Archive for May, 2014

Visit to Barrington Court

On Monday afternoon, grabbing a sunny few hours, we decided to visit Barrington Court, which is a National Trust house not far from us here.

On approaching the house there was a meadow full of sorrel and other wild flowers.

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Neil was pleased to see that in a wild spot of the grounds there were several bee hives.

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The house is empty of furniture at the moment but in June and July the BBC will be filming here, so they will be kitting it out with their own props.  They will be filming “Wolf Hall” which is the story of Thomas Cromwell in Henry VIII’s time.  Damien Lewis ( who was in Homeland) will be playing Henry VIII.  Other actors appearing will be Jessica Raine (Call the Midwife) and Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Game of Thrones).  We were told that Barrington Court will be doubling up for Hampton Court, where unfortunately they cannot film.  They will be using some of the grand rooms with their large fireplaces.

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There were fabulous tiles in the bathrooms, although I don’t expect they will be filming there.

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I hope they use the gardens too as they were lovely.  This picture was taken in the “White garden”.

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I love this little statue in the kitchen garden.

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The flower borders were lovely too.

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I really like the roses by the old stables.

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And the gorgeous Wisteria, one of my favourite flowers:-

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If you want to visit Barrington Court yourself, use our B&B as a base.  Quite a few vacancies now for June.

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Fun with the bees

Yesterday Neil got a call from a friend who is a beekeeper to say she had a swarm of bees and would Neil like them.  He jumped at the chance since all his bees had died last year.  So Jan caught the swarm in a box and a sheet and brought them over and emptied them out where Neil had prepared a hive for them.  He put a piece of hardboard across the stand and hoped that they would process along the ramp and into the hive.  but unfortunately instead they settled under the ramp, in a big cluster around the queen.

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Neil put a pheromone lure and a sugar syrup feed (one to one ratio of sugar and water)  into the hive to encourage them into it, but we were sitting in the front garden this afternoon having a cup of tea and we suddenly heard this loud buzzing coming towards us, and they had swarmed again.  Now they have settled in a tree the other side of our garage, a really difficult place to get to.  It seems they weren’t interested in taking up home in Neil’s nice new hive for them, but maybe they are just a flighty lot and will keep on moving.  Anyhow it would appear we have lost them now.  Such a shame as I was looking forward to some of our own honey again.

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Making new paths

On Friday we had 10 tons of 40 mm scalpings delivered.  This is what a 10 ton pile looks like.

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When we first put down our raised vegetable beds, we laid the paths in between with black weed suppressant sheet and covered them with bark chippings.  These paths looked lovely at first, but after 3 years the bark has decomposed and the weeds have grown in the bark and just taken over.

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So Neil has been digging out the weeds and pulling back the bark to get back to the black weed suppressant sheet.  The bark chippings we have been depositing on the hen run and the hens love it to scratch around in.

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He is then filling the paths with scaplings (stones) to make new paths, which hopefully the weeds cannot grow in.

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This is very physically demanding work and will take quite a long time to do. He is out there again this afternoon, so my job is to prepare regular cups of tea and get on with the roast dinner for tonight.  Also I have to go and iron the bed linen from yesterday’s B&B guests, so I’m not twiddling my fingers even though I’m not helping with the scalpings.

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Bluebell walk at Otterhead Lakes

Today, dodging the showers we went for a walk at Otterhead Lakes, one of my favourite places, to see all the bluebells.

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The map shows the path we take, from the car park following the red line down to the first lake and then along the path through the woods to the second lake.  Earlier in the year we came here to see the carpets of snowdrops, now it is the turn of the bluebells.

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When we got to the first lake one of swans came up to see if we had brought any bread, (but we had forgotten).

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It was closely followed by some ducks, who were equally disappointed by us.

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The swan upended itself to search for its own food.

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As we walked along the path by the river we could see the carpets of bluebells in between the trees.

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Neil posed on the little bridge across the stream.

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In an established woodland the bluebells are native English where the bells hang to one side as opposed to Spanish bluebells where the bells are all the way round.

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When we got the second lake there was a clump of yellow flowers that looked a bit like buttercups.

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The water was calm on the lake.

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Walking back we admired the bluebells in the woods along the bank.

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We are so lucky to live in this beautiful part of the country.  come and visit us

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May Bank Holiday Barn Dance

Bishopswood village, which is the next village to us, organised a barn dance for the May Bank Holiday. There was a ceilidh band for the occasion and tickets included a generous Ploughman’s supper and apple pie.  It was well attended by locals from the surrounding villages and although some of the dances tied us in knots, especially one called “wringing the dish cloth”, we greatly enjoyed ourselves.

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Here are some photos of the dancing:

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They are trying to make this an annual event now, which is a good idea as it is popular.  It is important to support events in the local community otherwise these things don’t happen!!  We also sometimes go to Churchinford village hall for barn dancing on a Tuesday evening which is a regular session but they don’t get so many people there as at this one.

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