Farewell to summer and welcome to Autumn
Like many other holiday accommodation owners, here at Astrofarm we have begun the process of preparing for the colder months of winter. However, unlike may B&B’s and Gites we are gearing UP for our busy season rather than closing down! October is a milestone for us as it is the anniversary of our opening and also the beginning of the winter season. It marks a change in focus for us and a busy time at Astrofarm
We have continued through September with late summer holiday makers in both the Gite and the B&B as the daytime weather has been glorious with temperatures still in the high 20’s. We have noticed a subtle change in the air since the end of August and a definite autumnal feel in the early mornings and evenings. With the passing of the autumn equinox last weekend, we begin to make the changes necessary for the cooling temperatures.
Having animals at Astrofarm means that we are particularly aware of the seasonal changes, as all the chicken keepers out there will know. Later letting out and earlier bedtimes for the girls marks the daily changes in daylight hours. We are also perhaps more aware here at Astrofarm with the darker night skies drawing in – both dinner and setting up and observatory preparation get earlier (all good for astronomy)! During June, July and early August we find that we have late, long drawn out suppers with our guests as we wait for the skies to darken enough for observing – in mid-summer this is almost midnight!
I have also, for the last couple of weeks, had to put on a fleece in the early morning for the animal feeding, walking routine as we have had a noticeable chill in the air. Once or twice we have briefly put on a little electric heater in the evenings but vow not to light the log burner or fire up the central heating until after the middle of October!
We have a few quiet days at last and so, like many others, we are making the changeover. Today I switched of the drinks fridge on the veranda, switched on the power for the Dortoir heating and set the thermostats on the bathroom heated towel rails. We have brought in soft furnishings from outdoors and put away the parasols and put out the Astrofarm fleeces in the Dortoir. Summer weight bedding has been replaced with heavier quilts and extra blankets put on the beds.
Our winter marketing really kicks in now as people return to work after the summer, their holidays a distant memory and minds turn to the possibilities of a short winter break. We shall be fully open this year and so this is a hugely important time for us in making a living here in France with an all year round business. We will be promoting 3 night breaks for both keen astronomers and those who would like to just enjoy and learn a little more about the night sky.
We have lots to look forward to in October with the start of the new club on the 5th and the astro-photography course on the 29th which will start our winter programme of activities. We have our first honeymooning astronomers (very flattered that they have chosen to come here) and a couple of big names in the astronomy world. We also have bookings from old friends which will be lovely and several new faces too. We welcome a number of woman astronomers travelling out here on their own, testing out our Dortoir and mid-month we are full with a group booking, which will keep us on our toes!
We are always a little sad to say goodbye to the summer but know that here in France we will still have warm sunny days. We have stunning autumn sunsets and sunrises and the trees and countryside are looking spectacular. Andrew looks forward to the winter constellations and clear, sharp winter nights and the grass stopping growing! I look forward to less time spent watering the veg patch, lighting the log burner and making huge pots of soup.
Happy autumn everyone from all here at Astrofarm.