Friday, 29 July 2016

Gt Barford walk along the river

We had a lovely sunny Saturday afternoon recently so we decided to take a drive over to Gt Barford and take a walk along the river.  We searched around the internet and found a walk:

great barford walk

We parked in the road just by the church in New Road, you will immediately see Barford's fifteenth-century bridge is a popular mooring.  We walked back towards the Anchor Inn, Great Barford crossed the road and walked along the river.    It starts with a cut lawn I guess maintained by the beautiful house just above.  We then followed the river along for a while following the footpath until we reached a bridge.  We crossed the river on to an island and then cross another small bridge and pass a lock-keeper s cottage on the left. The overgrown cottage is really interesting. We were interested to see an old cottage, that looks as though it was recently abandoned, but couldn't find out much about it on the internet. Would love to hear a bit more about the history.

It was a lovely peaceful walk.  And we even saw a goose creche, never noticed this before 2 geese look after all of the little'uns whilst the rest go for a graze!

We turned around and waked back to where we parked and went on the other side of the river to see the lock and weir.  But you can continue and cross the lock and eventually arrive at Willington Lock and then on to the Danish Camp and Bedford or just turn back and return to Great Barford.  

So here are a few pictures of the walk and a bit about Gt Barford that I picked up from the internet:

Great Barford is a village in Bedfordshire,  a few miles north-east of Bedford. It lies on the north bank of the River Great Ouse. Great Barford was mentioned in the Domesday Book as an important site, probably as a means of crossing the river that skirts the village.   Although the area of the original ford was dug up in 1973, the bridge has existed since at least the 15th century. The village is nowadays by-passed by the busy A421 road on the way between Bedford and St Neots, the by-pass opened in 2006 and has improved the quality of village life with much less traffic. The village has two contrasting areas, the more sprawling less attractive newer part that is situated to the north of the more picturesque older and original village, which lies beside the River and has a large variety of buildings some dating to the 17th century.  The older part of the village is known for its All Saints Church, with a 15th-century tower, and its similarly ancient bridge. The surroundings and historic buildings make it a favoured destination for canoeing, angling and picnics.  There is also a popular scout camp by the river in the village near the church, which offers 1.25 acres of camping field together with a slipway and landing stage with access to the River Great Ouse.


The Anchor Inn is situated by the river Great Ouse at the picturesque village of Great Barford, with view of the river and the famous bridge with its 17 arches, first built in 1427.  The pub serves a selection of cask ales, lagers and beers and has a comprehensive wine list. It also has a restaurant that seats 40 guests and does bar meals.  The more informal dining area is in the main bar, that is very popular with a good choice of a snacks, main menu and daily specials boards. All food is prepared on the premises, from locally sourced produce with an aim to provide good, wholesome, traditional fare. There is another pub in the newer part of the village, the Golden Cross Pub & Chinese Restaurant is situated in the centre of the village at the cross roads of  High Street, Roxton Road, Bedford Road & Green End Road. it has an ample parking area, and is adjacent the main east-west X5 bus stop. Not just a Local Pub serving fine cask ales, lagers, wines and spirits, run by the owners in the same building is a first class Chinese Restaurant seating up to 60 people with a full menu take away service.  Moving north up the High street from the bridge, you pass many interesting buildings some of them listed, and will also find the village shop and post office.

Local Area

Starting from the bridge there is a public footpath which follows the banks of the river to Bedford. There are also other footpaths that pass through farmland and pastures to neighbouring villages.  Over the road from The Anchor is the village green, a beautiful spot to sit and watch the many boats that pass through Great Barford during the summer months.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Free from gluten

We have had a new baker join us just before Christmas that specialises in dietary requirements, and has a lovely range of products, savoury and sweet using gluten free flour, and other gluten free ingredients  Needing the special requirements herself is meticulous in choosing her ingredients.  

By ordering she can also offer lactose free products, but we have found that there is not enough demand to always supply them on the stall.  So contact us at the stall or by email, if you want something.

Here are some photos of some of the products that she has been baking and now has quite a following of customers:

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Re-use and re-purpose - Jeans

One of our producers is turning old jeans into bags, lots of different sizes and shapes.  

If the jeans have zipped pockets or other fasteners this will mean that they will have an extra pocket.  So maybe you have some jeans destined for the bin drop them off at the stall.  
If they are of no use they will be added to a charity bag, charity shop or the recycling.

Holes on the knees are perfectly usable.

Above are the latest acquisitions that are destined to be bags in the near future.

So the jeans are laundered and then stared at for a few days :) to try and decide how to make them into pretty bags!  The fabric to line and make the strap is chosen from a large stash of fabric that seems to be ever growing after a visit to the shops....and also a large drawer of haberdashery...oh dear :)

Once cut up into pieces they are accessorised with lace and other trimmings.  The linings are made from a pretty contrasting fabric and have a slip pocket added, and maybe a button pocket, really as the fancy strikes.  Normally a handmade fabric flower added using the same or contrasting fabric as the lining, big button and a strap made that loops around or buttons through and adds to the 'decoration'.  Button holes are great fun on the new machine.

The challenge is to get the right size bag, with enough pockets, It can often mean piecing together denim to make it wider, but it all adds to the charm.

You can be assured that any sales will mean that more fabric can be purchased.....fabric obsession confession

So as you can see they are all made with loving care, and take quite a while...

And here are a few that have been on the stall in recent months:

Saturday, 9 July 2016


How pretty do these little jewels look on a plate, add to super sweet meringues, some double cream and a dusting of icing sugar.  For extra sweetness, as the redcurrants are tart, you can add icing sugar to the cream, how about a a few drops of vanilla essence too.

I remember my grandmother having loads of these bushes and she used to spend ages taking all the currants from the stem by putting them through the fork tines to gently strip them off.  Having had a search around I find a handy video....not my grandmother!
remove currants

I posted a summer pudding recipe a while back that is always good to fall back on, super easy to make, just needs to be done in advance:
Summer Pudding

Also available are gooseberries and raspberries - for the next few weeks:

Not into puddings well how about red currant gin:
Red currant gin

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Coconut Ice

I searched around for a recipe for coconut ice and found this one.  

Seems as though there are 2 types one with condensed milk that is more like a 'Bounty'

Coconut Ice

The recipe said makes about 50

2 1/2 floz milk
2 1/2 floz water
1lb granulated sugar
4oz dessicated coconut
1/2oz butter
1/2 teasp vanilla essence
pink food colouring

Pour milk and water into a pan and bring to the boil
Add sugar and butter, heat slowly, stirring until sugar dissolves and butter melts
Bring to the boil. Cover pan and boil gently for 2 mins.
Uncover and continue to boil, stirring occasionally for 7-10 mins or until a little of the mixture, dropped into a cup of cold water forms a soft ball when rolled gently between thumb and finger. Temp on a sugar thermometer should read 116C or 240F
Remove from heat, add coconut and vanilla.
Beat briskly until mixture is thick and glossy.
Pour half into an 18cm (7inch) square tin lined with greaseproof paper.
Quickly colour the remainder pale pink and spread over white layer.
Leave to cool until firm and cut into squares

I have to say I only made 20 squares so not sure why that was - must have been super large.

You have to work quickly with it, and I tried cutting with a knife the first time.  second time I just broke into chunks for a more rustic look

Ampthill Festival 2016

Every year there is a Festival put on by a hard working committee in the town, it has grown into a 'pop' concert on Friday, proms on Saturday and a parade and gala on Sunday.  Along with an open gardens the week before and a literary festival the following week, quite a busy little town.

Over the years I have been when my son was little and when he was bigger I used help with the teas and makes some cakes for the cubs and scouts tent.  For the last few years I have been on holiday, but this year we were back on Sunday so popped over there.  Thought I would share some photos that my son's girlfriend took.

Dick & Dom on the stage

Friday, 1 July 2016

Woburn Safari Park

Woburn Safari Park along woth Woburn Abbey is the biggest 'tourist attraction' around here.  I have visited many occasions - I had a season ticket for a year, and have been at least once a year as my son was growing up, and even helped with the Alameda school trip a few years ago.

With the school trip we were treated to a guide on the coach too, so even better.  

I have not been for a few years, although I would say it is a place that you can enjoy whatever your age.

Over the years the place has changed and I thought I would share some pictures of a visit this year.

The lions have always featured in the Park for as long as I can remember - I went in the 70s and they were there then!

The monkeys have changed over the years, and these cheeky ones will soon climb on your car if you stop, best to keep moving slowly...

These little chaps are in an enclosure that have lots of trees and you enter and wander around with them up in the trees.

Feeding time with the wallabies, how cute are these with their little joeys in their pouch, you walk around their enclosure. 

The lemurs you visit on foot also, and so fascinating and comical

A recently added attraction - I remember seeing these giant tortoises on a trip to the Seychelles a few years ago, different climate...but still fascinating!

And of course meerkats - did we even know of their existence before the advert.

Tropical birds in a large conservatory, great on a chilly day!

There really is something for everyone, plenty of picnic areas, or food to buy there if you prefer.  Play areas for little ones, and areas for the slightly older children.  Go Ape is also in the grounds at an extra charge for the even bigger kids!  If the weather stays dry you really can spend an entire day there.  It can get a bit chilly up there, so take an extra layer just in case, you are always nearby your car once you have parked up.  You can go around the safari again, or even leave it until later if it is busy when you first arrive.

It is only a 15 minute drive from Ampthill, and even better to drive via Eversholt through the deerpark to see the Abbey.