December SITREP – 2020

I am so glad to see the back of 2020 that December has passed in a bit of a blur really.

We have had a period of nothing-weather, some dry but some wet, some cold and some warm, some mega storms but some perfectly tranquil days, but the highlight was Christmas Day, Helen and I were sat in the conservatory opening our presents and it was snowing outside, that made my day !!

I made a very conscious decision this year that I was not going to work from Xmas Eve through to New Year’s Eve, and with the exception of a couple of guilt trips to the gym I have been quite successful.

Although my waistline has paid the price, something that I am sure to regret when everything returns to normal tomorrow.

I was expecting to work New Year’s day because of opening the 2023 calendar at midnight, lots of people had expressed their intent to book for 2023 and I must admit that you did not let me down, in fact it took me through to the 2nd of January to sort out all of the inquiries.

As a result of that herculean effort I can inform you that 2023 is almost fully booked and I only have 8 weeks left.

The plan for December was simple really, if it rained I worked inside, and if it was dry I would work outside.

We had sufficient rain to force me to finish the decorating in the lounge, it is a job that I have been working on piecemeal for more than a year and it was long over due completion.

The problem with it was phycological, the room was like living in a cave and it was all due to the ceiling, it is quite low and the beams were black, combined with typically small windows it was very dark :

In reality I had been putting it off because I was dreading having to paint that ceiling. The big beams are hundreds of years old and would have been treated with tar as a preservative, I don’t know if any of you have had the task of painting one but they take several coats of oil-based paint just to seal the tar in before you can slap on a coat of emulsion.

Several days of moaning and groaning and the job was eventually finished and it has made such a difference, it is one of those things that is “transforming”. The room is now higher, bigger, and brighter, so much so that I wish I had finished it before :

The choice of job outside was easy; trees, trees or trees, cutting them down or cutting them up.

We have already had a few new casualties due to this year’s storms so they have had to be sorted out, and we have at long last made a start on the large section of forest beyond the far bank, the bit that you are looking at when you are fishing.

We have had to hire in some help with this project, one man and the right machine can do in 1 day what it would take 100 men with chainsaws, these next shots show you what has been achieved in one week :

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It looks a bit like a bomb site but it is a lot more organised than it might appear.

This project has been on the “to-do-list” for several years but it was brought to a head a year or so ago when a couple of our giant oak trees ended up falling over into the neighbour’s cow-fields, something had to be done otherwise it was going to be an ongoing problem.

This is going to be an ongoing project I am sure so for now we have ensured that the line between us and the neighbour has been cleared and there will not be any more urgent issues :

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That is most of the firs and all of the smaller deciduous trees down, we are keeping thousands of the baby trees intact so there should be an almost instantaneous regrowth.

The next phase is to get a couple of Bucherons in who will take down all of the big oak trees with chainsaws, then it will be a case of getting it all picked up and moved out to the road where it can all be collected and processed. That requires another man with another machine.

It may take some considerable time but my intention is to create a track through that section of forest for Helen to extend her horse riding routes and for our guests to walk if they wish. It will also form the start of my trim-trail, another part of my master-plan.

Here is a view of the lake that none of you will have seen before :

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January will no doubt continue along the same line as December, and somewhere along that line I must try to find time to further progress my golf course, I will report in at the end of the month and let you know how things are developing.

Till then Helen and I hope that you all have a great start to the New Year and we are looking forward to hosting some of you when the season eventually gets going.

Take care and stay safe.

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