Almost all of Stan and Ada’s loyal guests were in their sixties and seventies, and many came from the Midlands, the north of England, and also from neighbouring counties: Kent and Sussex. There were also those who lived in Cornwall, the Isle of Wight, and the occasional couple from different parts of Europe. Curiously, they had never accommodated many city dwellers, and absolutely not one Londoner. Keen bird-watchers, stalwart hikers, and lovers of the unique beauty of the area they all shared the same wish for a simple, unpretentious stay. A light breakfast – beautifully served downstairs in their timeless and cosy dining room – with its array of pictures and photographs of the family, and much-loved ponies. They even had their own branding iron with L on it to distinquish their own particular forest pony: Lucy.
Guests could lunch at the tiny local pub, which provided local fare: ploughman’s lunches, real ale; homemade venison pies.
The constituency of ‘the visitors’ was largely made up of middle-class, middle-aged, middle England; with a smattering of curious Continentals. And, for twenty years, this life had suited them both. But as they reached their mid- seventies, they both considered slowing down. They began to close the cottage from the end of October to the beginning of March. Sadly, they had no grandchildren, so their lives revolved around the business and their animals: two ponies out in the field, and two rescue dogs – mutts – that one of their daughters had tired of.
So, in the last week of October, 2015, after a particularly long and dry summer, they finally received a booking from a London couple : Francesca and Julian. They had decided that this would be their last booking; and that they would close after this, and just enjoy the garden and the animals.