Today (Monday) was widely feted as being the ‘hottest day of the year’ with temperatures due to peak in the south of England at about 32 deg C. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) for Cheltenham it turned out to be a bit of a damp squib. It started promisingly, but quickly deteriorated as the morning progressed, with cloud and some rain, which helped to damp the heat down but made it a bit more humid. It was still pleasant and temperate rather than hot, unlike the south east, where trains from London to East Anglia were cancelled due to the effect on overhead power lines. What do they do in Mediterranean countries etc I wonder? Wimbledon going great guns though, and quite hot in London – Venus Williams eliminated but Andy Murray through to the Quarter Finals. A British year at last, in a major Wimbledon anniversary year – or just another disappointment at the last hurdle? On the home front, we completed a SouthWest Tourism application to be considered for the 2010/11 B&B awards, but with little hope as most of the questions seemed to be aimed at the slightly less ‘off the wall’ unique B&Bs, asking questions about staff training strategies, sustainability and accessibility policies etc. Not much scope for trumpeting personality, ambience, and all those ‘je ne sais quoi’ factors which make people like to stay… Other than that, it’s been a day of renewal with our genial pony-tailed son of a GP gardener Rob, bringing over a new generation of flowers to replace those now ‘past their seasonal best’ on Tennyson’s balcony and some new hanging baskets. The outside of the house is almost at its best at the moment, underlined by Veronica taking our new house portrait, by local artist Lisa Calnan, to Paul at Crown Galleries for framing. She won’t tell me at the moment what she’s selected, but between her and Paul they usually turn up trumps. Looking at Hanover House’s natural Cotswold stone exterior, nicely patina-ed by age (the last but one in York Terrace to retain its original look), Andrew, our jovial next door neighbour who is having his house renovated, is seriously considering stripping the modern coating on his house back to the natural stone too. That would be interesting, contrasting fresh stonework with 163 years worth of wear and tear and weathering. What we don’t have unfortunately, is the original striped canvas awning which Andrew has folded into a slot above his front door and can still be extracted. I don’t think Numbers 1-4 York Terrace ever had them, as there are no signs of them having been fitted, but the subsequent houses do. Clearly an innovation installed in about 1850 when the next phase of building had begun and the exterior house design had changed with different numbers of windows and more jutting-out balconies. I did see a photograph however in the National Archives of York Terrace in about 1943 with canvas awnings over the drawing room windows of nearly all the houses in the terrace – clearly the fashion of an earlier era, although there are no signs in the 1890′s photos. You can still see the mounting holes in the stone above our windows.