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Romance is in the Air…

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Romance is in the air in the bird world too, but sadly it’s leading to housing disputes!

Some of you may remember, about two or three years ago, we bought a nesting box with a camera from the RSPB shop at Carsington. No bird has shown any interest in it at all, apart from possibly just the occasional fleeting pause by the odd blue tit, as it flew past in spring.

This box has ‘sparrow’ written all over it

However, it pays not to despair if you’re a human waiting for the nesting box to be claimed. Recently we have had some sparrows in the garden, and during the last two days a pair of these visitors has started to hunt fairly urgently for a home together, even briefly considering the wheel arch of one of our guest’s cars. They have shown great interest in the vacant and previously spurned nesting box. This seems to have sparked an instant reaction from our blue tits, who suddenly seem to see in the box the home of their dreams.

The Blue Tt is laying claim to the Orchard Farm camera/nesting box

This is plainly our nesting box!

Who will succeed? And one wonders at what stage one pair will concede defeat.

John has managed to snap some of the attempts to claim possession, which this morning ended in a serious altercation which unfortunately he did not manage to capture. Both pairs have taken to posting themselves within sight, whether on the Rambling Rector beside the box, or the gutter on Tom’s Barn roof above.

Now we just have to hope, whichever pair succeeds, that we can get the camera to work!

Will You Be My Valentine?

Will you be my Valentine?

Be My Valentine!

Happy St Valentine’s Day to you all!

That is the last concession I’ll make to what I feel (what an old cynic!) is just another special and genuinely romantic day that has been very successfully hijacked by sellers of cards, red roses and expensive meals, and hoteliers and even some holiday cottage owners (not all!). It’s big business, creating such tensions of expectations and obligations- and inevitable disappointment and humiliation for many.

Am I wrong, but used it not to be a time when shy would-be suitors sent almost anonymous messages or cards to someone they had not yet dared, or had the opportunity, to tell of their feelings? ‘Will you be my Valentine?’ It was truly exciting to receive such a card. Now one sees crowds of harassed looking people scouring the rows and rows of largely ghastly cards, all with a red rose or two and almost all with a couple of tipsily angled glasses of champagne possibly with glittery bubbles all around. Most people will be expecting one (or more) as their right, not enchanted by their arrival…

And driving through Matlock this evening I spied well more than one harassed looking men coming out of a supermarket clutching a bunch of red roses swathed in cellophane decorated – you’ve guessed it – with the obligatory red roses. Their expression spoke of fulfilled obligation, not undying love!

Why keep the romance and expressions of love for one day, say I?

‘Five Star Luxury in the Peak District’

It’ll soon be the end of the year at the rate this year is flying past, but we certainly have achieved already quite a lot in 2014 (but not, yet, the website…).

At last we have our latest video up on the website. It’s been on YouTube for a while but for some reason i was failing to embed it on the website but that little problem has now been sorted. However, life is moving so fast it means the brand new video is already out of date as it was shot pre the grand redecoration and latest purchases!! However, that doesn’t really matter.

The video is great, short and factual as we are informed – and generally believe – that after a minute or so people’s attention wavers. I am trying not to mention (much) the voice over but let me just say that I am not happy about it but John wouldn’t do it and we were certainly not going to pay vast sums to a professional person who had never been near the place. The only good thing is that at least I know personally what I’m talking about – the barns and our guests are so much part of our lives and I do love to talk about them.

Moving swiftly on… Apart from the new video, getting our tax returns eventually done in the nick of time we had both barns completely redecorated, successfully underwent our annual EQM (Peak District Environmental Quality Mark) re-evaluation, made 8 batches of marmalade – all at the same time as dealing with life – including a flow of bookings.

In case you are beginning to feel overwhelmed we also managed to squeeze in some very enjoyable social occasions and a quick trip down to London, and now will have half an eye on the Winter Olympics as our son Nick is out in Sochi – not competing I hasten to add, but working with Channel 4. I had no idea previously that a place called Sochi even existed but have discovered it is on the Black Sea, and enjoys a sub-tropical climate which seems a little strange for the Winter Olympics until one understands that the actual events are higher up and about 35 miles away.

The decorating of the barns, once again undertaken most professionally and cheerfully by Jason and Stuart, has been a big event for us, and a great excuse/incentive to replace and renew one or two things. Douglas’s Barn – which apart from looking particularly sparklingly fresh still looks much as always, as we have used the same Farrow & Ball colours (Matchstick on the walls, and Buff (now an archive paint and not available on their colour charts!) on the woodwork. We have branched out on a new, slightly bigger round glass table for the kitchen. It looks very nice and will seat four with more comfort than the old one did. We also have a vey snappy extending magnifying mirror on the bathroom wall. My advice, based on personal experience is – unless you have the flawless complexion of a three-year old – don’t use the magnifying part unless you’re feeling very strong.

We have also bought metallic notice boards for both barns, although these are not yet up. Unlike Douglas’s Barn, Tom’s Barn does look slightly transformed. We eventually – after much comparing of various colours, settled upon Farrow & Ball Mouse’s Back for the kitchen woodwork. We also had some new lighting put in above the wall cupboards so with all the lights on (unnecessary) it is positively dazzling and you certainly should never find yourself standing in your own shadow. We got a freestanding shaving/makeup mirror as there was no obvious space on the wall on which to place a fixed one.

And finally, do have a look at the video, “Five Star Luxury in the Peak District”, even if preferably with the sound off.


LATEST NEWS

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  • Time for a short pre Christmas break

    Time to get a bit of relaxation before the Christmas mayhem. There are still short breaks available in Douglas’s Barn. Plenty going on in the Peak District. Lots of Christmas markets selling lovely gifts that you don’t see elsewhere. Chatsworth House is also a must at this time of year. There are plenty of stories […]

  • A busy Sunday in the Peak District

    Lots of events to go to in and around Parwich today but managed to get to the Horticultural Show in Parwich and the Hartington Show. Missed out on the Antiques in Ashbourne though which is always worth going to. Izzy did better than me by getting 1st prize as the Prettiest Bitch at Hartington Show […]

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