We probably wouldn’t have considered staying for any length of time in Morpeth if it hadn’t been for this house sitting assignment. We’d just pass through, maybe spend a night in a B&B, a quick look around the town.
For 2 weeks in October we relief-managed the Riverside Guesthouse so the owner, Elaine, could take a very well deserved holiday away.
We started communicating with Elaine way back in May while we were still living and working in Noosa. The ad appeared on our trustedhousesitters.com daily feed and we were immediately interested. We loved the idea of working at a guesthouse and looking after 2 lovely cats. We made contact with Elaine straight away and we all got along very well over Skype and email. Like we’d known each other a long time.
We’d not run a guesthouse before but we’ve stayed in many B&Bs and guesthouses during our travels over the years. Having managed Las Rias Noosa resort and after years in life’s hard yards, we were confident to give it our best shot.
There would be the obvious important things like taking care of guests and providing delicious breakfasts, managing booking channels, managing housekeeping and making sure we took great care of Elaine’s home and business. Big responsibilities and how wonderful of Elaine to put so much trust into us.
And then there were these precious lovelies to nurture and love. Poppy and Theo. Just look at those faces. They kept us entertained day and night.
….and this view to admire each day.
Elaine told us this time of year was usually quiet and she had bookings only for a few regular weekly guests, with not much on the horizon. When we first arrived the weekend ahead had only a couple of bookings, but we were suddenly inundated with callers and online bookings, which had us with a full house for several nights!
Of course most guests were looking forward to a traditional “full English breakfast” of eggs, bacon, sausages, tomato, beans, potato croquette, mushrooms and that great British delicacy black pudding. We almost needed a checklist to remember it all.
When we first started out together Dave and I decided that we should always work to our strengths. And so we did for this gig. Dave worked the breakfast room while I looked after the kitchen. Dave’s a great communicator and he really enjoyed interacting with the guests, which meant he had to pay close attention to the orders so he didn’t get them mixed up. He was kept on his toes getting those meals out to the right tables. It all went brilliantly, we’re a great team.
The guests were the greatest highlight, and an interesting mix of working people and holiday travelers. Men staying for the week while they worked in the local area, corporate women attending local meetings, a couple escaping the children for a weekend. We had a grand time with some of the guests, great company as we all sat together in the local pub watching New Zealand thrash Australia in the Rugby World Cup final.
Guest arrivals in the afternoons meant that we needed to be around to greet them, so we couldn’t venture too far away during the day. That didn’t bother us too much because Morpeth is a great little town with lots of cafes, restaurants and interesting shops, fascinating history and beautiful local walks.
Each morning we tried a different cafe for our coffee fix, and have to report that we only had a couple of decent coffees in the town over the 14 days. In many cafes in England their default style of coffee is drip filter so when you order a black coffee that’s what you get. We want espresso machine coffee. I think we might be coffee snobs!
Each day we’d go for a long walk and we saw some lovely sights. Beautiful time of year to be in England watching the changing of the season.
Wednesday is Market Day in Morpeth, so we were able to stock up on some local produce.
We thoroughly enjoyed our 2 weeks at Riverside Guesthouse and we loved the opportunity to stay in Elaine’s gorgeous Victorian home to take care of her business, her cats and her property. It did stretch us, that’s for sure, but we never felt stressed at all, maybe just a little anxious at times. We feel enriched from the experiences in so many ways. In fact we’ll be returning to Morpeth and Riverside for another 2 weeks at the end of the year so Elaine can spend time with her family over Christmas.
So if you find yourself traveling around Northumberland, it would be well worth your while to stay longer in Morpeth than just an overnighter. Take the time to get to know this beautiful area, and stay with Elaine at Riverside Guesthouse.