Monday, 15 August 2016
Son number two wanted chickens as part of his 'conditions' of moving to the pub. It seemed like a natural request and after having two a few years ago and with a whole field at our disposal I quite fancied the idea of a flock too.
He has great ambitions of selling eggs and a bit like Roald Dahl's farmers, Boggis, Bunce & Bean in Fantastic Mr. Fox the boys now have ten chickens between them, two chicken houses and an electric fence to keep any unwanted visitors at bay!
After an eventful day where I managed to get loads of things wrong, I retreated to the field to watch these funny little birds enjoy their dust baths and hopefully find a little solace from my sense of failure.
The chickens have only been here a few days but some of them are already laying us an egg a day, which is brilliant, but this evening we've seen a fox so I just hope we can manage to keep them safe.
Tuesday, 2 August 2016
It's already the first of August and we haven't planned our summer at all! But maybe that's a good thing as sometimes it's just good to go with the flow, here's a few things that it would be fab to do if we get the chance, but only if!
- learn to identify butterflies
- make rafts to race along the river
- cook on a campfire
- organise an outdoor cinema evening
- wild swim
- decorate our new shepherds hut
- runaway with the circus
- pick blackberries and make hedgerow jam
- plan our kitchen garden
- welcome our chickens
- play crazy golf
- host a snail race
- catch some trout for tea
- make homemade ice cream
- learn how to paddle board
Tuesday, 26 July 2016
I have neglected this blog for a long while, and whilst you'd be forgiven for thinking that I'd given up on writing it, those of you that also hang out on Instagram will have seen glimpses into what has been keeping me busy and away from this blog for so long!
My husband and I have taken over The Daneway pub, in one of the most beautiful Cotswold Valleys and have upped sticks and moved here with the boys. We even had a royal reception with HRH The Prince of Wales here in our pub garden last week, it wasn't for us but for Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust who were celebrating the opening of their new nature reserve behind the pub!
It really has been quite a whirlwind! Learning about running a pub, launching our own business and moving house has really been quite something.
People ask whether it's something we've always wanted to do and in truth it isn't, pubs are notoriously tricky beasts, you work long hours and staffing is a nightmare in rural places. But this pub is something really rather special. Owned by family run Wadworth Brewery it was built as three separate cottages in the 1700's for the navvies who built the now disused canal. It sits nestled between three nature reserves and comes with a big field that I'm turning into my kitchen garden and a campsite, where we'll soon be siting a shepherds hut.
Our aim is to keep it simple and serve family friendly seasonal pub grub without pretensions.
We have been overwhelmed with the support we've received from family and friends and local businesses. The lovely Herbert family, who run Hobbs House Bakery brought us an epic present a giant lardy cake - it was absolutely delicious! Julie and Steve who have just taken over Miserden Nursery planted up some amazing hanging baskets for us and helped us hang them.
It's definitely a challenge living above the business there really is no switching off, but we are loving it and the boys have so much space to roam and have the freedom they need.
We have loads of ideas and plans going forwards and this bank holiday we're launching our first Cotswold Cider, Sausage and Snail Racing festival!
I'll try and blog a bit more often and if you're ever in this part of the world, do pop in and say hi!
Saturday, 4 June 2016
30 Days Wild is a fun awareness raising campaign run across the UK by The Wildlife Trusts a charity that works to protect local wildlife and wild places. The idea is that you get outside and do something wild every day, it could be eating your sandwiches outside in your lunch break, going for a walk, making elderflower champagne or having a snail race.
The hashtag #30dayswild is being used across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and already there are thousands of people taking part and sharing their love of nature and the outdoors. It's free and easy to take part and by signing up you receive a wall chart and random acts of wildness cards to inspire your every day wild activities.
Monday, 30 May 2016
I posted a picture of our treehouse last week on Instagram and the lovely folks at Lights 4 Fun asked if they could send me something to add a little magic to it after I left a cheeky reply on their comment! So just a few days later we received a lovely package containing these white LED festoon lights, so the boys decided that they'd eat their supper in it as they made it so magical. I can't wait for a summer full of fairy lights and you can even buy battery packs so we can take them camping, they'll look perfect in the bell tent!
Thursday, 26 May 2016
Last week I was delighted to be invited to the press night at Giffords Circus and went along with giddy excitement. I've been a fan of Giffords for years since I first discovered this vintage 1930's styled village green circus in 2001, enchanted by its (little) big top surrounded by showmans' wagons painted in a glorious burgundy livery.
As I got closer to the venue at Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire I started to see the handpainted signs by the side of the road 'circus this way' and I followed them until I found the circus nestled under the most beautiful old horse chestnut trees, who had decided to bloom in celebration with big white blousey blooms.
We were ushered to some seats in the front row, but knew this came with the risk of being pulled from the crowd by Tweedy the very naughty clown and lo and behold I was! I had to pose so that he could take a picture and for a nerve wracking minute I stood frozen in the middle of the ring with the bright circus lights shining on me, obscuring the rows of faces in the audience who roared with laughter as Tweedy worked his magic ~ he is always the star of the show for me. Or maybe, just maybe, that was my audition to run away with the circus, damn I may have ruined my big chance to be discovered!
This years show The Painted Wagon is a wild west extravaganza the styling and costumes were exceptional, even the 'Dodge City' band were all cowboys! Tweedy eased us into the show with his mad-cap capers that lended themselves perfectly to the theme. I was also delighted that Giffords Circus stalwarts Madame Nancy Trotter-Landry, the Ethiopian acrobats and jugglers Bibi and Bichu, all made a welcome return.
I'm not going to detail too much about the show as I don't want to ruin it for you, suffice to say that by the end my cheeks ached from laughing so much and the ariel and acrobat acts had me gasping in wonder as they were so good. You must go and see it for yourself, it really is such a highlight of the summer season in the Cotswolds.
After the show we were invited to dine in the restaurant Circus Sauce, the much-loved 60 cover travelling restaurant, where delicious three course meals are served to guests after the last show of the day. We enjoyed a confit of Tamworth pork and colcannon starter with truffle cream, followed by a spring green soup, then lamb hotpot with pickled red cabbage and spring greens and the most delicious custard tart to finish, all locally sourced. After pudding is served the talented chefs join in the circus fun by performing a hilarious puppet show that had us roaring with laughter. It really is the most magical and perfect way to end a trip to Giffords, under the fairy lights with tables full of mismatched china and jugs of cow parsley on every table.
Giffords Circus is touring the Cotswolds and making a trip to London too, tickets are selling fast and the restaurant is even selling out already, so don't leave it too late to book, you won't be disappointed!
Tuesday, 24 May 2016
I've just spent the weekend with 40 women in the wilds of west Wales at this year's Sisterhood gathering. The brainchild of Lou Archell the weekend was wonderful, a time to meet and connect with friends, learn new skills in the workshops and just 'noodle' about taking photos as my dear friend Laura says! The venue for this years gathering was the rather gorgeous Fforest Manorfan camp near Cardigan. The pictures above are just a few of my favourite moments from the weekend and if you want to see more, do look up #sisterhoodcamp2016 on Instagram.