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Funny First Impressions

...'A short drive'...

We all love flowers!

I was reminiscing recently about the coronation and how somehow its importance had been signified to a young girl by being given a bottle of CocaCola at school.

Idly playing with my iPad this morning I decided to see what TripAdvisor had to say about a local hostelry in nearby Biggin. (We are very often asked to recommend suitable places to stay near here if we are already booked or even for people who don’t want self-catering at all, believe it or not…).

Having already noticed how easily influenced a “traveller” can be – one had rated this particular speciality lodging 2/5 because her glass of red wine appeared chilled, I was informed at the bottom of the page that the person reading this review (me) had funnily enough also visited a nearby speciality lodging, Tom’s Barn and Douglas’s Barn… So back I popped, to our page, but fortunately for us, our lovely and warmly grateful guests are not so easily put off – and fortunately for us too, of course, we don’t serve wine at all, chilly red or not, so no risk of a problem there.

At a workshop the other day we were all told that apparently it takes everyone – is it three seconds, or five – to gain a lasting impression about other people or a place, which is a seriously scary thought. But facing me now is an even scarier thought: impressions gleaned by some mechanical algorithmic process, in this case a TripAdvisor robot scanning our reviews.

Under the section: What TripAdvisor travellers say about this ‘Speciality Lodging’ it picks out as the main points:
“Fresh flowers” (9)
“Short drive” (4)
“Personal touch” (3)
“Very warm welcome” (3)
“Lovely place” (3)

All lovely observations, if short on detail – and I am quite surprised it hasn’t picked up all the appreciative cake comments which keep cropping up – but that is beside the point. What intrigues me, is the “short drive” which comes second from the top. Is the Orchard Farm drive embarrassingly brief or in fact is this seen as a good thing? Or perhaps it’s only a short drive to Chatsworth? Or from home, be it Lincoln, Taunton, Aberdeen or even Derby (yes, we’ve several guests from as short a drive away as Derby, Chesterfield and Sheffield). I don’t suppose we’ll ever know, but that’s another example of a possibly quite unhelpful if not completely misleading first impression.

Homemade cake or biscuits for you

Still, there’s no use agonising over this. We’ll continue to care for you/all our guests as well as we possibly can, in spite of the short drive. It is such a pleasure to welcome here so many truly nice, interesting, different, fun people. We try hard to make our barns as lovely for you as we possibly can and we can be pretty sure you will love them. The rest we can take no credit for: it’s down to our great good fortune to be in a quiet, friendly village in such a beautiful setting with wonderful walking and in fact only a short drive to so many interesting places.

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