Like so many people Covid hit us hard and closed us over night. We had to think quickly to keep us from selling the Manor. We knew when we inherited the house in 2010 that we could only live here if the house paid for itself. Here is our diary from the last two years.

January 2020

The B & B bookings started to slow down, and our regular London guests weren’t coming as often but the meetings got really busy with one or two meetings in the house nearly every day in February.  Then in March, meetings started to be cancelled last minute.

Monday 16th March 2020 – all meetings got cancelled that week.  We had a big spring clean of the house.

Wednesday 18th March 2020– I realized we needed to do something urgently and I sent the following text to two girl friends that lived in London, which they forwarded onto school What’s app groups.

In view of what is happening now our regular B&B and meeting guests have cancelled their bookings.  As such, the house is available to rent (five double ensuite rooms and one room with a separate bathroom) on a week by week basis until the end of April.  It would be fully staffed; include all bills and we can provide food orders and / or homemade freezer food.  If you know of anyone wanting to self-isolate in the country, please put them in touch.  See the website for photos www.overtownmanor.co.uk.

I had sixteen enquires in one day from families wanting to escape London.

Thursday 19th March 2020– Perce, George, Zara and I moved into the flat in the house and we cleared all our personal belongings out of the main part of the house.

Friday 20th March – 22nd May 2020 – A lovely family from London arrived with their three boys. They stayed for ten weeks.  We were all extremely nervous of seeing each other and all conversations about how things worked and where to buy food etc was done through a closed door.  Perce and I had been to the Cheltenham Festival, which was a super spreader event.

Monday 23rd March 2020 – Boris’s announcement – LOCKDOWN

Home schooling – the flat suddenly felt quite small! Joe Wicks workouts, Zoom meetings, swearing at the printer and trying to work out how the technology worked for online lessons……….and endless food shopping and meals!

Sunday 24th May 2020 – Another lovely family arrive from London and stay on and off for a month.

Sunday 10th July 2020 – The first family from London came back for another two weeks

Monday 27th – Wednesday 29th July 2020 – Mad clean-up of the house (all hands-on deck) and we move out of the flat to live with my parents.  I started to be very methodical, labelling items and neatly wrapping it all. By Wednesday afternoon we were just emptying draws into boxes! HOW CAN WE HAVE SO MUCH CRAP! We could not find anywhere to rent that would take us and the dogs. Ideally, we needed a fully furnished house as we had to leave all our furniture at the Manor.

Thursday 30th July 2020 – A family from London arrive with three children to rent the house for eight months

I spoke to every letting agent around asking if they had any accommodation we could rent, there was nothing available.  I was now looking at mobile homes, much to my husbands horror, he is 6 ft 3 and did not fancy a winter in a mobile home with two teenagers!  In a panic I rang our neighbours and asked if they had anything on their estate we could rent ………….. we would take anything.  He suggested we move into his house – Overtown House.

Monday 7th September 2020 – We moved into Overtown House with two teenagers, two dogs and a cat.  We were 200yds from Overtown Manor and the horses.  To be clear Overtown House is one the most beautiful houses I have ever seen.  We absolutely loved our adventure living there.

The downside was it was quite cold! And the only place Zara could get good enough WIFI for home schooling was in the Butler’s Pantry surrounded by all their family silver!  We enjoyed six incredible months there. We were so grateful to our neighbours, it was a happy house with lovely memories.

Sunday 14th March 2021 – We all move back to my parent’s house for the painters and builders to work on Overtown House ready for letting out.

The Great Clean! – Monday 29th March, Tuesday 30th March and Wednesday 31st March 2021

Julia, Clare, Shell, Tiff, Hannah, and I clean Overtown House from top to bottom ready for Thursday 1st April and the arrival of the new family. There is so much dust from all the building work, but we did the best we could.

Thursday 1st April 2021 – Uniquely, the family that rented Overtown Manor move to Overtown House and we move back home (back into the flat).  The team and I then clean Overtown Manor from top to bottom ready to relet the house the next day!

Friday 2nd April 2021 – We all collapse in a heap and the second family that rented the Manor last summer come back for a month while their house is being renovated.

I tentatively try to start running my business again and realise it is still not possible, so we join ‘Sawdays’ and advertise the house as a holiday let.  We have a few Nationwide meetings, B&B guests, a wake and then through July and August the house is a holiday let.

July and August 2021– the house is let as a holiday let.

Sunday 1st August – We make the difficult decision, with the uncertainty of COIVD we cannot guarantee business, we rent the Manor out again and move out of the flat and back to my parents’ house again.

Friday 20th August 2021 – A family from Hong Kong arrive at Overtown to rent the house for 7 months.

We are due to move into a farm cottage in Overtown, unfortunately the tenant did not want to move out and Mum and Dad were stuck with us.  The panic starts again – Where are we going to live?

Sunday 10th October 2021 – Luckily, another of our lovely neighbours lets us rent their house.  With no furniture we moved to No. 2 Overtown. Kidson Trigg auction house were amazing, and we managed to get bits and bobs that no one else wanted, a £10 sofa, another one that was going to the tip and friends helped us with beds and other necessities.

April 2022 – We finally move back to Overtown Manor and reopen the bed and breakfast and meeting venue.

A huge thank you goes to my parents, who must have got dizzy with us moving in and out of their home. And to our neighbours in Overtown who have watched with bewilderment as we loaded up the truck and trailer with all our stuff and moved again!

Thank you to all the lovely families that have lived at the Manor over the last two years, you have looked after it beautifully.

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