place.
Thank you ever so much.
Alice, May 2012
A group of 22 friends and family were here for Mo’s 60th birthday. Fabulous house, great views and sunshine!
A fantastic weekend!
The Collins, July 2012
What a super holiday we’ve had again at Pentre Bach, and what glorious weather we had the whole week. An eventful week with lots of walking, swimming, and sitting out admiring the view and the sunsets. Lovely! Great house!
Chris, Rosaleen and all the family, July 2012
Excellent house for a family holiday. Marvellous location, views and sunsets. Breakfast and dinner in the garden.
Good excursions to Talyllyn, C.A.T., Cader Idris and Barmouth, ( via Fairbourne Railway and ferry boat across the estuary- perfect for small boys!).
Great windows for reading in.
The Grants, August 2012
Monday, 3 September 2012
Well that's the busy summer holidays over so it must be time to put our feet up now......or not.
We've still got a healthy lot of bookings in the cottages over the next few weeks and enquiries are growing again as people start to think about their next holiday. We've got nearly twenty bookings for 2013 and even one for 2014!
Thanks to all our guests so far this year. Its great to see more and more returning guests. The Holmwoods have been coming for 20 years and it was lovely to be able to welcome back Carina from the Netherlands, yet again.
As for putting our feet up.... well there's the garden to tidy, that shower to fix, that pink bedroom to paint, the gutters to clean, the outside of Pen y Lon to finish painting (only one side left to do!) and so on and so on. The list just gets bigger!
Well the main house was vacated on Saturday so we were able to move in there for a couple of nights - made a nice change from our normal abode in the caravan for the duration of the summer. It was lovely to be able to enjoy the sunset from the patio last night.