Shropshire and the Marches by Catherine Evans :: 19th June 2013

Shropshire and the Marches  – This you tube video gives an excellent introduction to the delights that Shropshire and the surrounding Counties hold for visitors. All of the places featured here are an hours drive or less from us so make sure you book several nights to ensure you have time to visit some if not all!

Powis Castle by Catherine Evans :: 14th June 2013

Posis Castle

Powis Castle is built high on a rock above the Welsh market town of Welshpool, just over the border of Shropshire, about an hours drive from here and well worth the drive.  The castle, originally built circa 1200, began life as a medieval fortress but has been modernised over the years and was the family home of Clive of India. The world-famous garden, overhung with clipped yews, shelters rare and tender plants. Laid out under the influence of Italian and French styles, it retains its original lead statues and an orangery on the terraces.

Owned by the National Trust the castle and gardens are open year round and there is an excellent restaurant and tearooms. Plants from the garden are also on sale.

Stokesay Court, Onibury by Catherine Evans :: 03rd June 2013

This morning I have been on a visit to Stokesay Court, Onibury, about 30 minutes drive from here. The house was built in1892 and was one of the first private homes in England to be equipped with electric light. It has a Jacobean facade that hides a magnificent Arts and Crafts inspired panelled oak interior. During the First World War the house was used as an Auxillary Military Hospital for convalescent soldiers and this commandeering of the house by the military means it remains fixed in a time warp, once moved to the Lady’s Wing the family never returned to the main house to live.

In more recent times Stokesay Court found fame as the starring location in the highly acclaimed film ‘Atonement’ and the guided tours, offered by owner Caroline Magnus, offer a fascinating insight into the tricks and trades of a film crew to give the desired effects – from the polystyrene fountain sculpture (now located at the View from the Terracetop of the stairs) and mock stone pillars in the garden, to the fabric covered battens that dress the walls of the drawing room.

The extensive grounds contain a grotto, fountain and series of pools connected by steps and rills.

Tours are available throughout the summer, but should be booked in advance  - check the website for details.

 

Breadmaking Course by Catherine Evans :: 23rd May 2013

Traditional Bread Oven

I have had a fabulous day today attending a Breadmaking Course at Acton Scott Historical Working Farm. The course was run by Peter Cook, Owner and head baker at Prices Bakery in Castle Square, Ludlow. We started the day by making a traditional white dough, the key point being to weigh accurately – something I’m not renowned for! The dough was left to prove and we moved on to make a dark ale and walnut bread, using Ludlow Brewery’s Dark Knight ale. Again this was left to prove and we moved on to a third mix – fig and fennel using a malted flour – this turned out to be my favourite, although I wasn’t too sure about it at the time! The final bread we made was an oaty bread with butter and honey in, making for a softer loaf, apparently.

Once it had proved for a couple of hours we shaped the white dough into a small tin and also a small cottage loaf and again they were left to prove. Peter helped us shape the different doughs into different shapes and he had all the different shaped tins from the bakery for us to use, many of which had been in the family for many years! With all the doughs either shaped or proving we stopped for lunch but were all eager to return at the allotted time as we were to cook our cottage loaves in the traditional bread oven located in the Bailiff’s cottage. The oven had been lit about 1 1/2 hours earlier to give it enough time to reach the correct temperature. The loaves were left to cook and we returned to the New Barn to finish shaping the rest of our doughs.

My Bread Basket

After about 15 minutes we returned to the cottage and the bread was cooked, although the base was a little pale so we finished it off in the conventional oven. The basket contains the 6 loaves we made during the course of the day – all are delicious and I now intend to make bread at least occasionally  for guests.

I would certainly recommend the course to any one interested in making their own bread, whether experienced or a complete novice! Next I would like to do the Dairymaid course which includes butter, cheese and junket making.

 

 

 

The Shropshire Hills by Catherine Evans :: 16th May 2013

View from the Long Mynd

Yesterday I had a wonderful day showing a visiting Swedish journalist around the County. The only thing against us was the weather! We started the day with a whistle stop tour of Hobsons Brewery , unfortunately it was a little early to sample the product! Next stop was Ludlow for a stroll round the castle and the independent shops, checking out the gourmet restaurants of La Becasse and Mr Underhills. Back in the car for a short trip to Stokesay Castle. I love this romantic fortified, medieval manor house – not really a castle at all! Fortunately by now the rain had cleared and there was a little blue sky! The photo shows one of the many views from the Long Mynd, the sun was just trying to break through in the distance. After touring both the Long Mynd and the Stiperstones we were getting hungry so made a quick stop in CLun to photograph the bridge and the castle we carried on to Rocke Cottage Tearooms where Karin served us a delicious lunch, followed by a selection of homemade cakes – do try the sticky ginger cake or the chocolate and beetroot cake! It was time to head back home and the station for Petra, just long enough for a couple of viewpoints off the Clee Hills and more photos. A brilliant day out in our fabulous County.

St Georges Day by Catherine Evans :: 21st April 2013

St Georges Day 2013

Once again St George has defeated the dragon – hurrah! We had a great day yesterday celebrating St Georges Day at the Sun Inn, Leintwardine. The day had started with clog dancing in Cleobury at the inaugeral Farmers Market which had a real buzz about it. Off we dashed to Leintwardine, just enough time for fish and chips from The Fiddlers Elbow, eaten in the Parlour at the Sun Inn, washed down by half a pint of Dragon Slayer ale! A leisurely stroll to the top of Watling Street was followed by the St George’s Day Procession, lead by the Town Crier and his lady wife, then Crooked Steeple Morris and finally St George and a mini dragon. After the ceremonial slaying of the dragon and a few words from the Town Crier Crooked Steeple Morris entertained the crowd!

Vintage China at Broome Park Farm by Catherine Evans :: 26th March 2013

077It was recently my birthday and a very special friend gave me a beautiful vintage tea service. Today it had it’s first airing for guests when I served afternoon tea. This photograph doesn’t really do it justice and we are still searching for a teapot with lid intact! The design is by Colclough, a company that made many different designs, including the ivy leaf pattern which I also have!

Acton Scott Victorian Museum by Catherine Evans :: 22nd March 2013

Acton Scott Victorian Farm

Yesterday I visited Acton Scott Historical Farm for the first time in many years and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The museum and estate were the backdrop to the popular BBC TV series Victorian Farm and many of the locations featured are recognisable around the site. I was interested to learn that the most requested visitor experience is the opportunity to muck out the pigs! I think I am missing a trick by not offering this however any of my guests wishing to do so please ask and I can find you a muck fork and wheelbarrow!

Walking in Shropshire by Catherine Evans :: 12th February 2013

A view of the Shropshire landscape from Clee Hill

There are several excellent you tube videos highlighting some of the wonderful landscapes you can explore  in Shropshire. Here is a link to just one! Walking in Shropshire

This is one of the wonderful panoramic views you can enjoy from the top of Titterstone Clee, from the summit you can see as far east as the West Midlands, south to the Malvern Hills, west to the Black Mountains of Wales and North to the Long Mynd and Brown Clee. There is nowhere better to just sit and take in the view when the weather is a clear as in this photo!

Patchwork Quilt for Red Room by Catherine Evans :: 21st January 2013

Finally I have finished the patchwork quilt I have been making for the red guest room. It is a real memory quilt as many of the fabrics have been recycled from favourite items of clothing or fabrics bought on holiday. The strips between each of the 9 squares came from an old duvet cover, as did the handmade bias binding that finishes the edges. I’m not sure it would win any prizes for execution but I am really pleased with the overall look of the quilt – I hope my guests find it warm and cosy, especially on these snowy days!

Night Owls by Catherine Evans :: 05th January 2013

Owls in Shropshire

Owls in Shropshire

I have cheated with this photo, finding it on Google but owls are definitely a feature of any stay at Broome Park Farm! At daybreak and dusk owls can be heard calling around the house and buildings, John says they fly through the shed when he is feeding the cattle. I think they are wonderful birds and we are very lucky to have them living on the farm, I just wish I could get close enough to take a photo!

Frosty Mornings by Catherine Evans :: 13th December 2012

After all the rain it has been lovely to have a few dry days, even if they have been very cold! I just love the frost on the trees and grass – it is amusing to see the patches of green in the field where the sheep have been sleeping overnight!

I seem to be ahead of myself in my preparations for Christmas and worry I am suddenly going to discover I have forgotten a gift for someone! Christmas cake is made and I intend to make mince pies tomorrow, hopefully we will get a tree at the weekend!

More Piglets! by Catherine Evans :: 07th December 2012

Broome Park Farm, Shropshire

Broome Park Farm, Shropshire

We have 2 more piglets! They are just 9 weeks old and have been named Gayna and Jayne after the fabulous Manager and Deputy Manager of the Severn Hospice Shop in Cleobury. These are the noisiest pigs I have ever had so I think they are aptly named as the ladies never stop talking either!!

Mack enjoys chatting with them although I think he is busy posing for the camera here!

Green Room goes Twin! by Catherine Evans :: 22nd October 2012

I have changed the bed in the Green Room to a zip and link format which means it is now a luxurious superking bed but can also be configured as 2 full size singles! In recent months I have noticed more couples are asking for twin over double rooms so decided I needed to cater for these guests too! Feedback so far has been great with all guests remarking on how comfortable the bed is, whether twin or double. Why not take advantage of the 3 nights for the price of 2 winter offer and come and try it out for yourselves!

Sunshine and Showers by Catherine Evans :: 28th September 2012

There are some compensations to be had when all we get is sunshine and showers! You could almost believe the crock of gold is just at the end of the hedge!

Everything has been harvested now although the beans were a really poor crop. Now it’s a case of catching up with the planting in between the showers. Fortunately we are located on high ground and don’t need to worry about flooding but the Ford at Neen Savage has been really high again and a tractor got stuck in it on Monday when we had more torrential rain – is there no end to this weather!

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