Spring, or is it summer?

Thursday May 19th, 2011 |Fiona

Welcome to May – our latest update.

We’ve had a wonderful April, with the weather being fantastic it has brought a lot of guests to our region – and more importantly, staying with us. It’s certainly been our busiest month so far. Norman and I were lucky enough over Easter to even sit out in our garden – the first time together since we moved here!!! Our guests certainly made use of the swing seat on the west patio, as it has wonderful views.

There are so many activities going on during spring – with a walk from Dolanog for a 3-4 mile tour (almost up to our house) and then a barbeque afterwards… always a lovely way to meet-up with our neighbours. And my homemade cheesecake disappeared quickly! Our dogs enjoyed the exercise too – even if we don’t do much walking nowadays, at least we can do this once a year!

Also, there’s been quite a few rally’s held locally; from the Bulldog Rally back at the beginning of April, through to a bike rally and then the MG event in Llanfair Caereinion. So, something motorised for everyone to enjoy.

Countryfile returned to Lake Vyrnwy in March, to update on the news about the tallest tree in Britain having to be felled – that storm I mentioned in the last blog had a lot to answer for. Then there is the 2 page spread about the lake and the environs in the latest Countryfile magazine, as part of Julia Bradbury’s great days out features.

Coming up at Lake Vyrnwy over the coming few weeks: a sponsored walk around the lake, birdsong recognition and a dawn chorus event from the RSPB, SpringWatch will be back for bird ringing and you can even learn to be a Nature Detective – how to learn about nature with the clues it gives us. For more information on events at Lake Vyrnwy, or the Welshpool area, click here.

We retained our 4* status with Visit Wales, so we’re obviously maintaining the standards we set when we first opened. I was particularly relieved; as it’s like having to sit an exam all over again… never did much like them at school! Our assessor was impressed with the few more touches we’ve added – comfy leather tub chairs in the guest lounge.

Something which has proved popular with our guests is my banana and chocolate chip muffins. It’s become the welcome treat on guests arrival, along with a choice of teas or coffee. Very much enjoyed on the patio when the weather was fantastic! So, for those that have asked, here’s the recipe (Courtesy of Lesley Jones of Chelmsford – in the Macmillan cancer support “The Little Book of Treats” which is full of lovely little teatime specials):

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins


  • 125g (4½oz) butter
  • 175g (6oz) soft brown sugar
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or essence
  • 175g (6oz) plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 100g pack plain/milk chocolate chips
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas mark 4.
  • Line some muffin tins with 12 paper cases.
  1. Melt the butter either in a bowl in the microwave or a saucepan over a gentle heat. Add the sugar, bananas, beaten egg and vanilla extract and mix together well.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon into another bowl. Add the chocolate chips and then fold in the banana mixture.
  3. Divide between the muffin cases equally and bake for 25-30 minutes or until firm but springy to touch.