14. The Weekend

An additional job for changeover this weekend was to dismantle the Christmas tree, remove and pack away the decorations and lights and then get rid of the dried fir. The challenge was how to do this making the least mess possible. Two options were available: put the tree in a duvet cover or use the plastic laundry bag. We only have one of the latter and 12 sets of bedding to stuff into it so I didn’t want it torn. Roger thought that sap might damage the duvet cover. It might, but I was less concerned about that than the ensuing mess of pine needles throughout the apartment. We were able to take it out the lounge balcony door, around the outside but back in the door by the kitchen before dragging the shedding skeleton though the narrow hallway, considerably narrower than the tree, and out the front door into the lobby. A trip down in the lift was followed by another drag along the corridor and through 2 sets of doors, still narrower than the tree therefore acting as a funnel for the branches before they sprang back into place catapulting needles in every direction.
The naked tree finally landed outside the front door and I returned to start clearing up the inevitable debris which must have taken well over an hour. There goes the time saved by arriving early. Armed with a dustpan and brush for the needles and a bin-bag for the tufts which could block a vacuum I tried to clear the main areas downstairs as best I could. I wasn’t going to lug the hoover down there. This communal entrance area was not kept all that sprucely anyway so I didn’t feel compelled to remove every single piece of evidence, although our supervisor did inform us that we/I should (even if it doesn’t look too bad in the photo).

At 1pm we stopped for a well-deserved cup of coffee, reheated contents from the cafetiere the guests had at breakfast, when the ops manager arrived. I think he must have been lurking outside somewhere, waiting to catch us shirking when we drew a breath for the first time. We didn’t even sit down but I had insisted that we have at least one drink during the course of a minimum of 6 hour changeover day.
Twelve guests had departed and ten were arriving in this 8-10 person chalet. The incomers included a 7 month old baby. This doesn’t really count as a body apparently, although our experience has taught us that babies create as much, if not more, work than adults.
The first pair arrived, self-driven from the Isle of Man. Their offspring and grandson were due to arrive later. The place was more or less ready; most pine needles had been sucked up although I dare say they will continue to reveal themselves for the next few months. We received our first actual inspection, ten minutes before the guests were due. I find this process rather odd as there is so little time to rectify matters, if anything significant is discovered. If insignificant, it can wait.

The baby kit arrived shortly afterwards, brought by the ops manager again. As he was leaving I checked whether he was going to confirm the restaurant booking and order the raclette and fondue equipment. No, we were to do that. But we get charged to ring French numbers from our own phones. He did not look happy, which was endorsed by another public wrist slap later that evening on the WhatsApp group for not using our personal phones on company business, but that’s another story.
Mollard’s guests were not due to leave until 12.15 on Sunday but knew that they could leave their bags in the chalet, to where they’d have to return for pick-up. They had gone out for a coffee by the time we arrived, after completing the daily clean in Loft. They returned shortly after we had stripped the place down and removed the Christmas tree, this time straight onto the balcony and around to the front, avoiding the mess of the previous day. These guys had stripped their beds and even gave us a tip! They can come again. They were by no-means hard up but had cancelled a reservation at one of the restaurants in resort when they’d strolled past and seen the prices on the menu.
We rushed around to get everything ready for 4pm after indulging in one cup of tea since breakfast and were quite relieved to find a little reprieve before commencing the meet and greet but as time ticked by my concern and some frustration rose. I was finally able to raise a response from our concierge service, when the guests were over an hour later than expected, and learnt that they were 15 minutes away. In reality 45 minutes but hey, who’s counting, what does our time matter? They seemed a nice family, from Scotland and New Zealand via Sydney, with Mum and Dad senior were due to arrive later on the Edinburgh flight.

I had felt a twinge of guilt at the sparse but obvious carpet of needles in Loft’s foyer. However, my muddy footprints from the beginning of December were still in evidence on the stairs down to the basement store rooms. As far as I could tell the main entrance had only been cleaned once in a month which seemed rather poor for this prestigious building. I checked with Roger on Monday and no, there was still no evidence of cleaning of the communal areas. If it was as bad again, I asked him to take a photo of the debris. They needed a better cleaner. If the entrance wasn’t going to be up to a suitable standard I knew we would be told to do it so what if I obtained a few extra hours work cleaning the hall, stairs, lift and landing of the building we were working in anyway?
A ‘CimAlpes’ tag had been attached to our door key which I assumed was the building management company and we pass their office everyday. Stopping off on the way back at lunch time I discovered that these guys just rented out another of the apartments in the building (no idea how we came by their key fob.) However, the very helpful lady gave me the name and email of the management company based down the bottom of the valley in Bozel.
I fired off an e-mail, which seemed like a complaint as I listed all the areas which needed cleaning, (admittedly some of my making) but then suggested that they employ me to rectify matters. I held out little hope of them taking on a foreign national for the specified times of 8-10am Mondays and Thursdays, which were most convenient for me. They’ve asked for a quote!

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