Thursday, 26 September 2013

Summer, Painting studio, Autumn and France

I am cheating a bit, I am sure blogging should be done on a more regular basis but being a busy bee I am doing a bit of a roundup of the last few months.

The good news is that the summer was very busy for us, the weather was great and it was so lovely to be able to welcome guests from all over the world, in the sunshine.  The past couple of summers have been pretty bad weather wise and even the most beautiful country side cannot be enjoyed as much in the rain. We also gained our 4 star AA badge as well as their awards for both Breakfast and Dinner – a bonus which was unexpected – we are so pleased that our food is appreciated.
As already blogged, I also have been lucky enough to have a studio in the garden.  Les put up a new summer house for me to paint in.  When you run a B&B most of your home is used up with guests so my painting has been neglected recently due to lack of space.  I had been using the Gazebo in the garden but that wasn’t really successful; Les and I are such hoarders that it had gradually been filled up with ‘stuff’ so there was no room to paint in the end.  So now that too has had a face lift and a new coat of paint inside and it is now a lovely place to relax and read in, or just enjoy the odd glass of wine. And of course our guests can use it to. So instead of one not very useful garden room we now have two!

We are already having a nice autumn and although the thought of picking up all the leaves in the garden is not one to relish, it is such a lovely time of year.   But in fairness, Les will do most of it!

As autumn is also the time for bottling, jam and chutney making, it is a busy time.   I have already made blackcurrant and gooseberry jam and now have 12 pounds of plums and trees of apples waiting to be dealt with.  I normally freeze a lot of the apples for crumbles and pies through the winter, but also love apple jelly though it’s a pain to make. The rest will be chutney and I haven’t even thought what to do with the pears yet.

We have managed to have a break though and have just had a long weekend in France – our annual Twinning get together.  It was our turn to go to St Gregoire (near Rennes in Brittany) and we had as usual a fantastic time. The weekend was spent mainly eating and drinking  with the added trips to Mont St Michel and Honfleur thrown in.  The French always look after us so well and over the past 11 years we have been involved, we have made some wonderful friends.  Like many organisations we are made up of mainly ‘older’ people but this year we had 11 students from our local high school join us which was fantastic, they all had such a good time and we hope that we can continue to encourage younger people to get involved.

Well must get back to the kitchen, the jam won’t make itself.