We have been open a couple of weeks now and we have been delighted that many of you have noticed the changes we have made in the closed season. We've re-decorated the Café and added new tables and chairs. The handrails of the bridge in front of the Café have been replaced as has the wooden plank across the brook the side of the Stone Tower by a much sturdier piece of oak. We've built staging for the plant nursery so you don't have to stoop to pick up plants from the ground and a five-bar gate added for easier access into the nursery. We have also started to develop the large field on your right as you drive up the track to the gardens - you can read about this aspect by clicking the 'About the Gardens' section above.
Some of our motability visitors found it difficult to drive over a couple of the bridges so we have improved access across them that we hope will make it easier for them. A stronger pump has been installed to increase the outflow from the Cairn Garden fountain and the doves have been ejected from the seating area inside the Stone Tower and the area cleaned up so visitors can sit and look at the mural. Several visitors have asked if we have widened the brook in front of the house. We haven't but we have removed a vast amount of silt that has built up over the past few years and this has made it seem wider and much clearer. We also continue to improve the large pond by removing the built up of leaves, but this is an ongoing, never ending task!
The Cuckoo Clock has been restored to working order and already delighted and amazed many of our visitors so far this year. This restoration work wouldn't have been possible without the help of Tom Armitstead and Barry Newman, both of whom I would like to thank so very much. Tom initially documented how the clock worked, or should work and his detailed papers passed on to Barry who undertook the restoration work. We had some cold, wet days when it seemed it would never all work together but finally we got there, mainly due to Barry's engineering skills and his wealth of practical knowledge of how things work! Tom has also prepared drawings of new parts to replace those that are prone to malfunction and Barry is looking to produce those parts in due course. Tom has also un-earthed Richard's original plans to make the cuckoo's beak and wings move that were never implemented, so watch this space!
Finally, we have started work on adding a rose and wisteria pergola near to the spiral mount that will be linked together by a rill. We think this will look great, particularly when seen from the top of the mound and enhance the views across the countryside to the nearby hills.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this and I'll provide further updates as things progress.