Tales of Our Holiday Lets. Or … Is it Really Worth it? Or … Tales of the Unexpected!

Well, yes it is worth it – we love it, despite the unexpected. Having a holiday apartment attached to our house has brought us many friends; visitors who return year after year in the summer to enjoy the lovely Pembrokeshire coastline and all the other attractions this part of West Wales offers. We love seeing them again. And we are fortunate to meet many new people as well. But there have been downsides. Or should I say, occasions that made us think again about sharing our home.


They arrived separately.

He, aged around fifty, immaculate in a navy business suit, pristine white shirt, his tie, also navy, casually loosened in a contrived way. His smile also seemed contrived, I thought. (Or is that me now; looking back?) It was exactly ten o’clock when he parked his /// on the drive.

‘Mark Smith,’ he said, holding out his hand. Firm, self- assured.

I let him into the apartment. He looked around, nodded approval. His wife would arrive later, he told me; she had a business meeting.

She arrived in the afternoon in a pale blue Smart car. I only caught a glimpse of her; she’d parked the car alongside his and, mobile pressed close to her ear, weekend case in her other hand, she whizzed past our kitchen window towards the apartment door, a blur of pale blue. I heard a few murmurs of greeting. Her voice soft with a slight musical Irish hint.

‘They’ve arrived then.’ It was a statement. Husband came in from the garden. ‘D’you think they’ll want a few of these?’ He held out tomatoes and cucumbers; we’d had a glut.

‘Don’t know.’ I said, ‘ask them when you see them.’

We didn’t see them all week. Not a sign. If they went out we didn’t notice, the cars hadn’t moved as far as I could see. Glorious sunshine and the spectacular Pembrokeshire coastline didn’t tempt them outside, apparently.

We usually meet our visitors at least once if they’re staying a week; often they are wandering around the garden, the men usually gravitating to the greenhouses to chat with Husband; to compare vegetables, to bemoan the weather: too hot, too cold. The women to sit and have a chat about where to go, what to see.

But the onus is on them; we wait to see; some talk, some just wave if they see Hubby or me, some ignore the fact that we’re around. It’s fine.

Mr Smith and his wife obviously wanted privacy;

Except she wasn’t his wife.

On the Thursday, two days before they were due to leave I had a phone call.

‘Hi, it’s Hayley Smith, Mark’s wife. He’s staying with you? His secretary says he’s having meetings around Pembrokeshire (for obvious reasons I’ve changed the exact conversation). ‘Only I’ve finished work for the week and I thought I’d surprise him for our wedding anniversary tomorrow. Take advantage of this lovely weather.’

Stunned. I gestured frantically to Husband who was in the garden. Smiling he waved back. I mouthed at him to come indoors. He waved again. Stupid man!! Clearly I was on my own with this.

‘Hello?’ The woman spoke again. ‘If you could give me directions…?’

‘Er, yes, hold on please.’ I put the phone down and ran outside. ‘His wife’s on the phone,’ I hissed at Hubby, jerking my head towards the apartment door.

He looked puzzled. ‘Why?’

We both looked at the windows of the apartment, closed all week, blinds shut.

I threw my hands in the air; the situation needed a dramatic gesture, and ran to bang on the door.

Nothing. No one. Not a sound. Zilch. I jiggled from one foot to the other for ages, conscious of the woman, the actual wife, waiting in the telephone in the house. My mind running overtime.. We hadn’t seen them since they arrived; they could be ill, needing help. Dead!

I peered through the letterbox, shouted. ‘Mr Smith?’ I wasn’t going to shout, Mrs Smith, was I?

I turned to Husband. ‘Get the spare keys.’

The door opened.  It was the woman. Young; around twenty. And naked as the day she was born.

I glanced at Husband; he was staring, mouth open. I wafted him away.

‘Mr Smith’s wife is on the phone,’ I said to the woman.

She closed the door.

It opened again. Mr Smith. In a pale pink translucent nightdress and negligee; the kind women used to wear in the seventies. And fluffy slippers!


‘My wife?’ he said, his voice strangely hoarse, a look of panic on his face.

And well it might be I thought. I’d seen some things since we’d started the holiday let. But …

I heard a choking sound. Husband, head lowered, seemed to be concentrating hard on deadheading the roses.

‘She’s on the phone…’ I gestured towards the house.

He seemed unable to move.

‘She wants to come here. To surprise you,’ I added.

That did it; he leapt from the doorway, pushed past me and ran – or shuffled, I should say – those slippers weren’t conducive to a run, into our house.

I stayed outside, hustled Husband towards the far end of the garden.

The upshot of all this was that they were both gone in an hour.


I’ll gloss over the state of the apartment. Except to say that the man who collects the re-cycling gave us some funny looks at the amount of wine bottles we put out that week. And that Husband took a lot of ‘rubbish’ to the tip because I wasn’t having certain items in my dustbin!


It was a month later that we recognised ‘Mark Smith’ on the television, same self-assured smile and with eager reporters jostling around him.



And then there was the Football Man …

And the Hippies …

And the couple with the heavily pregnant wife – who wasn’t – when  the three of them left. Worked it out?

Oh, and the couple who insisted Husband was growing his vegetables all wrong and decided to give us a surprise. Husband went only slightly crimson that time.

And the …

And the …

All stories for another time …

Here we are:


 And I’m here:



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25 Responses to Tales of Our Holiday Lets. Or … Is it Really Worth it? Or … Tales of the Unexpected!
  1. Sue Vincent
    March 30, 2016 | 4:31 pm

    Hilarious, Judith 🙂

  2. Tess
    March 30, 2016 | 6:23 pm

    Never a dull moment. Love these stories, Judith. It seems ‘visitors’ think, one way or another, certain things no longer apply when they are away from home. 😀 😀 😀 This cracked me up. Can’t stop laughing.

    • Judith Barrow
      March 30, 2016 | 7:00 pm

      It was a difficult moment when his wife rang, Tess. And then seeing him on TV… Jx

  3. Skilbey
    March 30, 2016 | 6:26 pm

    Wow! Great story, Judith – and a TV personality as well. Must be difficult to see him any other way now. Hehe!

    • Judith Barrow
      March 30, 2016 | 7:02 pm

      Thank goodness we actually haven’t seen him in a while, Sarraounia. What a twerp he is!! jx

  4. Hugh
    March 31, 2016 | 3:39 pm

    What a hoot! You should sell these to the BBC, Judith. They’d make a great series out of them.

    • Judith Barrow
      April 3, 2016 | 11:38 pm

      Haha! Thanks Hugh. They say truth is greater than fiction but not sure half they things we’ve seen would be believed. Mind you, perhaps the BBC would like them because of that? Jx

      • Hugh
        April 4, 2016 | 9:06 am

        I’m sure they would. If you look at some of the comedy dramas that are currently being aired, then I’m sure your stories would be just as much as a hit.

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  6. Judy Martin
    April 3, 2016 | 6:31 am

    I am loving these stories, Judith! What a sight he must have been in the slinky negligee and fluffy slippers!
    I can’t believe they didn’t even venture outside the whole time they were there when you have such beautiful places nearby!

    • Judith Barrow
      April 3, 2016 | 11:36 pm

      Hi Judy, I actually made notes about all these but never thought to write them down properly. I suppose time has made most of them quite funny and easier to write about We were worried at one point when these people hadn’t appeared outside. (I have to be honest we did think after three days of going in to check – just glad we didn’t goodness only knows what else was going on in there)Jx

  7. Bun Karyudo
    April 3, 2016 | 6:32 am

    What a horrible thing for a man to do! I feel so sorry for his wife. It was certainly a colorful and entertaining anecdote, though.

    • Judith Barrow
      April 3, 2016 | 11:32 pm

      Hi, I just hope she eventually found him out and took him to the cleaners!! And, I have to add, his legs weren’t anything to write home about. jx

  8. Ritu
    April 3, 2016 | 6:48 am

    Oh my Judith! Who’d a thunk that justvhaving a rental cottage would end up giving you such fodder for writing!!

    • Judith Barrow
      April 3, 2016 | 11:30 pm

      Hi Ritu, well, I suppose over ten years on the law of averages, we were bound to meet some who I couldn’t resist writing about. Just hope they don’t recognise themselves.LOL jx

  9. Noelle Granger
    April 3, 2016 | 11:42 pm

    Wonderful story, Judith. Quite a giggle. People never fail to surprise!

    • Judith Barrow
      April 3, 2016 | 11:43 pm

      Hi Noelle, and how life would be boring if they didn’t. Mind you, some of the surprises we could have done without! LOL. jx

  10. Ali Isaac
    April 4, 2016 | 7:06 am

    Hilarious, Judith! You couldn’t make that up!

    • Judith Barrow
      April 4, 2016 | 8:32 am

      Ali, sometimes I wish it was just all in my head – but the Saturday cleaning after some of the people brings me down to earth and tell me it’s life’s reality!! Hey-ho! Jx

  11. Michelle James
    April 4, 2016 | 3:09 pm

    OMG! Judith, you could probably use some of the people who rent out that little apartment as fodder for a book. Hysterical.

    • Judith Barrow
      April 6, 2016 | 10:21 am

      Hi Michelle, I know, people keep telling me that lately. But I just kept records of odd instances over each season to make sure we didn’t get the same weird/difficult people back. It only occurred to me to write posts of them because I read such great posts from other people and I didn’t want to write boring blogs. Must admit we have dined out on a lot of these tales over the years. Although some of the lettings are best not told over food!!!Jx

  12. dgkaye
    April 6, 2016 | 2:13 am

    Omg Judith this was hilarious! I’ve read a few of your rental tales. Have you considered putting a book together with them, downright hysterical! The slippers and negligee were the icing on the cake!!!! 🙂

    • Judith Barrow
      April 6, 2016 | 10:17 am

      Thank you, Debby (wrong spelling?), I haven’t thought to do anything with them really. I’ve just kept notes down the years – mainly to be forewarned if anybody funny (odd) wants to book again. Believe you me, it was difficult to stop my jaw dropping when he appeared. LOL. Sorry for late reply. been hit by the flu bug & Husband has gone out so sneaked into my study to check on emails. Jx

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