The Old LodgeTuesday 9th May 2000
THE OLD GATE LODGE stands on a lonely lane opposite the LinPac packaging factory near Featherstone. The roof tiles have been stripped away and the lodge is now just an empty shell, but it still has stone-mullioned windows and a date above the door; 1655.
It stands at a northern entrance to the Nostell Priory estate. As the name suggests, this estate was the property of a relegious order until the dissolution of the monasteries, a century before the date was carved.
After my island break it's time to catch up with the garden. There's so much to do at this time of year, it is difficult to know where to start. Hedge, lawn and weeds have put on a spurt of growth while we have been away. Rather than doing a generalised tidying up I opt to create a small patch of order; very small in fact, just two feet by three feet. I plant four short rows of onion sets, then put the cold frame over them, an essential protection against next doors hens.
On the positive side, the hens have spent the winter aerating the soil, pecking at weed seeds and insects and they've added their own organic fertilizer. So it should be a good crop of onions.