Wednesday 28 November 2018

Birthday Celebrations Continue

Thank you for your birthday wishes. I had a lovely day and I must admit to feeling any different now I have arrived in the next decade. We had lunch at a venue which I have been wanting to go to for a while. The Yeo Valley Headquarters Canteen. 
It has a novel display outside it's entrance. I don't expect there are many children that can resist playing with it.

The farm theme continues in the vestibule.

The headquarters to this well known dairy producer is high up on the hill above the village of Blagdon just on the northern edges of the Mendips. The view of Blagdon lake and the surrounding hills is in theory magnificent. Sadly yesterday rain and low cloud obscured this for most of our visit. It cleared slightly just as we were leaving.

It is in close proximity to one of their main farms. A huge map on the wall in the corridor indicates their location and that of the producers that supply the canteen. 

The canteen started out as it's name suggests as the staff canteen for Yeo Valley employees. It became known by locals, it was officially opened to the public and now requires the booking of a table sometimes weeks in advance. All of the food served is organic and is mainly sourced locally.
Much of the decor is quite quirky and includes many 'up cycled ' items. 

There is certainly plenty to look at while you await your meal.

We were joined by my mum and my sister.

Note the interesting lampshades behind us on both sides.

The food was all delicious. Trying the desserts was almost essential. I went for a lemon posset topped with their compote.

Farmer husband tried an apple crumble sundae.

Mum and my sister both went for ice creams.

One of the benefits of visiting the canteen is that you can use their discounted shop. We therefore stocked up with yogurts, ice creams and other dairy products before leaving.
Then it was home for birthday tea with the rest of the family and another fantastic cake made by farmer daughter.

Monday 26 November 2018

Beginning to Celebrate

It's a while since I did a post with being quite busy plus a lack of photos to post but here I am on this overcast Monday morning. I am making the most of today because tomorrow I leap into my sixties! How did that happen?
The celebrations have actually already started. Student daughter arrived home for the weekend with a lovely bouquet of flowers.

Yesterday we took my family out for Sunday lunch. It was a rare occasion to get all of us together even though we now all reside back in the UK. 

I had the obligatory badge and glass.

I share my birthday with my younger great nephew who will be 1 on Tuesday. 

It was then back to enjoy some family time together. Farmer daughter had done an admirable job cake making and decorating with a little help from her sister and my mum.

There are further celebrations to look forward to during the week.

However by the end of yesterday everyone was ready for a rest.

Tuesday 13 November 2018

A Few More Scarecrows.

It has taken me a while to show you a few more of the scarecrows. The trail has now finished but these are a few that we managed to get to see. 
Some of them have been given a great deal of thought. This one labelled as a landmark is I think particularly clever. 

Have you guessed it?

The work in some of them is quite remarkable. I wouldn't mind sharing this next one.

Equally some of them are simply clever. The answer to this one is 'you'.

Some are very small but still give a clear message. Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?

The church is always quite adventurous with their entry although the paramedic looks like he needs a bit of treatment himself.

Well that's enough for today. Should you be still wondering the first one is The Gret Wall of China.

Sunday 11 November 2018

We Will Remember Them

You will all know that it is100 years ago today at 11am that the guns ceased at the end of World War 1. There are many different ceremonies and events happening which mark this event. Many churches have some kind of remembrance for their own parishioners lost and a common way of depicting this is through perspex outlines placed in the pews to represent each soldier that never returned.This is one photo that I took in Alfriston church.

Many church communities have also made hundreds of poppies creating amazing installations inside and outside of their churches. This week I went to see a local one at St Andrew's Church, Blagdon.

Made mainly from knitted poppies.

A lot of work has been spent on these displays.

Alongside these there are the silhouettes to represent each of the lost soldiers of Blagdon. Each with information of their short lives. Sadly some such as the family described below had more than one loss.

One of the soldiers had been a member of the choir. His memorial is paced in the choir stalls.

One young soldier died only days before the ceasefire. Imagine how that must have been for his family. Some of these young men are buried back in their own churchyards although obviously thousands remained on the battlefields.

Both of my grandfathers were on active service in World War 1 something they were unable to speak of afterwards. My paternal grandfather is in the front row far right. He was injured but the only survivor when the pill box he was in was hit. 

They were both also active as home guards and air raid wardens during World War 2. This is my maternal grandfather in his home guard uniform. He had been a wireless operator in WW1 in France.

We all have a lot to be grateful to all these young men who either gave up their lives for us or lived with the memories of their experiences for the rest of their lives. It is so important that we never forget them.

Friday 9 November 2018

Looking Ahead

My walk with Poppy yesterday incorporated walking out to check the ewes.

They are looking fit and ready to start on the next step in the farming calendar. 

On the 1st November the rams were put in the ewes and have been having a busy time since. 

They will stay with the ewes now until the end of March when we keep our fingers crossed for a good lambing season.

Thursday 8 November 2018

Take Three Thursday: Keeping in Touch

I am taking you back to Cranmore today to the East Somerset Railway. I spotted something on the platform which I thought would be just right to join Mary Lou with her Take Three Thursday.

The busy scene above looks like it could be something out of a film set. Have you spotted the telephone box on the left? There is something rather special about it. It was made in 1926 and incorporates not only a telephone box but also a stamp machine and a post box. There were only 50 of these combined boxes made and this particular one was once on a street in Bristol. When bought from the GPO it cost the heady sum of £10!

1. The post side of the box.

2. The stamp machine and letter box. Note the initials GR which signify that the box is from the time of King George V. The post box is still in use. 

3. Inside the box there is an early type of pay phone with A and B buttons. The coins would be preloaded before the call. The minimum charge was 2d (2 old pennies). When the call was answered button A was pressed to allow the money to drop in. Should there be no answer then button B was depressed to get your coins back. I recall these phones but was too young to use one. I do remember being very worried that if I had to use one I wouldn't be able to sort out the buttons!

Pay phones were a big part of our growing up. Ringing home just once a week, queuing to use the phone as a student with your 10p at the ready. Getting your parents to ring you back to save money. Those were the days!
Can you remember when you last used a pay phone?

Tuesday 6 November 2018

A Close Shave

This year we had two bonfire parties. The first was on Friday with all the family in one of our fields away from all the animals. We had a good bonfire to keep us all warm.

There was hot soup, sausages and baked potatoes. It always tastes better when you are outside.

The little boy above sat in the Landrover was not happy at all. He was not keen to join in. It turns out he was upset about burning the guy which he and his sister made. When you think about it the tradition is pretty gruesome.

There was toasting of marshmallows on sticks. Quite tricky with such a hot fire.

The next evening we had another bonfire at a neighbouring friend's farm. 

We were lucky to have another clear dry night.

We had a few fireworks.

It's always a bit worrying setting off your own fireworks. This time we had what could have been a very nasty accident. A firework tipped and sent a stray flame straight at us. Luckily it missed everyone but shot into the trailer where we had served the food. Hitting the back wall (leaving a substantial mark) it fell down onto the bales of straw. It luckily dropped onto a bag which with some quick reaction from one of our friends who managed to throw it outside. A very nasty fire was fortunately averted.
It took everyone a while to settle down again. A few sparklers were seen as a safer option.

Certainly a memorable evening.