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Behind the Scenes

Tom's Barn Mystery Shoppers' Final Report

Staying as our own guests was an intriguing experience. Not surprisingly, we felt totally at home but at the same time we did feel we were experiencing something special. We had to keep reminding ourselves that we weren’t really on holiday: we were there for quality control purposes!

We were warm, beautifully comfortable and more than once painfully aware that the quality of some of the equipment was rather superior to what we are used to at home (which is as it should be…). The one exception was the shower, but we are lumbered with a less than vigorous flow because of the lack of headroom; otherwise we slept like babies, loved the bath, appreciated the fluffy towels and the bathrobes, enjoyed the flat screen telly in the bedroom and found it an easier kitchen to cook in than our own bigger one. I would love a Sony Netbook…

The most obvious flaw was the telephone. BT tried their best to assure us it was an internal problem (which at first we assumed) but actually it was a problem with their line which eventually they came to fix, so all is well on that front now.

Then we couldn’t find a frying pan, although there are two saute pans. I have since bought two non-stick ‘frypans’ as they appear to be called these days, and a non-stick griddle, plus – crucially, a non-stick ‘turner’.

We noticed that the chopping ‘boards’ were rather tired looking, so have replaced them with a superior board.Two of the dinner plates had a little chip (must have been new or Janet would have spotted them). We have replaced the plates but now have no more spare so that means a trip to the Wedgwood factory shop in Stoke – no great hardship there.

Finally, we accepted to our disappointment that the lovely easy chair, which we had had cleaned at some expense in February – and therefore which must be clean – still doesn’t look it and therefore we will have to replace the whole chair in the next few weeks, or find someone who can recover it.

So, to sum up, we didn’t find anything dreadful but have acted on everything we did find that wasn’t quite up to snuff. We look forward to our next excuse to stay again, and are longing for a chance to stay in Douglas’s Barn.

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