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

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Pantomimes and christmas cards

Cold and wet or dry and frosty, this winter's weather seems to be all over the place. Frosts are fine, albeit cold around the old ears, but the wet, dark, dank and gloomy days and on top of all that we have the news. What can l say about that. Personally l think that a few fat cat heads need to roll and fast or else l will start to get my knives sharpened & the tumbrels out. As is so often the case, the governments, greed, unscrupulous & unregulated multi-nationals can bring the economies to a skidding halt. Oh l could spit nails at these speculators and hedge fund managers; send them here l will have them digging dykes, cleaning out calf pens and planting trees in bare feet and sack cloth the only bonus being a cup of Yorkshire Tea in a paper cup.

Running my own business, l have got to look forward to the future, next year and the following. What will happen to the rural economy and more importantly the tourist industry here on the east coast? Logic tells me that with the pound in free fall against all major currencies, the Brits will holiday here in the UK. I mean to say, where else do you have such wonderful and diverse scenery? Rugged coastline, magnificent mountains, wild moorland, historic cities and romantic ruins? Well, we can but hope now that shopping is no longer the 'in thing'.

With the coming of Christmas heralds the return of the good old pantomime and Christmas shows. This year sees Paul Daniels and Debbie Maggee at Bridlington. I am amazed at just how much ice cream gets eaten during the intervals, do people not have tea before they come out? H & J must have made about 20,000 of the little blighters [pots] in the past week, enough hopefully to take us to after Christmas - fingers crossed that is. Before you ask, traditional vanilla is the flavour of choice! On top of all this, we have finally passed our S.A.L.S.A. accreditation, and no this is not a dance from Strictly Come Dancing, but an in depth audit covering all aspects of the production process. Nothing like being busy at this time of year. it does however, have a knock on effect and, all l can say is thank goodness for Betty's by Post and H ordering the last bronze free range turkey from a neighbouring farm, so at least we will have turkey and we will have Christmas pudding with creamee dreamee vanilla to follow!

Perhaps l ought to say at this late point in the proceedings - l haven't written any cards yet - l have white address labels though ............................

Friday, 28 November 2008

Talks and Waffle

This week has been a fairly interesting one for the dying embers of November, as previously noted we had snow, a good 6 inches of the fluffy stuff AND we had customers, braving ice roads and snow drifts just to fulfill the craving for ice cream! Wonderful!

Last night saw me speaking in front of a group of farmers as part of the Fresh Start initiative. The meeting was held at Bishop Burton College and l was the third speaker of the evening. Up to date, all the talks l have given have been fairly informal, usually at food shows, the WI or local young farmers clubs, format being rather jolly with some bits of waffle followed by samples. 'Do you do PowerPoint' the organizer asked, 'er no but l can,' was my reply. So last night there l was clutching my memory stick containing all sorts of file back ups plus my slide show! People who know me are aware that l do enjoy a bit of a giggle, so my presentation was set up to keep the audience entertained, well that at least was the theory.

The previous speaker, Philip Halhead from Norbreck Genetics was pretty good, covering many aspects of marketing that l had hoped to include in my spiel. It was really interesting to see another farm branding and marketing their product in a similar way to ourselves, despite the fact that the goods were poles apart, so to speak! Things like brand, price, customer service, using the media were all flagged up by the speaker.

I was last to take the floor, only woman in front of a bunch of about 50 farmers, which included our bank manager, [it was he who had invited me to speak incidentally]. My plan of attack had been to briefly discuss how and why we had turned the core business from dairy farming to ice cream manufacture and to make sure that no one fell asleep during my 15 minutes of fame, had mr moo in person shooting onto the screen from all directions as each slide made its entry. It certainly made the audience laugh, where was the little bugger coming from next, and boy did they remember our product!

Enthusiasm and brand image - l think l put that across?

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Snowy Saturday

Whilst shoppers head to the towns and cities in search of the 20% off major brands, us lot here on the east of England have snow. Swirling snow storms. Large dark clouds bringing substantial qualities of the white stuff obliterating the view from here across the bay to Flamborough Head. Dramatic of what?

It is pretty damn amazing considering the weather that people are out and about. Staff levels have been what you could call minimal, but despite the slippery roads, we have had the car park half full of cars and 4WD as people come out for an ice cream, lunch, hot chocolate [with of course marshmallows AND cream], followed by a very bracing walk down to an incredibly rough sea with their dogs. Yeap, the sea sure is rough, large rollers coming in off the North Sea, the tide is up and thanks to the wave action the mud cliffs are crumbling and being washed away!

I often wonder if eating ice cream in the cold weather is akin to eating a real hot curry in the heat. Do you feel less cold with something chilly in your tum?

We have a couple of new flavours being tested on our customers, chilli and chocolate, plum and cinnamon, Christmas pudding and a new batch of walnut and fig [as seen in the last issue of Yorkshire Life]. Feedback so far has been pretty good, especially the chilli & chocolate! Tubs of ice cream are starting top fly out now in readiness for Christmas, the alcoholic ones seem to flavour of the month so far, best seller being drunken cherry [amarena cherry with a generous helping of kirsch].

I often recieve emails from people asking where they can buy mr moo's from, well, if you live in South Yorkshire you could well be in luck as Tesco stock a selection of 4 flavours in 500ml tubs, whilst Asda in yellow belly land,south of the Humber stock a similar range. I hasten to add that both supermarkets market our product under the Local Producers label. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008


November is my least favourite month, short days, darkness, wind and rain, brrrr. Here on the coast it is a time of bracing walks, well wrapped up in scarf, hat and gloves and of course not forgetting the 'only' footwear for the winter, the good old wellington boot, either the flowery variety, the mega expensive Dubarry model or the good old black gumboot for those who wish to make a statement.

The Ice cream Parlour has now returned to winter opening hours, we are closed on Mondays & Tuesdays, open from 11 till 4 from Wednesday through to Friday then open 10 till 5 during the weekend. We find that during the winter months, visitor numbers drop off along the coast, with people heading to the shopping malls were it feels like summer every day! Saying that, we do pick up trade from weekend visitors staying in one of the many holiday cottages in this part of the world. Being less busy now, we have said goodbye, for the time being, to our seasonal staff, TF/KT flew back out to Calgary and the Rockies two weeks ago, in readiness for the coming snowboard season in Nakiski, snow l hear is already falling and Hz is hoping to fly out sometime in the new year. Should be fun.

This winter l have been 'volunteered' for a new post, Advisory Committee member for Brandesburton Young Farmers Club, and l can safely say l have been suitably impressed by the new club officers. As l type, they are busy organizing this season's dinner dance which is to be held in January, a change of venue, moving from Far Grange Park to the newly refurbished Bridlington Spa and, which is truly awesome, causing a bit of excitement amongst the ' old farmer' network!

It seems funny really to be involved in Young Farmers again as l used to be a pretty keen member xyz years ago, holding club posts in both Corse & Tewkesbury clubs. Our drama efforts were pretty dire l seem to recall, but always a real laugh. One year the criteria was 'Variety Show' and us girls did a pretty lousy impression of Pan's People to a Cliff Richard song - we did get a mention from the judge and we were adequately covered in all the right places! Such fun......

Wednesday, 8 October 2008


September has now gone, faded away like sea roke in a storm, so sails are now set for the coming winter and we begin the 'l don't know what to expect' scenario. The news re -economy is bleak, will it be as bad as they say and will we all need to open accounts at the bottom of the garden? Who knows all we can do is make a stab in the dark and try to be prepared.

From the end of the month we reduce our opening hours to 5 days a week, 11 -4 Wednesday to Friday and 10 - 5 weekends, winter also fits in nicely with our staffing levels, our uni students have returned to a life of drink and parties so we are left with our 2.5 regular staff. The half is one of the the team on maternity leave.

On the farm today tractors are flying about everywhere, ploughing, the ground has been like soggy blotting paper, farmer like headless chicken flapping around waiting to get on the land, well now he is and the ground is still wet, the drains don't seem to be able to cope with the amount of water. Sheep farmer opposite is having fun getting stuck with his plough, leaving large wet holes untouched! Who in their right mind would want to farm? Then there are the sheep, three of the beasts escaped yesterday, evading sheep fencing and netting to promenade along the footpath, so the dogs had to become sheep dogs whilst l walked the ewes back up the path and through the gate. Now that was funny, gun dogs looking fierce.

The coast at this time of the year is rather special, the light changes and the sea becomes a dark grey, ships sit out in the bay on sea anchors, at night a mass of blazing lights. The beach shifts during the autumn tides, sand and shingle being pushed up and down the shoreline, one day pristine sand the next pebbles, always different, sky, sea and sand.

PS: This guy came into today, walking around Britain's coast in aid of charity, this is more about him and his journey Colin's Epic Trip.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Holidays on Yorkshire's East Coast

Today it's raining. Outside it is dark and gloomy, chilly and wet. Autumn is here, winter not far away. it's strange really, sat inside out of the weather, how people react to sunshine. Outside it's gloomy, the press are full of the encroaching doom and gloom and yet, when the sun shines out people come, driving across to the coast from the cities and towns of the West Riding, ignoring the words of warning and high petrol prices to what l can only assume is to cheer themselves up from the depressing and morbid news columns that journalist hurl at us with what appears to be positive glee! A bracing walk along the promenade at Filey or a voluptuous ice cream sundae is all it takes to put one's life into prospective.

This year has been really weird. We did not know what to expect, what with the credit crunch or recession, if we believed every word written then we would have shut shop and headed off to the sun to become deck chair attendants, the press drifted of course again, OK so people haven't traveled abroad en-mass they appear to have holidayed, here, in the UK. In fact trippers and holidaymakers are still about in the dying embers of september. Back to my point about the weather. As soon as the sun pokes it's head out from behind the cloud, people leap into their cars or onto their bicycles and head out for a good day beside the sea. This past weekend is a good example. Filey, Bridlington and Whitby were absolutely choker block. Car parks were full to bursting, the beaches at Filey were being enjoyed as people walked along the pristine sands, The steps leading to the Abbey in Whitby were as full as a sunday in august!

It's really great to see people enjoying the local landscapes, although it is nice to travel and to visit far flung places, the English landscape is truly spectacular, where else in a short space of time, can you drive through coastal plains of Holderness, soft rolling landscapes of the Yorkshire wolds, to the high heather clad grouse moors peppered with ruined abbeys and moorland crosses of the North Yorkshire Moors.

It is this aspect of Yorkshire l have always found fascinating, the ever changing landscapes, coming as l do from the forests of west Gloucestershire, don't get me wrong, l am a tree person, but l also love the wide open skies and vast vistas that seem to be so common up here in the north. l would also probably add that this part of the world has been, thankfully, avoided by the London based travel journalist, it is some where just off the A1 en route to the new Cornwall, Northumberland. A region of Britain that has not appeared in TV programs, well there is Heartbeat and All Creatures Great and Small [which, incidentally was filmed in the Yorkshire Dales despite the books being set in Thirsk and on the North Yorks Moors,] glossy magazines have not extolled the virtues of holidaying on the east Coast or Yorkshire Wolds, we have got away lightly so far, except that is, for the last two publication of a monthly magazine extolling the virtues of living in the countryside, a countryside that doesn't have mud, the sort that stains wellingtons and creeps up along the inside of jeans, of earthy smells and of tractors that clog up the roads, a countryside where families decorate their homes with flowery fabrics and and bunches of dried herbs artistically hung from beams whilst Boden clothes are casually slung over worn and artistically mismatched furniture carefully painted in the latest Farrow & Ball colour scheme. Anyway, this magazine has discovered us, this area. The article inform its readers that there are wonderful pubs in this area, that have creative menus using the best of the locally produced ingredients, from lamb to free range pork, vegetables and dairy produce. The countryside has also been 'discovered', our rolling hills, narrow dales, deserted villages and slightly faded statley homes.

However there is still one place that is un-charted, omitted from the southern journalist's list of places to visit; the east Yorkshire coast.......

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

XL and all that stuff

Just over a week ago, l was scanning through the business pages of one of the daily broadsheets, not really taking in what was written, when an article caught my eye, the headlines read, 'XL Leisure Group enters refunding talks'. I re-read the article twice just to make sure l my eyes were not deceiving me.

I think my heart stopped beating for a moment or two, thoughts of the Zoom fiasco flashed in front of my eyes. At times of crisis, l guess the internet is an excellent source of information so there l was, googling trying to find out more. For the next 2 days nothing, no news absolutely nowt.

The problem, you see, was that l had booked tickets with XL flying out of East Midlands to Corfu in the next 4 days. Would the company find a backer or would it fold? As the departure date crept ever closer, still no news. Press releases had stated that a decision would be reached at the end of the week.......... nothing. No news is good news? I don't think so, l had a gut feeling that the company was as they say, going to go 'tits up'.

Being self-employed, holidays are few and far between, eagerly anticipated, a case of escaping from the daily routine to relax and re-charge before going hell for leather again. For the past few years, after the the schools have gone back and the season is starting to return to its normal pace, we have departed en-mass to Corfu for a week's r & r. No different this year except, XL.

A hurriedly arranged crisis meeting was called around the breakfast table, topics discussed included what if there is no plane on monday and what do we do if we couldn't get back? The boys were fine , they were flying out of Birmingham with Monarch, it was just us & the in-laws.

After rather a large intake of breath, it was decided, unanimously l might add, to re-book flights with another carrier. Call us mad, but what option was there, could we really take the risk of loosing out on the long awaited holiday?

So there you have it. Seats were booked through First Choice.

The holiday was wonderful. The sun shone, the sea was deliciously warm, the temperature lolled around in the high 30'C and the villa was a dream. The boys swam and raced around in motor boats, we ate at waterside tavernas and drank copious amounts of retsina, the stress from the past 12 months was starting to drift off into the ether.

So what was happening to XL we wondered? Had we been plain daft in changing flights? Texts, followed by eagerly read news reports, care of the BBC web pages, told us otherwise. Groups of XL flight only travelers huddled around their suitcases on monday at Corfu airport waiting for a seat to, well anywhere, really brought home to us that the days of cheap airline seats are gone for the time being.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Yorkshire Air Ambulance

This week, what with the Bank Holiday weekend and such like, has been fully blown, so to speak. Customers, traffic, car park rage and sunshine, pretty normal for holiday weekends in the height of summer on the Yorkshire coast. What made this weekend a bit more thought provoking, was the BBC's showing of the first in the series of Helicopter Heroes, a documentary following the live emergency rescues in the Yorkshire region.

In many parts of rural England, the rescue helicopter services offer a serious option for emergency treatment following trauma, whether road, agriculture or equine accident for example. We all watch these programs with interest l am sure, knowing the service is there but never once dreaming that we will be a part of a rescue. So it was that we all sat down in front of the box at 9 am on Bank Holiday Monday to watch the program.

The first episode followed a two year old, hit in a freak accident by a gate resulting in 3 fractures to her skull and a broken arm. This little girl is my niece.

The accident happened last autumn on the family farm when a young horse, after being spooked, skidded into a galvanized gate which was thrown across the yard, hitting AT. I should mention that country children are brought up from an early age to be aware that animals and machinery are dangerous, little AT was stood well away from any source of danger, or so Hazza's cousin thought.........

Alone, LT rang for help, the progress of that help was shown dramatically in the program. The rescue mission was touch and go, there was a genuine fault with the gear box which worse case scenario would have resulted in the chopper being grounded.

AT, was air lifted to Midlesborough safely and you will be pleased to note that she has made a full recovery, going on to win the fancy dress competition at this year's Malton Show!

As a result of the accident the familyhas been raising money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance charity fund, donating Christmas and birthday present money and even ice cream at Driffield Show.

On a slightly more frivolous note, AT spent last Monday in London after appearing on BBC's breakfast news alongside the swimming phenomenon that is Michael Phelps. AT thought that London Zoo was marvelous and so did Little Teddy!

Perhaps l just ought to mention that the program was filmed in 'real time' and was not a reconstruction.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Late August

I am sat here, in the office preparing for the final onslaught of the 'summer' season, august bank holiday. The weather, thanks to the good old jet stream has been absolutely **** crap. We have, just, manged to combine the oil seed rape and winter barley but many farms in the area still have the early sown crops in the fields, winter wheat hasn't been touched yet. l noticed today on my weekly trip to our local town that the floods were 'out' once again around the castle motte. August my foot!

So, what a wonderful summer for the hoards of tourists who are once again re-discovering the pleasures of the English summer holiday. All roads heading to the coast have been busy, [understatement], not that we mind. The coastal resorts are reporting a bumper year with sales of buckets and spades being at a record level. Certainly here, we have noticed a new wave of customers, families either coming for the day, or as they say in this part of the world 'comfurt'day', or stopping on one of the many caravan parks the litter this coastline, so thanks to the 'credit crunch' the beautiful, historic and varied landscape of Yorkshire is being discovered once again.

This year, our immediate cliff has not eroded too much, however, further north along coast towards Bridlington, the sea is washing up the mud cliffs at every high tide, eroding vast amounts of boulder clay, resulting in the road being closed and several houses in imminent danger of being washed into the sea. Locals are pretty sure that this pounding of the cliffs is due in large to the sand dredging out in the bay, which incidentally we also reckon has resulted in reduction in common tern numbers who feed on sand eels.

It will be interesting to see how busy we are this weekend, the forecast isn't good, but when your on holiday you have to go somewhere, and at least we have indoor as well as out door seating. The ice cream team are busy making loads of napoli tubs so as to keep our wholesale customers stocked up over the coming bank holiday, so, if you are visiting the Yorkshire coast, look out for the signs and try a proper dairy ice cream, you can find us here at base camp, or along the coast from Hornsea to Whitby! Have a nice weekend!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

a footpath is just that - a footpath

Having lived here for the past 25 years, one of the pleasures has been walking along the field boundaries, down to the sea at Withow gap. So it was that to complement Mr Moo's and the planting of over 2000 native tree species, we set up and have established a 'permissive footpath' [to avoid any confusion this is not a public footpath], with grant aid from DEFRA. The easy walk slowly meanders through the saplings of oak, field maple and rowan, hugging the field boundaries, leading on past WW1 and 2 concrete bunkers once maned by the home guard and the Royal Observer Corps, then sweeping down into what was once a shallow, kettlehole lake resplendent in olden times with its own beaver dam and finally ending down on the beach.

This year, after the wet winter, and as the soil becomes less fertile due to the restricted use of fertilizers, the stewardship grassland has seen a sudden burst of colour as the wild flowers begin to become re-established after years of mono culture in the form of that good old silage mix, rye grass. Buttercups, common vetch, white clover and some sort of trefoil are making a comeback. Sky lark numbers have increased, the barn owls seem to appreciate the short clipped grass of the trail, roe deer hide in the long grass. Oh l feel a 'Bill Oddie' moment coming on.

So it is with some annoyance that a local 'chav' family have decided that the footpath makes a wonderful race track for their clapped out motor bikes. The buggers have stretched the barbed wire alongside the kissing gate. Hubby has already tackled these rural yobs. l have been adding broken fence posts and concrete slabs in an effort to halt the blighter's fun or to at least puncture the tyres. The only real way to stop the prats, is to replace the 6 feet of fence with 2 strands of barbed wire and rabbit netting. Perhaps some caltrops might be the answer..

Monday, 16 June 2008

Freedom of Speech

So at last we have a politician who is thinking and behaving like a Statesman, a politician who appears to believe in something other than his or her safe seat at the next election. An MP who is prepared to stand up for what he believes to be right and asks to be judged by the electorate on the issue. Boy, from slimy, ditch water politics to stand up and be counted politics and all in the same week as the anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta what could be happening in the totally apathetic political sphere here in England?

Well l refer to the almost local MP, David Davies who has resigned his seat in protest to the passing, by what can only call dubious and mucky means, of the bill to extend the maximum time police can hold terror suspects to 42 days.

So there we are then, something very dear to my heart, the erosion of both freedom of speech and civil liberties all in the name of protecting us, the British citizen, against the terrorist. Bah blurdey humbug say I! We as a nation, have fought long and hard to establish and protect our civil liberties and freedom of speech, even executing a misguided fool of a King who believed in the Divine Right of Kings en route to the establishment of modern democracy. Are we now to see our rights and freedoms being slowly diminished by a bunch of blundering buffoons who just happen to be 'in power' at the moment with the excuse of security of the nation?

I am not a real big fan of Tony Robinson, but there has been however on Channel 4 a series on law and order, or is it crimes and punishment, anyway the episode from 15th June was in fact concerned with freedom of speech and made fascinating viewing shedding new light on what is fast becoming a 'police' state.

So there we have it briefly, no ice cream, no photos just my thoughts on a topic that is important to everyone today. We shouldn't just lie back and blithely ignore bills that pass through parliament, they effect us all and if l want to protest in front of parliament this should not be deemed illegal, if l want to take photos in the new shopping mall in Hull l should be able to without being threatened by security thugs and finally if l choose not to have an ID card my wishes should be respected, and finally finally check out this web site.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

June, where did May go?

warning: this blog does not contain reference to the credit crunch, price of food, fuel or Gordon Brown.

Has anyone seen May? I seem to have misplaced it somewhere. It was the start of the month, then, wham bamm, it's now June, the 10th to be exact. Is this what happens as one ages [gracefully of course]? By heck doesn't time fly, they say. I think l could say more, but being a polite sort of oldie l won't embarrass myself more than necessary and most definately wont bore you with what muddyboots did and what muddyboots did next. If the truth were know, l can't exactly remember......................It was truly awesome [TF's words] to meet fellow blogger @themill, last month and explore the rugged dramatic shoreline of Northumbria, castles, sandy beaches and strange restaurants in tree houses. Time away from base, wonderful, but then came half term bringing with it the chaos and rush and rattle and pandemonium; no peace - no calm - nothing but crowds and holiday-makers, bunged up roads and, well it's no fun working whilst everyone else is out enjoying themselves is it? Oh, l seem to have done a bit of filling in the blanks. Sorry about that bit, l must be in a state of denial. The customer is always right, the customer is always right, the custome..............

Well at least there's nothing wrong with my very dodgey sense of humour. Or is there?

So, the sun has come out the temperature is in the low 20's which is seemingly bringing with it the annual red skin syndrome as pasty white limbs are exposed to the air for the first time this year together with 'mygodyoureallyshouldntwearthatinpublic'.

Friday, 2 May 2008

May Day May Day

So it is now May, and it is the second bank holiday weekend of the year. Compared to the last one, easter, the weather looks as though it WILL BE better. At this very moment in time, the sky is, nearly blue, the air temperature is nearly warm and the grass caravan site is nearly dry.

We are expecting to be busy. Not only is the CL site full, but we also have a caravan rally as well. I have marched about this morning with the Rally Marshals pointing out the 'wet holes' and roping off the boggy bit on the CL Site which is right across pitch number 4. hopefully, fingers crossed, the latecomers on the CL site will wait until morning to be sited. I wish.

Yesterday was my day off - Hubby and l took deliveries into Leeds and Harrogate. Two new customers, Shaky Jakes in Headingley and Indulge Deli Bar in Harrogate. Although l had no time to shop till l dropped in Harrogate, l did manage a quick nip into Betty's for some Yorkshire Fat Rascals and cauliflowers dainty-cake-thingies.

On the farm, the heifers are now out enjoying the spring grass, the hedges and trees are bursting into leaf, everywhere is becoming a blaze of brilliant, vibrant green, whilst Gordon has rediscovered his spring time habit of eating dandelion flowers! The swallows have re-established and are repairing their nest in the barns whilst the bats and flitting about at dusk. As for rabbits..........yes they are everywhere and the cat, for the majority of the time is marching about clutching an unfortunate baby bunny between her teeth! So all in all, our visitors should have plenty to see whilst walking along the farm walk to the beach.

1 x dandelion-eating dog
1 x cat eating baby rabbits

Monday, 21 April 2008

swallows and oil seed rape

At last, we have blue sky and a look of Spring about the place. For the past few weeks, the weather has been, well, chilly. Cold easterlies blowing off the North Sea. Grey, rain sodden clouds, snow flurries, hail, gales, need l say more? So, it was with some relief that on peering out from behind the curtains this morning, the sky was blue, the birds were singing, well it is April after all.

At last, a morning dog walk without the need for woolly hats and scarves! Today's perambulation took us through the oil seed rape field which at last is showing signs of bursting forth into a blaze of gaudy day-glow yellow [and the accompanying sneezes]. Up until fairly recently, l have only associated rape seed oil as a means of frying food, you find plastic bottles of the stuff, next to the vegetable oils, well, last year at a 'Meet the Buyer' event l learnt otherwise. It can be cold pressed, rather like olive oil, and is rather moorish, a cross between olive and a nut oil, not as heavy as olive oil though. Look out for the stuff! Well, as l was wading, waist deep along the tram lines, low and behold on glancing skyward, which one does at regular intervals just in case something interesting is crashing towards you, there, swooping and diving above the golden flowers was about, oh I'd say about a dozen swallows, the first of the season. Wonderful sight! More have been flying in as the day has progressed, returning to their favourite nesting spots, in the barns and sheds on the farm.

So, Spring is on its way, the leaves are starting to burst forth, nest boxes are being claimed and you can now find our ice cream in both tesco and ASDA in select parts of Yorkshire.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Staff - leaving and coming

Life has now calmed down, somewhat. The schools have gone back which means that Peace and Calm returns to just about everywhere, supermarket queues, shops and of course Mr Moo's. Bliss!

This week sees the start of a new seasonal part-timer and the final week of our friendly Iranian, MK, who leaves to become a truck driver or something like that as mentioned in an earlier posting.

The joys of employing people and trying to find suitable candidates for seasonal work, is not exactly an easy task. Living in a rural area does bring the major problem of just finding people who want to work. Most of the work around here is seasonal and the majority, [especially in the seaside towns], of jobs are taken by Eastern Europeans, who are happy to work for the summer season and then return home, locals who are in the Job Market, tend to look further afield to say Hull, York or Leeds, leaving local businesses with the option of the long term unemployed sent in via the Job Centre.

Our solution is to use University students who are home for the summer; the only spanner in the works is the August Bank Holiday. Leeds Fest, the music festival, which entices staff away with the promise of warm beer, class C drugs and music. So it is after much brain wrenching and cogitating, we have decided that this year we really can't take on staff who intent to be up, up and away over what will be our busiest weekend of the year. Sorry chaps!

Lets hope for a good batch of trainee summer staff, the criteria is, bright, articulate, CLEAN and to have at least some smattering of common sense!

Finally, l am waving my Free Tibet flag!

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Calories and nesting boxes

It is amazing that no matter what the weather is doing and no matter how cold or miserable it is outside, people like to eat ice cream. Cones, ice cream sodas or sundaes, it makes not one iota of difference, they just need ice cream. I wonder why? Is it a treat, a feel good little something that helps lift the gloom of a manky day? Or is it a case or 'sod the diet, let me at those calories'. What ever the reason, if it makes people happy then, blow the diet or health police!

We are now in the final throws of the school Easter holidays, so are seeing an influx of small people being taken out for the day by grandparents. It is an interesting point that most children are better behaved when out with Gran than with parents. l am not saying that all family groups are badly behaved, but that some are. Nothing is worse than little johnny racing around pretending to be a transformer whilst parents sit sipping coffee.

So here we are then. April. Sun shinning, light westerly breeze, dare l say it, a slight rise in air temperature? The grass has not really started moving [growing] yet, looks like a late turn out? The bird boxes have all got new residents, blue tits and house sparrows, there are a couple of pairs of oyster catchers on the hill top fields, staking out territory. These are noisy birds, shrieking when disturbed. At this time of year, we have to restrict the dogs from certain areas as these are prime nesting sites for things like mallard and waders.

Living here, on the coast, we are a bit limited as to which direction to head for on days out. Fortunately for us, there is plenty of dramatic scenery within an hour's drive. To the north, and probablely first choice, [except on weekends], is Whitby. The most leisurely route is through Forge Valley, then the twisty turny road up to Silpho, on via Hackness, hitting the main Scarborough to Whitby road just south of Boggle Hole, across the moors, past Hawsker until the ruined abbey of St Hilda's stands out on the skyline, where land meets sea, looking to all and sundry like the bleached ribs of some long dead whale.

Whitby is a little bit of all sorts. There are a scattering of amusement arcades, a plethora of fish and chip restaurants, long sweeping piers taking you out into the north sea, historic lanes and alleyways, ruined abbeys, ancient churches, 199 steps plus the Grand Turk moored alongside the quay. All to much!

Saturday, 29 March 2008

l have been tagged.............

With a word of 'thanks' to fellow blogger, Pondside, who has tagged me for 7 facts about myself.......... so here are some very boring trivia items about me!


Rules are:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.

2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.

3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.

4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

  1. l flew solo in a cessna 150 on my 17th birthday
  2. l am very competitive, and competed against Mark Phillips in my youth
  3. l do NOT like my Christian name
  4. l don't tolerate fools gladly and have absolutely NO time whatsoever for jumped up idiots
  5. l always say what l think
  6. l snapped my anterior cruciate ligament and tore my cartilage at the same time whilst 'skiing' down a black run - they have been repaired by the way
  7. l don't like babies
Sorry to bore you but it is all Pondside's fault!!

So my seven victims are:

Mutterings and meanderings
pig in the kitchen
around my kitchen table
yorkshire pudding
the other side of me

Please read once and destroy!

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

About time too, l might add!

Well about flippin' time too, l have a spare moment to float around in cyberland. Looking at my last posting date, l am am shocked at just how absent l have been. We have had Easter, albeit a wintry wonderland sort of easter, well to my mind, what can you expect when easter is propelled into March with no thought for day trippers or caravaners north of the Humber!

I feebly raise my hand and say l have been busy; we have manged to flog the stuff to a major multiple, now that has been an experience to put it mildly, the details of which l will not post up here! We have learnt over the past few years that early spring sees a trail of potential new customers heading this way looking for new products to sell, so this summer you will find mr moo's at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, near Wakefield. Phew, enjoy!

Easter? Well, what can l say..........yes it snowed and it was cold and it was very windy. Fortunately, the caravan parks were full over the bank holiday weekend so weekend visitors were about, it was the day trippers who stayed at home, put off, no doubt, by the dire weather warnings coming out of the Met Office! We did NOT have 10cm of snow l might add, just a brief dusting!

Our newest member of staff has just started [see photo right] and seems to be enjoying herself, always smiling as you can see. MK however is off, having passed his LGV he will be striding off into the sunset as a lorry, sorry truck driver, when he finds a job that is! The 'new' machinery is churning out a really super smooth creamy ice cream and the new flavours, crunchie cookie especially and the rhubarb and ginger are proving to be winners!

So what's next then? l have made the discovery that l have been blogging for about a year now, sad, starting out on the Country Living Site and then growing up into the proper world of blog, l have 'met' many new friends in the 'computer world' from all over the world [are there really that many sad gits out there?] and have not been shut down for inflammatory remarks! well there is time l suppose!

Here's to the next 12 months!

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Spring and large mixes

Well l feel it is time to once again, hit the keyboard and start to write.

Yes, busy week yet again. Yesterday saw myself and Hazza attending the Regional Food group's Meet the Producer event held at Escrick, near York. I think that about 2000 invites had been sent out and 150 buyers were expected? So there we were, with our packaging, info, inclusion samples, but with no real ice cream!

Oh, what a nightmare.......... someone, and will mention no names.... forgot about the freezer, you need a FREEZER to take SAMPLES to show and hand out to potential customers! Did we feel pratts? My goodness most definitely! How do you sell ice cream to potential new clients when all you have is a selection of brightly coloured pots? Well, folks, you talk, you gesticulate, you draw upon your imagination to describe the delicious, rich creamy ice cream bursting with pure natural flavours, an ice cream that contains real dairy cream & fresh whole milk producing a dense, wholesome ice cream that you just can't get enough of! An ice cream that sends celebrity chefs into raptures and leaves everyone beaming wildly clamoring for more!

On the way home, my son & l, discussed the afternoon's work and came to the conclusion that we were better off without the ice cream. Customers knew exactly what they were in fact looking for, a good strong brand image plus a top quality, bespoke 15% butterfat ice cream made locally using top class ingredients. We took away with us one definite order plus several strong leads! Not bad for mere dairy farmers who some people believe have no industry knowledge, make poor ice cream, are uncomfortable in a retail environment and have little or no brand exposure etc. Pie in the sky Matey!

Some people, l ask you! Well, time rolls on, end of February in fact, Easter just around the corner, the CL site is fully booked, the large caravan sites have re-opened and day trippers are starting to head out to the coast. The new machinery has already been press ganged into work, the pasturiser has just belched out its first batch of creamy base mix all ready for tomorrow.

All is well, so far, in Mr Moo's mad mad world!

Monday, 18 February 2008

Back to School

Yippee, back to normal, half term in the East Riding has come and gone, shooting past like a ship in the dark. Normally a this time of year, trade is what you would call steady,[ but, when is anything 'normal ' anymore?]. We have been really busy, more akin to say August? Well, l tell a smallish fib, it is not only us who have been busy, all along the coast, floods of people, sensiblely dressed, gloves, hats scarves etc, have been descending on the Yorkshire Coast en mass. Take Bridlington, for example, grid locked on the past two Sundays! No parking spaces to be had anywhere. Pirate Bill doing trips around the Bay. Ice cream sales taking an early upturn.

The weather has been superb. Brilliant blue skies and glorious sunshine with hard crisp frosts at night, for the whole week, well except Thursday when sea fret rolled in off the North Sea, keeping everyone at home. Customers have been enjoying the footpath, though we are having problems with a family with quad bikes that seem to think that chasing up and down a 'footpath', knocking people hither and thither is great fun. Unfortunately, you see, the fence has been damaged and broken due to the high tide crashing over the cliff top, sending fence posts into orbit. The wet weather, until now, has meant that we have been unable to get down in the JCB to repair the damage, replacing fence posts and wire. Today is the day to rectify the break!

This week we are taking a break from ice cream production due to upgrade our machinery, stainless steel pipes seem to be strewn everywhere! Cables, plastic wrapping, oh the place looks a mess.

Did l mention the new flavour? Well, it's rhubarb and ginger, and is going down a storm, with both ice cream scoop sales & wholesale customers [and me] enjoying the new treat

So what else? Still attacking the old paperwork, hope to meet a certain Mr G Ramsey at the opening of the new, revamped ...Bridlington Spa Theatre........... WOW!

Monday, 28 January 2008

Ice cream, glorious ice cream

Every year at the end of January, ice cream manufacturers from the huge multinational to the small artisan producer, pack their bags and head off for the the ice cream show to end all ice cream shows, the Big One, the International Artisan Ice Cream, Patisserie & Confectionery Exhibition held in Rimini.

l must just say that we have only been once before and don't attend every year, but this year whilst Management stays put, the lads have braved the roadworks on the A1, scrabbled for seats on the Ryanair flight to Forli all in the name of ice cream!

The Italians, as well as designing wonderful shoes & handbags, are also thought to be the world leaders in ice cream. Every street has its own gelato selling a mouth watering array of brightly coloured*** & wonderfully decorated ices & sorbets. So then it's hardly surprising that the main exhibition for all thinks ice creamy is held in Italy.

All the main flavour suppliers will be there as will be stands displaying nothing but glassware, for ice cream sundaes, fixtures and fitting, to make your ice cream parlour look the bes knees, cones, machinery, packaging. Everything you can think of do do with ice cream will be there!

Ice cream recipes are very interesting, you can make a batch using nothing more than water or milk. a 'ready mix' powder and loads of added air. Here we use gallons of fresh milk, double cream, very little added air [our ice cream feels heavy compared to cheaper ice cream] & definitely do not use anything artificial, we prefer to use locally grown fruits wherever possible but failing that we do buy in flavours, things like chocolate & amerana cherry for example.

So l am looking forward to hearing all about the Ice Cream Trip on the Boys return and l really hope that the range of natural flavours has been increased!
The Italians do like to add plenty of E120 & E110!***
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