Wishing all our guests old and new a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
As last year we are not sending out cards but have donated to a local charity. Last year we gave to a fund set up to send a young local lad to America for life saving treatment. Happy to report that at this point he is doing really well.
This year we are giving to Shropshire Blood Bikes. Again from a chance meeting with someone whose daughter had been treated for a brain tumour and who had bloods etc biked to the hospital for treatment. As a keen biker himself he has thrown himself in to fund raising. Like the Air Ambulance the Blood Bikes have no government funding everything is from donations / fund raising and we were glad to help. They are hoping to raise enough to buy another bike and to run it. All riders are volunteers and aim to save the NHS transport costs that can then be spent where needed on patient treatments. As with the little lad treated last year our friends daughter is also doing well.
Once again we wish you a wonderful Christmas and hope that we will see you in the New Year.
su/ CouldTime to start getting the garden ready for the Winter. While the days are still bright and reasonably warm there is a lot of tidying up to do and I always love this time of year when the leaves change colour and after a day outside you can justify a mug of hot chocolate by the fire.
Our photograph this time is of a portrait painted by a local artist of our “middle” dog – Vita. Claire Verity is based in Ledbury and works in pastels. We had our previous dogs painted by her and when we can keep Taz still enough we will have her done as well. To say that we are pleased with the painting is an understatement! Truly fabulous.
In my inbox on National Poetry Day I received “A Poem for Pooh Hall” from one of our guests. With his permission he has allowed me to share it with you and I think it sums up the magical feeling around this area and the cottages.
A Shropshire Lane.
- Up taxing hill by Woodside
- Quick of breath if not of pace
- The moon shows just half his face
- A homely cottage with tasteful paint
- My brisker steps clump by.
- The lane curls and falls like Autumn leaves
- Beneath my feet
- The bells of Clun at practice Clunk
- And Clang the changes yet may come.
- Now the ringers fall strangely silent
- At the darkened lych gate, I stand
- Noticing the notices of fetes and fateful bring and buy
- Cakes and coming Christmas hark and herald for the shy.
- Once again to my little retreat
- Steadier of breath and heart beat
- The key in the door
- The fire stirred to roar
- The coffee to pour
- Goodnight, and sweet slumber
- The day is no more.
Finally a well deserved well done to The Maltings Café for being in the top four cafe’s in this year’s Shropshire Cream Tea competition.
The Bothy available throughout December until Sunday 22nd. Three night minimum break and a 10% discount applies to all bookings.
The Gatehouse available from Friday 6th December – Thursday 19th December. As above a three night minimum applies and 10% will be deducted from our low season rate .
Keeper’s Cottage is available from 2nd December until the 20th three night minimum as above. This cottage is available for the Christmas period as a 5 night minimum stay ( could be longer!) but must be vacated on or before the 29th December.
The weather was kind for the Clun Carnival a celebration that lasts for a full week of events and is great fun for young and old , residents and visitors alike. Held every year at the beginning of August it is a great opportunity for the community to have some fun and to enter vegetables, baking, floristry and craft classes. As you can see from the photograph above I did get a little carried away entering the cookery section!! The great thing is that you get to eat your entries afterwards. I do share and all of the cottages were force fed cake!
Not only are there events on the Saturday but leading up to Carnival Day there is an art and craft show, a folk music evening, tractor pull and the aptly named Clun Canter – not a horse in sight ( except the pub !) but a 5.2 mile run starting and finishing at The White Horse.
We have both been busy training the dogs and competing with them. No rosettes but I had a nice time on the moors in Wardle, Lancashire and Peter has been to Bridgwater in Somerset to compete and also to a training weekend in Devon. We both go to Howard Kirby in Andover ( Mullenscote Dog Training ) once a month if possible. He has helped me enormously with my “girl” and is putting Peter on the right path. Please note it is the humans who need the help to stop confusing the poor dogs!!
Before you ask yes I did quite well with my culinary entries but not with the cakes that I liked the best ! Well there you are it is all a matter of taste!
2nd Blists Hill Firework Night – Ironbridge 14th & 25th Ludlow Races 23rd – 24th Ludlow Christmas Medieval Fayre
4th & 18th Ludlow Races 7th – 8th & 14th – 15th Victorian Christmas at Blists Hill Ironbridge.
Details of all the above events plus more can be found on the following websites www.shropshiretourism.co.uk www.ludlow.org.uk www.shropshire-events-guide.co.uk (Virtual Shropshire)
Not my usual type of picture for our blog page but just to prove that it is not all work here ( even if that is gardening ) we do get out to play as well. Peter has been training the new puppy and entered her for her first test in May. He achieved a fourth place in a field of sixteen so well done him !! And Taz of course. To celebrate we had a great lunch at the Cliffe Hotel , Ludlow. It was a delicious experience. The hotel is tucked away over Dinham Bridge and is definitely a “hidden gem”. Our food was delicious and imaginative. the Chef having previously worked at Mr Underhill’s ( which is now closed ) one of Ludlow’s Michelin Starred Restaurants. It is quite apparent that he has not lost his flair. They have a programme of special evenings some of which team them up with The Fish House a fresh fish shop in Ludlow. Certainly worth a look. Where next for another great lunch! Peter will have to increase his gym attendance.
It is just over a week to go until the Open gardens and the weather has not been very kind to us. Heavy rain has flattened some plants and some buds are going brown and rotting without opening. Having said that the forecast is much better for the week ahead and I hope that an increase in temperature and some sun will bring everything out at the right time – including this fair weather gardener who looks at the borders and thinks ” maybe tomorrow”!!!
Indoors we have replaced the settees in The Gatehouse. The big leather settee has gone to another home and we have replaced it with two x two seaters. I have found that this gives more flexibility and by adding another lamp much better lighting. I am always amazed by how small changes can really alter the feel of a room. I hope that everyone will like it too
It has been a beautiful week – a joy to be in the garden and walk the dogs, although that is a pleasure whatever the weather.
I spent a great weekend ( well Friday night home Saturday evening) in County Durham grouse pointing with Vita. It was too far for a day trip so I went up the night before. My first try at this aspect of working her and tests her ability to find game. She has to let me know where the bird is by pointing, then sitting as the bird takes off. This time we didn’t achieve a grading but Vita had a great time and it was a super day out on the moors for me. Peter stayed home with the other two dogs and took part in the end of season skittles final .The team lost by 3 points which was so close but there is always next year. My trip away made me very aware of how lucky we are to have such a wide range of beautiful countryside on our doorstep – rolling hills and pastureland, woods , rivers and moorland.
This week the weather has been in stark contrast to last week which is a shame as we had a friend staying! Didn’t dampen our enthusiasm just meant that on two days instead of country walks it was snowball fights!!! The dogs absolutely loved it and went wild. We still managed an afternoon at Arley Arboretum . I don’t know why we hadn’t been before and we will definitely visit again. A wonderful garden ranging from a formal Italian style area with fountains to wildlife ponds.Lots and lots of beautiful trees both large and small. We had booked afternoon tea and were not disappointed fresh sandwiches, delicious cakes and an endless supply of tea. Maybe we should have eaten first and walked it off afterwards!
Enjoyed a very good meal at The Crown in Clunton before our friend went home. This pub has gone through a few ups and downs over the last year but I hope that the current tenants will gain support as they really deserve to. We all agreed that the dishes we chose were delicious so came home happy and content. Looking forwards to our next visitors so we can venture out and enjoy some more attractions and meals.
Well the Christmas decorations are packed away for another year and all the leftovers are eaten ( except for the Christmas cake – any offers!) so it is welcome to 2019 and let’s hope for another lovely Summer when we can sit in the garden and enjoy the sunshine, the views and let the outside world pass by – if only for a short time.
It maybe a quietish time for holidays but we take advantage and get out the paintbrushes , cleaning rugs and catching up with all the little bits and pieces that can’t be done during our busier times.
We are looking forward to being able to welcome guests – old and new- throughout 2019
At last we are enjoying a run of good weather and thanks to the Green Man the sun has been shining over the Clun valley and the forecast is good. All our indoor jobs are completed and we are really proud of Keeper’s new bathroom and the bedroom carpet. Time to get out into the garden, there are a few gaps so I need (!!!) to go to the garden centre. October’s pots have lasted well and the violas are still going strong but I do feel that I need to get some more vibrant colour to complement what is in the garden. We are about two to three weeks behind so I am crossing my fingers that the roses will be late enough to feature when the garden is open for the Church in June (24th Clun Gardens Open – lots of hidden treasures to explore plus plants to buy and afternoon tea).
I have been very remiss in not completing this blog earlier but life has been busy and nice weather is too much of a temptation – outside is so much better than in! The cottages are busy and our guests are enjoying sitting out with their feet up after a day sight seeing or walking. The garden pots are planted up with geranium and lobelia, most of the beds are weeded and believe it or not one of the water butts has run dry already.
Those who know me well know that I compete in Working Tests with our younger Spinone and having progressed into the Open group, training has been my main priority this year as the transition from Novice to Open can only be described as a total shock! I have taken part in one test with mixed results, Vita is a total swimaholic but on the day when I asked her to cross some water to retrieve a dummy she looked at me as though I was completely mad. Ah well that’s dogs for you.