Happy New Year to you and your family and friends, none of us are out of the woods and we must all continue to stay vigilant even with our patience frayed, our responsibility is to all so we must remain motivated which is easier said than done!

Thank you for all your cards and messages that you have sent to us, very cheering in these extraordinary times. It has been a bumpy ride for all of us.

Here at Waters End I am concerned that our drilling company Geotech is getting busier and occasionally there is noise of equipment moving or refurbishment work being carried out in the daytime. Because of this I am only taking bookings for Hop Pickers and Hop Bine online at the weekends. The disturbance is rare, and I know that some of you are attached to staying in these two cottages so if you require longer than the weekend do email as this is going to be your lucky year for I will only charge a nominal amount for extra week days if they are required.

Over this last year we have had some guests staying in the restricted times as it was our chance to help others. A gentleman contacted me desperate for somewhere to stay with his two children as he had summer custody and nowhere was open for him to rent- so we were pleased to have them enjoy our open space, the lakes, the scouts unused canoes all in our little oasis of Waters End. Others stayed for long weekends to recuperate from their stressful NHS jobs and other pressures, all enjoyed the calmness and quietness of being here, were respectful of others and left here revived and on the odd occasion a little tearful for having to depart. On each occasion we were able to leave a time space between to protect my housekeepers and future arrivals.

We sadly lost our black Labrador Wren when I had almost finally trained her not to bark at guests she died after a 24-hour illness., bless her heart she couldn’t have picked a worst time to go, Covid as I’m sure some of you have heard meant puppy prices soured through the roof and there was a lot of very dubious stock on offer at unheard of prices. Having never been without a Lab and a Border Terrier that went into severe depression (would barely eat for 6 weeks) I finally found Rose in Cumbria! Lilly the Border was furious with our addition and drastic action had to be taken which I had better not write down – suffice it to say they are now inseparable.

Having lost my last horses a couple of years ago, adorable Stanley was we think 31 by the time he died, we now have Robbie in the field who belongs to Ella, the farmers wife from the Hop Farm next door. I’m hopeful that Fynne will come (a 16.2 retiring hunter) to keep him company soon and give me an excuse to dust off my saddle before I’m to old to know better.

The drive is in a shocking state, it’s more than twenty years since it was tarmacked and the Wealden Clay, weather and traffic (mostly Geotech vehicles) have all taken their toll with the final bend at the bottom making everybody slow down to 4 miles an hour to negotiate the potholes. Much discussion is going back and forth trying to work out the best strategy, should it be re tarmacked, ditched either side or concreted or bricked, all is prohibitively expensive but at least in the meantime it is slowing down the traffic so I am glad of that.

Our lovely Chalet Boden in Italy has also had setbacks, just as the builders were going to replace the roof there was an unprecedented storm and 650mm of rain took out part of the access road from Ornavasso to all the properties above the town and the town was flooded with nearly 2 meters in places. It has taken two months to re-build the road which they have just completed. Our planned new roof (that has taken over a year to be permitted) is commencing at last next week. We look forward to getting back there (when of course COVID-19 allowed) to complete the interior and we will at least be able to complete our renovations this year. We have the privilege of having made some lovely local friends there whom even in these difficult times have taken it upon themselves to look after our little house as if it is their own and keep us informed at all times” grazie amici

Well lets all stay optimistic and look forward, be positive and look after all those around us and beyond.

Very very best wishes for 2021 and we hope to see you all soon

Jill and Maurice



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