[Below is our thank you email to our UK tour operator]
Dear John, the trip was wonderful. your best job yet. First, the bus. Awesome! No one expected a full size luxurious bus, even an onboard toilet. Even the smaller one in Scotland was really nice. Kevin made the trip! He is a spectacular guide!!! Jen made the observation that he was able to make all the details of the trip interesting to everyone, from 80 year olds to Alice, a 5 year old. This is unusual, a real gift, everybody loved him. If we do this again, and everybody wants to, it will be with Kevin. Last night we had Jen and her family over for dinner, and during a lull in the conversation, Joe, 8 years old, said, " can we talk about England?" The Bath Priory was great, very helpful and nice, unlike my preconceived impressions that they were too inflexible, particularly with meals, so that is why we scheduled the barge evening. The Priory folks were extremely pleasant and helpful, even with the little kids. Nice rooms, beautiful gardens, great food, probably the best of the trip. The boat was pleasant, kids loved it as did the young adults. Food just fair, as you would expect, but wonderful ambiance. Welcombe Inn always outstanding, we had a private dining room that opened on the wonderful gardens, food and wine selection excellent.
We have questions about charges for the private dining rooms. I know for certain that we were charged 250 pounds for a private dining room at Great Fosters. I complained because it was supposed to be prepaid, they said they would talk it over and may take it off. There was no reason we could not have been accommodated in the main dining room, the separate room was for their convenience. I paid it under duress, and I need you to sort it out as my advocate. I hope you can get a copy of the final bill and ask them to take it off and give me a credit.
Berkhill Castle was the real highlight of the trip. It was beautiful, and they had recruited a really great chef, Russell, to do the meals which were constantly outstanding. He had full breakfasts, and packed sandwiches for lunches, and the dinners were gourmet. The Earl and Countess, Sioaban, were gracious hosts. They stayed out of our space, but were very friendly and nice if we sought them out. The rooms were beautiful, the gardens fabulous, particularly the vegetable garden; we has fresh vegetables every day. The daily excursions were fun for everyone. The guides in Scotland were not very good, boring and sometimes they went on and on; however , Steve, the driver was excellent. The driver in England, also Steve, was also excellent. I really appreciated the electric scooter. It made it possible to be part of the tour on several occasions, both Steves pulled it out of the bus without complaint, every time I needed it.
You arranged a memorable evening when we celebrated out 55th wedding anniversary. A wonderful bagpiper piped us to dinner. He explained the pipes to us, and went a sufficient distance to play a concert at dinner. Having a bagpipe play in a closed room is pretty loud, he moved out. After a wonderful dinner, complete with complimentary champagne given to us by the Earl and Countess, the piper piped us to the game room where we were entertained by professional dancers in Scotland dress doing traditional dances. We thought we had had a great evening, but then the piper piped us to the library and outside, where chairs had been set up. After we were seated, around the corner of the castle came a full pipe band of professional pipers and drummers. It made our hair stand on end. I sent you a movie clip. It was almost night, dark, and hard to get photos, and we were thrilled by the band, so we did not get as many good photos as I would have liked. I am still going through all out photos. I put everybody's photos on my computer, there are hundred of the , and I am going through them editing them in Photoshop to cull out the bad ones. I will put them all, eventually, on my photo web site so you can access them. Will keep in touch John, Bob
[Below is our thank you email to our tour guide, Kevin]
Dear Kevin, We all arrived safely back to our various locations. Everyone is still thrilled by our trip. We really meant it when we said you made the trip for us, and we won't do another one unless you are available. Your ability to make history interesting to all ages is a unique talent, and added to it is your excellent your fund of knowledge. You clearly enjoy your work and that, in itself, makes your relationships with people like us so comfortable. Thanks again John, lets do it again. When you come to visit your sister, you must spend a few days in Chicago.
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