February has rushed upon so quickly and the news in the last blog seems a long way away. There were no snowdrops in sight then! For me, life has been dominated by two things: the Barn, which fills my husband’s every thought as he plans the logistics and manhandles the materials, and the weather. Having recovered from working out who one could or could not have for Christmas, January has thrown us snow, sleet and rain, gales, flooding and ice. I was walking with the dogs this afternoon and, although not flooded, the water lies right on the surface. It does make Lockdown 3 less fun.
I have had my mother to stay and as part of her daily exercise (sorry Joe, you weren’t quite what she wanted) we wandered round the garden. Regardless of the weather we would wrap up warm and inspect the growth. The colour was slow to appear, hidden by the damp and cold and then, bit by bit, green shoots have been appearing and now we have snowdrops all over the place. And it isn’t just snowdrops, the yellow aconite is flourishing, banks of purple cyclamen and we even spotted primroses. I have not stopped to look at the garden much in January before. It has been a real treat.
The Cultural Recovery Fund for Heritage (#hereforculture) has kept everyone very busy here. The Barn has been cleared to its earthen floor and they are starting to spread recycled foamed glass lumps that looks like coal but weigh nothing. The Barn looks enormous now. We were asked to keep a regular update going, so people can see what is happening. My husband has taken to this like a duck to water. He has been borrowing drones and delay cameras, movement cameras and using his phone to compile quite the library of the pictures. If you aren’t following our Instagram or Facebook you are missing the fun of “watching other people working”.
We are staying ever optimistic and that the warmer weather will allow us to go on “outings”. Currently, we are planning to open on Wednesday 24th March and then on every Sunday and Wednesday until our normal close on Sunday 26th September. During both the Easter and Summer school holidays we will be open everyday except Fridays and Saturdays and for us to put on some of our events (an outdoor play perhaps). We don’t think life will be just like it was in 2019 but hopefully with all the Covid precautions we had in place last summer, everyone can enjoy a few trips again this summer, with less stopping and starting. If you are anything like me you aren’t wanting much; a cup of tea with friends in a garden!
Finally, just a quick word to everyone getting married. We have spoken to so many couples. I admire your resilience, determination and the fact that you have had to alter so much of your thinking. If we could send tissues down the telephone, we would have been through boxes! Many congratulations to those who have been married in 2020. In 2019 everyone was talking about 2020 being such an auspicious year….if we had known then what we know now. For those who have booked, we have had some very special weddings, for numbers as low as 15. They have felt intimate and lovely. It feels like the buildings have spread their huge arms around them and given them a big hug.
Come on March, February can never go fast enough for me.