Friday, 13 November 2015

Autumn 2015

As I look out on the slowly reddening trees I reflect on the fantastic foresight  our predecessors had  when they laid out our parkland here.  This house was designed and landscaped by Charles Harcourt Masters who also re landscaped Dryham Park a National Trust property about 45 minutes from us and  just north of Bath. I feel sure that he must have been familiar with Stourhead's amazing gardens, again about 45 minutes from us.It is a  favourite destination with many of our guests, as the gardens at Harptree  reflect so many of its features albeit, in sub miniature. Walking around the grounds here I love the carpet of beech leaves.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Scandifeast 2015

Wow! We have just finished hosting the first Scandifeast - a midsummer celebration of all things Scandinavian.

Truly amazing to see some world class chefs in action here. Of particular note was Niklas Ekstedt recently seen on Masterchef working in his Michelin starred Stockholm Restaurant where everything is cooked over open fires. Deeply passionate about taking food back to basics, one feels his idea of perfection would be roasting fresh meat over an open fire at the mouth of a cave.

We were privileged to meet Trine Hahnemann an enthusiastic supporter of local and organic food who ran a couple of sessions one a smorrebrod (open sandwich) demonstration and one showing a Danish Cake Table for all to enjoy. She stayed with us for three nights and we were fascinated to watch her cooking in our kitchen. She carried on telling us about her life whilst turning out some incredible and delicious creations. Trine also introduced her sister Silla Bjerrum who ran a fantastic herring masterclass.She is the winner of 2015 MSC Chef of the Year.

 Joe Wadsack from BBC's Food and Drink programme was great fun and seemed to embody the whole festival with his warm-hearted and generous approach, not only to his sessions on Scandinavian wine and spirits but also on being available to talk to anybody at any time. I must confess to being up late one night with him and his partner and just the odd glass of rather splendid wine.

Valentine Warner who has many television series under his belt both as a chef and good food enthusiast gave a session on flatbreads from Peters Yard, topped with many delicious fish toppings.

All in all we had two days of hard work, great food, great company, and a feast and celebration to remember. Gluttons for punishment that we are, we have agreed to host it again next year!
Check out   for the 2016 dates but note that most of the details are for the 2015 feast.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014


Congratulations to all the couples who have got engaged  this year in the treehouse or yurt.  I didn’t think that after last year’s record number of proposals that we would  exceed it this year but we have.  We all know Harptree is an especially romantic place to come and stay and the treehouse even more so but we are still happy that it seems to work its magic. No refusals to date (that we know about). No pressure either!  The treehouse has to be one of the nicest places to get away from it all whatever the time of year.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Wind and Rain

Like the rest of the country we have been lashed by wind and rain this winter but although sadly we have lost a few mature trees, like this cedar, no real damage has been done as there are over a thousand more trees on the estate.

 We are about a 40 minute drive away from the Somerset levels which have been so badly hit by flooding and we feel for them. The warm wet winter has meant that the snowdrops, crocus and daffodil display started early.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

GBBO is back

It's that time of year again!   As series 4 of GBBO is set to go out, we get a bit of a thrill seeing part of out garden or a flash of familiar wallpaper peeping out behind Paul, Mary or Mel and Sue in one of the many different.paper or magazine articles

While it is all going on we do have a few bemused and exited guests who can't quite believe what they are seeing but they all seem to take it in good spirits and enjoy people watching through the window over breakfast.

Thank you everybody for making the bake off experience a party - even if it is an exhausting one! We have completely enjoyed being a very small part of such a popular show.

I can't believe that nearly a year has passed by since I last blogged, Its not that nothing has happened - quite the reverse really which has meant that the time has flown by.

It has been another spectacular year for the Treehouse and the Yurt after a freezing start.
The prolonged period of great weather has enabled our guests to make full use of the Yurt hammock and the new basket chair in the Treehouse.

The Pink room and the Yellow room have both benefited from a minor rearrangement of the furniture both rooms look more spacious as a result and we have added new coffee machines to all the rooms so our guests can make real coffee at any time. - And we still supply a proper teapot and a selection of tea for all tea lovers!

As the bake-off filming was just finishing, our grandson Arlo was born and moved in here with us for a few weeks with his lively sister and parents. The next week my mother tumbled from her mobility scooter and broke both wrists and some ribs. The next few weeks were interesting to say the least but my daughter and family are now in their new home and my mother is out of plaster and recovering well so we are back on an even keel.  Until the next excitement anyway......

Wednesday, 3 October 2012


Harptree Court drive in Autumn
Don't know why really but Autumn always sneaks up on us.  One minute the last few warm September days are beguiling you into believeing the weather is better than it really is. Then - Pow- October is here, the nights have a little bite to them and the trees suddenly start to show some colour.

I hope that this year autumn lingers a little, last year it seemed that as soon as the leaves turned they just fell off the trees. I much prefer it when our trees are a riot of different shades.

So we have just lit the hall fire for the first time, and played croquet for the last time this year, so that means guests will have to have tea and lemon cake in front of the fire and not outside. (Linda's Lemon cake is still world class).

It will very soon be time to pack the Yurt away for winter again, but our guests will be snug and warm in the treehouse all through the winter.

Trolley disaster strikes

For anybody that has come to stay in the treehouse or yurt since February, my little luggage trolley will have been a familiar sight. For many of the Bake off Production team, it was all too familiar as I pulled it into shot on an almost daily basis. Thank goodness they managed to edit me out.

Alas, after only eight months use a trolley bearing seized and I am being told that it is not possible for it to be repaired under guarantee.   So I have to claim a refund and get another or pay for a part to be sent from the States.

I fear that I'm ranting again but surely there is a more sensible and lest wasteful option? 

Linda fears that I have got too attached to the trolley and I should just let go!