Memories of My Tales of Our Holiday Lets. Or … Was it Really Worth it? Or … Tales of the Unexpected!
Updated: Feb 22
Sticking to my theme of memories, I thought I would re-post some thoughts on our holiday letting days...
We loved letting, despite the unexpected. Having a holiday apartment attached to our house brought us many friends; visitors who returned year after year in the summer to enjoy the lovely Pembrokeshire coastline and all the other attractions this part of West Wales offers. We loved seeing them again. And we were fortunate to meet many new people as well. But there were downsides. Or should I say, occasions that made us think again about sharing our home.
Such as the Hippies.
One of the first lot of visitors in our first year (nearly our last!) I’d almost forgotten about them until Husband dug up the bracelet in one of the flower beds the other day. Here I must hasten to add that, no, we didn’t do away with one of them and bury the body in the garden. In fact I’ve no idea how the bracelet got there and so can offer no explanation. Which is all besides the point.
There were just the two of them when they arrived in a small battered car, decorated with brightly coloured swirly shapes. Having always yearned to be ‘one of the beautiful people’ , and knowing I’d no chance, I thought they both looked wonderful in their colourful clothes and long flowing locks ( him and her). Our three children were very young at the time and were mesmerised, especially when, before even unpacking, the man sat cross-legged on the front lawn playing his guitar and she sat alongside banging on a tambourine.
Being a conventional type of chap Husband was wary. ‘Hope they don’t stay in every day making that racket.’ (obviously seeing his quiet weekend and evenings pottering in the garden quickly disappearing). ‘Oh, live and let live,’ said I, wistfully. Words I needed to remember later that day. Thinking discretion was the better part of valour I persuaded Husband to take us to the beach; giving the couple a chance to settle in.
Five hours later we piled three weary kids into the car and went home.We could hear the noise as we drove up the lane to our house. ‘What the …! Husband, looking forward to a quiet beer after his strenuous Family Day of playing football, keeping three kids from drowning in the sea and being being buried in the sand, stared at me with horror. It was extremely loud.
‘It’s actually music,’ I said.
‘It’s coming from our garden and it’s actually too bloody loud,’ said he.
As we turned onto the drive we were faced by a large camper van.
We parked the car next to it and got out. There were half a dozen dancers on the lawn. One of them waved to us. I half raised my hand in reply before I heard Husband’s sigh. (I think I should add here that when we moved into the house the acre of land around it was a field and it had taken three years to get it anything like a garden. He’d worked hard on transforming it and it’s the only thing he’s precious about ) Two of the women were holding small bunches of flowers; Dianthus, I realised (and hoped Husband didn’t) from around the edges of the garden. No such luck; I watched with interest as his face turned puce.
‘Oh dear,’ I said, suddenly aware that I was tapping my feet to the beat. The kids, ecstatic, joined in with the dancing. One woman picked up our daughter and twirled her around.
Seeing Husband looking at his churned-up grass, and seeing our original woman holiday-maker amongst the others, I thought I should say something. ‘They’ve got visitor… our visitors.’
‘We’ve got trouble,’ he growled, pointing to the back of the van where a pile of rucksacks and sleeping bags lay on the ground.
Just then four men appeared from around the corner of the house and gathered up the bags. They walked away from us. For the second time Husband said,’what the …’. And followed them. I followed him.
I wasn’t too worried, after all their van had ‘Peace’ written along the side. We knocked on the door of the apartment. The man who answered wasn’t our visitor. He looked to be around forty-five; an original hippie. ‘Hey, man,’ he said, holding up a hand. He actually said ‘Hey, man,’ like someone out of a third rate film.
‘Who are you? ‘ said Husband. I noticed his ears were bright red, a sure sign of an impending explosion.
‘Friends are staying here,’ the man said. ‘We’re going to kip down for a couple of days with them.’ The other men looked on from inside the kitchen, bottles of beer in their hands. There was no sign of ‘our’ visitor. ‘Just going to stay a couple of days,’ said one of the others.‘Got a problem with that?’ said another.‘You got a problem?’ The first man again.. I felt the first tremor of trepidation.
‘Should I call the police?’ I whispered, poking Husband in the back.He didn’t answer. What he did say to them was, ‘No,I’ve not got a problem. Because what you’re going to do is…you’re going to leave.’There was a long silence, then some mutterings. The men bunched up behind the older man. I was really worried by this time, Husband was no match for them.
Then one said, 'we come in peace.’ He did! He really did say that!
Then… in peace, you’ll leave,’ said Husband. I had the urge to giggle; I think it was nerves. ‘From my count,’ continued Husband, ‘there are ten of you. Eight too many. Eight have to leave.’
‘No way, we’re doing no harm.’ It was a stand-off. We all stared at one another.
Then Husband said, ’okay, that’ll be fifty pounds each.’ I knew he didn’t mean it; we were only insured to take two people in the apartment and he’s not one for flouting the law. It was a gamble.
I’ve never seen people move so fast! They last we saw of them was the billowing of smoke from the exhaust of the camper van.
Until, that is, Husband dug up the bracelet the other day.
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My latest book: The Memory - to be released on March 19, 2020...
Over the course of 24 hours their moving and tragic story is revealed – a story of love and duty, betrayal and loss – as Irene rediscovers the past and finds hope for the future