Added on Friday 17 Sep 2010August/September Blog
Salve tutti! Sorry for the delay to this month's blog. This was for two reasons. One, my computer got very sick with multiple viruses and only got better last night, and second, on a happier note, we have been busy this August with full occupancy for 1 week! (I know it doesn't sound much but in only our second year of opening and during a global recession, trust me-it's a big deal!) Although we are still not out of the woods yet, at least we know we are moving in the right direction.
I didn't think so much could happen in a month but I will do my best to try and explain as much as I can.
For the very first time, we were invited to lunch on our terrace by our bed and breakfast guests, a lovely English/Italian family who were staying for a week. It was so nice to have guests feel so at home here with us. We had real Buffalo mozzarella, black olives, crusty bread, good Italian prosciutto and melon with a cold beer on a hot day. What more do you want from life? We don't normally eat like that now, since the recession, so it was a real treat. After lunch they got out their paints and began a watercolour of a view from our house which they kindly gave us. We now have this hanging in the breakfast room.
Then we had a young couple arrive on their vintage vespa from Le Marche. We got chatting and they live quite near to 'Borgo Pintura' (the hamlet-where I used to live as a child) After their tour they sent me an email thanking us for our hospitality with a photo for the sign for Borgo-I have to confess I got a bit emotional!
We had a family stay with us from the north of Italy quite near to the Swiss border so their Italian accent was quite guttural. They enjoyed their home made breakfast so much, especially David's cake that they emailed to ask us for the recipe! Can you believe it! Who would have thought that-that's one for the book! Also I have noticed that most of the northern Italians like to buy our extra virgin oil-5 litres at a time which is nice!
We certainly seem to be getting a lot of enquires, some from whom I never would have imagined! The locals make up people who live here permanently, those who have second homes and those who are originally from this area but have to live away for work reasons. Examples of these were one local woman who lives here who only had room for her visiting nephew and his wife from Turin, but their friends stayed here. Another example of this is that next month we have all 3 rooms booked for a baptism taking place locally. If they come to the door which happens on occasion, I like to show them the rooms, only if they are empty of course! This seems to put their minds at ease and secure the booking.
Amidst all the guest activity, I continued to teach English. I have just found out that my students who were sitting their PET exam last week, passed! I am so pleased and happy for them. These are preliminary English tests set by the University of Cambridge. This may hopefully help my reputation in the town (as an English teacher anyway-see next paragraph!) and encourage more people to come forward for lessons.
Although we are getting many more enquiries than last year, through the internet and now for the first time through word of mouth. 'passaparola', we were still not included in the official citta della pieve website where they have a list of all tourist accommodation. I was becoming increasingly frustrated as we are official and had to endure a tourist board inspection last year before we could open. Perhaps it's because the comune believe we are foreign, well I suppose we are foreign, of sorts! Anyway, I kept emailing and phoning the tourist department, to no avail. I thought, xxxxxx this!, so I emailed the Mayor! Lo and behold within a few days both the Mayor and the tourist department emailed me to say they had added our bed and breakfast to the list. Just when you think you are fighting a losing battle, success!
Last weekend we had Italian female bikers stay for the night. I'm really pleased as we particularly wanted to attract bikers to our bed and breakfast, as our road is popular with cyclists (remember the Giro) and bikers. The bikers are returning to stay at the end of October-so we are delighted!. So far, we have had couples, families and bikers, mostly all Italian,-so that's all the demographics covered then!
Our friend, Cristina, originally from Rome (see last blog), had arranged for her friends to stay with us. They are retired actors (or maybe they were just 'resting'), anyway, they own a large, old agriturismo in Le Marche. They actually asked my advice on how I designed the rooms, and where did I get my furniture and bed linen. Ever since then, the majority of guests have complemented on our style too. (Let's make this clear-NOT our fashion style!) I couldn't believe Italians are asking me for advice on interior design! and buying our extra virgin olive oil.
Next month on Campogrande bed and breakfast diary-Our favourite time of year-Olive Harvest Time-the olive picking starts earlier and earlier each year! And the start of the obligatory thermal wearing-no Umbrian should be seen dead without them! And hopefully include David's cake recipe (if he lets me!). As I write, the wild boar hunting season has begun-so there is lots of shot showering down on us-so no change from Glasgow then!