Firstly apologies for a complete lack of posts in recent months. Once summer arrived I found any excuse not to be inside which has meant the any computer work and indeed housework have played second fiddle to pottering around outside, riding the horses and being a bit more social than our winter hibernation habits normally allow but now as the nights are beginning to draw in and rain stops play a bit more often the aim is to do more regular blogs.
We have well and truly settled in at Potters Farm although we still have one heck of a to do list and the delay with the planning permission in hindsight has been no bad thing as it has given us a bit of time to really get to know the place. We have finally got a healthy covering of grass over our endless mud both in the garden and the cattle yard which has transformed the place. In fact the cattle yard has undertaken the biggest transformation with not only grass, but for my birthday I was a lucky girl and got a load of gravel to cover the dirt under the veranda. This along with some chairs, tables (cable reels) and some solar fairy lights twinkling round the yard walls has really made it look different. This has given us the perfect place to serve lunch to our visiting horse riders. This was a new initiative teaming up with our great friends, father and daughter team of Des and Tiff Wright from Mill Farm Wells, who as well as running their own arable farm also offer the farm as a camping location to horse riders wanting to experience the thrill of riding their own horses on the famous Holkham Beach. Due to this people travel from all over the country and stay there camping out with their horses, so we thought that we could offer them an additional experience to add to their holiday experience if they fancied exploring in land a bit. So teaming up with Lindsey (originally from Lindseys Larder) we offered a homemade scrumptious lunch and a map showing them a circular ride from Mill Farm heading inland to Warham and then onto to Wighton. At Potters Farm they pop the horses in the paddock and take a leisurely lunch in our cattle yard before tacking up and heading back to Mill Farm along the unadopted tracks. Having ridden these routes since I was a child and my horses doing them regularly enough they behave like they are on train tacks it was an interesting exercise in observation drawing out the maps! Thankfully I didn't loose anyone on route it was great meeting all our lovely visitors and their beautiful horses. It's quietened down now as people don't tend to want to camp out so long so tend to nip up to Mill Farm for just an short weekend break and I don't blame them. In my opinion this is the best time to visit North Norfolk, you often still get the lovely sunshine without the crowds and there is nothing like the view through a horses ears and having the beach to yourself.
As I look back at what already seems alarmingly distant summer its easy to forget just how hot it got here for a few days and for once we all appreciated our beautiful but somewhat cave like kitchen as it was one of the few places that remained cool and the dogs were happy sprawling over the tile floor, as for the horses it was at times even sweltering in the shade and all we could do is make sure they had access to lots of water. Its already seems a vague memory as today we have gusting winds and at times sidewards rain and 2 of the 3 horses are already rugged.
On one of these such hot days was mine and my nephews joint birthday shin dig, which was lovely as apart from Christmas it is one of the few times we all get together. Although with everyone staying over we had to be inventive about where everyone slept and one of the last to arrive ended up in our tatty old horse box on an airbed (although we did dress it up with air freshener and fairy lights!). The next morning we were lucky enough to have the cycling Tour of Britain pass right pass the farm and everyone quickly got fully into being an enthusiastic noisy crowd. The health and safety conscious ones even went out and swept the road of stones on the sharp bend between us and village pond.
Our only other get together was housing the Wells Carnival Committee Wrap party. The weather on this day was dry, hot but very windy but it didn't stop the amazing Carnival Crew and their families have a well deserved debrief and party. With the Carnival ending only two weeks earlier it was still recent enough for them still to have a job well done glow about them and so they should it really was an amazing week.
For those that don't know every year at the beginning of August is the local Wells Carnival. As the years have gone on it has maufed into what only can be described as a 10 day phenomena. So much so that this small, seaside town, stuck on the side of Norfolk won the 2018 Family Event of Year which is amazing feat for a volunteer committee of about 30 strong that receives no central funding and instead is 100% funded by donations and local businesses. The week is bonkers, for a start its the only 10 day week in the calendar, a pink T-shirt is the uniform for The Carnival Crew which is from every type of background, from school teachers, to window cleaners, builders, mums, bankers, nurses, wardens and grandparents who all pull together to help make an amazing carnival which is a real homecoming event for locals but welcomes visitor in by the thousands. With Pat being the Carnival Chairman for the past 18 years or so its just a given that it is a crazy time of year with all hands to the pump including our friends who came to stay. Bless them, they not only did they have to fend for themselves, they also fed us, walked our dogs, help pull ragwort as well as help set up fete day, helped with the Gillying (crabbing) competition among a million of other things and generally kept us sane. Despite the busyness it really is our favorite time of year and all for such a great cause as last week after doing the accounts the Carnival Committee were able to dish out donations to smaller local charities and organisation totaling £8500.
As we are well and truly in autumn and the nights are drawing in we are excited to be holding our first makers workshops in our old barn. First up is our Vegetarian Sheepskin Rug Workshop on Saturday 26th October with the lovely Jen from Wool fibre workshops. Jen and I both met when we both worked at the local agricultural college and she is passionate about the Norfolk Horn wool and not only spins, but grows her own woad and dyes it in the traditional method. For this workshop she's going to show us how to wet felt sheep fleeces in order to make a small rug. If only I had seen Jen before I disposed of my lazy ewes fleeces this year having no purpose for them and unable to give them away. The other workshop is a festive door wreath workshop with the talented Lea from Darling Buds Florists. Lea's work is always so stylish and seasonal, she has a real talent so much so that some of the leading hotel in the area commission her weekly as well as doing some of the big society weddings. As Lea is also a volunteer Coastguard with myself I was able, on some of our longer call outs, to persuade her to come and run a workshop at Potters which we are running on the 1st December (more details to follow shortly).
I will let you know on my next blog of how we get on with the workshops and by that time the horses should be in at nights and maybe even having a fire a nights. Ooo its beginning to feel a bit like.....autumn!