Wednesday, 31 March 2010

my hawthorn bush

When we were setting up the shop nearly 2 years ago I noticed on my daily trip up to Bowness in May a beautiful hawthorn bush standing alone in a field just past the Hill of Oaks caravan site. In full bloom at the time, it was a majestic site and I began to always look out for it on the way to work. Last year it didn't produce any blossom but it is a bonny bush, about 20' tall and a lovely shape. Today, I noticed that it looks a little bit plumper than its normal winter shape and can only speculate that it's getting ready to produce leaves. So, despite the huge drop in temperature today and the low lying snow in the Langdales, I'm thinking the better weather really is just around the corner and we can finally say farewell to cold, cold days.
Incidentally, after a very shaky start this morning with a bit of snow, a bit of sleet and a bucket of rain, the sun is now shining..yippee

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Whatever the weather

Well it's Easter and last year we were mostly basking in sunshine: but in 2010 the weather gods have decided to give us a little reminder of the past 4 months by throwing down a vast amount of water in the past 24 hours and the possibility of snow tomorrow. On the bright side, any rumours of a hosepipe ban have fizzled away and it's perfect weather for shopping at Love the Lakes! Many guesthouses in Bowness seem to be fully booked for the bank holiday weekend so we'll all be praying for better weather at the end of the week - there's nothing so miserable as dripping wet folk trudging around the village and crowding into the bottom deck of the ferries only to endure steamed up windows and no view whatsoever! Come on weather gods, give us a break....

Monday, 22 March 2010

The team is complete, bring on the new shop

I'm all talked out today. 3 new team members started this weekend and I'm now sick of the sound of my own voice. It's ok covering all details of our products and suppliers that our new girls need to learn to advise customers,  but it's the idiosyncracies of the workings of the shop that are hard to remember. For example, when the credit card machine freezes you need to turn it off and on again to get it working, the water heater blows a fuse if you leave it running too long, we only turn on 4 of the 6 light switches in the small shop because the other 2 are irritating flickering fluorescent tubes that we don't need on. Jules and I compiled a complete list of these little peculiarities before Nicky, Daisy and Adrienne started and going through the list took quite some time! I hope they all remember for next weekend....
Meanwhile, after several weeks of protracted negotiation, we're up to preparing "heads of terms" for the lease for the new shop. Now we've agreed everything in principle everyone seems very keen to get it moving quickly so we shall see what happens this week!

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Dougal the trustworthy dog

Dougal has officially come of age. Never mind his fell training, the most important aspect of Dougal for us is whether or not we can trust him to be left in a room on his own. Since we got him, he has been left in solitary confinement each night in the utility room: actually, at first we put both Casper and Dougal together in the room but Casper soon tired of the pesky pup trying to play with him in the middle of the night and jumped up at the door until we let him out. Last night, for the first time, Dougal was given the free run of the kitchen, utility room, hall, stairs and landing. We went to bed fully expecting some shenanigans during the night but we were wrong. Dougal was waiting outside the bedroom door with his nose pressed right up against it when we got up - it looked like he had been stood there all night. All woodwork was duly inspected and found to be intact - phew! What a good lad that Dougal is...for now at least.
Sean and Louise

Monday, 15 March 2010

Any wildlife experts out there?

Between our neighbours and us we have several garden ponds and a stream that flows at the bottom of our gardens. Our fish have not fared too well this winter as the ponds have often been iced over and we've had to turn the pump off several times. We've had a few casualties but now we can see no fish except for the very smallest ones. Our neighbour has discovered pawprints (with long claws) around one of his ponds and we have some fishscales left behind at the scene of the crime.  We're suspecting an otter and would love to hear about anybody's experience or advice....

Thursday, 11 March 2010

I don't believe it!!

Ok so we've had 13 days of dry weather on the run (a record since we opened the shop in May 2008) and, whilst we're all rejoicing at the end of winter and some lovely spring weather, the mutter in the gutter is that the lake is a foot below it's normal level for this time of year and that there may well be a hosepipe ban this summer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Apparently the sluice gates that were the source of the controversy around the time of the flood in November (accusations were made at the time that they weren't opened fast enough, resulting in the catastrophic flooding of Whitewater in Backbarrow and the Swan Hotel at Newby Bridge) are now rumoured to have been left open too long, allowing far too much water to drain out of Windermere.
Maybe the lake will drain so far that Bownessie will be left exposed, thrashing around in the mud...pass me the camera.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

A thought for Angus

It's the birthday today of our much loved and sorely missed beardie Angus. Sean and I took Casper and Dougal to Bow Bridge, a local beauty spot which was one of the old boy's favourites as it has a handy stream in which to cool off and a plentiful supply of sticks to be thrown for him. When he was young, Angus's one idiosyncracy was leaping around the bottom of trees and bushes and barking at the birds in them. Bow Bridge was a perfect place to display this peculiar habit and the way we got him to stop was to throw stick, after stick for him until he was so worn out that he collapsed in the stream and forgot all about those pesky birds.
Neither Casper or Dougal show any penchant for bird baiting but, whilst Casper eyes with disdain any sticks waved in front of him, Dougal loves to run for them as fast as his legs will carry him and, as I watched him run in a blur of flying legs bouncing hair, I couldn't help but think about our old, handsome hound Angus. It seems only yesterday that he was doing the same.

Monday, 8 March 2010

I don't want to tempt fate but....

We're now in day 8 of March and it hasn't rained for 9 days. It hasn't been dry for this long since the middle of September and the difference it has made to our sales in the past few days is phenomenal. At the weekend Bowness was full of visitors - so many people descended on the village that the huge car park beyond the Glebe, which is normally only used at Easter, half terms and during the summer, was full by mid afternoon. Sean has been at "proper" work this weekend and has been gazing longingly at the fells from afar - needless to say he was off like a bullet this morning with the dogs, going somewhere "gorgeous".
Tony from Bitter End Brewery called this morning and reported that the weather is going to be like this until November. I'd really like to believe him so I choose to do so until the heavens open again.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Has Spring sprung?

White rabbits!
On the first day of Spring the weather in the South Lakes is absolutely beautiful if still a bit chilly. We could do with a few days of good weather so the community can start to feel like the season is about to start - it has been so cold and damp for the past 3 months that precious little work has been done to repair the damage caused by the floods and today's mutter in the gutter is that the Bowness Marina may not be fully open until June. Anyway, today's lovely weather has brought numerous visitors to the village and a fair few of them over the past few days have been followers of who are always a real pleasure to meet. Yesterday's comment of the day goes to a long suffering husband who, upon his wife spending quite a bit of money, told me "We're here for the week and, no offence, but I wish we'd found your shop on the last day, not the first. I'll be seeing you soon!"