Many of you might not know, but as well as looking after our two apartments I do actually have a job which keeps me pretty busy, and as part of it involves being on the web a lot, it's sometimes difficult to find the time and motivation to write here.
Since the last post, many things have changed/evolved. There was a "massage café" nearby that I wanted to write about. Then it closed. There was a sweet/interesting little shop that did sculpted busts much like you see in museums. It closed too. It seems that by the time I get round to writing about the neighbourhood, everything has changed! Shame on me.
At the apartment, there have been some changes and improvements. We bought a new vacuum cleaner. Yay! In line with our eco-policy, it uses 25% less electricity and 80% of it can be recycled. Emptying the dust out of old one was like some fiendish puzzle, but with this one you just pull the collector. Simple. A thing of beauty it is indeed.
However, you probably won't be using it at all; we've changed the cleaning policy at the apartment. Up until now, guests could either choose to clean the place themselves before leaving, or pay extra for cleaning to be done for them. We thought that people would look after the place better if they knew they would be tidying it before departure.
However, despite making valiant efforts (most of the time), extra cleaning was always required afterwards, and in the end we had to hire a cleaning lady to help out (I just don't have the time). We bore the cost of this for quite a while, but experience has shown us that all our guests take very great care of the place, and many would prefer not to have the hassle of cleaning up before they go, so now the cleaning fee (currently 50 euros) is obligatory for all new bookings.
(I have to say, we were also slightly concerned about the number of people who used our soft, colourful bamboo towels to clean the bathroom. With bleach. This gave them a really nasty tie-dye look that obliged us to replace them each time.)
In other news, we've replaced the cable TV box for the latest version available (took 6 months to arrive, then didn't work!). The main difference is a swank new menu when you switch it on, funky new rubber remote, web browser access for those who haven't got a laptop with them, and - the main attraction - Blu-ray playback.
Now, at last, we have HD video in the apartment. Hurrah!
Also, as part of the renovation of the building's stairwell, the electricity supply has been updated and the water supply has been changed too. This meant that the cleaning lady couldn't vacuum one day and had to clean in the dark (no electricity), and another she had to clean the place without any water (using her own bottled water no less). It also meant a fantastic amount of dust. Hopefully no other major changes will be necessary.
We've also replaced the rug in the living room (it was starting to look a bit dull), changed the continental quilt for a fluffier, warmer one, and changed all the pillows (they had gone a little flat). The pillows and quilt both use fibres produced with reduced CO₂ emissions and have no feathers in them.
Oh, and in the kitchen, we've added a toaster (about a year after one guest suggested we do so). Sorry we didn't get round to that a little quicker...
Next addition should be the funky new Dyson heater. We already have their cool air fan, but the new edition both heats and cools, meaning we could swap two machines for one. I think the design of it will go well with the apartment - it just screams 21st century phallic, don't you think?
Despite being horrifically expensive, it'll be blowing hot and cold your way sometime soon.