Spring has sprung at last - this week has seen the most beautiful sunny spring days with warm sunshine, but cool and clear evenings and frosty and sometimes foogy nights. We have managed to put our yurts back on the field and have been busily populating them with all their furniture and soft furnishings ready for our first guests at Easter. We still have had some lovely guests staying in our shepherds hut and they have the benefit of having the place to themselves before our yurt guests start arriving. Its such a gorgeous time of year with blossom on all the apple trees, primroses in the hedgrows and bluebells starting to shoot up. The wild garlic is also rife in all the hedgerows, it is such a useful plant and the leaves and roots can be used in all sorts of wonderful dishes. The taste is not as strong as conventional garlic but you can be sure its totally organic and a real spring treat.
When I first started accepting guests at our glamping site, I was often asked about trip advisor as many guests were wanting to leave us (hopefully good) online reviews. However a friend who also runs a glamping site was trolled terribly and her opinion was not to go on there because sometimes people can be keyboard warriors and whilst they might be nice to your face are less complimentary once home and on their computer, leaving reviews that were not very nice and no opportunity to address problems at the time people stayed. Hence why we are not on Trip Advisor. So in the meantime technology moves onwards and things change. We still offer our guests an old fashioned "guest book" to share their views, and no one has ever said anything horrible in this - thank goodness. Just recently however Google, in their quest to take over the world have offered internet users the opportunity to "rate your business". All you have to do is set up a free google account. However this has meant that any person can post anything they like anonymously including on my google business page "Hemsford Yurt Camp". Since trolling has become illegal some people get around this by just leaving a 1 star review without actually leaving any text - this means that Google mark it as a hate rating as there is no grounds for a prosecution. My business has recently been subjected to some of these spurious 1 star ratings with no text, left by people who have never stayed here, or even visited our camp. Google don't give the business owner the opportunity to verify that the person making the review is a bona fide customer, unlike the big guns such as Amazon. So the trolling goes on. I can only imagine that the sort of people who feel the need to do such a thing are threatened in some way or have some perceived slight against our glamping site. Its well known that competitors often do this sort of trolling in an attempt to close others down. My husband wonders why this bothers me, I just hope that any guests who stay with us who might have a comment or opinion would offer us the option of discussing and taking on board any critique and so we can, if we need to, make changes. Anyway the fact that my bookings are doing really well this year says that not many people take these ratings into account!!!
This week Devon has had the hottest temperatures on record with daytime highs of around 18 degrees so the birds have been singing, the daffodils are in bloom and we have had frosty and foggy mornings. However all change for this weekend with the onset of Storm Freya. Its a far cry from all the snow we experienced on this day in March 2018. Lovely guests have been staying in our quirky shepherds hut with its cosy log burner and outside fire pit and garden seating area. With Strong winds and heavy rain forecast over this weekend it seems that climate change cant make its mind up whether Spring has had a false start.
Liz Jeffery - owner of Hemsford Yurt camp