New Awards Take Pride of Place

Cornwall Tourism Awards 2015
Us with our wonderful cleaning team Cathy & Frankie

We’re delighted to tell you we came home with another two awards from the 2015 Cornwall Tourism Awards which are now taking pride of place at Roundhouse Barns.

Every year the awards get bigger and better while the competition for the top gongs continues to move from strength to strength. This year we were shortlisted for best self-catering and best bed and breakfast – something we were especially proud of as it’s the first year we’ve been running our new B&B Suite.

We’d already found out we’d received a Highly Commended in the ‘Sustainable Tourism’ category, so the wait was now on to see which prize we’d scoop in the other two categories. We were up against some fantastic businesses in two of the strongest categories and went home with the bronze awards for both of them.

Of course we would have loved to have won gold again but the bronze awards themselves are a real testament to the quality of the luxury accommodation we provide in both our self-catering and B&B offering.

There were 172 entries this year so we’re very pleased with a third place! We’re also incredibly proud of the part we play within Cornwall’s tourism industry, delivering a great experience to our guests so they keep coming back to visit the county year on year.

Tourism is the lifeblood of the Cornish economy and as an industry we must all continue to deliver the highest of standards, the best experiences and get people excited about visiting this magical part of the world.

Our challenge is to come back next year and go for Gold again! A huge well done to all the businesses who made the shortlist once again and a big thank you to all involved for putting on such a wonderful event.

Mark & Barbara Sadler

Cornwall Tourism Awards

New ceilings complete

Phew! what a few weeks we have had, ceilings down in The Carthouse and The Dairy, plumbing redone, new sound insulation put in and now at last the painting has started. Furniture comes back on Thursday and the first guests to enjoy the newly soundproofed and decorated cottages arrive on Monday! (so there as never any pressure on us to be ready in time was there?…)

Roundhouse Barns Spring Clean Update

Well, after much chivvying of workmen we re-opened our self catering cottages again on Friday 3rd February, with only a minor heating glitch in Cockle, which was sorted by early evening. So that’s three sets of guest that have now enjoyed long weekends in refreshed style and comfort.

We still have decorating to do upstairs in the B&B and in our accommodation -hooray, five years after we moved here our bedroom finally get a lick of paint! The electrician is booked to come and install the new driveway lights and as I write this the garden furniture is being sanded down ready for a fresh coat of paint.

Just in case you think we may be freezing down here – it’s 9c and drizzling – no snow yet for The Roseland.

We do have a very few short breaks left in March so if you are in need of some RnR have a look at the website or give us a call.

Monday Morning Workmen Extravaganza!

Today we may have actually beaten our previous total of workmen on site!

So, three in the groundworks team, three in the plumbing team, two in the patio laying team, two in the heating team and Paul the painter, that’s eleven.  Oh and a skip lorry has just arrived!

Mark disappears off to work shortly and I get left with the organising and all the mess.

Barney and Pongo have checked out all the chaps but can’t seem to find any open crib bags at the moment.

Whoever said it was quiet here when we were closed?

Groundworks nearly complete

We took the decision last October to move our oil tank up to the top of our driveway.  It was far too close to Cockle Cottage for our liking.  We knew it meant a bit of digging up, but little prepared us for the Somme-like conditions of our driveway.  We had a 1 metre deep trench all the way up our driveway.  The dogs of course love it, but it has been a bit draining for us. Thank goodness it’s not been too wet down here in January (so far).

Knowing that we would be in for a bit of “disruption”, we also took the opportunity to lay a new water main to the house.  But of course, we don’t do things by halves…  so we also decided to get a drilling rig in to dig a new borehole thereby ensuring we never run out of water.  70 meters down, our drillers hit water and we are now  getting over 2 gallons of water per minute out of the ground.  That’s great news and one of the fastest producing boreholes on the Roseland we are told.

And while we were at it, we’ve re-sited all our water purification plant from the garage into a new plant room by our water storage tanks (so if we ever have a leak we won’t trash the garage like we did in December 2010).  I think we’ve got more electronics and gadgetry in our borehole plant room than on the flight deck of a Jumbo Jet.  Scarey really.

And finally (!), we’re concreting in rather smart new granite kerbstones all the way down our driveway together with swish new driveway lights.

We’re-open again on 2 February and there is still a lot to do before we are “guest-ready”…  new chippings for the driveway and a new slate patio to be laid for our B&B guests to use (should smarten up the gaff a treat).  We’ve also got the painters coming in for 10 days to freshen up the cottages and B&B rooms.  Oh, we’ve also got the tilers in to reseal all our travertine floors and walls in our bathrooms and kitchens.  Errrr and for good measure, we’ve also increasing the insulation in our loft and boarding more of it out.

A quiet winter (not).  Roll on when we’re open for business.  It will be a lot easier! 🙂

Green energy cottages

“For goodness sake, make sure you hold on Dave” I felt like shouting out to Dave Ewins – our heating “God”.   Having got this far, the last thing we wanted was for Dave to literally fall off his perch.  He has near as damn it replumbed our entire house and for him to go to Plumber Heaven without seeing the fruits of his labours would be a massive tragedy (for us) and a complete disaster for Anna, his wife and their kids.

After waiting for what seemed like ages, our solar panels arrived last week and our Heating God was dangling precariously from roof ladders.  But without much incident or drama, over the space of 2 days, our new solar panels were up on the roof.  They only now need to be wired in to make the installation complete – Jimmy will hopefully do this next week…  or as the Cornish often say…  t’will be done Dreckly Sir…..

The plan is that we will use the energy from the sun to heat our hot water with our oil boilers only having to kick in at the last moment to take the water from 45 degrees to 60 degrees.  It should save us oodles of fuel oil – which, according to our accountant will be a very good thing.

More importantly however, it sends out a very clear message about our intentions – we want to become one of the greenest tourism accommodation providers in Cornwall.

Hold on tight please Dave...  we hate the sight of blood
Hold on tight please Dave… we hate the sight of blood

Looking forward to our reopening party

Well, after a huge amount of blood and sweat (not to mention the odd tear or two), we’ve finally done it!

Roundhouse Barns opens for the Press tomorrow and for our first set of (paying) guests for 2010 on Friday. We’re delighted with the outcome of the refurbishment work – we hope our visitors will also enjoy the fruits of our labour.

The heros of the last week have been Lizzie and Cath – our two cleaning whirlwinds.  We’ve given up counting how many times they’ve hoovered, scrubbed, dusted, rearranged, polished etc etc.  Simply amazing support from these two ladies – we are massively grateful to them both.

Bob the photographer has come and gone.  We’ve previewed some of his new pictures – look out for them on our website in a week or two.

So what does tomorrow bring…  apart from good weather we hope?  Mark will be baking scones for our invited guests; Barbara has a few plants to pot up and then we put on our posh togs for an 11:00 grand reopening.

We also forgot until yesterday that Bridget from enjoyEngland comes to visit us at 2pm tomorrow to grade our self caterimng cottages for the 2010 season.  Will we retain our 4 stars and gold award?…  How will Briget assess us now that our refurbishment work has been completed?

Watch this space for news after all our guests and Briget have left us to relax and unwind for 24 hours before the season starts in earnest.

Titivating and tarting up

We are now so nearly there with our refurbishment work.

The removal men delivered all our furniture back from storage today.  Despite the lashing rain, it’s all back in place, reasonably dry and in good condition (apart from one door that is slightly damaged).

So what’s left then?..

Not a lot really apart from a bloomin good clean.  Paul, our completely laid back painter for whom this week’s chaos simply washed over him, needs to put a final coat of paint on the walls inside The Dairy.  Then, some of the old doors need triming down as a result of tiles going on floors, a bit of guttering on the plant room needs sorting out and a few new double glazing panels need fitting.

Oops.. forgot that  the new plant room render needs a couple of coats of exterior paint and 20 tonnes of gravel needs spreading up the driveway…

Damn it, there’s also some pointing on a few paving slabs.  Which reminds me, the rest of the rear patio needs to be pressure washed.  And all the TVs, DVD players and satellite boxes need connecting up and retuning.

And then we’ve got to create new folders for each cottage to put the instructions for the new ovens, hobs, dishwashers, microwaves, washing machines.  Also, the new tourist leaflets need to go in the tourist information folders in each cottage and the 2 B&B rooms..

And also, there’s some snagging to sort out in the new B&B bathrooms…

What a weekend we have ahead of us.  We definitely won’t be putting our feet up.

And it all needs doing by close of play on Monday (whenever close of play is).  This is because Bob, the photographer is booked in on Tuesday and Wednesday to take some images for our new brochure and the website.  And we also have a Press Launch here on Thursday showcasing our refurbishment work.

Nuff said?

We’re on large G&Ts tonight.

How many times do you have to wash down slate tiles to get rid of the grout gunk?

I write this blog from my bed.  I had my coccyx removed a few weeks ago, but unfortunately the wound became badly infected.  I had to toddle off to hospital again last week to be opened back up again and washed out before they stitched me up again.  It sounds such a straight forward procedure, but ohhh the pain….(Mark)

Anyway, enough of my medical trials and tribulations, how’s the refurb work coming along?

Without my cajoling of Justin and his merry band this week,  I sense we might have lost a bit of momentum here.  That’s not to say we’re behind schedule.   We’re not.  But we simply don’t seem to be able to get anything bloomin’ finished.  At present, we’re a day away from Cockle Cottage being handed back to us.  And The Dairy kitchen is almost there as well….

Justin’s mob are not in any way swinging the lead; but just when we think that Fred or Steve will complete “x” today, they move on to start something else.  And yes, that something else does need doing.  There’s no doubting that.  But why oh why not finish “x” first to give us that much needed adenalin rush of being able to cross it off the burgeoning “Must-Do before we open for business again” list instead of leaving things 95% done ?….

And to make matters worse, how many times do you need to wipe down slate tiles to clean off the grout before they can be sealed?  It’s one of those questions for which there is no logical or empirically based answer – like why does buttered toast always land butter-side down on carpet? Or why is curry the only food you ever drop down your front to stain your shirt?..

The new bathroom in Cockle Cottage looks amazing with its black slate tiles on the walls and floor.  But I’ve given up counting the number of times its been washed down and still you can see dirty marks on it, we just need to get it clean once so it can be sealed – then it will be easy to keep clean ….

On a slightly more positive note, we sent an email to the St Mawes and the Truro Tourist Information Centres earlier today.  We’ve invited them out here to view the completed works on 25th March.  Hopefully, I will be fit enough by then to start baking scones.  If not, then we may have to raid the St Mawes bakery.

I hope also to be off the antibiotics by then.  I’ve not had a drink now for 6 days, 11 hours and 9 minutes.  Can you tell?

I am so looking forward to a glass of fizz at our grand re-opening.

Note from Barbara -as you can probably tell Mark is not being the easiest of patients right now – I may need a glass of fizz or two myself!

The Carthouse ready for decorating!

Well the team have done a great job with the kitchen and bathroom in The Carthouse and today all that is left to do is screw a few sockets back into the kitchen walls now that the tiling is complete. The decorator is due later this week so the end is definately in sight. Hooray!

Cockle Cottage is not far behind and should be back to us by the end of this week, the wood for the lounge floor is happily seasoning itself, ready to be laid and Cockle too will need a complete paint job.

As a special bonus we have managed to fit wine racks in Cockle and The Carthouse kitchens – helpful for those of you that bring your own supplies.

The Dairy bathroom is now starting to be tiled and all those finishing touches in the kitchen will start to be done – pelmets. cornices, kickboards, door handles,etc. As we have used the old walk in wardrobe to increase the size of the bathroom we have to build a wardrobe and housemaids cupboard in the hallway as well.

The new plant room is nearly complete and the pressurised hot water system has been tested for leaks – none to report. All the electrics that zone areas are still to be done but its all scheduled in.

We are so confident now of being ready on time, we have brought forward the date for the removals firm to return the furniture!

We will try and get some new pictures up as quickly as we can so you can see for yourselves.

Tilin’, groutin’, kitchen fittin’… next week we’ll be flyin’

While we were away in London getting Mark’s coccyx cut off, Justin was left here to man the refurbishment-fort at Roundhouse Barns.

It’s typical isn’t it…  the moment we leave, Justin hits problems with other things that need putting right before we can take the next step forward.  This time, it’s the long wall in Cockle Cottage bathroom.  The render and plaster is so blown, it all needs to come off.  And when it comes off, we find that the original barn wall is so wonky, even a Cornishman after a good night out on Rattler would struggle to use it to stand up straight.  Then there was this, and then there was that….  Poor old Justin….

So, we arrive back home on Friday and survey the building site that used to be our home and gardens.  It’s the first time we feel uneasy about our schedule…  What does it feel like?..  It’s nothing you can really take any medication for…  I can only describe it as that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach the morning you’ve got an exam to take….

So, we have a tricky conversation on Friday afternoon reviewing progress with Justin.  I resist saying something crass like “No Justin, we don’t need more manpower, we just need to work smarter and focus on the end deliverables…”   He would (rightly) lamp me one.   Jointly we agree we need to launch a big push…  We agree we need more manpower.  We also agree that Justin and a few chaps come here Saturday morning to do some catching up.

Well, we’re now just blown away…  Justin and 3 of his merry band work all Saturday.  End result?….  Cockle Cottage kitchen has got a brand new slate floor laid, sealed and grouted.  The Dairy bathroom ceiling is plasterboarded ready for Mark, the plasterer (Ed:  Not this Mark, I can assure you)

Come Sunday morning, there are more bangs and crashes coming from downstairs as we awaken from our slumber.  Justin is here again – and three more of his team turn up at 8.30am…  It’s SUNDAY FOR GOODNESS SAKE – A DAY OF REST…  Well, that’s what we think; but we dare not say this to Justin…  we worry he may simply see sense, head-off home and sit back in his armchair reading the Sunday papers.  By the end of the day, we’ve got new kitchen units installed in The Dairy and The Carthouse.

And, blow me down, we are near as damn it back on track:

  • A few days of intensive chippy-work to finish the boxing in all 3 bathrooms,
  • A kitchen fitting frenzy in Cockle Cottage,
  • Granite templaters arriving and doing what they need to do…

and by the end of the week, we’ll be ready to start tiling the 3 bathrooms…

And if we get there?….  Let me use Justin’s favourite phrase for once…  “Mark, we’ll be fly-in’ ….. ”

I hope to report aerial acrobatics next weekend!

First fix nearly completed

What a first couple of weeks we’ve had with our refurbishment works.

First of all, it was too cold to build our new boiler store – cement will not harden below 5C.

Second,  every time  we brought a ceiling down – all planned honest(!), we found electrics and plumbing, that, whilst perfectly safe weren’t quite what we were had expected.

Third, once we created the new windows in Cockle Cottage, unfortunately the bulk of the render and plaster on the walls gave up the ghost and landed on the floor – so we’ve had square metre upon square metre of (unbudgeted) render and plaster to apply.

BUT, inspite of these setbacks, our plumbing and electrical first fix works are (almost) complete and the new kitchen floor tiles start going down today.  We hope to have all these floor tiles laid by the end of the week.  Actually, hope is the wrong word.  MUST is a much better word because the kitchen base-units start being installed next Monday (1st Feb) .

Our workmen however have been marvellous.  We take stock with Justin and his team every Friday morning and if we’re slightly behind plan, Justin and his merry band of men turn up Saturdays and Sundays to get us back on track.  This is truely above and beyond the call of duty and we are profoundly grateful.

Next week is a big week for us – not only will the kitchens start being installed, but our oil-fired boilers are turned off, thrown away and new ones installed.  The whole installation process will take 2 weeks – during which time we will have no central heating…  Let’s hope for some unseasonally warm February weather.

Photos will folloow soon, but do please cross your fingers/ say a little prayer/raise a glass to us all at Roundhouse Barns for  productive (albeit a little chilly) few weeks refurbishing away.

Works underway despite the snow

In my last blog, I wrote about both the excitement and the trepidation about the refurbishment works we’re starting this winter.  It’s now half way through day 3 and our lovely comfortable cottages have changed beyond all recognition!

The wall dividing the lounge and the kitchen in Cockle Cottage has been removed and gaping holes exist in the walls where new windows will eventually be installed.

Cockle’s bathroom is but a shell of its former self (thank goodness).

In The Carthouse, both the kitchen and bathrooms have been removed – giving us the blank canvass to create something special.

Justin and his team started work this afternoon ripping out the bathroom and kitchen in The Dairy.

In spite of the weather, work is currently proceeding to plan – the only frustration for us at present is the construction of our new boiler room.  This has to be delayed until the temeperatures rise above freezig point – apparently mortar will not “go off” in sub-zero temperatures.

Our only set-back to date was the old boiler breaking down last night but it has been nursed back into working order this morning by Joe, one of Justin’s electricians.  We’re so hoping that it will hold out until:

  • the weather warms up a bit and
  • the new boiler is installed and powered up.

We’ll upload photos on to our website in the next day or two so that you can follow our progress – well strictly speaking, it’s the progress of our builders!