We were slightly surprised, if not dismayed, to return from our latest London jaunt to a telephone call suggesting our next inspection date might be five days hence (last Friday). We had our last annual inspection in February this year.
With Christmas cards, work on the website, not to mention actual Christmas preparations all looming, we agreed, on the principle that it would never be a good time so we might as well get it over and done with!
We try to keep on top of everything in Tom’s and Douglas’s Barns, so there was no real panic there although we did have to hastily replace, yet again, at £30+ apiece, the very super heavy duty ‘life time guarantee’ non-stick frying pans which recently have never lasted more than a couple of months… What does happen to them?
Another, unseen side of inspections is the paperwork one needs to produce – proof of things like Public Indemnity Insurance, a list of repairs, replacements, improvements and what one plans to do next year (“targets” – foolish to get carried away because next year evidence will be required…!).
If we get Five Star twice in one year, what does that mean?
Our inspector had also been onto our website, and checked booking procedures (good, thank you SuperControl!) and our secure virtual payment facility (thank you, Sagepay!). She was relieved to hear we are to have a new website – one day – and impressed that we have just achieved PCI (Personal Card Industry) Compliance, which means that guests can be confident that we have in place appropriate security standards to protect their ‘cardholder data’ – in fact when you book online we do not ever see your card details apart from the last 4 digits.
The whole inspection took nearly three hours. It was interesting to see the process. Often they have preferred to go round the barns alone, but on Friday she was very clear that I should accompany her. She was reassuringly? uncomfortably? thorough! Mattresses and pillows were scrutinised, the underneath of taps and loo seats, dishwasher filters and air vents, each saucepan and the cutlery…
Thanks to Janet and co, nothing appeared to be amiss and before she left, the inspector produced this reassuring little notice that we had once again passed muster!