Tag Archives: Flintham

Julia’s Excellent Day Out

Once Julia gets your email address you are doomed, as the secretary of the Flintham Ploughing Match found to her cost.  We do actually know her from our work on the farm (she used to give us apples and horse manure) so a request for freebies wasn’t totally out of the blue. Thanks to her generosity Julia ended up with free tickets for her Thursday group and two tickets for the VIP parking.

It was, by all accounts, an excellent day. The weather, which had been borderline at the beginning of the week, brightened up for Thursday so it was a great day for it even if it was soft underfoot in places. Generally the going was good, though they did have to close the second show ring because of drainage problems.

This is better than a few years ago when they had to cancel due to the weather. This year it is Southwell that has been cancelled. It’s a shame, because a lot of volunteers invest a lot of time in putting these shows on.The problem is that ploughing matches can really only take place at one time of year, and that time of year is prone to being wet.

As you can see from the photographs there was plenty to do and there was a display of old relics. I will say no more…

She brought several pies back – we will be eating them tonight.

Flintham Show

Well, after days of baking and making salt dough shapes the show finally arrived, as did busloads of kids.

Apart from salt dough and bread tasting we had the bread story,  corn dollies (with paper straws), the bread shed, adverts for our two new educational units (Festive wreaths and the Great War), the famous Ecocentre bread-plaiting roadshow (modesty prevents me telling you which charismatic,  bearded fat man runs that) and Julia’s two pig sculptures made from straw bales..

Of course, with all the good stuff, we also had a helping of adversity. One of the wheatsheaves, having dried badly, developed cracks before falling apart, and Julia’s pigs suffered from an outbreak of vandalism. They were popular all day, but for some reason we kept having to retrieve the snouts and ears from various souvenir-hunting children.

In a short break I managed to knock up a small wheatsheaf loaf to check how practical it was as a group exercise. It seems OK in terms of scale and time, though I couldn’t get anyone to give it a try on the day. That’s one for next week. Note the decorative charring to the smaller loaf – a feature of all our bread on the day.

Fortunately the day, which started cold and drizzly, was dry and sunny by the  time the gates opened and all the hard work of the show committee paid off. The photos don’t do it justice, but it’s hard to fit it in with the other activities. By the end of the day all I wanted to do was sit down – one bread roll a child for 80 children is works out at about 12 sessions and 6 kilos of dough, all mixed by hand.

The results of the Bread Test were:

  1. Home baked white
  2. TESCO cheap white sliced
  3. Home baked brown and shop bought seeded brown  (a tie)

We’ve run this session a number of times and it’s always the same – a narrow win for home made white over Chorleywood white sliced with brown, seeded and sourdough lower down. So I won, but it’s depressing.

The Year Ahead

I had my annual check-up today, but that couldn’t dampen my good mood at missing the forecast “arctic blast” and driving to the appointment in lovely sunshine. It’s a  once a year thing, the GP practice seems to like doing it, and it amuses me to see them try so hard to avoid using the word “fat”. For despite modern words and modern concepts of patient dignity the truthful, accurate and short description of me is “fat”.

I have turned down the offer of swimming as therapy because I’ve seen what happens when people like me go swimming.

I have however, accepted the offer of being weighed regularly and being given vouchers to join a slimmers’ organisation – I forget which one but can feel my body bunching up ready for flight at the mere mention of the idea. Sometimes you just have to recognise the inevitable. If I wish to live and irritate my wife until I am in my eighties I am going to have to change my ways.

In many ways this belongs on the other blog (www.sherwooddays.com) but I’m telling you here because it leads on to other things.

Due to the unexpected excellence of the weather, and the desire for a nice cooked breakfast after a discussion of my weight, we went out for brunch. I think using a two meal strategy and eating beans, tomatoes and mushrooms is a sufficiently healthy start to my new weight-loss programme.

The best bit was the planning session. We have a number of half-formed plans but nothing definite on paper yet. Released from the tyranny of meetings and the need to involve idiots we now have several pages of notes relating to schools, education, the Open Farm Sunday school days, a poetry competition, salt dough work, a grant application, getting men in sheds to build us a display, Flintham Ploughing Match education tent and (as they say) much, much more.

The advantage of our system (Julia talks, I write) is that it cuts down on discussion and saves time. If anything goes wrong it also means the blame sessions are simpler as it’s all her fault.

The disadvantage, of course, is that she’s now given me a list of jobs to do. A long list.