So, getting ready to say a fond "Cheerio" to 2020!
And what an interesting (and ridiculously and surprisingly fast!) year this one has been. The highs, the lows, the sunshine (oh, that glorious sunshine....!) and the amazing guests that have passed through our door. But also, this year has been a year for the opportunity for many of us to have some spare time to do things other than the norm. When we have been allowed to open our door to guests it has been wonderfully reassuring to see so many loyal and familiar faces of our beautiful regulars and also to meet new faces of folk who perhaps for the first time ever, are choosing to holiday close to home in this glorious county of North Yorkshire.
This was my picnic lunch the other day when I walked a 9 mile circular from the door. Breathtaking views and I only had to share the peace and quiet with some pheasants...and some midges (in December???)
It has been an autumn so far of amazing colours but finally the leaves have dropped from the trees, the windfall apples are being eaten by the birds and field mice, and nature is slowly beginning to hibernate again. Our japanese Acer was so colourful this year.
And because the nights have suddenly become so chilly we have gone into overdrive with splitting wood for the biomass boiler (even I had to get involved whilst E was on his tea break!)
The Yarn Bombers (stealth knitters!!) in Thirsk do an amazing job most months of decorating the town with various knitted themes. In November they put on a fantastic display of poppies around the town and the clock tower was indeed an impressive sight with it's flowing drape of poppies...and a lot of the decorating happens in the dead of night so the fine folk of Thirsk wake up to many a changing view!
Another really interesting local market town to visit is Pocklington (about a 40 minute drive from Hazelwood Farm) which is such a sweet little mix of unusual independant shops and traders. Within the town are some beautiful gardens (https://www.burnbyhallgardens.com) with carp lakes and they are filled with the greediest and bravest fish I have ever seen and tolerate having their backs tickled...as long as they are being fed food pellets at the time!
It has also been good of late to try a few new recipes in the kitchen, especially now that my old friend, the AGA, has come alive again for the winter...
And of course the best thing about being in the kitchen is the eating!
But if there was one culinary challenge I would love to be able to do at this time of year it would be able to recreate that gorgeous gingerbread structure made by chef Troman Felizmenio of St Basil's Cathedral in Moscow and which stood 6' 6" tall...........but instead i will just settle for gazing at Betty's tea rooms window display in York instead (which is just as impressive!)