Sunday 24 September 2023

Holiday Cottage Refurbishment

With the summer now well and truly over, as is demonstrated by the blustering winds, frequent rain and tsunamis of leaves all around the farm, the time is drawing ever nearer to when I shall temporarily close the holiday cottage for a few weeks to do some much needed redecoration and renovation. As from the beginning of November I shall be 'project managing' the installation of a new kitchen, the painting of all rooms, new carpet in one bedroom, new beds and general sprucing up of a little house that has worked very hard over several busy seasons of happy holiday-makers. The Farmer, in his capacity of furniture-maker, is busy already with the new kitchen having sorted out wood from his amazing store of timber grown on the farm to construct the new cupboards and a beautiful oak work-top. He will also make new beds. We have decided to replace the standard double bed in the master bedroom with a king-size and the small single beds in the twin room with a small double. Whilst realising this may not make the cottage so appealing to families with two children it will still be able to sleep two couples and will ease the laundry burden on me! I am enjoying planning new colour schemes, sourcing new tiles for the splashback in the kitchen and bedroom curtains and possibly wallpaper for a completely new look. The cottage will still be fairly traditional in its decor and unpretentious in its overall look. By staying with a traditional look it does not get to look dated too quickly and after all, it is a small country cottage not a sophisticated new-build or urban apartment. We have had a lot of visitors this year and have enjoyed meeting many people who are very appreciative of what we offer here. Most guests leave the cottage in a very good state though there are the inevitable few who do does wonder what their own homes are like! I like to think that people wish to leave a place looking as though they had never been there apart from a bag of rubbish (as do the Farmer & I whenever we take a holiday let) but this sadly is not always the case. That said, most guests are considerate and thoughtful of the work involved in getting the cottage ready for other guests. It was wonderful to find the comment below in the Visitor's Book a week or so makes the all work and effort worth while when people write something like this.

Monday 11 September 2023

Gardening, Another Local Show, Holiday Cottage

As usual I shall start off by talking about the weather! It is subject that dominates our lives as it is so unpredictable. We have had a spell of very hot days with clear blue skies and now we are high humididty and grey skies. After a very disappointing August the sunshine reappeared just as the children went back to school. There is still grass to be cut and baled which will probabaly be done in the next few days. Last week I had some help in the garden and despite the heat, S. the Gardener, did what needed to be done and things are looking much tidier. In the next while I hope to get narcissus bulbs into the ground around the trees and I've already put in another large patch of crocus corms on the lawn in hope of a lovely display next spring. I love lawns starred with crocus in early spring, brightening up the shaded areas under the trees scattered across the grassy area of the garden with the daffodils following on. Having just had coffee with the Farmer and a neighbour who dropped in, made a shepherd's pie for lunch, put some bread on to prove and sorted out the laundry I am now able to continue with this post, such as it is. At the weekend we went to another local show, this time put on by the Gardening Club in a village nearby. The Farmer had entered some chutneys, jams and honey as well as some woodwork in the various competitions and did well. His honey got a 1st and the chutney and a three-legged stool got a 1st, so he came home happy. As I've said before it is wonderful the support given to these small shows and the amount of time, effort, skill & enthusiasm that goes into the exhibits in all classes from patchwork, photography, woodturning, flower arranging, vegetable growing the making of preserves is truly inspiring. The holiday cottage has been very busy this summer and now the bookings are slowing up which means the pressure on in keeping up with the laundry is eased. We've had lots of lovely guests this year who are all very appreciative of the cottage and being in beautiful west Wales. We've had visitors from France, Australia and next month we will welcome a family from South Africa. Most of the guests come from all over England and for many they are hugely impressed by the wonderful landscapes of Wales, many of them have not been to Wales before and discover it to be well worth visiting...and it is just on their doorstep!

Sunday 3 September 2023

Local Agricultural Show

Yesterday we went to our local agricultural show. The Farmer went up there early on as he was involved with stewarding for the cattle judge and had to be on hand. As usual we, as a family, entered various of the competition classes in the domestic and handicrafts sections. This a photo of my Floral Arrangement in a Boot (borrowed from one of the smaller grandchildren) and below you will see my efforts at a Floral Arrangement in a Kitchen Utensil (a Mouli grater). I thought they were very pretty and the Boot got a second prize. The Grandchildren did well winning prizes in the Handwriting competition, various baking things and photography. I won 1st & 2nd with my Bara Brith, a traditional Welsh fruit loaf and the Farmer won 1st with his Item made from Recycled Material,see below. He manufactured from a 200 litre chemical drum a rather smart and reasonably comfortable garden chair! Apart form these small triumphs we had a very good day at the show, meeting lots of friends and neighbours, and we were so fortunate that the weather which has been atrocious for weeks suddenly improved and we had a day of glorious hot sun.
These country shows are so important for rural communities as they are an opportunity for friends and neighbours to meet up who although we may all live within just a couple of miles of each other maybe do not see each very often, everyone is busy and working long hours. It is also an opportunity for those of us who spend our days being domestically occupied,cooking, growing and making to show off our skills which in these digital & virtual times seem not be of value in many people's views of the world.