Last night the staff and volunteers from the warden and garden departments gathered in the Bothy for a post-Christmas party (it was too cold before Christmas!). The fire was lit, the mulled wine and hot spiced apple juice flowed and the food was absolutely fantastic - venison kebabs, pork chops, sausages and beanburgers (for me and Ben - not many vegetarians that night); homemade chutney, cheese and crackers; Kate's mince pies and apple tart with brandy butter and Home Farm icecream. Yum. Everyone had a great time, and it was a lovely way to thank our volunteers for all their hard work and get to spend some time with them away from the job. I do have some photos but my cable has temporarily gone missing (the woes of moving house!) so I will have to add those at a later time. Big thanks to the garden team who set up the party and made it such a beautiful setting.
Yesterday I also attended one of the annual pre-season meetings, where staff and volunteers gather to hear exactly what each department has been up to over the last year and what they will be doing this year. I always find it interesting to hear from the other departments and see how we link together projects and events across the property. We also use these meetings to draw attention to our longer-serving volunteers, who receive a gift as a token of thanks from the Trust. It was amazing to hear that our longest-serving volunteers have been giving their time to Attingham for 39 years - incredible!