We found ourselves in Fern Cottage when the lockdown was announced and as no guests were able to come we decided to stay put. For the next 3 months! And this is what happened - spring unfurled gently but steadily in the village and in our garden; the dog grew used to daily walks without a lead; we discovered fab new walks together and alone and grew accustomed to an empty beach; we made a new dry garden at the front and bulked up last year's planting in the back; we tried home-schooling for 2 weeks and then abandoned it; we watched as the village gradually came to life with day visitors; we rigged up a hammock and a swing; we watered the garden as the drought stretched on for two months; we said hello to now familiar faces by the Co-op and in the lanes; we cooked and ate together 3 times a day; we watched the daffodils, tulips and alliums come and go; we sowed vegetables and flowers in a tiny slice of allotment; we met up with friends on the beach for 2 metre conversations; and finally, we cleaned and repaired, packed up and locked the doors. It was magical.
We decided to drag friends and family to Walberswick in September to help celebrate my 50th birthday. And what a fantastic party it was! The sun shone gloriously for the whole weekend and guests came from far and wide to our beloved corner of Suffolk to join in the festivities. We started off with drinks reception in the back garden at the cottage followed by a BBQ and ceilidh at the village hall. And finishing off with a warm and wind-less morning swim with tea and pastries at the beach hut. It was special. Basically can't wait to do it all again!
An amazing effort by father in law and his 3 helpers - in just 5 days they removed the old shed, poured a new concrete floor, built a shed, wood store and covered patio and put on a sedum roof! We also made a new garden path, created a flowerbed, dug up the old lawn and sewed a new one. We're pretty pleased with the results, to say the least, and look forward to using the new covered seating area this summer.
Our attention is turning to the back garden as spring is definitely in the air and the old shed has a bad leak and needs to be replaced. So on our last visit, we measured out for a new shed/covered eating combo. Took us a while, first time we've done such a thing, but hopefully we've get it enough right for Inge's dad to come in May with a lorry-load of materials and build it. Planning an outdoor stove (where the X is) - just need to do a bit more research on fire safety rules. So guests will be able to sit in the morning sun with their coffee, or enjoy an afternoon BBQ, whether it rains or not. Looking forward to fixing the fence and putting new plants in our raised borders during April which shouldcomplement the newly power-hosed patio. Excited!
p.s. what do you think of my European-style appliance-hiding curtain?!
A proper family Christmas and the weather was mostly kind. 5 adults, 3 kids and 2 dogs! Lots of walks and meals out at the Sole Bay Inn, The Anchor, and The Ship at Dunwich. Found a dead seal on the beach, got freaked out by the Molly Men on Christmas Eve and joined what felt like the whole village for the traditional Christmas day dip!
After spending most of August and September with a paint brush in our hands, we're finally ready to welcome guests and their families, friends and dogs. Basic web site also now built, with much Googling for beginners... Here are some before and during photos. It was fun, but I'm glad it's over!