Monday, October 12, 2009
The Turquoise Turtle Bed and Breakfast
To celebrate, all Bloglanders are invited to Happy Hour, this Friday, October 18'th, from 4:00 p.m. till the wee hours, where the tapas are always hot and the margaritas are always icy cold. The Tres Amigos will be playing their South of the Border sounds as we Tango the night away to those steamy Latin rhythms. You will be mingling with the guests, some of whom have asked to meet the 'locals'. It seems that your quirky reputations have attracted quite the following.
Before that happens, I promised to catch you up on the hacienda renovation. As you know, the place was an abandoned wreck on the hilltop, but Blogland Lane was such a good address that I took the plunge and closed the deal almost a year ago. 'Team Renovation' arrived immediately and began in earnest with their crews. The first to arrive were the landscapers, armed with truly lethal looking machetes. It took days to hack through the jungle of neglected lawns to the buildings, most of which had vines curling through all the broken windows from the cellars to the attics. There were bird's nests crowding all the ceiling beams. You can just imagine the purple mess under those. It was enough to make Mr. Clean jump back. What do those birds eat anyway? Speaking of cellars, the crew found dozens of bottles and crumpled papers with mead recipes scribbled on them. Very odd.
But, once all that overgrowth was removed, we found the bones of the old gardens. There are wonderful old roses surrounding
the remains of a perennial garden complete
with paved pathways, moss covered
statues and stone arches. Orchids hang in
the trees and there are several different
varieties of lavender than can be used on
the linens. The jasmine has been trimmed
back to frame the windows and doors and old blood oranges grow near the pool. The scent of the blossoms is intoxicating.
The carpenters finished the heavy repairs a few months ago and were followed by the painters who tried in vain to figure out just what sort of shade 'sunshine' could possibly be. That sent my General Manager, Vincent, into a snit. He has very definite ideas about color and as I was up to my ears in fabric samples, he stepped into the breach and provided 'too perfect' samples of what he considered 'sunshine'. The place looked like a patchwork quilt for a while, but now it glows, as I made sure to tell Vincent. "Naturally, darling", said he with an elegant toss of his head. It has to be wonderful to be that confident.
While that was being handled here, I spent most of the winter collecting just the right accents for the guest rooms and common areas. I found most of them in antique shops, lovely things with an aura, that have been cherished through the years. One of the upstairs rooms was the perfect place for a beautiful old silver tea service with a luscious patina. As I was polishing it, I swear, I saw the reflection of an old sepia etching showing a huge waterfall with two small men near the bottom who must have fallen over the edge. It was over a fireplace mantle. Nothing in the guest room looks like that, nor does the room have a fireplace. Another odd happening.
A few weeks later, one of the painters, who was busy painting 'sunshine' into all the corners, came flying down the stairs saying he tripped over something when he saw the room "shimmer like a heat wave". Then he handed me a Persian slipper filled with tobacco. See what I mean?
All that aside, I'm really lucky to have found two key employees who are going to be pivotal in making the Turtle run smoothly.
The first is my Chef, Rosa. She is well rounded, usually stands with her fists bunched on her hips and looks at you with her head cocked to one side while her black eyes gather information. There is no better judge of character than Rosa. Nothing gets by her. She is formidable, all 4' 11" of her. Just a word of warning, do not get between this woman and her food. If you try to show her your way of preparing a dish, she will snatch it out of your hands and hurl it over her shoulder, all the while smiling as she serves you her food. I'd eat it if I were you. Her specialty is deep fried squash blossoms with chipolte sauce. You will sell your soul for these.
My Genera Manager, Vincent, came to me after he and Simon, his significant other, ended their long term relationship. We talked that over to death. He is the best girlfriend I've ever had and I absolutely lust after that two carat diamond stud he wears over his gold earring. In addition to being tall, dark and willowy, think Orlando Bloom, Vincent has fabulous style. If you want a 'to die for' accessory or a whole new look, just ask him. Its like being sprinkled with fairy dust. No pun intended. Love you Vincent! Kiss, kiss!
So, Rosa handles the kitchen and the staff there while Vincent is in charge of the domestic staff and the front desk. I am either in the back office going over accounts or strolling through the grounds trying to look like Scarlet before the War. Vincent says I have to learn how to flounce, a sort of flirty, bouncy way of making guests feel special and relaxed. I have tried, but he says it looks more like my first time in stilettos. Note to self: practice flouncing.
Its been a labor of love and I'm tremendously proud of the Turquoise Turtle. Yet, I'm not entirely at ease. Sometimes I round a corner and feel an undercurrent, a sense that someone has just left. And then, there is that huge wolf that keeps peeking through the shrubbery, testing the air for something that isn't there. What next! I'll just have to believe this will all work itself out. It's probably just opening day jitters.
And for crying out loud, whose violin bow is this anyway?!
Come see me Friday at The Turtle!
Posted by Linda at 8:38 AM