On the whole I have a great bunch of guests coming and going here at Tabor Hill Farm. However, you do get the odd one who is… hum… a little demanding?! There was the lady who asked to put something in the fridge. A fairly frequent request for a bottle of wine or lunch for the next day. But this guest took it to the extreme, removing the whole contents of my fridge and putting all her shopping, still in the bags – Waitrose of course Darling – into the fridge. There was the lady who only ate healthy foods, lectured me on various diet issues, obviously hinting at my size. She ate the complimentary homemade cake in the room and asked for more. She left the tomatoes, mushrooms and egg on her breakfast plate but asked for another slice of fried bread! There was the couple who sat for 25 minutes on the farm track waiting for the bull to move so they could drive past. This was a bull who wasn’t a bull but an English Longhorn cow. However, as much as I tried to explain that it was a cow and not a bull, that horns vary from breed to breed, they wouldn’t hear of it. Apparently only bulls have horns, cows don’t and as this creature had horns it had to be a bull. So the next day they asked if I would drive out first to make sure the bull, which was a cow, wasn’t blocking the track so they could drive out.
Then a couple of years ago I got a reservation from a gentleman wanting a single room for three nights. I explained that I didn’t have a single room, but he could have either the double or twin, he insisted on a single and then began to barter. I don’t barter, the price is the price – end of. He arranged to arrive by 9pm, all fine and dandy. But turned up at 11.30! I showed him to the room and before I could get down the stairs he followed me wanting a cup of tea. At that time of night one would hope the guest/s would use the tea and coffee making facilities in the room. No – he wanted me to make it and then sat in the kitchen talking and talking and talking. I was somewhat blunt by midnight and off he went to bed. Next morning, the complaints started. The shower was cold, the duvet too heavy, bed too soft and the bath towels too large. So while he ate, actually sucked – I’ll explain in a mo – his breakfast, I ran upstairs to check the shower. It was set on cold. When he left I split the duvet to reduce the weight, not much I could do about the bed and he would just have to put up with the size of the towel.
One thing I had noticed was his lack of teeth and this was more apparent when he ordered breakfast. Toast, bacon and sausages all had to be under cooked. He clearly couldn’t chew so would have to… well… suck! He didn’t like my sausages and suggested they came from the supermarket, they don’t, they come from my local butchers. He asked if I had added food colouring to the egg yoke as the colour of the yoke from my free range girls was too yellow. Finally he asked where he should go for his dinner. I alway suggest two pubs to visitors and everyone loves both and so do I. So I suggested either the London Inn in Molland or the Royal Oak in Withypool. He asked me to book him into the Royal Oak and off he went.
He arrived back about 8ish and my heart sank, that would mean I would have to natter to him further.
“I don’t know why you recommend the Royal Oak, they can’t cook you know”, he bellowed before plonking himself down in the kitchen.
“They can’t cook green beans you know” he yelled even louder.
The trouble is I knew this was utter rubbish. I know Sarah Thomas, landlady and chef is an excellent chef. I have never had a complaint made against the place or the food. I know the place is excellent, but I decided not to argue and let him rumble on and on and on. It turned out he didn’t like his lunch in the hotel in Exford either, their green beans were dreadful too. And as for the cream tea in a National Trust cafe well I won’t bore you with what was wrong with that.
Next morning, despite making sure the shower was on hot, it was cold again. The duvet too light, he requested I put the other section back. He still didn’t like the bed and wanted a 2nd hand towel and asked for the bath towel to be removed. Breakfast again under cooked and he still didn’t see why my eggs were so yellow. Finally he asked me where to go for dinner and off he went again.
This time I booked him into the other pub I always recommend. The London Inn in Molland. Again like the Royal Oak guests love the pub and the food and so do I. At 8pm the phone went. It was Stuart Mallen landlord and chef at the London Inn.
“Who the ********* is this bloke you have booked in? Who the ******** does he think he is? What a pain in the ******** ******** he is” Stuart yelled down the phone.
“Hello Darling” I replied “Yes I love you too. Is he being a pain?”
Yes he ****** ******** ****** is” came the reply.
Luckily I know Stuart every well, so I asked what happened. Well, my gentleman (I use that term loosely) B&Ber arrived before they were open and hammered on the door. Didn’t like any of the beers. Ordered a starter which he didn’t like and sent back to the kitchen. This was only after he had completely cleared the plate while complaining at the same time. His complaint… he couldn’t eat it, it was too difficult to eat with his lack of teeth. Then why choose pate and TOAST. But to add insult to injury he ordered Crispy Duck for his main. This is a man with few teeth, he struggles to eat, he didn’t ask for it to be undercooked, which would have kinda defeated the object of the dish and then complained that is was tooooooo CRISPY.
Next morning, shower was cold, still didn’t like the bed or duvet and decided he would have scrambled eggs for breakfast. He’s been back three more times and each time he’s been back to the London Inn and the Royal Oak for his dinner. Oh bless…