Archive for the ‘Working in France’ Category

Can’t speak much French, can’t speak any English and won’t speak Spanish

With the rapid rise of the Catalán language just over the border in Spain the problems in communication with those coming north have been magnified considerably.

Starting earlier this year we began to receive guests from “Spain” who could barely speak French or English and simply refused to speak Spanish. Since we don’t speak Catalán we’re increasingly finding ourselves pretty much resorting to sign language with some of them.

Aside from anything else, that makes sending out of our acknowledgement e-mail something of a problem. The majority of those coming from south of the border are from Barcelona and that’s a very cosmopolitan city with Spanish from all over the country and indeed Latin America living there but obviously with a large Catalán component. The only language that we know they all speak is Spanish yet sending out an acknowledgement e-mail in Spanish will clearly insult the Cataláns.

The net effect is that we’re considering calling it a day with e-mails to Spain yet that causes complications for them and in fact we’ve already received a complaint from one Catalán couple (in English, as they won’t write in Spanish and nobody outside Spain can understand Catalán) because they say we were closed the night they’d booked. In fact, because they’d refused to read the directions e-mailed to them in Spanish, they were banging on the door of our neighbour’s house and he was off on holiday.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

The Danish tour group again

We’ve got our Danish group back again this evening.

It’s an interesting aspect of the development of our bookings that we are starting to get picked out by tour groups this year. This’ll be the fifth time that the Danish tour leader will have been here on one of her New Age tours taking in this region. It seems to be quite a popular area for that type of tour, this particular one having a Mary Magdelene theme.

Anyway, that’ll keep us pretty busy this evening as they want meals through to lunchtime tomorrow.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Holiday time for us?

One of the problems with working in the tourist industry is that you’re really busy right through the main holiday season and therefore need to take your own holidays out of season.

That tends to rule out some types of holiday. For instance, many beach destinations are out as they’ll be closed down for the season by the time we’d be able to go. The weather isn’t so dependable out of the holiday season either so we need to take more care about the type of destination we consider.

At the moment, we’re looking into two quite different holidays for ourselves.

The first will probably be late October/early November and for that we’re aiming to do a mini-citybreak. Flight prices drop dramatically by then so we’ve quite a wide choice in principle though as it’s just a short break we don’t want to pay a fortune for the hotels at the other end (which ruled out Venice: the prices were unbelieveable) and also it’s a lot cheaper if you don’t need to get a hotel at the airport so that knocks out flights leaving early in the morning.

The second is Christmas which may surprise you. In fact, we are usually empty over the Christmas period as the locals don’t “do” Christmas. Anyway, the net effect of that is that we have a window of around 7-10 days and we’re hoping to go somewhere “Christmasy” for it. Options for that one include Brussels (surprisingly cheap on the hotel front as the bureaucrats have, of course, left for their own holidays) and southern Germany. In principle, we’d have liked to do Edinburgh or London but the flight prices knocked both of them out of the running.

After that? Well, we’ll be full in early January but would like to get away somewhere warm sometime in the late January to early March period to break up the Winter for us.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Bakers bills

Since we use two bakers, we get two bills, of course.

However, as we use one of the bakers mainly for the weekend and the other mainly for during the week, you’d think that the bills would be substantially different. Funnily enough, there’s actually very little difference in them which is quite peculiar.

The reason why they’re fairly similar is that we’ve been getting growing numbers of Spanish staying during the week whilst the weekend is normally reserved for the British. The Spanish rarely take breakfast but the British nearly always do, so the weekend bill generally ends up higher than the mid-week one.

How come the Spanish don’t take breakfast though? Well, they’ve become used to the normal level of French breakfasts and it just ain’t enough for them so they eat elsewhere for breakfast for the most part although any that have seen the breakfast we put out have often wandered in and started eating which is something of a complication for us as we only get the croissants etc. if the people have ordered breakfast the night before.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

A very enjoyable evening

We’d a very enjoyable evening last night when Colin McAllister who bills himself as a storyteller and traditional singer had a meal with us and treated us to an excellent song about Killinchy where I grew up. He’s got probably one of the best “jobs” (if you could call it that) in that he gets paid to tell stories in a number of different European countries and obviously considers it as a very enjoyable hobby that just happens to pay money.

The Polish family who called in for a meal have put the thought in our heads of going to Poland for our Christmas break. Poland probably isn’t the first country that you’d think of going for Christmas but they seem to have pretty much the same Christmas traditions as we do, unlike the more southerly countries in Europe.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.