Still being hospitable

We are delighted to still be fully occupied with looking after our guests and so have not yet returned to our upgrading-the-building regime. We have ordered materials to fix the stairs to the lower garden firmly in place, but otherwise the building remains unchanged.

I think our energies are beginning to flag, though. Today, unusually, we had no room changes to service, and we had glorious weather, so after breakfast we declared a half-day off and went to read in the sunshine. Pips very kindly took a snap whilst Mike was temporarily resting his eyes, and I believe I might have been resting mine too…

… but we thought it was important to glory in the hot weather whilst we still had some to enjoy. The bookings start to thin out later this month, so I hope to be able to write about our return to construction work in a couple of weeks time.

Still busy not building…

We are really grateful to our wonderful guests for choosing to stay with us, which keeps us on our toes and is also replenishing the coffers ready for the autumn building programme. It also means we haven’t done a stroke of building work for nearly two months now, which is a very strange state of affairs for us. In addition to our guests, family visited over the Bank Holiday and went walking…

…in the wonderful landscape in which we are privileged to live…

…so Pip decided to join them. Whilst I admired their energy, I elected instead to study the garden. It has turned decidedly autumnal here with dewy mornings and cool evenings, and I realise I really must work up the plans for the landscape soon. You can see below that the slope that falls away from the car park down to the lower garden is very steep and mostly clothed with bramble, nettles, and random weed. Once the stairs have been fixed firmly in place, I plan to start working outwards from the stairs to clear the junk and replace it with cleared rock or pockets of planting.

Some of the land to clear is pretty inaccessible so it will take a while. I am hoping that working out from a defined start point will enable me to gently clear and replant over the next 5 years resulting in a more groomed look.

But this may require an awful lot of plants, and we have just dismantled the polytunnel! Mike and I chose to visit a local plant nursery during the week – we realised when we got into the car that it was the first car journey we had taken together since Lockdown began – to look at the available plants and obviously there were a few I couldn’t resist purchasing…

…but the scale of the challenge is just really hitting home. I have started checking out plant wholesalers on the web, so that once I have drawn up some plans I can be ready to order. I just need to work out how to move some soil into place first…

Cooking up a new idea

We are still working hard on hospitality here – although our wonderful guests do make it all seem worthwhile – so building work is still on the back burner, except…

…last week, someone in the village put out a request on Facebook for any metal counters surplus to requirements. Since we knew we had counters in the old kitchen which were just collecting dust and rubbish…

…we made contact and then had a bit of a clean up. Having cleaned through, and donated two large counters to a good cause, we realised that we haven’t used this space as a kitchen for many months so are now busy converting it into a store for building tools and materials during our spare moments. As a consequence, we have also taken apart the cupboards in the scullery…

…so that we can make even more storage space for building-related materials.

My apologies to anyone who found those photos a little stressful – we are aware that we will soon be starting work on part of the building which desperately needs upgrading, so the ‘before’ photos are not going to do us any credit.

And just to give you an idea of how hard we are having to work at the moment, below is a snap Pips took of her Dad who sat down after lunch for a quick tussle with the crossword but then found he was irresistably drawn to studying the inside of his eyelids, just for a moment you understand…

Clearly, I need to take off my scary slave-driver shoes and give Mike a break – only now and then, though – we still have lots to do…