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« Gazing balls | Main | Water lilies »

08 June 2012


Tara Bradford

Irina, I wouldn't like hosting such guests either! It just astonishes me how thoughtless people can be at times. I hope in future those people stay in a hotel!


How about chain smoking on the loggia while its door to the living room is wide open in summer. Never asking if I need any help preparing dinner for 7 people, same with doing dishes. Just a "thank you", push you chair out and back to smoking on the loggia. I could not wait when they leave.

Tara Bradford

Hi Jeanie - No worries! The post is a compilation of incidents with many guests over a long period. And no tests involved! :)


Oh, dear, Tara. I hope we didn't flunk too many things. I hope we made up for petrol with groceries and talking with the chef while he was preparing dinner... and we did get lost or confused at the train station... Now I'm really worried...

Tara Bradford

Allegra, we have plenty of room for guests in this house (more so than Paris). But these days we are more selective in the ones we invite and the ones we refer to a hotel. :) And we learn something from all of them. Like you and B, D and I prefer staying at a B&B or hotel when we travel; it's very rare that we stay at someone's house.

Tara Bradford

Gillian, no complaints about my traveling companions - at least not you! :)

Tara Bradford

Thankfully no, Charles. :) Chair in question is one of two Napoleon III armchairs.

Charles Robert Baker

Oh please tell me the offensive feet and greasy crisps were not on "my" French linen-covered chair!!!

Allegra S.

Love, we solved the problem by turning our guest bedroom into our "little library". We had some nice guests, but some like yours, who come not only with "luggage" but with a big suitcase filled with entitlement that allows them to believe that the host and hostess should be grateful for having them, and to behave accordingly.

Now when someone inquires about staying with us we promptly send a photo of the converted room and that ends there. Like you, I was brought up in a family always reminding us that "good manners are the backbone of civilization" according to Mother, and I subscribe whole heart and soul to that edict. I love to visit others - we always stay at a hotel or B&B - and that way we preserve our sanity and theirs.

A toast to good guest who know what hospitality means and do not abuse it.


Oh Tara, when I stop laughing I'll think of a proper comment!
I can hear your sarcasm..."uh...hello, manners?"
p.s. what about travel companions? any words of warning about them??? a second post! come on!!! xo lol

Tara Bradford

Igor, having a small apartment can be a blessing. As you know, not much room for guests, unless it's someone with whom you are very familiar. :)

Tara Bradford

Carina, it has been my experience that with guests you never know what might happen next - particularly when an unknown factor (such as a partner) is introduced. Never a dull moment!

Tara Bradford

Dearest Vanessa, I love your Killer Dog excuse! Yes, sometimes saying No is the kindest thing for all concerned. xx

Tara Bradford

Dear HCH, that really takes the cake! Haven't had any guests like that, luckily! Although I have had guests get chips at the grocery store and start eating them while standing in line to pay - something that just isn't done in France!

Tara Bradford

Lisa, good point. Thankfully I haven't had any one I met at a cocktail party as a guest, but have had friends bring their partners (whom I didn't know). Interesting times! :)

Tara Bradford

Mary H, it is odd - and sometimes amusing - that so many people seem oblivious to their impact on others!

Tara Bradford

Ally, I can see why you never invited them back! Strange reactions to your lifestyle. Jealousy, perhaps?

Tara Bradford

Very much so, Tony!

Tony Geotog

Hee hee, sounds like you are speaking from experience!!

Carole Mayne

Hilarious! Our house near the beach in So California has had many visitors over the years, though we've never had these guests, some have stayed longer than we'd prefer, as our house is small and privacy is minimal.
I'm leaving for Italy on Monday and will be sure NOT to be this guest at my friends home, as she'll be here in August to return the favor!

Mary H.

To even suggest some of the antics you have described makes me cringe. I am shaking my head in disbelief at the extent people will go to when taking advantage of other people's kindness. I also find it humorous the same people are probably too dense to realize that their behavior makes great material for one of your posts and/or articles.

Lisa, a.k.a. The Bold Soul

And let me just also add that learning to say "no" and setting boundaries is probably the most important life skill we can adopt if we want to (a) fend off those would be selfish and take advantage of our generosity and good nature (house guests or otherwise) and (b) have peace of mind in life. Bravo to you and to others who have learned (even the hard way) what a freeing thing it is to say "no" and not feel guilty about it. It's one thing to want to show visiting friends and family a good time when they're in town -- for them, most of us happily go out of our way; it's quite another to feel you "should" play hostess for every Tom, Dick and Harriet who met you briefly at a cocktail party in 1987 and now finds you're living in a great city THEY want to visit. Those people can just get themselves a hotel room, right?

Lisa, a.k.a. The Bold Soul

I loved this post. So far we've been very lucky with all our guests and have none of these losers staying with us; those who have come to visit me from the States have all been perfect guests, and those close friends and family who visit from within France are also the perfect guests, even though they are family. I just don't understand how some of your bad guests could think even for one second of taking advantage of you that way, but people really ARE entirely clueless (or selfish) sometimes.

And I would have dumped that woman's camping equipment on the curb instead of moving it to Paris, and tant pis for her! :)

Did you ever see the BBC miniseries version of Peter Mayle's "A Year in Provence" when all sorts of guests show up in July all at the same time, and then some "friend of a friend of a friend" shows up and simply won't leave? Mayle and his wife go to some funny and extreme lengths to get rid of them all. You should watch it if you haven't seen it already.

Vanessa {A Fanciful Twist}

OH. My. Gooooodnesssss!

I had to laugh and smile and laugh again - so so well written, as always!

I can not believe you have gone through such things.

How incredibly horrible.

Some people just floor me. They are so rude and jaw droppingly outrageous in their manners, and not in a good way.

I am so glad you began to finally say no.

I have been implementing my "no" in many different facets of my life, after being trampled and treated badly.

It's working for me.

And, isn't that what matters most really? You, your home, your loved ones?

I can't have guests because there is not enough room, but also because Matty would kill them and I would be sued.


"Can I come stay with you?"

"I have a vicious killer dog."

"Oh, never mind."

It works, and it's true. Bonus, haha!

tee hee ;)


Love, V

ps: Have to re-read this and share it, just brilliant! It would make a perfect book!

horse care courses

Okay how about the one where the guy goes to the fish & chip shop (this is England) about 5 mins before you're about to serve dinner and brings chips back for himself - wait for it - because you (ie. I) don't ever serve him enough food!


Bravo for this.

It made me feel like we've been sharing house guests, though I'm yet to have someone arrange the cheese rinds on the serving plate!!

As I'm here for the long term, I'm guessing there is a possibility it may still happen.

Tara Bradford

Hi Marilyn! You and Jim were only there for dinner and were wonderful guests! :) That is strange about the parents not saying anything about their rude little boy. It seems good manners are in short supply these days.


Oh dear! We don't have overnight guests often because we don't have room for them. I hope we were OK guests when we visited. I can't imagine rude guests such as you described, how terrible. On the other hand how lovely to have had a guest you would have wanted to stay longer. That, I think, is rare and a special gift. I did have a 10 year old boy once come to a special Christmas dinner and tell me he didn't want to be there; so I told him he didn't need to come again. His parents sat there and didn't say a thing.


Oh my, Tara, I must admit I had to laugh all the way through this list but I know - we had this conversation on Twitter earlier, right? Guests from hell...something I am dreading. Luckily, I haven't had guests from hell so far - probably because I've always lived in rather small apartments:-)

Ally Bean

The only peculiar guests that we've had were a couple that were convinced that everything in our home-- food, fresh flowers, plates, wine glasses, sofa pillows, wall art, sheets, towels [et cetera, et cetera]-- was done to try and impress them.

We were living just as we always did, but they wouldn't believe us. They KNEW that we were just showing off for them-- and made a point of bringing this idea up all the time. Not surprisingly, we've never invited them back!

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