Yurts and Coronavirus
First of all we should stay that our thoughts are with all our lovely guests and we are hoping that you and your families are keeping safe and well. We continue to be open for short breaks and holidays throughout the year and are monitoring government announcements on a daily basis and will keep this blog as well as our FaceBook page updated with where we're at. We've been in touch with our April guests to offer to move their breaks to later in the year for anyone who would prefer that and will contact May guests within the next week or so, once we see how things are looking. In the meantime if you have any questions do please give us a call on 07802 456087. We have put measures in place to minimise the risk of catching Coronavirus, with a new paper towel dispenser installed and a stack of 10,000 paper towels to go with it; we have a good stock of bars of soap, information about hand-washing (though everyone must be familiar with the routine by now), a huge stack of tea-towels and appropriate laundry baskets and bins dotted around. We are also blessed with plenty of fresh air and, of course, each yurt has their own cooking facilities and equipment for cooking at the yurt, in addition to the shared facilities. We're also expecting a surge in the use of the (heated) woodland showers this year, so they are freshly serviced and all ready to go. We've been heartened by the responses from many of our returning guests, who are happy with the cleanliness and standards of hygiene at the yurts and tell us that they are very much looking forward to their Easter breaks, and we look forward to welcoming many returning and new guests this year. With a heartfelt thanks for your continuing support in these difficult times, and best wishes to you all. And, we have to stay, after a good amount of winter rain the flowers are looking fabulous!
It's official, spring is here; I know this because we hosted the HighTide Spring Writers' Retreat last weekend. It was great to have them here - the place felt very buzzy, and judging by their blog they found Ivy Grange Farm to be a great place to stimulate the creative juices. There's some great pictures here of the playwrights at work in our barn, putting the table tennis table to a range of uses!
We're looking forward to our next course later in the year (more in the way of a themed weekend than anything more formal) in which regular night-walker and travel journalist Dixe Wills introduces us to the delights of walking by moonlight. We'll have a full moon that weekend and great plans for the hike - see our Courses tab for more information.
We've been full for Easter and it's great to see the sun out. Campfires have been burning every night and the tripod and cookpot have had several outings.
Just announced is the HighTide Writers' Retreat over the weekend of 30th March -1st April http://www.hightide.org.uk/event/spring_writers_retreat If you don't know HighTide, it's a great theatre festival that supports and develops new writing talent and is based in our local market town of Halesworth. The Festival started in 2007 and has been going from strength to strength - this year it is putting on 16 plays in the first 10 days of May as well as discussions with cast and crew, debates, social events and more. The whole thing is really buzzy and highly recommended (especially as it coincides with asparagus season, and our newly planted asparagus will be ready for picking this year!). Check out the website for full details of the programme http://www.hightide.org.uk
Alongside the Festival, HighTide works with new writers to develop their talent and runs a series of retreats and workshops throughout the year. We are delighted to be hosting the Spring Retreat. These events are in great demand, so do check out the details soon if you are interested.
And at the other end of the season is a themed weekend in celebration of Night Walks, led by travel writer and journalist Dixe Wills. Over the weekend of 28th-30th September we'll be taking advantage of the full moon to go on a hike around the local lanes once the sun has gone down. We'll be making the most of our campfires too and getting out the large stew pot for some proper campfire cooking, along with toasted marshmallows and cocoa! See our Courses section for more details.
Progress is rapid with our Safari Kitchen, which should be finished within the next week or so. This is what it was looking like yesterday, with a light smattering of snow. It's yet to have the roof fitted (red ondulin, to match the Old Cow Shed roof behind the barn, with some clear panels inset, to make maximum use of daylight). And, of course, with windows looking over the field, so you can see what's going on back at base. We will put a couple of gas hobs in (powered by big camping gaz cannisters) as a place for preparing food and cooking when the weather's not so great.
And we're delighted to announce our first themed weekend. The last weekend in September will be given over to an introduction to Night Walks. Led by travel writer and journalist Dixe Wills, participants will have a fun time hearing about how to navigate at night and then, on Saturday night, doing it for real! We've chosen this weekend because it will be just about a full moon, rising in the early evening, so it should be perfect conditions for night walking. We have fabulous night skies here and we're really looking forward to the weekend. Have a look at the Courses section of the website for details.
We've been using the shorter days to whip the raised beds in the yurt meadow into shape. We've now finished raised bed number 2 and it's manured and ready for the spring and the autumn raspberry canes are cut and resting, ready to burst into growth in the spring again!
The red onions are coming up well in raised bed 1, untouched by the wood pigeons. They should be plump and sweet by the early summer, ready to be gently pulled up and chopped into a salad or turned into a veggie kebab for the bar-b-q.
It hasn't all been hard work, fortunately. Christmas has been lovely up here - Holy Trinity Church at Blythburgh ("the Cathedral of the Marshes") had a lovely carol service and the church was filled with Christmas trees each dressed by a different person within the village.
Purely in the interests of checking out good walks for yurters, we tried out one of Simon Barnes' favourite walks, from Snape Maltings to the church at Iken, on New Year's Day. Nick spotted the kingfisher by the sluice gate within the first ten minutes and we saw curlews, shovellers, teal and widgeon on the estuary. Setting off from Snape Maltings was wonderful - we passed the Barbara Hepworth sculpture down by the reed marshes and a lovely piece by Sarah Lucas of the big Suffolk punch pulling a cart with what looked like one of our tromboncino courgettes after it had survived the first frosts and the ravages of the muntjac deer.
Struggling to find a special present this Christmas - why not give an Ivy Grange Farm gift voucher? We can offer vouchers for a two night break upwards (from £150) or vouchers in denominations of £50 for your recipient to put towards a relaxing yurt holiday in beautiful Suffolk countryside. Beautifully presented, with space for you to personalise as required, we can offer these vouchers right up until the final Christmas posting dates. And of course we can also offer birthday and special occasion gift vouchers whenever you're looking for that something a little bit special. Let us know if you are interested by e-mailing email@example.com and we can e-mail you details. We'll work hard to make your guests feel special, with a bottle of wine (or something soft) and flowers for their arrival.