FOREST HORRORDAYS ..A Real Tale of Robin the Poor to Pay the Rich
I would like to start out by saying you have a very beautiful and peaceful retreat at your Sherwood Forest location. I was in such awe at how lovely it looked but our experience was the most awful and disgraceful experience I have had in my adult life. Your site is let down the the inability of your managers and staff to handle situations that cause for discretion and care.
This holiday was booked for MR. X and myself (I am his carer) for Monday the 12th of December through Friday the 16th of December. However, I am writing this from my home. This was to be the first holiday that MR. X has had in over 25 years. MR. X suffers from Agoraphobia and severe anxiety. It has taken us 5 years of building up of confidence for MR. X to have even contemplated a "holiday" So when looking for places to go Forest Holidays stood out because of the type of atmosphere and self led holiday where he was not pressured into having to be with total strangers. The ability to have special food nights delivered to the cabin was a real attraction.The retreat on site was close enough where If needed I could pop into the retreat for anything. It also gave MR. X the opportunity to go with his dogs, which are a part of his safety net when he is out in the public. They give MR. X the extra confidence to be able to walk the trails on his own and not having to constantly rely on asking me to go with him. This gave MR. X the ablity to go with the dogs for some well needed independence and confidence on being out somewhere alone.
On Monday the 12th, I had called at 8:30am on the day of our arrival as MR. X and I were coming up with two dogs. The problem came from our original ride, (as neither of us drive) cancelled last minute and the replacement ride was only able to drive us to arrive for just before 1pm. Realizing it was probably too late I called anyway to find out if there was a possibility of an early check-in as the weather was miserable and as I had never been to your retreat before, I was not sure what kind of sheltering with the dogs you would have available. I was reassured by the girl who answered the phone that we would be able to come into the retreat, sit down with the dogs and enjoy a coffee or a meal while we waited for check-in.
Needless to say, we arrived around half 1pm and were greeted very cheerfully by the gentleman at the desk and the girl behind the counter. They were happy to help us and made us feel very welcome and not at all a burden with the dogs and having to occupy the retreat's main area for such a long period of time.
About an hour and a half into our stay a gentlman and lady came in with a shitzu and the looks started coming our way. This was because when they walked in, our dogs, who had quietly been laying down, sat up to look. From that point on we were not comfortable going past the exit where they had been sitting. We have a Johnson's American Bulldog and a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Having had these breeds for many many years, I understand how uncomfortable most of the public feel towards them. I was then happy that your server brought our food we ordered to us, why? Because when he brought the food over he asked if he could pet our dogs. They happily reciprocated the friendliness with your staff member. This made us feel a bit more at ease as the couple with the shitzu across the room could see that our dogs were friendly towards others and it seemed to put them a bit at ease as the dirty looks stopped coming our way.
After we settled in at the cabin on Monday night, we walked the dogs around the trails around the cabin the first time, we noticed how people with other dogs and children did not seem too thrilled to see our dogs. So from that point on we made it a point to only take the dogs out after dark. This was not a problem for us.
If I wanted to nit pick I would have complained about how dirty the cabin was, but we took into consideration that it is kind of wet, muddy, and really a self sufficient holiday space that previously had other animals in it. I didn't mind the gritty floor, nor the cobwebs on the walls and greasy hob and sticky sides.. We looked at it as we were basically "out in the woods for a good time". We let go the rock hard pizzas that my dogs wouldn't even eat and gave me an upset stomach we paid £28 for go. We let go the breakfast that was horrible and paid just over £20 go. The crusts of the pizzas were hard as rocks, the sauce tasted a tad off. The english breakfast, the beans were caked and crusted onto the ramekin and looked over microwaved, the bacon under-cooked, We took the sausages back to the cabin for the dogs, but even the dogs would not eat the sausages that looked over deep fried. We were on holiday after all, and MR. X was happy to be somewhere other than his home for the first time in 25 years.
That night we enjoyed the hot tub and the complimentary wood and were overjoyed we had pre-ordered a log burning top up for Wednesday. It looked like it was going to be a great holiday. As MR. X's carer, I have seen a lot of bad days and for the first time in 5 years I know him, I saw a happy to be out away from his home. MR. X even remarked how comfortable and safe he felt.
We decided on Monday night it was going to be an early night for MR. X and I as it was a long day for him being out and away from his home. I woke up around 1am on Tuesday the 13th. I have hyperinsomnia myself so I do not sleep much. So, I decided to sit on the deck and enjoy some of the peace and quiet. I was so excited because I was hearing the owls and eagles (I believe or hawks possibly?) calling in the night and about 2am I saw what I believed to be an owl fly across the area and land in a tree. I knew this was going to be such an amazing trip. I was still awake at 4am when the sky started to lighten and turn purply pink. I decided to get some pre-dawn photos.
Now it is about 6am Tuesday the 13th. By now the neighbor diagonally to the left of the decking of my cabin must have woken up. I had not initially noticed being lost in the moment, all i wanted to do was take some photos, and when I did, the flash went off. I had thought I had turned it off but in my excitement I must have fogotten. I was not pointing my camera in their direction and all the photos i took at 4am that morning, it was so dark you can only make out darkness and the blue of the sky (I have these photos if you would like to verify this). When the flash went off I believe the woman in the cabin felt i was possibly taking pictures of her. Because after that, the rest of the day every time MR. X and I would go out to have a cigarette, she would run and hide, shut the curtains and light, but with the glow of the television you could see someone was peeking through the curtains. It only caught our attention as it just seemed so deliberate. MR. X is 37 years old and wears joggers and baseball caps, this makes him appear to be more of a youth and It became more of a feeling of he "didnt belong there" with this cabin. The fact we had bully breeds and they had a golden retriever, which I may add barked 3/4 of the time we were there, also seemed to be a factor, We were out on the deck quite frequently and at this time of year I imagine you see more of whats around you than in the summer when the foliage is in and thicker, so you can't help but notice movement around you. We also chose to keep our curtains closed rather than live in a fishbowl like everyone else around us did, as MR. X DOES suffer from Agoraphobia and with the curtains shut he felt much safer. I think that also played a part in the whole stereo-typing feeling that was coming from them, but this is just an opinion.
It is now Tuesday evening of the 13th. Being MR. X does suffer from severe anxiety this began to play on his mind. However, he tried to let it go from his mind and enjoy the holiday and sit in the hot tub as dinner was to arrive in about an hour and then we would spend the evening back in the hot tub. That is when the smell overcame us. Well earlier in the morning, when I was up well before the sun taking photos, I had seen a tanker that could have possibly been a sewage collector of some sort because after that the smell just got worse and worse the more the wind blew. It seems as we explored we were next to some kind of cesspit processor area with this mechanical box that was buzzing all night long. After about 15 minutes in the hot tub we felt so physically ill from the smell we called it a night for the hot tub, and figured the next day would be better. Meanwhile, things with the cabin across the way was still carrying on, and MR. X not having the hot tub to distract him started feeling more uncomfortable, so much so we didn't even go out to smoke a cigarette until after 10pm. This led to his anxiety starting to play up - which led to him not being able to sleep - which led to him not being able to take his medication. He went to his bedroom in a semi agitated state and I didnt see him until the morning (Wednesday 14/12).
We come to Wednesday morning, 14th of December. Tuesday's events led to MR. X's Wednesday morning being a bit out of sorts - which led to us having literally a 5 minute tops argument on the deck. MR. X decided to remove himself from the situation and go for a walk. I went to the patio to smoke a cigarette and notice the couple in the cabin directly across from us gawping and pointing at our cabin and the couple with the issues with us already, leave their cabin as i was facing the dirt drive. I was leaning on the fence smoking my cigarette. and not 10 minutes later I saw a cart come towards the cabin up the road with a gentleman and a lady and I knew it was for our cabin. I greeted them at the door and informed them that MR. X and I did have a 5 minute argument and I sincerely apologized for the use of the "F" word on MR. X's behalf. I stated (and by this point i was in tears) MR. X suffers from Agoraphobia and severe depression and I assured them it was really better to let him just walk it off. They told me it was not a problem, this was just a verbal warning, Ben then gave me a hug and the young lady with him who had smiled the whole time we talked, assured me there was nothing to worry about the only reason they were there was because of the complaint about that language that was used and that the walls were very thin. I assured them it was a one time thing. They stated that they understood the situation to not let this spoil our holiday. They asked where MR. X walked to. I told them I was not sure but he needed time to get his head together and he just needed to be left alone. Ben then told me they would send Mike around later on just to make sure that MR. X was ok. About 15 minutes later MR. X comes back to the cabin in a worse state mentally and physically then he left. He was physically shaking and crying and nearly collapsed inside the doorway from the emotional state he was in. I told him sit down we need to talk. And before I could explain that the manager had come to the cabin he proceeded to tell me how Ben and the young lady with him had chased him down through the trails and after my telling them of his mental state and him repeatedly asking, nearly begging and crying, were his words, "to be left alone he is not well he needs to calm down and to be alone".Ben had followed MR. X down the path way and very nastily yelled "Oi! I want to talk to you I am the Manager". MR. X then left the area to sit on a rock. MR. X proceeded to again say he was not well and needed to be left alone. After MR. X explained all this to me, he had settled into a calm conversation about the rare Jayne Austin £5, there was a knock at the door. When I answered it, it was the young lady that had come to the cabin with Ben and she was with another woman. She said she was sorry and apologized but she had spoken to the manager and they decided to issue us a final warning. That if they were to be called out again (by this time and even now I couldn't even really tell you what the 5-minute argument was about that's how insignificant it was) we would be asked to leave. After she left we sat down and we read the notice.We noticed that the time of the incident was not marked and would lead one to believe this incident occured after 10pm and we were being excessively loud. Now let me explain. FIrstly, this 5 minute incident and use of the "F" word happened at 2pm in the afternoon. Secondly, the cabins are approx 7-10 metres apart.. If you can hear what someone is really saying and who is actually saying it, at that time of the day with the birds and activity from the other cabins and people in their hot tubs, and kids playing on the decks, you MUST be DELIBERATELY listening to someones conversation. In reality what if it had been someone getting out of a hot tub and stubbed their toe and cursed out of sheer pain and reaction.. I couldn't have told you WHAT cabin it had come from. MR. X and I take responsibility for the cursing and the, again, 5 minute disturbance. If i was there with my children when they had been little, I may have been upset but it was one incident and one swear word. So to be told that, are you serious? You cannot tell me not one group of people had ever gotten into an argument and I am sure it was longer than 5 minutes and they weren't laughing 20 minutes later. Parents yelling at their kids for misbehaving? Drunken disturbances?. But again MR. X suffers from Mental Illness, it is not an excuse but it is a fact. I disclosed to them and MR. X disclosed to your staff this several times. Yet your manager chose to chase MR. X down in his golf cart and incite the situation to a point that doomed the rest of this holiday. By now the neighbors were all gawking and staring causing neither of us to feel comfortable about going outside at all, The jets of the hot tub are so loud that if you want to hear one another you have to almost shout. If we even had felt comfortable enough to go outside to go in the hot tub we felt that if we tried to talk over the jets someone would misconstrue us talking as again another "incident" and be thrown out. My dogs were not pooing like they should because we did not feel comfortable even going outside to walk them other than purely in the dark, We did not feel comfortable even being there at this point. So Wednesday was a horror for MR. X and his anxiety began to play up and he could not take his medicine again. When MR. X is in that kind of state his medicine will not stay down. SO MR. X did not sleep at all Wednesday.
By now, Thursday, the 14th, MR. X had calmed down we both decided not to let this spoil everything and enjoy things. Everything seemed to be back on track. We had decided we would contact you after we left on Friday to explain the situation and put in a complaint about your manager Ben and how he handled this situation. MR. X was in a great state of mind and as his carer i felt he was in a solid frame of mind to walk down and get a pint of milk and some sugar for coffee, ask for the letter that was given to us to be time stamped for our reference. As well as we had pre-ordered a cream tea and neither of us felt comfortable by this time to go into the retreat and have it there. MR. X wanted to just ask if it was possible to get it either in the cabin or a refund. When MR. X walked into the retreat he immediately asked if he could have his cream tea in the cabin or a refund. He was told that head office needed to be contact by the girl the counter. She then turned around and proceeded to do nothing nor get the manager. At this point MR. X wasnt going to confront the matter of the time stamp needed for the letter. Then MR. X noticed the manager watching through the glass panel in the reception area. he started to get a bit agitated and feeling unwell. MR. X pulled the letter out of his pocket and stated to to the girl, doing nothing, "while you are at it i need a manager to get this letter time stamped for the Ombudsman" leaving the letter on the counter. At this point MR. X stepped outside as he felt his anxiety flaring, so trying not to make a bigger disturbance than needed, and to calm down MR. X went outside and was sick. MR. X was about to head back to the cabin but then realized he forgot the milk and sugar and the letter. MR. X returned back into the retreat to retrieve the letter but the manager on duty, Simon, seemed quire reluctant to return or time stamp it. MR. X then paid for the milk and sugar. That is when things just went out of proportion and your manager completely handled it wrong. His only retort was he needed to contact head office and then would try to avoid giving the letter back and would carry on like MR. X was not even there. Finally, after the incident became loud enough for the rest of the guests who were in the retreat, on both MR. X's and Simon's part, Simon signed and returned the letter and MR. X left the retreat. By the time MR. X made it back to the cabin, Simon called and stated we had an hour to leave the site and that the police were coming out to remove us.
When looking over the letter and realizing that the letter stated that the manager had been out twice he wanted to have this rectified and went back down to the office to confront the matter about the statement on the letter as it was false. No manager had been out twice. Since we were going to file a formal complaint we wanted the accurate details before we left site as we were now at this point definitely going to raise this matter with your head office.
We did not have a way to leave as we were expecting a cab service to pick us up Friday morning. This was a service which had to be specially arranged, as we do have two larger sized dogs. So as I was trying to arrange a way back to Chilwell, I was on the deck smoking a cigarette when I saw to police cars come up the road, The two officers cming into the situation. PC "A" and PC "B", now has escalated MR. X to an extreme heightened sense of manic anxiety. After about 35 minutes and a free show for your cabins around us, we all managed to get MR. X to a point he could comprehend what was going on reasonably. The two officers that showed up actually listened to the situation after finally calming MR. X down to a halfway reasonable level, we explained the situation to the officers. They also agreed your manager Ben initially incited this whole incident by not doing what was actually the proper thing to handle someone with MR. X's type of Mental Illness. So much so that they will be contacting you in reference to this incident, and I like them as MR. X's carer agree, you need to have better training of your staff where Mental Illness is concerned. Had MR. X been physically disabled would you have treated him the same way? No you could identify someone with a physical disability as having a special need. You deal with the public, and you deal with people with all types of disabilities, mental and physical, why are they not trained to handle situations like this? Your manager was told several times to back off yet persisted and MR. Xs mental state switched into manic mode BECAUSE he was not allowed to just walk it off and talk about this incident AFTER his manic state had passed. Melyvn was not being physically aggressive towards anyone through all this and was of no possible danger to himself or anyone else that he should not have been allowed to just walk away unharassed. He just wanted to be left alone Your manager caused us to not only have to cut short our holiday, but probably ruined a large majority of the day on Thursday for your guests around us, who had to be subjected to the chaos that ensued while MR. X, who suffers from mental illness, is humiliated in front of your other patrons. Do you think that is fair after your manager constantly badgered, harassed, and made MR. X feel trapped? The damage this has caused to MR. X 5 year progress towards trying to alleviate some of the anxieties in going out into public more has set him back in his mental state of leaving his home. PC "A" and PC "B" had enough training and compassion and knowledge of what to look for and how to handly people with mental illness. How to treat them like human beings. So much so they actually drove us and our dogs BACK to Chilwell. As we were driving back there came a call out about a missing man with dementia, and you have no idea how this made MR. X and myself feel knowing this poor elderly gentleman was out missing ahd his family worried and the only TWO available officers had to drive us an hour and half away. To our and the PC's relief the gentleman was found safe and sound by the time we reached Chilwell.
The way MR. X was treated is a disgrace. We take responsibility for the 5 minutes of noise and the use of the "F" word but there was no cause nor reason for things to have escalated to the point it did. To where we had to have our holiday cut short and ruined, nor anyone around us to have been subjected to the aftermath of not one but TWO of your managers mishandling someone with Mental Illness.
We lost out on extras we paid for, we lost out on a day and a half of cabin rental, as well as were not able to freely enjoy the day on Wednesday. Not to mention the emotional distress and setbacks you caused to MR. X's mental health by mishandling the whole situation. We want a full refund. You have no idea what financial sacrifices as well as a mental obstacles this whole trip was for MR. X to overcome and build up the confidence to attempt an outing like this. And yet he had sucessfully until Ben chased MR. X though the trails persistanly. MR. X asked as his right as a person to be left alone for that time being without being allowed to do so. Due to your lack of training on your staff's behalf and their lack of experience (as everyone seems to be under the age of 30) in working with customers who have mental illness, lack of compassion, and all else in-between i do not have the time or energy to go through.
I will persue this as far as I need to go to if we cannot come to a reasonable resolution and the knowledge that you will have plans to get proper training for your staff because what you are doing is discrimination against people with mental illness. Treating them like they are just people who are simply out of control and criminals after your managers exaserbate the situations by mishandling them. I would hope this is not how you handle things as a company. This is also discrimination and intolerance to those around you who are who may not be of the "calibur" you want in your parks as a neighbor on your holiday. Never once was MR. X threatening, loud, yes but that is part of his condition. I would hate to see how someone with Tourettes that came to stay at your park was treated.
My last statement i wish to add and pictures to follow, are these. Firstly, our letter that was given to us with the statement your managers came to the cabin twice, is dated for 22/01/16, correct me if i am wrong but this past Monday through Thursday was December 12-15th. Secondly, when we were there we ordered a fruit box for Wednesday. Well we got it Wednesday. When we were asked to leave I packed up everything food-wise we had ordered in, and upon unpacking 2 hours later. I was taking the fruit out of the box to put in my fruit bowl.. and as the pictures show, the orange was molded to the bottom of the box, and the cantelope was rotten on one side... is this what one can expect from a £786.00 holiday at you cabins? Thirdly, If MR. X was such a problem and uncooperative after having been dropped off at home MR. X realized he dropped his phone. One of the PC's found it in his car and took the time out drove out of his way to bring the phone to us at half 10pm last night? Maybe it was his training and understanding.
And even after having left and getting a return call from your staff member Angela to let us know the phone was not in the cabin. We thanked her for at least one nice thing your company had done for us on the holiday and came back with a narky reply and laughed down the phone loudly. How rude.
I look forward to your prompt reply. I can be reached at 0115xxxxxx
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