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Boarshead and Laurel Fruit Farm Shop

10 Feb

The walk

I am well-organised for once! Spent some time yesterday looking through the pub strolls book, researching a walk to do and loading it into Outdoors GB. Having to go further afield now as I seem to have done most of the walks near Plumpton (in this book, anyway). So, after dropping the girl at college, I drove on another 40 minutes to just north of Crowborough – Boarshead, and started my walk from the access road just off the A26.

Boarshead loop

I had planned to continue on a few miles after the walk to visit a farm shop which I had also researched but I saw one right at the start of the walk: Laurel Fruit Farm Shop, so decided I would try that instead. Went wrong almost immediately, as I needed to, in fact, go through the farm entrance and start from there. I don’t know if the book is a little out of date now, but this seemed to be the theme of walk and I would have struggled without the app.

Laurel Fruit Farm

Lovely start to the route, walking through the farm orchard, with nice views over the fields, a flat, grey day, cold but not freezing. The hat and snood came out pretty quickly but I refrained from using my gloves as I have to take them on and off frequently to take photographs. Took a phone call from a work colleague and was nice to say I was in an orchard while she talked about work – it seemed a million miles away.

Laurel Fruit Farm

Pecan maple cookie

Through the orchard was a small seat and a view so I took the opportunity to have my coffee stop and maple cookie (recipe on The Kitchen Shed), I was hungry already despite the scrambled eggs and seeded toast I’d had for breakfast. After the break, I headed down across field, across a small stream and into another field, where things started to go wrong again, two paths presented themselves, one higher, one lower; I took the lower, by the meandering stream, which meant I missed the fingerpost sign I was looking for. I soon realised my mistake, however, after checking the app, and cut back up to it. Here, I felt the route instructions let me down, as they said to ignore paths right and left, when in fact I needed to turn left across the field to the woods. I eventually realised my mistake and tramped across the farmer’s field, which he was spraying, so I felt very self conscious and expected to hear a shout at any minute; ‘Get orf my land!’.

Laurel Fruit Farm

From there, a wooded section began, which was a little spooky! Some great tree roots to photograph though and a fair bit of uphill. Eventually coming out of the forest with nice views over the fields, from there it was simply a matter of following the unmade road back to the busy A26 and time to check out the farm shop!

The farm

 

Apples were clearly their specialty and they had a lot of different types: Cox, Gala, Fuji, Russet, Golden Delicious, Bramley etc. they could be bought loose or bagged up. I chose a bag of Gala and headed inside to see what else they sold. Apple juices, bread and cakes, pickles, a small selection of vegetables, greetings cards, and a fridge with a few cheeses and game. I chose some venison burgers and then headed for the Boar’s Head Inn for lunch. A nice old pub with open fires and low beams, dating from 1636, friendly and already with a few customers, though it wasn’t quite midday.

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The lunch

The food menu had a reasonable choice, jacket potatoes, sandwiches, soup and a list of mains including liver and bacon, plaice and chips, cottage pie and lamb shank. I ordered the special which was vegetable chilli and rice. I ordered early as the blackboard said all food was made to order so there could be a delay. I saw this as a good thing as it sounds like it is all home-cooked. The vegetable chilli didn’t disappoint, sweet and spicy just what you need on a cold day! Afterwards I had a filter coffee which came with a piece of melt-in-your-mouth marshmallow on the side.

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Sheffield Park and Tea Room

2 Feb

The walk

A very cold bright day and my daughter and I were glad of the heated seats in the drive in to Plumpton College this morning.

She was in a good mood and I had no trouble getting her out of the car and off for an exciting morning of looking at graffiti in Brighton. I have decided to revisit Sheffield Park today, after discovering it on a family day out over Christmas. That time we had paid to look around the National Trust gardens and enjoyed lunch in the tea room. I felt it had been quite an expensive day out, even with one of us getting in free as my daughter’s carer. I suppose it depends how long you intend to spend looking round or whether you have a young person with you that essentially you are just going to chase around the gardens for an hour. I did notice, on this previous visit, that as well as a lovely tea room, there was parkland you could explore for free. This is what I decided to do today.

Sheffield Park

I was surprised by the number of cars in the car park at 9.30 on a cold, February Monday morning, but it is a popular place and over the Christmas holidays there was quite a queue for the tearoom. I already had my map, flask of coffee, and warm walking gear (though I was down to one pair of gloves as Dear Daughter (who had decided upon leaving the house that she didn’t need gloves), snaffled a pair of mine on arrival at college.

I opted for the ‘long walk’ – about 1.5 miles – so this is ideal for families or slower/less able walkers – there is also a ‘short walk’ of about a mile, and the East Park circular walk which certainly doesn’t look longer than 2 mikes. I was straight into a field of livestock- heifers – urgh – not my favourite – so I skirted around them, following the signs and map as best I could. The Bluebell Railway is a short walk away and it was nice to hear the train whistle and see the plume of steam from the train. You could do a nice combined day out, parking at Sheffield Park, walking over the parkland to the Bluebell Railway and walking back via the natural play trail for a fun day out with kids.

I was relieved to leave the heifer field and enter St George’s which was full of sheep, both the signage and map (from the National Trust visitor centre) are very good and easy to follow. I took a little diversion from the long walk to have a look at Ringwood Toll, natural play trail, lots of fun to be had here, including building dens out of sticks, tightrope walking, and storytelling in the hut.

Ringwood Toll

Ringwood Toll Natural Play Trail

Ringwood Toll

Wigwam fun!

Ringwood Toll

Tightrope walking at Ringwood Toll

Ringwood Toll

Storytelling Hut

The landscape wasn’t so spectacular, it is parkland, after all, and mainly fields of livestock, with small wooded copse, no great views either, but pleasant. There were signs to the Wildlife Haven and river which may have been more interesting, but I will save those for another day. There are plenty of birds, if you are interested in them, robins, magpies and crows and I think I heard a woodpecker.

Sheffield Park

Lower Woman’s Way Pond

I looped back round to the car, after a quick look at Lower Woman’s Way Pond, and I was glad to get back for a warm-up and flask of coffee in the car, as although there were lots of benches on the way round (good, again for less able walkers) I was not tempted to stop and get a frozen bottom!

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After a break I decided to explore the shops I had seen signs for on the way in. I had seen at least four signs, and had thought there were at least two shops (apart from the National Trust visitor centre, selling the usual gift items) but I think there is only one other, called ‘All Wine and Roses’ a nursery and wine shop. I followed the signs up to it, however, it didn’t seem very open. Looked like a quirky place, to buy plants, architectural salvage and wine imported from France.

All Wine and Roses

Nursery at Sheffield Park

Sheffield Park

Not sure what this is about?

All wine and roses

The lunch

Nothing for it now but to hit the tea room, which is currently undergoing refurbishment. We sat in the large Oak Hall, usually reserved for functions, nice and grand, if a little dark.

Tea Room at Sheffield Park

Oak Hall Tea Room

I had leek and potato soup with a hunk of brown bread – if I’m honest, the soup was a little tasteless, but the bread certainly was a hunk, and quite good value for £4.50. As it is now after midday the tearoom is filling up with mums and toddlers and retired folks. I will come again!

Sheffield Park Tea Room

The Chalk Pits and Offham Farm Shop

28 Jan

The walk

Attempting today a walk I was going to do a few weeks ago, which I didn’t manage due to issues of finding parking. Today, I was better prepared – there are three parking lay-bys but all on the wrong side of a very fast road, so as I drove past I noted which one was nearest my walk’s starting point and then continued on the road until it was safe to turn round.

This walk starts from the Jubilee bus stop at Offham and heads straight up the hill to the chalk pits.

Offham Chalk Pits

I was expecting a brighter start to the day, yesterday had been beautiful, sunny and frosty for our run in Bramber, but today was damp, grey, albeit warmer.

Protected Wildlife Site

This area has been designated a protected wildlife site due to its habitat, probably due to the chalky terrain.

So, a grey Monday morning and a fierce walk uphill all the way to the top of Treacle Mines, (I have been trying to find out where the name ‘Treacle Mines’ comes from but the nearest I can find is in this article about the Battle of Lewes where the troops were said to ‘come to a sticky end’) and on to a wonderful view towards Lewes and the spectacular Offham chalk pit.

View towards lewes

Chalk pits, Offham

Chalk mining was a big industry between 1809–1890, where the chalk was used to make lime for fertiliser. In order to get the chalk down from the quarry for transportation on the River Ouse, a funicular railway was built. You can read the full story here.

There was a good information board which had some augmented reality features but unfortunately my phone did not pick up the content.

Chalk Pits information board

From there I walked a little further on to a gate to a field with a sign which said ‘NO SHEEP IN THIS FIELD’ and, yes, you guessed it, it was full of sheep. Dropped down through the field and crossed a main road, then followed a Tarmac path down to Offham Road and on through a housing estate.

Offham

By this time I was about ready for a coffee break, and, spotting an empty bus shelter, decided it would make a good stop. Within a few minutes people began arriving at the bus stop, first an older woman, smartly dressed in black with bright pink lipstick, and then a younger girl. I felt obliged to explain to my audience that I was not, in fact, waiting for a bus but just having a break in my walk.

Bus stop coffee break

The older lady was very chatty and heartily approved of my breakfast stop, warned me to be careful out there – you youngsters she said, going off on your own – youngster! Well I am nearly 48 but I readily accepted the compliment. We also discussed ‘cardiac hill’ (which apparently is School Hill in Lewes), Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (which she had seen at Eastbourne cinema when it came out) before I bade them farewell and completed the walk, along the Old Coach Road – extremely churned up and muddy – and back to Hamsey and the Jubilee bus stop.

Hamsey church

The farm

I decided to keep local today and so I decided to revisit Offham Farm Shop, which I knew would be quiet and I could possibly get some work done in the café. 

Offham Farm Shop

It is not a big shop or an extensive café, mainly focusing on their meat counter, good value meat boxes and a range of home made pies. There is also a small selection of vegetables, cheese, ready meals and ice cream. For lunch there are sandwiches, soup, and sausage rolls. Generously sized cakes are also an option!

Offham Farm

Next week’s sausage rolls?

 I bought some lovely honey with nuts – it is expensive but a spoonful of that on some Greek yoghurt and breakfast is sorted!

English honey

The lunch

From the menu, I chose the soup of the day which was tomato. It came served with some fresh crusty bread and both were of generous proportions – quite a bargain for £4.50!

Offham Tea Room

 

A muddy walk along the River Ouse

12 Jan

The run/walk

This is a post I had intended to publish before the Christmas chaos set in but I didn’t quite manage it! This walk was from the 15th December.

I had planned on doing a walk around the chalk pits today, but after driving past the starting point twice, and finding nowhere easy to park on the busy road, I lost heart and decided to head for Lewes, parking in Tesco car park and taking a walk along the Ouse. It is prone to muddiness, and although not actually raining today, it had rained heavily at the weekend, and so I knew I was in for a muddy one. As such I am glad I wore my wellies as I headed off along the river bank. The beginning part is nice and sociable, along the river, near the town and through the park with dog-walkers and toddlers aplenty to smile at, but once on the more rugged river path, only the hardened dog walkers are in evidence as it is indeed, cold and muddy here today.

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River Ouse

The clean-eating challenge is over now, and I am basking in the glory of having done better than expected, here are my starting, mid-point and finishing stats:

In summary I lost 8.5kg and 8% body fat, my muscles are popping out of my shoulders and I feel good, both health-wise and in the knowledge I have gained. Although I will doubtless go back to drinking alcohol and relax my eating regime I feel that many of the habits I have learned are sustainable long-term and I look forward to putting them into practice. (As I write this, post-Christmas, I have embarked upon the kitchen shed 30-day clean-eating challenge).

I do get stuck in the mud on my walk and struggle to get my foot out without losing my Wellington boot!

River Ouse walk

A quick coffee break is taken on the muddy bench, a peanut butter muffin defrosted from the freezer and a chance to take in the glorious sunny morning.

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The lunch

I had decided to treat myself to lunch out, rather than packing my own, this morning, but found I did not have quite enough time to go to a cafe or restaurant, I could find nothing ‘clean’ in the Costa coffee in Tescos, and desperately perused the lunch section of Tesco for something suitable, finally settling on this salad, which in no way filled me up, I should have bought a piece of cooked salmon to have on the side.

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Still, it got me home where I was able to construct my favourite smoothie: a variation from Bubbles and Booyah of blueberries, raspberries, banana, almond milk, vanilla protein powder, flaxseed and almond butter!

The shopping

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Some new foods to try (Freekeh, Food Doctor crackers) and some old favourites (walnuts, brown soba neeodles)

Newick and Middle Farm Shop

4 Dec

The run

Not a good start to the day, being punched awake by the husband who was attempting to do ‘pinch, punch first of the month’ on my shoulder but got my face instead.

Dear daughter was very slow in getting herself up and ready this morning, how someone can spend 20 minutes staring at their breakfast before eating it is beyond me.

I had found a route on Walk, Jog, Run, a circular route of about 5 miles near Chailey, near to Townings Farm Shop that I needed to go to in order to collect my Christmas cake (un-iced). The route began at Newick and went to Fletchling before circling back. I discovered I could export the file from Walk, Jog, Run as a gpx file and load it into Great Britain Outdoors thus saving myself the work of plotting it all over again. This kind of worked although the loop did appear twice, I am not sure if this was because Dave (user 745381 at Walk, Jog, Run) had done the route twice or because of some other anomaly. Anyway it seemed good enough and off I went.

First impressions of Newick; I parked outside the Post Office and walked down to the fine village green, which had two pubs on it and a row of shops comprising general store, estate agents, butchers and pharmacy with a bakers across the road.

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There was also an Indian restaurant and a chiropodist; so bigger than I had imagined and with quite a busy road running through it. Also a beautiful village pump, which according to villagepumps.org.uk was donated by a local plumber in 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee – and it still works!

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Just working with the app today, no written directions like I normally have, and it was surprisingly difficult to get on the right route, although the cycle lane through the housing estates seemed like something a runner would want to utilise.

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It passed by some allotments and up into a modern housing estate.

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From here it was unclear which way to go next and I ended up circling around a bit and ending up where I started! Tried again, with variations, but most alternatives seemed to involve going on private land which I was not keen to do. I must have spent at least 40 minutes in this manner before finding a signed track beside farmland which also followed the route on the app.

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There was a bit of a commotion going on in the field with a flock of birds – squawking and fighting, the occasional one jumping a foot into the air, and the whole flock moving at speed across the field. I couldn’t really see what type of birds they were but assumed they must be some type of fowl.

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I continued on and the route seemed possible, a very cold, grey day, I was glad of the gloves, hat and scarf I had brought. I passed the water treatment plant and headed off across a field on which a clear muddy track was marked. This seemed to be going okay until the track forked off in two different directions, neither of which seemed to tally with my app. It was getting on for 11 o’clock and my blue dot was still hovering around near the starting point so I decided to sit down and have my coffee and pumpkin energy ball while I considered what to do.

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After my refreshments I decided to head back to the car: sometimes things do not work out and it was bitterly cold. I had had a walk and seen a bit of Newark – that would have to do for today. I have decided in future it is best to have written instructions and use the app as back-up.

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The farm

Headed for Townings Farm Shop to collect my Christmas cake and buy a few vegetables.

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Afterwards I drove to Middle Farm which is the largest and (probably) best farm shop in the area.

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They have several shops on site; a gift shop (traditional toys and homewares), a cider and Perry shop, plants and Christmas trees and wreaths, a cafe and an excellent farm shop with a butchers, cheese shop, bakery and large selection of dried goods, vegetables, confectionary and drinks. They also have lots of Christmas goods such as iced and un-iced Christmas cakes, Christmas puddings, chutneys and hampers – ready-made or to make yourself. I bought a few things which I can’t post here or Santa’s elves will have a fit!

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The lunch

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Asparagus, beetroot and feta salad with some salmon on the side, eaten in the salubrious comfort of my car!

Forest Row and The Seasons Health Food Shop

27 Nov

Forest Row

The walk

Bright and cold this morning. A welcome break from a day of rain yesterday.

Had decided on a circular walk near Forest Row and utilise the shops there afterwards. A long-ish drive from the college at over 30 minutes but without lunch to factor in, I reckoned I had time. Lovely drive through Chailey Common and Ashdown Forest, a low sun, and autumnal colours on the trees. My Tom Tom took me most of the way there with a slight hiccup at the end when it wanted me to go down a private road: we fell out about that. Found one of the two car parks in Forest Row (23 hours free parking – that’s as rare as hen’s teeth! And a lovely on-site toilet – who could ask for more?)

Forest Row

Started off badly with the instructions – I don’t think it helped to start from the wrong car park! But Great Britain Outdoors soon had me back on track. Set off by walking through the town and heading off down by a stream, from here the instructions were very simple to follow and I didn’t have much trouble finding the route. In contrast to last week it felt very busy and industrious round here (of course, the weather was far better) but I was never without the hum of some farm machinery, or a dog walker, bike rider or pony trekker. A mixture of streams, fields, tracks, bridle ways, disused railway lines and roads, I enjoyed this one more than usual. I don’t know whether it was the variety or the sunshine but everyone I met was in a good mood. I am also enjoying walking rather than running because you can see more and converse more with people you meet.

Coffee break

I stopped for my coffee break on the bridge over a lively stream – everything was wet from yesterday’s rain so there were no convenient sitting places. Passed a farm with chickens wandering freely in the fields and then on past the spectacular ruins of Brambletye House. This was the home of Sir Henry Compton, built in 1631. It fell into ruin by 1683 said to have happened when the family fled to Spain after Sir James Richards (described as being ‘of Brambletye House’) was accused of treason. Novelist, Horace Smith romanticised the ruin in his book ‘Brambletye House or Cavaliers and Roundheads’ which has confused the history somewhat. The full article is here

Brambletye House

The shop

My shopping today was mainly centred around The Seasons a health food shop in two parts, one near the car park on Lower Road selling mainly fruit and vegetables, cosmetics and toiletries. From there I bought avocados, blueberries and some letterpress Christmas cards and tags.

Letterpress Christmas cards and tags

Then, the main shop is across the road and through the back entrance up some stairs or from Hartfield Road. This is well-stocked with all kinds of grains, nuts, dried fruit, teas, honey and spreads, as well as fresh bread, cheese and tofu. From here I bought brown arborio rice (for a chicken and asparagus risotto I intend to make tomorrow), some Greek yoghurt (which I am having tonight with some roast pears, and some nutritional yeast flakes (which is a substitute for Parmesan apparently).

 The Seasons Health Food Shop

The lunch

Had my lunch – haloumi salad with pomegranate seeds in the car, a woman rapped on my window – I thought she was after my space but she just wanted to express her disbelief and incredulity at the free parking!

Haloumi salad

The farm

Was about to head back to the college when a text came through from Dear Daughter’s TA saying they would be late back from the recycling centre (their trip today) so I took the opportunity to visit Townings Farm shop and bought some chicken and enquired about Christmas cakes. She is taking orders for 5 and 6″ iced ones and 8″ un-iced. I ordered an un-iced one, I usually make my own but I am going to be busy with work from now until Christmas. As I left the large rooster and his hens were pecking about the yard.

Townings Farm Shop

Cooksbridge and Holmansbridge Farm Shop

19 Nov

The run

Another inauspicious start to the day.

I had decided to do a recovery walk today after running the Brook’s 10k yesterday, gaining a personal best of 48:06 (last year 51:46). I suppose it helps to be a stone lighter and not hungover!
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I began my research with finding a farm shop that is open on Mondays and then found a walk nearby. I decided to go back to Holmansbridge Farm shop which I haven’t visited in about a year.

The walk I found began and ended in Cooksbridge a small village on the A275 which I have driven through many times. It has its own railway station and is mainly made up of modern houses – a commuter village, however according to SussexVillage.net it derived its name from the cooks who fed the soldiers of Simon de Montfort on their way to the battle of Lewes in 1264.
Having read through the walk instructions I felt confident that it would be an easy one but I also had the route plotted on Outdoors Great Britain as back-up. Not a day for getting lost, as although the rain was not heavy it was continuous.

Cooksbridge
The walk began by crossing the railway line and heading off between the houses down to a stream and then up onto some water logged fields.

Cooksbridge

Once again I was glad to have decided on wellington boots. Crossed the railway line once again (freaked me out a bit – an unmanned crossing with signs for the Samaratins either side!

Cooksbridge

And minutes after I crossed a train came charging through!

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The instructions were easy to follow for the most part, with slight confusion at the gap in the hedge and diagonally crossing the field to Hawsey Manor. A bit of walking on the road here, but so quiet! On mornings like this you can truly imagine yourself in the Zombie Apocalypse. Small birds (chaffinch?) flitted ahead of me down the lane, marking my progress. I also saw a rabbit in the field and ducks on the River Ouse.

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I continued down this lane until Ivor’s Lane and a finger post to the River Ouse. Walking along the muddy embankment, this section was quite familiar to me, as I have run or walked it several times on different routes (from Lewes and Southease ). Very desolate this morning.

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Finally turning off under the railway bridge and heading up the Old Coach Road towards The Blacksmiths Arms.

You can imagine rattling along in an old stage coach on the Old Coach Road

You can imagine rattling along in an old stage coach on the Old Coach Road

From here it was a short walk along the main road back to Cooksbridge, however, the rain was coming down hard, and I passed an old stone bus shelter with a nice bench inside and so decided to stop and have my coffee and snack – a pumpkin energy ball and hope for the rain to ease.

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Inside the bus shelter was printed the interesting story of how it came about. Apparently a committee decided in 1935 that a bus shelter should be erected near the church timed to coincide with the Jubilee celebrations of King George V and Queen Mary. Work was started on the foundations shortly afterwards and Lady Shiffner agreed to pay for the wooden bench (on which I am sitting) to go inside. The shelter was not completed in time for the Jubilee celebrations and so the bench was put in place and a ribbon cut by Lady Shiffner. The bench was then removed to the carpenter’s shop where it remained for the next year. There were various hold-ups in the building of the shelter and a year later the committee complained it had reached a standstill and that this was a very poor state of affairs. One reason for the delay was that the road had been re-levelled and was considerably higher than before. The shelter was finally completed in time for the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, two years later in 1937.

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The farm

Afterwards I drove to Holmansbridge farm shop which I haven’t visited for a year. Once again they have their large wooden turkey out, advertising their Christmas turkeys. It was with a pang of guilt that I watched the turkey flock from the yard.
The farm shop itself is quite small, mainly consisting of a large meat counter, a large refrigerated area containing cheese, cured meats, smoked salmon and some fruit and vegetables. The rest of the shop has sauces, condiments, tea, coffee, home-made cakes and unrefrigerated fruits and vegetables.
I took my time looking around even though the butcher eagerly approached the counter as I entered. I bought some fruit and vegetables,

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a brand of tea I had not previously seen (I have just had a cup of this and it is really delicious)

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and some smoked salmon. I was interested to see the addition of venison on the meat counter, but having had venison mince delivered in my meat and veg box this week I bought some chicken instead.

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I still had plenty of time before picking dear daughter up, so I decided to go over to Spring Barn Farm to do some Christmas shopping.
Their Christmas shop is now open and the staff were happy to show me their outhouse containing Christmas lights and the area in which their fresh Christmas trees would go.  They have lots of food gifts and hampers and a large selection of Christmas decorations. I looked around for some gifts but couldn’t quite decide on anything. I also enquired about Christmas cakes and they showed me some beautifully decorated ones made by a lady in Worthing, however these were quite small and rather expensive but they did say they would find out a price for an 8″ one. In the end I bought some more ready meals: my son had the black turtle bean chilli for dinner, he said it had a nice spiciness but could have been a little more flavourful. I also bought some smoked Haddock from Springs (it was a toss up between this and the rabbit – so I reckon my husband got off lightly!)

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The lunch

Lunch was eaten in the car: today a tofu salad. My son had bought the tofu as an experiment, but I’m not sure. It was ok but I don’t think I’ll be buying it again. This was with leftover roast sweet potato and an orange dressing.

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Chailey Common and Townings Farm Shop

11 Nov

The run

A terrific thunderstorm in the evening and through the night with lots of heavy rain, so I was not sure what to expect in the morning. There were still showers and so I packed the usual stuff, plus a book, plus Wellington boots as I thought it would still be very muddy on my planned route. I was determined to do the walk/run I had researched for last week that got rained off. I had found a nice walk on Chailey Nature Reserve, and had further prepared by trying an app that my husband is keen on: OutDoors GB. It does need a bit more preparation and you have to purchase the OS maps for the area you want which are quite expensive (East Sussex 1:25k cost £16!). You plot the route ahead of time and then when you are out on your walk/run you can see where you are from the blue dot and where you are supposed to be from the red line.

Outdoors Great Britain app

Outdoors Great Britain app

This was a big help and meant I didn’t get as lost as usual! The walk instructions were quite good, though I did go wrong quite near the beginning. Because of this I did get to St Georges early on instead of towards the end of the walk, but I turned around and retraced my steps until my blue dot was back on my red line!

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As I had suspected the walk was very wet and muddy and I was glad I had put my wellies on and walked rather than run. Some parts were deep puddles or more like walking through streams.

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At the top of the hill I stopped to admire the view and drink some of my coffee and eat my pumpkin protein bar.

Pumpkin protein bar

Pumpkin protein bar

From there the route plunged down into woodland with streams and bridges.

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I didn’t see many people during this part of the walk except when I came to the Philip Ridley Memorial Pond where a man was poking around the pond with a stick. He didn’t talk, in fact he looked away like he really didn’t want to pass the time of day or explain what he was doing. It was a bit creepy actually and I hurried away up the hill to St George’s.

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I was rather intrigued about St George’s – it looks like a little community in its own right. Apparently it used to be a residential school, built in 1932, then used as army accommodation during the war. Now it is used as residences. There is also a windmill on site which you can just see in the photo below:

St George's, Chailey

There is a windmill in here somewhere!

I tried to get a photograph of the windmill but it was quite difficult. I crossed the road and saw my car in the car park – the temptation to cut the walk short was strong but I continued on, around to the memorial stone and met a very sparky group of older people walking dogs – they were very friendly and cheerful and seemed to be having a great time! I was intrigued by the memorial stone which reads:

“You who walk these commons remember with gratitude Gareth Christian and Charles Constant whose loving imagination and unsparing labour led to the establishment of the Chailey Common nature reserve.

Their ashes are scattered on the land they loved 1971″
Memorial Stone Chailey Nature Reserve

Memorial Stone Chailey Nature Reserve

From there it was just a matter of circling around the Heath back to the start.

The farm

Townings Farm Shop

Townings Farm Shop

I had decided to visit one of my favourite farm shops: Townings which I knew was open on a Monday. I bought some apples (dear daughter is making apple crumble tomorrow in food tech), a pheasant – it’s on the approved food list of my clean-eating plan and I’ve never had one before so I decided to go for it! Also bought some ham (rather expensive but I’d rather buy quality) and I couldn’t resist Auntie Val’s English Breakfast Marmalade – I have an Auntie Val! And my husband is rather partial to marmalade.

Townings Farm Shop

Today’s haul

The lunch

Lunch was a healthy salad eaten in the car and a few chapters of Anne Frank which I am reading at the moment.

Lunch on the go

Lunch on the go

Tales from the Secret Annexe, Anne Frank

A rainy day in Lewes

8 Nov

Awoke to hear the rain lashing against the window – really terrible weather, heavy downpours, then easing, repeat… Still. Travel hopefully, I thought and prepared as usual; put on my running gear and packed my bag with spare clothes, snacks, coffee and water but added in my book as a contingency plan.

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On reaching the college and dropping my daughter off, the weather was as bad as ever, so I decided to abandon my original plan and instead head to Lewes and spend the time investigating independent shops for healthy food for my clean eating plan. I parked in Tesco’s car park for the three hours free parking as I thought it would be useful for toilet stops etc! Then walked into town to see what I could find. The first place that caught my interest was Lansdown Health Store on Cliffe High Street in which I spent a long time browsing, finally buying some tea: pukka chai vanilla (I have had this before and it is delicious),  some chia seeds (I had a recipe in mind for this), protein powder, peanut butter and honey (likewise).

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It seemed a very well stocked shop and I would have loved to have bought more but I was conscious of spending too much money and then not finding a use for the products so stuck to things I immediately had a recipe for.

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It was hard to stick to my ‘independent shops’ theme and I was next drawn into Holland and Barrett in the hope of finding the things on my list I couldn’t get in Landsdown Health Store, certainly the maple syrup was cheaper there! I also bought rice cakes and walnuts, which I know you can get at the supermarket but I wanted to experience as many shops as possible and I don’t normally go into Holland and Barrett so it was interesting to look around. They also have a huge range of teas, nuts and seeds and protein powders, although I could only see the flavoured ones.

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I did end up doing some of my shopping at Tescos when I went back for my coffee and snack and to use the toilets, I bought the wraps, almond milk and Total yoghurt there. I was looking for products with less than five ingredients as this is one of the clean eating principles but both the wraps and the almond milk had more. I looked at all the comparable products but they were all the same.

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On walking around Lewes I had found Anne of Cleves house which I had not visited before, unfortunately it opens late on Mondays (the Monday curse!) so was closed, but as I had some time to kill before collecting my daughter I decided to drive back there and see if I could take in some culture. Alas, it was not to be, there were no parking spots and someone was right behind me so I couldn’t dither about, so I headed out of Lewes and was soon on the road to one of my favourite farm shops; Spring Barn Farm. I decided it would make a good lunch stop and I could peruse the shop and see if they had any new and interesting products in light of my clean eating regime. I also thought it would be a good place to buy a couple of ready meals for the boys as I am out early evening on a Monday teaching my evening class.

The farm

It was looking very festive in the shop as they had cleared away all their Hallowe’en stuff and had the Christmas tree up with decorations for sale and a good range of do-it-yourself hampers with some ideas to get you started. I looked all around and noticed they are no longer selling as much Suki tea as they used to, I chose the Vitality tea so I would have a range of teas to try at home. I also bought some Springs smoked trout and two ready meals for the freezer. The verdict on the chilli was very positive – nice big chunks of meat and plenty of it! I have yet to get an opinion from the vegetarian!

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Afterwards I sat in the car and had my lunch – a tuna wrap with lots of salad.

The recipes

So, now to what I made with all this produce. Well, first off, I had some pumpkin purée to use up so I decided to make pumpkin protein bars using the protein powder, peanut butter and honey that I bought. These were very easy to make a are a substantial portable snack.

Next I used the trout in a Scandinavian winter salad with egg, capers and a yoghurt dressing. This went down well with the husband. I must say the trout was expensive though at £8 for 4 fillets.

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Finally, I decided to make the Chia pudding with the Chia seeds, almond milk and maple syrup. You make it the night before and it is ready in the morning for breakfast. Although it tasted nice I found the colour and texture quite off putting so I don’t think I will be making it again. Sorry, all you Chia fans.

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I still intend to make these protein energy balls with the pumpkin purée I have in the freezer along with the maple syrup, walnuts and peanut butter. But more about that later.

 

 

Chelwood Common and Veasey & Sons fish shop

22 Oct

The run

Picked a shortish one today – only 2.5 miles, having run 9 miles yesterday and coming up to a big event at the weekend, I felt in need of a bit of recovery. In fact, in the end I didn’t run at all but walked it, somewhat out of necessity as there was a lot of uphill! Left the college and set the Sat Nav to the researched post code and set off on the lovely drive through Chailey Common, enjoying the autumn colour and the feeling that I now get of the different areas beginning to join up. I love to drive past somewhere and think, been there, ran there, ate there. I reached Chelwood Common in about half an hour but the Sat Nav seemed to take me to someone’s house, I drove up and down the road thinking ‘It can’t be that hard to find the pub’ and circled the village several times before stopping by the pony trekking centre.

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Intrigued by cobnuts – what are they like? I should have bought some! Instead I wandered up and down the village street looking for the pub, eventually asking a roofer if he knew where it was, but he wasn’t from the village so I asked another family who were out in their garden and they gave me directions – behind the houses and down the hill. Parked up in the pub car park and set off, walking. Very straightforward instructions, it was nice to feel like I wouldn’t get lost this week and be able to enjoy the countryside. Much of the walk was through woodland, with a few fields of sheep and horses thrown in.

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In quite a few places the route went uphill, quite steeply – good to get the heart rate up! There were also several streams to cross with footbridges and quite an impressive tree house in the woods!

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I wished I had brought my flask of coffee and fruit and nuts snack with me because it would have been pleasant to stop and take in the scenery. I forget, when I am walking that there is more opportunity for that. I didn’t really see anyone on the walk except for a man and his dog, Rufus. The dog had just got over an elbow injury (I didn’t know dogs had elbows) and it was his first walk in a long time. He seemed to want to come along with me which was the opposite way to the way his master was going!

Funghi on the trail

Funghi on the trail

Towards the end of the walk I thought I was going to get lost again, as the instructions did not seem to marry up with what was in front of me. Sometimes it is difficult to interpret the distance intended, and you have to keep faith and continue on. Soon I was heading back down the hill and the pub was in sight. I passed this produce stall on my way back to the pub, the sign reads; ‘We are sorry. Due to theft approx £30 last 6 weeks only limited supply of eggs. Any required call at house, Russell.’ Ooh egg-rustling in Chelwood Common!

Who's been stealing all the eggs?

Who’s been stealing all the eggs?

The farm

As most farm shops seem to be closed on Mondays I decided, instead, to head for Forest Row and go to Veaseys & Sons award-winning fish shop. The only thing I know about Forest Row is a friend of my son’s used to go to the Steiner school there. He was once invited to this boy’s birthday party and it was the most bizarre thing as most of the boys started fighting but the parents didn’t seem the least bit concerned. My son and I just looked on in bemusement – maybe it’s part of the Steiner philosophy? Anyway, I managed to park up in the free car park just behind the shop, and had a little look in the window before wandering around to see what else Forest Row had to offer. It had a very good organic wholefood shop called Seasons which seemed to be very well stocked and the selection of bread looked amazing (it’s a shame I didn’t need any). The town also had a nice toyshop which I visited in order to buy a birthday card, and several alternative health shops (it seemed like that kind of place). Returned to the fish shop, having worked out roughly what I was going to buy – I needed some white fish to poach for a clean eating recipe I am going to try as part of my challenge. I was the only customer and the shop is quite small so there was limited browsing time, however, there was an attractive display of fresh fish, including organic salmon, fresh sardines, cod etc, a counter of cooked fish (mackerel, salmon, seafood etc) and a freezer full of squid, crab and more. I explained what I was cooking and the fishmonger recommended a couple of fillets of cod. The recipe was delicious, quick and easy, the ginger worked particularly well. I also bought a piece of oven roasted salmon which I have just eaten for lunch with the left over leeks and noodles from the cod dish. Would highly recommend a visit. Get some bread from Seasons while you are at it!

The lunch

Lunch was made this morning, as per the rules of the challenge and brought with me. I made a ham, cottage cheese and salad wholemeal wrap which I ate in the car. There must be a secret to stopping a wrap falling apart which I am not party to – or maybe I overfilled it?