What a whirlwind the end of 2023 has been!
Christmas flew past in a haze of mince pies, mulled wine and tinsel (love it or hate it – nothing says Christmas to me more than tinsel, even though Carol in the office visibly shudders at the mention and daughter No.2 just rolls her eyes at me). I love the run up to the festive season and it’s especially nice to see so many people enjoying the holiday on their boats or in their caravans.
The weather wasn’t so kind to us for the end of the year with storm after storm bringing such unpleasant wet and windy weather but you know what they say – “you can’t change the weather” so in true Billy Connelly fashion the most important thing is not to wear “the wrong clothes”.
We’ve had lots of fun in 2023, the marina and holiday park have been busy, Cafe at Bridge 80 has a lovely new tenant and Music at the Marina and in particular Comedy at the Marina were a great success. Both the Audlem Lass and the Wheelyboat have had brilliant seasons and the volunteers have been amazing. I like to think that Rodney, their founder, is looking down on it all with a great degree of satisfaction (and probably with another “good idea” up his sleeve). Sometimes I think he’s with me when I see the little robin that lives by my stables. On the marina we’ve had a tidy up type of year with lots of jetty maintenance and the introduction of some new solar lighting. We’ve planted the margins round the ponds in lake view and my favourite project – turning the stern of an old iron boat into a seating area for next to reception, has come into fruition.
As for 2024, I look forward to better weather (don’t we all!!) and although we may have another ‘beast from the east’ threatening through January and early February, I have a feeling Easter will be here in the blink of an eye. It’s already noticeably lighter in the evenings which makes the equestrian and farmer within me rejoice! As I type this the lovely Ralph from Salop Groundcare is busy planting new hornbeam hedges for us at various spots around the marina and touring park. There is nothing more satisfying than being able to plant stuff – it gives both Angus and I and great deal of happiness, particularly as we watch the site grow and mature over the years.
Looking forward we hope to plan a few more social events and now that we have a licence we’ll even be able to have a pop up bar. We’re looking forward to the Audlem Music Festival in May and Party on the Park in July, and hope to host Music at the Marina and another comedy night in August. If anyone has any ideas or would like to run an event (particularly if it supports one of our favourite charities like Riding for the Disabled or the RNLI) just let us know! I’m doing a selective dry January this year – no alcohol unless someone offers me a glass of my favourite tipple – a bit of fizz!
So far it’s been a dry year but who knows what the rest of the month may hold!