Saturday, December 18, 2010

Merry Christmas One and All!




Well Jack Frost and his gang certainly turned up today...Lantallack dressed for winter!  The birds are emptying the peanut holders daily...wrens, tree creepers, chaffinches of every kind, the lesser spotted woodpecker with his pink trousers and the ubiquitous robin, who guards his territory ferociously...the poor old blackbird, who can't quite make it to the feeders, waits anxiously for any bits to drop to the ground!  (In all honesty, we give him his own stash under the apple tree in the walled garden) Lastly, the resident pheasant has his own huge corn feeder by the back door and fights off any marauding sparrows that try and steal a tiny morsel.
  
Oh the joys of the countryside - Merry Christmas everyone!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The First Frosty Morning of Autumn


Well, autumn is definitely here, but it felt like winter this morning at -2 degrees (according to Alan the gardener!)  The beech tree on the front lawn is shedding its leaves like mad and beech nuts are littered all over the grass.  It will soon stand like a majestic skeleton overlooking the valley.


The orchard was white with rime and I had to return to the house to pick up some gloves or my fingers would have dropped off!  The hens stepped gingerly out of their house rather than pushing each other out of the way to get to at their food, as usual! 


 The newly born calf seemed unperturbed and snuggled down into the frost as if it were some splendid duvet - his coat is already woolly and thick.


His mother is one of 8 cows that are ready to calve.  The black one on the left is about to pop!


 He has a mate - they seemed to like the cold and frolicked about in the crisp air.  I need to give them names ....suggestions please?


By the time I reached the bottom of the valley, I was frozen, but the sun was coming up above the trees as I looked back up towards the house.


Polly's Bower nestled amongst the trees and looked so inviting - wished I had time to stay there for a week!


The tables seem like a room extension outside...they're great when there's a wedding on - would like to see a marquee here at Christmas.  Now there's an idea - perhaps a party!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Polly's Bower

3 DAY BREAK IN POLLY'S BOWER, WITH CHAMPAGNE!! 

INDULGE YOURSELF....CURL UP IN FRONT OF A ROARING LOG FIRE WITH GLORIOUS VIEWS ACROSS UNDULATING HILLS AND WOODED VALLEYS.








WALK A MILE ACROSS FIELDS FOR SUNDAY LUNCH AT THE WONDERFUL ROD & LINE WHICH STARTS AT 6PM....THE BEST ROAST IN THE WEST (OR LOVELY STICKY CRAB CLAWS IF YOU PREFER) FOR MORE DETAILS CLICK HERE







Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Don't Worry, Bee Happy :)

As quoted by our expert bee man, Trevor:

"I have seen many hives this summer that have started the same as yours, and I must say your hive is copybook. You should be proud that you have achieved such a strong hive to go into the winter!"

Well we are now happily handling our bees with a 'good and steady attitude'...here are some of the latest pictures, notice the shine on their bodies. Shiny bodies = healthy bees = yummy honey!

Mrs W in her green gloves with Mr W holding some of the brood!

Buzz Buzz Buzz!
 
Mr W trying to spot his Queen

Can you spot Sophia, our Queen Bee?

I see honeycomb

And just to mix the Birds and the Bees....here is a picture of some swallows, currently nesting in our dairy...hope they grow soon and fly to warmer climates before the winter comes:

Swallows about to leave the nest (tis late for September)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Day Louis Came to Stay....

We had the pleasure of having Louis de Bernières and his partner Ilone to stay recently. Louis is a British novelist most famous for his book Corelli's Mandolin, alternatively called Captain Corelli's Mandolin...which of course we asked him to play:












We very much look forward to their next visit to Lantallack.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bee happy!

We have been overwhelmed at the successful growth of Lantallack's bee colony. The honey bees have bombarded all previous bee-hiving records by increasing their numbers from 10,000 to about 45,000 in less than 1 month (according to experts this usually takes a year!!) Watch out Pooh Bear...honey times are a-coming!! It must be something in the pollen at Lantallack! :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wild Mushroom Breakfast...

Went for a walk around Lantallack's fields this morning and found an abundance of mushrooms growing in  the middle hay field. Got them back to the kitchen fast and served them with some of our organic farmhouse eggs....delicious!


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Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Wonders of Cornwall...


Cornwall has long been one of the most popular holiday destinations in England. As a result there is a flourishing tourist industry providing a host of accommodation options. It's not just Cornwall cottages to rent, there are camp sites, caravan parks and cornish holiday cottages to luxury hotels, bed & breakfast and guest houses.


So what brings people back to visit Cornwall time and again?

Well, the climate is certainly the mildest in the UK but our summers aren't the hottest! So it must be a combination of natural attractions and a renaissance in arts and food in Cornwall.
Cornwall's beaches are unrivalled elswhere in Britain for their beauty and variety. Beach towns such as Perranporth, Polzeath and Newquay are perhaps the best known of these, they are also excellent surfing beaches. In my opinion the most beautiful are the tiny coves that dot the coastline like Coverack and Porthcurno (home of the Minack Theatre).

Also on the coast are some of the Duchy's most enchanting fishing villages and harbours; Looe, Portloe, Mevagissey, Tintagel, Cadgwith, Zennor and Mousehole are but a few. It's not just the villages that have something to offer those sightseeing. The towns (and city!) of Cornwall are rich in history and attractions of their own. Take Padstow with it's picturesque harbour and Rick Stien, Falmouth - a working port and charming shopping town. There is Truro, the only city in Cornwall where the cathedral still dominates the skyline.

For industrial herritage Redruth has few rivals. Once at the centre of the industrial revolution and the mining industry Redruth and Camborne have spent many years in decline but are finally bouncing back.
Penzance is one of the largest towns in Cornwall and has plenty to do and see. From the sub-tropical Morrab Gardens to the bustling fishing port of Newlyn you should find something of interest. It is also here that you can take a day trip to the Isles of Scilly plus it's within walking distance of Marazion and St Michael's Mount.
Bored of towns then check out the stately homes and gardens of Cornwall. The National Trust is very active in Cornwall and along with a host of independently owned tourist attractions you should find plenty to see and do.

Gardens worthy of mention include; The Lost Gardens of Heligan, The Eden Project, Trelissick and Trebah. Stately homes include; Lanhydrock house, Prideaux Place and Pencarrow.

Another unique draw of Cornwall is it's ancient past. The moorland countryside of West Cornwall and Bodmin Moor are littered with megalithic monuments such as standing stones, barrows and stone circles. Less ancient ruins that abound in Kernow are the leftovers of the mining industry, in many places these share the same sites the ancients chose to build on creating strange juxtapositions.


Lantallack's Cottages are the perfect base from which to explore all of these places and more...and after a busy day, come back and unwind by the pool with a glass of wine and watch the evening sun set across a beautiful valley.



Friday, June 25, 2010

Buzz Buzz Buzz...I wonder why he does...

Finally! The bees at Lantallack have arrived and were buzzing happily around their new home in the vegetable patch (a warm spot close to the solar-panels).


They are settling nicely and have been approached with whispers, kind words and even gentle singing from Lantallack residents...well we want to honey to bee sweet (ha ha!)




A more regular update and pictures will be posted soon, but in the meantime, here are a few things to know:


Ten things to do to help honeybees


Honeybees are under threat worldwide because of virulent viruses against which they have no natural defences. Nearly all colonies in the wild have died out and without beekeepers to care for them, honeybees could disappear in a few years. Dr Ivor Davis, master beekeeper and past president of the British Beekeepers' Association, suggests 10 things you can do to help.

1. Become a beekeeper

Beekeeping is a most enjoyable, fascinating and interesting hobby – and you get to eat your own honey too. Every year local beekeeping associations run courses to help new people to take up beekeeping and even help them find the equipment they need and a colony of bees. Training programmes continue to allow enthusiasts to become Master Beekeepers. For information on courses visit the British Beekeepers' Association (BBKA) website. 

2. Help to protect swarms

Swarming is a natural process when colonies of honeybees can increase their numbers. If you see a swarm contact the local authority or the police who will contact a local beekeeper who will collect the swarm and take it away. Honeybees in a swarm are usually very gentle and present very little danger. They can be made aggressive if disturbed or sprayed with water. Just leave them alone and wait for a competent beekeeper to arrive.

3. Plant your garden with bee friendly plants

In areas of the country where there are few agricultural crops, honeybees rely upon garden flowers to ensure they have a diverse diet and to provide nectar and pollen. Encourage honeybees to visit your garden by planting single flowering plants and vegetables. Go for all the allium family, all the mints, all beans except French beans and flowering herbs. Bees like daisy-shaped flowers - asters and sunflowers, also tall plants like hollyhocks, larkspur and foxgloves. Bees need a lot of pollen and trees are a good source of food. Willows and lime trees are exceptionally good. the BBKA has leaflets on bee friendly trees and shrubs. 

4. Buy local honey

Local honey will be prepared by local beekeepers. This keeps food miles down and helps the beekeeper to cover the costs of beekeeping. Local honey complies with all food standards requirements but is not mistreated to give it a long shelf life. It tastes quite different to foreign supermarket honey and has a flavour that reflects local flora.

5. Ask your MP to improve research into honey bee health

Beekeepers are very worried that we do not have enough information to combat the diseases that affect honeybees. Pollination by honeybees contributes £165m annually to the agricultural economy. Yet the government only spends £200,000 annually on honeybee research. Beekeepers have costed a five-year, £8m programme to secure the information to save our bees during which time pollination will contribute more than £800m to the government coffers. Even the Defra minister, Lord Rooker, who holds the purse strings to finance this, has said that without this extra research we could lose our honeybees within ten years. Write to MPs in support of the bee health research funding campaign.

6. Find space for a beehive in your garden

Many would-be beekeepers, especially in urban areas, find it difficult to find a safe space for their colony of bees. If you have some space contact your local beekeeping association and they could find a beekeeper in need of a site. It is amazing what a difference a beehive will make to your garden. Crops of peas and beans will be better, fruit trees will crop well with fruit that is not deformed and your garden will be buzzing!

7. Remove jars of foreign honey from outside the back door

Believe it or not but honey brought in from overseas contains bacteria and spores that are very harmful to honeybees. If you leave a honey jar outside it encourages honeybees to feed on the remaining honey. There is a good possibility that this will infect the bee and in turn the bee will infect the rest of the colony resulting in death of the colony. Always wash out honey jars and dispose of them carefully.

8. Encourage local authorities to use bee friendly plants in public spaces

Some of the country's best gardens and open spaces are managed by local authorities. Recently these authorities have recognised the value of planning gardens, roundabouts and other areas with flowers that attract bees. Encourage your authority to improve the area you live in by adventurous planting schemes. These can often be maintained by local residents if the authority feels they do not have sufficient resources.

9. Learn more about this fascinating insect

Beekeeping is fascinating. Honeybees have been on this earth for about 25 million years and are ideally adapted to their natural environment. Without honeybees the environment would be dramatically diminished. Invite a beekeeper to come and talk to any local group you support and give an illustrated talk about the honeybee and the products of the hive. They might bring a few jars of honey too Honeybees are a part of our folklore and are one of only two insect species that are managed to provide us with essential services.

10. Bee friendly

When kept properly, bees are good neighbours, and only sting when provoked. Beekeepers wear protective clothing when they are handling bees. If a bee hovers inquiringly in front of you when unprotected, do not flap your hands. Stay calm and move slowly away, best into the shade of shed or a tree. The bee will soon lose interest. It is worth remembering that bees do not like the smell of alcohol on people, the "animal" smell of leather clothing, even watchstraps. Bees regard dark clothing as a threat – it could be a bear! Bees are sometimes confused by scented soaps, shampoos and perfumes, best avoided near the hive.



Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Summertime, And the livin' is easy...

With Iceland apparently having discovered an inexhaustible supply of volcanic ash with which to fill UK airspace as payback for the cod wars, there seems little alternative these days than to travel to Cornwall to spend your summer holidays, and why not unwind in one of the beautiful cottages at Lantallack?


Self-catering and luxury are concepts not often found together, but in Lantallack's cottages you will find little havens away from it all. Firstly, the view. The panoramic I've gazed at for the last 24 years, and probably the only thing that hasn't changed in that time. It really is breath-taking, particularly on a summer's evening with a glass of Mâcon-Villages in hand, watching the swallows swoop over the pond for a last minute supper before bedtime.


Polly's Bower and Pippin Cottage both date back to the early 16th century. Each has a secluded patio garden with views across undulating hills and wooded valleys, and a beamed living room complete with fireplace. Tucked away down a lane teeming with Bluebells, Campion and Honeysuckle in the Summer, the cottages are in walking distance of a couple of good pubs and Landrake's village shop. The dramatic beach at Whitsand Bay is only a ten minute car ride away.




Canape Lawn


Marquee Lawn
 

Through the Pergola
 


View of Polly's Bower from Pod
 


Pippin Cottage
 


Polly's Bedroom
 


View from Lantallack House
 


Wisteria Walk

 Marquee on Lawn Terrace


Simply Dressed Wedding Tables - With a View!

 Simply Dressed Table


 Door to the Pool


 Fancy a Dip?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Over £5,000 raised for Cystic Fibrosis Trust...

Lantallack hosted a spectacular Fund-raising weekend in May and after a delicious 3 course dinner, awesome auction, rambunctious raffle and fun-filled Open Day, plus lots of bounces on the castle and bites of hog roast babs, we managed to raise a brilliant £5,700 for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. My cousin, Vicky, who died of the disease 17 years ago, would be more than proud, I'm sure!



The lovely Ashton Family enjoying cocktails and canapés on Lantallack's Ha-Ha 

(For more pictures of the weekend, please go to www.clairetregaskis.co.uk, and type in the password 'lantallack'. All proceeds made from purchases of photos will go to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust)