We are so sorry that we can’t have you here with us but we can share some photographs of the garden now that spring is here. It was a difficult decision as to whether I should publish this photograph or one of the Portuguese Custard Tart that I made for our lunch! It is difficult to find pudding recipes for two so we just have to eat more – ah well.
We realise that we are incredibly lucky to be able to walk in our field to exercise the dogs and our 30 minutes of brisk walking to help keep ourselves fit. We have been taking part in an online dog training forum through Face book, I have never been the biggest fan of this type of media but am now finding it a great way of keeping in touch. The tests have been set by dog trainers and we have filmed ourselves using mobile ‘phones which are then posted on Facebook for all to see. It has been great fun and helped give us focus in our training regime. All competitions have of course been cancelled so this is a great way of keeping going.
Will keep in touch via this blog – I hope that you are all keeping well and safe and many thanks to those of you who have taken the time to drop an email and wish us well.
Keep calm, keep safe and stay at home – that can’t be said too many times.
The situation concerning the Covid-19 outbreak is moving so quickly that I am unable to keep up with a blog. I think that it is best if I add to this post as and when the situation changes. It is now quite clear that we will be closed until the beginning of July or possibly beyond. I will contact those of you who are directly affected and who cannot now take their holiday with us. When it is possible to open then we will space our bookings by leaving a minimum of six days between lets to protect both you and us. I have done my best to update our calendars but should you wish to book please email or call with specific dates and we can look at whether they are possible or not. I will be giving priority to guests who were booked with us at the beginning of the year.
We still keep busy here with the garden and odd jobs around the place and of course the dogs take up a fair amount of time! There are some wonderful online working dog tests which have not only stretched our dogs abilities but also our filming abilities – and posting for that matter. I never thought that Facebook would be so important!
Our local hostelries have risen to the challenge and are providing take away meals which can be collected from the door. We have treated ourselves to supper from The White Horse and The Crown in Clunton both delicious treats and a change from our own home cooked food.
We will be more than happy to welcome you all and more in the future.
Thank you to all who are supporting us. If you have a booking with us and it becomes impossible for you to take your holiday because of the travel restrictions imposed by the Government then, when that time comes, you will be offered a free transfer of dates , refund or you can claim from your travel insurance.
Please keep yourselves well and safe.
My photo this time is a little bit of a cheat as it is taken at a warmer time of year but I think that we all need something to look forward to. After the wet weather and the terrible floods in Shrewsbury, Ironbridge and Ludlow we deserve to be looking forwards to some warmer months!! The river Clun did burst it’s banks and flooded the houses by the bridge but residents bounce back. The Crown in Clunton flooded four times in a short space but they are so resilient and maybe the carpet in the restaurant is gone but they are open and trading again.
Looking forwards to some warmer and brighter times I have listed some of the events that are being held in our area over the next few months details can be found on the Shropshire Tourism website or by asking Google what’s on in this area.
We have enjoyed our first ever two months closed and it has gone very quickly. I suppose that decorating etc did take up more time than it should have – what is the saying “work expands to fit time” – how true. On a personal note we also managed to get a second break away on a two day dog training excursion to Northumberland. We hunted ( under supervision) on wonderful moorland belonging to the Kennel Club finding and pointing pheasant and partridge. We were incredibly lucky with the weather and must have had the only two consecutive dry sunny days in February. So all refreshed we are back open and raring to go!! With the improving weather we should be able to get onto the garden and there is plenty to do. Looking forwards to some new planting and a re-design of parts of the borders but first lots of clearing to be done.
Late availability bookings. Any booking made between now and the end of May will be charged at our low season rates. Please email or call to discuss what dates you would like.
CORONAVIRUS. Having re-opened the cottages on the 1st March after our winter decorating break we have employed a rigorous hygiene routine and adopted a “no handshake ” policy on welcoming guests. Please be assured that we are doing our utmost to guard against the spread of this disease by thoroughly cleaning each cottage. Between lets and at present until the end of May we will be allowing a minimum of 3 days between each let . This is based on the Government information that the virus can live on hard surfaces for this amount of time and will guard against any possibility of passing anything unknowingly between guests. Our cottages are completely separate from each other and have all the facilities you might need for a relaxing break away despite the circumstances. Bring frozen meals or home made ones, get out and about walking , bring your dog ( in The Bothy /Gatehouse at no extra charge) still have a much needed break and help a small business weather this storm.
Some of the great events taking place in our area
April 4th / 5th Shropshire Way 80K from Craven Arms Discovery Centre. As well as the 80K you have the choice of doing a marathon or half marathon. April 10th Fish and Chip Cruise on the Sabrina around Shrewsbury. Plant Hunter Fairs on the 10th April at Whittington Castle, 11th April at Bodenham Arboretum, 12th / 13th April at Dorothy Clive Gardens. April 12th / 13th Easter Motor Show at Weston Park. May 14th Clun Valley Music in St George’s Church Roderick Williams and Susie Allan. May 15th – 17th Ludlow Spring Festival. June 14th Cosford Air Show. June 27th /28th Clun Gardens Open. June 27th / 28th Shrewsbury Food Festival. July 14th /15th Shrewsbury Flower Show.
For more and varied events check out www.shropshiretourism.co.uk and www.visitshropshirehills.co.uk
A little late this year posting my blog and there are no excuses! We took an earlier holiday than our usual February dates to incorporate Peter’s birthday and a shooting day for me. Back home now and a feeling of deja vu – here we go again! This year we decided to close the cottages during January and February, which allows us to spend time decorating, sewing and doing all those little jobs that can’t be done in busier times. Peter has the paintbrushes out and I have been making cushions, marmalade and steam cleaning so it has been a busy time but without the normal pressure of the extra cleaning and ironing etc. We will see how this goes and may make it an annual event.
It hasn’t been all work though as we both continue to train and work our dogs, Peter on his shoot and myself for the fun of it. Perhaps the dogs think here we go again as well ! Taz is coming along really well and has been to the shoot as a spectator to get her used to the excitement. Meanwhile I try to put right the problems that I caused in earlier times and enjoy getting her out into the countryside and try to achieve a true Hunt Point and Retrieve ( this is the overall name of these dogs).
As a Special Offer book the first Easter week in Keeper’s Cottage 4-11 April and pay mid-season prices and save £45 ( pay £430 ) Offer only applies to a full week.
Special Offer in The Gatehouse pay mid season prices on a full week from the 4th April and save £50 ( pay £475) Offer only applies to a full week. This cottage is fully booked throughout March.
We have a late availability week in The Bothy from the 7th March at £265 for the week saving £30. Also available for the weeks of the 14th March and 21st March for a week or for a shorter break please call or email.
Here are a couple of events that are in our area later in the year:
Ludlow Food Festival is in it’s 25th Year and will be held in the castle on the 11th – 12th and 13th of September. There is an earlier Spring festival on the 16th and 17th of May.
Also in May for 4 days from the 14th – 17th inclusive is the Bishop’s Castle Walking Festival. Walks to suit all abilities around the area, have a look at the Bishop’s Castle website.
Many other events can be found at www.shropshire-events-guide.co.uk / www.shropshiretourism.co.uk / www.visitshropshirehills.co.uk
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