In this new role we have 2 consecutive changeover days. Whilst not as lengthy as previously, as we do not need to include breakfast and evening meals, they are very intensive. The standards with this company are higher, the chalets more elaborate and we are now being inspected, not just threatened with them. It also seems to be more usual for people to book flight times to suit themselves rather than opt for the cheapest, often anti-social period of the day or night. This results in departures around mid-morning or later, and arrivals during the afternoon, leaving time to sort out equipment before dinner. The result of this is that our turnaround time is squeezed from both ends and we have to deliver a glistening pristine chalet when guests arrive.
Check out is 10am and check-in is 4pm, but this is rather loose. It is easier to work around departing guests as we have got to know each other and can be flexible. There is no established relationship with arrivees who can be quite put-out to discover that their abode isn’t ready at 2.30. They don’t know (or care) that their predecessors didn’t leave until 11am, nor that we had to complete the 2 hour daily clean in the other chalet as well that day, but not before 9.30. As we will have to do for them on the other changeover day, but that is not their concern.
Consequently Roger and I fly around like the proverbial blue-bottomed flies on 2 consecutive days and our week revolves around Saturday and Sunday, but not in the good way of previous employment. Our first couple of changeovers were so manic that we literally didn’t stop for 6 hours and worked at a pace that was unsustainable and also produced a less-than-fresh, puce reception committee (but we lost weight!) This past weekend though, we have made a point of stopping for 5 minutes to drink a cup of tea, even if ten minutes after it is made so it can be downed quickly. Also I have sat to drink it and I don’t mean on the loo, that has been an additional break, ensuring that there was one left for our use, which hadn’t been cleaned.
Lunch has disappeared from these days but this weekend we were treated to left-over grapes on both days and a real bonus on Sunday when those guests had brought their departure time forward due to the heavy snow and a trip home to Sydney with 2 young children. It would have been horrific for them to miss their connecting flight so their fresh bread order arrived after they’d left. Roger enjoyed 2 fresh croissants for lunch, a pain au raisin for evening dessert and our drivers gained 2 baguettes and 2 pain au chocolates.
Snow had started falling Saturday evening and continued through the night so we woke to several inches of a fresh powdery blanket. Well that’s not strictly true, the snow clearers woke me at 3.30am with their incessant barking sound of a hoarse dog, right outside our window. I fail to understand why it takes nearly 2 hours to clear a 200yd stretch of a few inches of snow. In Alpe d’huez they didn’t start until 5.30 and still managed to complete the main part of the job by 7.30, in a larger resort.
Now that we are without a vehicle again the snow under foot doesn’t bother us unduly. However, the guests coming to Mollard on Sunday had put in a shopping order for €350 of wine and groceries, which was in the store room at Loft since Friday’s shop, with kindling and laundry. All needed to be transported up from the basement, along the road and 100yds down the unsurfaced footpath.
In addition to the groceries was the weight of 24 wine and fizz bottles, 15 x 2 litre bottles of coke and lemonade plus 2 packs of 6 x 1 litre bottles of water. I envisaged us spending ages lugging weighty shopping bags back and forth when we should have been decorating changed beds, titivating sparkling bathrooms and polishing light-bulbs. One of the admin assistants offered her van for transport but the section of the journey on the roadside was probably less than 50% of the total. I had jokingly asked the operations manager if the company had a dog sled we could use for this purpose. No, but there was a trolley in one of the other chalets which has a long entrance. This duly arrived at 11am and by 11.45 all the necessary items had been loaded into it, at the cupboard door, and dragged and pushed (apart from when I took the photo) to the top of the chalet steps. The chariot even has wide wheels to prevent sinking into the fresh snow too much. I was delighted, which is slightly weird but illustrates my current life.
So another week starts. Friends are staying in the adjacent resort of Meribel so we hope to see them. My first impression of the Loft guests was not favourable but they left the place so tidy yesterday morning that I’ve revised that opinion, despite them starting to drink as soon as they arrived at 2.30, rejecting my suggestion to go into town for a coffee whilst we finished preparation and set up. The impact of the three huskies which arrived at Mollard with yesterday’s guests remains to be seen, or smelt!