// archives

Behind the Scenes

This category contains 95 posts

Leave of (Very Temporary) Absence

…just for a while we’re going all Italian…This will really be a non-blog post, a rather negative explanation and warning of possible inaction or a surprising geographical shift. Just where is the Peak District? Are we talking Tuscany or Derbyshire? Who knows? The truth is we’re talking both, really. For the next week we will [...]

The Mystery Shopper Challenge

…Have you got what it takes to ‘inspect’ Tom’s Barn?…As you probably know, after we, the ‘Mr and Mrs Mary Portas’ from Orchard Farm, had spent a very happy few days doing our best to identify the slightest failing Douglas’s Barn, we had been planning to focus our relentlessly beady eyes on Tom’s Barn and [...]

The Dreaded Inspectors Drop in on Douglas’s Barn

…Will they never give us a break?…The mystery shoppers are at it again, honing in again on Douglas’s Barn, where we last stayed almost a year ago, in November 2011. We get wonderfully appreciative comments from all our guests but there is always the sneaky worry that they are just being polite. And of course, [...]

Keep the Home Fires Burning?

…A Busy Friday in Tom’s and Douglas’s BarnsA busy day today and it is pleasant to relax now. Fridays are always busy but today was busier than necessary. We had a Fire Safety Assessment scheduled for today (they had to have entry into both barns, so it had to be a Friday). When I realised [...]

Why on earth ask us about holiday cottages?

…Sharing some Tip Top Tips for prospective owners…A disclaimer: Presuming to write this does sound horribly big-headed, but we have been asked for advice about holiday cottages over the years by a number of friends, colleagues and relations and we have just had another urgent plea from a family friend, so John and I have [...]

Madam, you have a knife in your handbag

…Will you step this way…?… The Swallows and I, we flew to South Africa leaving one husband/ swallow photographer behind… The swallows will fly over western France to South Africa, at an average speed according to the RSPB of 35 mph, in search of warmer weather and juicier insects. No security checks, iris recognition checks, [...]

Interior Design Dilemmas

…A Confidence Crisis Resolved, we think…People often very kindly compliment us on the colour and furnishing and fittings in both barns, and it is easy to thank them graciously, brushing it off with a, ‘Well we had a lot of fun choosing everything”. Which is true up to a point, and mainly in retrospect. At [...]

Sharing Secret and Other Domestic Tips and Delights

…Do you know how to fold a fitted sheet?…A disclaimer, just in case anyone thinks I have suddenly grown my hair, affected an American accent and become a wonder housewife overnight: the heroine of this secret-revealing video is not me! Having got that clear, here are one or two little snippets which are probably more [...]

Social Media Networking

…Who will join our Google+ Circles?…Yesterday at 7.30 am (had to get that in) I was in Chesterfield, 40 minutes’ drive away, to attend a Breakfast Briefing’ on ‘What’s New in Social Media’. It was stimulating, fast moving and very informative, presented by someone whose life-work it is: he really knows and lives for his [...]

Keep Calm and Carry on Eating Cake

…Tom’s & Douglas’s Barns Cherry Bakewell Special…In spite of the fact we get very few people actually commenting on the blog friends, guests and often complete strangers will email us, or tell me on Facebook or at parties how much they actually enjoy reading our blog. They do say they enjoy John’s photos too which [...]