It may be raining outside - yet again! - but at least it gives us a chance to catch up on some decorating inside. We have fiinally ordered some new furniture for the office, so we are using the opportunity to give it a make over. My office has looked like a war zone for a while now so I am looking forward to getting really organised and being ultra tidy!
The Country Lodge opened its doors to the first guests last August and has had a steady flow of visitors since then. We have been absolutely thrilled at the positive feedback and comments we have had and look forward to welcoming more guests this year.
A really exciting event that is coming to our area is Chris Evans's CarFest North, taking place at Oulton Park on 2nd, 3rd and 4th August 2013, which is within walking distance of our house. The B&B and self catering are fully booked already and we have managed to source some mini chalet's known as Festihuts that we are going to put up for people wanting to have a Glamping Experience. We have booked showers and toilets and are organising ourselves to do onsite catering for breakfast.
We are keeping the Festihuts for the Superbikes Championship the weekend after CarFest enabling us to offer the same experience to the bikers.
So we are preparing ourselves for a busy Summer - and looking forward to welcoming old and new guests. ;-)
Today the sun is shining!
After a very long wet spell the weather has turned and Summer is showing signs of visiting us this year.
The new 'Country Lodge' is progressing well, the floor went down last week with all the 'underfloor' heating in situ. The plaster boards are going up this week and it is really taking shape, I am starting to look through various 'Home' magazines looking for ideas and inspirations for the interior design and decor!
At the weekend Nick mowed his new lawn for the first time, we have had to have it re-turfed this year so we took the opportunity to remove the large round rose bed in the middle of the lawn and now we have a large grass lawn - with turf from Escrick in Yorkshire, Nicks friend Harry lives on the estate that grows the grass!
Despite the national economic conditions, business for us is going well, we are running some Special Offers to help people in these hard times, so please check our Special Offers section of the website to see if we can tempt you to come and share our home and have a break from it all!
Lets hope the sunshine will change the economic fortunes of the nation as well as cheering us all up after the rainy season!
We have all got the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations to look forward to in half term week, if you are stuck for something to do we have 3 nights for the price of 2 nights, arriving Tuesday 5th June departing Friday 8th June for £150 Bed & Breakfast for 2 people sharing a double or twin room.
Time for me to go outside in the garden and enjoy the sunshine - hope you can come and visit us soon!
Exciting News:- we have another project underway, having got planning permission last year for a new luxury wooden lodge with 3 bedrooms (all with en suite bathrooms) and a large living area in the centre of the lodge with fully fitted kitchen, dining area and sitting room.
The Old Stables and Nissan Hut were demolished and building started at the beginning of February and we are hoping to open for guests in August!
The Lodge is located on the other side of the lane to the main house and will be situated within its own garden with stunning views of countryside and will overlook the new orchard which will be planted next Winter. It will also have a large patio area with views across the neighbouring fields where guests will be able to BBQ (if they wish) and sit and enjoy the peaceful tranquility of rural Cheshire.
It is really exciting to see this project take shape after a couple of years in the organising, researching and planning phases.
What a year we have had.
At the end of May we learnt that Lucy had a rare heart condition that required Open Heart Surgery which she had on 18 June. We were told to prepare for between 2 -4 weeks in Alder Hey, but she amazed us all by coming out a week after surgery, so we were only in for nine days in the end. She continues to do well and remains under the expert care of the Cardiac team. The doctors, surgeons, nurses and all the staff at Alder Hey were fantastic and helped us come through the whole ordeal.
We have decided to raise some money for Ronald MacDonald House, which is where we were lucky to be allocated a room for the duration of Lucys stay in hospital. This is run by a charity, so we have got some money raising ideas but at the moment we have a charity collecton box on the hall table for anybody wishing to make a donation.
Before Lucy was diagnosed we had been busy getting planning permission to replace the three old white stables on the yard with four new ones and to extend our outdoor school to 20m by 60m. We had the stables ordered to come at the beginning of July so when we were then given the date for Lucys operation on 8th June we were already in the middle of the groundwork, preparing for the arrival of the stables and the concrete base was laid while Lucy was in hospital.
We had also just ordered some solar panels for the house as we had decided to reduce our CO2 emissions and help the environment as well as hopefully reduce our fuel and electric bill.
The new stables arrived in July and look AMAZING! We bought them from Scotts of Thrapston and they are extremely well made with top quality timber. We are really pleased with the completed project.
Meanwhile the solar panels were put in place on the roof, we have had solar thermal panels to give us hot water and solar pv panels to generate some electricity, and Nick likes nothing better than to watch the electricty meter when it says 'reverse run' as this means we are feeding electricity back into the national grid!!
Then in August we gave the go ahead for the construction of the new outdoor arena to start. We had to make a decision on which surface to go for, and (as usual) we chose the most expensive surface (semi waxed sand & rubber) which has given a superb finish and is great to ride on. We are hoping to run some clinics here and guest that bring their horses can have lessons with me if they want while they are staying.
Happy New Year to all our past guests, we hope to see many of you again in 2010.
2009 was an eventful year for us in many ways.
The best thing that happened was the arrival of our baby daughter, Lucy Rachel, on 18th October. She was a month early, my waters broke when we were staying Bed and Breakfast in Oxfordshire on our way to a christening in Sussex! We went to The John Radcliffe Hospital where Lucy was delivered by emergency Caesarian Section. We stayed in for 5 days as thankfully she was well enough to come home with me.
We weren't ready for her arrival as we were still busy with guests until the end of October, but Nick coped amazingly well - as usual! We hadn't moved William into his new bedroom, so we had not been able to get Lucy's room ready. So everything was a bit chaotic! We managed to get the house straight before Christmas and Lucy has fitted into a good routine already - lets hope it lasts!!
Every year we continue to make improvements to our home to (hopefully!) improve the experience our guests have when they stay, before the Summer of last year we refurbished two of the guest bathrooms, Beeston and Peckforton. Replacing the shower cubicles with larger ones, retiling and generally giving them a make over. New flat screen televisions with DVD players and freeview have been put in the rooms to enable our guest to have more choice of viewing.
We have reduced our guest rooms down to two bedrooms in the main house and the cottage with one large bedroom - this is obviously due to the arrival of Lucy!
We are still fighting the proposal of wind turbines, we have got tremendous support for our cause from a vast array of people, and the momentum seems to be growing. So the dark clouds are still overhead, but we try to keep a positive attitude about the situation. Another similar project in the area has been abandoned by the developers due to lack of wind, so we are hoping sense will prevail. As I have said before, we strongly support renewable energy, as long as it is economically viable.