14 June, 2020

Lavinia, Saturday 13 June 2020

Tired, but also very satisfied, we recovered from the first week when we were able to welcome guests again. After months of yearning for people around us, last Friday it was finally here. And as strange as it may sound, again it was a rush against time to make everything ‘guest proof’. Sometimes I don’t understand why, why it’s always coming closer all of a sudden, and we always seem to be running out of time. We didn’t even sit still last winter and then the quarantine period. And yet again lack of time… When I think about it, it’s just like Christmas. Also then I seem to prepare myself a long time in advance to buy gifts, and arrange everything. And always to my dismay I notice that time has suddenly passed much faster than I suspected. And so it is now.

The week before the arrival of the guests, I did a lot of tinkering, I cleaned the outside kitchen and all the appliances. For days I worked on making quirky signposts, up to and including designing and printing them. It had been in my head for months that I wanted to make this, so I really wanted to finish it now. And I am quite proud of the result. I’d rather tinker things together myself with recycled material than just get it in the shop. Moreover, it remains unique, even though I got my ideas from Pinterest. A very rewarding site for every creative person.

Because of all my tinkering, of course there was less time left for other necessary things. Luckily we had the help of our Dutch neighbours, a young couple, with whom we have laughed a lot in the meantime, who have thoroughly taken care of the garden. Much to my amazement the two of them got the garden cleaner than ever in just a few hours. Away weeds, away rampant plants, everything neat and tidy. What a relief to see the garden restored to its former glory ! You also saw the plants and flowers literally breathe again and gratefully come back to life. Lovely! I can’t thank them both enough for this.

They made sure that the rush was just a bit less, because to be honest, we can’t get it done on our own without that extra help. It’s incredible what’s involved in running Lavinia. We don’t want to call it ‘running’, because it is, as it were, a hobby that got out of hand. Of course you constantly have to take into account that it remains profitable enough to be able to live on it, but honestly, that’s all it really has to be. As long as there are guests, there is fun, and there is ‘life’. Only then Lavinia gets a ‘soul’, the ‘soul of Lavinia’ actually. It sounds a bit very floating and a bit of goat wool socks maybe. But you can’t imagine how every guest sails along with our flagship in his own way. How every guest, with his talent, with his hobby, with his input, makes Lavinia’s heart beat louder.

afbeelding : Cens[/caption]

Let me get this straight, maybe you’ll understand.

This week we had a couple with us, Ed and Yvon. (I asked them nicely if I could mention their name 😉) Yvon has been following our blog for a long time and is Superfan by the way. Funny, she gets an honourable mention and a diamond on top of it on Facebook. Due to circumstances we all know very well, and which I really don’t want to talk about anymore, they were lucky to be able to stay for a week instead of a 3 day arrangement that lay neatly between two bookings. They, as well as we, were very curious to finally meet each other ‘live’. Even though we live only half an hour away from each other. It felt very natural when we welcomed them here with us. And afterwards Yvon also said that it was completely as she had imagined it. Thanks to the blog, she had been able to form a beautiful image of what our domain and garden looked like, and what we were like as people. Fortunately, that was not disappointing. Could have been. But because I’m very open in what I write, my thoughts and my opinions, it’s almost impossible to see us differently than we really are. It remained exciting for us of course, because they don’t write a blog. We did have contact with each other from time to time, but that’s a bit different. It really clicked, and then of course it’s very nice. Also with the other guests by the way. Not difficult, also Ed and Yvon are both very open, and that talks just a little bit easier.

Already from the first day Yvon reluctantly came up with a question. Whether we would like Ed and his drone to make images from the air of our resort. Would we like this?! It was just a gift from heaven! (literally and figuratively 😊). How many times had we suggested to each other that it might be nice if we could meet someone who could take aerial pictures for us so we could use them for promotional purposes. And just now, at the moment where we really need promotion, Santaclaus comes in person with a drone! Sometimes you have to be very lucky in life. And of course that is a real ‘boy toy’ and the men found each other in driving this ‘Icarus creature’ who could shoot the most beautiful images with a razor sharp camera.

Wim loved to see the wonderful world of Lavinia from the air. And, frankly, so did I. I was overwhelmed by it, because it really is quality. Not just any gadget like we once ordered one from some Chinese online shop for 50 euros. Then we thought it was really super. And right away we started to learn how to fly it, which turned out not to be that simple as it is of course a very light device. There shouldn’t be a sigh of wind, and on top of that the manual -of course- only exists in Chinese. But, we thought we could clear it up for a while. This would have its charms as well, if we could make a movie with it and use it on social media. So we often flew it, keeping it very low, because it would be taken by the wind somewhere far away in the mountains. As a result, being a naturist and therefore doing everything naked, the screws didn’t shave softly against my nipple at a certain moment. Not so fine, painful even. Well, even being naked has its occasional little nickname.

In fact, we soon found out that it could never make images that could be used for publication. A bit like placing an inflatable whirlpool bath in the garden and telling ourselves that we offer our guests a real Jacuzzi. In any case, it would remain nothing more than a fun toy to fly along once in a while. So our guest really came up with his hobby at the right time. Life can be beautifull! I can show you a preview, but Wim still has some work to do to make a nice short film of it. I am very curious about the result after he has let his creativity loose on it.

Voorproefje van Lavinia vanuit Icarus-standpunt
I had thought to take advantage of the covid measures by closing the stairs and the passage to the vegetable garden with a ribbon. As I wrote earlier, my vegetable garden was no longer to be seen. It was completely overgrown with weeds, and actually it was barely noticeable which vegetables were there. I must say that I was dead ashamed of it, but Wim didn’t think it was necessary to close it. How big was the chance that people would step up there, and if they did, they would never mind, according to Wim.

When it turned out that Ed and Yvon were very interested in the garden and were exploring it, I fell apart from misery. I hoped very much that they wouldn’t go up the stairs, but of course they did. Santaclaus, now in the guise of Yvon, appeared again. For hours at a stretch she went out to remove all the weeds. And it is quite a big piece.


In the beginning I felt a bit ‘ambiguous’, or as a Dutchman would say ‘burdened’, but what I learned from the Dutch in the past year is that when they propose something, they really want it. They really don’t propose to do anything out of politeness, only to hope that you don’t take it up and thank you kindly. It’s completely different with Belgians. I’ve already learnt a little to turn down such exceptionally friendly and helpful proposals. On the contrary, I enjoy it enormously because it gives me the feeling that our dream is gradually being built by and with all those guests, friends and family. Is there anything nicer than this? The other guests who were there at the time and run a b&b themselves didn’t believe their eyes and ears when they heard that such things just happen spontaneously here. They could not imagine that any of their guests would do this. It’s quite exceptional, and it’s an extremely beautiful flow that we let happen, because it shows commitment to our personal story. And that makes our story successful. It has become a personal story, of which every guest is a part if he wants to be a part of it. It is a puzzle of a huge number of pieces, which only becomes more beautiful when it is filled more and more with unique pieces.

Afbeelding : La gazette des communes[/caption]
We are so thankful for every piece, every personal contribution from everyone who has ever been a guest here and has left his or her own mark. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, a simple tip, a recipe, hours of laughter, a personal story, they all make Lavinia who she is, a unique piece of heaven on earth….

“Make your life a dream and your dream a reality…” (Alexander de Saint Excepury)

Hasta luego,


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