We've had a great March, putting up the yurts again with help from friends and family! There's always great interest from guests about how the yurts are constructed - Woodpecker, our traditional Mongolian, is the largest and we thought you might enjoy some photos of the process! Paul Jackson and Adele Goodchild helped with Woodpecker (always easier with 4 people for this bigger yurt) and the photos are courtesy of Adele (with thanks!).
In the photos, Paul and Nick are raising the crown (or wheel) on two crown supports; after this we slot all the roof poles in (making sure the decorative painted side is facing in); the final picture shows you how it looks once the wooden structure is in place before we add the layers of thick felt, canvas and then the decorative cover. It's a full day's work, but great fun when done in good company.
We're already looking forward to our Full Moon Walk in April on the evening of Saturday the 23rd. It will follow the route of a walk we did at the same time last year - besides the fun of hearing the wading birds all making a fuss about going to bed as the moon comes up, we were delighted to be serenaded as we walked back up the Blyth estuary by the male nightingales calling to the females as they flew in on migration, from the branches overhead. The walk will be about 6 miles over fairly level terrain, we walk without the use of torches (unless we meet a car on the occasional bit of road-walking) and generally have a great time! We'll set off around 7pm and the walk will take about two and a half hours (it's a bit slower walking at night and we like to stop sometimes to listen or look!). All you need is a decent pair of walking boots and suitable clothing. If you fancy joining us, we still have yurts available for the weekend and we'd love to welcome you along.
We are having a lovely, busy, winter! The pergola by the pizza oven is now well underway, with the wooden frame pretty much in place, just the roof to go on and some trellis to finish. The grapevine (Reliance) went into the ground before winter, the plan being that it will romp away over the pergola and provide bunches of grapes in a year or two for someone to peel for you whilst your pizza cooks. We're re-working the path through to the pizza area from the barn to make it easier to get backwards and forwards and Nick's been designing some great seating and long oak tables for the pergola space. Can't wait to see the first pizza evening!
We've been doing a lot of landscaping too, with the hedge by the roadside now in hand (it was beginning to go to scrub!) and plans for improved wildlife habitats - strips of bird-friendly seeds and plants, improved dead-hedging for over-wintering creatures, more hedgehog hotels (hedgehogs were very popular with our yurt guests last season!) and cleaning out of the bird and barn-owl boxes. The barn owl has been for a few visits over the winter, so we're keeping our fingers crossed for a resident owl in the spring. We've been trying to work out a wildlife info sheet for children (and maybe adults) to use to highlight different features of the meadow, so watch this space.... Our campfire-wood pile is growing very nicely - we are now expert wood-splitters and the Norwegian Wood book has become our bible.
Our 10 Favourite Days Out now have their own section on the website - it's a bit of a short-cut to some of the lovely things to do around and about (if we were here for a week or so we'd love to do all of them), whether you're here for a romantic break, a family holiday, or just getting away with some friends. We've included QR codes so that you can scan the info into your phone and head off; we'll also have a folder here with all the info for anyone who likes something a bit more traditional!
We've been doing very well with bookings - many of our lovely guests booked immediately for the new season whilst they were here in 2015 - and are looking forward to being included in the new Glamping Getaways book being published by Cool Camping later this year, as well as a fun nature at night book coming out this summer. Very much looking forward to seeing familiar faces in the new season and meeting new guests when we re-open for Easter! And very excited to see that we're top of the list for Mumsnet's Top 10 Glamping Sites!! Delighted to be taking bookings already from the Mumsnet crowd.
And, we've made more marmalade!!
Our September walk, celebrating the first anniversary of our monthly walks went brilliantly well, with clear skies, as is so often the case on full moon nights, and lots of walkers. 12 of us set off up the River Waveney from Beccles in Big Dog Ferry and met another 10 people at the Lock's Inn at Geldeston (always a treat) before returning to Beccles along the north bank of the river. As is becoming usual, we had a great barn owl sighting in Geldeston, were serenaded by tawny owls through the woods and used the bat detector to listen to pipistrelles over the marshes. What an evening with a lovely bunch of people! Here's to the next one... If you are interesting, keep an eye on our FaceBook page where we always post the walks with details of date/time/route. Thanks to Richard Dwelly for this photo of us setting off up the river and to Sally Harrington for the lovely moon shots - this was the Super Moon and night of the eclipse.
To all our wonderful yurt guests this year. It's been fantastic to see so many familiar faces returning and to meet lots of lovely new people. We've had the most enjoyable year and are already looking forward to 2016. This week the yurts start coming down to be fully proofed and packed away till we start again next March. Until then....