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2107 January newsletter
January Newsletter 2017
Since our last newsletter, Harvest has been and gone and the sheds are once again full of grain. The yields were not as good as the previous year, but as is often the case, the price is better - a knock on effect of a weak sterling I imagine. Since then there has been the usual deliberation about what to sow, what might prove to be most profitable and whether there is some niche market we can tap into. As always though the weather tends to decide for us, and encourages us to stick with what we know works best, so no seismic changes on that front.
It may seem strange that a set of holiday cottages begins its 1st newsletter of the year with a report on the farming side of our business, but they run side by side and each is as important as the other. High Barn Cottages continues to grow in its success and gives us huge pleasure. We meet such lovely people and are always thrilled when they tell us how much they have enjoyed their stay. Many tell us that they find it hard to believe the cottages are now five years old because they look as if they have just been opened. The development is how well the grounds and flower- beds have matured and how comfortable the building looks in its surroundings.
Down the road at Field House big changes are afoot, with a number of building projects underway. The main effort so far has been the work done to Garden Cottage which has been out of commission for the last few years. Our first ever self catering cottage has always been one of our most popular, as it has direct access to our large walled garden, but we were unhappy about the size of the kitchen and bedrooms, especially when compared to some of our more recent developments. As a result the three rather tight bedrooms on the first floor will now be changed into a big master bedroom and large family bathroom. On the ground floor, what was once the old kitchen will become a utility room, whilst the lounge will be opened up and doubled in size with an open plan kitchen leading out to a garden room. Next to that will be a wheelchair accessible double bedroom with en-suite shower room and direct access to a private patio. It will be easily generous enough to suit a family of six with occupation of an additional sofa bed in the master bedroom. (And we have ideas about a fun glamping style addition that might follow hot on its heels.)
Whilst all this is going happening, spurred on by the success of our new shower rooms in the Byre and The Old Dairy, we are now replacing the old shower room in The Turnip House, repainting the interior and exterior of Hinds cottage and thinking about replacing the kitchen in the Old Dairy. As you can imagine, we're working against the clock to be ready for spring.
We try to operate as sustainably as possible with everything we do, so much so that the bulk of the bricks used in all our restorations and refurbishments have been individually removed, cleaned and stored, sourced from previous buildings on the farm in order that they can be re-used. Likewise many of the timbers are salvaged, as the quality and 'look' of old wood is difficult to replicate. All the roof tiles are originals, as are many of the pieces of sandstone used on the roofs and garden walls.
We've been so satisfied with our eco-heating at High Barn, and to to further boost our environmental credentials at Garden Cottage and The Turnip House, we have now begun to lay the piping for a ground-source heat pump in the paddock at the bottom of the garden. This will harness natural heat from underground and reduce the carbon footprint for these two cottages. Our guesstimate for the completion of the work for Garden Cottage is this Summer, Turnip by Easter, but things are moving ahead quickly, with re- building taking shape, the external walls almost finished and the roof due back on next.
Away from the Newsham Hill and Jewison Lane things seem to have been very busy in the area. There has been a big focus on Hull City of Culture 2017 across the county. We travelled down for the light installations that showed for the first week, and they were very impressive, and have now made a pledge that we will try to get down to Hull at least once a month, as there is such a variety of things to see. Bridlington Spa is also a venue for many concerts and shows as part of the City of Culture Year and we have already attended a brilliant Sunday concert there, which had a full house. An old industrial unit is currently showing a 'pop up' art exhibition in Bridlington - it's a quirky venue, but it works well. With the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra playing Themes from the Movies and The Royal Shakespeare Company pre-viewing a new production at Hull Truck Theatre, we're confident it's going to be a busy and exciting year.