I have heard summer described as Nature’s rush hour and I think it’s a perfect description. The Green has been buzzing with activity over the past few weeks. The Green is certainly aptly named as I have seen every shade of it in recent days. From livid lime green after the field was cut for silage to deep bottle green in the trees along the river bank. We have loved watching our wild flower beds come to life. Next year we’ll start our planting a little earlier. Watching our guests, especially the children, look for butterflies and bees is thrilling.
We’ve had lots of guests over the past few weeks with our first American tour group arriving at the beginning of the month for a cultural retreat. This had been planned since early in the year and of course we were anxious that all would go smoothly. As it was run by an American company we didn’t have to worry about their itinerary etc while they were here as that was all pre arranged. The group organised their own meals and activities using The Barn as their main base. It was good to see the venue being used for this type of activity. I called up one afternoon to see how they were getting on. Imagine my surprise when after introducing myself to one of the guests and enquiring about their stay all I got in reply was “Mmmhemm” (in an American accent!). No more conversation was forth coming. I did think her behavior a little unusual. Another one of the guests beckoned me across the garden to the laundry room and started whispering to me ( at this point I did think something was awry!). Turns out they were having a 24 hour silent retreat so my chatter was a bit of a distraction! I was very grateful to Maria from Maryland for the information. I left Maria to her silence and went to find Mark who was creating a frightful din rearranging the bins and wondering why no one was saying hello to him!
A silent retreat however did not stop our guests from getting out and about in Kilkeel and their visit coincided with the Schomberg Festivities and the summer Farmers Market, an added bonus to the cultural aspect of their visit.
Our Americans left and we welcomed more guests to The Green in July. Naively I thought that running self catering cottages meant people would book the cottages for a holiday. The reality is that people book the cottages for many reasons. Sometimes we get bookings because people want to meet up with friends and family. They just want to find somewhere that will accommodate everyone. With 4 houses and the capacity to sleep up to 22 The Green is perfect for these occasions. We’ve had people return for family reunions, family birthdays and surprise parties. Happy occasions that we are delighted to host. Helping our guests coordinate and plan these events is great fun and always satisfying when you see or hear everyone enjoying their event.
With these groups there is often a real diversity in age and interest so finding out about the different activities that people can do on rainy days, sunny days, outside days, “we don’t want to walk too far days, “we want them off their phone days” is important. During the summer there are more activities and festivals going on so keeping up to speed is a full time job. Recent guests spent a morning at Seascope lobster hatchery on their return, said “That beats soft play anyday!” They had a brilliant morning. For us a long over due trip to Castlewellan Show was a revelation. (Not a sentence I’d ever thought I would see myself writing!)
I watch my phone like a hawk! Every ding or buzz I’m checking ,not that I have a very busy social life or anyone wants to communicate with me that much. I want to see who has liked my FB page, or my Instagram post or emailed a booking enquiry. So one Saturday night when I heard a little ding there was great excitement. A friend sent me a What’s app picture and message – The Green Holiday Cottages got a mention in the Belfast Telegraph weekend travel supplement. Blink and you miss it but we were there. Someone somewhere noticed us. I was buzzing!