Yesterday Ian and I attended our very first seminar run by the Historic Houses Association. It was up in Nottinghamshire, at a lovely house called Hodsock Priory. We stayed overnight in their B&B accommodation (thanks Mum for babysitting while we were away!), and were able to take the opportunity to go out for a nice meal the evening before the seminar – what a treat! The seminar itself was amazing. The topic was ‘Funding for Restoration – the Heritage Lottery Fund and Other Options’. The talks were full of useful information and inspiring case studies, and we were able to meet and talk with lots of people who completely understood the strange new situation that we find ourselves in. It was a revelation to discover that there is actually a support group for people like us! We have so many ideas swirling around our heads, and possible plans for future directions for Court Lodge that we need to take some time to let them settle and think them all through. Luckily we are off to France tomorrow for a week’s visit with my sister and family, as it’s half term. I’m definitely ready for a holiday!
Saturday May 18th, our very first Open Garden Day at Court Lodge, was a huge success. The sun shone, and the people came in their droves. The weather was really on our side, as it was a lovely day, but not too hot. Over 400 people came through the gate. There were stalls selling arts and crafts, second hand books and toys, coffee and cake, and a treasure hunt for the children. As a fundraising event it was absolutely fantastic! We raised about £2,200, so we got about a third of the way towards our target for the playground. This was much more than I expected to raise, and just showed us what we can do when we put our minds to something. We couldn’t have done it on our own of course – the village really got behind us and we had so many helpers on the day as well as in the run up to the day, it was just wonderful. It’s taken me a few days to fully recover as it was so exhausting and exhilarating, and also so rewarding. I have had such good feedback since Saturday, with everyone saying how great it was, how beautiful the gardens were looking, and what a lovely atmosphere there was. A resounding success, so watch this space for more!