Please make a note of these dates:
- On January 23rd at 11am, we will be holding the annual volunteers forum. This gives the project team an opportunity to update everyone on progress during 2015 and for everyone to offer ideas for development during 2016. Be there if you can. Lunch follows!
- On Saturday 30th January, Brindley-Hunt acoustic rock/pop duo will be entertaining in the Village Hall from 7.15pm. An evening not to be missed! Roger has tickets if you need them. Barry Hunt was the headline act at the beer festival in 2015.
- The Project AGM will be held in the Gardener’s House on Saturday February 20th at 2pm. Everyone is welcome so come along and have your say.
- On the afternoon of 23rd April – in the marquee – there will be a casual social event to thank everyone who has contributed to the success of the walled garden in 2015. Details will follow but put the date in your diary.
Damp start to 2016
Welcome to the first newsletter on 2016 and a happy New Year to all of our readers! Since November, we seem to have had wet day after wet day so garden work has been a bit hit and miss. However, we’re not complaining. Compared to the rest of the country we have come off lightly so far and have avoided the harrowing scenes we have all seen on our TV screens. At least the days are lengthening! We already have snowdrops out in the garden and daffodils already with large flower buds showing signs of colouring up. Crazy for January ….. but no doubt that there will be some real winter somewhere around the corner!
You will already have read (I hope) about the success we had this year with the bonfire fund-raiser. The weather was kind, the food and fireworks were great, the volunteers were brilliant and the Wailers wailed away! As a result, we were able to raise useful funds and have already been able to purchase a large marquee to replace one of the tired older models. Investing in the future! Thanks to all concerned and all who came along. It was a great night, wasn’t it?
Jason and his team put on a fabulous firework display. Some of the money raised will be used to professionally train two more volunteers to put on such displays safely. Money well spent!
Malcolm Fisher, a regular visitor to the garden, has posted several videos on YouTube which feature different elements of the garden going back over several years and these are well worth a look. You can relive the entire firework display should you wish to! Just search for Elford Hall Garden on YouTube and be amazed!
Christmas bring and share lunch
On the last volunteering day before Christmas, the volunteers gathered for the now annual bring and share celebration lunch. The Bothy was toasty warm and full of revellers and I have never seen so much food on the table – it was groaning – and so were we once we had eaten our fill! Just look at the happy faces – and this was before we opened the wine bottles! We treat our volunteers really well – we even gave them time off over Christmas – well, almost a week!
God Speed Reverend Denise
This Christmas has seen the retirement of Reverend Denise who has served the village and surrounding area for many years. Both she and husband Phil will be much missed and they will be a tough team to follow. They leave with our blessing, our gratitude and our wishes for a happy retirement.
Almost her last act in office was to preside over the live Nativity event, which she introduced a few years ago. The heavy horse stable at the garden was the site for the birth and the arrival of the shepherds, angels and kings and the spectacle was witnessed by a flock of around 200 people, bringing to life the greatest story ever told and giving local youngsters a Christmas Eve to remember by bringing home the true message and real spirit of Christmas.
To celebrate the arrival of 2016, Thelma organised a walk in the Peak District centred on Tissington. It would have been lovely but for the weather! We started in pouring rain which got worse as we tramped across muddy fields and over slippery stiles. Around 14 doughty souls stepped out into the elements. It was so bad that, in a perverse ‘British’ way, it became great fun – sharing adversity with friends and laughing a lot! Bedraggled and rather moist, we made our way to the Bentley Brook Inn at Fenny Bentley where 6 non-walkers joined us for an excellent carvery lunch. It was a day to remember for many reasons. Thanks Thelma!
Land Rover Discovery
Thanks to Colin Middlemore, we received a cheque for £1500 from Jaguar Land Rover who have a funding distribution scheme to help local charities. Colin was alerted to the scheme and, at the eleventh hour, put forward a case for the walled garden. Much to his surprise (and to our delight) his application was successful. This will be put to good use soon so if you have any ideas or suggestions regarding what we do with the grant then we’d be delighted to hear them.
Down at the boathouse, something stirs! Already Laurence has great photos taken from the hide window so we are feeling confident that it will make a good hideout for wildlife watchers. Recent rises in river level have seen the water rise above the walkway but this was expected. There is still a little tidying up and finishing off to be done but that is in hand and we are looking to organise a spring ‘official opening’ to which you will be invited so watch out for my emails with further details about what is planned. ABOVE LEFT – Wildlife pond from inside the boathouse
Welcome to the House of Fun
During the inclement weather, some of us have taken the opportunity to look for indoor work so the Gardener’s House has been buzzing (and banging) with activity. Dave had already fitted the new (old style) fireplace in the front room and plastering work had been done so a team set to work filling holes, rubbing down and re-decorating the room. It’s been a bit like an episode from DIY SOS with random bodies holding paint brushes climbing over each other! If you stand still you are likely to get emulsioned!! The finished room now looks a 100 times better (though not perfect!) and the floor will soon be in and the room ready for use. Watch this space…..
We plan to use the room as a winter hideaway for visitors when the weather isn’t in their favour. We hope to set it out like a café (drinks available on request on volunteering days) so we are currently looking for small tables and café style chairs to furnish the room. We also intend to set up a swap library for books and magazines so visitors can bring in an item and swap it for something off the bookshelves. This will be a free service to the community which we hope will work well.
If you have suitable books or furnishings that might be useful then we’d be happy to hear from you.
The remaining front room will get the same treatment. Steve Eyley is repairing/rebuilding the sash window prior to repair work on the plaster being done. The fire still needs to be fitted but we are moving forward steadily. The decorating team, meanwhile, have moved upstairs to the project office which will be completed this week so that Angela can move back in to something a little more comfortable and warm. Reg is tackling the plaster cracks in one of the bedrooms and the decorators will be moving into the downstairs toilet area to give that a lick of paint while the brushes are wet! It’s all happening! Come and have a look.
All quiet on the Western Front?
This always seems to be a quiet time of the year at the garden and I start out wondering if I will have enough news to warrant a newsletter. Now, reading back to check my english, I can reflect that actually a lot is going on at the moment and that feels good. Despite wet conditions, the gardeners are busy digging, manuring and preparing for spring and generally keeping on top of things. The grass is still growing – we were mowing last week – can you believe it? Pete is busy in his barn – repairing, making bird boxes, painting things and we have been blessed with the arrival of a couple of new volunteers since autumn and they are already proving their worth. One of our new stalwarts is Batur who lives in Edingale but originates from Istanbul so we are all learning a bit of Turkish, so in view of this can I wish you