Archive for Local community

Selling Bric a Brac again

This Saturday just gone was the day of the Buckland St Mary Xmas fete and we were on the Bric a Brac stall again.  We had lots of stuff – some friends were moving house and had cleared out a lot of glass ware and crockery and we had lots of books and other donations too.  This is me behind our stall.

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Neil is a very good salesman and tries to sell mostly inappropriate things to people we know,  just for fun.  However we did really well and took £77.00 in 2 hours.

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Children had the chance to visit Father Christmas (a local man from the village who dressed up the part), and afternoon teas and cake were also on offer.

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There was a tombola stall, a craft stall, a picture stall amongst others together with the usual raffle (I won a Xmas pudding – home made). Altogether £945 was raised for the church youth worker, so a good effort all round, and an early December start to get us in the Christmas mood.

We have vacancies in the B&B for the whole of December. contact us at http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

 

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Apple pressing in the Blackdown Hills

We have been to two apple pressing events this October, one in Buckland St Mary earlier in the month, and then another one at Stentwood the weekend just gone.  These are community events organised by the Blackdown Hills Transition Group of which we are members.

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Basically we invite anybody to bring their apples along and use the equipment to turn them into apple juice.

Firstly you have to tip apples into the crusher. We used a mixture of both eating apples and cooking apples.

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This breaks the apples down into pulp that can go into the presses.

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The apple pulp is then transferred into a linen bag and put into a press.  Gradually turning the handle round presses down on the pulp and the juice is then collected below.

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The juice turns brown as the apples oxidise.  The next process is to bottle it up.  We use a jug and a funnel to transfer the juice into bottles. If the apple juice is put into plastic bottles it can be frozen to keep it fresh, otherwise it will start to ferment after 3 or 4 days. If the juice is bottled in glass bottles it can be pasteurised for 35 minutes at 75 degrees C and this will keep it to up to a year.

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Bottling up

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Apple pressing in Buckland St Mary

On Sunday the Blackdown Hills Transition Group held their apple pressing day at Buckland Village Hall and car park.  A large gazebo was set up, under which the apple presses were placed on tables.

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The apply pulper was plugged into the village hall electricity supply.DSC00554Quite a few people came bearing their apples, both cooking and eating apples and  pressed them into juice.  Neil was busy operating one of the presses.

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The juice that comes out is brown in colour as the apples oxidise.

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When the juice is squeezed into a bucket it then is poured into bottles for keeping.  If you fill plastic bottles you can freeze the apple juice as it doesn’t last more than a few days in the fridge before it starts to ferment.  If you fill glass bottles you need to pasteurise the juice by placing the glass bottles in boiling water for half an hour.DSC00557We had a couple of musicians who played guitar and sang, so there was a really nice ambience to the afternoon. The community from Stentwood (who bake The Common Loaf) were providing refreshments and lovely nibbles and cakes to eat.

There is another apple pressing event to take place at Stentwood, Dunkerswell, EX14 4RW on Sat 25 and Sun 26th October from 11am to 5pm.  So if you want lovely fresh apple juice from you apples come along.

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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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Chard Carnival 2014

Last Saturday was the Chard Carnival.  Carnival is big around here, with the biggest one being at Bridgewater.  Carnival clubs spend all year fundraising and building their fabulous floats with music and bright lights and then each weekend go to a different venue for the carnival parades. Each of these large floats is pulled by a tractor and has a fairground generator on the back to power the music and lights.

There were pirate themed floats:-

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And this one:-

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The people on these floats were singing and dancing on the floats, but then there were others were they made a tableau i.e. they didn’t move, which must be quite difficult all the way round the circuit.

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Other floats were slightly less flamboyant, but still colourful:-

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There were lots of majorettes from all the local towns:-

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And some walking entries.  I particularly liked these ones:

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All the money raised goes to charity, so what a great way to support charities and enjoy yourself at the same time.

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Buckland St Mary Fete 5th July 2014

Yesterday afternoon was the Buckland St Mary church fete in the grounds of Buckland House. Once again we were running the book stall.  We had so many donations of books we could hardly fit them in the car to take them down there, and we took 2 extra tables from home to display them on. This is me at the book stall.

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We did really well raising £80 which in these days of Kindles we reckon is very good.  Our key selling point was 5 paper back books for £2.00.  So if someone had 3 or 4 books, we would urge them to make it up to 5 to get a bargain.

The fete was well attended and the sun came out in the afternoon which always encourages people to attend.

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There were afternoon teas, a cake stall, a bottle tombola, a bric a brac stall, skittles, a plant stall and a stall with games like “The Cube” which proved popular, as well as other craft stalls.

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The fete is an annual event and the money raised goes to the church.  It was lovely to see so many familiar faces and friends from the local area.  The only problem was all the books left unsold which we had to take home and store in the garage.  We shall take them little by little to Ferne Animal Sanctuary shop so they can sell them and get the proceeds.

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May Bank Holiday Barn Dance

Bishopswood village, which is the next village to us, organised a barn dance for the May Bank Holiday. There was a ceilidh band for the occasion and tickets included a generous Ploughman’s supper and apple pie.  It was well attended by locals from the surrounding villages and although some of the dances tied us in knots, especially one called “wringing the dish cloth”, we greatly enjoyed ourselves.

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Here are some photos of the dancing:

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They are trying to make this an annual event now, which is a good idea as it is popular.  It is important to support events in the local community otherwise these things don’t happen!!  We also sometimes go to Churchinford village hall for barn dancing on a Tuesday evening which is a regular session but they don’t get so many people there as at this one.

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