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Month: June 2014

Masseurs, skeletons, squirrel frenzies and messing about on the water!

Masseurs, skeletons, squirrel frenzies and messing about on the water!

We are joined by Bristol College of Massage and Bodywork’s Worcester branch this week (http://bristolmassage.co.uk/).  It’s always a pleasure showing in new groups of people and enjoying their pleasure at finding out they have a beautiful old country house to themselves for the weekend or week! (we’re on hand throughout each course, but very much in the background unless needed).  We’ve enjoyed having Sarah Cohen, their tutor, back here again with her new team – Sarah used to come with the Bristol team until 2010 and has been gradually building up her branch of the college in Worcester.  Despite torrential rain this morning (much needed by the garden – and quite exhilarating after all the heat!), they’re hoping to let their hair down on Saturday night and have a fire outside and a bit of a party after all the hard work of their course assessments. It’s Anatomy & Physiology this afternoon and anyone passing the group room windows yesterday would have come face to face with a life-sized skeleton, wearing a sun hat, looking out across the fields!

It was also a nice surprise to find out that Tara Kane, who used to work here with us a couple of years ago, is now a fully qualified masseur (or masseuse?!) and working as an assistant teacher on this course.  She’s clearly loving it and has found her new vocation.

Generally we’ve been blessed with a heatwave here the last couple of weeks.  We’ve been out watering the veg plot every other night which is quite a nice relaxing after-work job, watching the swallows and martins wheeling around.  We’re supplying lots of kale, spinach, mange tout and rocket to the kitchen at the moment as well as nasturtium and calendula flowers for decoration.  Everything is thriving out there (apart from some rather stubborn lettuce seeds!!) and there’s been time for annual jobs like weeding the kitchen yard and Mel’s been revamping the hanging baskets out there.  Good to get these jobs done before the summer work really gets under way. Masses of poppies are coming out now and the white roses along the side of the house are full of blooms now, and are finally growing up the wall by the office and group room windows – and on past performance will now be flowering until November!

We’re so abundant with wildlife here. This morning saw the return of the kestrel we saw a lot of a couple of months ago – he came in low across the back lawn below our bedroom window, much to the alarm of the smaller birds…..He’s fascinating to watch and often camps out on the little platform where the old bell used to be so we can watch him through our telescope.  Young squirrels are out and about – if you’ve ever seen your cat having a “cat frenzy”, you will be able to imagine what an early morning squirrel frenzy looks like!  They were randomly attacking low branches on the cherry tree, rolling on their backs and attacking their own back legs and racing up and down tree trunks and across the lawn in erratic high-speed fashion! Highly entertaining! If you’re here over the next couple of weeks, 7.30-8.30am on the back lawn seems to be where the action is!

Away from the garden, we’ve also had some time for cycling and wonderful walks along the Wye and even managed (after living by the river for over seven years!) our first canoeing trip from Ross-on-Wye to Symonds Yat – a wonderful day meandering along the river in bright sunshine with cool river breezes, with a couple of picnics along the way.  We even saw a kingfisher!

Well, time for supper now!

More soon

Mel & Steve

Poulstone Court Retreat Centre

Owl watch!

Owl watch!

We’re having a wonderful time with tawny owls at Poulstone this month!  Last year we bought some night viewing binoculars and we think word had got round in the garden because no wildlife was ever to be seen whenever we went out!!  We kept hearing them calling after dark and went out to take a look. We have been able to watch them whenever we’ve gone out at night this week. And they have been watching us – from the Wellingtonia tree, from the cherry tree in the walled garden, from the telegraph poles and from the roof of the house!  We’ve seen them in flight and we were also amazed to see one of the three pouncing on worms on the back lawn! Very exciting!

Of course, lots of birds are nesting around Poulstone at the moment but we were particularly delighted to find not only a swallows nest in the open garage but a wren’s nest too – the tiny babies are almost spherical!  We have to remember not to put the light on in there after dark so nobody gets woken up.

The garden’s enjoying lots of rain and we had two thunderstorms with pink sheet lightning this week.  In between times, it’s been sunny and fresh and we’ve been out gardening and enjoying walks along the Wye in this break before the next groups start coming.  A pair of swans down by the bridge have cygnets already.

Our cut flower beds are yielding some nice offerings for the dining tables.  Favourites at the moment are white and pink irises, purple salvia, nigella and the blousy peonies are making their brief but lovely appearance.  Around the side of the house by the group room, the white roses are out in profusion and our dream of rose scent coming in through the open windows has arrived at last!

Manda will be back with us on Friday (www.mandascott.co.uk) and then two massage groups at the end of June and beginning of July – Bristol College of Massage and Bodywork (www.bristolmassage.co.uk) and their Worcester branch which has just got large enough to bring their group here.  We’re looking forward to seeing them all.

 

More soon

Mel & Steve

Poulstone Court Retreat Centre