Headline photo

Headline photo
Rockcliffe and Kippford from South Glen Brae: Ed Iglehart [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Introductory text

Kippford and Rockcliffe are on the East Stewartry Coast, an unspoilt National Scenic Area with two other NSAs in close proximity. It is in Dumfries & Galloway, South West Scotland, a region known for it's wonderful scenery, biodiversity, turbulent history, smugglers and black and white 'belted' cattle known as Galloway Belties. This stretch of coastline has many names. Known locally as the Colvend Coast or the 'Secret Coast' (due to the peace and tranquility) it is often referred to as the 'Scottish Riviera' due to it being the holiday resort of choice for Victorian millionaires and having a Gulf Stream influenced microclimate: evidenced by palm trees in some gardens. Castle Douglas, the food town is a short drive away and Kirkcudbright, the Artists Town is over the next headland.

This a scenic and unique part of the world and we started the blog to share the experience of living in this wonderful place. We hope that it will be of interest to others who live here and give those planning to visit the area a taste of all it has to offer.

The blog has a correspondent in both Kippford and Rockcliffe village, you can also follow their Twitter feeds on the right of the page. If you would like to get involved we look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, 30 April 2012

When the cats are away, the mice play....

... and it's certainly true when you have a holiday lodge or holiday cottage. However, I would not call it playing, unless you count donning pinny and rubber gloves and wielding a mop playing? (Dressing up, maybe?) The quieter times of the year, when the cats are away,  have to be seized upon by we, little mice, (well perhaps not so little as I would like to be in some areas?) for those essential maintenance jobs or the big Spring clean. 

We usually do the big Spring Clean just after Xmas as when the weather is not to be relied on as much, the indoor jobs are ideal. So, in addition to the good clean that the lodge gets between each changeover: every rug, pillow, cushion, mattress topper and duvet gets Spring cleaned, the kitchen and bathroom are scrubbed and sanitized to within an inch of it's life and the stove gets a good black leading; Every nook and cranny is scrubbed, dusted or polished; All electrical equipment is checked, new batteries go in the smoke alarms and clocks; and any repairs or refurbishment is carried out. It's a time to update the DVD collection, refresh the book selection, replace things that have got damaged or worn as a result of ongoing use or just ring the changes with a new cushion, throw or picture. (I just can't resist!)

The outside jobs have to wait till the weather is more reliable so I usually grab the opportunity just after Easter. This is why this last week has seen me on my knees (Groan!) sanding the balcony and giving it a fresh new coat of Old English Green (Sorry, they did not do an Old Scottish Green) deck paint. I've also mown the lawns, cleaned and painted the gutters, trimmed back the more enthusiastic shrubs and declared war on the brambles (ouch!).  So yes, I guess I deserve a sit down, a slice of cake and a cup of coffee.

On the less onerous side, I've been out and bought new Geraniums, my favourite bloom, for the planters and stocked up on all the eco friendly cleaning materials and supplies. I love the bright fresh colours of the Geraniums and their earthy scent, they have such a distinctive leaf and really look great in planters. In keeping with the 'Little House on the Prairie' inspiration I use for the lodge we use galvanised pails for planters. I like to think of it as a contemporary take on Homstead charm. The theme is continued in jaunty, checked curtains, rag rugs, cream iron bedsteads, an antique pine linen press, willow baskets and stripped wood floorboards.

These wonderful Violas looked lovely on the deck at Riverview Lodge last year and the galvanised pail planters are in keeping with the 'Little House on the Prarie' homestead feel of the cedar cabin.

In keeping with the sustainability and eco friendliness of a timber lodge we now use all eco-friendly cleaning products and washing up liquid such as Ecover wherever possible. The only thing I can't find is an eco-friendly  washing powder in tablet form so we supply non-bio washing tabs for our guests. If anyone knows of an eco friendly version I would live to hear from them.

My next task is to give the wooden deck a scrub and an antifungal treatment to keep it it top top condition. There is a Cherry tree at the end of the deck which provides dappled shade in summer, cherries for the birds and wildlife in Autumn and has glorious blossom in spring, however it drops its pits and stalks on the deck so I have to go around and scrape out all the grooves before I start scrubbing. This is why this week I look like I am doing an impersonation of the Hunchback of Notre Dame and feel about 20 years older!

How I look forward to a hot bath at the end of the day!

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