Follow the fortunes of Muddyboots & Family on their East Yorkshire farm which has changed from dairy farm to luxury ice cream manufacture

Thursday, 31 May 2007

paperwork & yet more paperwork

Being married to a farmer has made me weather obsessed. First thing in the morning there l am peering out of the window, inspecting the sky for signs of clouds & the garden for signs of rabbits. Do l perhaps need some sort of anti weather therapy? Well, today has been a good one, the sun has been shining more or less constantly since about 6 am. Yipee! Not that l have seen much of it.

Today has been The Office Day. The boring stuff, bills, bills & yet more bills, payroll, VAT, customer statements & rude letter sending. It's taken me all day, with just quick breaks for caffeine top ups & a salami & philly sarni on brown. Anyway at least its all done now without too many problems, though there was one, trying to register to file my VAT online. It seemed to think l had not entered the correct details. Oh well, l'll just keep using the overland route!

One of the things that keeps me going whilst sat in the office surrounded by invoices, bank statements & timesheets is the wireless, or should l now call it the cyber / online radio? Mornings it is R4, from 12 it's R2. I enjoy a good listener phone in, & today's was no exception with comments being taken after discussing the release by animal activists of wild boar. Well, what a load of misinformed idiots. We are all entitled to have our own views but when those infringe on the rights of others that is, in my opinion wrong. If we all become vegans, to save the animals, there will be no farm animals except in zoos & that's cruel isn't it? The best comment was made by email. On being harangued by activist as to why pheasants were being shot, the gamekeeper replied that they, the pheasants didn't like being put in the oven alive!

Harry, see yesterday's blog, had had a great time last night getting wet! Apparently he received a bit of a ribbing for having the wet suit kit, but dear boy had the last laugh as his mates had to wear hired suits. Shame the sun wasn't out.

Lucy-Piglet has at last caught her first juicy little bunny of the spring. We are suffering from A Plague of Rabbits, falcons, guns & ferrets seem to make no inroads on the exploding population. Every morning Gordon & Lucy-Piglet race out at top speed just in case a little bunny falls in front of them. No luck till this morning & woof, L-P was in like a flash. All Gordon could do was stand & drool; to make matters worse L-P kept teasing Gordon with the tasty morsel, casually sauntering up to him then racing off at top speed. What a little madam!

Gordon nearly had the last laugh on this evening's walk. Deer have been spotted on the farm during the past few days. excited out of breath children have been racing in to tell us all about them. Well, Gordon saw deer in the country stewardship fields, much bigger than a rabbit. Labs aren't supposed to be a chaser & getter more of a trot & collect. Gordon thought otherwise, stupid or what, & sped off in full pursuit. Large dog & deer - no contest. So it was his turn to get the strop. He had to give up. That was it, never seen a dog throw a paddy. Gordon returned to heel then sulkily marched off home on his own, no swim, no snuffling the high tide zone for anything dead, just home. Boyz!

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

gosh, you look tired

One of our regular customers today remarked that l looked tired. A quick check in the mirror proved that the miracle eye cream wasn't doing its job properly. 'Never mind' l cheerily replied l'm off on holiday soon at the beginning of September. l always find that when l'm 'going off the boil' waiting for second wind, my sense of humour becomes rather dodgy.

The weather still hasn't improved, this morning the sky was blue but by mid day the grey clouds were chasing across the sky bringing drizzle & a general dampness with them. It's rather strange really, now that the bank holiday is over, we are still busy despite the unseasonal weather. It was busy all day yesterday, [oh the celeb from Corrie was, David Platt] & the same to day though no celebs!

Harry is off jet skiing & ringoing with Young Farmers tonight, brrrr, at least he's got a wet suit so he shouldn't freeze too much. This is his first year with Young Farmers & he seems to have really enjoyed himself, making loads of new friends & being generally known as Mini Moo! Oh to be a teenager again! Ha l don't think so.

Pictures are form the YFC rally & the countryside stewardship fields.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

generally called a 'wash-out' l think

Urghh, as l ease myself into the office chair, & 'wheel' myself before the computer, l think 'oh isn't it wonderful to sit down'. As you can read, l have returned to my little corner after what you could call a few 'hectic' days.

What a bloody washout, are the words that readily come to mind, to describe the bank holiday weekend, and cold......well l had to get the thermals out to prevent hypothermia.

As so much has happened during the past few days, l guess the best way to record events is to do a 'diary style' format so that if you become bored with a] my atrocious spelling & b] my appalling grammar you can skip to the pictures.

Saturday 26th Young Farmers Rally:

Forecast: unsettled

Day started bright with blue skies & warm sunshine. Young Harry set off nice and early for the club rendezvous at local pub. The tardis was duly taken to the rally site to await arrival of staff [me] a little later.

Back at base normal routine was only interrupted by the arrival of Hawk Man & his selection of falcon & ferrets. So far into the day, all going to plan - l like it - & so it was for the remainder of the day. l went through to Burton Agnes to set up the Tardis for business with KS arriving spot on time after her driving lesson to take over. Harry took part in his classes, not actually winning but not doing at all badly for a first timer. KS sold loads of cones & Harry's club won the overall competition. Clap, clap, clap. Couldn't really have asked for a better day, could things be going too smoothly l should have asked myself? During the afternoon l collected all the supplies that would be needed for Castle Howard. Things like cones, [chocolate & plain waffle], flakes, fudge sticks, ice cream [VERY important] & at about 4.30 Hubby & myself headed over to the show site to set up our 'pitch'. All went swimmingly.

Later that evening, l saw the weather forecast.

Sunday 27th 06.30
Forecast: heavy rain, strong easterly winds, cold

One look out of the window said it all. Gloominess was the word for the day. Rain as l took the dogs out, rain as l waiting for LW, rain as l picked up sister in law. Brightness driving over the wolds offering fine views over the Vale of Pickering. Dry as l drove up the Beech Avenue & still dry as l parked on the lawns in front of the great house. Cold on entering the marquee. Surely things would now get better.

WRONG: the atmosphere at the food festival was unpleasant l think is the word that best describes it. Certainly the terrible forecast had no kept the hordes away. They were there in their thousands, [and here l will apologies to those that were there on Sunday. The majority attending were only after one thing & that was a certain James Martin. OK he was the star chef & yes l know he is a celebrity & all that, but, this was to be a food festival highlighting the glorious food found in Yorkshire. OH it was a nightmare.

There was only ONE exit from the marquee.

As the 600 paying customers who had watched JM left the cookery theatre they had to walk, or rather force themselves along jam packed aisle [see pics] to the exit & the JM book signing sessions. They were waiting / queuing for 20 minutes to get to the Great Man himself.
Us food producers just talked amongst ourselves trying to pass the time of day. There was little else to do, as when the visitors actually could walk around the large marquee all they wanted was freebies. Free beer tastings, free cider tastings, free cake tastings, free cheese tastings, free ice cream - NO - & seemed to be very reluctant to have to pay or buy anything, with the exception of foods that could be 'troughed on the hoof 'shall we say.

Needless to say we, & l mean us the stall holders ,were not exactly happy about this, we felt rather like 'side show bob' or the 'also rans'.

Left feeling pissed off & threatening not to go again.

Monday 28th

forecast: cold, heavy rain, high winds

Decided that it wasn't worth taking 3 of us at it was a waste of time, you can see that l was not a happy bunny. Plan of attack would be as a marketing exercise. My goal for the day would be to hand out 1000 pamphlets, & to make sure that l had enough layers on to keep warm.
The drive to Malton was in heavy rain. A cloud burst opened like a power shower as we raced into the marquee. All us food producers were in cracking form however laughing in the face of adversity,torrential rain forecasts & the prospect of another day of pitiful sales.
The first batch of visitors started to trickle in, & there l was in 4 jumpers, a scarf plus body warmer waiting to accost the first of them with brochures.
The mood of Monday's general public was the complete change to that of the previous day. These lot chatted, joked, asked questions, BOUGHT ICE CREAM, well l told them that eating ice cream would lower their core temperature & make them feel warmer! Do you know it worked.

Crowd control was also 500% better, we now had a large exit immediately around the corner from us, people could walk outside on leaving the theatre, another exit was opened mid-way along the tent as well. Was this the same Ryedale Food Festival that l had attended the previous day?

l am really glad that l went yesterday, the atmosphere, the crowds were great. l know the weather was not good, however the weather was only wet first thing & we did have a little bit of sunshine, but again it didn't keep the crowds away, it was just the right type of crowds shall we say, the genuine foodaholics who appreciate good, wholesome, delicious local food produced by people who have an absolute passion for their produce rather than the James Martin Groupies.

l had an in fantastic in depth chat about a new product idea for us with a Michelin starred chef who had as much enthusiasm for the idea as did l.

And did l see the great James martin? Yes. Did l speak to him? Yes. What did l think? Don't ask.

PS: l've just tucked into my 'freebies' [swaps 4 ice cream], Sand Hutton asparagus followed by Grant Burton's garlic & chive bangers with jersey royal potatoes.
PPS: The favourite flavour of the day was .......... chocoalte ice cream with fudge brownies!!!

Friday, 25 May 2007

the weekend at last

Well it's here. The Bank Holiday is about to start. The roads since first thing have been full of swaying caravans & road hogging motor homes heading to the coast for the BIG ONE. Our CL site is full, & believe it or not, people are still ringing up at this late hour asking 'having ye go' u pitch dear?' NO, been full for months!

l think that we are now as ready as we are ever going to be. The ice cream is made, today, mint choc chip [white mint with chocolate mint crisp], the cakes baked, hams, roast beef & pork [for sarnis] are all cooked in anticipation of the Grand Rush. Only 1 hiccup. A big one. Little Ed can't work Sunday or Monday. *******. We are now l man down for Castle Howard on the Sunday & the same on Monday at Sewerby Hall, though, & it is a big THOUGH, if the forecast is as bad as the Beeb are saying Monday wont be a problem.

It's going to be an early start tomorrow with the 'tardis' having to be pitched at the Young Farmers Rally site by 7 am, why so early l have no idea. anyway, Harry & myself have just loaded it up with loads of chocolate ice cream, white & milk, plus a few other special requests, together with a large supply of double chocolate waffle cones. l know from experience that YFC members go for anything chocolaty in a big way. l have drawn the short straw . Muggins here will have to man the scoops until Kendal arrives at 11.30 after her driving lesson which means l will be somewhat late for lunchtime service. l'll need to get Masoud in a bit earlier to help P prep up the salads.

The caravan rally people are now all in place. This lot are really organised. They have a very large marquee running down the centre of the field, plus generator for the all night parties, then the vans are parked in a regimental fashion in long, very straight lines. Above the caravans on long bendy poles are brightly coloured billowing pennants displaying among others the white rose of Yorkshire, a royal standard and a scull & crossbones [?].

Ah, stop press...Sunday is saved LW has volunteered.

LW is the same age as Harry and headed off to uni in Leeds last autumn. l think she has really enjoyes being in the city & uni life, anyway she absolutely loves shows and James Martin in that order, so Sunday is saved.

Something always turns up, never any need to panic unless you see an iceberg heading your way!

Thursday, 24 May 2007

hot & sweaty

What a sweaty, manky day its been. l've been in the kitchen most of the day & whilst punters have been enjoying their ice cream & Greek salads outside, l've been sweating like a pig prepping their food. The newly installed air con wasn't much of a help, [l'm not much when it comes to setting air con temps], the only way to cool down was a -25 in one of the freezers!

Um, the weather doesn't look too good for the coming holiday does it? Sunday it's rain showers then Monday east winds & rain. They may have got it wrong, it has been known. Oh well, take it as it comes that's all you can do really.

The week's to do list is now getting progressively shorter & covered in ticks. Harry has got 200ltrs of banoffee & the same in apple crumble. The gastroporn bit is as follows, avert your eyes if you are of a nervous disposition. The banoffee is a banana based ice cream [yuk] with an upmarket toffee sauce swirled through it plus mini maltesers, toffee pieces & fudge, whilst the apple crumble is apple bits plus crumble, [not bad]. Tomorrow it's the complicated ones apparently!

Not only has Harry been making ice cream all week he has been out every night making & preparing stuff for this Saturday's young farmers rally @ Burton Agnes, he's going to be well knackered me thinks! Masoud, the other glutton for punishment, has been on Day 1 of his CIEH Intermediate Food Hygiene course, so he''ll have had fun learning about E Coli 157, clostridium proffingens, [sorry my spelling,] & ratus ratus. never a dull moment here you know!

The caravan rally organisers have been trickling in today, setting up the rally field for their members, little pegs to make pitches, a big tent to hold evening 'jollies', a whole mini village in the making & their here for the week! Keep smiling.
As the weekend progresses l don't know how much time or more like how much energy l will have. l think that l have written somewhere before that l find blogging a way to 'switch off' after a busy day, l will try to keep in touch!

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

summer bedding & other plants

So far so good, is today's motto. Perhaps l should 'touch wood' just to make sure? It's a bit like walking uphill through treacle at the moment, you're almost at the top then you start slipping about a bit.

Today's batch of ice cream was strawberry sensation, which is really a bog standard strawberry ice cream, with added beetroot colour to make it a pale pink. Yes you have read correctly, beetroot. When we started out our strawberry was au naturelle, it looked really very unappetising, a greyish pink in fact, so we had to add a natural colour to make it more acceptable to the general public. Personally l don't do strawberry ice cream, but a lot of people do. We do a 'little moo' for kids & little girls, usually wearing pink, always ask for pink ice cream, with pink sauce & a pink umbrella!

We've had another warm day, that makes 2 on the trot, can't last surely? This weather brings more customers, so the past couple of days have been busy, again mostly the 'grey brigade' presumably going out & about before the holiday rush. Loads of new visitors as well which is always good news and most taking advantage of the weather by sitting outdoors.

l have raised herb beds surrounding the terrace area which is interspersed with a few choice pot plants. l don't really do hanging baskets or bedding plants, the only concession is the old stone trough which l have just planted up with brightly coloured red & hot pink [well that's what the labels say] pelagoniums, petunias & trailing pelagoniums, there is another but l've forgotten what it is. Last year l got completely behind on the outside bit, but this year l seem to have a bit more time & have finally got round to rehouse the pot bound plants into new, bigger homes. Because this area is a sun trap my specimen plants are Mediterranean species, the new pot on the block for this year is an oleander, red, very toxic! l like it!

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

of chocolate & falcons....

The first bird was up & singing extremely loudly at 3.48 this morning. It sounded as though it was right outside the window? It was promptly joined by all the others trying to out sing each other. By 4.20 they had gone back to sleep & everything was quiet once more. Peace & harmony returned but my sleep pattern disturbed.

Once day time proper, so to speak, began things seemed to go a tadge bumpy for most of the morning. The shop answerphone died very badly yesterday so needed replacing pronto, the new one, [care of amazon & next day delivery], arrived, so that involved setting it up, programming it with all the phone numbers, answerphone message & other such geeky stuff. Then when the phone did ring everyone fought to answer the pesky thing. Telephones l find annoying at the best of times, they always seem to ring at the most inopportune times, with questions like' do you have any vacancies for this weekend?' ' NO' or 'are you open today?'...'er - yes'.

Other visitors this morning came in the form of our local regional food group lady who filled us in on all the relevant info for this weekend's food festival. We are being sited next to the exit from the food theatre, so if l have a moment spare[huh fat chance] l just might be able to sneak under the tarpaulin if no one is looking! They are expecting 13,000 visitors. Help, that's going to mean one hell of a lot of scooping folks, I'll have a right arm like Popeye! I'm doing the Sunday stint by the way. Harry, hubby & geo are on the Monday rota.

You'll be pleased to hear that the chocolate ice cream has all been made, all 300ltrs of the lovely stuff. Harry even managed to show a group of CIEH Advance Food Hygiene students [suitably kitted up in whites & natty blue hairnets] the intricacies of ice cream manufacture. This morning they were making 120ml pots & this afternoon it was the 4ltr napolis.

Today, finely it has felt something more akin to summer, blue sky AND warmer temperatures, this brought with it groups of pensioners out for an afternoon drive who just happen to pass here for a cup of tea, loo stop & off course an ice cream, we even had the minibus from the Special Needs Centre who are regulars.

The final details of the Hawk Walk have now been sorted out & put into place with a visit from Hawk Man this evening. He's going to bring 4 birds & conduct the walk with Arthur the eagle owl. The chap is more than happy to organise the event himself & is as l blog surveying the area for points of interest with his Lanner falcon. Exciting or what. l saw Jemima Parry Jones fly one at the Game Fair years ago, boy did that bird motor!

Monday, 21 May 2007

so far so good..

My Monday 'to do' list has now been completed & all the boxes ticked in the correct order. All the big orders for this week have now been sent in, just breads & cheeses for Friday. It's a case of making an 'educated' guess as to how much stuff you'll actually need. Things for example like fruit purees we tend to treble this time of year so as to ensure we have plenty stock piled in case there is a shortage later on. Talking about flavours, we had a very nice lady from France contact us today concerning vanillas from Madagascar. Well to cut the story to the main point, she is sending over a selection, some with pods others without. Should be interesting.

We do 2 vanilla, the royal bourbon which we call 'traditional vanilla' because, well it is. [Brian Turner liked that one] & a Mexican which has egg & vanilla pods, which we call 'creamee dreamee' vanilla. It tastes more like a creme anglaise & is very different from the trad van. Most elderly men go for the trad van. They stand & look at the display freezer, umming & arrhhing then plump for the vanilla. Never fails & if they really can't make their mind up at all[has been known] l just point out the trad van. Sooo much easier.

Hubby has got the first pasteurisation done today so Harry & Masoud will be making 400 ltrs chocolate ice cream all day tomorrow. We use a Belgian chocolate to which we add chocolate fudge brownie pieces. It has got to be the most mess-making ice cream ever. EVERYTHING gets covered in chocolate paste, it sticks like glue. We have a large industrial sized stick blender that whooshes the paste into the mix, this is a seriously big boys sized mixer, not for the faint hearted!

We have had to withdraw from attending the inaugural Hull Farmers market this Friday as, well, we have basically too much on this weekend with ice cream orders coming in for the weekend & getting ready for the 3 events over the bank holiday weekend. It's a shame & l wish them well, but you can only spread yourself so thin so to speak.

What else, ah yes. The Bird Man is still intending to come to do the Nature Walks with Hawk on Sunday. The plan is to park his birds beneath the trees alongside barn & then to take groups of visitors along the countryside stewardship path down to the sea, pointing out the various flora & fauna that just might be of interest. How successful it will be l have absolutely no idea, but l have requested that he organise the event & that the prices he charges per head are paid direct to him. Should be good, though this time he wont be able to do a flying display this time as the rally field is in use.

On a closing note, Gordon is moulting like mad at the moment. He's a traditional labrador with a double coat, fine 'down' next to his skin then black hair as the outer layer. Twice a year Gordon suffers from the 'grand moult', great clumps of hair standing out in tufts, wherever he goes, he leaves large skeins of fluff n hair. The veranda is constantly full of the stuff. On 'walkies' trips it's a case of giving him a good rub all over to release the clumps, with great drifts off the stuff dancing around in the wind. I'm sure he'll feel much cooler when the hair is all out & l can imagine that all the nesting birds have got marvelously lined nests care of Gordon!

Sunday, 20 May 2007

one very busy week ahead.....

This week we are going to have to go up into hyper drive on the ice cream production side. Harry has a batch of bourbon vanilla to get made this morning starting at 9. He is as l type still sending up the Zzzzzs. Oh to be a teenager again. We are planning to pasteurise 5 times this week in an effort not to run out of the stuff over the bank holiday & half term. l should add just to throw a spanner in the works, there's round bale silage to make for the heifers. The main cut of clamped silage is now in & put away for the winter.

l don't feel quite as apprehensive as Easter. Yes it was very busy but with Whit l think people come for a week's R & R & are more relaxed in their attitude? We've done a long 'to do' list for the coming week with the only major hick-up being that the local schools in this area do a 'Rock Challenge' competition so we are missing a few of our star players so to speak! This has left us a wee bit short of staff for Castle Howard on the Sunday & the County YFC Rally on Saturday. Not to worry though, l've roped sister-in-law in to do some scooping & along with 'little ed' who is no longer little ed; we should be fine........ Looking at the task list l think we must be mad, it certainly ain't any easier than farming & you have to smile at all times!

Looking out of the office window the sun is still shinning so it looks as though we'll be busy today, yesterday was as well surprisingly, especially as it was football cup thingy. The tardis, as we call the ice cream wagon, is booked in for the RDA ride at Sledemere House today. They should have a good day & be well supported. Oh what fun - never a dull moment here!
Ah, he's up. l hear the shower's on so he's organised.
**My computer crashed whilst writing this & l have had to reset some of the settings.**

Friday, 18 May 2007

Vintage cars & other tail backs.....

l was only thinking to myself as l drove back from Bridlington this afternoon, that the traffic now seems to be continuous. There are a few good straight bits where you used to be able to put your foot down and break the speed limit, not anymore, you can barely make 45 mph. Where are these people coming from? Day trippers from Leeds or Hull perhaps, coming to partake in the bracing sea air & dine out on fish & chips? Commuters returning from a hard day at work? l guess probably a bit of both. Tourists or day trippers you can usually spot as they drive extremely s-l-o-w-l-y & forgo the use of indicators & breaks, plus the fact the driver is 9 time out of 10 an elderly chap whose wife is more than likely giving him an ear full. What is really awful, & a sign that 'The Season' is upon us is when you have to wait for the traffic to clear before pulling out of the drive onto the road. Merde

Oh for the quiet roads of yesteryear! That now leads my train of thought on to the Hull - Scarborough vintage car run which passes us sometime tomorrow morning. To me a car is a car. It ether goes fast or is not worth bothering about. The males in my family are what you could politely call petrol heads! My father is into anything that runs on an internal combustion engine whilst Hubby is Jag mad, & Harry? He's moved from steam trains to, can you guess? Cars! l suppose l ought to be pleased that none of them are sports buffs, that surely has got to be even worse. Sure l enjoy tennis, horse trials, dressage & sailing but cricket - yuk... football even yuckier [spelling?].

Lucy-Piglet was not feeling her normal bumptious self this morning. l don't know if it was because Gordon got the rabbit first, & being 'Top Dog' her nose was pushed out of joint or she had eaten something disagreeable. She put her self to bed with a labradorian flourish & removed to budge for a good few hours. l am pleased to announce there was not a lot wrong with her as she has partaken in her normal evening swim as usual. Incidentally the beach was wonderful this evening, the sea was flat - no sign of the harbour porpoise though - one solitary fisherman whom Gordon had to go and talk to, just in case he had a little something for him to nibble you understand! Who needs a psychiatrist when you have a beach at the bottom of your fields?

Thursday, 17 May 2007

mine's a large scotch please!

Living out in the sticks, sometimes l get really bemused by journalists from the smoke going on about this or that, blowing stories way out of proportion to reality. Take today for example, most important news for country dwellers is closures of Post Offices, what do we get big time? prince harry not going to Iraq because it's too dangerous.

Every radio, TV & newspaper is screaming out about Harry. Why? Surely if he goes out to Iraq he will be endangering all his comrades who will be victims of any 10 bit suicide junkie for miles around. So what IS the big deal? Royalty have fought & died on battle fields but Iraq is a different war scenario as here the enemy seems intent on killing themselves & everyone else nearby. In this case PH is different ,he becomes a valid high profile target along with anyone with him. Can you imagine the headline if Harry went & he & his regiment were hit by waves of suicide bombers? How many parents would be losing sons & daughters needlessly. l personally think Mr Blair should volunteer to take Prince Harry's place on the front line.

So post office closures might seem a wee bit boring to the hysterical tabloids, but our village has l shop with post office. If it closes, those villagers who don't drive will have to walk the 3 miles to the next village, wait for a bus that may or may not come or beg a lift. This government seems to forget that the green bit between towns actually houses a great many people who rely on village Post Offices & their cars because to get to anywhere you have to drive, why? Because there are no pavements to walk along or buses / trains to catch or cycle lanes to ride along.

Oh, l'm being opinionated today. Must be lack of sunshine, just grey blanket cloud everywhere. My tolerance levels must be at their lowest at the moment, anything can get me going when l'm like this. You just feel that living in the north & in rural England that this is the land that politicians have forgotten.
We have the crisis in UK agriculture, l received an email the other week from the NFU stating in black & white how much dairy farmers are loosing on every litre of milk sold. Does anybody care? No. 5 years ago there were 25 good sized dairy farms in this area now there are 3. This area of east Yorkshire held the largest pig population in the UK now there are a few large contract pig business's. OK so why is agriculture different from say..coal mining, car manufacture, ship building? because we need to feed ourselves and to reduce the food miles piled on by shipping / air freighting the stuff from all 4 corners of the globe.
Robert Wiseman's profits you'll be pleased to note are up as are Sainsburys, Tesco et al.
Can l apologies for the rant, hopefully by tomorrow l will be a bit more calmer.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

free advertising

Oh dear, it's raining again. l guess you could say that l was somewhat over enthusiastic by putting up the sun umbrellas this morning, but one does live in hope. Probably just as well that Becki rang in sick this morning with migraine as it wouldn't have been that nice for a day off now would it.

The article in one of the local monthly publications is bringing in loads of new customers as well as new wholesale inquiries which means hubby is being kept busy & out of mischief. Today he is delivering to Bridlington then on to Scarborough. Oh the joy of being self employed!

The site map, tickets & other riveting info-stuff for the Ryedale Food Fesitval arrived this morning. There are 2 other ice cream people exhibiting as well so a little competition here? These shows are usually great fun as we do 'swaps' with other producers, things like beer, bread, cakes, sausages - provided you can get away from the stand that is. The first year we attended, the stand next to us had, well, a rather small extremely angry woman who proceed to commander all our tables & move each item we brought in. She even attacked Harry with a wheel barrow. The organisers only just managed to calm her down before the Rt Hon S Howard did his inspection. For the next few days we & all the other exhibitors were having a double entendre conversation over her head. Lets hope she's not here this year......

Today we had a very happy camper who waylaid me 1st thing to thank me profusely for the wonderful site. She had done a whole list of the wildlife seen during the weeks stay. Deer, rabbits, owls, foxes, swifts etc etc. It was a tadge funny as she had left her false teeth out! l tried my dammed hardest not to grin. Very difficult too l might add!

l don't know about other business, but from about 9.00 we get a splait of calls from India to discuss telephones mobile or otherwise. l am awful, to me it's like open season on 'straight to the point or jugular'. When asked today about my BT account l explained that l had no wish to change as 2 tin cans & a piece of string worked brilliantly......

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

lost villages, crumbling cliffs,

Life here on the coast has now returned to normal. The rain has fallen, the sky is bright blue & the sun is shining. The rabbits are everywhere No more unpleasant occurrences. Peace reigns.

Yesterday evening the local BBC TV programme came from this part of the coast looking at coastal erosion. Reporter on ground talking to couple whose house was falling into the sea & an airborne reporter looking down at the mud cliffs & beach. As with much local TV things didn't go exactly as planned. The aerial shots where in 'bits', resulting in a bit of this & a bit of that. Really annoying especially as l was interested in the commentary, or the bits that came through like. What is gossip-worthy is that this particular couple had bought the property at a very low price a few years back knowing full well that there was only a very limited life span on their building. Over the past moths their plight has been followed by the TV cameras. The local indigenous population have lived with the shrinking coastline in this part of the world for centuries, well since the North Sea was formed l would guess. Over the millennia the people of Holderness have been loosing farm land, towns & villages to th sea, each time moving settlements further inland from the coast. Out there in the North Sea on rough nights, if you listen really hard..... you can hear the bells of those lost churches ringing for their long dead congregations.

The rain has perked up all things botanical. The new trees are splurting ahead with new leaves & stems shooting upwards, even the May blossom's scent is now permeating the scene. There's something magical about the may. The scent always reminds me of one of the pony fields that was surrounded by huge hawthorn hedges which would erupt into drifts of pungent smelling blossom every spring, then covering everything in petal snow as the flowers dropped. l will always remember that smell..........Quite overpowering.

Monday, 14 May 2007

the stuff nigthmares are made of...

You expect you off spring to show some semblance of a] common sense & b] responsibility. You bring them up, instilling in them the sense of practicality, sensibility, confidence, reliability & a least some vestige of common sense. l know that we all have to learn the hard way through mistakes & errors but when you are responsible for people younger than your self, you do need to behave in an adult like manner.

OK, l hear the cyber brains clicking away. WHAT has he done?

Let us just say there was an accident on the way back last night. Don't panic nothing serious. Something so stupid that all parents blew multiple fuses simultaneously. l suppose when you are a fully fledged adult you think ahead a few hours. If you are in excess of 4 hours drive away from base camp you plan to leave in good time thus avoiding any late night travel for example. When you are under 20, these things just don't priorities, just as long as you leave sometime.

Are you getting the picture?

The jolly camping party left Hawkshead at around 3.00pm, just as the weather was starting to deteriorate. Harry is, for the most part, fairly sensible, so l guess he thought they should be back at around 7'ish especially as he has exams on the whilst Jess & Geo are at back to school on Monday.


l rang Harry's mobile, not nosey mother, at around 8 to be told there had been an accident, nothing serious but Ben had run into the back of Harry.

At 9.30 no news. Parents start ringing round. Where are they? Contact made with errant children. They were now about 20 miles away. Last night it was torrential rain & high winds. Ben's car had a hole in the radiator. They were going to tow it back. At this point Hubby steps in. Being a Virgo he is always calm, however when he blows it is on a scale of Krakatoa. 'No way', he bellowes down the phone, 'it is too dangerous. Park up in someone's stack yard or drive, explain the situation come home'.

10.30 came & went.

11.00 came & went.

11.30 harry returned. Ben had driven back, filling his radiator every 2 or 3 miles after letting his engine cool down.

Nightmare of nightmares. I was not amused, Hubby was not amused, other parents were definitely not amused, Harry was thoroughly pissed off.

Today, after a few very strong coffees, we, the adults, have climbed down off the ceilings. Harry has completed his exams, uploaded his pictures onto the PC, & complained of feeling sick, headachey etc, etc. The 48 hour flu bug l think?
Let's hope they have all learned from the experience & climbed a rung on the ladder to being an adult.
And, where had they been? Had they enjoyed themselves? How had the camping gone?

Sunday, 13 May 2007

from sunshine to showers all in one day!

What a fantastic morning. 7.00am & the sun was streaming in through the windows at the back of the house. Blue skies, twittering birds & hubby announcing that it would be a good morning for a walk with the dogs. No one about. .... Bye!......Have fun dear!

The flu bug has gone & l feel back to my normal self. My nasty temper has receded into yesterday's mists. Gone are my vicious one liners. I'm sorry to say that whenever l'm in bad form or felling absolutely crap, l become the little girl with the curl in right in the middle of her forehead, you know the one? When she was good she was very, very good & when she was bad she was HORRID!

Hubby, [l must have been truly unpleasant], brought out the tender palms from the garage this morning & even potted up one into a large pot...l have been asking him to do this for about a week now. Wonderfully this evenings rain, yes it's precipitating again, has gently watered the pots. The front of the cafe is rather a sun trap so l can grow a few choice tender specimens in pots. l have a Chinese banana, this is planted in the border, several palms, an olive tree plus a deodora[?] a poisonous plant also known as angel's trumpet. The scent on an evening is wonderfully exotic.

The Lordling brother in law rang today, [doesn't speak to me unless cornered,] trying to persuade Hubby to take ice cream to his polo 'do' next month. The thought of TV cameras didn't appeal nor that 'celebrities' would be there. It all just fell on deaf ears as far as hubby was concerned. Ooooh.

Harry has not yet returned from his awfully big adventure, though Ben spoke to M this morning saying that they were having a great time & had been on a 3 hour walk yesterday. l hope they're not going to be toooo late as Hazzer has exams tomorrow!

l think that eccentrics must run in my family, as you know my father is one, l am heading that way, & the other one is my Godmother. Well what a card! She is now 92 years old & lives down in Norfolk in a nursing home which she finds incredibly boring. She has always been a ' Lady who Lunches' & is now restricted to only going out a few times a week not everyday! Before her accident she lived in a rather nice bungalow in Wells next the Sea, but unfortunately she got that super bug & was lucky to survive. Whilst she was recovering in hospital l sent her champagne & chocolates. 'Sooo much nicer than flowers or soap', she said.......................

Saturday, 12 May 2007

rain drops keep falling on my head...............

The rain is lashing down like stair rods on the veranda roof. This is a proper lean too filled with wellingtons & smelly dogs, just in case you get muddled up between conservatory & veranda. Haven't seen rain like this for, well months. This morning's dog ablution exercise saw that the dust had been slicked down good & proper, no a mamby pamby token dusting of dampness. Boy oh boy, this is proper rain!

For those dear readers who are following Harry's adventures in the big outdoors... he actually rang last night at, oh, about 8.30ish. They had found the place & were just blowing up airbeds. Clever boy! M rang this morning padding out the details of the trip so far. Jessie had rung last night just as they boarded the Windemere ferry, whilst Ben rang this morning , just to check that mother had done the pigs & sheep correctly, & added more juiciness. Tea had been cooked at 11pm consisting of sausages & beans, yes it had been wet during the night & Geo had been horrified that a bird had pooped on the tent, as Ben informed M, ' well you did want to park under a tree'...

The Lollipop Shoes seems to have generated rather a lot of interest now hasn't it? Our friend in Brittany twisted my arm yesterday so l did a brief review of the book on her blog spot. Basically its not a bad read but doesn't have much depth to it & l wouldn't re-read it, saying that, l would imagine it will make an interesting film, because it did seem to read as though that was JH goal.

The dreaded 48 flu bug has returned yet again, this will be its 3rd visit this year. Becki went home early yesterday, l rallied then have been in the prone position or is it horizontal position for most of the day. For those other hypochondriacs out there, the symptoms are as follows. Hot flushes [not those sort l'm toooo young], felling sick but not being sick. decidedly not hungry & lethargic. Almost like a hangover without the alcohol.

Hubby says that the ice cream parlour has been busy today, despite the heavy showers, so that's ok, then no worries on that score. l think there's more rain tomorrow. It's often the case, say Hubby Dearest, that at this time of year, just at the start of silage time it will rain...and rain...and rain.... well he's right there for once! All that dry weather last month & now look at it, we'll soon have mud & puddles!

The picture, Lixtroll .... what is Gordon looking at?

Friday, 11 May 2007

harry's big adventure..........

Harry & his mates have just gone. So much excitement caused by the thought of 2 nights away camping in the lake district. There are 4 of them going in 2 cars. One car full of tents, tilley cookers, wellington boots & dryzabone macs, the other full of kids. I think that they have packed everything 'just in case'. This will be the first time that any of them have been away from home on a non school trip. Oh to be a fly on the wall.
The route will take them via Leyburn through Wensleydale to Kendal then on to Hawkshead which is to be their base for the weekend. Lets hope they don't get lost! Harry booked onto the campsite yesterday evening, which was frightfully grown up of him, he even paid his deposit using his brand new switch card. The little bird has flown...... thanks goodness!
From what l gather they are planning to do some walking, Harry has climbed Snowdon with the CCF whilst still at school & Geo has done her Bronze D of E award, so between them they should be fine, lets hope the weather isn't too inclement for them. l think Sunday's forecast is for rain, they may be lucky tomorrow.

The last few days have seen very iffy weather, typical for the start of first cut silage. At least it is now damp & drizzly, that may sound strange, but the farming side of the business needs rain big time, whilst the ice cream side need global warming & hot sunny weather. No pleasing us then. The colours seem to have intensified over the past few days, whether it's the change in light l don't know, but things seem greener if that's possible.

Hubby's little bro has been in contact via his father, wanting us to take ice cream to his 'horsey do' next month, something to do with bollywood, chukkas & the like. Don't know as we are at The Deep in Hull doing an educational foodie thing that week. Don't hold your breath so watch this space.
The other evening's visit by the soroptomists was very well attended, l think there were about 45 of them? The walk was obviously a wash out due to the rain, but they enjoyed the talk, coffee & ice cream. Hubby even decided to come & help with the visitors. Normally you just don't see him on evening visits, once he has turned into a couch potato for the evening there is no shifting him from the remote control.

I must confess that l bought the latest Joanne Harris book, The Lollipop Shoes, in Tesco on Monday. Normally l only by groceries from the supermarket, but l had forgotten to pre-order my copy from amazon, so you see l had no real choice. my only come back is when at the check out l'm asked for my club card, l announce very loudly that ' l have shredded it because what l choose to buy is my business'.

The book itself is quite a good story, building up to a climax, well it would wouldn't it, at the end. The plot isn't too difficult tot follow, a good book for holiday reading as it isn't too taxing on the brain..

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

short but sweet

this will have to be a quickie, so to speak as l have the pleasure of 40+ soroptomist coming in, let me hours time? Apparently a full member turnout is expected after having read about us in the local 'posh' monthly magazine. Tonight's agenda is supposed to be nature walk, ice cream factory visit plus refreshments, well... it's mizzling at the moment so prob. no walk. Trouble is l'm not sure that my brain is ticking over on full power, l have eaten too many red grapes & my stomach is making a rather nasty gurgling sound. Hell.

Harry's off to young farmers this evening, practising for the rally at the end of the month. We are selling ice cream at the rally & we have heard that the usual suppler is not happy that we are 'in' this year. Oh well, it's not what you know but who you know as they say. Ice Cream Wars The X-Box Game!

Been away from the spot all afternoon, enjoying the sights & smells of Hull & surrounding areas. Delivering into Hull Truck Theatre amongst other places. l often think that Hull must have been a fascinating place before it was flattened during the war. There are odd snippets of interesting architecture protruding out of the drab concrete buildings that are common place in all our big cities today, towers & turrets on Victorian buildings, amazing picture palaces now nothing more than bingo emporiums.

For those of you out there who are travelling to the Game Fair @ Harewood House at the end of July, we will be there as part of the deliciously yorkshire food area. l will take the blackberry slammer but will alter the name just for the show to........purplecoo.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

such at lot of things........

l'm a bit late this evening but l have been having great fun.

Being a country sort of person l love falconry & this evening, in fact they're still out there, a friend of a friend of a friend has brought his Harris hawk & been hunting rabbits. l'm sorry if you are not keen on this sort of thing, but it's quite amazing to watch the skill of the falconer with the bird. So far nothing has been caught; the bird is having a blond moment apparently, even birds of prey get them, amazing or what? The chap is a true countryman with a fantastic turn of phrase, my favourite being as' mad as a box of frogs'. l just love it! Being keen to get visitors out on the permissive footpath so that they can learn about the countryside & what lives in this environment, we have decided to hold a couple of 'hawk walks' over the bank holiday at the end of the month, with Hawk Man bringing a selection from his 30+ birds & conducting the walk using a some sort of owl. Should be good.

Other firsts today, well l have seen my first swift of the year, whilst last night just off the beach the first terns were diving for sand eels. May rolls forward bringing with it all the accompanying animals & birds. l think that May has got to be my favourite month as it sees the return of so many migratory species together with the lush greenery of hedgerows & trees adorned with glorious blossoms.

l don't believe it. Today we have had not one but two heavyish downpours. Rain l had forgotten what it looked, smelt & felt like. The small birds have been taking advantage of puddles to give themselves a good wash! On the downside, there has been a strong westerly wind which
appears to be drying everything up. As you can see from the pictures, the change in weather has brought some fantastic skies. Here we get the large open sky thing, with no hills or mountains to hinder the views. Big Sky!

l have noticed an interloper on yesterday's blog comment. Fear not, l know who it is because the picture of all the little dahlings is posted on that someone's myspace!

Monday, 7 May 2007

caught in the act...

So it was at the end of yet another busy day at mr moo's the staff were caught in the act of being daft in a public place by the boss's camera. Snapped.

It's quite amazing that the little devils had ANY energy left by 5 o'clock, but from somewhere deep in the reserves of extra ice cream & chocolate cake scraps they managed to find their after burners!

Hubby announced first thing that today would be fairly quiet because everyone had gone home so it might be an idea to reduce staff levels for the day. WRONG. It's been very. very, very busy all day. Loads of cappuccinos, mega moo's, cowpats, baguettes & panini. Not quiet, very busy. Glad l took no notice of his advice [as usual] especially as it hasn't rained. Not one drop. Nothing. The sky has been grey but as usual not one drop of precipitation. The drought continues.

From today's pictures, you will have observed that l have been a little snap happy whilst supposed to be doing work. I have noticed that the little darlings are often snapping away with their 'phones, the pictures later appearing on the teenage site myspace. Well, revenge is sweet say l. This one looking decidedly cross is 'mini moo' or Harry. Today he has been making sorbets; orange, lemon & mandarin which is wonderfully delicious!

This morning l discovered that l had been 'tagged'. Apparently this is not the play ground game but something to do with blogging & recommending your favourite blog sites so here's my Fab 6:-

Un Peu Loufoque

hope you all enjoy!

Sunday, 6 May 2007

sweaty feet

Isn't it a truly wonderful sensation when you peel off your shoes exposing hot sweaty feet & wriggle sock clad toes in the air. Arghhhh. Don't worry, no ones about to complain, Harry's nipped round to friends to attempt the big tent putting up ceremony before Friday's camping trip & hubby's feeding the calves. Peace at last.

l really must be in the wrong job, l think in my next life l would like to be a deck chair attendant. Yep, you've guessed it... we've been heaving again. It was non stop from 2pm until closing. People diving to tables & chairs before they were even cleared & wiped. At one point l think there was about 15 orders for coffee & cakes when the fan gremlin blew the orders off their pegs just for a bit of extra fun.

Here we have 2 types of customers, the very nice, smiley ones & the huffers & puffers. The huffers & puffers are a rarity but like all good twitchers you can see them without the aid of binoculars. They tend to stand not exactly in the que, stare very hard at anyone in uniform then start huffing & puffing & looking exasperated as though they were the only ones waiting for service. We had such a species in today. It began huffing quite a long way out, then began puffing when told that the lady at the till would take the order, still not satisfied it began to chunter. Bad sign this. This species of animal can become very dangerous when even slightly roused. G worked well under pressure, took the order but, oh had to ....oh no.....wait until the order was made up which brought about even more huffing, puffing & chuntering. I think that it is about to become 'open season' for H.P.C.s so we'll be aiming to take a few pot shots as they pass by.

Talking about pot shots, we were rudely woken at 04.30 this morning by a violent hammering on the front door. Remember we don't live in the village, but along a country road. Right, there was a very strange man on the front door step asking that we ring the police because he was lost & it wouldn't cost us anything??? Hubby being a nice sort of chap duly did as asked. The man didn't wait, he just walked away, and did a policeman come?..........Nope. Not a siren, flashing light or an 'evening all', just the birds commencing the dawn corrus.

Saturday, 5 May 2007

the sun has at last arrived

Well, l ask you & isn't it about time too, the sun has finally, & late in the afternoon, condescended to show itself to the waiting world on the east coast. The last time l felt the sun's rays would have been last Saturday morning in Far Sawrey, since then nothing, just a world of continual grey mankyness.

Isn't it amazing how a little bit of sunshine cheers everyone up. The birds seem to sing that extra bit louder, the grass takes on a bright green appearance,people walk with a lighter step. l know the sun didn't come out till gone 4 today, but it has been trying hard to make up for the past week of cloud. The sky is a misty blue & the temperature feels to have risen, not by a lot, but a definite improvement on past days.

The heifers have now been moved to the hill top field & are mooching about looking for trouble. So far they haven't broken through the electric fence. As we walked down to the beach before tea, they ghosted us down the fence side waiting for an excuse to bounce about doing handstands. Gordon & Lucy-Piglet stayed this side of the fence knowing full well that they might just get chased if they strayed too far into heifer territory.

The ice cream parlour took off with a slowish start but by mid afternoon l had to be dragged away from the Beeb's Badmin[g]ton coverage to lend a hand. Never got a chance to sneak back in to watch anymore.

Before moving north, Badders was an annual spectator event. Living not far from the competition we used to charge down back lanes in an event to miss the crowds, armed with picnics, wine & sausages in thermos flasks. Those days Badders was held in April & normally would be fairly chilly & wet, but with the event being set latter in May, the prospect of too hard a ground raises its ugly head. l remember back in 1976, the year of the hot dry summer, the Dauntsey Park horse trials held in August, had the X-country course rotivated to improve the going, but, then it rained. The result was a quagmire & a real nightmare to ride. It's amazing how big both Badminton & Burgley now are. When l was a wee youngster the spectators were all horsey folk who were interested in the horses & competition now it would appear that the big SHOPPING experience is the major draw, 'Dahling, l can't possibly walk all that way when l can watch it on the screen in comfort'. l don't bother to go anymore. l really can't be bothered with all this pseudo horseyness / social poncing about by people who don't know the difference between a fetlock & a spavin.

Friday, 4 May 2007

wonderful home grown food ....

If anyone else asks me 'did l see that programme on C4 last night?' l will scream. Every other person has asked me what did l think to the content, did l agree with it, was life in the depths of rural England as bad as that. Well, in here, all us lot who have a purple twinge about the gills, who like to think that we have an exclusive insight to all things country, after all we were all once avid CL readers, know the real story when we see it. Life here in the agricultural sector is very tough at present, no getting away from the fact. Dressing up in flowery frocks, photos of amazing homes & gardens et al doesn't represent the true, dirty, nitty gritty of rural life faced by those guardians of the land of which l & my family are one.

[Climb up carefully onto soap box]

'hey you at the back with the aldi bag NO heckling PLEASE'

Hubby gets annoyed with me when l start to rant about the rapid decline of small family farms, the incredible amount of bureaucracy foisted upon us by Europe. the total apathy of the NFU & the reality that the majority of people do not care a monkeys about how or where their food is produced, so long as it is convenient & cheap. Those who care or who have a higher disposable income will & do support farmers markets & farm shops, they can be counted upon to vote with their feet as well as their taste buds!

l have kept my opinions toned down, you'll be please to note, however there are some real success stories out there in Farming Land. As you may, or may not, have noticed the link to deliciously yorkshire. Here you can find farmers who have changed tack to produced quality, superbly flavoured, totally wholesome products, whether it be beer, jams, bread, butchery or in our case ice cream. Chefs & food programmes are discovering the wealth of fantastic foods that are available now through out the length & breadth of this country. Farmers have a passion for the land but they also can show they have this passion for food & this enthusiasm is infectious.

Not all farmers are able to move their businesses on in this way, but for those that that follow this route it is a truly exciting time. At country shows, areas are dedicated to local food exhibitions , the Great Yorkshire Show for example, has a large hall crammed pack full of wonderful Yorkshire produce, plus a cookery demonstration area showing the public how to prepare & cook these fabulous foods. Towns & city centres have food markets & festivals, York has several. [not so sure about the French market]. So what l'm saying is get out there this summer, talk to us food producers, find out what is happening in the areas of food production & agriculture, because we really do need to listen to what you the consumer wants from us & if possible we will attempt to grow / make / develop this for you to savour & enjoy!

OK, deep breath.

Step down off soap box.

Blast l've put my foot through the top..........damn & you have a band aid?

Thursday, 3 May 2007

blue skies, nothing but blue skies from now on.......

Well the sun has not come out at all today, in fact it didn't come out yesterday either or the day before. OK, where is it? What's happened to this global warming business then eh? Tonight's doggy walk was what you could call chilly. The sea was an even deeper grey than the sky with the whole beach seeming to be in a total monochrome phase. everything grey, light grey, dark grey plus all those greys in between. Ugh, l even had my woolly hat & gloves on to protect my ears from dropping off & my fingers from turning black with frost bite. Come on summer, the may blossom is out the swallows are here so bring on the sun!

Living in the countryside l think you become more aware of changing seasons than urban dwellers. You know when the swallows are due back & watch the heavens in anticipation, the same with the may. This year things are out of sync in a fairly big way. The normal harmony that greats you as you walk doesn't feel right? Firstly, we have the may blossom. It is in flower now, 3 weeks early in this part of the world, but what is stranger still is that there is no scent to the flowers at the moment. Weird. Secondly the birds have nested early & as you walk past nesting boxes or through the barns you can hear all the twittering going on by the chicks clamouring for food - feed me mum now! There are other things that draws your eye. the barley is shot [the ears are emerging], grass too is starting to flower & the land itself, well it's dry, dusty & has deep fissures on peaty soil. Weird.....

This afternoon l have had the great pleasure of dealing with a racist b###. Poor Masoud seems to have had a slight problem. Basically & being aware that any Tom, Dick or Harry can read this, he was tucked up good a proper as they say & my intervention to help clarify the situation only resulted in a very silly little man on the end of the phone ranting and raving about foreigners. Well l suppose you live & learn. As l said to Masoud, we learn that people are not all as they seem from an early age when your best friends drops you in at school and you take the rap. But it really wasn't me Miss Brown it was HER!
Because l'm a sunshiny person, l have attached a picture from my January holiday. The sun was shining the sea was blue & it was WARM ney it was positively HOT. It was the sea that was warm, like bath water & the fishes brightly flashes darting about, oh my; shorts, bathers & no shoes fantastic! Hey guys take me back ...........................

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

A nothing sort of day really..........

Today l have had a nothing much day. A day that has seen me sat in front of the PC messing around with designs for information boards for kids. The sort of thing that can be slung up anywhere showing today's youth the process from cow to cone, pictorially, not to many words. So for inspiration l have been trawling the net looking for inspiration. The Ben & Jerry site showing the process from start to finish was quite neat, but after watching the video thingee several times l think l've pulled in a few ideas on format. Life certainly isn't dull always new inspiration & ideas. When we first started of with the ice cream venture, l likened my brain to that of a hedgehog's spines, thoughts shooting off every which way. Our first few years l was sort of hyper, if l could have bottle the adrenaline l need never have worked again, might have been bored but, well that's another story now isn't it.

Delivery men have been coming all day today, bringing Harry's bits & pieces for his camping trip. Camping kitchen, chairs, crockery, saucepans, no tent yet though..... Ah, YFC AGM. Harry's club had not organised anything...... hard to believe, apparently only the chairman has gone & he gave no one else the opportunity to go. The chairman isn't up to much, so Harry says.
Lets hope the County Rally goes better.

Last night's visit by the B. YFC was a bit of a nightmare. I can easily cope with most kids, well these lot were a nightmare. Firstly there were no club leaders or older members to keep the younger ones in control, secondly the vice chairman was very shy & not forth coming at all. Normally l do a brief intro about us & why we diversified the business, this time, huh, they were so busy chatting that before l could even start l announce, much to Harry's embarrassment, that l had no intention of entering a talking competition with anyone. That was basically it, they obviously were just here for a 'good time' so, l left Harry to show them round which even he found hard as all these young girls kept fawning over him, not that he minded of course, and giggling. One boy even had silver ballet pumps on. These are Young Farmers we are talking about! Well, let us just say l was glad when they went!

We have booked to take part in the DelicouslyYorkshire stand at this years Game Fair at Harewood House near Leeds. All the forms arrived today concerning risk assessment, electrics & such like, l haven't filled them in being otherwise artistically preoccupied but it's something l'll have to scrutinise tomorrow. That'll be fun now wont it? It's mind blowing all the forms & disclaimers you have to fill in before attending fairs & shows, l'm surprised we bother really, but you do get free tickets & can usually sneak in to watch any cookery demonstrations which is pretty good! l have seen James Martin a few times & he is good despite doing weird things with spun sugar & even more amazingly not burning himself. If you do get the chance to watch his cookery demos take it, he is one of the more nicer celebrity chefs.

Holiday makers are starting to appear in readiness for this weekend's bank holiday. Caravaners are still ringing hoping for a vacancy, sorry guys, we've been fully booked for months now. Don't know how busy we actually going to be, certainly Easter was HEAVING but that was Easter, & it'll depend on the weather, we are not exactly warm over on the east coast at the moment, chilly in fact.

Whilst doing my research bit, see earlier paragraph, one of the comments on the B & J page was the fact that they could not deliver virtual ice cream yet, well, l did grin because looking at your comments about our ice cream & sending it out to bloggers via envelope, fax or carrier pigeon got me thinking to how we tried to do just that, well, um, in a more practical manner last year. What we tried to do was pack a polystyrene box with ice cream tubs & dry ice & see how long a window we had to get the stuff delivered before it melted. Now that was a real laugh, everyone who supplied the component parts were really excited by the prospect, anyone would have though t that we were attempting a lunar landing or something. Did it work? Well, yes it did but, & there always is a but isn't there, it was a rather expensive ice cream at the end of the day & a service that was not really economically viable.

On a more sombre note, thanks for the kind & thoughtful comments about poor old Pip, who you'll be pleased to note now resides under a newly planted apple tree, Cox's Orange Pippin.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Dogs, kleenex & sea fret

Last night the phone rang at about 9'ish. I knew that, even before l picked up the phone, it was going to be an emotional, heart breaking call. At the other end of the line was a close friend & also our manger here. You see we are 'dog buddies', this in layman's terms means that whenever one of us has an elderly or sick dog that needs to escape from this world to the next, we are there for each other.

It was my turn 2 years ago when Sam, at the grand old age of 15 was ready to move on. She was there for me as we sat in the dog kennel keeping the elderly dog company whilst waiting for the vet, using up vast amounts of Kleenex & trying to keep jolly by remembering Sam's rabbit jaunts that lasted all day. Last night it was her turn. Pip, who at the grand old age of 16, had finally succumbed to arthritis and could no longer stand was in need of the Dog Buddies. Pip had always been an active collie, who did a grand job of herding the sheep & pigs, but had become stiffer & less mobile over the last few weeks, now she was lying quietly waiting....

It's never nice to loose a pet. At least they can die with dignity surrounded by the 'family', a luxury that few humans can hope for. Sam now sits in a wooden box on the kitchen dresser & will be joined in turn when their time comes by our current batch of labs. I had a lady ring the other night. She & her husband were due to come with their caravan this weekend. The breast cancer that had made her ill had now progressed to the secondary stage, her bones. Christmas this is morbid. Anyway, l cheered her up by telling her that we could postpone her visit until she felt a bit better once the treatment which she was to start on Thursday was complete.

I'm sorry, but l didn't mean to be so maudlin, [is that the word?], normally I am a rather bouncy happy laughee sort of person who can never take anything seriously for a moment. Life is a big game into which we can either have a riotous time or weep in the corner. I riot.

Poor hubby is being teased this week. He has had no sympathy whatsoever about the trek up steep paths. Perhaps he should just keep quite on that one. Do you know, when we went to see REM in Hull, he had to leave early because It was toooo loud. l ask you, what is the matter with these Yorkshire men?

Tonight l have another local YFC coming for a talk n walk, except the sea fret has rolled in & you can't see a thing out there. As Harry is in tonight l think l'll get the little darling to do the talk. Bound to be women in the group so he'll be fine. Talking about Harry, he was extremely cross that we went away last week without him. he is 18! Anyway Harry's off camping weekend after next. He's bought himself a tent plus camping gear from ebay so ...we'll wait & see how he gets on with out mother!

Oh tonight's picture is an 'enhanced' one.. [sounds a bit plastic] l have been messing about trying to design a back drop for shows? Well, l found a free edit picture thingy & this is the result. It should look fine with text & pictures set on top.
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