Posted: 22nd May 2017
‘What is a weekend?’ asks Maggie Smith’s character, the Dowager Countess of Grantham incredulously in Downton Abbey.
Maggie Smiths’ character, the Dowager Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey may be best known for this quote, but arguably it is also the cry of the small business owner. Let’s go further – what’s a day off? We spend every hour of every day on our businesses and juggling life’s other commitments. We don’t have time for a day off let alone time to think of a destination or what to do when we get there.
So a couple of years ago when my I invited my sister Sue, a fellow entrepreneur, to join Wisteria Tours on an overnight trip to Highclere Castle and Lacock Abbey her first response was ‘I don’t have time for one day off, never mind two’.
I applied some gentle family pressure – another sister was over from the US and as we are all huge Downton Abbey and Harry Potter fans I suggested we do a ‘sisters thing’, something we hadn’t done since, well, I can’t remember when. I clinched the deal by assuring Sue all she had to do was get on the coach and relax; everything else had been taken care of.
Sure enough, shortly after our arrival at Highclere Castle I saw her in the famous library excitedly sending photos and exchanging messages with fellow Downton fans to show them where she was. A cream tea on the lawn revived us enough to make the trip to the gift shop. At Lacock I caught her sending a video to her son asking him to identify which scenes from Harry Potter were filmed in the Abbey. And then later in the Abbey garden we all took multiple shots of the herbaceous borders as inspiration for our own gardens.
The trip was made even more enjoyable because of the varied mix of customers: – mothers and daughters, sisters like us, older couples and lots of retired professional women. Many of them keen to share their appreciation of the beautiful locations through conversation and good cheer. The buzz of conversation at dinner amazed my sisters – they said it was a delight to see so many women thoroughly enjoying their time out.
In fact, Sue was so enthused that last year she joined me in our company, Wisteria Tours.
One concern my sisters did have was the coach travel – was it still like the 80’s when we all used it as a cheap way of getting from A to B? No! Today’s sleek modern vehicles are spacious, air conditioned, and above all – comfortable.
So if you are ready for some TLC, would like someone to plan you a lovely short break, staying in a 4star hotel – do all the driving and just tell you what time you need to be where – then join us for one of our short summer tours. You can find us at… www.wisteriatours.com. Go on, you know you deserve it!