Local Heart, Global Soul

October 3, 2014

The Chilley Farm Shop On A Hot Summer’s Day…

Filed under: ENGLAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,South Coast — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Last summer we hired a camper van and crossed the  Channel for some summer holiday adventures on England’s south coast.

We aimed to combine seeing good friends, go to an event to do some charity fundraising and to fit in as many family fun activities as possible.

We’ve so far learned that talking roads other than motorways has definite disadvantages at this time of year: traffic anywhere remotely close to beaches reaches wall-to-wall vehicle proportions and “squeezing” though anywhere in a vehicle that feels (and probably is) bigger than a tank is wishful thinking.

We were often faced with one double parked vehicle on our side of the narrow roads and a constant stream of cars coming towards us on the other side.

Whilst the traffic jam behind us was therefore not our fault,  I’m sure that many of the drivers behind us had mutterings of “tourist” in less that favourable tones, whilst we waited for ages for the next safe gap in the oncoming traffic so that we could pass.All along the beachfront all of the regular car parking spaces were already taken so many people resorted to parking on grass verges and odd gaps.

I don’t personally begrudge them that but if the butt of your car still sticks decent distance into the road, then maybe you should get the hint that your vehicle doesn’t fit and try somewhere else, rather than to grab your bucket, spade and towel and disappear, leaving everyone else with the mess of trying to get down the road without connecting with your back bumper or tow ball.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We weren’t in  hurry by any means, but there is “slow” and there is “slow”.

We start to see that people walking along the lines of parked cars to the staircases that lead to the beach are making faster progress than we are, so quickly decide to find an exit that leads away from the beach as soon as we can.

This is how we ended up on a larger road heading inland,  soon there was a sign that showed there would be motorway further up, or another side road heading in the direction we wanted.

We opt for the side road and find ourselves in a rapidly shrinking lane. We can’t turn around easily so when all of a sudden we happen upon a farm shop on the side of the road we all are pleased to have found a place to stop, get some lunch and take a break.

There is a well stocked shop full of local produce, since we have a fridge in the camper we buy not just lunch but also some of their sausages for tonight’s dinner. There are animals to admire in a paddock by the car park and a play area where kids can burn off some energy. The place was deserted when we arrived but during our lunch break there was a fairly constant queue of visitors so clearly this place is popular. Our children get an offer to feed the goat or even just to throw some food into the pen close to it, but are scared off when it rears up in it’s eagerness for it’s lunch and prefer to watch from a safe distance. Rested, Lunched and Loo’ed, we bundle the kids back into the camper again and get on our way…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 15, 2011

A Children’s Farm and a Ladder leading to an Apartment…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Just up the road from where I took photos of the trams and herons in yesterdays post, there is a kinderboerderij.

Kinderboerderij” rather literally means ” childrens farm” and it’s where children from cities and villages around the Netherlands go if they want to see and learn about farm animals.

Modern agricultural  regulations for farm hygiene and safely of children (and animals) make it difficult  for kids to see sheep, cattle, pigs, chickens etc on a real farm, so mini versions are dotted all around the country with a selection of animals and birds for young children to see, pet, and learn how they are raised and cared for.

Indeed, without the kinderboerderij, many kids who live without gardens in city environs may never otherwise see animals up close.

The  Stichting KinderBoerderijen Nederland (Dutch Foundation for Children’s Farms) http://www.skbn.net/de-kinderboerderij/maatschappelijk-belang-van-kinderboerderijen   (website in Dutch language only)  tells us that some  400.000 children of primary school age visit kinderboerderijs  annually where  they learn about how the animals are cared for, what they eat, how food for is produced, the environment the animals need to live, professions associated with livestock and agriculture, the effects on the environment and sustainability.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s also a favourite place for young children to go for play, in fact it’s so popular that there are around 500 kinderboerderijen in The Netherlands and between them they achieve some 30 million visitors per year!

The trees in the grounds of this kinderboerderij have strong stakes in a circle protecting the tree trunks to protect them from the deer that are also in the grounds.

Canals within cities in the Netherlands (we have quite a few of them in case you haven’t heard LOL) vary massively in construction, so often they are the storm water conduits as well.

Many have high sides made of bricks and so the city council places small ladders in the water that slope up to the banks…these are basic planks with little cross-ways treads on them and they help parent water birds and their little families get out of the water.

I’m pleased to see that on a low sided canal by the kinderboerderij, the duck ladders  lead to  man-made bird house in the middle of the canal, so that water birds can nest somewhat protected. It’s quite a beautiful little apartment don’t you think?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 5, 2011

Yep, That Sums up the Donkey Rather Well I Think…

Filed under: FRANCE,Kids and Family — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are still at the French goat farm, and before we can get back into the van  to leave our children are quickly side tracked by a large enclosure and some sheds on the other side of our vehicle.

Like most French farms there are chickens, ducks and ducks to be found (we won’t tell our children just yet that these are often also raised for the pot) and on this occasion there are also rabbits, so the levels of  “oohing”  and “aahing” are starting to reach saturation point.

For good measure there are also some turkey’s, sheep and a large pig dozing in the shade inside one of the sheds.

Theres a bird roosting in a deep and tattered cardboard box, which I assumed was a chicken but closer inspection of the photo has me curious.. is that a bill I’m seeing rather than a beak?

Kiwi Daughter has taken a photo of  its derrière sticking out of the box, so …is this a duck butt, or a hens butt?  I think it’s a hen but your thoughts are welcome.

It’s ok with the farmer go have a look and then he tells them that there is also a  donkey around the back of the equipment shed.

It’s too far for me to get to but Kiwi Daughter takes her camera with her and shows me the photos of the donkey she has taken.

Little Mr. runs back to me in the van afterwards exclaiming that “you have to watch out ‘cos the donkey is a little bit kickful !

Little Mr. also insists that photos that he asked me to take of the equipment shed, and especially the tractor make it into this blog post. He asked nicely, so his wish is granted.

We make our Thanks and appreciation known to the farmer who can clearly see the delight his farm has given our children this morning, and eventually manage to round up our offspring and make our exit.

Himself and I both enjoyed the visit too, and for the children it has been a lasting memory of the holiday.  We may have stumbled here by accident, but we leave with a friendly wave and big big smiles.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 4, 2011

Hey! ….A Real Kid Baby Show!

Filed under: FRANCE,Kids and Family,Places and Sights — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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Kids… Yes, those kinds of kids, the four legged goat variety. The kids are separated out from their mothers after weaning so that the little ones and adolescents don’t get pushed aside by the adults whenever the food is dished out.

These little cuties had our children goggle eyed as we were treated to an excited torrent of “Ooooh’s, Ahhhhs and ” Awwwww’s“. The kids were delighted with the attention (both the human and animal varieties) and Noooo. we can’t take one home.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 2, 2011

When Getting it Wrong Didn’t Get Our Goat …or Did.

Filed under: FRANCE,Places and Sights — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I settle down to test my French with some of the brochures in the Gîte that advertise local  and regional events.

One of them especially caught my eye, it was Saturday “Open day” a various local farms, where the public are invited to come and see a working farm in action.

There are only three or four of these Open Days per year, but by a stroke of good fortune this Saturday happens to be one of the Open Day dates.

I’m well used to rural sights and smells but am well aware that my city-bred kids are not, and since Kiwi Daughter and I both have mild cat and dog hair allergies, which we have been warned would only become more severe if we had these as pets, we also have no animals at home.

One item on the list especially caught my eye:  a working goat farm where you can see the goat’s milk being made into cheese.  If you are a fellow foodie you will see why this one appeared to be the jackpot selection.

Downside was that it was almost an hour drive away, but we kicked the kids out of bed early (nooo not literally) and with the aid of Our Lady of the SatNav, were soon taking shortcuts though little lanes that lead though the vines and enjoying the view of the French countryside as we did.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Our Lady, for once, took us directly and easily to the required gate and we turned in, stopping in front of a enormous shed.

There were no other cars around and it looked deserted, so Himself went over to the open doors of the shed to investigate. A few polite calls in French resulted not only in a reply but the emergence of a friendly French goat farmer who looked somewhat puzzled.

Yes, it appears that indeed, ages ago he signed up for the  Farm Open Days, but some time back he got a contract to supply goat milk to a large local cheese making company and now their own dairy is closed as all the milk goes straight to the processing plant located some distance away.

He  had notified the people who produced the brochure of the change  and thought therefore that his farm had been taken off the list.

Regardless of the fact that he wasn’t expecting anyone and the dairy isn’t open we get an invite for a tour of the goat farm.

I did the ‘ultra short tour” which involved getting in the doorways of the sheds and then back to the van on crutches, Himself  then drove me further up the farm track and then I got inside the next  shed door and then back to the car. I could photograph whatever was in range whilst Himself and the kids saw adult goats and real kids further in and went exploring around the back with the farmer.

First the shed we are parked outside of… it’s an unseasonably warm 27 C  outside in the yard but inside the shed was cool and shady. There is a central “isle”  where feed is stacked and then two lower areas filled with goats. We instantly attract attention as heads turn to greet us, many of then stand on their back legs to get a better view.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Kiwidutch kids are delighted and try and “feed” straw as many of them as they can, and it’s as if all their Christmas’s have come at once when the farmer spots a stray baby kid, grabs it and brings it over got them to pat.

I’m impressed that the goats seems to have a decent amount of space, the place is amazingly clean and there’s only a sight very natural farm animal smell, so clearly these animals are well treated and looked after.

I also find the goats to be a delight, they are straining to get close for a nuzzle or a nibble and its clear that some of them are real “personalities” as they rubberneck especially hard and appear to enjoy having their photographs taken.

On the photography level, its hard to get a good photo as they keep straining to get closer, and I like their faces and the fact that the pupils of their eyes are almost perfect rectangles, rather than round. You can see it clearly when their faces are side-on but when they are facing you their eyes look like they have stripes.

My children are in love with them all…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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