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French BunnyWe are nearly ready to open for the Easter weekend, starting on Good Friday at 11am.  We are running our popular Easter Egg Treasure Hunt, which this year extends the egg pun to: Easter mEGGa  Hunt, with clues around the castle and grounds giving visitors the chance to win a very large chocolate egg; if consumed too fast, there will be a definite breach of the Government’s healthy eating campaign, but it will be delicious…

Behind the scenes, a lot has to be done before we open the doors.  Spring cleaning has to be finished, ropes and signs put up, the DVD for visitors unable to walk up the stairs checked, the dog bowls filled (we welcome dogs in the house with well-behaved owners), items sent away for restoration returned and put in their places. Outside, we have put new gravel in the courtyard and car park, repainted the village signs, restored the lake weir and tidied up the many fallen branches brought down by the earlier snow falls.  The tea tables will have been placed in the tea room yard, though it may be a bit chilly for those who normally like to sit outside, and the visitor centre will be clean and ready for action.  We have arranged for visitors with Privilege Cards to be fast tracked through the entrance, which should be good for them and shorten any queues.  The shop has been restocked, though if this weather continues, the demand for ice cream may not be too high.

The daffodils, if not covered by snow, should be out, and the playground ready for action, with its repaired swing and the Burma bridge, which was very popular last year when it was new.  We have planted a lot of young trees in the grounds, something future generations should appreciate if the rabbits and squirrels do not get them first.  At least there is no drought at the moment, so they are having a good start.

We hope to have a busy weekend, whatever the weather.  My coal-fired traction engine should be in the Courtyard in steam on Easter Day, and a wood fire will greet visitors every day in the Great Hall, giving a genuinely warm welcome in what may be EGGstreme conditions for the time of year…

JH-B  25th March 2013