Archive for country matters

Beautiful Bluebells

One of our favourite walks is to go to Otterhead Lakes and walk by the lakes and through the woodland.  We went a couple of weeks ago when my brother was here but the bluebells were not quite out so we went again today to see the beautiful carpets of flowers.

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The sunlight was just shining through the emerging Beech trees with their light green leaves.

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Just off the path before the bluebells were beds of wild garlic.

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As we walked further down the blue of the bluebells got more intense.

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Neil took my picture sitting amongst the flowers.

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This is such a beautiful place, so peaceful and today there were no other people around, just the sound of the birds and the rustling leaves.

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We stopped by the first lake and could see the swan still sitting on her nest and also the Heron was in the same place as we had seen it a couple of weeks ago.  I took a picture of Neil by the lake.

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As we were driving from the car park up the lane we noticed that the Devon banks were also topped with bluebells.

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We are so lucky to live nearby.

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Buckland St Mary Summer Fete 2015

Saturday saw the annual Buckland St Mary Summer Fete take place.  We were so lucky as the sun shone and we have a glorious day for it.  Neil’s sister Carole came down to help on the book stall.  We raised £72.80 which isn’t bad when you think we were selling paper backs for 50p!

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There were lots of other stalls including a cake stall where I bought a delicious lemon drizzle cake.

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The afternoon tea and cakes proved very popular.

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Over £1200 were raised altogether which goes towards funding our youth worker.

The summer Fete was a great social occasion in the village, a good time to meet up with friends and neighbours and have a chat in the sunshine.

Next week it is the Duck racing so watch this space for news of that!!

http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

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Sheep and Pig Racing

Yes you did read it right, sheep and Pig racing – that’s what us country folk get up to at the weekend.  It was held today at Beechayes Farm, Churchinford, so of course we had to go along.

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A bit of madness but good fun.  There was a Tote and you could bet on the pigs and sheep just like you do horseracing.  The pigs were marked with different colours.  Their race was inside a barn and it was rather crowded so I struggled to get a good picture.

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Outside was the run for the sheep.  Firstly they had saddles with doll riders attached to the sheep.

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Then they were herded up to the top of the run and let go.  It was fairly slow at first, then the sheep got the hang of it and came charging down the run, over the little hurdles.

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At the end of the race the sheep got some feed as reward.

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The event was very well supported with lots of people in attendance.  Hot food was provided by the ladies of the Smeatharpe WI who always do a good job.  So a fun afternoon all round.

Want to join in the country madness? Stay at our B&B http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

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Home made Christmas wreath

This year I made another Christmas wreath, from willow whips, holly and ivy growing in the woods.  It is a bit more shaped like a horse’s bridle than a round wreath, but that’s OK as it is authentic home made.  I added the bow, bauble and berries to give it a bit of colour.

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I last made one 2 years ago, here is my blog on how to make one.

https://lodgehousebandbsomerset.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/making-a-xmas-holly-wreath/

It’s a bit incongruous this year what with the scaffolding still up on the front of the house, but I thought we should try and bring the Christmas spirit in, in spite of the building works.

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Buckland St Mary Xmas fete 2014

Twice a year Buckland St Mary holds fetes or bazaars – once in the Summer and once in the Winter and this weekend it was the turn of the Xmas fete held in the village hall.

For the fifth year running Neil and I were on the Bric a Brac stall, basically trying to sell people other people’s junk!! Quite a hard sell!!

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I had also made some Xmas gift tags and lavender bags which I put on our stall to boost sales.  We had a lot of soft toys to sell and I was amazed at how many little boys purchased them, then used them to beat up their friends!

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We managed to raise £51.57 in 2 hours so not too bad.  It was quite well attended but perhaps not as busy as previous years, perhaps lots of people were out getting their Black Friday/weekend bargains.

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There were craft stalls,  a card stall, a raffle and a hamper raffle, a tombola, a cake stall, a produce stall amongst others.  And also there was Father Christmas in his grotto for the kiddies.

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The teas and cakes always go down well.  I had a chocolate éclair with mine!!

Neil was trying to sell a funny England hat all afternoon.  This is our friend Mike modelling it.

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All fun and games in the country and fundraising into the process.

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Apple pressing days October 2014

The Autumn is the time when the apples are at their best and through the Blackdown Hills Transition Group a couple of apple pressing days were organised this month.  The first was held at Otterhead Lodge, next to Otterhead Lakes.  We had quite a few Bramley apples from when we had to cut down the tree for the builders to dig drains across the lawn, so we took them along.  Neil’s sister Carole was with us too, and she helped in the first stage which was crushing the apples.

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We then took the crushed apples over to the presses.  The first stage is load the crushed apple into the bag in the press and then tighten.

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As you screw down, pressure is exerted on the crushed apple and the juice comes out the bottom.

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The juice is brown in colour as it has oxidised in the air.  when we had pressed all our apple pulp we used jugs to transfer it into plastic bottles that could then go into the freezer.

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If you don’t freeze it but leave it out for a few days it will start to ferment and turn into cider.

There was a nice atmosphere at Otterhead, with a camp fire, music,  and food and refreshments provided by some of folk from Stentwood community whose apple pressing day was the following weekend.

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So this last weekend was Stentwood’s turn to host apple pressing.  They had several marquees set up in case of inclement weather, but Sunday was sunny and a lovely day.  They were serving their wood fired pizzas, with warm spiced apple juice – delicious!!

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They also had a craft tent, a tent where you could try and then buy different types of apples, and live music.

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Again a lovely atmosphere and a nice way to wend away a couple of hours.

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Duck racing in Bishopswood

Today we went to the duck racing at Mill Leat in Bishopswood.  Not real ducks I hasten to add, but little yellow plastic ducks all numbered and tipped into the Yarty river.  We had to buy a ticket with a number on, and then that was the number of your duck.  We followed their progress down the river.

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Some got caught on stones along the way and had to be guided off.  One would dash past and then another would overtake.  The organiser had a loud haler and was calling out their progress.  There was money to be won on the duck first past the post.

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We didn’t win anything in any of the 3 races, but it was a bit of fun, a bit of madness on a Summer’s afternoon.  There were also other duck themed activities.  Instead of a coconut shy there was a duck shy.

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Neil’s sister was with us and she knocked down two ducks.  Then she had a go at throwing hoops round ducks.

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There were other duck stalls too and some people even dressed in duck costumes. The face painting for the children was ducks on their cheeks!

But we rather more sedately retired with a Pimms!

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The last thing was the tug of war between Bishopswood and Buckland St Mary.  Neil was in the Buckland team and went prepared in boots and gloves, but they still lost!

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You can see the lovely thatched house in the background, in whose grounds the event took place.

They are going to try and make it an annual event.  It was well supported and everyone had a bit of fun.  Other villages hold duck races too so maybe its just a local thing around here.  We certainly had never heard of it until we moved here.

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