Ten Tips for Surviving Summertime Guests

Well, it is only the middle of July, and already at least six parties of family and friends have come to spend at least one night here at the Shack. The view is terrific (Mont Blanc on a good day) the temperature is comfortable (as the heat waves squeeze the lowlands), cold drinking water comes from a mountain spring,  and the back stable is filled with delicious, naturally cooled, wine bottles.

However, to ensure smooth days and undisturbed nights there are some basic rules that must be rigorously enforced:

  1. Never, under any circumstances let the guests cook for you. Half-way through a complicated fish dish an honourable Japanese guest will demand distilled essence of sea slug. Without this essential ingredient all will be lost: the dish abandoned, the rice burnt, the precious gifted sake bottle drained in disappointment in the kitchen.
  2. Always make sure that the generator has produced enough hot water for at least two showers. If the first person overindulges there will be at least a little brackish water left to make the second showeree feel rustic, strong, invigorated, and in tune with the mountain environment.
  3. If there are any under-threes in the group, make sure you are stocked up on bubble-blowing kits. This way, they will sit on a flat spot, blow bubbles and not enter the lower basement emerging with a rusty sickle in one hand a sharpened hatchet in the other.
  4. Be prepared for a surprise vegetarian. This is especially relevant if you have visited your favourite butcher in the next village the day before and filled the gas fridge and the back shed with meat, salamis, and sausages.
  5. Provide each guest with a flashlight and show them (in the day time) the way to the outdoor toilet. This not only provides unusual adventure, a unique opportunity to observe the starry night sky, but avoids them bumbling around at night and ending up in your bedroom looking for the en-suite bathroom.
  6.  Plan a hike that leaves early morning. Visit the local bakery and regional specialty shops and buy one of everything even if you don’t know what it is. This adds culinary dash to the walk. Don’t forget Swiss army knives and Band-Aids.
  7. On the hike (see #6) always make the youngest member of the party carries the heavy food pack. This might not work if you have a smart-assed 11-year old who informs you (in French) that in these circumstances the adult accompagnants ALWAYS carry heavy backpacks, not the children.
  8. Have some soft balsa-wood type logs saved for any guests who wish to show off their lumber-jack skills. This way they do not hurt themselves and are not seriously embarrassed by their wood chopping inadequacies.
  9. Do not store plastic water bottles with added fertilizer (for the garden plants) anywhere a guest might come across them. They will inevitably find them, drink them, and then complain of feeling unwell.
  10. Enjoy all the fun.

 

Joy Kundig

Joy Kundig

Joy Kündig-Manning est née en Angleterre et a vécu au Canada. Spécialisée dans la littérature anglaise du XVIIIe siècle, elle a travaillé comme traductrice, enseignante, et écrivaine. Mariée à un Suisse, elle est venue à Genève en 1977. Elle est très contente de tenir le premier blog du Temps en anglais!

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