Our busy 2017 season ended with a very successful Carnival weekend : not only were we fully booked with one big jolly party from Kent, but the Friday in Wells was a cold dry night, and we managed to nip down ourselves just before kick-off and see the whole thing before dashing back to make sure we were there to welcome the frozen guests back into the warm!
As a bonus, Keith, who is a very keen photographer, took lots of pictures of the floats and the one below came third in the Mid Somerset Camera Club 'nightime' competition, titled Crowdpleaser.
How time flies when you are enjoying yourselves! I cannot believe that 18 months have passed since I wrote on this blog......its either a sign of how busy we have been with guests, or of my tendency to technophobia, or a bit of both!
The rest of 2014 went well, and was a rewarding first season for the B&B, and for the garden. Our second season opened with a bang - March 2015 was unexpectedly busy and the rest of the summer saw a doubling of guest numbers as compared with 2014, which was very encouraging. We met some lovely new people and were delighted to welcome back quite a lot of returners.
We have not stopped doing the DIY though - like every house, its a bit like painting the Forth Bridge. We have finally finished our own bedroom and ensuite, and this winter have been putting a fresh coat of paint in the areas that were decorated first in 2013, to bring them back up to scratch.
Sadly we are down to just one cat at the moment - Kiki, the fluffiest of the two, who seemed to be rather a favourite with guests, died in October - but I am hoping to persuade Keith that we should try to find a replacement in the Spring......
A few months ago Keith and I went to the Pump Rooms in Bath to try out the cakes on behalf of all of you! We can heartily recommend the high tea : it wasn't cheap but a real experience to sit where Jane Austen used to visit, listening to a live classical quartet.
As I type the sun has come out, the grass is still growing, and the daffodils are already blooming on the drive - looks like 2016 is going to be another busy year in the garden, and hopefully in the B&B too.
We have shifted our attention to the garden now that the house is finished. The front garden was a long boring rectangle of grass with a square patio plonked in the middle.
We have now planted a circular screen ( well it will be in a year or two!) of hornbeam around the patio to hide us from the road, and Keith has built a rose trellis across the lawn about a third of the way up from the house to give breakfasters more privacy and more flowers to look at from the sunroom. The flowerbeds along the garden wall were long, narrow and overgrown, but have now been widened in places to add interest and room for more plants. We are just waiting now for them to bush out and fill the new spaces, but given the warm, wet conditions at the moment we might not be waiting long! Please see the latest pictures below.
After 12 long months of restoration and renovation Highgate is again open as a Bed and Breakfast. We know Highgate was a popular B and B a few years ago but ceased trading when the owners moved on. The next owners had the house as a large family home for a short period of time. It was in January last year that Sue, my wife, and I moved into our 'project'. Everything had to change: windows, walls, plumbing, electrics but we were conscious of keeping the character of the property intact so we took care to preserve features where we could and only modernise where necessary.
There were days when we thought 'what have we done?' but we think the end result was worth the cuts and bruises. See what you think.......
( All the photos we have used, including the headings, are our own. The vegetables and flowers were grown on site, despite the building works, and the apples came from the old trees in the field behind the barn)