Winter wonderland in Wensleydale

Deer

Aren’t they sweet?
I’ve had a lovely few weeks painting windows and watching the wildlife in the grounds and thought perhaps I could share some of that pleasure to brighten someone’s day.
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I caught sight of these whilst coming along one of the wing corridors – ever so close to the house, nibbling around one of the variegated holly trees.
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This is a print from one of our badgers, they breed between November and March. Not sure quite how many young we have this year but saw a parents prints with at least two little ones tagging along.10940487_898743293490642_8703045135551601299_n
On this picture the parents tracks are on the left and the smaller tracks to the right belong to its cubs.
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This was the deer unhappy at being disturbed when I brought my son home from school last week.
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The last of those pictures is after one of the deer bounded across the main and top lawns, leaping the dry stone wall into one of my fields and turned to wait for its companion. At that point I thought it kindest to go indoors and let them reunite in peace!
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This last pair of photos are courtesy of Adam, we were working in the walled garden yesterday and he was desperate for me and his dad to treck up to the top field to see what he’d found. His poor father was on his knees after hauling dozens of paving slabs half an acre, amongst other things, so Adam took my phone. We think the tracks belong to a weasel, ferret or stoat and the circular hole in the snow next to the wall is the top of the tunnel it made in order to access its nest in the bottom of the dry stone wall.
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Well, that’s all for today – trying to decide whether to take Scout my labradoodle with me whilst I paint today or leave him drooling over the squirrels busy raiding my bird feeder! Had a woodpecker on it two weeks ago but only got a blurred picture of it. If it comes back and I catch it, I’ll share.

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Walking Groups

ooo that’s a clever tool, wonder if anyone will reply to me if i repost this now?

Thornton Lodge

Smiling at my previous post – over a year ago and it was supposed to be the start of something new. Oh dear, I wonder what stopped me doing more? I guess I can pick up and write about my other rooms now I’ve remembered my log in details🙂 but the reason I wanted to write a post this evening was to try to spread the word about the lovely space I have here at the house for walking groups to relax in.
I was lucky enough to have a lovely group stay with me last weekend and they mentioned how difficult it is to find somewhere nice in the Yorkshire Dales where they can all stay together, be looked after, but without other people to worry about disturbing when having drinks on an evening. Well, given that’s exactly what I offer in winter there’s no reason why I…

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Walking Groups

Smiling at my previous post – over a year ago and it was supposed to be the start of something new. Oh dear, I wonder what stopped me doing more? I guess I can pick up and write about my other rooms now I’ve remembered my log in details🙂 but the reason I wanted to write a post this evening was to try to spread the word about the lovely space I have here at the house for walking groups to relax in.
I was lucky enough to have a lovely group stay with me last weekend and they mentioned how difficult it is to find somewhere nice in the Yorkshire Dales where they can all stay together, be looked after, but without other people to worry about disturbing when having drinks on an evening. Well, given that’s exactly what I offer in winter there’s no reason why I can’t do that sometimes in summer too so I have made a new tab on my website just for walking groups, showing the price and what I can offer for dinner during their stay and this seemed a good second step.
It would be lovely if someone saw it and said hello as I think the thing that put me off typing more previously was the feeling of talking to myself.
What would be even better would if someone saw it, passed on information to a walking group and they got in touch. But baby steps eh?

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About our rooms. Room 2

Yesterday I made a decision to use my blog more this year and whilst I could easily ramble on about absolutely nothing I thought a bit of structure would help me ease into the discipline of the exercise. With that in mind I thought the first thing I would do was a room by room description, which will keep me going for at least 9 posts!

Owing to the fact I am going to be messing about with room 1 shortly I thought I’d start with room 2🙂

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It might help if my pictures were filed on my laptop in a way in which I can find them easily though! The labels I apply on the day I take them always make sense at the time but not months later🙂 These pictures were taken by a professional photographer but I found that I prefer to be able to go in and take photo’s when I want to – ie when it’s lovely outside or the roses are in bloom🙂jemmison photography 006jemmison photography 008jemmison photography 011

Ah, well, there’s a few to be going on with and I’m sure I’ll be able to edit the post at some point to add more when I find them but I don’t want to get sidetracked from the process of posting something by looking for pictures…..

So, Room 2 is my accessible room. Not completely accessible in that it doesn’t have a wet room but accessible enough for the type of people who like to come and stay with me. The ensuite has a toilet that is a bit higher than usual and has a fixed grab rail on one side and a moveable one on the other (the right hand side as you look at it, so the left hand side if you were sitting on the loo).
The shower tray is around 30 ins wide and around 5 ft long and has a quad fold screen that is folded back when not in use – there is also a curtain which covers the area not protected by the screen. There are grab rails either side of the shower head and I have a shower stool which can be positioned on the tray if required. The beauty of the set up is that if anyone does need to be seated whilst showering, they can get themselves comfy then close the shower screen and pull the curtain closed. I also took the shower head out of the high retainer so that if some one needs to put it on the floor to set it running, they can do and then pick it up whilst seated.
The sink in room 2 is also a specialist one, it is very large and sloping, one lady once told me she was thrilled because she’d been able to wash her hair in it, which she hadn’t been able to do for years.

Both the bathroom and bedroom doors are wide enough for wheelchairs to enter, although the type of guest who usually books the room tends to be people who just can’t manage the stairs and baths any more. The room is located close to the front door and is very convenient for the lounge and dining room.

One of my favourite aspects of the room is its large bay window. I sourced a little table and some wooden chairs with arms so that people can push up on them if need be to stand up and I know my guests love to sit there and watch the animal life in the garden. There is also a comfortable leather sofa just near the table so people can sit on something a bit softer if they wish (I do have cushions for the wooden chairs though!).

There is a fridge in the room and I put fresh milk into it each day so people often come back to the house quite early when booking this room and have a little rest before dinner, with a lovely pot of tea and some local titbit or other they’ve treated themselves to!

People who book this room often book for 4-7 nights and also tend to be the main type of guest who ask to have dinner with me so I tend to get to spend more time with them than many of my other guests. Also, because it is so comfortable for them and maybe because I do tend to spoil them, I do get an awful lot of repeat bookings for this room. It can be a twin or a double because the beds are ‘zip and link’ and I do try to keep the room available for people who really do need the accessible aspects it offers.

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Winter

snow scout and peafowl 006snow scout and peafowl 004barcelona 092barcelona 091

It’s been a while since I looked at my blog but having had the reminder to pay for it for another year I thought I might start posting things again! It has been a case of from the sublime to the rediculous overnight as yesterday hubby was out dragging our now 12 year old around on his sled tied to the back of the quad and this morning there is scarecely any snow as it has melted away in the mild weather and over night rain.

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About Thornton Lodge – the building

Thornton Lodge often surprises people – it did us when we first saw it! We were looking for a modest pair of semi’s that had been knocked into one in the village – without success and pulled into the gateway of a field to ponder what to do when hubby nudged me and our jaws collectively dropped as we surveyed the decidedly uncottagey building across the fields.

You see, the people who had Thornton Lodge built as their summer home were incredibly wealthy and owned a huge property in Burnley, so to them this particular ‘huge property’ was quite modest and lodge sized. Coupled with the fact there already existed a Thornton Rust Hall and sundry properties with Manor in the title it is understandable where the name Thornton Lodge sprang from. Even more confusingly, the house built at the entrance, described in its last set of sales particulars as an Edwardian Gentlemans residence, is known as Thornton Lodge Cottage!

Another confusing thing about Thornton Lodge is its age. It was built in 1909 but is typically Victorian as a local builder was used who drew upon his experiences within Wensleydale, the end result being something looking as if it were 30 – 40 years older. I have been told by his grand daughter that this was his favourite project of the many he worked on in the Dales, which is a pleasing thought.

We have modestly sized cellars at the house but adjoining them and accessed from outside is our boiler room and ‘hidden tunnel’! It isn’t really hidden as there is a lobby at the bottom of the steps which lead down to the boiler room on one side and the access tunnel on the other side. It runs some 10 meters East beneath the house to underneath the staircase and then turns to run North underneath what was originally the billiard room, eventually opening out into a space you can stand up in – or so I am told…. I’m relatively brave, especially if I tell myself I have to be but have never yet had the urge to crawl around underneath my house. I almost plucked up the courage when we’d not lived here long and hubby failed to materialise when I called him – not once but several times and finally bellowing for him with an exceptional set of lungs. Poised to climb into the tunnel I was saved the ordeal when he came wandering into view from the direction of his workshops. Ever since I’ve taken the view that if he did get stuck down there, he’d shout loudly enough for me to hear him!

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Hens

This is an item from 2011 that for some reason I didn’t publish but as I intend to write about our hens I am posting it now as it fills in some back ground.

I’ve been really lucky over the years in that I generally have the loveliest people imaginable stay with me and that has been especially true just recently.

It’s only when things go wrong in your home life that it becomes apparent how difficult it can be juggling multiple roles.

Recently we’ve had a run of bad luck with our hens. Some of the ex bats were reaching the end of their lives and my 10 year old dealt with that very matter of factly. When the 2nd hen showed signs that her time had come, I asked him if he wanted me to place her in a box overnight. His reply was that he was going to lift her into one of the nesting boxes so that she could end her time with her friends.

Sadly and at the same time we had problems with the hens we’d hatched from eggs two summers ago. One of the black hens had shown problems with her breathing at Christmas time but had recovered and then suddenly got very sick and died overnight. Adam was distraught. When our beautiful Cockerel Gonzalez displayed the same symptoms a week or so later we took him to the vets and had a nerve wracking wait to see whether antibiotics would cure him. Completely unrelated but at the same time, our little red hen got crop bound and needed to be operated on.

All of this with a vets trip an 11 mile drive away and guests to feed. They were absolute treasures – accommodating, concerned and one even gave a donation towards my ever increasing vets bills. They travelled the journey with me, understanding why I simply couldn’t ‘neck’ the sick pet hens as one local farmer suggested and I received an email from one guest who had left the morning of Red Hen’s operation, asking how she’d got on.

Sadly, Red Hen didn’t make it but Gonzalez did get better and crowed this morning for the first time in weeks. When the vet called to say Red Hen had died I couldn’t work out how to tell Adam without his being devestated – my solution was to collect a pair of fawn call ducks and two new hens from the poultry breeders at Hipswell and I told him about the new birds first.

My new morning routine involves letting the Aylesbury (huge white) ducks out of the hen run into the walled garden before letting the tiny call ducks out of the duck house into the hen run. I have to do this because the Aylesbury Drakes go beserk over the new ducks and I had to grab them by their necks when I first let the call ducks out of their box. So now I have to remember to put Scout on his lead each time we go into the walled garden so that he doesn’t chase the ducks!

15/2/21012

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