Thursday, 29 December 2016

Is there anybody out there?

Yet another day with our world lost in freezing fog! The forecast suggested it would clear by lunch time but that isn't the case. It's a strange but not so quiet world as sounds seem to echo around in the murk.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Crunchy grass

Another frosty start, which must be why a very large slug decided to take up residence on the kitchen floor (not welcome when you come downstairs in the dark, and with bare feet, to make your morning tea!) When I later opened the window I could hear the sheep crunching their way across the frozen field.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016


Today dawned crisp and bright and so we went walking up the lane (just as well we had an early start as by 11 the fog had returned).

Cold weather

It has been very mild for Christmas and Boxing day but now the cold weather has returned and the garden is full of 'fluffed up' little birds. The pigeons are busy eating the berries on the ivy as it climbs to the top of the hedges.

Monday, 26 December 2016

Sunset games

With the mist returning the sun set in a blaze of orange tonight. We spent the evening warm by the fire and attempted to play our new Christmas game of 'rummikub' although there was some debate over the rules!

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Christmas lunch

We ate our festive meal at lunchtime so that afterwards we could all just relax. I had a go at making blinis which turned out to be very easy and so successful that a stack disappeared during our party and I made more for our started on Christmas day!

Turkey time

Preparing our very large turkey crown for the oven! At least I was able to put it on to cook before we left for church.

Father Christmas

Father (or more truthfully Mother) Christmas still visits the boys, but understands that now there needs to be beer alongside the Haribo!

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Party time

As in previous years we invited our local friends to come round for a Christmas Eve drink. It was lovely that so many people could drop by and yes we did all end up in the kitchen!

Friday, 23 December 2016

Happy Christmas from Hill Farm

Well we are nearly ready for Christmas now at Hill Farm and it's time to take a minute to reflect on the past year (which is when these photos were taken). Starting the B&B has been an exciting adventure and in the last eight months I've had plenty of practise cooking breakfasts and ironing bedding. It has been fun to share our lovely home and beautiful surroundings with our guests and we look forward to meeting new friends and old during 2017.
Happy Christmas from Hill Farm xx

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Mist and flowers

Outside it's all misty England but inside we have tropically bright orange roses! I'd planned more seasonal dark red ones but when I went to buy them I found these instead and they do look rather fun. I have to say summer (dahlias) or winter, a palette of red, orange and pink is becoming my favourite colour scheme.
PS These roses didn't drop their petals but dried to a perfect rusty brown and are still in place 10 days later.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Festive lights

We've a new set of Christmas lights this year and they are long enough to follow the roof line along most of the dairy building. They look very pretty when you are driving by and so I hope everyone enjoys seeing them as much as we do!

Sunday, 18 December 2016


Wouldn't you know it, the day our guests left we had another spectacular sunset. I was sorry for them that they missed it.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Two swans a-flying

While I was taking photos of the mist a pair of swans flew over. Years ago we sponsored a Bewick Swan at Slimbridge and I was saddened to read about how their numbers have fallen over recent years.

Morning mists

Today it was fascinating to watch the early mist as it swirled around the farm and filled the lane like a living thing. Later I could see it falling down the Big Field into the valley below.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Baking with a festive twist

Today I spent the day baking, getting ready for our weekend guests. I made Hill Farm granola with cranberries, star shaped 'Queen' biscuits and a clementine drizzle cake. It was a nice way to spend a rather grey day in the warmth of the kitchen.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Starlings at dusk

As the sun set a whoosh of hundreds of starlings flew over us. I'd hoped to see their murmuration flight but these were flying as individuals heading to roost elsewhere.


Today we had a mild, sunny day and used it to plant three new oak trees along our hedge line, getting the last one in place as it went dark. Oaks were the first thing that we put in three years ago but a hedge cutter in the wrong field managed to cut down the originals. These hopefully will have better luck.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Fairy time

I finally get to put my fairy on the top of the tree. I love her and after spending so long deciding which one to order, I am delighted with my choice. If you want one too check out Halinka's Fairies ( you need to be quick though as these beautifully hand made items sell out very fast).

The crib

It was grey and wet here today so instead of working outside, as I'd planned, I decided to put up our crib and decorate the Christmas tree. I had lots of fun playing!

Monday, 12 December 2016

Strange sky

This morning we woke to dense fog but after a while, although still very foggy at ground level, I realised I could actually see some blue sky above us (sadly it didn't last and it wasn't long until the fog returned).

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Mince pie anyone?

Today I was busy making mince pies, five dozen in fact in readiness for our church carol service. It was a lovely event and the mulled wine went down well too!

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Just looking

Driving home today we saw this truly extraordinary sight as we turned up the lane, a heron on top of the electricity wires. I guess it had a good view ... but across a field with no water in it. Plus balancing must have been a little tricky!

Friday, 9 December 2016

Dark skies

Today there have been very dark skies but with shafts of sun breaking through the clouds and lighting up the winter branches on the trees. If it hadn't been quite so warm I'd have thought snow was on its way.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Christmas Tree

We've been to buy our Christmas Tree, which we always get from Needwood Trees at Coulters Hill Farm, (very fresh, locally sourced British grown trees). This year I took our tape measure to make absolutely sure that there would be room to fit our special fairy on the top!

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Chatsworth's secret helper

We seem to have dust appear whenever my back is turned  (probably because of our log fires) but I discovered that Chatsworth has a secret helper to keep the place clean and tidy .... a little mouse with a mini Henry Hoover is obviously just what I need to keep on top of things too!

Monday, 5 December 2016

More Chatsworth sights

Who would have expected to see a zebra standing outside the Chatsworth stable block, although I heard one visitor say she hadn't noticed the giraffe on her way in ... apparently it was there for an event with a sponsor whose trademark it is. Whatever the reason it seemed a little surreal to see two men carry it into position, we wondered was it an Amazon delivery (but more likely a Serengeti one).


Today our WI went to Chatsworth to see the house decorated for Christmas. It was a beautiful sight (using as its theme The Nutcracker ballet). The forecast had promised fog but instead we were so lucky as we got a wintry sun breaking though mist and a crisply, frosty landscape.