2015 uncut for Christmas

We started the year off with fireworks as usual:

Fireworks

In January we went to New Zealand  to see our daughter, Shannon. We hadn’t seen her for over a year.  It was a fantastic trip. Shannon took a picture of us on the ferry to the South Island and entered it into a competition. She won! We couldn’t have managed to get away without the help of our fantastic friends: Ellen, Michelle, Anne and Dotdot, who looked after everything for us while we were away.

Hobbiton, North Island, New Zealand

Hobbiton, New Zealand

Interislander ferry to Picton, New Zealand

Shannon’s photo on the Interislander ferry to Picton, that she won a prize with.

Easter was busy as usual this year, with lots of our regulars as well as some new ones.  The blossom was beautiful. Easter is early this year, and we’ve already got quite a few bookings.

Cherry and Apple Spring blossom

Spring blossom

After we got back from NZ, we started planning the West Highland Way, which is a 96 mile walk (154km) from Milngavie, near Glasgow to Fort William. It takes some planning to coordinate how far to walk in a day plus somewhere to stay, food (and wine) etc. It was fantastic. I’d do it again in a flash.

The bonny bonny banks of Loch Lomon, on the West Highland Way, Scotland

Loch Lomond on the West Highland Way

Painting the lodges – Our son, Jake had the idea of painting the lodges different colours. We’re always keen to keep moving and progressing and improving where we can, and decided to invest in the paint (cost a fortune) and the labour, promising the workers the living wage. In return they did a great job. We still have the balconies to finish though. We are also working on refurbishing inside the lodges, with new curtains, lamps and our latest love: Annie Sloan Chalk Paint on the furniture.

Ice cream colours

Painted Lodges

Ice cream colours

Jamie’s choice of colour – we love it

It was a strange year for the birds: they nested all over the place. They usually nest on top of the outside courtesy lights in some lodges but this year they built nests over lots more of the lights. It’s always amazed me that the light sensor switching on and off doesn’t bother them. They also nested in our keybox and for weeks we couldn’t open the box for fear of disturbing them.

Baby birds ready to fly the nest

Baby birds outgrown the nest, ready to fly

 

 

Jock and Archie

The goats became a little problematic this year. Once upon a time Jock and Archie were cute and cuddly. Now they are huge horse-like creatures, with their bottle-feeding baby days long gone. They love being out and about and  seize any opportunity to escape. We often let them out for a bigger run around when the park is quiet,  because their exuberance could cause them to knock small people over.

Several times Jock and Archie were reported by various sources, to be outwith their not inconsiderable goat run. There’s one phone message that I cannot bring myself to delete it’s so funny: the family who looked out their lodge window to find Jock and Archie staring in, noses pressed up to the window. They couldn’t get out of the lodge as the goats were patrolling the balcony.

It seemed that Jock and Archie were escaping by jumping the fence. This seemed  unlikely but  we took the precaution anyway to add another bar to the goat pen fence.  I must point out that Tim was not a party to this, being too old and too fat to do much but bumble after the other two.

Lo and behold  a week or so afterwards Archie was spotted sailing over the fence not unlike Red Rum in the Grand National.

Goats just wanna have fun

Jock and Jake out for a run around

the great escape

The great escape – Archie like a gazelle

We’d already had chicks in April so we didn’t want any more quite yet. But around September/October we noticed that some of the hens were laying eggs in strange places (under the holly bush, in amongst the nettles, in the corner of the goat pen etc). We were also also collecting less eggs. We were sure there was at least one hen sitting on eggs. We searched high and low for a clandestine nest. Jake said causally in October, “oh mum did you know we have new chicks?” What?

You’ll never guess where the hen had laid her eggs. Give in? Well I’ll tell you. The goat pen next door to the hen house has 2 steps up onto a platform where Jock and Archie like to climb. The steps are hollow and this is where the hen was hiding. Clever in some ways but risky when the chicks teetered after their mother in and out of the nest trying to avoid the hooves of the goats. It’s cold now so all the hens have stopped laying. We’ll need to keep an eye out for more piles of eggs in one place though.

Hens, chickens and cockerels

Hens and chickens

Beaver

Update on the local beavers – the furry kind, not small boys running around making a noise. Our beavers had babies! They like to visit local gardens – this is what they like to chew on:

Beavers like to chew bark

Beavers like this tree!

 

Mike Poole

This year we had lots of families staying with us while attending Mike Poole at MP Fitness, for therapy and strength training. Children with cerebral palsy may have an operation called SDR (Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy) to reduce spasticity to enable the child to walk. SDR requires intensive pre and post operative therapy. So the families go to Mike for their daily therapy and for the rest of the time they’re free to be on holiday.

Often there are other SDR families staying here too so they can do a bit of support networking and in Summer there are get togethers and barbeques. Often families who have got to know each other in these similar circumstances, then co-ordinate their visits to Mike to coincide so they can meet up, sometimes travelling together and sharing a lodge.

A fantastic Riding for the Disabled facility is  relatively new at Kinfauns Stables nearby. The staff are lovely and we know several local people who enjoy riding there. kinfaunsstablesrda.co.uk

 

Horse riding for the disabled

Horse Riding for the Disabled

We ended the year with flood warnings after the River Earn became dangerously high. We were ok though and just had a large pond in the park for a while.

Flood warnings in Tayside with the River Earn bursting its banks

The River Earn burst its banks

It’s been lovely for us to have so many visitors that come back regularly, sometimes several times a year. These special families are not so much ‘visitors’ as friends and extended family. We’ve watched their children grow and they’ve watched ours grow. We’ve been here 22 years now and some of our visitors have been coming just as long.

Thanks to you all for your continued support  and for sharing your photos and posts on our River Edge Lodges Face Book page and twitter.

Have a wonderfully warm Christmas and here’s to health and happiness for 2016.