It was a race to the finish, but our 12 smart new shower units are in place in the first floor of the retreat house. Replacing the original two rather basic bathrooms installed in the 1960s when the stables were first converted to the existing building, they offer a more private and comfortable experience for visitors.

This completes the second phase of our planned refurbishment. The first phase, the installation of a lift to carry visitors and their luggage to the first floor, was finished in the spring of last year.

Jim Darlington, a governor at Minsteracres who was one of a team of volunteers who pitched in to clean the building in advance of the first retreatants arriving, said, “I think it will transform the place. The upstairs will be well catered for now this is done.

“I have spent part of the last week making beds along the first floor to get it ready for the big group arriving at the weekend and there are some lovely rooms there with great views.”

Reflecting the board’s ambition to continue with the phased refurbishment programme he added “Next we need to focus on the bedrooms and bathroom downstairs!”