Tag Archives: Shipshape Arts

Just when things seemed to be going well…

Yesterday we had a visit from Dr Jo Sempik, a leading academic in the field of Green Care and Care Farming, and five Korean visitors who were keen to know how the concept worked. I’m not sure that we actually know all the answers, or we’d be a lot better off, but we seemed to pass muster.


This morning I had a steroid injection in the joint of my arthritic finger. I was just congratulating myself on zoning out the pain of having a needle inserted into my joint when the doctor depressed the plunger. I didn’t feel so pain free after that. It’s pretty good at the moment.

I’ve also been picking more of the harvest including my mini carrot harvest. I did mean them to be fashionably small but I might try to get them a bit bigger next year.


That’s some of the group artwork in the background.

Finally, those nice people from Shipshape Arts loaded up their latest piece on a 40 foot lorry – which was only just big enough to fit everything in and only just small enough to get into the yard. If you think the man in the photo with the butterflies looks familiar, take a look at the Time Traveller scarecrow. Is it clear yet? He denies all similarity but I’m not so sure…


Of course, there’s always a balance and today it came in the form of something that made my mind up about the way things have been going recently.

So if anyone knows of a job that would suit a fat man with multiple useless skills and a bad attitude to customers let me know – I’m likely to have a few days to fill in the near future.

I became self-employed because I didn’t like taking orders from idiots, but I’ll say no more. It is, after all, not a great thing to discuss in the sentence just after you’ve asked if anyone knows of any jobs going.


Monday blog on Tuesday morning

By the time we’d finished at the Cash and Carry last night (buying drinks for tonight’s BBQ) and unloaded, it seemed like time for a meal. I decided that we weren’t seeing enough of each other a few weeks a ago so suggested that we went out for a meal now and again, so last night seemed like a good chance to put the plan into action. It’s a bit like a date night but we went straight from work so we didn’t wash and Julia still had paint all over her trousers.

We went to the Lord Ted at Newark. It was good. The staff were cheerful, the service was good, and the food was better than good, though not quite excellent. We had the lamb steaks, which were nice, though one of mine was a bit fatty and the veg (onion rings, grilled tomato and green peas) were not inspiring. We had to explain what an Irish coffee was (and it came with squirty cream on top) so when I see taht it rates 3.5 on Trip Advisor I’d have to agree. Squirty cream should not be seen on anything apart from jelly and novelty burlesque acts, though I’m too old to bother about either of these. (A little voice at the back of my head is saying “You’re never too old for jelly” but I’m going to ignore it.)

What really sticks in my mind is the young woman on the table behind us (because the staff follow the deplorable practice of pushing everyone together instead of letting us space ourselves out). She had a piercing voice, no internal censor and nothing of interest to say. You couldn’t ignore that voice so the choice was to ignore her or ask the waiter if they had a baseball bat on the premises. Some gems – “my salad’s warm. It shouldn’t be warm”, “that’s mayonnaise, I ordered salad cream” and “the only restaurant I don’r complain in is X”.

I’m bashing this out before starting to prepare the salads for tonight and lighting the outside oven.

If I’m lucky I’ll have more time to blog, if not expect today’s to be written tomorrow. Meanwhile, here’s a link to the Hampton Court Garden Festival Scarecrow Competition – it’s a bit better than ours. That’s where all our bubble-wrapped scarecrows went, though they don’t appear in the pictures. They are coming back soon so we’ll have posh scarecrows for the allotment.


Several examples of Shipshape Arts’ work


He’s about 20 feet tall


All packed up ready to go

And a picture of some of our garden produce.


Selection of garden produce – you won’t see stuff like this in shops!

Pizzas and Open Farm Sunday

We have built a Farmer for Open Farm Sunday so come and see us on June 7th if you can. We’ll be in the Education Tent and you can have a photo taken with your head in the hole. Thanks to our neighbour John for the painting and Shipshape Arts for the frame.

The expression says it all, doesn’t it? That’s a woman trapped in a marriage to an idiot if I ever saw one. She says much the same. However, after 25 years she also says she can’t be bothered to change me.

We have visitors tomorrow – the Mojatu Foundation are coming for a day out on the farm. It should be a good day and the pizza dough will, I’m hoping, be well received. I haven’t got round to mixing it yet, so all things are possible at the moment.

That’s about it for today – I have to go and tidy the polytunnels ready for vistors and mix dough.

Dough update – due to various factors too boring to tell, I had to do a bit of manoueuvring and reweighing. As a result we might, and I’m not admitting anything here, have one batch without olive oil and one batch with double the yeast and salt it should have. That’ll be the one trying to take over the world tomorrow morning.

Apart from that, all is fine and we should have 120 brillant pizzas tomorrow.

This picture is not, as you may think at first glance, a badly made dough map of India, but an example of the window pane test. Hoopefully the thinner areas are showing in the picture – the “window panes” that show the gluten is working properly. It’s a bit harder to demonstrate with wholemeal than it is with white flour but I thought I’d take the picture to make it seem like I knew what I was doing.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Friday Feeling

It’s Friday and that’s time for quiet reflection on the computer again – Level 3 catering this time as part of the soap opera that attends the running of the Saturday Cafe on the farm.

I’ve seen the lambs, I’ve had a word with B (though she may be Bea – I’ve never been sure) at Shipshape Arts, I’ve watched an empty bird table and I’ve fired off a couple of emails. I’ve also eaten lunch and doughnuts, done some proof-reading and wrestled with a spreadsheet that won’t save the work I do on it. Either I’m an idiot who can’t use Excel or the sender is an idiot who can’t use Excel. As I don’t usually have trouble entering a few details I’m coming to an inescapable conclusion about the sender, but don’t let me influence you…

I’m rapidly running out of excuses so I’ll load some pictures and try to put off the evil hour. Note the kestrel picture – we have someone making a nest box which we’re going to place in the statue, so fingers crossed we get some interest.


Christmas gathers momentum

When the Christmas jumpers start you know that the big day can’t be far off.

Today we’ve done more decorations and we’ve been working for Shipshape Arts, a company describing themselves as an “artistic creation company”. They are based in a barn on the farm and do quite a bit for us – including helping us with the Education tent at Flintham Show and making the quoits we will using for the Christmas hoopla. In return we try to help them a bit, though “help” may be be putting it a bit strongly.

Today they gave people hats. You can see them being worn in the main picture. Of course, not everyone got a hat. For some reason I didn’t, despite the fact that my poor bald head needs some warmth. Just saying…

This is one of the statues that they put up for us recently – looked at from this angle it’s a bit more noticeable than it is when you stand on the back of the Ecocentre looking across the field. The stone that looks like it’s on the right comemorates the air crash in 1944 – it’s actually on the left but there’s a curve in the road.


This is one of “The Sweepers” that were originally shown at the Southbank Centre Festival of Neighbourhood. We also have “The Neighbours”, who were also at the Olympic Park before coming up here. Did you know there was a market in second-hand statues? I didn’t. It was quite a performance putting them up, with low-loaders, forklifts, power tools and lots of helpers.

This is “The Neighbours” taken from a deceptive angle, inreality they are several hundred yards from the kitchen.


We’re decorating the Christmas tree now. It’s a bit early for me (though I’m not the biggest fan of Christmas, to be fair) but it’s turkey tasting time this weekend and we are aiming for a Christmas Dinner feel to the centre.

Finally – I nearly got a picture of a bird feeding at the table. We’ve had great tits, blue tits, pigeons, chaffinches, robins, house sparrows, greenfinches, starlings and wood pigeons so far. It could be better but we’re hoping it will build up as time goes on. Meanwhile they are all quick to take flight and added to a cheap camera and poor light levels I haven’t much to show for my photographic efforts. Looks like I’m going to have to borrow my wife’s camera or wait until the butterflies come back in summer.


At least you can tell it’s a robin, most of the others have been unidentifiable blurs.