All I can say is a sincere “sorry”. Every night day I have vowed I’d squeeze in a post, and by midnight, there never seems to have been a moment. The silly thing is, I love the blog, it is a pleasure, not a chore to be put off.
Now, we are just plain busy, but until this week our time has been filled with some indulgent family and friends pleasure, some elements of which may appear in rather retrospective blogs during the ‘festive season’ (how I dislike that expression but it’s better than the horribly PC ‘winter holiday’).
What I am going to tell you tonight is that we were lucky enough to be invited to the premiere of David Attenborough’s latest 3-D film, ‘The Natural History Museum Alive’. I am afraid that our invitation was no reflection of John’s and my standing in the Natural History, 3-D or even the film world, but thanks to the fact our daughter Ruth is Head of Operations at Atlantic Films who have teamed up with Sky to create Atlantic Sky, who are leading the world (I think) in 3-D film production and they have made several films with David Attenborough who, in his 80s is still wonderfully knowledgeable with a most infectious enthusiasm.
And while I am name-dropping and bragging, I must just slip in the fact (of which I am enormously proud) that the Director of Photography for this film is my nephew, Tim Cragg, (my sister’s youngest son)! So we sat in super seats at the Curzon Cinema, Shaftesbury Avenue, wearing our 3-D specs basking in in a modest family pride and enjoying every moment even when I was nearly jumping out of this comfortable seat as every so often a dinosaur reconstruction, or a flying bird, or a slithering gigantic prehistoric snake suddenly lurched, flew or slithered of the screen and straight towards us.
The party afterwards was a wonderful experience, meeting the various experts who had been involved with the making of the film. John with his camera experience was better able to contribute to just a little of some of the conversations – I was totally out of my depth really but everyone was so charming it didn’t appear to matter too badly (probably our connection with Ruthie and Tim was a help!).
The bubble had to burst. Within less than 20 minutes of returning home and still with about 100 Christmas cards to do, nearly all the presents still to buy, the phone rang : the Visit England Quality in Tourism inspector was hoping to come to do our annual inspection in a couple of days. She is coming the day after tomorrow, this Friday, just 5 days before Christmas…
(‘Annual’ inspection? The last one was in February this year, 2013).
There isn’t that much to do as far as the actual barns are concerned, but there is quite a bit of paperwork to prepare and one or two things I had been meaning ‘some day soon’ to replace have hastily been bought: so we haven’t as much been shopping for Christmas presents as trying to find things like indestructible frying pans (I last replaced both barns’ pans in mid-September and they are already a complete scratched mess).
We did finish the cards; we have also spent hours trying, and failing completely, to find small but perfectly formed Christmas trees for Tom’s and Douglas’s Barns. We think we have come up with a couple of satisfactory solutions (John’s is very imaginative/creative) but we’ll have to see whether our Christmas guests approve.
The final excitement, which also will involve a lot of (mostly enjoyable) work is that we at last heard tonight from our web man that apparently our website really is almost ready for my ‘content’ to be put in. Much of this will be more or less the same as in our current website but it will all need shortening and updating and generally improving.
By the way, I nearly forgot to mention that if you have Sky you can see David Attenborough ‘bringing his favourite extinct animals back to life’ yourselves on Sky 3D or Sky 1 on New Year’s day.
Douglas’s Barn is available to book for short breaks 3 or 4 nights between 2 and 20 May 2016. Bookings usually start on a Monday or a Friday but if you want a break that starts on a different day get in touch. We are very flexible with bookings.
There are some new attractions added to the list of treats available with the Premier Cottages special privileges card. Amongst them are Renishaw Hall, Thornbridge Hall Gardens (new discounts), Hassop Station Cafe, Village Green Cafe Eyam, Carsington Water Sports and Leisure, Hartington Cheese Shop.
There are still a few free dates at the end of March/April in both Tom’s and Douglas’s Barns. Short breaks, 3 or 4 nights, which are not normally available are on offer. Please look at availability and give me a call or book on line.