This wonderful picture of Fireworks at Layer Marney Tower is, not surprisingly, an old one. This Covid Virus is taking a little of the fun away from our usual Autumn pleasures. That having been said life has not been dull and much has changed since the last post I wrote.
I am delighted to be able to tell you that although the new covid regulations mean that weddings are no longer allowed, some of our wedding couples have simply brought their ceremonies forward – and tied the knot. When things opened up, 30 guests were allowed and this was swiftly reduced to 15 – and now “non-essential” weddings will cease during lockdown. With these changing regulations most weddings have been postponed, but the ones that have happened here under the new regulations have been very special and very lovely. Three of our weddings have been recently re-arranged, with next to no notice, with couples bringing forward their wedding days, enabling them to ensure that new restrictions, about to be applied, don’t interfere.
We are missing school children terribly. The chatter and delight on their faces as they master a new challenge or realise an important point is wonderful to see. So far three schools this term have visited. When I confirmed that a school could come recently I received a lovely reply “Thank you SO much for your email. I was on the verge of giving up hope on any form of a school trip but you have literally made my day!“. I hear in that an understanding of how children need a little adventure in their lives, a change of classroom and a breath of fresh air.
We have now closed the Glamour Camping tents for the year. After the glorious weather of July, August and September, October was another busy month – but with terrible weather! Guests have come in howling gales and pouring rain – yet time after time we have had lovely thank you emails telling us the fun they have had. Once you light the wood burning stove in the tents it is easy to build up a cosy fug. Sitting in a hot tub in a wood in the rain is a very special experience…
Lockdown is definitely a trying time for all. It is exhausting trying to find the patience needed to override all that frustration. Tymperleys will be closed through November and the team furloughed AGAIN. It will, at least, give us time to remove the fallen tree and do some more repairs (old buildings can always find work for you!).
Life at Layer Marney Tower will be busy, as we have been fortunate enough to receive a Culture Recovery Fund grant. This has enabled us to put scaffolding up the tower to repair the iconic twisted chimneys. Very few ancient buildings have original chimneys, just replicas of what was originally put up. Ours are no exception. Chimneys get burnt from the inside and battered by the wind and rain on the outside. We know one of the damaged chimneys is several hundred years old and currently has several holes on one side. A few more gales and it could have fallen onto the roof. The work would have had to been done, but with such a small income this year the Culture Recovery Fund grant has been a lifeline. Not only will it allow us to mend the twisted chimneys, it is also allowing us to do work on the the big Barn in the courtyard and help with some of the unavoidable costs that go hand in hand with a large old building like Layer Marney Tower. If you follow us on instagram I suspect you will have step by step pictures of the barn’s progress. Today, we met with Historic England Inspector, Sheila Stones, and our Architect, Henry Freeland, to work out details. By next spring when we re-open you will be able to come and see what we have been up to.
November lockdown starts soon. Stay cheerful. Wrap up warm and walk some of the footpaths around here. We have views right across to the Blackwater. Soak up some of the easy pleasures.