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

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

cold ears

This evening's dog walk has left me with cold, tingling ears, a sure sign that autumn is here. It is one of the down sides to living so close to the sea. The sharp, salt laden wind was one of the first things that l noticed on moving north from Gloucestershire, apart from the strange language which l really struggled to understand. The banks of the River Severn were often breached during the winter months & the villages & hamlets around Gadbury, Pendock & Eldersfield often took on a supernatural appearence, but cold wind whistling around the ears? Not on your life!

So here we are then autumn. Summer neatly tucked away until next year, and boy what a summer it was, if you could call it that? It would be fairly accurate to say that the weather has impacted on the business this year, only the brave ventured out during the months of May through to July. Oh to have had shares in hunter wellingtons this summer! Well, at least we weren't flooded out & summer of a sort eventually arrived in August!

So what next? Foot and Mouth is still bubbling away down south & now we have blue tongue; the best bit of news was that of price fixing by the major multiples, we as farmers, & having been involved in price negotiations with dairy companies, have been always aware of the fact, though of course it must NEVER be mentioned in public!! I can even recall a board member of a Leeds based dairy company vehemently deny that this was ever the case, what did he call it? A cartel & this was illegal, he said.... need l say more?

So, l guess it's now time to turn on the central heating, chop the logs for the woodburner, set up the mouse traps to catch the little blighters as they move into their winter residence, and, perhaps, more importantly get out the woolly hat!

Thursday, 20 September 2007

post holiday blues

Why is it when you come back off holiday everything is, well, flat. OK, so the piles of dirty washing aren't exactly 'flat' but, your brain is kinda of, well, out of it.

Anyway, less of the maudlin, back from holiday mood & back to the prose, or whatever this selection of poor grammar & spelling is termed as. Really, l think l should have stayed put, hidden in the olive groves & refused point blank to return to the chilly, autumnal weather of the east Yorkshire coast. brrr.

Not even back a week & already starting to sneeze. Could it be all that re-circulated air pumped around the aircraft cabin? Airlines, especially the charter ones have a lot to answer for. Take the food. Well, l think they call it 'food'. To me, being served up a rubber, rectangle of burnt pasta is not something l would term along the lines of food. A frisby perhaps, but not food. Then there are those over priced small tins of pop.......... Next time, l will buy my £4.50 sandwich & £2.50 bottle of plain mineral water & eat something a bit more recognizable as food, if not great value for money.

Less of the moans & groans. OK. Great holiday. Did very little except read, sit in the sun, swim & of course eat loads of yummy nosh! N E Corfu is tourism on a low key. Do they call it Kensington on Sea? Small coves, olive strewn hilly bits then mountains, dotted with villages, hamlets & villas. What l did notice this year was how very dry the undergrowth is. Normally at this time of year, the purple flowers of the wild cyclamen are carpeting the olive groves. This year, nothing but dead grass. No rain you see, well, ok, we had some rain, but there has been no proper rain for months so together with the heat wave, that has hit the eastern Med, everything is very dry indeed.

Monday, 17 September 2007

the traveller returns

It is amazing just how quickly a week can fly past. Time seemed to positively race past at a break neck speed. One minute your sitting on the suitcase trying to close the damm thing then the next you're sat up in the restaurant at corfu airport waiting to see if your departure flight is on time. Oh to be able to hit the rewind switch!

Corfu. Ah Corfu. Just wonderful. The place is truly magical. The scenery is outstanding, the locals are well, local, & the food...... fresh fish & seafood......freshly baked bread cooked in the local bakery.............. sublime as well as calorific.

This year we stayed lower down the slopes of the mountain, closer to the sea, within walking distance in fact. A gentle stroll down through the olive groves, peppered with the odd cypress tree, to the pebbly beaches of Agni and Yaliskari.

Warm, crystal clear waters temptingly inviting, snorkels & flippers at the ready, fish in abundance. The return trek, and at the start of the week it was a definite trek, back up the step pathway, up, up, up to the village and the dark red villa, with views across the countryside & narrow straights towards the barren slopes of Albania.

So now l'm back. The memories are the photos on the computer set to slide show. The washing has been done & summer clothes put away until next year. The accounts have been caught up with. The sun tan is, well, hmm, not completely faded. Corfu again next year then?

Thursday, 6 September 2007

escape .......

One of the things that really keeps you going during the busiest moments is the thought of the holiday booked for early September. After a busy summer is not the right time to trawl through the myriad of web sites offering tempting last minute breaks to here or there, so, for the past few years we have behaved in a sensible manner & booked the week's break well in advance. So tomorrow, the time has finally arrived. We are off. Returning to corfu once more.

I came to Corfu fairly late. I had fallen in love with the island after having read Gerrald Durrell's book, My Family and Other Animals whilst still at school. l have not been disappointed. To me, l can still catch a glimpse of the boy & his dog racing through the dark olives grows growing on the steep slopes that fall down into the azure blue of the crystal clear sea.

So, for the next 7 days, a whole week in fact, we will be deserting the Yorkshire coast & scanning, instead, the barren coastline of Albania from our terrace whilst gargling with ouzo & swatting wasps!

Tuesday, 4 September 2007 days

Summer is over. The schools have gone back today, all those badly parked cars jammed outside the village schools gates again. Peace returns at last. The peace it would seem is in the form of an Indian summer, blue skies, wispy, high cirrus cloud, swirling & swooping swifts, the new seasons babies practicing their acrobatics before their long journey south for the winter. Skeins of geese are busy circling stubble fields in search of spilled grain.

Here, the land has returned to the brown earth of the ploughed & rotavated fields, waiting for the break crop of oil seed rape to be sown. Areas of grassland flooded in the june floods have now been re-seeded & it will be interesting to see if these new lays flourish with the addition of the nutrients from the flood water.

The ice cream parlour, after a more than hectic august, is now settling down to a more leisurely pace. August was certainly manic & as a rough guide, has been our busiest ever. All our visitors have been in excellent form, not a cross word, grumble or complaint. It has almost been as though with the weather being so crap in June & July, then with August being of a marked improvement, nothing was going to get in the way of their days out, so bring out the ice cream!

The farm walk has been enjoyed by old a young. Withow gap has been dammed & bridged by young construction engineers whilst the more imaginative have been making pebble boats & castles. Talking about castles we had one little boy come in with a vivid scar across his forehead. His day was made when one of the lads commented that 'he was a real wizard'!
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