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Grape expectations

We had a wine tasting on Saturday for over twenty people with Charles Minoprio,¬†Master of Wine and former Chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine. His selection of Old and New World wines were delicious and his guidance on how to taste and what we were tasting was superb. But what really lifted his talk was the depth of history Charles brought to proceedings. We had a good turn out of friends who all paid for the privilege and hopefully felt they got more than their money’s worth. It was not a profit making venture but we covered our costs and have ended up with some rather fine opened wine that i suppose we will HAVE to drink before it deteriorates!
Whether we can persuade Charles to return next year remains to be seen but I hope it proved the suitability of the Music Room as an ideal entertaining space. If anyone wants to hold an event, meeting or run a course here (and take advantage of Ali’s top notch catering!) please get in touch and we can work something out.

Cheers!

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The last bank holiday of the year!

We have been busy and working hard, not just with looking after the steady trickle of visitors but working the land and restoring Beckside Stables. We have had so much interest from people wanting to stay in this sweet little building we wish it was ready to go, but money and time allow only slow progress. I have spent days in a cloud of swirling lime and wood dust, sanding the old oak beams to beautiful smoothness and honey colour. Despite the mask I must have inhaled enough for that building to always be a part of me!

The veg patch has got away from me. We have had a good amount of spuds, spinach, pak choi, garlic and onions but the weeds have swamped everything. It’s a major achievement that no longer is it full of brambles or sycamore, but the soft weedy growth has been more than I can keep up with. Back in March I attacked the patch with a digger but I should have put aside my organic leanings and blasted the whole area with some serious chemicals. I think I will have to do this over winter. In the meantime the sweet corn is looking good and can be rescued and there should be a fair amount of beetroot, raspberries and more in amongst the weeds.

The new shower room took some doing as there were difficulties with how to heat the water. After many discussions and nearly installing a gas bottle & boiler, we were able to put in a simple electric shower, albeit an expensive one, that could deal with the low flow rate available. You wouldn’t believe how complicated the whole project became but the result is a clean simple set up, in a room which used to be part of the old coal store, and it retains oodles of character.

We have had great feedback from B&B-ers and Campers alike about staying here, and this bank holiday will see our first full campsite (10 tents!). We have actually had to turn many people away. The car park, washroom facilities, general atmosphere and our bacon bap making abilities wouldn’t be able to cope with any more bookings. Hopefully those who are here will have a great time and enjoy the quiet beauty of Beckside, and a blazing fire in the fire-pit Friday and Saturday night. Ali has birthday cakes to bake, and is doing a great job keeping it all together. Time to get out and gather wood…

More soon.
James

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Pioneers

Our very first Jammy Campers were greeted with a glass of Champagne which may have helped them decide to book to return in July, or maybe it was the bacon and egg baps they ordered from Ali’s Tea Room that made them realise this was a place worth coming back to.

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Summer is here!

Having taken time off from my job in TV to run a campsite, I often wonder if I have taken leave of my senses… especially financially. But then I look out of the window…

The rhododendrons have already started Barbara Cartlanding about and there are swallows everywhere. Grass pitches have been mown into the long grass, clover and buttercups – awaiting the first Jammy Campers. The wildflower meadow is growing beautifully; so expect a riot of colour soon.

It’s gorgeous as I write this but there is no time for sunbathing…..

We open for the first ever Jammy Camping weekend on June 2nd which is approaching too fast and we still have to get the shower room finished. Our fall back position is that campers use the downstairs bathroom in the house but our brilliant builder assures us that we can do it in time. (Go Mike!) Ali has been painting the Tea Room and preparing her menus while I am busy fitting the grass protecting mesh to the lower end of the paddock to make an “invisible” car park and creating a barbeque area in a space previously occupied by one of the old greenhouses.

In classic TV style jeopardy there is too much to do and too little time to do it and, more importantly, will anyone come?

You’d be mad not to!

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Spring is coming

It’s our 2nd Year on the jammy patch, a most gorgeous piece of England’s finest… Cumbria.¬† This place chose us. It’s a long story but suffice to say we are just so lucky and happy (dare I say Jammy) to have found this blissful patch of earth we call home.

But let’s be honest we need your help…

We want to share the fruits of our labour and the land with you, but there is work to be done. We are respectful of the history of this garden, a wonderful layout designed to be beautiful and productive in this commanding position; we want to make it productive again and even more lovely.

Some areas haven’t been touched for nearly fifty years and there is loads to do….

We are restoring veg to the old patch, bringing masses more wildflowers to the paddock and freeing the wall to wall snowdrops in the orchard from choking on brambles and ivy.

If you are interested in growing things or want to have a go with things like dry stone walling, hedge laying, even tackling some weeds and making bonfires etcetera please talk to me about making that part of your stay…..

Or just come and enjoy the peace and quiet here, the stars, birdsong, the babble of the beck and watch a garden grow.

James 20.3.12 (first day of spring!)

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