In the pictures above: The Chairlift comes in handy for roofwork on the Conservatory and on the Clocktower above. Also see our borehole being drilled in the lower gardens.
Two sections of the front of the castle have been restored and the walls cleaned and sealed - see pictures of how a wall can collapse (below left) and another wall being rebuilt by our stonemason. One wall took three months to rebuild!
In lower pictures, see the paths, garden patio and gardens being landscaped around the rear of the theatre.
All the limestone walls of the castle absorb water and many walls need re-pointing, cleaning and sealing. In some cases the stonework and mullions around the windows needs to be replaced or repaired. Currently there is one mullioned window on the back terrace which is steadily disintegrating with each frost and will need replacing more urgently.
Many gutters and windows on the main building badly need repairing and painting.
This work is not currently getting high priority due to lack of funds, a need for scaffolding for the more inaccessible areas that our chairlift cannot reach, and traffic lights in the case of the road facing section of the building.
Despite the credit crunch dampening business generally, at least the weather was dry in the summer of 2013! This enabled us to employ two painters working most of the 2013 summer on an exterior repaint of all the window frames. We will have them back in 2014 for another three months or so.
We have also repainted the main function room (shown here in its original blue colour) in creams and gold though we have left the music room until we fix a leak in one corner.
The Fountain has been repaired, shot-blasted and repainted in black and gold and is now working properly. It often needs repainting though as the paint seems to peel off the sides every winter.
The Castle Clock, which had not worked for many years, has been repaired at a cost of £23,000 and its Westminster Chimes can occasionally be heard across the valley. Currently the chimes are turned off as night time guests were complaining about the noise. A night time ‘retracting arm’ needs repairing to stop it chiming away all night.
The theatre Patio and terraces behind the theatre were completed in 2005, at a cost of £21,000. This is a new, well lit patio and walkways which replaced a pile of earth, stones and builders rubble as shown in the pictures below.
The theatre gardens when we arrived did not exist - it was just piles of earth and no walkway around the castle, while the walled garden was bare of any plants.
Newly installed lanterns, in the gothic style of the castle, illuminate the roadside wall, courtyard, paths and patio at night. Ideal in summer for relaxing outside when the weather allows and very pleasant for residents in Theatre Ground Floor rooms who can walk straight out of their room on to the paths and patio.