LYMPSTONE MANOR DIARY Remember, remember...
Remember, remember, the first of November. I know that isn’t quite how the saying goes, but it’s appropriate this year here at Lympstone Manor because that’s the night we’re celebrating our Bordeaux evening.
Our guests will experience a selection of elegant wines from the finest chateaux, as part of a month-long celebration of this renowned French region. Then there’s the food, of course - a five-course tasting menu I’ve developed to complement these excellent vintages.
For me, it’s the perfect way to embrace the penultimate month of the year, as we approach winter and naturally veer towards more robust flavours in both food and drink.
Our own vineyard, planted earlier this year, has been flourishing in the full sun of an exceptional summer, which has forced the vines to send down deep roots in search of moisture. Looking back, it’s been a year of contrasts - from the early onslaught of the Beast of the East, through to a hot, dry summer and mild autumn.
As the temperature cools, we’re turning our attention to preparing our vineyard for winter following its first season of growth. We’re also looking forward to continuing with the restoration of our ponds, putting in new paths and doing the majority of the groundworks.
Of course, winter brings shorter days. In our downtime, it’s important to get out and make the most of daylight hours with walks by the estuary, along the coast or on the moors. My family loves to come home to a warming soup (see my recipe for Curried Carrot Soup here – tinyurl.com/ y7qm2skz) or hunker down in a cosy pub for lunch.
We notice that same shift of pattern in our customer base too. A lot of our diners prefer to take lunch at this time of year, so that they can travel in daylight. We have winter lunch offers throughout the month.
In November, our view of the estuary subtly changes as the trees start to give up their autumn leaves, boats are stored away and replaced by the arrival of migrating birds. Nearby, we are treated to the colourful spectacle of kite surfers, braving both the wind and the weather.
It’s time to reflect back on Lympstone Manor’s first full year of operation…and what a remarkable year it’s been! It’s also time to plan ahead for Christmas (sorry, couldn’t avoid mentioning it) and New Year, as we start to put up our festive decorations and look ahead to 2019, when we’ll be developing a Sculpture Park in the grounds.
The girls on my team love getting Lympstone Manor decorated for Christmas, decking the halls with boughs of holly and other seasonal greenery. The house lends itself to traditional decorations with numerous Christmas trees, garlands and lots of greenery.
We use Trugs in Exeter for our decorations. They do us proud, as they did for many years at the Royal Clarence. More about Christmas and the New Year in my next column.
In the meantime, enjoy Bonfire Night and keep safe. If you’ve never been along to Ottery Tar Barrels before, it’s a fantastic spectacle that’s unique to Devon and not to be missed. lympstonemanor.co.uk; trugs. co.uk