Monthly Archives: November 2010


Christmas at Boath

When we first opened Boath House fifteen years ago after almost 5 years of renovations, we had small children and a complete absence of Winter trade. Most of the hotels in the north appeared to close up in October and re open in early Spring. We tried to stay open as long as possible, but the thought of depriving the children of Christmas (as well as Easter, summer hols and Halloween) just did not seem right, even though we were under huge pressure to give in and open.

Last year with the children all very grown up – Wendy and I  now being the shortest members of the family  – we decided to open the doors for the festive period. I had thought that after all these years of having the place to ourselves at this time we might feel ever so slightly resentful of having to share our open fires and proper Christmas tree with other people.. Actually we had two trees as the first one which, had an absolute guarantee of not losing its needles until after festivities were complete, developed  sudden and acute needle drop syndrome a week after it went up. This could have been a bit of a nuisance except for the fact that we have a long tradition of donning silly red hats and drinking a bottle of Sherry whilst decorations are in progress, so two bottles of Pedro Ximinez was no real hardship.

I digress, the fact is that we all had a lovely and relaxing Christmas with plenty of time to do the things we wanted, whilst enjoying the company of some really lovely chilled out guests. One elderly lady did seem somewhat distressed by the absence of paper hats and plastic trinkets, but everyone else seemed happy with a handmade flask of Charlie’s  secret festive liquor which had been brewing since the previous October.  This plus some of his home made mince pies and Mulled Wine in the afternoons seemed to keep most of the Winter chill at bay.

We were so snug and self satisfied that we are going to do it again this year!

Autumn by the lake

The problem with leaves

This is the time of year that Ian our grounds man goes into deep depression. This is not caused by shorter daylight hours, frosty mornings or the lack of grass to cut – it’s the leaves. The trees in the grounds are stunning at the moment, every colour from a pale yellow through orange to a vivid crimson on the Japanese Acers. The problem is that in a very short time they will all fall to the ground  – not in small neat piles but in huge drifts twenty or thirty metres long and up to half a metre deep.

We all love to run around in dry fallen leaves listening to them rustle under our feet, but once they become wet and soggy they are a completely different animal. They become hugely heavy and stick together like glue coated sheets of paper. A few years back we discovered the joys of owning a leaf blower, they may look a bit prissy, but they are a lifesaver in 20 acres of wooded lawns. One hour’s worth of leaf blowing can accomplish what two men would achieve in a day with rakes. This year all the leaves have come down at once, but have given us one of the most spectacular Autumnal displays  we can remember.

The up side is that we leaf mulch coming out of our ears, so its garden top dressing here we come!!