Finishing touches, china cabinets and smoking beef

Up at the Rectory, we are at the very final stages, with the hand over day on the horizon.

The Kitchen is looking really good, with grey cabinets and silver handles, and an island with an oak wood top. The light fittings are perfect – retro in style but modern, clean and functional.

Upstairs, the carpets are being fitted and the chandelier is looking great in situ at the top of the stairs. The beds are arriving in the first week of April and we are looking forward to the antique furniture coming over to the Rectory from Hemswell next week.

On the delivery van will be a new china cabinet for the dining room. We have acquired a dining set that will be in keeping with the Hall and need somewhere to house and display it. In order to accommodate the cabinet, we have had to reposition one of the three portraits of Drayner.

Drayner was the first Massingberd to live on the Estate, purchasing the land in 1638. He has gone further up in the world and is now opposite one of William Burrell’s daughters, although we are not sure which one she is. The odd thing was, on closer scrutiny, during the move we saw that this Drayner had blue eyes, whereas the other two portraits have dark brown! Why could this be?

On Sunday, our Community and Business Manager, Joe Blisset organised for the volunteer groups he had been working with to come to the Hall for a talk and guided tour from Oliver Ramm, one of the ecologists at RammSandersons. This was accompanied by a smoked beef lunch prepared by our new chef, Stuart.

We have had the smoker a little while now and had a couple of goes slowly cooking our Lincoln Red Beef using oak wood to enhance the taste.

The volunteer groups were joined by the photographic course who also enjoyed the tasting session. Everyone thought the meat tasted really good.

The photographers were blessed with good weather this weekend following their course being called off previously due to high winds. They got some great shots including one of a red kite in flight.

We are looking forward to worm week next week. Worms play an important part in the quality of the soil, and as a farming estate, we are keen to monitor and increase our worm levels across the Estate.

The early spring has generated a plethora of wildflowers across the Estate from beautiful daffodils dancing in the wind to tiny little purple violas. The tree planting is going well and further hedges and picket fencing is planned.

The calves are growing up fast and now many are enjoying their mother’s milk as well as pinching food from the adults. John Crutchley reports that we are only waiting for 12 to be born and that the total of babies will be 74!