We find ourselves running around, preparing for the season finale, the last eight weeks of guests who will drive up, unpack their cars, pop open a bottle of wine, and sit on our terrace, gazing into the distance before wandering off for the Festa delle Feste, the Asti Palio, the SlowFood CHEESE festival in Bra, the Tartufo festival in Alba, and to the back yard to take a final dip in the pool before the chill of the night removes all enjoyment from THAT process. We had yesterday and today off. I pulled apart the rooms completely. Everything. Curtains came down. Books came off the shelves. Refridgerators got pulled away from the walls. Light bulbs got unscrewed. I did take, an hour ago, a while cotton glove, a real one, and went over every corner of the rooms. Not a ragnatella, a cobweb, to be found. No cimici, or beetles, nesting in the curtains. No grasshoppers waiting to jump on the next victim preparing to take a shower. Spotless. The only thing I have not done is seal the rooms and remove all the oxygen. I can’t really do that. Guests would complain.
See, the thing is, I know that tomorrow, I will go up there, and the ecosystem which is this 400 year old Italian country house will have taken over again. The bugs, in their last ditch effort at finding love in all the wrong places, will be break dancing for each other again. I see my guest rooms as a bug disco waiting to be shut down by the authorities. They flirt heavily, and in the end they reproduce. And unless I am standing sentry at the door, feather duster, wet rag and masking tape (don’t ask) in hand, they will be thumbing their noses at the guests before I can say praying mantis.
Clearly, the guests do not seem bothered by this. A good thing. They might not even notice, or I would like to think so anyway. This is one of the reasons we offer free house wine. If one of those three millimeter spiders tries to crawl by me as I nap on the front terrace, hopeful my guests’ eyesight will be mellowed enough to let it slide until the morning, when, once again, armed my feather duster, I will be on the attack.
In any event, spiders and beetles aside, it has been a quick, lovely season. We met so many new people, from so many places. There were Ida and William from Hong Kong, the Zuppingers were back for the third time from London, Olivier and Birgit and Adrian and Tanja from Switzerland, the Parkers from Italy and San Diego, our returning friends Lena and Melvin from Norway, Kathy and Steve from Vancouver, BC, and all of the Slow Travelers, Trip Advisor and Fodor’s people from the United States. The Tunisians from Milano and the couple from Pakistan with the beautiful baby boy. And so many new friends from Germany — Stuttgart, Hamburg, Munich…the list just goes on and on. In the upcoming weeks, guests arrive from Australia, New Zealand, Austria….
The world comes to our door. And I will be watching, making sure that only humans, no spiders, get in.