Monday, 30 September 2013

Never A Dull Moment at Fallowfield!

So much for giving up doing B and B, so I could have a quieter life!  Mike and I seem to have had the week of all weeks.  It has been great fun but we are feeling ever so slightly cream-crackered tonight and even my little Norfolk terrier, Scrumpy, has hardly had the energy to get out of her bed all day.
The week started at a fairly leisurely pace of shopping in Newcastle with my daughter in law, Iona and grandson Archie.  We even stopped to have a coffee which is quite unheard of for me as I usually dash in and out as quickly as I can. 

 Then I did a bit of babysitting for Archie on Tuesday - in between trying to make an impression on the ironing mountain that has developed in this house.

Wednesday was another paperwork and ironing day – so feeling pretty virtuous at this point in time – not to mention getting bedrooms ready for the non paying variety of guests ( i.e. our family!) who were due to arrive in force at the weekend.

Then on Thursday evening, we welcomed back Trevor and Julie who had recently attended one of our Alpaca Care Courses to let them select their three female alpacas.  After some deliberation, they selected Aurora, Aquilegia and Phyllida.  I'm sure that they must be pretty excited right now. I had thought of trying out some new recipes that night, but it ended up being an Indian takeaway which slipped down a treat.

Fridays are always pretty manic these days as it is changeover day at our holiday cottage and as I am such a perfectionist – some might say fusspot! – I mainly do the work required myself.  Thank goodness I had a lemon drizzle cake in the freezer as I certainly didn’t have time to bake one for the new guests arriving.
The week built up to a definite crescendo of noise and chaos as we were in sole charge of our three grandsons on Saturday through until Sunday.  Ages ranged from two and a half, eight months and four and a half months. So just think about the logistics for a minute - only one is walking, they all eat different things and sleep at different times.  In between giving bottles to the babies, I was trying to do a bit more on the Christening robe – I admit it I am bonkers!  The boys were pretty good on the whole but there is no way we could have managed without the help of my close friend Gill Robson.  I think bath time and supper time were probably the most challenging bits. I have to say that our well deserved glass of wine after they had all gone to bed tasted like sheer nectar.    Would we offer to have them all again – yes, but please not for a few weeks as we need to recover!!


Sunday, 22 September 2013

Autumn is almost here!

The weather has been really lovely here at Fallowfield this weekend.  Such a treat after several days of cold, wet weather!  Isn’t it amazing how we have all got so used to the hot weather, that even if the temperature has been normal for the time of year, it has felt pretty chilly.   I am relieved that the gales have subsided as we had a big branch down from a tree near the house which just  - and only just! – missed a friend’s car that was parked nearby.
Mike had a good run up to Fife last week to deliver 6 alpacas to a farmer who is starting a new breeding herd of alpacas.  I’m always a bit sad to see our animals go to new homes – especially when some of them are my favourites – but it‘s great to know they have gone to such a good home.   Our other alpacas did seem to miss their mates for a couple of days, but it’s amazing how quickly they forget! What fickle beasties they are!
I really must crack on with making some chutney this week.  I think I might scrounge some apples from friends with more productive apple trees than ours.  Actually it’s been an amazing season for fruit and Mike is out right now picking more blackberries.  I’ve been thinking about trying to cook at least 4 new recipes a week – maybe I’m trying to justify my extensive cookery book collection or justifying getting more cookery books!  Anyway I’m quids in already on trying new recipes this week as I made some of Mary Berry’s lemon and lime possets yesterday – I wasn’t that keen but the others wolfed them down and I’m going to try out Fiona Cairns’ Hedgerow Crumble cake this evening.  All of this baking is fine – but it does make it hard to resist scoffing the stuff when you’re trying your hardest to keep your weight down!

We had a great day yesterday with a couple who are thinking about keeping alpacas and had booked on to one of our Alpaca Care Courses.  They were kind enough to say that it was worth coming just for the lunch – I think they liked the alpacas too!!!!!  I know that most people who run alpaca courses, tend to buy in food for the lunches, but I always cook the food myself.  Yes I know I'm probably a glutton for punishment, but the only time I did try getting stuff in and warming it up, I managed to burn it!   Our visitors certainly learned loads and had a full day of hands on time with the alpacas and took home alpaca gifts and detailed course notes.
For those of you wondering about Billy’s Christening robe – yes, it is underway, if a bit slowly.  I did get slightly alarmed this morning when I realised that the christening was only two weeks away and the smocking is a tad time-consuming.  However, I’ve always said that I work best under pressure – my VAT returns are a case in point!!  I promise I will take some photos when there is a bit more to photo!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013


I’m back!

  Yes I know it’s been absolutely ages since I’ve done my blog but when a girl reaches the great age of 60 she has to take a bit of time off to celebrate and that’s what I’ve been doing.  In fact, the celebrations aren’t over yet, but more of that later.

All my friends and family have been really generous and I have been feeling thoroughly spoilt by it all.  The weekend after my birthday was spent at The Devonshire Arms Hotel in Bolton Abbey in the Yorkshire Dales.  It was absolutely fabulous.  If you haven’t been there, then do go sometime.  We had an amazing bedroom – probably the best we have ever had in a hotel in this country – and the food was superb.  Dinner in the brasserie the first night and then a fantastic dinner in their Michelin starred restaurant on the Saturday night.  A girl could get used to that sort of thing!  And actually, I hate to admit it, but the last part of my birthday celebrations is to have a night at Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons in Oxfordshire in October.  Mike and I are really looking forward to that one.
Whilst at the Devonshire Arms, we took the opportunity to visit Saltaire which isn’t far away.  Well we couldn’t have not gone to see where Sir Titus Salt processed the first alpaca fibre in this country, could we. 
We were hugely grateful to my sister Lucinda and husband Andrew for holding the fort here at Fallowfield in our absence – we owe them big time!
There was no rest for the wicked last week though.  Alpacas to be fed and watered etc., and vet checks to be done on the six going to Scotland tomorrow.  No problems with the vet checks – all were deemed to be in very good health.  So looking forward to our trip to Fife on Thursday.
Last Saturday was a very special day.  It was the wedding day of Paul Vaclik and Rachel Hill who are our good friends and agist their alpacas here at Fallowfield.  The day was made extra special by the inclusion of Pelagia and Hester at the reception at Guyzance Hall.  They were both immaculately behaved (Paul and Rachel too!) and they allowed all the guests to be photographed with them.  Well done girls!!  Paul and Rachel had worked so hard to make the day special.  The ladies had wedding favours of Rachel’s handmade soap inside hand knitted alpaca bags and Paul’s home brewed beer even had special alpaca labels.  And I cannot possibly forget to mention that Rachel looked absolutely stunning.

Then Sunday came along – a bit too early in the morning after a wedding the day before it has to be said – when we loaded up the vehicles and set off for Wolsingham Show.  It was a sunny but bitterly cold morning – a reminder that Autumn is not far away!  We had a brilliant time with so much interest in alpacas and we sold loads of our wool that I had been dying for the past few days.