Archive | February, 2014

Fletch kidnapping: a plea from baker Sue

27 Feb
Sue's appeal to kidnapper

Begging: Sue pleads for Fletch’s safe return, while clutching his traumatised companion Bubble, the mouse, who was recently released by the kidnappers

This is a direct message from Sue the baker to the kidnappers…

“I am baking as fast as I can to secure the safe return of Fletch to the garden.

“We have yet to hear from Head Office as to whether or not they will provide you with a plane, and time is running out as the office closes at 5pm.

“We may not be able to offer you the Swiss Alps, but I now have a whole mountain range of cakes and scones – including the new 2014 cafe range, which was not due to be unveiled until 9th March.

“BRING FLETCH HOME NOW!”

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Stop press: A development in Fletch’s kidnapping

24 Feb

Kidnapped Fletch in the road

Evil: The kidnappers make their intentions clear


Head Gardener Amanda here again. I have a very disturbing development to report following the kidnapping of Fletch and his friend Bubble late last week.

Earlier today, we received the following updated ransom demand – and the vile images above and below.

“Fletch tried to escape.
We are not messing around. We caught him and if he tries again, he knows what he’ll get. We’ve now moved him to a more secure location.
Because he’s been so troublesome the ransom demand is going up.
We want transport to an airport and a private plane waiting to take us to Switzerland.
And not just cake – we want scones.
And don’t try to blame the Rangers. You could not meet a finer group of hard-working true professionals.”

We’ve got Sue, our baker, working overtime on cakes and scones, and we’re in touch with head office about the plane. In the meantime, we’ve realised the culprit couldn’t possibly be one of the North Lakes Rangers – sorry, boys – the note’s too well written.

Small Kidnapped Fletch at the farm

Relocated: Fletch is moved to a new hiding place

Our perchcrow is missing!

21 Feb

Fletch has been kidnapped

Help: Where’s our Fletch?

This is Amanda, the Head Gardener, here. I’ve got some terrible news. As you know, Fletch normally writes his own blog – and I only get involved if he needs help with typing – but I’ve had to step in today because something dreadful has happened: he’s been kidnapped!

He was in the garden yesterday morning, but in the afternoon we realised he’d gone. We knew immediately something was up, because – as you can imagine – being a perchcrow, he doesn’t normally travel outside the garden.

We found a ransom note, the photograph above, and his friend and constant companion Bubble, the mouse, in the garden letterbox. This is what the note said:

“I’ve got Fletch. If you want to see him in one piece,
I want as much coffee and cakes as I can eat.
I saw mice when I nabbed him and I’m not afraid to get the ferret.
The cure is worse than the disease.
I will be contacting you shortly.
(Don’t call me shortly.)”

We know the cakes in our café are great, but we never imagined anyone would stoop so low to get their jaws round a free supply.

We’re trying to stay calm and, obviously, will be paying the ransom immediately the kidnapper gets back in touch, to ensure the safe return of Fletch and Squeak, his other rodent friend, who was in his pocket at the time of his disappearance.

In the meantime, we’ll keep you posted on developments.

(And if we happen to find that this is anything to do with one of the National Trust’s North Lakes Rangers, who we know loves our cakes, he’s going to be in BIG TROUBLE!)

The Pied Piper of Wordsworth House

18 Feb

Cuddly rats at Wordsworth House

Invasion: Here come the rats!

I’ve got some wonderful new friends at Wordsworth House – and I don’t just mean all the lovely staff joining us when we reopen on March 9. (I’ll be introducing them to you over the next few weeks.)

I’m talking about an invasion of rats! I know that doesn’t sound good, but bear with me, as I’m not referring to the living, breathing, pestilent kind.

Ours are cuddly toys that my friend visitor services manager Kirsty, henceforth to be know as the Pied Piper of Wordsworth House, bought in bulk at a certain well-known Swedish home furnishing store.

If you want to know why she bought them, all I’m authorised to say is that they will be playing an important part in our new visitor offer. To find out more, you’ll have to visit us on a Sunday and bring along at least one child!

We’ve got lots of new things happening his season, including a daily audio tour, offering fresh insights into the people who made this lovely house their home.

On Mondays and Thursdays, we’ll also have volunteer-led guided tours. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, the servants will be cooking in the kitchen and giving special 20-minute talks, and on selected Wednesdays, there will be conservation cleaning demos or garden tours.

Visitors to the cellar may recognise the ghostly presence of Ruth, one of the stars of ITV1 reality series Inside the National Trust, who helped put presenter Michael Buerk through his paces as a (not very successful) Georgian manservant. Ruth, in her role as Amy, the maid-of-all-work, has been turned into a hologram!

If you live locally, why not pop along on Sunday, March 9 or Monday, March 10 to see her. There’s free entry on both days for anyone with a CA13 postcode.

Whenever you visit, be sure to come out into the garden and say hello to me!

Costumed servant Ruth oversees Michael in the kitchen

Cookery lesson: Costumed servant Ruth oversees Michael in the kitchen

Are you a galanthophile?

10 Feb

The first snowdrops in Wordsworth House garden

Sign of spring: The first snowdrops in Wordsworth House garden

Head gardener Amanda is starting to feel very spring-like as the first snowdrops are poking their cheerful heads above the ground.

She says, although she really loves these hardy little plants, she’s not a true galanthophile. Apparently, that’s the name for someone who’s a passionate snowdrop collector.

Amanda just enjoys looking at them. If you can’t make it to Wordsworth House to see ours, after we open on Sunday, March 9, there are lots of other fabulous gardens that specialise in snowdrops. Follow the link, to find a National Trust one near you.

We’re the home of romance!

3 Feb
Happy couples at Wordsworth House and Garden

Happy couples: Bride and groom to be Suzi and Nick flanked by Alex and Trevor (left) and Gwen and Keith

As the birthplace of William Wordsworth, Wordsworth House and Garden may be the home of romantic poetry, but with Valentine’s Day approaching, I’m claiming us the title “home of romance” too.

Suzi, our ex-visitor services manager, and Nick, our former manservant, who moved south a couple of years ago, have decided to come back for the most important day of their lives: their wedding. As they told us, nowhere but Wordsworth House would do!

Nick now works as a food historian specialising in the Georgian period (have a look at his website), so they will be tying the knot dressed in full 18th-century splendour, surrounded by family and friends, in our beautiful drawing room this summer.

But they are far from the only couple to spend their time here. Our current maid-of-all-work and manservant, Gwen and Keith, may yell at each other at work, but in real life they’re happily married.

In a few weeks, their manager Alex, a former maid-of-all-work herself, will celebrate her 13th wedding anniversary with ex-café assistant Trevor, who now works for our owner, the National Trust, as a recruitment ranger in the nearby Borrowdale Valley.

Trevor and Alex’s daughter Natalie was our first ever bride, back in the summer of 2012, which makes the place even more special for them.

We also have three couples in our volunteer team, including my lovely garden friends Kat and Ian.

If you’d like to know more about getting married in our wonderful house and garden, download our brochure or give us a call on 01900 824805.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Natalie and Ian, our first bride and groom

Special day: Natalie and Ian, our first bride and groom, showered with confetti

Bride Natalie the morning after her big day

Visitor: Bride Natalie, the new Mrs O’Neill, came to see me the morning after her big day

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