Blog Articles

Yarnbombing in Cleobury
Strange happenings were about last Friday night when people in dark jackets were seen attaching woolly items to posts, benches and buildings. As dawn broke people woke to the news that Cleobury had been Yarnbombed – a curious phenomenom where everyday items are covered with wool! The highlight was this bike which was placed at the entrance to the High School where a Classic Motor Bike Show was taking place. Benches, trees and lamposts on the High Street where festooned with woolly flowers and the War Memorial was draped with garlands of poppies. Everyone was going around with smiles on their faces, trying to track down the culprits! A clue could be found at the Severn Hospice shop where a beautifully decorated wheelchair sat outside and the ladies inside were...
Vegetables from the Garden
There is nothing more satisfying than picking and cooking vegetables straight from the garden! Today I am cooking a vegtarian evening meal for one of my guests so have gathered this wonderful selection! So, I fried a red onion, already harvested and stored in the outhouse, added the yellow courgettes and a red pepper (from the local greengrocer!). Next went in carrots and chopped french beans, along with some diced beetroot that I had parboiled and mushrooms. Finally I added a tin of chopped tomatoes, some tomato puree and herbs and seasoning. After simmering for about 15 minutes to let the flavours meld I transferred to an ovenproof dish and sprinkled with breadcrumbs. If the guest hadn’t requested a low fat meal I would have combined the breadcrumbs with grated...
Time out in Bridgnorth
Bridgnorth is a perfect destination for a leisurely day out. The town is in 2 parts with Low Town straddling the banks of the River Severn and High Town on the cliffs above. The two are connected by a cliff railway, £1.20 for a return journey! Bridgnorth is also home to the Severn Valley Railway where a trip can be taken back in time to a bygone era of steam! The line runs along the Severn Valley to Kidderminster with pretty stations and breathtaking views of the river. Highley is a must do stop with the Engine Shed where vistors can get up close to a range of rolling stock. Travellers are always surprised to see rhinos and elephants alongside the line as the train passes through the Safari Park at Bewdley! There are often themed weekends for all ages – check out...
A Day out on the Severn Valley Railway
I have recently spent 2 different days at the Severn Valley Railway and had a fantastic time on both occasions! The railway runs from Kidderminster, where the mainline network joins this historical steam railway, to Bridgnorth, snaking along the banks of the River Severn, including a stretch through the West Midlands Safari Park – always a thrill to see elephants or rhinos from the train window! This is photo of me on the footplate yesterday afternoon – I had been helping run a stall in aid of Severn Hospice for the very successful Ladies Day organised by the SVR and my friend Sue very kindly organised for me to stand in the engine! It was so hot – if you are planning to treat someone to one of the very popular ‘Footplate Experience’ days I suggest you go...
It seems as if Summer has finally arrived! The sun is shining and the forecast is good for days to come! Wimbledon is in full swing and the strawberries are just starting to ripen in the garden. It is also excellent weather for haymaking. This field was mown last week and the grass has been ‘bobbed’ – turned with giant spinning forks – a couple of times to help the drying process. Mack is just checking to see if it is dry enough to bale! I think it is and it will probably be baled tomorrow, into small bales that are easy to handle and particularly favoured by smallholders and horse owners as they are easy to man handle. Otherwise, if it is intended for our own livestock it will be made into large round bales which are easier to feed mechanically.
The 17th Century comes to Broome Park Farm
One of the nicest things about running a B&B is the interesting people I meet and the many and varied reasons they have for visiting Shropshire. Judith and Des Thomas (Colonell Granville and Mistress Judith) are historical re-enactors and visit the local secondary school every year to give Year 8 pupils a taste of life at the time of the English Civil War – 1642. I was surprised to learn they are Roundheads, not Royalists and Des explained to me that everyone at the time dressed the same, often reusing clothes and weapons from the battlefield, combatants wore identification features such as tree branches or a scrap of fabric to identify their allegience. For the pupils I think the highlight of the day is the firing demonstration where they get to experience the...
Stokesay Court, Onibury
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...
Breadmaking Course
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...
The Shropshire Hills
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...
St Georges Day
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
It 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
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
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
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
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
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!
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!
Sunshine and Showers
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!
Combining at Last
The spell of settled weather has meant John has been able to get on with the harvest. All the barley has been combined but unfortunately the Maris Otter had too high a nitrogen content so was rejected for malting. Wheat yields are not too bad but the oats are very light and need to be combined when the weather is dry and hot to prevent too much wastage. Mack had his first ride int he combine today – not too sure if he enjoyed it – he wasn’t too keen on getting in and took a while to settle but seemed to settle and was watching the reel go round! Another week of good weather and the bulk of the harvest will be safely gathered in.
Brockhampton Estate
Had a rare day out with my Mother today. We started by visiting Tarc Gallery at Stockton on Teme for a coffee – this is a great craft gallery and tearooms promoting local crafts people. From here we headed for Brockhampton Estate, a National Trust property just outside Bromyard. This is one of my favourite NT properties, hidden away at the end of a long drive it is a Tudor moated manor house – so romantic. We finished our day with a visit to Bromyard – a traditional small market town with an eclectic mix of independent shops.
An addition to the Hen House
Meet Adrian, a magnificent white sussex cockerel, who has joined the girls in the Hen House. After losing several hens to the fox over the summer I have also added 6 lohman brown hens to the mix. They are due to start laying in the next few days and hopefully egg production will improve as currently I am only getting 1 egg a day from my remaining 5 hens. The small black hen in the photo is one of the chicks that hatched out earlier in the year – I’m still not sure whether it’s a hen or cockerel – knowing my luck it will turn out to be another cockerel!!!
London Olympics 2012
I took a couple of days off this week to visit the Olympic Rowing events at Eton Dorney with my daughter and a couple of her rowing friends. We decided to dress for the occasion and certainly attracted a lot of attention! Everyone was so friendly and helpful and all the arrangements ran like clockwork. Standing almost at the waters edge there was a fantastic atmosphere and everyone cheered on all the competitors, although we may have cheered a little louder for the home crews! We were lucky enough to see the lightweight fours win Silver in a closely contested race that could have gone 3 ways! Such a fabulous experience that I will never forget! Wenlock is particularly special to us all in Shropshire as he is named after the birthplace of the modern Olympic Games –...
Bratislava or Bust
Richard has set off today on a charity car drive from Canterbury to Bratislava, taking in 7 countries in 7 days! Organised by Student Adventures teams of 3 or 4 have to buy and customise an old banger then drive it to Bratislava completing different challenges on the way to earn points; the team with the highest number of points wins the race. The boys – Richard, James and James – have bought a Skoda Octavia and christened it Dennis as it’s supposed to be a fire engine!! Hopefully a successful trip will raise loads of money for VSO and Prostate Cancer.
Beefed Up Combine
After all the wet weather John is concerned the ground will be too wet to start harvesting the corn in the next few days so the combine is being fitted with 4 wheel drive to improve the grip on slippy fields. This involved removing the rear axle and fitting a new one with different wheel centres. When I took the photo the rear wheels were going backwards when the combine was in forward gear and going forwards when it was in reverse!! They assure me it is working correctly now!