Dear Teresa and Stephen,
I'm so sorry you were disappointed on your return trip to Bracken Hill after such a successful visit last time - which eventually happened after several Covid-related postponements - when I spent many hours showing the children the animals, collecting eggs, feeding the goats and discussing your daughter's particular interests and your son's recently published book, amongst many other things; it was a shame not to have had that interaction with your family this time - but I suppose that teenagers' interests change!
We will certainly address all the issues you raise regarding cleanliness with our cleaners, in particular checking that there are no items left behind by other guests (sadly we are all only human, & I myself found a set of worn underwear in a chest of drawers in another highly-rated property where I stayed recently!). I would like to point out however that you arrived over an hour early and we only have a limited turnaround time between guests - as I explained to you when you were still in the property an hour after check-out time on the final day, having assumed that you would be able to stay until 12 o'clock - which we had been able to allow on your previous visit since you had requested a late check-out in advance and we did not have any other guests arriving that day.
I do try to keep on top of the weeding and keep all the plants healthy and looking good, but occasionally I simply run out of time which is what happened on this occasion. Last summer we cleared out and re-planted the pretty bed all along the front of the cottage, which I seem to remember was somewhat overgrown the previous time you came, but we have intentionally allowed the bush to the left of the entrance path to grow a bit bigger as it gives much greater privacy to guests and also blocks the side of the large metal barn (which I think you'll agree is not the most attractive feature of the property!) so that when guests are sitting outside the front of the cottage they are now in a lovely, private, secluded area surrounded by flowers, birds, butterflies and the sounds of nature. I have however noted your concerns and will ensure that we give the offending bush a good haircut in the autumn once it has finished flowering.
As a working smallholding we do need a utility vehicle for farm use, which is what you describe as 'a dumped old car'; sadly we have limited space in which to park it! It is old, but it's a vital part of our operation and is in regular use.
I note your comment about the sofas, but we have had no other complaints and many guests say they are very comfortable and they like the style. We put the tape on the wardrobe door at the request of some elderly guests who found it tricky to open the door - which in common with many other 'streamlined' doors of this design do not have handles - and we decided that perhaps we should leave it there in case anyone else had the same problem; we will however review this decision in light of your comments.
The 5cm decorative panel around the bottom of the semi-circular ensuite shower does occasionally come unclipped during use; we try to ensure that it is always back in position before new guests arrive but obviously can't control what happens during a stay.
I am not aware of a horrid smell from the toilet during your stay, but of course would have called out a plumber to investigate immediately should you have alerted me to the issue. The temperature of the radiator itself can be adjusted by guests by simply turning the small control knob on the bottom left of the radiator; again, if you had asked I would happily have popped in to do this for you.
I'm sorry one of the light bulbs in one of the rooms had blown; this sometimes happens, of course, and we do usually switch all the lights on and off as part of our final check between guests (given enough time); I would naturally have replaced the bulb for you immediately had you informed me of the problem.
I am struggling to identify marks on any of our sheets, but I am aware that there are tiny areas of discolouration on a very few of our towels. We would love to be able to give each set of guests lovely new towels and sheets, but sadly this is not economically viable. All our bedlinen and towels are thoroughly washed and checked between guests, as you would expect, and any that are badly marked or damaged are taken out of use. Most of our towels were replaced at the beginning of the summer, so it's really most unfortunate that you managed to find unacceptable marks on them.
It's a shame that you can't see the Black Mountains through the trees and bushes while sitting on the decking outside the front of the cottage, but there is a wonderful view from the picnic table on the large lawn immediately in front of the cottage and from elsewhere on the property, even though it is harder to see through the leaves in the height of summer.
Thank you for taking the time to alert us to your concerns; please rest assured that we take all customer comments very seriously and always try to address any issues raised by guests as soon as they arise so long as we are aware of them.