Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Quel Baptême !

With nothing much to do, I investigated the fridge......and found two egg whites I had saved sometime this week. Can't be older than that (?!) so what shall I do with them? I know! Since I have two pudding-fixated girls, how about a meringue......it did not last long though, I can tell you, when they came home!

The hole in the top 'appeared' when some little cherub wanted to check if the meringue was hard or not!

English friends were coming down last night to their house (that we look after) in Autignac. We got a call in the evening to say that their keys would not work, and could they borrow our set. Of course! So they arrived half an hour later, very fed up having just driven about 1000 miles in one day.....only to find they were locked out of their own house!

They came round again today for a cup of tea, so I decided to make some cookies. When our girls got home for lunch, I was very impressed - although their eyes kept looking that way, they never mentioned the cookies sitting on the table until Nick, Catherine and family left. Then it was....let us at them!!!


Today our apartment was being inspected by the Prefector. We turned up about twenty minutes early for the appointment, only to find that the Inspector, the Tourist Office lady and the previous owner were already in our apartment - where they were being complained to by our first 'guests'!

First they complained that the apartment was humid, and was worsening the old ladies serious medical condition. No it is not humid, said the Inspector - there is absolutely no trace of mould along the double glazed windows where it would be if it was humid! Also, a doctor provides a certificate stating anything that will exasperate a medical condition - which they would have been required to provide us with a copy of before signing the contract. Since they did not (and indeed admitted that they did not even have one!), the contract was legally binding.
Score 1 to us.

Then they said the apartment was damp, because a bit of wall paper was hanging off at the corner, at waist height - which it had not been the day they moved in because we have pictures to prove it! The charming Inspector said that it was not because of damp - just that 'somehow' it had obviously become slightly detached after they had moved in and that he was sure that (if it worried them) Monsieur would stick it back on.
Score 2 to us.

Then they complained that the electricity was far too expensive. The Inspector (we are starting to love him) said that electricity is expensive everywhere, and Lamalou is no different. Why have the heating on so high?!
Score 3 to us.

Then they complained that they should not have to pay for the apartment to be cleaned. The Inspector pointed out that it had been detailed in the contract they had signed several months ago, and detailed in the provisional bill that they had happily paid when they arrived.
Score 4 to us.

Then they complained that there was no air in the apartment. The Inspector said that that was hardly surprising since they had the heating turned up to maximum and no windows open.
Score 5 to us.

Then they said that it was too dangerous to have the door into the private courtyard left open. The Inspector said: Dangerous? In Lamalou?!
Score 6 to us.

Then they said that they could smell the drains. What drains? said our wonderful Inspector.
Score 7 to us.

Then they said that it was a scandal that the apartment was classified for disabled people when it was totally unsuitable - and that they did not see that they should have to pay AT ALL for the accommodation. The Inspector then informed them that at no point were they told that the apartment was certified for disabled people. As he went on to inform them - there is no accommodation in Lamalou certified for disabled people, and that in the whole of Herault, there are only a handful. And he knew because he was the ONLY certifying Inspector for the whole of Herault!!
Score 8 to us!!!

The previous owner was fit to be tied throughout this discussion, and the lady from the Tourist Office announced to us in a loud voice that there were always people who try to get out of paying!

Thank-god that the Inspector called today!

Thank-God we took Mme Daniel's advice and had already taken the money off these people when they first arrived - all except the electricity and water excess which we can take out of the deposit if they get funny!

Thank-God we decided to have the place certified by the Prefector - because if there is any dispute, the 'guest' has to direct their issues at the Prefector via the Tourist Office (not at the owner). And we are now confident that they know how to deal with difficult 'guests'!

At the suggestion of the Inspector, we finalised the paperwork in Mme Daniel's office - where the Trio said to Richard and I: 'Quel baptême! Bon courage!!' Oh very funny......

So I am happy to say our apartment is certified 'Deux Etoile - Meubles De Tourisme Tout Confort'. That is, provided you do not mind the humidity, the lack of air, the smell of drains......


Lesley said...

WOW! What a terrible introduction to the letting business! It was so good that the Inspector was there to answer all their fault-finding! Now you have some ready-prepared answers for future ones too.
The cookies and meringue look yummy!
Lesley x

Jacqui U said...

So right! We have his answers imprinted on our brain.

And yes, they were all yummy - but none left now!!!!