Renovation and delicious delights

We are getting very excited now that the Rectory is nearly complete. The fire escape has been finished and it just needs child proofing now. The upstairs carpets are all down and are silvery grey. The floorboards have been stained mahogany brown and buffed to a satin finished. The furniture that has been purchased from Hemswell Antiques has been brought over, unloaded into two rooms and will be put in place next week. The new brown leather Chesterfield arrived and matches in with the old antique furniture. Woods, the builders, are now just doing the inevitable snagging and everything is looking good.

Fencing has gone in across the Parkland. The fence posts have been knocked in by Richard Berry’s team using a vehicle called a Track Post Knocker. The thumping sound could be heard across the Parkland. This is enabling us to reinstall the eighteenth-century fencing and to support rabbit fencing and provide protection for our newly planted trees

The metal railing over by the pub has had its first coat of paint. The grey primer is of an acrylic nature which will expand and contract with the changing temperatures. A final back coat will ensure the railings have their traditional appearance reinstated. Over at Brinkhill, the metal railings have also been given a makeover.

This week has been worm week. Worms play an important role in producing and irrigating the soil. We have carried out surveys on the estate which involve quantifying the numbers of worms in a given area. We propose to try and increase the numbers of worms in areas where there was only a sparse population to enrich our soil.

Our new Event’s Assistant, Nicky Coxon, has been busy familiarising herself with our possible venues. She is going to run the theatre production in the Walled Garden, Beef and Bike night and has already assisted with events from the Old School.

The rattan chair is now mended and back in the Outer Entrance Hall. John Smith from Ludford has done a sterling job and we definitely made the right choice to have both the seat and the back done. The cane work has all been done by hand and has taken over 14 hours to complete. John doesn’t mind that really – he can do it whilst watching TV. When asked what his most interesting piece of furniture was that he had worked on he told us about a sofa that had been brought over from Germany by George Vs wife, Queen Mary.

We have a large batch of leeks that have been removed from the cleared and replanted vegetable plot. These were young and a little on the thin side but Jacqui was able to turn them into some tasty leek and potato soup (Vichyssoise) and leek and cheese flan. For the flan, Jacqui baked the pastry case blind, sautéed the leeks and layered the leeks with cheese in the pastry case.  A whisked mix of cream, crème fraîche and 2 eggs (from our own hens) were then poured over the leek and cheese mixture before baking in the oven. The soup was very smooth and creamy.  Jacqui blended it and the put it through a sieve in order to achieve this consistency. She served it with swirls of cream and fresh chopped chives.