NGS 2014

This sunny morning I went to the launch of The National Gardens Scheme's ( booklet for Norfolk Gardens open in 2014. Last year the Norfolk Branch raised a record £85,000 for the following charities: Macmillan Cancer support, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Help The Hospices, Carers Trust, Queen's Nursing Institute and Parkinson's Uk.
It is not only such fun to visit these varied and charming gardens, and an interesting way to explore the county, but also a very good way to support such a brilliant charity.



Some guests enjoyed a New Year break:

"We had a brilliant stay in The Barn..warm and cosy but atmospheric and a beautiful conversion of a really lovely old building! We took the 2 dogs who enjoyed wonderful walks locally including round the Priory. So many places to walk and explore and we left a number undone so will definitely be going back. It was great to be able to come and go as we pleased but our hosts were very obliging and helpful with all our questions. The little garden was perfect for the dogs to go out even though the weather was against us. Excellent!"

Hooray for Houghton

The last day of Houghton Revisited and we would like to thank not only the Marquis of Cholmondeley for  arranging and putting on this stunning exhibition but also the marvellous volunteers for their enthusiasm and guidance. We also thank Houghton for their  website which had an excellent accommodation list which provided information to visitors from afar and provided business to local establishments throughout Norfolk.


Swan Lake

Saw a thrilling performance of Mathew Bourne's Swan Lake last night at the Theatre Royal Norwich. So original and entertaining, we loved it.



Following on from my last blog re the non event of St. Jude,  I can report that the storm had an affect on the recent book launch of Simon Thurley's The Building of England held in the town hall at Kings Lynn (surely the most stunning of town halls in the country). It was the first book launch that I have attended where there were actually no books. This, it was revealed was not due to a mishap by the publisher or indeed the author, but to St Jude. The books, printed in China were on their way to this country when they met the storm which blew all the containers into the sea, the bottom of which they  are now lying.


St Jude

St. Jude seemed to pass us by without any damage however this morning was a chilly start with a big frost. My lovely weekend guests wrote 'Thank you for a wonderful stay.  I JUST LOVE YOUR HOUSE!!!!!

Sawday meeting

I cycled over to Litcham yesterday to attend a meeting specially held for Sawday B & B owners. There was a delightful variety of the entrepreneur and the old fossil, which Toby Sawday handled expertly. It was a very useful afternoon which ended with a delicious tea provided by our delightful hosts and I felt privileged to be part of such a trusty and British organisation.


Picture perfect

The View from The Barn.
This watercolour was sent by one of our lovely guests who stayed in early September when the evening sun was shining on the corn fields.


Brian and friends

Last night's guests included  a father and son walking the Peddars Way. Father chose to rest his blisters in a warm comfy bed while son went for the 'Ray Mears' option and camped in the field with Brian. Brian looks frightfully smart carrying his own food in his panniers.



The white Cosmos in the knot garden have been dying off from a grey/brown mould so have replanted with a delightful white Gaura.

More of Houghton Revisited

Excellent news that the Houghton Revisited Exhibition has been extended by popular demand to 24th November.  Three of us went the other day and each decided on one item we would like to take home. I chose the portrait of  Head of Franciscan Monk  by Rubens, Joe wanted the Portrait of an Elderly Lady by Rembrandt, and Maddie, who lives in a tiny house in Hemel Hempstead thought she would like the stairs! What would other people like?


Dressing for the occasion

Oh it is the season of weddings. B & B guests arrived on Saturday morning, a young couple, she  a highly efficient and elegant German lady, he a tall freckled Anglo Saxon and they had come for a wedding which was being held in a nearby village. On their arrival I showed them their room and offered an ironing board which was happily accepted especially as they had brought their own iron. Having sorted them I rushed off to have a shower and to get ready for a different wedding, only to find after a few minutes my daughter knocking on the door saying that there was a problem. 

So gathering up myself in towels I dripped downstairs to find the couple distraught having discovered that although they had bought their own iron and their shoes, they had in fact left their wedding outfits at home in Walthamstow! Well, the Stafford Allens, not known to be great followers of fashion, dived into their wardrobes and offered various items of clothes from my frumpy outfits to my daughter's young dresses. After polite rejections our German friend decided to stick to the pretty T shirt she was wearing plus a skirt she had packed and after much encouragement and compliments she wiped away her tears. Then came the turn of sorting out the male of the species who was still standing there in his denim shorts and T shirt; so my son, another fashion icon, was summoned and, surprisingly and to give him credit, he duly provided some suitable clothes! 

The next morning I anxiously asked the couple how it all went.  They replied that at first having kept quiet about their mishap they then dined out on the story (which I have to say we did too).  Such was the success of their evening that they are now thinking that they might take up the challenge and always leave their outfits at home!
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