Love North Devon - A Country Diary for April

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Hello everyone, with spring well and truly in full swing, we've been having a good old spring clean and getting everything ready for the summer. Whist clearing through some books to put down the lake house we stumbled upon a lovely book that we're sure will be of particular interest to our guests an ideal reading book for "me time" . Folks of a certain age may remember the publican "Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady", I say of a "certain age" because although it was written in 1906, it actually wasn't published until 1977 so many reading this might remember it.

 It was hugely popular and the above image above and below show excerpts from it, for this week, 112 years ago when the author, Edith Holden, was in Dartmoor, Devon.

 Its interesting to compare notes with Ediths trip from this week with our week , here , not far from Dartmoor on Exmoor at Love North Devon, Down Farm. Although this week hasn't been very warm and is a little cooler than we'd normally expect for April, it certainly isn't as cold as it was in 1906 when they experienced heavy snow showers exactly 112 years today .

 Reading through her notes though, little else has changed and we are still "in synch" with the seasons. The cuckoo was only "cuckooing" last week and although we haven't seen a swift, there are numerous swallows out on the telephone line who've made the long journey here and arrived last weekend. We don't get adders here as we are some distant from heathland but we do have little lizards , "common lizards" that sit out and enjoy the sun. Last week I had to rescue one that had been disturbed from his sunbathing by Chunky Monkey, our big fluffy tom cat who was chasing it around the lawn.

 By the lake, we have seen the heron as he often arrives to see if he can catch a fish or two. He's a nuisance really and we have been thinking of netting or putting line across the lake to deter him. One year we set up a camera to video him in action and see if he was the only one or if he had a companion. It came as quite a surprise to see on the camera we had a family of otters who walked passed the same spot an hour after he had flown away so there seems little point in protecting the fish from the air!

 We've rescued 35 primroses from the lawn and potted them up in the poly tunnel for transplanting into our planned "wild stream" meadow which we'll be working on next month. We've dozens of willow and cornus dogwood shrubs ready to plant along with them and we're also planning on taking giant sized cuttings from the monster bog plant "Gunnera" .

 On the farm, our neighbour Kenny has brought in his flock that have overwintered in his barns and they are now happily munching away on our organic grass accompanied by their new offspring - bouncy lambs bleating for their mums. There must be a hundred of them scattered around our eight fields and some are even pocking their heads through the gate of our yard. It's funny to see them, in a field of ten acres with lots of lush grass, they still feel the urge to stretch through the bars of the gate to get to the pickings on the other side.

 In the veg patch Adrian has been accompanied by plenty of hens as he digs over the ground for the new season and uncovers a few worms and tasty tit bits for the chickens. No matter how much corn the guests give them, they're still looking for food that's "challenging" to find and are often joining us when we're weeding. Last week they even accompanied us while we sowed grass seed, let's hope there's enough seed left to grow into lawn!

 I do hope you've enjoyed reading our little notes and our flirt with "Edwardian" times. Here at Love North Devon things haven't changed too much and if Edith Holden were to stay she'd not feel out of place and very much at home here. We'd probably have to explain how the dishwasher worked, the microwave and sort out the wifi password for her of course, but apart from that not much else has changed.

 If you like to write your own family country diary for May, June July or August then come and stay with us and we've even got an easel with crayons and pencils down in the lakehouse, just in case you want to write and illustrate your own diary.

 Hope to see you soon, 

 best wishes

Amanda & Adrian Budd X

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Chris Catullo