Romantic cottages for two in the Peak District

Fizzing January

Tom's & Douglas's Barns are very fortunate to have a great team of loyal and hardworking helpers

Some of the cheerful and hardworking team

Coming up briefly for air… so far January has proved to be almost uncomfortably busy, but we’re nearing the end of the first bout of busyness with the tax return practically sorted and our EQM (Peak District Environmental Quality Mark) re-evaluation to take place on Wednesday (still have lots to do for that, unfortunately!). Our poor new website has had to very much take fifth place in the queue which is very frustrating.

Lots of good things to report about the busyness, though. One is lots of bookings, which is always very encouraging. New guests and faithful returners and we’re delighted to see them all… Another one has just popped up on the screen as I write.

The other, more immediate plus, is that today, at 1 minute to 3, Tom’s and Douglas’s Barns came back into circulation after a complete, top to toe redecoration. Jason and Stuart, our great and very faithful decorators have worked solidly for ten days, weekends included, to make sure that the barns were out of commission for as short a time as possible, and back ready by today.

Both barns are looking wonderful. They didn’t look shabby, at all, before, but it is surprising what a fresh coat of well-applied paint will do. We have been very unimaginative with Douglas’s Barn, whose colour scheme (Farrow & Ball Buff woodwork and Matchstick walls) seems to work so well, creating the lovely peaceful, serene atmosphere everyone appreciates so much. There is a new and rather terrifying magnifying mirror now attached to the bathroom wall by the basin, and a new glass kitchen/dining table is on its way from John Lewis as we speak (it will be here by Friday) so there are some signs that attention has been paid but you will just have to believe us when we say that every inch of paint is brand new too.

Tom’s Barn has slightly changed in looks, although it might be hard to identify just how. Over the years we have kept experimenting with the kitchen colours, and our latest effort is Mouse’s Back on the woodwork. We have also had some more lighting put in, to ensure that the darker colour didn’t make things seem too sombre… The latest idea is to paint the old desk in the kitchen, but we’ll have to ponder over that one for a while.

It’s easy to get carried away – spending so much money, might as well spend a bit more… We’ve ordered new noticeboards for both barns too, yet to arrive but they shouldn’t be long. Tom’s Barn now has a magnifying mirror, but a free standing one as there was no space on the bathroom wall to attach one to. It too is terrifying: it is seriously wise to stick to the non-magnification side, for some of us anyway.

There are lots of photos of the decorating progress on our Facebook page, none yet of the final result as John did not get a minute’s chance but hopefully will on Friday. The only photo I will put up on the post is one of some of ‘the team’, wonderful, cheerful, reliable hardworking and loyal souls without whom we would be lost. So, cheers to them! And cheers too to all our guests, who make it all so worthwhile.

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