We have a couple of honeymooners staying at SCH just now, which is lovely! Sue had told us that they were coming to Northumberland directly from their wedding - so when their room was ready we spent a few minutes scattering some rose petals in their room as a bit of fun, and we put them a nice bottle of wine and a card there to greet them too.
They were both really taken aback, and Sue immediately posted a few photos on her Facebook page, and her friends shared in her delight. It's lovely to be creating memories with people - we'd like to think they'll come back to celebrate many an anniversary in Northumberland, and walk these beaches together again - and maybe remember how a few rose petals made their arrival a little bit special!
They told us a lovely story at breakfast this morning; last night they'd decided to indulge in that seaside tradition of having fish 'n chips for supper. We advised them to go to Lewis's, our chippy of choice. Somehow, in chatting with the waitress, the fact that they were on honeymoon had come up. Then, to their delight (and amusement!) the waitress brought this special delivery of mushy peas to their table! Brilliant - and very kind. So - that's Lewis's for your fish 'n chips, OK?
Weary travellers arriving exhausted from all corners of the world, or excited people setting off on the trip of a lifetime, perhaps... all of them will be stopping in their tracks as they make their way through each of Heathrow's enormous terminals, when they see the stupendous imagery and stories which will soon be adorning the walls and spaces there, and asking that question - 'Hey - where is THAT?'
I've no doubt they'll go on to say "cancel that ticket to London/Canterbury/Bath/Salisbury (delete all traditional destinations which makes a foreign visitor believe he's 'done' England) and get me THERE! What - it's only 3 and a half hours from central London on the train, or 50 mins from this airport?!"
You see, the North-East just won a 'competition' on Heathrow Airport's Facebook page, and the prize is £1m worth of advertising in and around the airport. I'm not sure how many posters that buys, or how many people that means will see them, but I do know:
So that's good. Hopefully we can bust some stereotypes, and in the process show them that Northumberland (that's my bit!) has the friendliest people, the best beaches, the biggest and best dark skies, the most castles, the best castles, the least traffic, and the best value no-nonsense food.
If I get the chance, I'll also be pointing out that here on the Northumberland coast we get rainfall of just 600mm per year, and only East Anglia beats that as a dry place. See - I told you this place has its secrets.
Yesterday, we said goodbye to a lovely couple who had been here for their first visit, although they assure us they can't wait to come back.
Catherine said that one particular thing had really touched her, and impressed - it was that from the moment they arrived, we'd called them by their name. She said that they'd visited a similar high-quality B&B in the Lake District regularly for several years now, and that they had never once, in all their visits, been addressed by their names.
I think this is important on a number of levels. Our name is a precious thing, for sure. I get really cross when people reply to my email (signed by 'Jeff') with 'Hi Geoff' - and I'm amazed at how often it happens. What's the matter with you?!
But in hospitality, where our purpose is to make you feel valued, special, respected and cared for, there really is no excuse for a business not making an effort to learn, and use, guests' names. It's common courtesy, as much as good business!
So if you have a nice B&B in the Lake District and you don't see Catherine again, you now know why. Oh wait - you don't know who Catherine is...