The following guest post has been written by Gavin and Penny. Both are hoteliers and Whisky experts, Penny being the Director of Speyside Whisky Festival…
It was a damp Tuesday in November a couple of years ago and we stumbled into the bar of the Wild Boar Inn at Crook.
It was warm, had a welcoming log fire, a good range of real Ales and an impressive collection of Malt Whisky. On that basis alone it was considered the place to stay that night!
We settled in and made our way back to the bar only to discover that Tuesday night was Malt Whisky night!
This was going to be interesting, on so many fronts! Read the rest of this entry »
Jean Grazier begins our series of blogs from artists living and working in close proximity to our Lake District hotels. In December through to February we will feature one of Jean’s paintings in our Reception area at the Waterhead in Ambleside.
Displayed at Reception, painting of Lake Windermere from Borrans Park, very close to Waterhead
“I was born in Manchester and my interest in painting began early whilst at school. However, it wasn’t until retirement to the Lake District that I found the opportunity to renew my school-day passion for painting. Various workshops and courses were then pursued in order to develop my skills. My tutors included the late pastellist, Christopher Asheton-Stones and Tiana Marie who taught and supervised my O.C.N.W. course. Courses in botanical illustration at the Lakeland Horticultural Society at Holehird, Windermere, as well as at Higham Hall, contributed to my interest in floral painting”. Read the rest of this entry »
The idea of ‘going for a coffee’ is certainly no new concept. The first coffeehouses began in Mecca as early as the 14th century and soon spread throughout the Arab world. The idea of coffeehouses, where anyone could go to discuss culture and conduct business for the price of a coffee, flourished in Venice, Paris, London and North America in the 1600’s. Things have no doubt changed slightly since then, it is unlikely anyone was ordering a caramel frappacino in 17th century London, or that there was an American coffeeshop chain on every high street corner, however the culture of enjoying a good quality cup of coffee while socialising has remained a consistently popular activity.
Waterhead roasted coffee served with Gransmere Gingerbread
Whilst a perfectly decent cup of coffee can be made from beans which have been sourced, roasted and ground elsewhere, at Waterhead we wanted to be able to create the perfect coffee, which means using the freshest and best quality beans. After much research by General Manager Mark Needham (who, having two children under the age of 2 sees coffee as a lifeline) it was decided that the best way to achieve this would be to roast our own coffee in house, something that very few establishments in this country do, most choosing to buy pre-roasted beans from their suppliers. Read the rest of this entry »
Laura Ticehurst, Receptionist at The Wild Boar found herself donning wellies and taking to the Inn’s new and freshly dug vegetable patch earlier this year. A novice gardener, Laura shares her successes, failures and one or two tips for getting rid of those pesky slugs …
At the beginning of spring 2013 I knew nothing about gardening and had no particular desire to know anything about it either……..that was until it was suggested that as a Green Champion it would be great if I could become involved and “help out” with the vegetable patch at The Wild Boar. Little did I know that the word “help” would be interpreted as “be solely responsible for”. So being thrown head first into the world of home grown vegetables has made for an interesting year with many successes and one or two failures. I’ve learnt what to do and what not to do and have also created and refined my own gardening tips!
At the start of spring I eagerly planted peas, carrots, beetroot, different varieties of lettuce and rocket, courgettes, French beans, shallots, red onions, spring onions and radishes as well as sweet potatoes and marrows. The radishes were first to grow and after I had completed the back breaking work of thinning them out once they had grown into seedlings; they soon grew to be big juicy tasty accompaniments to the salads chef put on the specials menu. This success though was met by a failure with the beetroot crop. After I had thinned the beetroot out they didn’t take too kindly to the extremely hot weather we had over the summer and therefore didn’t grow much bigger than the size of a marble. The rocket was growing by the bucketful and we had so much that chef dreaded my daily visits to the kitchen with the days harvest so the staff ended up taking some of it home too!
Slug (Photo credit: Marj Joly)
My biggest battle this year though has been with the gardeners arch nemesis; The Common Garden Slug! Not wanting to use the toxic slug pellets in the garden for fear a poor dog might eat one I was left with nothing but the more alternative methods of deterring these pesky creatures. I used tubs of beer in the hope the slugs would be happily distracted as well as wool on the soil which they are supposed to dislike crawling across. My dear mother also shared one of her old wives tips with me, which was to put slices of cucumber on a tray of aluminium foil and dot these about the vegetable patch. Surprisingly I think it worked as they weren’t too much trouble after this. Although it may also have been the combined effort of all my strange slug repelling methods including mixing used coffee granules in amongst the soil and strips of copper along the bottom of plants which is supposed to give off an electrical charge when the slugs crawl across it!
My biggest success of the year; of which I am quite proud has to be my Marrows. I have tenderly cared for them through out the year, feeding them according to a strict timescale, watering them at a particular time of day, on certain days of the week and gently placing straw under the growing marrows to stop them rotting upon contact with the soil. (This is no easy feat, the leaves and stalks of marrows are covered in thick sharp thistles which cut and scratch you) My dedication was rewarded with a plentiful bounty of the biggest marrows I have ever seen. For several weeks I would have a generous harvest of marrows to provide the kitchen with and chef created several delightful dishes from them which featured on our daily specials.
Overall I would say this years crop has been a success and we hope to be a bit more adventurous with what we grow next year as well as planting vegetables that are ready at different times of year so that the kitchen are not overwhelmed with vegetables. I’m also determined to continue my marrow success and grow one bigger and better than this year’s 90 lb marrow winner at the Hawkshead Show. Green Fingers Crossed!
It seems appropriate that on World Toilet Day, Howard from our Maintenance Department is hanging photographs of 16 toilets from around the globe in our ladies and gents toilets within the English Lakes family of hotels.
Tim, Dan and Howard hanging the new toilet twinning certificates at Low Wood Bay
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As the seasons change so too does the seasonal beer on tap at The Wild Boar Brewhouse. Mad Pig Ale, our 4.0% ABV house ale, will be ever present but Hogshead 54, a 5.5% imperial pale ale, will go into hibernation for the winter. With longer nights and colder days something altogether more hardy and warming will be needed to step in and take its place for a season.
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Nevil Jeffery, General Manager at Low Wood Bay has recently caught the Art bug, inspired to create digital art after meeting the iArt master J.A.C…
Twelve months ago I came across the guru of the “dark side” of iArt, Joseph Connor (J.A.C.) founder of #seensend. I love the concept – encouraging people to get out and about and capture an image on a mobile device. Once the image gets the J.A.C. stamp of approval, he rewards the photographer with a piece of art created on his iPad.
Children creating art at Artober
Sophia Newton, owner of the Loovre Gallery in Kirkby Lonsdale and founder of annual Artober festival embraced this new art medium and invited Joseph to attend the week long, interactive art exhibition at Low Wood Bay. This radical but simple method of producing art provides an accessible, affordable medium which appeals to all age-groups. Let’s face it, taking a hand-held electronic tablet into the great outdoors is a little more practical than a large canvas! Read the rest of this entry »