Spring updates and podcast enlightenment

With the weather finally warming up and the rain holding off for a few days here and there we have been steadily completing our ‘to do’ list of bits and pieces at The Manor.

The first and most important task to tackle has been the refurb of the tennis court. Lots of pressure washing, sweeping later we are finally nearing the final stages and it is looking fab. Trees have been removed that hung over the court meaning that we now have less of an issue with the dreaded moss.

All the exterior paint work has been re done giving the house a nice fresh facelift and as I type all the fencing surrounding the garden is being taken away and replaced. All in all it is looking great.

We gave the games barn a good old clean up the other day, it’s still a barn, but a tidy barn!

I have to mention the magnolia tree at the Manor ( I fear I am becoming a magnolia bore, but hey, it’s only ever for a brief time in the year!)
Last year during a storm the guests using the house called to say a branch had fallen in the driveway, it wasn’t obstructing the drive but they wanted to let us know. After check out I went to assess and at the time it didn’t look great, a large branch has splintered and was on the ground, barely attached to the tree. I asked Harry to get round with his chainsaw pronto to get it removed and sawn up for logs. It got added to the never ending list of ‘to do’s’ I have but over a few days it didn’t look quite so bad so it fell to the wayside. After a week or so I noticed that the branch was still very much alive so I decided to leave it be in the hope that I would be rewarded with floor height sweeping magnolia to enjoy. We haven’t been disappointed, it looks amazing.

Whilst on the subject of flora I discovered a very lovely farmers market held on the fourth Saturday of each month on the high street in Dorchester (15 mins away from the Manor) – I tend to avoid ‘town’ on a Saturday as it’s always busy and we are usually ferrying kids to football or walking the pooch. On this occasion I was underprepared for Mothering Sunday so needed to do a quick trip in to get bits and bobs before collecting my nephews for a sleepover. We ended up in town at about 9.30 and it was nice and quiet, easy to park. We discovered the farmers market which I would highly recommend. There were loads of lovely stalls selling delicious produce and we took advantage of trying lots of stuff. My absolute favourite stall had to be this flower stall where I managed to find some beautiful Parrot Tulips and Ranunculus for Mothers day (myself & my mummy!!) I will be going again!

We had a lovely Mothering Sunday in the garden enjoying the sunshine. I was given lots of lovely cuddles from the kidlets and Harry cooked us all his speciality lasagne which was delicious.

As well as getting things spruced up at The Manor I have been working hard at home to get the decoration finished. Having been here for a year now I felt it was time to crack on now that I understand the light and how the spaces work. I am still stuck in a very white place as it’s so easy to touch up and add to or take away from. I am branching out in to other variations of white though and am using Farrow & Ball Strong White in most of the rooms other than hallways. It is a lovely subtle colour and very calming. I am so sick of painting now but am persevering as my goal is to be finished by the end of May and that is well within our sights.

I was trying to focus on the ground floor only when we inherited a lovely new bed from some friends. After a massive Ebay trawl I managed to purchase a brand new barely used mattress for it (for a tenner!!!) and so commenced the great British bed swap where Harry had to take down and move not one, but three beds and travel about for a whole day to satisfy my whims. Whilst we had an empty room for a few hours I finished painting the floor which has been a ambition for a while. I lOVE it. It’s totally impractical and a nightmare to keep clean but it’s my dream bedroom and I just like looking at it, which in my book makes it worth it.

In the midst of all the tennis court work / decorating etc we have been doing, I needed to find a decent distraction from the drone of the pressure washer or relentless and depressing news updates on the radio. I can’t remember who suggested podcasts, I think I may have seen one talked about on Insta but I am now fully obsessed and finding more and more brilliant ones to subscribe to and enjoy. They are engaging, topical, current and FREE! easier than reading as you can carry on about your daily work and still enjoy them. I am yet to listen in the car as I am mostly in the car with the children and we are in an unbroken cycle of Ed Sheehan and Musical Times Table (yawn). Here is a list of my current favourites, in no particular order.

* The High Low – Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton
* Desert Island discs – Radio 4
* Any of The New Statesman ones
* Letters to my fanny – Cherry Healey

I love them all and they are a treat to listen to. I am looking forward to discovering more.

We are also planning more stuff for the garden, I want to grow more of our own produce this year and learn more about it. My dear friend Abi has the most amazing poly tunnel that her and her husband Scott spend most of their summer in which is very inspiring. We are not at tunnel standard yet but on the hunt for a unused green house to adopt on free cycle. Knowledge is coming in book form from the very clever and talented Hollie Newton who recently published “How to Grow” – it is a stunning book and we are really enjoying it. You may also notice her name from the many Newspaper clippings and articles that are being published about her at the moment.

Happy New Year from The Manor House

Wishing all visitors to our blog a very happy New Year!

2016 saw many fun and interesting events at The Manor and we welcomed some lovely guests to the house. It is lovely to see many returning guests year after year and to see all the fun ideas that people come up with in ways to use the house.
We have had Uni reunions, hen parties, art exhibitions, Mexican fiesta’s, English Country Garden themed weddings, tennis tournaments, grand weddings for 200 and a small perfectly styled intimate wedding for 50, a spooky Halloween themed party and a blissfully relaxed yoga retreat for a group from London. All in all a varied and eclectic mix which goes to show how the house can be used in plenty of different ways.

We have more to look forward to in 2017 starting with a fitness boot-camp this month and plenty more after. If anyone has any other ideas to put forward please do not hesitate to get in touch via email. We still have a few weekends left in the Spring and more later in the year.

As ever we are constantly working on little improvements in the house and out in the grounds and we hope to work in conjunction with some local suppliers to re decorate rooms and keep the house in tip top condition.

I am hoping to bring more information on places to visit in Dorset when staying with family and friends, good eateries, beautiful walks and the occasional seasonal recipe to indulge in.

Here is a pretty taken of The Manor on a winters morning –

Good morning from The Manor House

A photo posted by T A B I T H A (@tabitha_in_dorset) on

Watch this space….

T x

One Saturday at the Ford…..

I had received a phone call from a friend to tell me that I HAD to get the children to the Ford asap as there was something very cool about to happen. As mentioned in a previous post this could be literally anything as the Ford seems to draw in the weird and wonderful of the world…

I was packing for a trip away upstairs when she called and not long after I heard a rumbling, getting louder and louder and closer – I called the kids and we hot footed it to the ford, without shoes I might add as we were in such a rush – to find the most amazing procession of war vehicles I have ever seen, they were on route to Bovington tank museum across the forest and had started at a village fete.

Just another Saturday in Moreton

Just another Saturday in Moreton

Various vehicles in the procession

Various vehicles in the procession

I was such an amazing sight, there were probably nearly a hundred vehicles, ranging from tanks to jeeps to little buggies – everything you could imagine. Everyone was dressed up in the full regalia and were having an amazing time. They took the procession through the Ford and carried on up through Moreton Drive to Bovington. I expect the dog walkers and runners in the woods had a shock when they went passed them!

If I had been a little more prepared it would have been nice to be wearing shoes (it was VERY muddy and we must have looked pretty feral) to have put the dog on a lead, and to be better positioned to take photos as I was kind of squeezed in to a bush. The unexpected surprise was lovely though, and the look on the Boy One’s face when he saw it all was priceless.

Stuck in a bush shot

Stuck in a bush shot

Full dress up

Full dress up

Another Saturday, another village event. This time at The Walled Garden’s Royal Picnic organised by the welcome comittee at our local church, St Nics.

Now I am a great lover of any type of English Fete, village fair, picnic etc. I love the little stalls, the games, colours, cream teas and ice creams. It usually rains at some point and the dog show’s can be chaos but I think they are brilliant and we try to attend as many local one’s as possible. The kids love them and it’s a lovely day out.

Will dressed up

Will dressed up

Sunshine & horse racing

Sunshine & horse racing

The Royal Picnic was just brilliant, and had been very well organised by neighbours in the village – they had hired a great jazz band and local sea shanty singers (amazing!) and there were games, treasure hunts and of course a torrential down pour.

We then went back to our neighbours for a lovely supper in the sunset and had a great evening. The kids played on space hoppers. A perfect village day.

Clem & Olive

Clem & Olive

Sea Shanty Singers

Sea Shanty Singers

We are avidly trying to watch as much tennis as possible and have been keeping the tennis court at the manor spruced up for the guests this week who are looking forward to playing this weekend.

T x

‘The Vale of great Dairies’

Thomas Hardy described the fields and farms that make up the surrounding areas of Moreton as ‘the vale of great dairies’ which is pretty accurate, there are a lot of dairy farms, lush fields and plenty of cows!

There is so much more to Moreton though, I have loved this village since I was a small child and would visit from a neighboring village with my Mumma through the summer.

The main focal point for visitors is our beautiful Ford, which is the longest in the south of England, it is a beautiful place through the whole year and it has become a important place for us as a family. We walk across the Ford every day, in the winter when it’s frosty it looks so beautiful at sunrise and is still and peaceful, at other times when we have had heavy rainfall the water level comes up almost to the bridge you have to be really careful if the dogs want to swim (as my dear friend Abi found out when she had to jump in to the freezing water to rescue her exuberant pup Hunter!)

Once the weather starts to warm up a little, around late April we start to visit a bit more with the children, they would literally spend hours with their river shoes on having a paddle, playing on boogie boards and charging over to the little island that appears when the levels are lower. When the weather is super nice we wait till early evening when the crowds have gone home, take a picnic supper and (sometimes!) a glass of wine and spend the last hours of the sunshine there.

Supper picnic at the Ford

Supper picnic at the Ford


Boogie Boarding

Boogie Boarding

You will see tractors, ponies, horse & carriages, soldiers and all sorts of other things crossing the Ford at different times in the year, I met a dog walker there the other day who remembers when the cows would cross daily from the fields beyond the Ford to go down to the dairy to be milked. Yesterday there was a puppy obedience class taking place on the waters edge and through the warmer months you see a lot of Brides & Grooms from the church there after their wedding having photographs taken.

Nature wise I often see the kingfisher when I go for a run at dawn and more recently herons too. Swans, plenty of ducks and jumping fish (not entirely sure what they are).

Most importantly though, it is Plums MOST favorite place in the world. Especially when there is a ball or stick being thrown for her. She spent a great deal of last weekend slipping out of our gate, trotting of down the street to the Ford where she knew there would be plenty of kids playing and happy to throw sticks. This caused me many a panic attack until I realised where she was…..

The resident Pooch of the Ford!

Beyond the Ford up in to Moreton forest there are some brilliant walking / running cycling trails. You can get to Clouds Hill and to many other pretty areas of Dorset. There is the Jubilee trail goes across the stile up in to the Forest and on through Oakers wood. Currently there is a very pretty copse on this route full of Bluebells, if the rain holds off I am heading that way today!

T xx