There has been a lot of talk of holidays, but it hasn’t been all play. We and others have been hard at work too, behind the scenes in our relentless quest to keep our two holiday cottages as fresh and clean and lovely as we possibly can. You could say, but of course we wouldn’t know, that it is a bit like an respected beauty doing all she can to remain as fresh-faced and attractive as ever.
Tom’s Barn is nearly twelve years old now, and Douglas’s Barn nearly 6 but there is not much that hasn’t been replaced, restored, improved over that time. However, we hope and believe all the basics that people love both barns for are timeless – the warm, welcoming, relaxing atmosphere, the feeling as someone put it once that you are in your own little slice of heaven. And of course, our particular setting in the Peak District is a wonderful bonus, in such wonderful countryside with so many walks, beautiful sites and good pubs.
Before I get completely carried away, back to the hard slog, the nitty gritty. While we were in Yorkshire, Jason Fowkes repaired and repainted all the exterior woodwork with our favoured (Finnish, extremely environmentally friendly) Valtti paint. If we had changed the colour it would have been instantly noticeable but because we so love the grey/green/blue (what colour is it? Valtti rather prosaically just use a number) you would probably not even guess anything had happened at all.
Since then Jason has completely ‘touched up’ the interior of Douglas’s Barn and has done Tom’s Barn this week, when – shock! horror! a carpet has been laid up the stairs and in the bedroom in response to a directive from above that we must upgrade the floor/flooring in Tom’s Barn upstairs (see How Friendly is Dog Friendly?) for an explanation. What do you think? Actually we are rather pleased. It is nice to walk on and looks great; perhaps we’ll soon be wondering why we didn’t do it years ago.
Other improvements this year include lots of custom made oak furniture in Tom’s Barn, a new telly and hi fi in Douglas’s Barn and several more minor additions – the latest being a very nice wok/stir fry pan from John Lewis in each kitchen. I have very recently bought one Magi-Mix Micro food processor which we will experiment with at home to see if we think it would be a useful addition to our cottages or just make more clutter and mess for our guests (there must be a thin line – somewhere – between anticipating your every need and overdoing it).
The only other major thing I can think of is a dramatic rearrangement of the use of storage space in the Douglas’s Barn kitchen. I think it is much improved and shall be interested in feedback. Tom’s Barn kitchen is more compact, with its 3 sides, so I suspect there is less need there but I await any suggestions.