When someone gets to a certain age you tend to run out of ideas for birthday presents, don’t you? They’ve got everything they need and when asked just say, “A card will do, thank you”. This year I made a charity auction bid for a 1928 Rolls Royce Landau afternoon tea trip for four/five people and was fortunate to win it. This, I decided was an appropriate gift for my husband’s birthday. Rounding up some members of the family meant they had to travel 150 miles to take part, but were fully up for such a brilliant event.
Our British weather this year obliged beautifully and on the day we all dressed accordingly for such a trip out to a ‘posh’ hotel. The lovely man, Colin, who the owned Rolls was delightful and took us through the warm rolling Hampshire countryside to Langrish House Hotel, Petersfield. This lovely old house, full of character, stood in wonderfully manicured grounds – the groundsman obviously takes great pride in his work. Seated at the window table anticipation and expectation was foremost in all our minds. Two full tiers of finger sandwiches wraps, sweet cakes, fruit scones, homemade raspberry jam (ABSOLUTELY delicious) and clotted cream appeared in front of us. However, my hopes died on the first bite of sandwich; so dry and practically inedible but because all the others seemed to be tucking in without complaint I remained quiet, although my husband and I had looked at each other with the same thoughts.
Refraining from spoiling the day completely and not wanting to make a complaint (as I would normally have done) in front of our guests, I waited until reaching back home and fired off an email to Langrish House. To be fair their House Manager came back immediately full of apologies explaining, amongst other reasons, the chef had gone off duty at 11.00 a.m. and left these already prepared; the bread was from a new supplier and was obviously not suitable for purpose and the heat of the day was also a contributing factor. An offer of a return complimentary tea for us all was made but for our guests this was not an option.
After such a rather disappointing previous visit to Langrish House my husband and I decided to give them an opportunity to redeem themselves by celebrating our wedding anniversary with this offer. It could not have been more different – the bread was fresh, the fillings delicious, the sweet cakes unspoilt and the raspberry jam still equally yummy. A totally more enjoyable occasion. We will, no doubt, return.
However, the true moral of this tale is whatever the occasion, event or holiday, if something is wrong or needs rectifying, complain (if possible at the time) and take photographs if necessary.