Spring is once again upon u and its time to do an update ready for the forthcoming summer season. All is well at Charcott Farmhouse and we are looking forward once again to welcoming guests of all nationalities both to explore the many joys of the Weald of Kent or simply to enjoy a weekend with nearby relatives.
Senior and Junior Management are both flourishing. Still enjoying our electric bikes and the glorious weather of the last couple of days has had us out trundling gently round our very picturesque lanes whenever time allows. And the recent clock change and the subsequent longer evenings means we’re looking forward once again to enjoying an evening drink at the Leicester Arms in Penshurst which is perfect and very pretty 15-minute ride away.
We sadly now have only two cats having lost our adored Huckleberry last summer and his sister Matilda six weeks ago. Huckleberry was 18 and Matilda 19 and they both had long happy lives but are still very much missed. Our nine-year-old Labrador Fen grows ever greyer around the muzzle but, having been on a strict diet over the winter, is still full of enthusiasm for a walk across the fields – often with our youngest cat Rodney following on behind!
We are currently having a break from keeping chickens and the organic Happy Eggs served at breakfast are produced locally by a farm in nearby Weald. They are what Head Chef calls multi-coloured so don’t be surprised if your boiled egg ranges from white to brown to blue! Head Chef has recently been experimenting with bread recipes so be prepared for some new varieties of toast at the breakfast table. And of course, Junior Management has made great quantities of marmalade to go with it and is much looking forward to the summer jam making months.
The new duvets have proved a great success. Many guests have commented on how warm and cosy they have felt and we feel happy with this upgrading to more contemporary standards. We have yet to get photographs of these on the website so please bear with us over this! Earlier this year we had the terracotta tiles in the downstairs passage and kitchen stripped and re-sealed and are amazed how much brighter both these areas now look.
The Greyhound Pub at the bottom of the drive is currently in the process of changing hands but will be open again in May. Meanwhile, we went last night to the opening night of the newly re-furbished Castle Inn at Chiddingstone and are delighted to be able to have that once again on our list of places that we recommend for evening meals. The Little Brown Jug in Chiddingstone Causeway is still an easy 15-minute walk away and of course, The Windmill at Weald, The Wheatsheaf at Bough Beech, The Rock at Chiddingstone Hoath, The Fleur de Lis at Leigh and the Leicester Arms at Penshurst are all no more than a short ten-minute drive away.
So, with Easter weekend bringing us the Weald of Kent Handmade Fair at Penshurst Place, Easter Trails at Hever Castle and Cow Cookie making at Bore Place, not forgetting Chiddingstone Castle’s 4 day Literary Festival beginning on 30th April and the Tulip Festival at Pashley Manor starting on 21st April, may we wish everyone all the very best for the approaching summer and we look forward to introducing you to some of the many attractions close by.
For further details and photographs, we also have a Facebook page – Charcott Farmhouse B&B – and are always grateful for any likes if anyone is Social Media minded!
Well, it’s a very long time since I’ve written anything on the Charcott Farmhouse blog. And I’ve been shocked into it today by a call from a prospective guest asking if we were still doing B&B as there had been nothing new written on the website for over 2 years. Ouch – need to remedy fast!
So, 2013 was a tricky year due to family illness but ended very happily with our daughter’s wedding in September. And then, of course, 2014 started horribly with rain, rain and more rain resulting in some pretty dramatic local flooding – not on the Somerset scale but still pretty devastating. I think I actually did post some photographs of these at the time so apologies if there is a touch of repetition here.
Guests came and went that year and before we knew it, daughter and son in law were celebrating their first anniversary. New chickens arrived and were joined by a few more last spring. And we had a serious revamp of two of the bathrooms so that we now have a more upbeat mixture of modern and traditional features which guests can appreciate.
Head chef’s breakfasts were enhanced in 2014 by our lovely friend and neighbour becoming the Dalemain Marmalade Championships Double Gold Winner. Sarah Byrne’s Larkins Marmalade took pride of place on the breakfast table all that year and received much praise from all our guests. Meanwhile, we were delighted to be awarded our Kent Breakfast Accreditation. The head chef has always received tremendous accolades for his breakfasts and we are now pleased to be promoting Kentish and local produce wherever possible.
In 2015 we took the revolutionary step of changing from rather old fashioned sheets and blankets to lovely snuggly duvets. This was a decision taken by both Senior and Junior Management on a beach in Santorini where we were recharging the batteries ready for the new summer season and so far we have had many compliments on the new crisp look.
And now it’s 2016. Earlier this week we celebrated the return of an American guest from Maine who has returned for her 8th visit! Tomorrow the decorator arrives to repaint the downstairs passage – this time in pretty traditional Farrow & Ball colours. It won’t be long before we can start work on filling all the tubs and pots outside – and the diary is filling up fast….!
The above picture was I know taken in 2011 but the woods really are looking just like this at the moment – I just haven’t had the time to get down there with the camera this year.
I love this time of year! The recent days of glorious bright warm sunshine has lifted the spirits and spurred the enthusiasm for the garden back into action. At the moment here at Charcott we are still getting the odd frost so haven’t yet been brave enough to plant anything new but it wont be long. And to my delight the mild winter has meant that the geraniums that were left in the tubs outside the front door have actually survived and are just beginning to flower. Last weekend saw us enjoying balmy temperatures and the smell of new mown grass as DS cut the lawn, and this weekend we’ve been busy cleaning up the terrace and getting out the tables and chairs ready for summer teas – surrounded by chickens who were taking full advantage of the various bugs and beetles being unearthed!
An afternoon visit to the garden centre at Four Elms resulted in the discovery of a gentleman selling a wonderful assortment of second hand garden tools, benches, ornaments, gates, statues and tubs so we were able to come away with a couple of badly needed replacement garden forks – DS having broken our one remaining one yesterday digging the bean bed! This is a real treasure trove and I have every intention of paying him another visit very soon.
I also read a tweet from a lady in Devon a couple of days ago saying we are due to start 6 weeks of warm temperatures in the second half of April so here’s hoping this applies to Kent as well….! And today I heard the very first cuckoo.