Category Archives: welcome
Long cold winter!
As I’m writing this we are still all struggling with cold temperatures and it does seem to have been a never ending winter for us all. We managed to escape the snow down in Cornwall which I suppose is a blessing but I was looking forward to putting my brand new never-been-used sledges to use in the back field , which is on quite a slope and would have been excellent fun to sledge down (but probably quite an abrupt and painful stop in the brambles at the bottom). Alas it was not to be as Cornwall very rarely has snow 🙁 So our sledges remain unused hanging in the garage….maybe next year…?
Our season has started again after quite a few guests in November and over New Year. Our guests at New Year had a fantastic time and spent New Year Eve in the hot tub with bottles of bubbly (quite a few bottles at that!) Needless to say, they weren’t up and about very early on New Years day!!! Little did I know that, as we still had no direct access to the garden at that point, they came up with an ingenious plan of climbing out through the window!!! This only came to light after I posted a photo of the brand new door on facebook a couple of weeks ago!! It did make me laugh! Still no need anymore – I have a door (i’m a poet too didn’t you know!). Due to all the rain we had last year the windows in the end bedroom and one of the windows in the lounge leaked (not surprising with the horizontal rain we had some days), so in March we replaced the leaking ones with lovely new (horizontal rain proof) ones and replaced the window opposite the front door with a fabulous stable door. I know its crazy to be excited by a door but I have wanted to have one there since I bought the barn and now that its in it looks fabulous! See………!
On a very sad note I lost our lovely little ‘special’ chicken Doris in March too. She had become a firm favourite with all our guests and as she never could remember how to get in and out of the chicken house at night and could often be found asleep in random places in their garden, I would have to go and carry her to bed EVERY night. She lived much longer than everyone expected her to, when I got her I really didn’t expect her to live longer than a month so I had another 9 months with her and I feel very blessed to have known her. She was a real character and the other chickens all seemed to understand that she was ‘challenged’ and never pecked her or minded when she bumped into them! One of the downsides of Doris not having a memory (like Dori out of Finding Nemo) was that she would always react when I picked up up as if she had never been picked up before, flapping and kicking up a fuss…..until you tucked her under your arm and then she relaxed and seemed to enjoy being there. I do think she gave me one egg – as I found a really tiny one (about the same size as a mini creme egg) in the nesting box one day! I was amazed that it was egg shaped at all as I always said that if she ever did lay an egg it would be square! I didn’t have the heart to eat it! RIP Doris xxx
The minis have coped very well with this long, wet, cold winter and are becoming more Diva-like every day! They have got rugs (little tiny ones!) which they wear when its raining hard as Donkeys don’t have waterproof coats like horses do, and I installed an infra-red heat lamp in their stable so that they don’t get too cold at night! (yes they are very spoilt!). Our guests all love them and our current guests children, Hannah & Nathan, help me put them to bed at night and seem to spend most of their time out playing with them in the field – the minis hate every bit of this attention – NOT! They have a day time stable to shelter from the wind and the rain and an evening stable to snuggle up in their deep straw bed – I know they do this because I can see little mini donkey shaped nests in the straw in the morning! Cute! They are developing their characters and can often be found climbing up the bank at the back of the stables braying loudly if they think i’m late with their evening carrots (yes every night they go to bed with carrots – heavens only knows what would happen if they didn’t get them!) ‘Tilda is still the bossy boots and is very bold and Pebbles is slowly coming out of her shell – although she will never be as bold as ‘Tilda she certainly knows her own mind! Trying to lead them anywhere is a tricky task and I usually end up pushing them instead – its a hilarious sight I can tell you! I decided not to breed from Pebbles yet – she is old enough now as she turned 3 in March and that is the age that you can start to breed from donkeys, however, as she is quite a timid little person, I feel that it is better to wait till ‘Tilda is 3 (2 more years to wait) so that they can have babies together, this will also mean that there will be 2 foals and they can play together! This will give me time to sort some fencing out in the back field, which is next on my hit list!
One of my local farmers grazed his sheep on the back field for 6 weeks and it was really lovely to watch the lambs springing about the place – quite often a few would escape into the minis field – neither lambs nor minis seemed to mind about this at all – and I would often come home to find them grazing side by side!
Maisie the cob has been sent to boot camp! She was becoming a bit big for her boots and really needed to do more than just eat and boss the minis about! A lady down the road is a professional horse woman and breaks and schools young horses (she is very brave, kind and patient!). She has had Maisie for 6 weeks now and Maisie is a reformed character and loves being ridden! She has lost quite a lot of weight too (which she needed to!) and hopefully at the end of the week I will ride her for the first time (excited and nervous in equal measures!). Maisie is going to stay living down the road for a bit till we get used to one another and so that I can have some help with her – young horses have a tendency to test you from time to time in the first year of being ridden and its nice to have some ‘back-up’ when this happens!
Bookings for the barn have been coming in nicely – all the lovely reviews on Trip Advisor have certainly helped and I am very grateful for those guests who have taken the time to put these reviews on for me. The summer holiday weeks were all booked up by the end of last year – and I actually had to turn people away in the early part of the year due to the windows being done. I still have half term weeks available and it would be lovely to have guests in at Christmas this year. I have been so lucky with my guests and keep in touch with many of them via the Middle Lanherne Barn facebook page.
Well thats all for now – hopefully spring will spring into action in the next couple of weeks and the warmer weather will be very welcome all round!
Until next time……
Happy New Year!
Well I said goodbye to our last guests of 2012 yesterday. They were here for New Years and were really lovely guests. Even the weather improved a bit for their stay, the Minis and our latest addition Maisie a 4 year old cob for me to ride (eventually – I need to break her in first!!!) were a real hit and Maisie even got an apple left for her! (the minis like polos not apples and are still a little nervous of taking food from peoples hands!) They made full use of the hot tub during their stay & it was really good to see people enjoying it!
The wet weather has taken its toll on some of the windows in the barn so I have a window company coming out tomorrow to replace them & to add a door directly into the garden, which I’ve wanted to do since we moved down here! This is the down side to living with such stunning views, it means that we are pretty exposed when the wind and rain sets in as it has done for the past 4 months!!!
The new stable block is working really well for the minis and Maisie although we think we might move it as it currently faces the prevailing winds which blow from the coast. Sometimes I forget that I am less than 2 miles (as the crow flies or seagulls in my case) from Mawgan Porth beach! Somedays I can even hear the sea from here – but thats not usually a good sign and it means that the waves are crashing but oddly I really like hearing it!
I am hoping for another good year this year – I already have 7 weeks booked and enquiries for this year have started to come in now everyone is getting over the crazy Christmas break!
I’m keeping my eyes open for any orphan lambs that need a home so fingers crossed I might just have a few more little people to add to my constantly growing family!
All the chickens are doing well and laying loads of eggs! I thought that they were supposed to lay less during the winter but obviously no-one has told them that & they are laying away! I can’t get through all the eggs in a week so our guests benefit from their over production and they certainly don’t seem to mind! Doris update: she is still Doris!!! Somedays she can manage to find her way to the main chicken house to put herself to bed with the others but somedays she just gets a bit lost along the way! She is still the last one to get out of bed in the morning (but I don’t blame her – it is very cosy in there!). So my mummy services are still needed to check that she is in bed and safe in the evenings! Good – its nice to be needed!
I appear to be feeding the pheasant population of Cornwall too! Some enterprising pheasants have decided that Middle Lanherne is a safe house and have chosen to hang out in the field, not content with this, they hop (pheasants are rubbish at flying!) over the fence and tuck into the chickens food! This causes a bit of commotion with the chickens and Mother has to come and evict the said interlopers!
I think it would be nice to have some more chicks this year and there seems to be no shortage of broody hens for me to choose from! I plan to get some eggs for them to sit on in March and we will see if we can’t have some chicks for Easter! Hopefully we will get a higher percentage of girls this year! Annie is our only chick from last year as all the others were boys! The jury is still out on Smokey my grey chicken – she or he certainly doesn’t look like all the others and I am still not convinced that she will not turn out to be a he!!!!! No sign of any cockadoodledoo-ing yet though!
I have decided to include welcome packs for free from now on! So all guests will now arrive to find eggs, bread, cheese, bacon, butter, milk, orange juice, scones, jam and clotted cream! Obviously I will still provide tea, coffee & sugar too so that hopefully it means that it will be even easier to relax as soon as guests arrive!
Oh Oh Oh – very exciting news – I have a local Chinese restaurant that delivers to me….. Yes! you read that right – THEY DELIVER!!! The food is really very good and I can’t believe that finally I live somewhere where I can get take away food delivered – who would have thought that it would have been here! There is a menu in the barn for those who fancy a onsie snuggly evening in with no cooking!
The Cornish Arms in St Merryn and the Beach Hut are still my favourite places to eat out… but there are so many amazing restaurants to choose from down here…. spoiled for choice!
Obviously I, along with everyone else in the UK, am hoping for a much drier year this year so that we can enjoy the many events that go on in Cornwall like the Royal Show and the various events such as Polo on the Beach that take place at Watergate Bay – I think we deserve a warm sunny year don’t you?
Well thats all for now, I hope you all have a wonderful, healthy & happy 2013 and look forward to seeing our lovely repeat guests as well as new guests during the year.
Bye for now
My first summer in Cornwall….
In a word…..wet! We have had occasional sunny hot days and the odd week here and there which have been lovely but all in all I think we have all had a bit of a wet one! The wet weather has had a knock on effect with us getting some animals…I have had to wait for our farmer Ivan to come and cut the hay, which was done much later than planned as you have to have 3 – 4 days of sunshine to cut hay so it has time to dry out! He did finally manage to cut it and we have 70 round bales of hay in the field, now the problem is getting the round bales dry enough to get them moved so we can get on with hedge trimming and getting the fencing done for the mini donks and sheep!
I have put a deposit down on two beautiful mini donks – ‘Matilda’ who is 6 months old and not yet weaned from her mum and 2 year old ‘Pebbles’ who we will be able to cover next year which will hopefully result in our first foal in 2014! I’ve been clearing out one of the old stables which will be perfect for the two of them to be snuggly and warm during the winter. Mini Donks don’t like being wet, they don’t have a waterproof coat like horses and they need shelter and hardstanding. Mine will be the most pampered Mini Donks! I also plan to get a mobile field shelter for the field so that they can get out of the rain and the wind if necessary. If I’ve learned one thing since living here it is that the weather can change very quickly so its important that they can get out of the elements should they need to. Hopefully they will arrive here in the next 6 weeks.
The guests have loved the barn, despite the weather, and have had lots of fun exploring Cornwall and playing in our fields. One particular family really got the most out of their time here with us and we just loved having them here! It was fantastic to hear squeals of laughter as they played leaky leaky in the fields in the evening and Autumn & Willow were waiting for me every morning and evening at ‘Chicken O’Clock’! They even managed to remember all the chickens names and were awarded with a very special T-Shirt as a prize. I am delighted that they rebooked for next year before they left and we can’t wait to see them all again! I have bookings all the way up to the end of September and am getting enquiries for Christmas and New Year already. If I get a booking we plan to decorate the barn complete with Christmas Tree and outside lights so it will really look magical!
The high winds have caused us a few problems with the hot tub cover again! I have fashioned some straps now that I put in place when the wind gets up which stops the cover blowing off down the fields! I guess the winds are the price we pay for having such stunning views and although they are a bit of a pain the views more than make up for it and they still blow me away (pardon the pun!) every day!
I am also hoping to get a few sheep, we would like to get Wiltshire horn sheep as they do not require sheering – their fleece just falls out when the weather warms up! Its makes keeping them much easier and they don’t suffer so much with fly strike. I have never kept sheep before but the place that we will be getting them from offer a one day course to teach the basics! It will be lovely to have some lambs at easter bouncing around in the field and sheep make excellent companions to donkeys and horses as they are far less fussy about how they graze!
I have had some friends down visiting over the summer so I’ve got to do lots of fun stuff like Karting at St Eval Kart track which is only 5 mins drive away! Everyone enjoyed it as they cater for all ages – even the little ones can drive little baby carts with an adult who controls the speed and, if necessary, the steering! My niece Daisy who is 5 just loved it and her brothers who are 8 and 10 loved the faster karts. They all loved it so much we had to go back again at the end of the week!
I also went to Crealy Adventure Park which is also very near. They have everything from small animals, ponies, donkeys and pigs to rides and slides and the best thing about it is that once you have paid to get in it is free to return for the rest of that week! Again I ended up going twice!
We managed a day on Perranporth Beach building sandcastles and the boys even tried their hand at body boarding! They didn’t have wet suits and I think they were very brave to go into the water! They loved it and I have a feeling that they will be getting wetsuits before they come down again next year! I was amazed at how prepared everyone else was on the beach – families had almost set up camp with wind breaks and beach tents. Some of them looked like they could happily move in for the week….until the tide came in that is! Our set up was a bit more basic with just a couple of coolers with the picnic in and some beach towels but as it was a sunny day it really didn’t matter! We all had a lovely Cornish ice cream at the end of the day and enjoyed mooching round the shops once we had dropped our buckets, spades, fishing nets, body boards, beach bags and coolers back at the car!
We had a day at Treasure Park in Redruth too. I was a little concerned as it was the day after we had been to Crealy, that they would find it a little tame in comparison, but I shouldn’t have worried. We all had a great time panning for gold and gems, playing crazy golf and building a bear! We spent a very enjoyable 5 hours there and even had a delicious lunch and yet another ice cream!
Watergate bay has polo on the beach in September and I am really looking forward to going (just hoping for a sunny day) I’ve never seen Polo on the beach before and Watergate bay is one of my favourite places.
Well bank holiday weekend is nearly upon us and that means just one thing…..more rain! I have lots to do – there is always lots to do here! I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that we have a few short sharp showers rather than incessant rain all weekend!
Have a great bank holiday!
So much rain! I can’t believe how much it has rained in the past couple of months. It is so frustrating as there is so much to do outside and we can’t get anything done. We have had to put getting more animals on hold for now as the farmer can’t get in to cut the fields and the grass is so long!
The Chickens are all doing well – except the lovely Stevie who died suddenly one day. She had been such a good mum to the chicks and it was really sad when I went out to put them to bed at night and found her just lying there. I have to say I shed a few tears, which I know is silly but she was such a lovely chicken. We have laid her to rest in the garden so she will always be with us! The baby chicks are all grown up now, it turned out that we had 3 boys and just one girl. As the boys had already started fighting they were relocated at the weekend to Jackie Chickens and we bought back another little girl to keep Annie company. So Annie and Essie are now part of the chicken clan and have been accepted well into the group. Doris is still Doris and refuses to put herself to bed at night or get out of bed on her own in the morning so I have to do it! If you have seen the film Finding Nemo, she reminds me of Dori! She is literally like a goldfish and can’t remember anything, so every time I pick her up is like the first time she has ever been picked up! She’s so funny and you can’t help but love her to pieces.
I have been out and about a bit and went to the seal sanctuary a couple of weeks ago. It is a really lovely place to go, the seals look so well and healthy and the staff were extremely helpful and informative. The good news was that there were no seals in the hospital. I was expecting a bit of a fishy smell to the place but there really isn’t and I think its a great place for kids and adults to spend a couple of hours and if the weather is nice to take a picnic! If it were nearer I would literally go every couple of weeks!
The highlight of my week last week was to go horse riding at Newquay Riding Stables. We had a lovely couple staying in the barn and Sarah is also a keen horse rider mentioned that she might like to ride. I offered to go with her if her husband didn’t fancy it and off we went last Thursday. We had a severe weather warning that day, forecasting storms, thunder and all sorts of horrid weather, but we decided to tough it out and go anyway! So in all sorts of wet weather gear we arrived at the stables and we given our horses, Eddie for me and Pie for Sarah. They were both lovely coloured cobs (like gypsy horses) and they were very well behaved. We rode for 2 hours, through the sea, on the beach, through little villages and up onto open moorland. It was really lovely and it did not rain once! We did get a bit hot due to all the wet weather gear we were wearing but we didn’t care! NO RAIN! Whoo Hoo! If i’m honest my knees did ache when I got off (i’m not as young and riding fit as I once was!) and the next day I could feel bits of me i’d forgotten I had, but it was so worth it and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is coming down this way. They take kids from 7 years old and cater for beginners and more experienced riders. Its a really lovely way to see Cornwall and if you need someone to go with well…….look no further! 🙂
Its a busy time of year now as I have guests back to back till September, I really hope the weather improves, fortunately there is still lots to do when it rains down here. I had one guest email me about finding a riding stables for her boys ages 3 and 5, I did ask at the stables I rode at but due to insurance they are unable to take novice children under 7 years old. While driving round a roundabout i’ve driven round hundreds of times about 5 miles from here I saw a sign for Springfields Fun Park and Pony Centre, so I went to see what it was all about. Its a pony centre with other cute animals and indoor and outdoor play areas, the children can ride ponies and tractors and generally have fun regardless of the weather! It looks great and I’m looking forward to my niece and nephews coming down so I’ve got an excuse to go!
Here’s hoping for some sunshine soon!
Blowing a Hooley, Segways & Miniature Donkeys!
Well its June – not that you would know it by the weather over the past couple of weeks! Last week we had the WORST weather we have experienced since moving down here, 70mph winds and driving rain for 3 days! Being on top of a hill has its downsides when the winds blow. It was so bad it took the hot tub cover clean off the hot tub, despite being clipped down and launched it down the field! Fortunately our lovely guests retrieved it for us before too much damage was done! The timing of the bad weather couldn’t have been worse as it was half term, the Jubilee bank holiday and the Royal Cornwall Show. I had been really looking forward to going to the Royal Cornwall Show so on Thursday despite waking up to strong winds and rain, I made my way up the road to Wadebridge where the show ground is. I left really early in the morning as the traffic is really bad and arrived at just after 8.30am, It is a huge show with so much to see and do. Locals had told me that you need 3 days to see it all and I have to say I didn’t believe them but they were right! Unfortunately due to the weather, after 4 hours I was so cold and wet that I decided to come home. I know that some of the tents were damaged due to the wind and they had to tow cars out as the car parks got so muddy from all the rain. I feel really sorry for all those who were exhibiting at the show and the organisers, I can imagine that it takes a huge amount of work to put on a show like that and the vile weather certainly put a dampener on the show. Its in my calendar though for next year and hopefully the weather will be better.
I went to see some Miniature Donkeys a couple of weeks ago and fell in love, they are without a doubt the cutest creatures in the world. We are waiting for the weather to get better and we can then get the fields cut for hay and at the end of July we can get the hedges sorted. Once this is done we can sort out the fencing and hopefully then we can get some animals here! I can’t wait! We are going to start with some sheep and mini donks …….we are also planning to move the chickens to another “garden” so we can use the area they are currently in as a vegetable garden. Hopefully we can get the beds built by the end of the summer so that they are ready for planting for next year. I haven’t got a clue about growing vegetables but I am looking forward to learning!
On the plus side all this rain is filling up our water butts nicely! However, we found we had a water leak in our main water pipe – the reason we found this out was the horrid damp smell that was permutating our cottage. Knowing you probably have a leak and finding it are two very different things! We found a damp spot by the side of the drive and set about digging that up but it wasn’t till we were half way across the drive that we found the leak! It is now fixed and we were pretty proud of ourselves as neither of us have ever fixed a pipe before. We did, however, manage to get the Kango stuck in the ground and it took an hour to get it out! Hopefully its all fixed now and once we have a dry day we can get the concreting done! We are learning that we can do so much more DIY than we thought we could and our confidence is growing all the time.
We had some family down over the jubilee weekend and we did loads of fun stuff but the most fun we had was over at Goonhilly with Cornwall Segways where we rode segway for an hour and a half. They are great and everyone had such fun, especially the men who spent most of the time trying to push each other off! I would highly recomend it if you are coming down – they also have a centre in Newquay if you don’t fancy travelling so far.
Roll on summer!
I can’t believe we are at the end of May! Where has the time gone? I have had a lull of guests since the Easter break but as of this weekend we are full steam ahead! With the exception of a week in June and a week at the end of August we are fully booked – which is excellent for my first year! There are still a few things we would like to do to the barn, such as put a door out to the garden and get the windows re-done but these are expensive things to do so we need to generate a bit of cash first! The good news is that after waiting 3 months BT have finally installed the phone line and so now we have both a phone and wifi in the barn. Initially there were a few teething problems (we lost broadband in the cottage for a few days!) but it looks like its settled down now. Its not terribly fast broadband as we are so far away from the exchange but it does work so keeping in touch with the outside world is possible!
I’ve got 3 more chickens, so that brings the total to 10 plus the 4 chicks! One of our new chickens is a bit special! Her name is Doris and she is a bit deformed and lives in a little world of her own! She’s very cute though and follows me around, a little bit too closely at times and I need to watch where I put my feet as she has a knack of putting herself under them! The chicks are doing well and growing at an alarming rate! I still don’t know what sex they are but I suspect I only have one girl! We ended up getting another Omlet eglu for the chicks as they had outgrown their maternity wing!
I’ve installed a couple of water butts as the chickens and dogs go through so much water, however, since putting them in it has hardly rained, in fact its been boiling! Isn’t it always the way!
I went to see some alpacas a couple of weeks ago and as I was early I stopped off at St Michael’s Mount. I didn’t go onto the island but it is amazingly beautiful and I’m looking forward to exploring it sometime.
A couple of weeks ago I went to the Cornish Bird of Prey Centre just up the road. It was really interesting and I got to see an Owl display! On the way home I got stuck in a typical Cornish traffic jam!!!!
Last week I went over to my friend Jaqui’s small holding to help her worm and ear tag her lambs. She is on her own so doing things like ear tagging lambs required an extra pair of hands – or as it turns out, more than an extra pair of hands! Unfortunately we picked a very very hot day (my car said the outside temperature was 27 degrees!) our first job was to get all the ewes and their lambs into the pen – there are 12 ewes and 19 lambs and the ewes are used to coming in to the pen for food – so we thought it would be straight forward – how wrong we were! We got two thirds of them in the pen so Jaq went to go and get the stragglers and as we opened the gate to let those ones in half of the ones we had in the pen legged it! It is surprising how quickly sheep can move when they want to! So we shut the few remaining sheep in the pen and went off to round up the sheep who by now were scattered all over the field and they quite simply refused to be rounded up! We ended up opening up another gate and got a few of them out into a channel between two fields! So we had 7 sheep in the pen, 4 in the channel and the rest still in the field! We started with the ones in the channel and set about tagging them – poor things they had to have 3 tags, 2 in one ear and 1 in the other! Then we wormed them and finally sprayed them to show which ones we’d done! (it is a bit of a design flaw in sheep as they all look the same!) With this breed of sheep, Wiltshire horned, they loose their fleece themselves so they don’t have to be shawn but the downside to this is the marks you spray on their bodies to identify them, come off! Anyway, after about an hour and a half we had done about half of the sheep! We were so hot, as were the sheep! We managed to get a few more into the channel, one lamb made a bid for freedom and managed to jump in with the ram “Edward”, fortunately for the lamb was a boy much to Edwards disappointment! We managed to get him out before unmentionable activity took place and set about tagging and worming the others! After about 3 and a half hours we had most of the lambs and ewes tagged and wormed and we sat down for a well earned sandwich and drink. Just as we had finished our lunch we heard a racket down in the chicken pens and ran down to see what was up, it turns out that Mr Fox had popped in for take away and Mavis the chicken, who would not stay in any pen, paid the ultimate price. It made me really worry about my chickens! All in all we had a good day with lots of laughs, we got most of the sheep and lambs done and got a good start on the sun tan! Next year we are going to do the tagging when the lambs are smaller!
I have friends down this weekend along with guests arriving at the barn, so its going to be a busy one! I have some fun stuff planned with my friends, including a segway tour with Hendra Segways!
The Royal Cornwall Show is on next week too – so I am really looking forward to going there, fingers crossed for good weather!
Bye for now x
Beaches, Cream Teas, Spas & Chicks!
Well Hello! I’ve been a busy bee these past couple of weeks. I’ve had some friends come down to stay and so I’ve been doing touristy stuff and its been great fun! We’ve wandered round the lanes in Padstow & had yummy cream teas! Padstow is a lovely village and just being there makes me feel that relaxed “on holiday” feel every time. We’ve also tried and tested Fistral Spa in Newquay (I went there twice in one week as both sets of friends wanted to go – its a hard life but someone has to live it!!!!) The spa is lovely and we had a “girls night in” which consists of use of the facilities, and either a back neck and shoulder massage or indian head massage and a mini manicure or pedicure plus champagne & nibbles! The first time I went there we were give the hugest plate full of chocolates, about 20 of them, and yes we did polish off the lot! The second time we were given a antipasti plate full of really tasty nibbles and yes again we polished it off! I would highly recommend it – book in advance and give yourself a few hours of relaxing pampering! www.fistral-spa.co.uk
I’ve got a favourite local restaurant now! I’ve been there a few times since moving down here and the food, views & service is fabulous – its the Beach Hut at Watergate Bay. I’m sure it probably gets really busy in the summer with all the surfers as its a very popular surfing beach – but it’s so lovely to sit and watch the sea and waves while eating their amazing mussels or calamari or pork rib! They do a mean extreme hot chocolate too with whipped cream, marshmallows & chocolates! Nom Nom! Again I would recommend booking a table if you want to eat dinner there!
We had a day down at Perranporth – a small village with a lovely large beach and it has the bonus of having a pub actually on the beach (www.thewateringhole.co.uk)! We were actually able to sit outside as the weather was great that day (despite there being severe weather warnings in place!) and its a great spot for people watching! We did a spot of rock pooling – you are never too old for this! Didn’t catch much but we were out of the wind it & it was a lovely way to spend an hour or two! After an exhausting hour of rock pooling (we had exhausted ourselves by laughing so much!) we headed into the village for a delicious ice cream!
Like most people I had heard of the Eden Project and felt like I ought to go – I’m not going to say too much as I am sure some people would love it but I have to say that I just didn’t “get” it – maybe I’m just not into plants enough! The two Biomes were very impressive buildings and it did feel like being inside a Bee’s eye, the Rainforest one was really hot and as it was a cold windy day when we went, we ended up having to strip off while in there as we started boiling to death! In my opinion it it more of an educational place to go rather than a tourist attraction as I just don’t feel that it is interactive enough. The highlight of the day, however, was seeing a driftwood horse sculpture by Heather Jansch. She is one tallanted artist and the sculpture was on display at the entrance and was incredible to see in real life. I would now really like to go to visit her sculpture gardens in Newton Abbot, Devon. www.heatherjansch.com
We also visited St Ives – its not that far from us really – about 30 – 40 mins drive and its a really pretty town with great shopping and a huge choice of restaurants. There seems to be loads to do there and I am looking forward to going back at the end of the month as they are having a food and drink festival at the end of May!
Friday was a very exciting day…..the eggs that Stevie has been sitting on for the past 3 weeks started to hatch! I popped down to Mole Valley Farmers to get some chick crumbs for the new arrivals and having looked on the internet it said that it can take 12 hours for the chicks to emerge from the egg but by the time I got back there was one already out! I moved Stevie the new chick and the 3 remaining eggs to the maternity unit (the lemons are now in with all the other chickens and all is well!) and within the time it took me to move them another chick had popped out! I can’t begin to explain how cute they are! Now I have 4 chicks and Stevie seems to be doing an excellent job with them. I lifted her out yesterday to remove the eggshells and to check all 4 chicks were ok. She was none to impressed and was desperate to get back to them. Luckily there was time to take a couple of quick snaps so I can share the cuteness! I will have to wait a while to find out what sex they are. Silkies are very difficult to sex and I have a girls aloud policy here as I suspect that holiday makers would rather not be woken up every morning at silly O’clock by crowing cockrals! Any boys will be rehomed to Jacqui and I am really hoping that they are not all boys! I could seriously become addicted to this – at this rate we will need another coup ……. well we do have plenty of room!!!!!!
As for the boiler – touch wood it seems to be behaving itself! The chimney is now lined and we have a new cowl on the chimney to stop the Jackdaws filling it up with twigs. I have included a photo of just two weeks worth of postings which had to be cleared out of the chimney before the lining and cowl were installed!
Still no word from BT about when my line will be connected ……not going to say anymore about this as it just puts me in a bad mood!
I’m off next week to go and help Jaqui Chickens with her alpaca boys – they haven’t had halters on since last year and she is due to show them in a couple of weeks & needs another pair of hands! They are so easy to do compared to horses and I halter walked her younger boys a couple of weeks ago when I popped down for the 2nd Lemon! They can still kick though so I will have to watch out!
Phew! my fingers are hurting now – i’m off to make some pasties! I’m having an indoor day today as the weather is really foul out there with driving rain and high winds!
Finally Open for Business….
Sorry for the delay in getting this post written….I can say with my hand on my heart, that I have never worked so hard in my life. In the last 5 weeks I have painted the barn from top to bottom, painted & sealed all the windows, extended the patio so that the hot tubs fits on it (more about that later!) I have sorted out all the fencing so dogs stay in, horses stop eating trees, chickens don’t get eaten by dogs or foxes & guests dogs don’t have a free run of Cornwall! I have cleaned, cleaned & cleaned, I have managed to get the stubborn corner units into the barn, I have put all new (very posh) bedding & curtains in all the bedrooms, sorted out new furniture so that our guests have somewhere to put their stuff, I’ve had 3 huge bonfires and all the other stuff that didn’t burn has been taken to the tip.
I seem to have had our electrician Steve move in while he sorted out all the lights that didn’t work and put up new ones so that I can see at night! He was also a great help with the hot tub fiasco!
I brought the hot tub down with us from Kent as I thought that it would be a great edition to the barn and that our visitors would enjoy sitting in it with a glass of wine while taking in the views – sounds idillic doesn’t it!!! It cost over £700 to have it delivered here and it couldn’t be put where it was going to live as there was not enough patio and what there was did not have a concrete base – if I had put it there it would most certainly have sunk! So I set about finding someone (at short notice!) to put in a concrete base & paving slabs for the hot tub, Bob the builder (yes his name really was Bob – excellent!) came and sorted it all out, Steve, our ever present sparks put in the electrics and then last wednesday (3 days before our first guests arrived) a local hot tub company were supposed to come and lift it into place (not an easy task as it weighs nearly half a tonne when empty) on Wednesday I got a call about an hour before they were due to arrive to say that they weren’t coming. Something about a van being off the road but to be honest I wasn’t listening, I was in full PANIC mode! I went out to tell Steve, who had been waiting for them to turn up so he could help lift it if extra muscle was required. Once I told him that they weren’t coming and I guess he could see the wide eyed panic setting in, he got on the phone to one of his mates who had a small hiab on a trailer and within an hour he had gone off to collect it and we were all (we had roped in Chris the plasterer at that point too!) scratching our heads working out how we were going to do this. With the aid of several crowbars, blocks of wood & straps we managed to get ropes under the tub and then very gingerly set about lifting it. At this point the hiab looked very small indeed but give it its due, it did the job and after a bit of tweaking of ropes we had it airborne! Then came the tricky job of towing the trailer round the corner and into the field, we had taken down some of the fencing to the garden of the barn as we could see that the hiab was not “man enough” to lift it over the fence and onto the patio. Steve’s definition of “i’ll drive slowly” is obviously Cornish for “lets get this over with cos i’m not sure how long that hiab will hold that tub!”. So he drove his van which was pulling the trailer which held the hiab which held the hot tub dangling from various bits of rope and stuff we found in the workshop, while Chris on one side and me on the other tried to keep the hot tub from swaying out of control as Steve ‘drove slowly’ through the gateways and field! 10 mins later and there it was sitting all innocently on the patio as if to say “I really don’t know what all the fuss was about – moving me is easy!”. Meanwhile we three breathed a huge sigh of relief that a Cornishman, A northern man and a Surrey lass had managed to move this thing without 1 – dropping it or 2 – hurting ourselves! After a round of mutual congratulations I set to work cleaning (Yes – more cleaning!) it and filling it up, then I plugged it in and off it went. Fantastic – I was over the moon – it looked like we had pulled it off……..then when I checked it yesterday for some reason it is only luke warm – I have had several attempts at “fixing” it but its being stubborn and now I have to wait for an engineer to come and hit it with a stick and make it work again. I hope our guests understand and with any luck the Hot Springs engineer will be down early next week with his magic wand and make it work again.
On top on the hot tub business we have also had problems with BT, well I say problems, one really – they never turn up. They were supposed to have had a new pole and line installed on the 7th March – in plenty of time for our first guests and they still haven’t been – whats more – when I called them this week they said they had nothing to do with it and passed me on to Open Reach – who said they had nothing to do with it and passed me on to BT! The last thing I was told by BT was that they were coming to erect the pole on Friday and guess what ……..they didn’t turn up. Guess who i’m going to be calling on Monday morning!
The chickens are all doing well – most of them are now laying – well except Whitney – but she is special and will probably lay a square egg if she ever lays one at all! She has finally mastered putting herself to bed at night now so is clearly not blind as I had initially thought! Goldie is the boss – even though she was the last to arrive and Stevie has gone broody for some reason and is refusing to come out of the nesting box! I physically lifted her out this morning as she had been in there for 24 hours and I was worried that she hadn’t eaten or had anything to drink – she had a quick bite to eat and a little wander about and promptly went back in! I hope this is just a phase as I don’t really want to shut the door to their house as the others may want to lay an egg! Oh the trials of being a chicken mummy! Oh and the eggs when they do lay are delicious!
Alison from the Donkey Sanctuary came out last week – it was the most lovely sunny day and she and I chatted for a good couple of hours sitting in the sun! It was a lovely break from cleaning and I was sad when she left cos it meant I had to get on with my chores! She is happy to recommend that I am a suitable home for Donks! Yay! I do have to build a shelter first though so I will need to save up a bit first as funds are severely lacking having had to spend so much on the barn. I am hoping though, that if I get some more bookings and have a good summer then I might get the shelter built by the end of the summer, beginning of Autumn. I can’t wait to have a couple of Donkeys here – and you are even allowed to train them to do stuff, like pull a cart & jump! I am also seriously considering getting a couple of alpacas too, since I spent a bit of time with Jaqui the chicken lady’s ones….they might come sooner as they don’t need a shelter oh and maybe a couple of pigmy goats too! I’m getting carried away I know but I’ve got all this land and its a bit too tempting!
Well there is the update…..I hope you’ve enjoyed it and here are some pictures of how the barn looks now…….
Have a great Easter!
My first post!
Well I am now living in Cornwall! I moved down in February with 4 dogs and Mutty the cat & I am well and truly settled in! The dogs just love it here! They particularly love flying round the field with ‘Mum’ on the quad, in fact Tally (the Jack Russell) will actually tell “Mum” off if he is going too slowly!
I still can’t get over the natural beauty of this county and the fact that I actually live here – this is my home! Just driving into town it still surprises me to see the sea so close – and walking down to Costa Coffee in Newquay last week the sea view was stunning. There is so much to do and explore and I’m sad to say that I’ve done very little exploring since moving down as I’ve been so busy, but there is plenty of time and if I discover little gems along the way I will blog about them so others can enjoy them too! I did pop out last night for Rick Steins Fish & Chips from Padstow – its only about 10 mins drive from here, if that, and they were quite expensive for fish and chips – but were they worth it – YES! The best fish and chips i’ve ever had – worth having every other week (to counter the cost!) and a welcome night off for me and my Aga!
I started to build the chicken house & run a few days ago….I have wanted to keep chickens for as long as I can remember but I have never had the room – well that is not the case now! So a fairly intelligent person set to work building a chicken house and run….14 hours and several do-overs later I am nearly finished! I think the instructions left a lot to be desired. Or maybe its my ability to follow instructions? Anyway the “Chicken Hotel” as it as been renamed by my friends is all but complete. Now all I need to do is get me some chickens! Not having had them before I bought a couple of books on which chickens to get – now I’m more confused than I was to start with! I would like 6 chickens – although the “Chicken Hotel” will sleep 10 – and I would like them all to be different breeds (mainly so I can tell them apart!) I have found several breeders in Cornwall so watch this space – I will post pictures of them as soon as they arrive.
This week I will don my painters outfit and start painting the barn! It just needs a little freshen up and I want to put up new curtains as it currently has blinds – and they are just not cosy are they! I don’t really enjoy painting if I’m really honest, so I bought myself a paint pod in the hope that it makes it easier and quicker……..we shall see!
Well quite enough waffling for my first post – I’m not even sure if anyone will ever read it – its my first blog ever and I’m not even going to pretend that I understand how all this works! Just making it up as I go along (like building the Chicken House!).
The Chickens have arrived!
The girls are here! I got them from Jacqui at Clover Park Poultry (www.cherokeealpacas.co.uk) over at Saltash and she was wonderfully helpful especially with me being a chicken virgin! She has a good selection of birds and it was quite difficult to choose which ones to take home. Eventually I went for 4 bantams and two normal sized hens all at point of lay. The fun started when I had to catch my chosen chickens and put them into a box to bring them home. I have to admit to being utterly useless! I was fine cornering them but as soon as they jumped and flapped I also jumped and flapped! Anyway, after much jumping and flapping from all sides, all the chickens were in boxes and we were good to go.
I drove home quite carefully with my precious cargo, I’d love to be able to say that it was because I was such a caring chicken owner – but the truth is that I was terrified that they would pop out of their boxes and become free-range inside the car! Anyway, I got home with all chickens still safely in their boxes and placed them inside the run of their new home and gingerly opened the lids, expecting an explosion of feathers…… and the chickens just sat clucking in their respective boxes – no explosion at all! Eventually I lifted each one, very carefully (its hard to know how hard you can hold a chicken if you’ve never done it before) and put them onto the neat clean grass of their run. I scattered some layers pellets and mixed corn around so that they had something to eat and set about watching my new editions to the family. Eventually I left them to it and went off to walk the dogs on the quad.
Earlier that day I had got a casserole out of the freezer as I knew it would be a long day and I wouldn’t have time to prepare anything, however chicken casserole seemed somewhat inappropriate now so I popped off to Padstow for fish and chips! On the way home I decided that I ought to put the chickens to bed before having tea, so I shoved the fish & chips into the bottom oven of the aga to keep warm and headed off to the chickens.
Ha Ha! Question: How long does it take to put 6 chickens to bed? Answer: A long time if you don’t know what you are doing! The chickens ran rings round me but eventually I managed to get all 6 into their new abode and shut the door! Night Night girls!
This morning I had thought that as soon as I opened their sliding door they would be out like race horses from starting stalls …… in reality it was nothing like this! It would seem that my girls were more than happy in their cosy house and also terrified of the ladder they needed to use in order to get down! First down was the large black chicken “Ruby” she got to the first rung of the ladder and jumped! Then came the large orangey coloured chicken “Maud” again, top rung and a jump! The 4 bantams however peaked out of the door with a bit of clucking and ducked back into the house! I ‘encouraged’ them by poking my head into the nesting box hatch and seemingly the sight of me first thing in the morning was enough to do it (no make up on you see!) and all 4 popped out in quick succession!
No eggs this morning – but that is to be expected! I am going to leave them in their run for the next couple of days to become settled then on monday they can free range! How I am going to put them away at night when they are free ranging is anyones guess!
The two larger ones have been bullying the smaller ones since yesterday so I gave Jacqui a call to ask if I could swap them for 2 more bantams as we would like a harmonious chicken house! If i’m honest I prefer the bantams anyway – they seem less scary and I’ve named all of them!
After speaking to Jacqui she was happy to swap the two larger hens so I set about catching the 2 large chickens and boxed them up and I headed over. (that is the shortened version of how it actually went but I think that you can guess that there was jumping and flapping on all sides again!). I have brought back a lovely goldie coloured bantam called…..you guessed it “Goldie” and we have 3 more on order when they get old enough to leave – two of them are just a week old at the moment (so cute!). While I was there I asked Jacqui if I could stroke an Alpaca – and now I am in love.
Goldie has fitted in very well but Stevie has been in the nesting box for most of the day. I was worried that she might be poorly and had a little look – not sure what I was looking for though – no sign of a thermometer in her mouth or a ice pack on her head so we decided to leave her be and see how she looked tomorrow. I couldn’t resist another little check after I had walked the dogs (by foot today!) and was so pleased to see Stevie out in the run with the others. I thought I’d add a bit more hay to their bedroom area so that they could snuggle in comfort and I was amazed to see a little, perfectly formed egg! It would seem that Stevie was not ill after all, just laying her first egg!