Wow! So where did May go? It only seems like minutes since I was battling with my first blog at the end of April and yet here I am again. Have I got anything to write about? Well let’s see...
Having a terrible memory isn’t a good thing and so the best way to remind myself of all the things that happen is to look back through my photos as my camera (phone) is always in my pocket and I use it almost daily. Puzzled tourists often stare over the wall at the crazy guy on his hands and knees photographing a wildflower or wee beastie.
Around the Venue
It’s been a crazy-busy month with May being one of our busiest of the year and this year has been no exception. With May more or less over we are now starting to think about June, which is going to be even busier, I hope we survive!
Our new fence was completed at the start of the month and this will hopefully provide us with some respite from the daily onslaught of Herdwicks, which though beautiful looking sheep are a bit of a pain where a wedding venue is concerned as they will devour anything with a juicy tip in a matter of hours, leaving us with a garden full of badly pruned sticks. It’s amazing how a few weeks without perpetual nibblers has resulted in a huge change in both the formal garden and the paddock.
The new fence has also allowed us to move forward with other aspects of the venue including new festoon lighting around the barn courtyard. Not a big fan of festoon lights I’ve done my best to resist Caroline on this front for the last couple of years but had to finally give in as I couldn’t think of any more excuses not to put them up. They’ve sat in a box in the cellar for two years. All that said, when the skies start to darken, they do look spectacular and so I guess I have to concede that particular point.
The introduction of courtyard festoons also prompted a revamp of our gazebo, which I feel never quite hit the mark with its former décor. With new festoons and a pile of antique effect light bulbs Caroline and I set to work with what we thought would be a quick job to remove the old lights and hang the new ones. Oh, how wrong can you be? By my reckoning it took us about 5 hours of trial and error to run the cable so that it would reach the socket and give a decent pattern and spread of bulbs, without them all being clumped together in one corner or the other. The result, if I say so myself, is really rather good and again comes into its’ own when the sun begins to set. With a few extra touches, (provided by Caroline as the artistic stuff isn’t really my thing) some ivy, some lanterns, crates and flowers its quite a transformation. Apparently, we now need to buy some seating!
The new sheep defenses have also allowed me to move forward with our paddock development, which will, soon, become an additional area for our clients to enjoy. My battle with brambles and nettles continues and though it looks a bit bare now it does show the shape of the land and I’ve got a few ideas forming of how we’ll take things forward in terms of pathways and planting. Watch this space.
We continue to keep fingers crossed for the 19th of June when we’ll find out if we have won the Wedding Venue of the Year in the Cumbria Tourism Awards 2109. Either way the experience will be a good one and we’ll get a rare night off mid-season. The challenge before then is to sort out a new tux’.
Every week sees fresh blooms arrive in the garden while at the same time another one finishes for the year. It’s so easy to completely miss seeing something flower (even big orange ginger ones) when we’re busy as we are either delivering weddings, preparing for one, cleaning up after one or showing new clients around.
May was all about the rhododendron. I think this has been the best year for blooms I’ve ever seen at Cote How. I guess its down to the mild winter we had, lots of water in the early part of the year and then generally warm weather throughout spring. If anything, I’d say it’s all got a bit dry out there now, though dry weather is definitely easier for everyone on a wedding day.
The azaleas have also been spectacular this month and we still have a few in bloom, one favourite called Glowing Embers has just flowered and is a vibrant splash of flame colours. Dominant in the garden at present in the laburnum with is dazzling yellow tendrils that make a fabulous backdrop for wedding photos. Let’s hope the wind stays low as the delicate yellow petals soon disappear when the wind picks up.
After a harsh thrashing in the early spring, the lawn is starting to look lush again and I hope it’ll continue to improve over the next couple of months and be in good condition before the moss makes an unwelcome return.
Out and About
I’m guessing that the military have been doing training operations somewhere north of Cote How as May has been a bit like being at an air show with the constant passage of helicopters, jets of various types and also the larger Airbus, which I assume is either a cargo or troop carrier. Anyway, every day while in the garden I would have been seen dashing around like a madman, trying to get a shot of one of these aircraft with a good view of Cote How in the background to give a bit of scale. Here are a few of the more successful shots.
Me and the pups managed a few walks on the fells over the last month. One especially nice walk was early one sunny morning when we ventured up Nab Scar to Heron Pike and then dropped down to Alcock Tarn before returning via the coffin route. Back home by 8.30 am without seeing a soul. Perfect for clearing the head! :o)
Follow Steve on Instagram here
Steve (aka Mr. Cote How) ... The Reluctant Blogger