A Year At Trigony: Musings, Seasons & Local Goings On
A Year At Trigony: Musings, Seasons & Local Goings On.
This seems like the perfect time of year to start our blog as we first moved to Trigony in December 1999, so this is always a time of year when we look back over the past years adventures and forward to what the next year might hold and what we hope to achieve. The perfect point at which to start a blog!
Winter Envelops Trigony
The first morning at Trigony we awoke to find ice on the inside of the windows and wild winter weather outside. Luckily the open fires downstairs soon warmed us up and we have since made the place much cosier, but good fortune has also kept the wildest of weather away from Trigony too. Therefore we always think of December as the start of our year at Trigony House Hotel – the winter season is full of holiday cheer.
Last December was my 40th birthday, so to mark the occasion I planted an orchard in the top field which I hope will give much enjoyment for many years to come. It will be a few years yet until our enthusiasm is matched by anything significant for the restaurant (home grown apples in our pies and puddings, to match our locally sourced menu items) but part of the enjoyment comes from adding something lasting that will have a positive impact on the garden and local environment. We have always found Trigony to be a kind house and hopefully as the trees grow they will flourish. This year we have been fortunate to achieve a lot in making Trigony House Hotel a more environmentally sustainable hotel bringing the house into a balance with the local environment. I see this as a natural progression which carries on from the arts and crafts renovation the house underwent in the 1930s an ethos that we continue in the hotel.
This December brings major renovations to the coach house at Trigony as well as some landscaping to the garden, but more of that in subsequent blogs!! We will enjoy sharing the details with you and repaying the houses kindness by reinvesting in it and making improvements where we can.
January can be a melancholy month for some as the joy of the holidays fade and the New Year beckons unknown and unknowing. From a gardeners point of view I find January a positive month full of possibilities and dreams of what can be achieved. The cold, clear frosty mornings can be particularly beautiful at this time of year, but so too can the slow dreamy starts when the mist is reluctant to roll back and only gradually reveals the landscapes shapes. At the end of the day there is a very particular sense of well-being that comes from sitting by an open fire enjoying a truly indulgent winter dish of cassoulet or venison stew – restorative and good for the soul at the same time!
February brings the promise of spring and romance and we always see our rooms full with Valentine’s Day romantic breaks being very popular at this time of year. Candlelight is still clearly visible twinkling at the windows but the evenings are growing a little longer and the first signs of life are appearing outside in the garden. To encourage you to visit us this early in the year we often have a few late winter breaks to entice people back; it’s always lovely to welcome people back once they’ve stayed and we always hope that you enjoy it as much as the first time because then we know that we are doing things right.
Spring Breaks Through at Trigony
March and the first signs of rhubarb can be seen whilst the wild garlic insistently pushes up through the snowdrops. As far as the garden is concerned it is time to stop planning from the fireside and get to work! Luckily I usually have the delicious smell of Trigony marmalade wafting through the kitchen at this time of year to energise me, or a kind soul will bring out a tasty wee morsel of something to keep me going.
Last March we where in the throws of having a biomass boiler fitted at Trigony – allowing us to retire our old, oil-fired boilers and also do away with the coal for the fires which we are very proud of. Last spring also brought strong winds which felled quite a few of our older trees. This has meant that even the wood in our fires this winter is from the hotel grounds; I hope this coming year brings equal gifts if less dramatic!
April and spring have definitely established itself at Trigony our guests have been treated to swathes of daffodils and our work rejuvenating the garden can be seen from their bedroom windows (especially the aptly named garden suite). Delicious rabbit and mouth-watering leek and Loch Arthur cheddar soufflé’s fill the tum, and a whole new menu of possibilities evolves! We’re already looking forward to the pleasure the vegetable garden will offer and the delicious dishes Adam will create as will many amongst you I hope. Last year we won three awards at the Scottish Hotels Awards ceremony which are usually held in April. We were the regional winners of awards for ‘Best Restaurant’, ‘Best Country House and Hotel’ and ‘Best Breakfast’, three awards which we are very proud of. Lets hope this year coming you all hold us in such high regard. I know some of our team already have outfits planned with the hope of receiving a prize.
May and the first real warmth creeps into the garden to make it a perfect time for a seasonal spring break in Dumfries, Scotland. This is usually the first time our guests venture out into the garden to enjoy afternoon tea in the sunshine. Its also about now that Adam takes the notion to visit the breathtaking coast at Rockliffe (close to our Hotel’s location in Dumfries, see here). Although it can be spectacular in the winter when the frosty landscape and cold sea battle each other the spring brings a mellower landscape perfect for an afternoon exploring or sat on a rock warmed by the sun.
I always look forward to a local event, the Spring Fling in May. For those of you who haven’t been here at this time of year its an open studio event where you can tour around visiting the studios of local craftsmen and artists. You get to see their work in the space it’s created and a chance to actually chat to the people involved who are always really passionate and informative; all I would caution is that its very easy to get carried away especially as the event lasts over three days which is plenty of time to visit as many new studios as you’d like or keep re-visiting favourites. Two sculptures in the Trigony House Hotel garden are by a local artist Jennifer Watt and I always look forward to an excuse to visit her studio again.
Sunny Summer Months
June is often the best month for reliable weather I think, and there is so much to get out and see both in the gardens and the local Dumfries area and a little further afield into for the adventurous. Familiar walks are all the more pleasurable in the sunshine and new gems wait to be discovered. Last June we had the opportunity to explore amazing local gardens through the Open Gardens Scheme. Most of you will have heard of Charles Jencks famous, ‘Cosmic Garden of speculation’ which usually opens for one day a year at the end of May but there are many more beautiful and diverse gardens. To ad to the fun you often find yourself in a new part of Dumfries and Galloway that you’d missed before and for the more reluctant visitors (such as my children) tea and cakes often reignite the enthusiasm.
Last July Crawick Multiverse was opened, another landscape created by Charles Jencks but this one was funded by the Buccleuch Estate and so is open all year. It is already spectacular but this coming year they plan to arrange all manner of events there which will really give life to the area I think. As we hear more we will let you know don’t forget to sign up to our local Thornhill and Dumfrieshire visitor’s guide for exciting places to explore and wonderful walks in this area of Scotland, available to download if you click the link and add your details, we’ll also keep you updated to the seasonal special offers.
Back to Trigony and August finds the garden in full bloom. Many a day can be spent entirely outdoors, from a morning coffee and hazelnut shortbread by the hornbeam circle. Following the sun around in time for goats cheese and hazelnut salad with honey and thyme dressing by the dining room before venturing out to return for one of our delicious G&T’s in the evening warmth before a well deserved dinner overlooking the garden. The evenings are long and temperate and the sense of all being well with life warms the soul. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you Scotland cannot be sunny and glorious, Trigony House Hotel is a wonderful place for a summer break!
This year should bring a promising crop of apples as last year we had to strip all the fruit from the trees to let them establish. For September I am already looking forward to tart-tatin with Adams delicious pastry and our own apples. If the weather has been kind there is no limit to the range of orchard based dishes we are looking forward to, fingers crossed that the gages and plums are also bountiful.
October and the cooler evening temperatures hint at the colder weather to come. However any trepidation is lost in the glory of the autumn colours in the countryside that range from warm golden-yellow to crimson red through fiery orange and purple. The food also takes on an extra warmth too. Whilst collecting leaves and planning upcoming winter projects the mind drifts to a warming dish of prawns poached in tamarind, mustard seeds, tomato and coriander.
November and for us the year is again drawing to a close. Another year devoted to Trigony, caring for the house and you its guests in sumptuous splendour and luxury. The log fires blaze away and welcome all that venture in after a walk in the cold, fresh air. We have a new award in our cabinet which we are very proud of as it names us as ‘Best Pet Friendly Hotel in the UK‘. We hope you can come and visit us for a short break in this next year but whilst you are away Adam and I will try to give you a flavour of Trigony through this blog.
Thank you for reading, make sure to visit the rest of our blogs and discover some of Dumfries hidden delicatessens – www.trigonyhotel.co.uk/blog