I haven't blogged for ages because there's been an elephant in the room. How could I have written and not mentioned the awful weather? It's been the worst June for forty years, but I could hardly have told you that. You'd have cancelled in droves! However, everyone has survived and had a good time visiting the lovely Languedoc's wildest places instead of lolling by the pool.
But THE SUN's BACK. That's the forecast at 9.07 this morning. So now we look forward to the return of the cicadas and their heat-driven whistle.
We've been battling with vine-spraying between showers. A mixture of heat, rain then plunging overnight temperatures has meant that the vines have been very susceptible to a number of conditions such as powdery mildew and shatter - the latter producing poor fruit set. But now I'm hoping we can hang on to as much of the good-looking berries as possible and that we have a long hot period from now until harvest. We need sun-soaked guests and grapes.
I'm about to have a rant, so look away if you're not up for it on a fine June day. Four days ago I received an e-mail from a guest who'd booked to stay for four days with her parents who were coming all the way from Rio de Janeiro. She wrote to say how much she was looking forward to cycling through lavender fields here in Provence. PROVENCE, LAVENDER FIELDS? Eeek. I wrote immediately to say that she did realise that Le Couvent is in Languedoc surrounded by vineyards, didn't she? She didn't and could I show her on a map when they got here?
They duly arrived two nights ago and were clearly bemused by where they'd pitched up. No lavender fields and no castle. CASTLE? What castle? Our lovely Brazilian then went off to find the picture she'd cut from a magazine three years ago and had been carrying in her pocket and her dreams ever since. At this point it all came clear.
In 2007 we had an e-mail from a journalist from Elle Spain who asked us to send photos of Le Couvent as she wanted to write an article. We sent photos and expected her to turn up. She didn't, but the article was published and I found it online. To my horror I saw that she'd said Le Couvent was in the lavender fields of Provence and at the top of the article was a Photoshopped stock image of Senanque Abbey sitting in a field of lavender. I wrote to the journalist immediately and pointed out her mistake and told her that I was furious that she could be so misleading. She told me I was worrying unnecessarily and that it didn't matter.
Lots of people contacted us to book and we told all of them the truth. Some of them came to stay anyway and we all had a lovely time. Some really wanted the lavender - just as our lovely guest who's here at the moment. So yesterday I suggested that we find them somewhere in Provence and I've now booked them in to a B&B that looks lovely and definitely has lavender there right now.
But lazy journalism has cost us about 400 euros and our lovely guests the loss of two days of their long-awaited holiday. Sure, they've made the best of it and have had their heads turned towards the delights of the Languedoc, but that's not the point. In the eight years that we've been open as a B&B there have been many articles that mention us. We have never sought it, though we've been grateful more often than not. However, only one journalist - the lovely Louise Hurren - has ever bothered to actually visit us. Pretty poor show eh? So don't believe everything you read in the papers - good or bad.