We had really given up on the idea of getting away this year, with everything which is going on in the world with Covid 19, the fact that everything in this country seemed to be getting booked up faster than you could say ‘holiday’ and prices were soaring. We had two weeks already booked off work and a teenager who had spent far too much time on his computer in the past few months, so day trips were looking to be the only option.
Then, just before our annual leave started we managed to get a couple of rooms in a B&B in the Trossachs for the first week – starting Saturday!! No time to prepare and write my lists of preparation, first priority was to make sure the cats would be looked after. Fortunuately we are very lucky and have fabulous neighbours who are real animal lovers and agreed to pop round to feed and make sure they were okay. We learned on our return that the girls decided to make sure there was no chance of being forgotten by lying in wait at their front door each morning, meowing at the door and then escorting them home to get their breakfast! When it comes to food, our cats take no prisoners, they will make sure that they are fed.
Completely unprepared we set out, had a relatively clear run up and landed at the B&B within five minutes of our estimated arrival time – this was a CV19 requirement – to give our arrival time to avoid any other guests arrival. It was a real change to the normal reception you would expect, anti-bac before you enter the property, anti-bac dispensers ready for using before you leave, as you move between rooms, even before you descend the stairs, in case you used the hand rail. To keep everyone safe we were given a designated table for breakfast/dinner, a one way system for entering and leaving the dining room, designated sitting area in the bar area and asked, if we were to look at any of the books, to not return them to the bookcase, but return to the owners so that they could be quarantined before going back into circulation. Even tourist leaflets were to be requested, rather than be flicked through and potentially put back into the display unit. Okay, by now your thinking how awful it sounds, I’ll admit I was a bit concerned about how this was going to pan out. After all, you go away on holiday with a view to relaxing and forgetting about the usual daily stresses, you don’t want to feel you’ve ended up in some sort of institution!
In case all that was getting you stressed – the calming stream which runs alongside the grounds of the B&B…..
Fortunately we were pleasantly surprised how easy it was to conform to all these additional rules and how relaxing and comfortable our stay actually was.
Given the world we are living in at the moment and the hoops businesses need to jump through in order to re-open safely, it is impressive that they manage to do so much to keep everyone safe without compromising on the friendly and hospitable atmosphere. In a way it was actually very reassuring to know which table we were to be sat at for meals and have our own wee area in the evenings, especially given it was right by the drinks cabinets.
After dinner we were able to settle down in our wee nook for a game of Scrabble…..
Which on occasionmight have become a little tense….
The main thing to stand out about our stay was our hosts, Kerry and Andy. They have people come and go all the time, some just for one night, others for longer. We were there for a whole week, so saw several groups come and go, but what I did notice was the way in which they managed to make each feel special, more than just a source of income, but instead we were friends come to stay in their home.
They remembered food and drink preferences, made suggestions of places to go, things to see, with directions and that little bit of local knowledge that you wont get from tourist leaflets. They took the time to stop and chat when we returned, or were spending time in the bar area. Asking how are day went, what are plans were, but not in an obtrusive way. Not just a one way conversation either, they were also happy to chat about themselves and offer insights to their lives. I guess the upshot is, they provide a home from home, but where you didn’t need to cook, clean or worry about getting up for work in the morning.
Oh, did I mention the bears? Callum and I always take a bear on holibobs – they make excellent pillows in the car and for a long journey that is very important! They also make for a source of entertainment if your hosts are like minded…. Several times we were to return to our rooms to find our bears had been bust whilst we were out exploring.
Of course, then they upped the anti by adding two new guests to our breakfast table…
Of course, we were not to be outdone. When we left our room we also left our own little guest, as a thank you for our stay…….. hoping to return….