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Saturday, 27 April 2013

Getting Warmer at Last

April has been a busy month at The Cloud Hotel and we have been delighted to welcome so many of our regular customers back to the Cloud. Many of them have been coming for a number of years and of course know my staff which creates a lovely relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
We have had some warm and sunny days and for a couple of days it was even warm enough for the customers to sit in the secluded  garden and enjoy afternoon tea or just relax in the sunshine. The Spring flowers are in full bloom bringing colour to the garden but they are flowering very late this year making it difficult to plant the summer flowers!

I love this time of the year when the New Forest springs into life again, the leaves on the trees are turning a fresh green, the gorse is out and the foals should be appearing although I haven't spotted one yet! The donkeys have been put out to graze and are seen most days walking passed the hotel.

The New Forest is now dry after all the rain we have had and is ideal for walking. Just step outside the Cloud Hotel and you are in the heart of the New Forest. Information about walks are available from reception and there are many cycle paths for you to enjoy if you bring your own bikes or hire one from the cycle shops that are in the area. We welcome cyclists and have a secure covered bike shed for you to store your bikes.

For those of you who would like to learn more about the New Forest National Park you can take a Minibus Tour with Harry Oram. For the last 20 years of his career he was Chief Forester at the New Forest where his responsibilities included planning and managing the seasonal work programmes both within the the forest timber enclosures and over the open forest. He has a great knowledge of the working of the forest and the wildlife. For further information and to book contact the Cloud Hotel on 01590 622165.

The Cloud Hotel is now a member of Hampshire Fare. To become a member of Hampshire Fare 30% of our supplies have to be from the local area. I am pleased to say that we support Beaulieu Chocolates [they are delicious], New Forest Wine from Setleyridge Vineyard, Owton's butchers [spot the name!] and whenever possible source other local produce.

Members of the Wessex Women's Network met last Tuesday at the Cloud Hotel to hear David Sullivan give an entertaining  talk on 'Life as a  Shepherd'. I founded the Wessex Women's Network 10 years ago for women in the New Forest and surrounding areas to get together exchange ideas, have fun and support each other. We meet every month at the Cloud Hotel to hear speakers from all walks of life on  a range of diverse subjects followed by a three course dinner and wine. Read the Wessex Women's Network Blog!

Talking of fun I had the honour of attending Lady Montagu of Beaulieu's 70th birthday celebrations last Saturday and it was a great evening attended by 400 guests and the champagne flowed!

The evenings are drawing out and the days are getting warmer, the Forest is waking up after a long winter an ideal time to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and wildlife of the New Forest National Park. See our special mid-week breaks and give us a call on 01590 622165 for further information

I look forward to having the pleasure of welcoming you to the Cloud Hotel.


Thursday, 4 April 2013

It's Officially Summer Time and It's Snowing!

On Sunday it was officially summertime and the clocks went forward It's April 4th and it's snowing in the New Forest as I write this! I still have the log fire burning keeping everyone warm and cosy whilst relaxing in one of our cosy lounges or to warm them up after a walk in the forest. This time last year we were sitting in the garden in glorious sunshine! However the unpredictability of the weather gives us all something to talk about or even complain about!

Easter was so early and cold this year that many people stayed at home but that gave me the chance to enjoy the company of my family [all 12 of them with grandchildren and partners] and as it was also my birthday at the weekend I thoroughly enjoyed myself. At least it was dry giving us the opportunity to cross the road from the hotel and walk into the forest. The forest has dried out alot now after all the rain and whilst we were ambling along a deer ran right across in front of us. Even though I have lived in the New Forest for 38 years I always love the site of a deer.

One of the charities the Cloud Hotel supports is Vitalise a charity that gives essential breaks for disabled people and carers. Three times a year we give the carers of Alzeimer's sufferers who are staying at Netley Waterside House a night out. We treat them to dinner and wine and time away from their dependants so they can relax and enjoy each others company. Last week they had an added bonus when David Bonney a magician and member of the Magic Circle entertained them with some amazing card tricks. Alzeimers is a terrible disease that can last for a very long time and some of the carers have been coming to us for several years and we have got to know them.

This week Brockenhurst College hosted the Wessex Salon Culinaire for the second year running and once again the Cloud Hotel sponsored the Napkin Folding competition. I am passionate about encouraging the young people to go into hospitality, it is hard work but it can also be fun, it is never boring and it is the fastest growing industry in this country so there are plenty of jobs available. I was encouraged to see so many enthusiastic young people from several different catering colleges taking part in the different classes covering all aspects of catering. I was one of the judges for Napkin Folding class and was impressed with the standard and variety of designs. Napkin Folding is quite a skill and not easy to do correctly and with speed.

April is the time of year we start to see the foals appearing on the forest but if they have any sense they will hang on until the warmer weather comes although I do understand it is warming up next week! Let's hope they are right.

Our special weekend breaks, stay 2 nights and get 3rd night free are available until the end of April so if you need a break from the stresses of everyday life come and enjoy the relaxed and friendly atmosphere of the Cloud Hotel, take advantage of our special offer and let us look after you.

Keep warm