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….. We make
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Three children (17, 14, 12)*** Two parents *** one dog *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That’s us!

We’ve been blogging since January 2010, about everyday happenings that bring us joy.

Just a thought….

“A moment spent in wonder is worth a lifetime spent in awe.”


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day out

Avebury – My Sunday Photo

I have been to Avebury stone circle, in Wiltshire, more times than I can recollect. It dates back to Neolithic times. Further back than 2200 BC. It is one of my favourite places.

This was the first time I’ve wandered around the stones on my own and I liked it. Peaceful. Reflective. Soul refuelled. I sat, at times, and soaked it all in.

Oddly. I noticed parts I had never seen before. I don’t really know how that is possible. Less distractions, maybe. Not sure if it was the light. Just after 9am. Just after the summer Solstice, but it was different.

For instance, I was drawn to the concentration of quartz, in a diamond/oval shape, on the side of one of the stones. Maybe a trick of the light, coupled with my brain set up to spot faces, but that looks like a face. Paler than the surrounding area, due to the quartz, and weathered to give features.

Whatever it is, I think it is cool.

(More about Avebury)

Cider farm


There is something rather delicious about a change of plan. You wake up expecting to do one thing, and then find fate has other ideas. Making an even better day than you thought it would be.

Friday our plans changed. Last day of half term and we had both taken the day off. Our planned day went sour, so we looked for something else to do. A family outing. I’m not sure which of us came up with the idea, but it was a stroke of genius. Bizarrely, we’ve lived in Somerset for over twenty years, but we’ve never been to a commercial cider farm. Maybe I should rephrase that. We’ve bought cider from the farm gate, but not explored the orchards. Somerset is known for its apples and cider, so this really was an oversight on our part.

Eager to put this right, we headed further south to Sheppy’s cider farm. Six generations, over 200 years in business and 370 acres of farm. They also had a restaurant, which would be perfect for a lunch out.

We were ready for lunch by the time we arrived, so first stop had to be the restaurant. It has the feel of an old barn, but more contemporary. The food was very good too. Most with a cider theme. Washed down with cider. Although I should add, only by the adults.

It was a good meal and a walk afterwards was a must. We walked past the processing barns and a playground for the younger children. They do tours of the cider making process, which I’d love to do one day. We walked on to the orchards. They have a herd of longhorn cattle, grazing between the trees of one orchard. They feed the leftover apple pulp to the cattle too. Nothing goes to waste, which makes me even happier to hear.

The orchards were wonderful to walk around. The trees were a variety of age and type, of course. Some trees were in blossom, while others were already covered in mini apples.

In one orchard, we stumbled on patches of four leaf clovers. First time I’ve ever found one. In fact, everyone found at least one. We’re all hoping for even more good luck from now on.

Back at the restaurant and shop, there is a museum. It has a video about the farm and rooms of old farming equipment.

I think the hedgehog apple picker would be good with our apple trees, at home. The spikes pick up the apples and then carries them up to the rails at the top, where the apples are lifted off and roll down into the bucket at the front. It looks neat, but I’m sure it is harder than it looks.

Have to include the photo of the old range. When we moved into our house, the remains of the old ranges at either end of the cottages, could still be seen in the boarded up inglenooks. It’s nice to see this one in one piece.

To finish off our visit, we had a piece of cake and an apple juice. I’m impressed with both the cider and juice I tried. They were smooth and didn’t hit the back of my throat like some ciders do. Needless to say, we left with some cider to try at home too.

The children loved our visit. It may have been the scent of the blossom or the freshness of the air (it certainly wasn’t the cider), but they all got on so well. Enjoying each other’s company. They learnt a lot and asked questions. A successful visit. I hope one day we’ll go back. I quite fancy the performance of Shakespeare’s Much a Do about Nothing this summer, performed in their meadow. It would be awesome.

Anyway. Thumbs up for our change of plans.

Eden Project

I’m always impressed by the sheer concept of the Eden Project, down in Cornwall. To stand and look at an empty quarry and envisage turning it into such a project, is amazing. They shifted a mountain of earth, engineered two enormous domes and planted plants. Lots of them. All to give visitors an experience of walking through a rainforest and visiting the Mediterranean. Of course, it is more than that.

(eldest five years ago in front of the Rainforest biome)

We visited the Eden Project five years ago. This is a photo of the rainforest biome from last time as I didn’t seem to take so many this visit. Not of the biomes, at least. It was good to go again. Apart from being a different season to last time, I think it was long enough for the children to see it with fresh eyes again.

(Eldest in the middle. She has had her hair cut in the meantime, I promise.)

One of the biomes contains a rainforest, which is probably the nearest I’ll ever get to one. I find the plants in there fascinating. The scale is impressive. As is the heat! I don’t remember walking through the mist makers, giving the impression of clouds.

(bananas, cacao and rice growing in the rainforest biome)

The Mediterranean biome was great to walk through. It feels more spacious and you get a better impression of how big the biomes have been built. It is also familiar. Walking through an olive grove. Bougainvillea growing over walls. Lemon blossom smelling sweet. All memories from my childhood.

Being spring, there were different plants taking centre stage. I think our summer visit was more colourful and floral. This time, there were areas outside the domes that had obviously been readied for planting. Tantalising information boards, but no plants to match. I’m sure by the summer it will make an interesting display.

In all honesty, it’s the biomes I like to see and they are probably good at every time of the year. Not many places in the UK where you can see pineapples growing. I’m sure we’ll be back again.

Was it worth taking the children again? Yes. I know they enjoyed it. They’ve all reached the stage where they will read an information board if it interests them. I think there was something there for all of them. The Eden Project has a farm theme exhibition, this year, which is targeted at the younger children. As for teens, they loved exploring again. We walked miles. Saw lots. They’ll be back one day too.

{edited: I do have a yearning to add statues to the garden now. Imagine the mirrored one in the top photo, and how about a few dancing people?}


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