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Listing all posts for the month of "January 2011"

Just a wee delay

31 January 2011 / Business

Ok so yes, we were being hopeful. It was going to be ‘One Week To Go’, but it’s looking like we will have a 10 day delay whilst we get things all in line with our respective buyer, seller and removal company. The 7th February target move date may now become the 17th February.

On the up side, that’s more time to arrange things and pack boxes. More time to prepare a fully detailed business plan. On the downside life gets more busy later in February and we want to build up to an Easter period of potential customers as the tourist season kicks in.

At least we’ve just had a great weekend away in Barlow and Sheffield with friends so we are feeling generally upbeat, if a little tired from all the party frolicking. Thanks Jo & Derek for your excellent hospitality.

Great North Swim

29 January 2011 / Charity

Completing the Great North Swim with my daughter Emma in 2009

Please support me undertaking this year’s Great North Swim in Lake Windermere in June.

My JustGiving donations page is here:

I last did the Great North Swim in 2009 and raised £434 for the charity MIND.

You can see my 2009 page here

This year I intend to do the 1 mile open water swim in Lake Windermere again and hope to raise at least £500 for Macmillan Cancer Support.

As before:

You can find me on facebook at

or you can follow me on Twitter

Two weeks to go

23 January 2011 / Business / Planning

Our house in Kentmere is already full of packed boxes yet we’ve still got so much to do.

The removal firm is now booked and we are hoping to get access to Thorney How a couple of days before hand to sort through stuff at that end and create some space for our own belongings before they arrive.

Meanwhile we have some business planning to do to ensure that we have everything in order. Carolyn and I will be entering into a business partnership and we will have to register the new business as Thorney How.

We’ve also been talking to many people in readiness for action as soon as we arrive such as setting up a new website, repairing the flat roof, doing a full site survey, preparing planning applications etc. etc.

One of the quirks of our bank finance was that we needed to demonstrate that Thorney How had Existing Use Registration allowing us to continue as a hostel and for us to live there. The Lake District National Park basically said that this was a no brainer as the YHA had operated there as a hostel since 1935 and had used the accommodation for their managers. The YHA have provided a statement to verify this and essentially the legal use cannot be challenged. The bank seems to be happy again now.

Next weekend we will be taking a short break away in Derbyshire, then we will be hopefully making final readiness for the move.

Independent Hostels UK

19 January 2011 / Business

Find us in the latest version of the Independent Hostel Guide

We’ve registered with Independent Hostels UK (IHUK) and we will soon have a full profile on their website.

The Independent Hostel Guide was started in 1993 when Sam Dalley decided to turn her photocopied list of twenty Independent Hostels into a book. Now online you can use the FREE search facility and maps to get up-to-the minute information on over 330 bunkhouses, bunk barns, hostels, backpackers, camping barns and group accommodation centres in England, Wales and Scotland

We’re also going to the Outdoor Leisure Show at the NEC in Birmingham on the 25-27th February where IHUK will have a stand and we can promote Thorney How on stand 441 in Hall 9. We will also be participating in their prize draw to give away a free holiday.

Sadly we’re too late to be in this years guide but you can order a copy here plus we will have them on sale at Thorney How.

Three week countdown?

16 January 2011

We’re now getting ready to move and are potentially on a 3 week countdown. If things go to plan we could be moving on the 7th February. Fingers crossed though as we head into the final stages that there aren’t too many complications to overcome.

Meanwhile we have boxes everywhere as we sort through the last 15 years of things including Emma’s, Julia’s and Laurie’s belongings that were stored in the loft.

Things will very probably be even worse at the other end for a few weeks whilst we get ourselves in order. We have several offers of help so we should be up to speed reasonably quickly.

Chaos and stuff everywhere - this would normally be our bedroom then!

But at least the loft space is clean and tidy.

Do we have a plan yet? All I can say is, is that it’s coming together!

Arboricultural Report

8 January 2011 / Business / Planning / Technical

One of the fun things about moving house and setting up a new business is all the extra things you need to learn about.

We’re big fans of lifelong learning and look forwards to the challenge. Yesterday I had the opportunity to meet up with some local landscape architects and in that discussion encountered a new phrase that relates to a piece of essential documentation that will help any intended planning application along; an Arboricultural Report.

Essentially this is a detailed tree survey showing existing tree species, age and any associated environmental factors. I’m guessing there a between one and two hundred trees scattered throughout the grounds. Some of these will be interesting – see photo below, others will be random self seeded varieties that will require thinning out.

Twisted tree at Thorney How, near to steps up to the mound.

I may need to upgrade my chainsaw skills and knowledge, but no doubt there will be some expert help along the way. Sadly I won’t be able to take my newly built wood store with me.

Buying and selling, ups and downs

6 January 2011

We’re at that will they or won’t they, will it happen or not, stage of the buying and selling game.

As such all our action plans are nervously creeping forwards as opposed to full on and going for it. Including promoting this blog and our plans for the future.

Disappointing as this is we’ve just got to wait it out for a few more weeks. We’re close to settling on a completion date, but as a sat down to write this another e-mail landed in my in box with a string of questions to respond to including new regulations around septic tanks.

No pain, no gain as they say.

You really have to want to do this.

What we / you like for breakfast: research

4 January 2011 / Research / Breakfast

This is part of an ongoing plan to investigate what is on offer in the UK for breakfast. Running a business that is centred on good customer service will need to be sensitive to individual needs where breakfast is concerned.

The research methodology will include:

  1. reviewing what is on offer elsewhere e.g. through online search
  2. sampling other catering menus
  3. crowdsourcing ideas – that’s via you guys
  4. feedback from customers

Today I had the opportunity to try out Morrison’s breakfast menu. It’s a job, someone’s got to do it!

Menu items on offer for Breakfast at Morrisons's

Morrison’s Breakfast Notes 4th Jan 2011

Process for obtainaing meal: Select meal choice, place food order (order number card given), pay for meal and any additional drinks, collect own cutlery etc. from central hub, sit at table with drink and wait for the meal to be delivered (generally a full order is delivered together).

The meal that I tried was a Traditional Breakfast comprising of:

The meal cost £3.29 plus £1.09 for a coffee = Total £4.38

Yes, this is cheap, but I would not recommend it. The toast was a superfluous texture contributing nothing to the meal. The eggs were fine. The bacon was undercooked and cold. The beans were beans.

A neighbouring table complained twice about undercooked eggs and they were eventually given a refund. This made me think how do you establish how well done different customers like their eggs, bacon etc. ?

Please let us know below what makes a good breakfast from your experience and where you’ve had this? At home is not allowed :)

First Family Visit

3 January 2011

We had our first family trip to Thorney How today. This was the first time that two of our daughters, Julia and Laurie had had the opportunity to look around and to get to know the house. After the New Year weekend there were no groups booked in so we had access to the whole property and grounds.

We were keen to find out what winter problems there had been – yes a few pipes burst and no rubbish collections. This was also a good opportunity to measure up a few important rooms, mainly those that we intend to use for our personal space.

I also wanted to get a good look around the grounds and to take some more photographs.

From Thorney How mound looking NW to Helm Crag

This was my favourite view standing on top of the rocky mound called Thorney How looking up and across to Helm Crag in the background beyond the house.

Heading back we stopped off in Ambleside for Cornish pasties and then went to see The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of The Dawn Treader in 3D at The Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal as a family New Year cinema treat.

Last Xmas / New Year in Kentmere

3 January 2011

Christmas Tree at Old Forge Cottage 2010

This will be our last Christmas and New Year at Old Forge Cottage in Kentmere, this has been our family home for the last 15 years since we moved here in 1995.

We were very surprised, yet pleased to sell so quickly. We have loved living here very much and hope that the new owners enjoy it equally as much. As Wainright’s Outlying Fells Guide quote says; from Green Quarter it is “one of the most beautiful views in Lakeland”

See our Hackney & Leigh property details here.

We wish everyone a prosperous and happy new year in 2011.

Happy New Year everyone for 2011