Cool com­fort farm

The Jewish Chronicle - - TRAVEL -

is­fy­ing: I def­i­nitely con­nected with my in­ner pre­his­toric man and felt about as close to be­ing a hunter-gath­erer as it is pos­si­ble for a nice Jewish boy to be.

All kin­dlinged-up, get­ting the ac­tual fire go­ing was not too dif­fi­cult, though it takes some time for the stove to heat up enough to boil the ket­tle. But herein lies an­other valu­able les­son about our in­stant grat­i­fi­ca­tion cul­ture; I can as­sure you, hav­ing chopped the logs, built the fire and shlepped our bags from the car to the tent by wheel­bar­row while the ket­tle was boil­ing, when it ar­rived, that cuppa was mar­vel­lous.

Next on the agenda was get­ting the wellies on (they are es­sen­tial) and ex­plor­ing. Pet­ty­wood Farm is an 800-acre arable and live­stock farm, and right on our doorstep were sheep, cows, pigs and chick­ens which roamed freely and seemed so at home around hu­mans that they al­most hopped on to a chair and joined us at meal­times.

The big at­trac­tion for the chil­dren were the lambs, which were equally at ease around our species and didn’t bat an eye­lid when their pen was in­vaded and they were picked up and lugged around as if they were toys. Of course, the neu­rotic in me was think­ing of the hy­giene im­pli­ca­tions, but there were plenty of “Now Wash Your Hands” signs to re­mind us to do just that.

Also worth get­ting ac­quainted with early in your visit is the “hon­esty shop”. Ba­si­cally it is a trailer which stocks farm and lo­cal pro­duce, as well as es­sen­tial bits and bobs. The only thing miss­ing is a shop as­sis­tant. In its place is a sheet of pa­per to note down what you take, so you can settle up at the end of your stay. It is a bril­liant way of do­ing things and re­ally rams home the ethos of the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Back at our tent, the fire was giv­ing out a de­cent amount of heat, and the eggs and beans cooked in no time and were hastily de­voured in the way that only spend­ing time out­doors im­bues.

By now dark­ness had de­scended and, with no cen­tral heat­ing and only can­dles and tilly lamps for light, it did get a bit chilly. Clearly this won’t be such a prob­lem in the sum­mer — though you never know in this coun­try — but I would strongly rec­om­mend tak­ing ex­tra blan­kets and du­vets to sup­ple­ment those pro­vided, what­ever time of year you go.

The fol­low­ing morn­ing I had high hopes of be­ing the first to the chicken coop and help­ing my­self to the fresh­est of fresh eggs, but alas, though I was there by 7.30, a young whip­per­snap­per from a neigh­bour­ing tent had beaten me, by about an hour and a half.

Get­ting the wood stove go­ing again was the next im­per­a­tive, and here I learnt a harsh les­son; be­fore light­ing the fire, make sure you clean it out from the pre­vi­ous night. I spec­tac­u­larly failed to do this, and con­se­quently had to wait even longer for that first cup of tea.

The rest of the morn­ing was spent rather idly with us adults milling around the tent, and the kids romp­ing around the field and pet­ting the lambs — the im­me­di­ate vicin­ity felt very safe and we had no qualms let­ting the kids run free.

Then it was off to ex­plore what our

Ruby, the other ju­nior Bad­diel, takes a turn at feed­ing the lambs

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