Tag Archives: India



The medal in the picture is a British War Medal from the Great War. It isn’t rare – 6,500,000 were issued. Over the years many have been melted during booms in the silver price but there are still many survivors. It’s one of the commonest medals we see in the shop and, generally, they aren’t very interesting.

The cartwheel penny is also a common enough item (the first order was for 480 tons of this 1 ounce coin – over 15,000,000) and is often found cut about or counter-stamped like this one. Some people actually collect this sort of mutilated coin. It looks like someone has been trying to make it into a cogwheel. They have also stamped the name “Gosden” into it.

So, two common items, why the blog post?

Well, the medal is named to Private O G Gosden, and this is the first time I’ve ever seen a penny and a medal named to the same family name.

In addition, the Medal Index Card shows that he is only entitled to the one medal, which is unusual, as it usually came in a group. Normally this indicates that the recipient served in India, as part of the force sent there to replace the Indian troops that went to serve in France and the Middle East. In Gosden’s case his unit – the 10th Middlesex Regiment – sailed from Southampton on the “Royal George” 30th October 1914 and arrived in Bombay on 2nd December 1914. It stayed there until the end of the war.

I found no information on what he did during the war, but I do know he lived from 1879 to 1959, was a solicitor in civilian life and left over £120,000 when he died. There’s more information to find, but I’ll leave that to the purchaser as I don’t want to spoil the fun of researching it.




The Bread Group – A Retrospective

The Bread Group was originally set up in 2012 when we did a school holiday project with parents and children. One of the parents asked about us doing similar things in the future and Julia decided to set a group up so local people could get together and learn to bake together.

Gail arrived shortly after and under her leadership the group went from strength to strength, proving to be popular both for social, baking and health reasons. The group was the driving force behind our successful run of Open Farm Sunday events, and also helped make our one and only Winterfest a great success. That proved to be a problem.

The first winter event, organised by the farmer’s sister and with me as a disappointing  Santa, attracted 11 children and made a loss. The next one, with Julia on crafts and Gail on catering, and with a less grumpy Santa, attracted hundreds of people and made about £600. Things looked set for an annual event, with craft fair and profit, but by the time we were ready to plan for the next one the writing was already on the wall.

Cynics might say many things at this point, but this is meant to be a celebration of bread and friendship, and that’s how I’m going to leave it, with a selection of pictures and memories of bread, Christmas curries and the group’s visit to India.

Thanks are due to Gail and all members of the group for cheering the place up on a regular basis and for all their hard work in helping run the centre events over the years.

Sadly, although the kitchen extension is now complete, they have not been invited back and it looks like the group has now passed into history.

The days of wine and roses, they are not long…



Cute animals produce results

I just had notifications from the Thursday Bread Group telling me three people are coming, two of them because they want to see the puppy. It seems that wit, charm, erudition and the ability to cook a honey, oat and wholemeal loaf aren’t enough – you need a cute puppy. This was a lesson driven home by the spike in my activity stats on the blog yesterday (45 hourly views compared to my average of 0).

Before that it was the lambs.

So that’s it, the way to blogging success is to have pictures of cute animals. Forget all that work you put in to quality of writing, or free gifts or cunning headlines – just take pictures of cute animals.

Not that I’m bitter – I’ve  a farm full of sheep, goats and poultry so I’m well ahead of the game.

I’m going to go against the trend with some travel photos instead. Not mine, but some from the bread group tour of India. Looks like they ate well.

Great day in the bread class

It was a self-taught bread session today as Gail is of on her yearly pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago. (I’m not sure what she does in the other eleven and a half months of the year that necessitates a regular pilgrimage to cleanse her soul, and I’m not prepared to speculate because I’ve seen the way she handles a knife). I would say something about trying to curry favour, but that would be an appallingly obvious bad pun, even by my low standards.


Very interesting but what about me getting a look?

The subject was flat-bread, and Nina took the class. Now, she could have done types of world flat bread, with notes and theory and an overview and a summing up. It would have been good and we’d have all learned something. But she knows her audience better than that. We did flat-breads of several varieties but we also ended up with a chickpea and potato curry, a bean and courgette curry (hows that for a summer glut-buster when only beans and courgettes seem to be producing?) plus an apple chutney and a bean side dish. And we still learned something.


Circular chapatis are not as easy as they look. Mine usually look like a map of Africa


Note the special pan

It was also something of a training exercise because a small group of the bread students are off to India in January with Nina as guide. It’s sounds like it’s going to be fun but after my last trip abroad (which featured a riot, close shaves on the road, police attention, Kalashnikovs and a really bad bowel problem) I let my passport lapse and decided to leave travel to people with stronger nerves.

I’ve seen the Marigold Hotel films and I’m not sure I have the energy for a tour of India, what with the traffic and bustle and all that dancing. Even the promise of meditation and yoga doesn’t tempt me. And I certainly don’t have the fortitude to drink well water containing living things, even though Nina assures me she has never been ill from such water and that it contains healthy minerals. I like my water to stay still while I’m trying to drink it.

All I can say is that I’d be happy to be a vegetarian if I could always eat like this. Sadly it won’t happen as I just can’t season food like Nina, and what tastes absolutely brilliant after she has made it always tastes either insipid or searingly spicy after I’ve done it. I know practice makes perfect but I just don’t have the digestion for experimentation any more.


Yes, it was every bit as good as it looks

The bread group, in case you are near, meets alternate Thursday mornings but it doesn’t always include curry. I’m probably safe in claiming that it covers the whole bread making experience for A to Z as we did once make zopf, which is the difficult end covered. Come along – you’ll enjoy it. And Gail always makes biscuits for the tea break.

Contact office@farmeco.co.uk for more details.

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