Firstly, a huge thank you to everyone who sent us kind messages following our appearance on Country House Rescue. We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the response and I apologise if I haven't managed to reply to you yet.

I have been reminded this week of the old television programme, 'Challenge Annika'. Short of jumping out a helicopter (probably not sensible anyway with only 3 weeks to go before baby no. 4 arrives!), I feel that we have done most of other things that Annika Rice had to do when trying to get a project completed in only a short period of time. I am so grateful for everyone's help - from the team of builders who were here until late last night finishing off the tea-room, to Simon our graphic designer and the printers who have put together our exciting new 'Unlocking the Stories' guide book. (This is not to mention the kind friends who have offered to look after the children, paint signs, erect tables and even walk the dog!)

Many people have asked how we are getting on with the new 'attractions'. We are hoping that both the children's play equipment and the maze should be operational by mid-May. The maze will initially be marked out using fencing and then we will add the yew trees in the Autumn which is a better time for planting. Ros, a local artist, has now completed her fantastic 'viewpoint panorama' and so, fingers crossed, that will be put on a lectern up by the 'Everest summit' in time for Easter. Most importantly, we hope that the car park will also be ready by the end of May. It will be such a relief when we finally have some hard-standing for visitors to park on - with only the old grass tennis courts to use at the moment we are praying for some fine weather!

The rest of the gardens will be open to visitors from tomorrow. We are starting to see the first hesitant signs of Spring but everything seems much further behind this year. If you are looking for riotous colour, I would definitely delay your visit by a few weeks! There have been no sightings of the Yeti yet this year but I am suspicious of some large footprints which Ed discovered up in the Bluebell woods.............