We are emerging slowly after a long and very wet winter. It has really been very mild but we have still been VERY grateful for the addition of central heating in the castle for the first time in it’s 200 year history. Niall’s new baby bio-mass boiler is doing a sterling job of heating not just the castle but the apartments below and also the arch house. Plans are afoot to connect up the quirky arch apartment which has been serving as Niall’s temporary office. It has proved to be popular with holiday makers though so Niall is facing eviction and a relocation back to the castle. There is a possibility of a quiet space, tucked away on the ground floor but as with everything, it will require a major renovation.

Wood fuel production has formed the bulk of the winter activities as hundreds of logs left over from a recent felling needed to be processed. Our last WOOFers left in November so heroic Pete has been managing on his own, with extra help brought in as required.

The estate is beginning to look rather fabulous again after it’s winter hibernation. Snowdrop season was wonderful, if a little short. I’m always amazed that they seem to just appear over night just when you think you can’t take anymore of winter and offer hope https://www.bodydelsol.com/xanax/ that the warmer weather is on it’s way. The daffodils are also about to burst into bloom which officially heralds the start of spring in my book. With buds on the trees, frog spawn filling the burns and noticeably longer days, I think we can tentatively whisper that winter is over. I’m not giving up the thermals yet though as it all went horribly wrong in March last year.

At the end of March we welcome our first WWOOFer of 2014, Chloe from Australia and soon after that Allie from Canada. They will be kept busy with wood production as well as the continuing work to renovate the walled garden. It’s such a fabulous scheme that everyone benefits from. We are still in touch with all of our previous WOOFers and I’m sure we’ll be welcoming some of them back in the future.

Our brand new wood-burning hot tub and barrel sauna are under construction by the river for use by guests in the Servants’ Quarters. The siting of the hot tub at Garden Cottage has proved it’s worth with bookings continuing throughout the winter. Hopefully our ‘riverside spa’ will have the same effect for the Servants’ Quarters and I am going to absolutely insist that I be first in the queue to try it out!

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