How to Convert a Barn Part 99.  It is all about Marketing.

The chickens watch from the gate. They like the busyness as we rush in an out of that barn to polish taps, angle lights, and wrestle with curtains. It is fun, except when you get tripped up by a chicken, or until you go to IKEA to seek out fine, soft, crisp, bedding with tasteful cushions. IKEA is just a place for getting lost, feeling inadequate and making argumentative decisions about cheese graters.

Chickens on the fence

But I would rather be half alive crawling around IKEA than trying to write a listing for Airbnb. I bought this book to inspire me. It didn’t.  

Airbnb for dummies book

Chapter 6.  ‘Building the perfect listing’ tells you what to do. It is full of dark warnings about missed opportunities, and first impressions. You must write nicely about organic linen, sumptuous ironing boards and letting cares and worries slip away on clouds of scented candles, or you will fail. 

I won’t fail. I can write stuff. This is the first go.


How about? ‘This was dead barn and now it isn’t. A year ago today I caught a rat in there. You could not get in the door for all the junk, and the walls were damp and infested with mosquitos. It’s nice now and we have to pay back a big loan. So book it quick before we change our minds about letting you in‘.

Too long.  You only get up one line.  ‘A year ago today I caught a rat in this barn.’ has a good dramatic ring.

Key Points

Great for families. Probably. Depends on the sanity of your family. Some families have a horrible time wherever they go.  How is your family?  If you are a happy bunch you will probably like it. But if you are normal and have underlying dysfunctions, don’t blame it on our barn.

About the host. We are next door. Like all neighbours we might be friendly and we might not, depending on the look of you. Mostly we will leave you alone but the chickens might not.

They are obsessed with getting into your patch of garden and the fencing is dodgy. Proper fencing costs more than we thought, so we got cheap willow trellis.

Chickens getting through a fence

They are already working out how to get through. If they do, you are responsible for chucking them back over the fence and blocking up the hole.

Self Check in and Free cancellation.  Maybe. Keys can go under stones and, actually No you can’t cancel. Stick to your commitments and don’t let people down all the time.

Pets. You can’t bring your pets.  This is because some people don’t like animals and are allergic to them and they won’t book if you have been in with your hairy, itchy pets. 

The only pet that might turn up is our cat, because she sneaks in all the time.

Cat sleeping in a heather bush

But she is OK because she is hypo allergenic. This is a fact because, when we went to get her, we sniffed the dear little kitten and did not get a sneezing fit.  So we brought her home and that was one of the best days of our sad, uneventful lives. 

The Space

2 bedrooms and bathrooms and we didn’t buy second hand beds so they smell nice at the moment.  So do the carpets. You cannot beat the smell of new carpets.  Try not to walk on them.

A new kitchen.  You will recognise the kitchen because it is exactly the sort of kitchen everybody else chooses these days.  It is the same with the tiles.  We thought we were choosing something interesting and different but that is the thing about zeitgeist.  It gets you when you are not looking.  But anyway everything works and is all brand new so you don’t have to worry about mould, grease or salmonella. 

A living room. This is the best bit because it is huge with a high ceiling so your children can run around like crazy and chuck things. It is echoey so, if you like using your voice, you can howl or sing and bounce it off the walls.   

There are sofas and a sofa bed in case a friend needs to come and stay. Maybe don’t let them stay more than 2 or three nights though. Friends get annoying when they hang around too long and it can all get touchy when people are on holiday.

Tasteful cushions

Anyway the cushions came free with the sofa so they are more tasteful than the ones we would have chosen.  Keep them tidy like this.

Dedicated work space. If you are a workaholic there is a desk with a comfortable office chair so you won’t get a bad back while you are being a workaholic.

But don’t. There is too much else to do. Leave your laptop in your suitcase and get a life. 

Bad office chair

PS I lied about the bad back thing.  Our neighbour gave us this chair and I am not surprised.  It so so uncomfortable.  You will definitely get a bad back.


You get a bit of path and a flowerbed just outside your front door.  You can sit out there if you like. I wouldn’t.  My garden is much nicer.  This bit hardly gets any sun and all our neighbours can look at you.  That is the problem with barns that got left behind when all their sister barns got knocked down and replaced by new houses.

dying trees in pots.  Bay trees

I dug up some tasteful trees and put them into pots for you, but now they are dying.

Guest Safety

We got rid of the rats, so all good there.  But that path slopes up to the door and is lethal when it rains, because all the moss turns into green slime.

We have all hurt ourselves on this path so watch out.

Stunning views

It is nice if you look out of the upstairs window.

Lovely garden

As long as you pick the right window.

Suburban view

The other window is also nice, but in a more red brick kind of way.

Neighbourhood Description

Nestled in a suburban village where very little happens. The barn is jammed between two housing estates with Bovis to the east and Redrow to the west. 

There is a pub across the road where you can watch sky sports and buy chicken and chips. Sometimes it closes down.  There is another pub just down the road that never closes.  This is because it does a carvery and everybody loves roast dinners.  Actually I don’t know why it is still open because it is often completely empty.  But they only had E.coli once so the food is mostly OK. 

There is a small Tesco, cafe, chemist and nothing else. Oh and there are new people running the post office, which is probably a shame because Peter the post man always happy and friendly and that is unusual. I bet the new ones are grumpy. Most post office owners are. It must be a stressful job that attracts the wrong people.

 Getting around

You can drive here and park next to our van. The parking is under a beautiful tree with pink flowers.  We don’t park there because the tree drops sap onto cars and destroys the paintwork so plenty of room for you. 

Pink blossom i n winter

After that don’t bother driving anywhere. You are 10 minutes from the city and 15 from the sea, in theory.  But not in a car because the traffic is horrendous. 

Bring a bike and you will be OK.  We have toyed with the idea of hiring our own bikes to you.  But seeing as we don’t even know how to mend a puncture this could get tricky. 

There are buses to all good locations, and ferries across the river, but sometimes the buses don’t turn up.  I blame the government.

Rules. Check in. Deposits. Cleaning Fee. Breakages. Welcome Pack. Amenities

STOP THIS NONSENSE! All these things to fill in.  When it comes to amenities you have to say if there is an iron.  How does anybody ever know if there is an iron?  I might have an iron in this house but the only time I hear about it is when somebody says ‘Do you know where the iron is?’

Time to go and chase the chickens out of the house. They have worked out where the cat food is so that’s another problem.

Chickens in the house

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