About the award
Entrants for the eviivo B&B Story of the year, tell us about their journey to becoming the establishment that they are today. We chose the one we liked the best.
The Fosse Farmhouse B&B's story:
Curiouser and Curiouser
How did a silver four-star AA B&B with just two guest bedrooms in the tiny village of Nettleton Shrub become the setting for the most famous anime (animated cartoon) on Japanese TV?
It all began in 1989 when the owner, Caron Cooper, met Japanese couple Shozo and Yasuko Mitani while selling antiques on London’s Portobello Road. The Mitani’s wanted to create an English-themed B&B in Japan, so Caron being naturally inquisitive invited them to tea the following day at her farmhouse B&B to find out why.
On arrival at the 200-year-old antique filled farmhouse deep in the Wiltshire countryside, they were both laughing uncontrollably. Caron enquired as to what was so funny and Shozo then replied that getting there was “just like falling through a tunnel in Alice in Wonderland”. They enjoyed Caron’s home baked scones delivered straight from the Aga and drank tea sitting under the cherry tree blossom in the garden.
Back in Japan, the Mitani’s displayed photographs of Fosse Farmhouse in the reception of their own English themed B&B ‘Tenkisu’ in Hakuba – and the floodgates opened.
The editor of a popular Japanese ladies magazine LEE visited the Mitani’s B&B and enquired if they could introduce her to Caron. They were more than happy to do so and the following month LEE’s editorial team arrived in the UK to interview her. The glossy six-page feature was published in 1990 with circulation figures of 300,000, creating a huge amount of interest from Japanese office ladies requesting to stay at Caron’s pretty B&B.
Then in 1992 Caron won an award for ‘Best Tourist Accommodation’ chosen by Japanese visitors as part of the ‘Britain Welcomes Japan’ campaign.
Next, the British Embassy in Japan invited her to bake scones for the Japanese Imperial family in Tokyo and in turn they came to stay at Fosse Farmhouse on a private visit in 1994. Since then, Caron regularly visits Japan to host cream tea parties and discuss her busy B&B life in England.
Then, in 2012 a popular manga comic book Kiniro-Mosaic also known as Kinmoza was published in Japan. Based entirely upon Caron’s life at Fosse Farmhouse, the story revolves around the main character, a teenage girl called Alice who lives there.
Genco animation approached Caron to film the TV series KINMOZA! at Fosse Farmhouse. The film footage was then converted into anime by studio artists and the series aired on Japanese TV in 2014 and 2015 reaching 5.5 million viewers on TV and DVD. In 2016, a movie of the TV series was released in Japan entitled Pretty Days. Caron was invited to the film premier in Tokyo and joined the red carpet guests with hundreds of fans queuing for her autograph.
Now anime fans worldwide head for Fosse Farmhouse to stay in the B&B bedrooms featured in the film. Caron says ‘My story is unbelievable but true and just like Alice in Wonderland, it’s getting curiouser and curiouser.’
2017 – The Grove Cromer