I had waited for this moment for a while. As soon as there was an easing of lockdown in the UK and we could safely go away. We did.
This trip away was something which I thought may never happen. Quarantine has been proving tough for us in a variety of ways. My son a performer with Cirque du Soleil experienced his industry dissolving underneath his very bouncy feet. My husband had nearly died of covid-19.
I had wanted to go away since his recovery but of course we had to wait for the easing of lockdown. The travelzoo e-mail offering a train ride tour of Denbies Wine Estate in the Surrey Hills at the fantastic price of £9 for two seemed the perfect opportunity to step out. Not far from home but enough of a distance to make it more than a day out.
We also decided to spend the night on the vineyard at their hotel. More to come on that later.
Denbies Vineyard is set in the Surrey Hills. I didn’t think that England could surprise me further but she managed to. As we drove towards Dorking the vegetation became thicker and I began to look at the kind of scenery I had last seen in Devon. I was both enamoured and intrigued with what this would be like. Especially at such a cheap price!
Previous to my arrival – I had e-mailed with questions and approached the vineyard on social media. Neither really responded and I wondered if this were due to covid – or if this was their usual response. On arrival the response from reception was not what I would call welcoming – no smile – no real welcome – more of an understated hello!
Hmm.. I was beginning to be displeased yet at the same time making excuses due to the phenomenon which has been lockdown.
We decided to sit down and have a coffee whilst waiting for our midday time slot and the young lady at the coffee window brightened our day. Her customer service skills were very good, friendly, assertive, helpful and functional. Really, all the things I look for in customer service.
Making our way over to the train we were welcomed by the tour guide. A smile and a nod was all that was needed and we alighted the drastically reduced in numbers land rover pulled train to enjoy the vineyard and what a wonderful little tour it was!
At differing stopping points the tour guide told us a little history (recent and upto date also) of what had been going on. 30% of crops lost due to a late frost stood out to me, as did a crop of 70% – thats got to be good, hasn’t it when a business relies so heavily on mother nature to ensure it makes a profit.
I’m not going to talk about -what he told us. Go and experience it for yourself. It may be short – normally around 50 minutes but it is fun and I reckon fun is sorely needed during these pandemic times.
Yet for me, there was a moment, when we alighted from the train and the driver share a glass of bubbly with us all (included in the price) where I felt emotional and grabbed the opportunity at the end of the tour guides rhetoric to hijack the tour and toast the survival of my husband. I’d felt nervous doing it but said to myself ‘Jan, if you don’t do it now, you’ll miss the moment. It is the first moment, when you have him with you. Exploring and doing something you both love. Travelling!
So there I stood. Holding aloft my plastic glass. Speaking out about how I felt that he’d survived. He’s been the love of my life you see. Despite all our ups and downs. My heart still flips when he walks into a room and we’ve been married for over 30 years.
The toast gained us an extra glass of bubbly and we had booked to stay on the vineyard. Something I’ll tell you about in my next post. Who knew that in the next few days I would be spending such a short but happy time with my hubby.
Can’t wait to tell you more…