It feels like a lifetime ago, but back in December last year, a little window of opportunity for a booking opened up after another month of national lockdown. A family of six from three households had hoped for a Christmas gathering but they postponed (rather hopefully it now seems) to early March to coincide with a birthday. Unfortunately, the recent announcement means further delay.
There’s bound to be some change to how we operate, the thing to do is just to stay flexible. We frequently have guests come to us for celebrations and we are beginning to see how different those will be.
When we could still have guests, we had a gentleman, called Rod from Oswestry, who wanted to celebrate his 80th birthday. Originally, he wanted it in West Wales, but had to abandon that when Wales shut down again. Luckily, we were able to fit him in at short notice.
We held a grand dinner for Rod and his wife, complete with log fire, candles, crystal glasses, fine china, starched linen napkins and silver cutlery. There was a smoked salmon mousse, Lane Cottage leaf salad followed by Oakly Park rack of lamb with dauphinoise potatoes, seared baby corn, roasted fennel and red pepper and steamed purple sprouting broccoli. For dessert there was tarte au citron, blueberries and Mawley cream along with a few select cheeses.
Here’s what was really different in the time of Covid, after dinner our guests’ offspring from around the country joined them via Zoom link, rounding off what would otherwise have been a damp squib milestone birthday!
I received an email two days after they left, to tell me how much they enjoyed their stay and how special Rod had felt. It means a lot to get letters after an event as it means the good memories have lodged!
Once restrictions are lifted, I know creating warm-feeling memories will still be required and that means bringing a whole lot of elements together rather than one single thing like a log fire or good food. It’s the combination that produces that feel-good glow.
B&B hospitality is different to a hotel or self- catering places to stay. The best B&Bs are the ones where guests are immediately made to feel as if they have arrived at the home of old friends who love to make their visitors happy and comfortable with the benefit of the cooking and clearing up all taken care of.
I know as the current custodian of Crow Leasow, I’m biased, but I really do feel our fine setting makes a great first impression and provides the right vibes to build those warm memories! There is a massive, ancient sessile oak called the Crow Leasow Oak, visible on the approach to the B&B and to the front and to the side, we have the majestic presence of the Clees and Titterstone.
Guests are welcomed by our enthusiastic and friendly dogs: Boot, Bob and Bert and our black cat, Puss, who happily purrs when he finds a willing lap to light upon.
I’m looking forward to more activity later this year. In fact, weddings are on our minds. There have been many cancellations and a backlog caused by the pandemic, but we are very well placed geographically and facility-wise to host receptions here at Crow Leasow.
We are in easy reach of the churches at Bitterley, Middleton, Stoke St Milborough, and Bromfield for instance with plenty of guest accommodation nearby with a price range to suit different budgets. There is also space for camping on site and a four-poster bridal suite here at the house. The plan is to limit the number of events to five a year. Each one will be as special to us as it will be to those coming here! We are planning to update the site as soon as the drone video is completed so watch this space.
In the meantime, fingers crossed that normality is on its way sooner than later.
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