East Ruston Cottages

Location: East Ruston, Norfolk, United Kingdom

About us, Dermot and Sue Allen and our dog friendly holiday cottages. We started with the Old Forge running it for friends in 2005. In 2007/8 we were able to develop our own holiday accommodation, The Old Piggery. The Garden Room was added, belonging to another friend and the success of these prompted a further request to add Red Roofs at Hickling which has been doing very well. In 2012 we are embarking on our next project, New Barn. It isn't new at all (approx 180 years old) but it will be a fabulous new addition to our dog friendly holiday accommodation. Keep watching this space....!

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Straw bale barn and growing lambs

Another month gap between one blog post and the next; lots has happened.  For starters the straw bale barn now has a roof on and the bales are in the process of compacting and becoming a lot stronger. 

And the scaffolding came off and the whole thing looks a lot more barn like.  It's being left for a while to settle before being sprayed with a lime render inside and out and then being painted (up for a work party anyone!?)

In the meantime the lambs are growing nicely.....

and there has been some destruction in the garden!  That trench is being dug across the front garden and main garden for cabling for the wind turbine.  There will be another one dug across the field to join up with it.  Just as well I'm not garden-proud! 

Just to remind myself of how nice a garden can be I went to the East Ruston Old Vicarage Gardens.  Blissful place and minutes away from all the holiday cottages.

Gives me something to aspire to when the trench is filled in?!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Blogging fail!!

Oh dear.  Every couple of days or so I think "I must blog"  (everyone is waiting with baited breath for my latest pearls of wisdom? As if!) but I have failed for so many reasons.  Suffice to say we have had a protracted lambing period, some of the wettest and windiest weather for years during April  (which has adversely affected animal health and building work), family staying for nearly 3 weeks, a death in the family, the death of a friend, builder problems (re straw bale barn) and a new property to add to the website. 

Other than that it's been peachy. 

At some point normal service may be resumed....I may get to post about the third in the series of 'Our favourite photographers', there may be more lamb pics, more straw bale barn pics (between the showers) and more stuff about the dog friendly holiday cottages we run!  In the meantime, I am carrying on running to stay in the same place!  But keep checking in.... A photo of the view from outside The Old Forge - just give you something lovely to look at for now.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Lambs as a (unexpected) birthday present.

Our 16 lovely ewes came back home a few weeks ago for lambing. I counted and re-counted and re-re-counted the dates from when they first went in with their rather ugly beau last year and, unless the gestation period for sheep has changed without me being told about it, they were due, at the earliest, on 1st April.

On the 16th March, which is Dermot's birthday, I came out in the morning to find these little darlings......

There was another set of twins too.  Their mum wasn't too bright but a vet visit restored her even if our bank account felt a bit sickly afterwards. All good now and today the dirty deed was done with the elastic bands and the 'knacker crackers' as 3 out of the 4 are ram lambs. There's a rama lama ding dong joke in there somewhere....

Now waiting to see whether the other 14 are going to be early or on time.  Such fun!

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

STOP PRESS!! New dog friendly property added!

I will get to 'Our Favourite Photographers - Part 3" soon but in the meantime some exciting news.  A guest of ours has booked to stay in a little barn conversion just up the coast here at Gimmingham.  (our guests are allowed to stay at other holiday cottages .....with our permission!!)  She suggested, very resourcefully and very thoughtfully, that I get in touch with the owner of the cottage as it isn't at all easy to find and only really being marketed via a dog rescue.  The long and the short of it is that I had a long chat with the owner and she is going to join the East Ruston Cottages website.  Yay!  Another gorgeous little dog friendly property.  Sleeps 4, stone floor with underfloor heating, wet room, broad band, a mile from the beach and very tastefully decorated.  No charge for dogs. What's not to like!

Just waiting for the web designer to add the page and we'll be away with the bookings.  There are several already for this year.

Get in touch if you need to know more sue@eastrustoncottages.co.uk and watch out for the new page on the website. 

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Our favourite photographers - Part 2

Stephen Mole is a recently acquired friend and proof that the whole Twitter/Facebook thing does actually have some tangible benefits.  He picked up on a photo I put on Twitter of the roofing reed we had stacked for future use on the barn, wanting to know if he could come and take photos.  When I looked into who he was and saw his website I was bowled over by the beautiful images that he produces of our lovely county.

Amazingly several of them are of the boat houses just opposite the house at Hickling, Red Roofs.

There are photos of the coast, of our iconic windmills, beautiful sunsets in the enormous Norfolk skies and just so many more....

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Our favourite photographers - Part 1

We are very lucky to know three very creative photographers and we love all their images so thought it about time to share them here.

Penel Malby has taken most of the photos on the website as she comes here twice a year on holiday with her 6 dogs so could combine business with pleasure!  Her speciality is, unsurprisingly, dog photography and she does a similarly lovely job with the images of children. 

I started to add some of her images and then realised there are SOOOO many that I really like that this post would end up as a gigantic selection of her images...which is what her website is for!  So I urge you to visit it (www.penelopemalbyphotography.co.uk) and see for yourselves some of the lovely work she does, especially as she is branching into wildlife now too.....which reminds me..... just one more...!

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Bookings for 2012 - being dog friendly counts!

Really VERY pleased with 2012 bookings.  The Piggery was booked up ages ago, there's only one tiny, wafer thin December week left if anyone wants it?  Read the guestbook to understand what it is makes people come back time after time.  Clue: it's VERY dog friendly but also a nice place for their humans!

Fiona at the Garden Room is also very chuffed with how bookings are going since she joined us.  Booked all through the summer, most of the spring and has had some very healthy winter bookings too.  There is no dog proof garden there but the location is beautiful, the Garden Room is delightful, there are some lovely walks from the door and it suits a great many people with their dogs.

The Old Forge has been slow to start this year but it has a good following of regulars who started the bookings off and now they are building well.  It's been improving year on year since we took it over 6 years ago.  Bookings for the Old Forge are historically made a little later than the Piggery so I'm not worried - we have a good year building.  Summer bookings are looking good and it also does very well in winter - the wood burning stove makes it very cosy on a cold night.  There are no dog restrictions and it sleeps up to 10 so is often full of several sets of friends or large family groups.

It is Red Roofs I am most pleased with.  The owner, Jane, took the property away from the English Country Cottages group as they just weren't working at getting her bookings and, like so many agencies, were taking a whopping 20%+ commission (and being very slack at paying the booking money).  We worked in tandem last year as she had to run to the end of her contract but at the beginning of 2012 it was just little old East Ruston Cottages going it alone.  She (and her accountant!!) were a little nervous about this year and whether I could get them the bookings they needed. They were nervous?? I was terrified!  The might of a national agency v just me and my home grown marketing efforts?  Like David and Goliath all over again!  But we have our secret weapon.... being genuinely dog friendly!  And because we are, people want to come and holiday with their dogs and know that they don't have to worry about them.  It also helps hugely that Red Roofs is a lovely property in an amazing position overlooking Hickling Broad with a fabulous large grass dog proof back garden.

So there we are other holiday property owners - get dog friendly! You know it makes sense!