Thursday, June 25, 2009

Vancouver International Jazz Festival

Calling all jazz lovers! Vancouver's thriving music scene explodes tomorrow and keeps on shining through the holidays until July 5th. The best local and Canadian talent, a sampling of Europe and Latin America's finest musicians and of course, some well known, Big Name headliners.

I love the festival website. If you are thinking of coming to town, you can explore by date or by artist or by music style or by themed music series or even by instrument. Be sure to check out the artists' sampling of audio files. Here is a link to an alphabetical list by venue. It will give you a peek at Vancouver's live club, cool cabaret and concert scene - much of it within walking distance or a short cab from the B & B. As well, it will point out the many, many FREE events!

As for the big tease names - you can't beat two of the world's greatest saxophonists - Sonny Rollins and David Sanborn. Or one of the best trombonists - Ray Anderson. A guitarist like Dick Dale. A vocalist like Kurt Elling. However, I think the whole point of a Festival is to see and hear the next generation of stars and to be here for the unexpected pairings and live collaborations. It's not too late. Don't miss out on all that jazz.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A bed and breakfast garden continued...

The blue ceanosis or wild lilac beside our front steps is buzzing with happy bees. No wonder, the perfume emanating from this hardy shrub is both head-spinning and delightful!

The pink rose is a bonica. I have three and each stands eight to nine feet tall - covered with blooms all summer long. Many, many more blossoms to come!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Last Minute Special

Nelson House B & B is now offering a Last Minute Special - 20 % OFF - if booked within 48 hours of arrival date.

But please be warned:

- you must mention this special when first booking
- we do not answer the phone after 6 PM & we frequently fill up
- no Saturday-only bookings
- once confirmed, there is no cancellation refund!
- you may not get your first choice of room
- if staying more than one night, you may have to change rooms
- to lock in your discount, it's best to 100% complete our secure Reservation Request Form (with your credit card) and we will confirm within 24 hours

Tick Tock

Monday, June 15, 2009

A bed and breakfast garden.

A bed and breakfast garden often shelters some classic specimens of the plant world. Right now, our Alba Rose is in full bloom and scent. Alba is an Old Garden Rose, meaning that it predates the introduction of hybrid varieties in 1867. In fact, the Alba is one of the world's oldest known roses. It is famous as the "white rose", symbol of the House of York, in the 15th century, English "War of the Roses".

In liturgical symbolism, it represents the Virgin Mary. The simple shape and white colour is associated with the light, innocence, purity, joy and glory of the Madonna. Visions of the Virgin are said to be accompanied by the light, sweet scent of this rose.

The Alba's beauty graces our garden by day and it's gentle fragrance is a blessing by night. I don't exactly genuflect but I do stop and smell the roses and recommend it to all my friends.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Blog readers ... please speak up ... politely.

My last post on tips for prospective innkeepers, brought a great deal of interest. For one thing, I was able to track the power of Twitter due to one tweet from who has over 12,000 followers!! By the way, the recommendations on this twitter site are bang-on.

My stats counter went bananas but so few of you posted a comment. Shy- are we? Please, I would love to hear from you on any of the multifarious subjects that have crossed my blog.

Also of note, I rejected my first blog comment. And guess who it was from? It was from one of the United States' largest and most prominent B & B directories. You are probably thinking that I should be so flattered that this big business directory is reading this blog. Well that thought went out of my head in two secs when I realized that the author did not, in even the slightest way, acknowledge the ideas in my post or blog. Not so much as a "Nice post!"

It reads - If you're seriously interested in owning and operating a B&B or for seasoned innkeepers that want some extra tips to make their inn a success, consider our Big Boss' new book for Dummies.

Okay, I deleted the title of the book & website but as you can see - every word is a blatant commercial. And worst of all, their bad manners and poor public relations team overlooked the fact that I am their paying customer! I pay them to list my business on their directory site!! Sheesh - what a lost opportunity to both please me and - politely- inform the public about what they are selling.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Innkeeping - you just gotta Love People

I once read that innkeeping is "the hardest job you will ever love".

I think the author was talking about the long hours and physical labour involved in maintaining a large house. However, the important message is that all of that hard work takes place in a happy and relaxed atmosphere. And all of that work is by your own choice, for your own profit and enjoyment.

If you ever thought you might someday like to operate a B & B, ask yourself if you really do like people, engage with them, manage them and want to know more about them - starting with yourself.

Do these characteristics sound like you?

At the very least - you must be cheerful and optimistic. Well - are you?

To run a bed and breakfast, you can't be afraid of hard work, but it sure is easier if you are self-motivated.

Every day in this job, you are going to meet a wide variety of people. Do you communicate well?

Can you handle more than one thing at a time?

Stay cool when the unexpected happens?

If you truly are a "people person", you will learn from your mistakes and forgive those of others.

It helps if you have an innate desire to keep your home clean and tidy.

It will help more if you don't make your guests uptight over tracking in mud or a spilled coffee.
A bed and breakfast is a home, meant for the living.

Are you flexible?



If you can answer Yes to most of these questions, then innkeeping may be your thing. Most of your guests just want to enjoy themselves, unwind and learn a little about the place they are visiting. Generally, their demands will extend no further than asking for an extra towel, explaining their dietary restrictions or picking your brain for local restaurant recommendations.

As it turned out for me, an innkeeper sets the tone and the guests intuitively pickup on it. Be yourself. Be a gracious host and you will have very grateful guests.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Built Terrier Tough

Thank you for everyone who asked! Don't worry. Ozzie is on the mend and will soon be back at his Front Desk position.
Whatever airport security, jet lag, traffic hassles or border lineups have contributed to your day, he is dedicated to taking the "ouch" out of your grouch. He is very good at what he does. He will quickly have you signed into the bed and breakfast experience and bring back that smile inside.
Please let us know, how have dogs affected your life?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ozzie & Team Nelson House

It is a bright, hot & sunny day in Vancouver but I still feel grey today. The cutest member of Team Nelson House, Ozzie, our Cairn Terrier, is in the hospital, under general anesthesia. Since visiting a Sunshine Coast cottage, frequented by many other dogs, he has developed a stubborn infection in his left ear, that has not been responding to the usual frontline medication. Therefore, it's time for a deep ear flush, some lab work and new meds specific to his problem.

The smile on Ozzie's face has never wavered. Even with one ear limping, he greets our bed and breakfast guests, in fact every human being, with equal love and grace. People always ask if he is a puppy. He is going on nine. If anything, his affection and trust have grown with every passing year.

I have never known him to have a bad day. I have done my best to preserve his canine belief in the kindness of strangers. Everywhere he goes, he catches the eye of young and old, rich and poor. Inevitably, he interrupts their busy lives just long enough to meet his soulful, intelligent gaze and return that happy grin.

How have dogs affected your life?