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Rules for Hosts
- Check with your guests beforehand to make sure that they eat everything. If they plead serious allergies or intolerances, take the information seriously. Teasing, cajoling or hectoring someone about a 'supposed' food intolerance is simply bad manners.
- Make the guest room as welcoming as possible; a comfortable bed, freshly aired and ironed bed linen, bedside tables, working bedside lights, space to hang clothes, flowers and some carefully selected bedside reading matter will all contribute to your guests' comfort.
- The guest room is the guest's territory for the duration of the stay so do not barge in unannounced.
- If guests have their own bathroom put towels there. A bath towel, a medium-sized towel for hair, a hand towel and a bathmat will be needed. If they are sharing a bathroom with other guests, leave the clean towels in the bedroom. It is not necessary to provide body lotion, as in a hotel, but there should be some untouched soap and possibly bath essence, shower gel and shampoo in the bathroom.
- Make sure guests are informed about any plumbing irregularities or restrictions - if the hot water is in short supply at certain times of the day they should be told.
- Show guests where they can hang coats and deposit muddy boots.
- Tell guests when you are serving breakfast and indicate any plans that you might have for the weekend.
- Give guests plenty of space; they may not want to sit in the kitchen talking to you all day, they might enjoy a lie-in or a stroll around the garden.
- Try not to make too big a deal about the meals you're having to cook. Your guests will soon feel very unrelaxed if you're clattering around the kitchen in a frenzy of noisy preparation.
- Don't be a martyr, accept offers of help if you feel you need a break.
- If it's all getting a bit much, suggest an expedition to the local pub. Most guests will enjoy the local colour, and it will give you some respite.
- Try not to be too managerial; suggest possible outings and expeditions (the guests will probably accede) but don't present them with a military-style programme of activities.
- Ensure that, at all times when the guests are in the house, that you have offered them a suitable drink or refreshment within living memory. Don't let them sit empty-handed and thirsty for hours on end because you've forgotten to make a cup of tea or pour a glass of wine.