With Spring finally upon us and Summer just around the corner I wanted to bring some exciting new seasonal wines to everyone’s attention. The quieter winter months are a great time to meet with our enthusiastic suppliers and attend wine tastings, this winter has been extremely productive and we have many fantastic new listings.
The older I become, the more I appreciate the advent of Spring. Perhaps it is some form of “one foot in the grave” syndrome, but where as in the past I merely noticed (or not) that new life was stirring in the grounds, I now actively look for it.
Having spent a minute or two researching the history of Mothers Day I find it fascinating (especially being one myself!) that this tradition is still going strong. (more…)
Georgian Houses are beautiful to look at, and a pleasure to live in. They are however a complete nightmare to heat. Despite 3 foot thick walls and knee deep roof insulation there seems to be little one can do with large sash windows. It is clear how much heat is lost through the windows when opening shutters which have been closed overnight, its just like opening a fridge door as a wall of cold air enters the room. (more…)
Having only just cleared the last of the damage to our trees caused by the gale we suffered here on Christmas Eve, we watch with horror the devastation being caused further South. Although we lost three tree and had major branch damage we seem to have got off lightly so far. We have seen no snow here on the coast this year to date, and only a couple of slight frosts. (more…)
All of apples have now been picked and juiced. Normally this labour of love falls to Wendy and I, but this year Charlie and his crew plus Ian our Groundsman achieved in an afternoon what normally takes us two or three days. We had an enormous crop this year (although plums and pears were not so good) so lots of lovely apple juice. How difficult is it to make cider?? (more…)
Watching the national evening news tonight. Tube strikes, massive rail fare rises, appalling state of inner city schools etc which caused me to reflect on how lucky we are up here in the Highlands of Scotland. (more…)
When we came here some 22 years ago the parkland at the front of the house had a number of magnificent mature beech tree. I have read that after a couple of hundred years beech trees start to decline and drop limbs for no apparent reason. This has been happening to us for the last five years or so, indeed the last time was only a week ago. We were rebuilding the boundary wall to the north of the house on a lovely hot 25 degree afternoon when a large limb some 20 inches in diameter split lengthways and sagged to the ground. (more…)
BUSY BEE – NOT ME!
I have been a casual beekeeper for a number of years now. We started off with three hives of the local black bees which thrived for the first three years, then started to decline. Despite efforts to shore up the dwindling populations we eventually lost the last hive this winter. No sign of any disease, and despite a couple of poor summers we would not normally have expected these losses a few years ago.
An Inspector Calls
We had a brace of Hotel inspectors in to see us the other week. After all these years we know many of them, but in this case neither of them had been before. Inspectors generally come singly, book in advance, and do not declare themselves until checkout in the morning. At this stage they will sit down with whomsoever wants to discuss the visit, and go through their experience.