Monday, 30 May 2016

Midnight mowing

Yesterday the fields surrounding us had their grass cut (in the dark) and tonight the work began collecting it in. It was 2am before the final trailer load left ... not much time for sleep before their cows needed milking (and not much regard for the fact that it's a bank holiday). Our own fields produce hay and so it will be another month before they're cut. At the moment they are turning yellow as all the buttercups start to flower.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Vanish ... ing

Red wine on expensive white bedding ... oh dear. Vanish Gold (plus a lot of time and elbow grease) came to the rescue despite first turning the stains an alarming shade of blue. Gradually though the colour faded and the marks are now only feint. It was a good blowy day for putting washing (many loads) out on the line to dry. Now I just have a pile of ironing to tackle ... and the carpet.

I can see a list of guest rules evolving:
No drinking red wine in bed!

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Lucky lady

One of our guests was greeted with a surprise bouquet on arrival thanks to the thoughtfulness of her partner and my talents at flower arranging! I had fun putting together white lilies and roses, cream freesias and a few of my own tulips to add some colour. There was also a single red rose for a bud vase by the bed ...

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Bird life

The garden is full of birds at the moment. This morning I watched while goldfinch breakfasted on dandelions that are going to seed along the edge of the lane. Elsewhere the pheasants (Mr with a pair of lady friends) are managing to operate a (hopefully effective) slug control system, they spend hours walking across the lawn, especially when like today it's freshly mown, gorging themselves on slugs which are loving the damp grass. I also hold the slugs responsible for the bizarre sudden disappearance of an entire row of just sprouted coriander.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Before and after

Dave has put in hours of work in the last week scrubbing years of algae and detritus off the garden furniture that we inherited from my parents. The result has been astounding and now it just needs to be oiled and I need to make some cushions ....

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Barn cleaning

I have spent a very busy day tidying up one of the barns, which meant moving piles of accumulated 'stuff': mainly scrap building items that may one day be of use. My aim was to create a private sitting out area so that our Hill Farm guests can enjoy the amazing views whilst possibly warming themselves by the chiminea!

The hounds

Today the hounds went past the farm. We are only sometimes on the route of their daily exercise, they come and go in a flash and I just managed to grab the camera as they disappeared from view heading off towards Doveridge.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Hill Farm

Trying to get a scenic shot of the farm today with the buttercups in flower and the clouds present in just the right amount to set off the blue sky!

Friday, 20 May 2016

Our Chiminea

We went out to have a little look at what kind of Chiminea we might want to have for Hill Farm and ended up buying one! Normally we require many outings before a purchase is made. Dave assembled it and by tea time we were able to sit around a blazing (if rather smoky) fire!

Another project

Dave has embarked on 'garden furniture repair and refurbishment'. This project has begun with spray painting our rather rusted metal table and chairs (after plenty of prep work), they were going to be greenish grey but the paint choices were all too harsh so we've opted for grey blue (Blue Heron) instead! Now we just need the warm weather back so we can sit outside.

A pair of partridge

(but no pear tree!) These two love pecking at the dandelion seed heads, wherever they have escaped being cut by the lawn mower. Yesterday I saw just one very wet partridge soggy from the heavy rain.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Going out

This evening we got ourselves smartened up ready for a belated anniversary meal at The Crown in Marston Montgomery. We are off to sample their new menu and although we'd planned to walk rain and a sore foot (Dave) meant driving was a better option!


I've spent a lot of time weeding this week but our vegetable plot is now looking much better. Things seem quite slow to get going this year as apart from a few very hot spells the overall temperature has been relatively cool and also been quite dry over the last few days.

Monday, 16 May 2016

This B&B Life

I wondered so much how it would actually be once we started having guests staying here. It had been such a long while in the planning and preparation!

Well in our first weeks we've met some lovely folk and the comments in our visitors book are a delight. I am loving it all and even the laundry isn't as daunting as I'd feared .....

Comments from our Visitors Book:

This is a beautiful 200 year old farmhouse, which has been lovingly restored by its owners, Hilary and David. They had thought of everything including tea and cake on arrival, home-made biscuits and a flask of fresh milk in our room and even bath robes. Wonderful accommodation, views and food, together with the perfect hosts. Thoroughly recommended. (WLS)

Just what we needed, a truly beautiful setting, both Hilary and David very accommodating, evening meal and breakfast recommended. Leaving feeling very relaxed! See you in a few weeks. (HS)

Fantastic in every way - lovely room - lovely food. Brilliant night's sleep. Thoroughly recommend the evening meal - delicious. Thank you for making us so welcome. (HM)

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Sunday evening

The sun is shining and although the wind definitely has a very chilly edge to it I am enjoying sitting outside for a while relishing the view and the sound of the sheep who are down in the field next to the church. There are Mayflies on the breeze being chased by the Swallows who I guess have them in mind for their supper.

Saturday, 14 May 2016


Although our own salad vegetables are only just appearing I have tiny pansies and rosemary flowers with which to adorn supper for our guests tonight. Plus the first of the English strawberries have appeared in our shops.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Towel sculpture

Today a neighbour popped round and said our B&B lacked just one thing to make it a truly memorable experience for our guests .... towel art! He then showed me amazing photos from his recent holiday in Sri Lanka where the bed had been decorated daily with a whole host of different creatures folded from towels: elephants and monkeys being the two most impressive. Somehow this didn't really fit with the environment of the Derbyshire Dales so I spent a creative couple of hours on Google and eventually created a swan (although the blue IKEA tea towels create an interesting take on the subject!) My real towels are much to soft and fluffy for sculpture - but ideal for guests in their unfolded state!

Sunday, 8 May 2016

The Moon

The moon went from being a silver sliver in the late evening sky to this incredible red arc by the time I headed for bed. It was just above the horizon and I watched from the upstairs window as it disappeared from sight.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Well Dressing

We have been to Tissington (near Ashbourne) to view their well dressing. As usual I was amazed by the skill and patience involved in creating these ephemeral works of art. We were lucky with the weather and it wasn't too busy. There were great sandwiches and cream teas available in the village hall and it would have been rude to resist! At least we burned off a few calories by going for a walk!

Thursday, 5 May 2016


I am delighted that the little violets that I rescued during the building work and tucked back into crevices around the farm are doing amazingly well. I lay on the ground earlier to see if they are scented but sadly that doesn't seem to be the case. More showily my tulips are still putting on a wonderful display. Next year I plan to buy more of the same for the front garden.

The Man

The man I married (34 years ago!) definitely likes a project ... as soon as the sunshine appeared he decided that the front door needed to be repainted! Although today he gets to escape for a rare game of golf.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Blue skies

The birds are all enjoying the sunshine and the sky is full of swallows but to the frustration of the wagtails who get our barns all to themselves over the winter. There are also chaffinches who love any dandelion heads that are going to seed. Our male pheasant is also in his element now that he has two wives and he spends his time shepherding them around the garden. Happy days.


While Dave paints I've been catching up on the weeding. I start the day with a vest and two jackets because there is a cool edge to the wind, but before long I'm boiling and the layers start to come off - who cares about 'not casting a clout'!


At last we have sunshine and everything feels full of promise. Although not a cold winter spring has been a long while coming.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Social Media

For more information about life at Hill Farm you can now follow us on Twitter and also on Facebook where we are HillFarmBnB.


There is an amazing sky tonight at sunset and as I sit here at the computer it is hard not to be distracted by the view from the window. One of the many pleasures of life at Hill Farm.

Out walking

We checked the forecast and it all looked good so I hung out a load of washing and we set off walking to the pub in the next village. Inevitably we hadn't gone far when spots of rain turned into a downpour and then hail arrived. The sheep dealt with this inclement turn of events by tucking themselves into and under the hedge, we did wonder if there was room for us as sheltering under trees barely in leaf didn't provide much in the way of protection. To add insult to injury when we made it to our destination there was no food available today due to a change of chef and menu. Oh well it was a pretty walk, with lambs, bluebells and I heard lapwings calling.