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Gearing up for Summer

I've been so so lazy over winter with lots of longer term holiday rentals and not so many cookery courses - I don't feel guilty!!! Well I do a little. But now its starting to feel a lot like Spring with enquiries coming in daily and cookery courses being booked. I've already taught Japaneese, Fish and Thai in the last two weeks -

While I've not been so busy I've been doing my home work - BREAD - experimenting with sour dough starters, theres a three week old one in my fridge now being fed every few days, maybe it will eventully be passed on to my grandchildren or maybe not - it's not quite perfect yet!

I've also added a few more courses to the site - Afternoon Tea in the Victoria Dining Room - look forward to people booking on to that plus Inclusion classess. I've got some childrens birthday partys coming up - they are always good fun especially the smell test!

Norwich has now got a tramploine park and due to be opening another one this summer - boing!
I've now joined the UEA sportspark - its only 5 mins up the road and great for everybody who fancies a bit of something or other, guests of the holiday barns can enjoy the drop in classess, they do an over 50's club with aqua aerobics, netball, yoga and zumba to mention a few. There are tons of drop in toddler sessions, a climbing wall and gymnastics sessions for teens and inclusion clubs. It's a massive place with a full sized olympic pool and athletics track - plus its got a great cafe where you can watch the climbers on the wall in front of you.

Drey Yard is my favourite family mid week lunch time restaurant, they do a great lunch time special - perfect smoked meats and juicy burgers - love it and at night time you can get smoked brisket and colard greens - phooor.

Harrietts has been opend a year or so now - its East Anglians answer to Bettys - a quaint tea rooms with Victorian styles waitresses and a pianist where you can enjoy Welsh Rarebit, afternoon tea, fancy cakes and the like.

We went to the Bawburgh History group last night and found out that Herroin could be bought from Chemists in Victorian days for the benifit of healthier skin, Bawburgh used to have 2 butchers, 2 black smiths and a post office - all saddly gone now but at least we've still got the pub.

This years the anniversary of St Walston - we have St Walstons well behind the church and they'll be a big celebration in May with a pilgrimage and flower festival - apartently in the day St Walstons was as big as any other - 5 priests were brought in to deal with the crouds - well at least they had somewhere to buy some sausages and somewhere to post a parcel. Apparently the water from the well was sold on Norwich Market - -

We've got a well and the waters FREE from the taps in any of the holiday barns -
go on - give us a visit.

100 Trees, 1000,00000 Leaves, 1 leaf blower

It's a beauty spot they say, surrounded on three sides by Lodge Lake, fields in the distnace, the nay of horses in the field beyond and 100 massive trees along with 50 medium ones and another 100 self set shoots - - beautiful it is.

- - well that is until Norfolk has a hurrican followed by the Range helicopter, followed by an avolanch of rain just after the leaves turned brown, yellow and orange - beautiful they were!!! How the hell did God make the earth in 7 days when ot takes me 7 days to blow, rake up and gather 100 ton bags of the buggers!

It's gone a little quiet now with one barn empty, we had the usual cascade of lovely holiday makers over summer and then the work and house movers for a few months - but now thinking about the Christmas and New Year week. I've got my big box of Cheesy glittery decorations in the attic all ready with the three Christmas trees - every year I add a few more pieces to the collection - I've got the Christmas puddings ready all infused with Cognac and Guiness - packed full of fruit, even the pudding haters have been converted with my scrumptious beast. One for each barn ready to go - along with a few other goodies so my guests can enjoy their stay. Christmas is fully booked and New Year is nearly, just got The Dairy available for the week on special - if your reading this and fancy a relaxing New Year break in a one bed (room for a little one) call me and I'll knock a tad more of for you - quote the BLOG.

Not happy with my chickens they have been of lay forever, I've got a feeling one day I'll find 100 eggs somewhere around the farm - I can't wait to see a fresh egg in the box - if they don't lay in spring they'll be chicken pie!!! (not really - probably make a Korma!) The 4 Geese are going further a field (litrally) for fresh grass and greens - I only see them in the mornings and later at night. Got Mohamed & ali the Egyptian Geese back again, I wonder how the 3 family of Canadian Geese are doing in migration somewhere. Which remind me - just up the road is a goose farm, tons of white geese to bee seen from the village and they all dispear a few weeks before Christmas - strange that! Which also reminds me to go and put the chcken in the ovenfor dinner, not one of ours of course.

Talking of food - I've added a few more courses to my list - Afternoon Tea, can't wait to do that one - plus I'v got our family Victorian Dining room on offer as an alternative eating venue, you can go modern and eat in the kitchen, American and eat in the Diner or go all old fashioned and eat in the dining room - - unless its summer of course and then you can go eat by the lake.

Plus Mr Roux has inspired me to work with special needs adults so I've offered some discounted courses to teach independance cookery. Hope I get some takers.
Plus I've sold my first Christmas cookery voucher - November 16th - its usualy a mad rush 2 weeks before Christmas - but I'm sure I'll get plentyof that too.

Over and Out - - don't hesitate to contact me to book, info on my cookery classes or the holiday barns - - Zena

Forgotten Bloggy Blog Blog

It's been a while - - what a busy summer, not quite as busy as last year I had to work hard on advertising - But lots of last minute breaks and business bookings.

Had some really interesting guests this year a few authors, actors, writers, children of all ages, people from every corner of the globe well as far as Canada and China in the other direction - fishermen, Doctors from the NHS, Tutors fro the UEA, young and ancient!!! its been a good summer. apart from when I ran one the chickens over on the driveway - but that's another story!!!

Steve's joined our work force - well me - our Man on Friday, Lodge Farms handy Andy. So the grounds are looking fabulous and the barns are well maintained.

We've bought new comfy fabric sofas for all the barns, new sprung memory foam topped matresses for all the double beds and the odd new replacement white good - plus The Courtyrd's now got solid oak dining table and coffee table to replace the old lamnate ones!!! No Veneers in er!!! (know what I mean) Plus The Dairy's now got a new solid pine king bed and matching solid wardrobe and bed side cabinets - - Looking good.

Doris, Charlie Junior, Boo and Splodge the geese are still wandering around amusing all the guests with their apple antics (ask about apple football). Elvis and Pricilla the swans were very sucsesful this year with their cygnets all 7 are now big and ugly grey. That might have something to do with the fisheires having a cull on the Mink - -

so - now I'm thinking about advertising Christmas and New year - it falls on a Friday so doing a Wednesday to Wednesday week or a 3 night short break - - - got avaialbility in all barns as I speak but going to advertise all over this week so hopefully it will be booked soon - - - why wouldn't you want to come here for Christmas, all glitzed up with the twinklies, treats and more and a great view - plenty of long walks and places to sit and enjoy the view. Warm underfloor heating and tons of restaurants and shops to enjoy in Norwich, Norfolk and Suffolk. Plus of course the real, very real father christmas always chooses Jarrolds - so go and see him, pull his beard its real! If you're really lucky you'll get tickets for the Thursford Collection or Winter wonderland - - - infamous stuff. Plus if you fancy a swim on Boxing Day or New Years day I'll recommened where to go and you won't be alone.

Empty, Fiesta Feast and chicks Everywhere

It was lovely to see Elvis and Pricilla at the weekend with their new 9 cygnets - all looking yummy. There is still 9 this morning, every year they dwindle with the foxes, mink, weasels and pike but hopefully since the fisheries have curbed the mink problem we'll start to see an increase in survival rates! We have 2 sets of Canadean Geese with 8 left, looking rather large now - we did have one in the house for a night with a broken leg, abandoned one evening becasue it couldnt keep up - but she gave up. Wild things should maybe remain wild.The Grey Lag Geese pop up on to the lawn every now and then with a few chicks - they all look a like so its hard to know if there different ones or the same!!!
But I love seeing all thewildlife with thei young - - - don't like the poo though!!!

We are getting redy for this years pop up restaurnat - this year its Mexican themed, the DJ is booked - no rave music just some Mariachi in the back ground and some nice flashing lights as the sun sets over the lakes. I've been practising my mole (the edible sauce not the mound maker) my pico de galo, my picadillo and churros!! - oh la la - what a feast. Of course its hard to cook for a crown, but with plenty of different dishes and making sure they keep on the mild side, hopefuly everyone will be happy - plus they'll be plenty of chilli sauces inc tamatillo salsa, fresh jalapenos, pickled and more on the toppings table. Me and Nick have been working on a Bar as this year we are licenced, I did the tiling at the weekend and its all looking pritty cool. Got some gold and silver tequilla in - for the shots and the cocktails, need to choose some wine and then stock up on sol and tequilla beer! along with some sanpelagrino and the usual fizzy stuff!.

I love any excuse to buy catering equipment and had the perfect one -  so bought some chaffing dishes, more plates, off course even more knives just becasue they were on offer and a temprature probe - dont want to give any one food poisoning - - off course I wouldnt, you can trust me to cook fresh and clean!

This week is very eery, no booking mid week in any of the barns - - its the first time we have been by our selves here - EVER! The fist day we moved in to the cravan in Lodge Farm to start our new life of renovation - the scaffolders turned up, then the roofers - for the next few years there was always someone or other here. Then the barns opened and the workmen were replaced by paying customers - - - that was a good feeling. Now 5 years later no ones here!!! don't like it, looking forward to my arrivals on Friday and a busy summer.

I need to do a Blog!!!

I was organizing emptying out the sewage treatment plant when it made me think about doing a blog!!! its been a long time. Keeping it regular is the key.

Lots of news here at Lodge Farm Holiday Barns - we have been extending the lakeside path so you can walk all around the edges of the lake, we even added another decking area. I bought an outside bed of e bay at the end of last summer got it cheaper than sweet potatoes - so cant wait to make it up and put it on the new decking - it will be heaven for me and my guests, if they can get me off, which won't be hard because the ironing is pilling up again.

We also purchased a witches web or spiders web, one of those round swing you can lay on on just hangs from a tree, so you can spin it - thought it would be fun for our summer visitors. We are also planning to make good of some timbers that came out of the house - would like to build some assault cause beams.

Moles - we have a million, I got a lady mole catcher to come round and give us a price - she took one look at the job and refused!!! charming. So I bought a dozen traps and have already caught 5. The mole hills are slowly subsiding and hopefully we can get the grassed areas to look more like lawns and not world war 1 battlefields. what will the chickens and the geese sucking the living daylights out of it.

But just as we have the moles under control we see a WEASEL weaseling towards the chicken coop, the little buggers been steeling the eggs. So now the chickens are locked and the eggs are under surveillance - Whats to do!!! It's a wild world out here. But I did see the first goslings a pair of Canadian Geese brought their 3 new chicks on to the garden today, as lovely as they are and as much as my heart melts seeing them I know their chances of survival are low around here, especially with another prowler on the prowl!

Mexican Hats and Mustaches - I've put the tickets on general release. They haven't gone quite like the BBC's big weekend but they are going. This year its a Feast Full of Mexican Fiesta - PoPPing uP in the garden on Saturday 18th July. I've already been trying some chilli sauces, Tomatilo Verde and Abode - oh, HOT. Of course when your cooking for a big party like that you have to tone down the heat, so my Turkey Mole will be a medium and my slow cooked beef picadillo will be mild - but you can splash on the topping to spice it up. We are encouraging guests to grow a mustache (only the men!!!), I'll be planing a treasure hunt and at some point we'll be making a pinyata one big enough for a party of 60 to whack!!!!

Plus this year I'm doing a Burger Day in the Milk Bar, Lodge Farms American Diner on Saturday 20th June - I can't wait, I'm taking bookings now, book a table and pay on the day. Brioche buns from Pye bakers, home made patties - hand pressed, cooked with an ice-cube!!! (to find out why, you'd have to come on one of my cookery courses!!!) served with a choice of 2 sides - - hand cut french fries, BBQ beans, stuffed jackets, potato salad, chilli slaw, crispy onion rings, blue cheese, melted cheese and bacon - - i know what your thinking - how can i pick just 2 sides - - We'll that's why you can pay an extra £1 per additional side, cheaper than spuds! So burger meal with 2 sides only £6.50 with a drink. And if you can't make that come to our Sunday Sundae day in August - using fresh and local renaldos ice-cream with home bakes, sauces and fresher than fresh topping for only £6 per person - - the more people the bigger the Sundae gets! Like the one with freshly cooked mini do-nuts - OHHHHHHH

Anyway - - - go to events for more information, go for it and book your self on or in, why wouldn't you - fabulous food, great surroundings and all cooked with love and passion at cheap cheap prices!

Better get back to booking the sewage man in - - I wonder if he does a blog!

It’s been a long time

My monthly blogs have turned in to when I can be bothered - I never thought running the holiday barns would take up so much time and the cookery school has taken of like my geese do when I take out scraps!
We did really well last year, our first full year - never done so much ironing.

I probably shouldn't admit this but I have a score system for how guests leave the barns - we got 2 x 1's and a few high 9's. 1s horrendous, 10 is perfect.

I didn't want to bring this up, after all guests are on holiday and have more than the right to a good relax and take it easy for a while. But there is a difference from a hotel and a holiday home, a holiday home is a home away from home, supplied with a brush and a dishwasher along with the odd cloth. It's just that very small percentage of guests who leave it in a 1-3 = basically a bomb site!!! and after taking sometimes up to 3 hours bringing it back to a 100% 5* Gold Visit England standard - I wonder if I should leave more notes, just the odd hint like when you spill tomato sauce on the floor please wipe it up as it stains!!!
But then I decide not to - no one wants demands and rules - they want a lovely holiday and I want to give them a lovely holiday. Anyway 95% of people are great at leaving it in a good state, its just that odd one or two in the year.

I tried to find some info on line about whats expected and there are no rules - I found one article that said when shes away she likes to do nothing and would prefer to pay extra not to clean up afterwards, she hated holiday homes that planted demands, rules and comments all over the place.
I agree - but if she knew that a small percentage of people pinched the odd thing, damaged the odd thing and tried to hide it and that odd person left a skid mark longer than a run way - they'd understand why the odd hint would make the difference.

For instance I could make a cheesecake base with the crumbs I find in the cracks of the sofa.
One legged people could be supplied with socks for a year with the ones I find under the bed and One very naughty person spilled a glass of red wine on the rug, cleaned the rug but didn't thing the rug would stain the floor under neither - I guess that rug will have to stay there now.

What do you think? Let me know.

Walking is for anyone, Bikings for Cyclists and Jogging for extreamly tall thin people on steroids!

With two teenager-ish children (well they might as well be) its hard to get them off the sofa playing with some gadget or other and get them in to the Victorian clean fresh air with us Medieval parents to do obscene, abnormal, possibly offensive things like walking. But when we do manage to trick them in to coming for a walk with us its good-ish. This week we parked in front of that lovely church opposite the UEA fields and river - the walk takes you beside the river and the university student flats, through horse fields and over wooden walk ways all the way to the Three Score bridge - that's as far as we got, we'd already had one tantrum, several whinges and an ultimatum - but if we had of been FREE like the wind we would of gone on under the bridge and along past the Wear, the river and round the back of Chapel break all the way to the other car park not 5 mins from Lodge Farm.

A few months back we discovered another riverside walk, parking opposite Waitrose in Cringlford - in-fact that walk joins on to the walk above - you can actually walk from the fisheries next to us if opened to the public all the way to Yarmouth. Although I found walking all the way to Norwich city center quite challenging for me a few months ago with a dodgy hip!!! it takes just over an hour from Lodge Farm to Chapel-gardens.

So - - - it made us want to do more with or with out the children who seem to have an aversion for fresh air and walking - but make some useful walking maps for Lodge Farm Holiday Barns.
That's our New Year resolution - more walking (I wonder what the children's New Year resolution would be?)

Vital Statistics

I was casually watching TV last week when an item announced there were 200,000 births in England per year. that got me thinking, if there are 200,000 births and the average family is 1.7 - 2.4 surly there should be a similar amount of deaths. Do you know there are 550,000 deaths a year in Brighty - - that's a short fall of 350,000. so I worked out on the back of a fag packet, (I don't smoke but it sounds good - well it used to in the 70's) that if we loose that many people per year in around 200 years they'll be hardly anyone left. But then i researched immigration and found out Government proposals - or promises as they are called, says that they want to keep emigration down to 100,000 per year but in fact the net migration is 250,000 that's an amazing 550,000 people in and 200,000 people who escape to pastures greener (Spain!!!!)
So we can all relax after all that's only a short fall of 100.000 people a year - meaning we will survive for 450 years or maybe more!!!

What's this got to do with Holiday Homes - Well a few moments ago I read that around 10m Brits and nearly a million foreign visitors enjoy self-catering holidays in this country each year.
With only 60m Brits that's quite a lot - that's 10 x the birth rate or double all the foreign non-visitors going on a short break to Bournemouth, St Ives or Norfolk. But of course if this statistic rises they'll be more people on holiday than alive!!!

Then I thought what about Japan (its obvious my busy time has ended and I haven't got so much to do, like clean one of the holiday barns or prune my daffodil's) - I thought Japans a small island too - their population must be around the same as ours - No it is over double 130,000.00, in fact with their low birth rate they are due to die off before us because from 2010 the populations sneaking down. If those Japanese men don't put down their Amami computer lover and grab a wife then sushi conveyor belts could be lost forever.

I was talking to some old fellor at the post office and he un-politically and racially said - The Muslims are taking over, NO in fact their population is stabilizing like ours with young Muslims opting for only 1.7 children each couple.

Then I thought how many people are gay in Briton - 1/6th = 3.6 million or 1 in 10, so how many gay couples have children well that's decreased from its peak at 19% down to 16% and falling. This is not good enough - - - because the gay population is increasing and less couples are choosing to raise a family -  yet we need more children, I'm panicking now!

All but Fascinating - - So my conclusion, the worlds population is due to go down, the self catering  holiday trade is due to go up - my suggestion or the perfect solution is to come to Lodge Farm Holiday Barns and make a baby because that's the only way we can whip those statistics in to shape and save the world.

Strange Goings On

I keep seeing some funny looking birds down by the lake, really dark black plumage with some white streaks about the wings - they look like small herons. I think its a pair with possibly its young one. Beaks like divers and elegant like flamingos with vulture like wings - sometimes if I get too close to the window they raise up and fan out their wings. - UPDATE - they are Double Crested Cormorants (not a black heron or even a red one!)

This morning I saw an otter - just worked out what it was when it turned sideways and dived under the water never to be seen again for a year or so.

Some one came a visiting last week and we got to talking about ghosts - she was scared the house might be haunted but I assured her they don't exist. After all why are ghosts mainly Victorian residing in only old houses. If I had been a ghost for over 100 years I would want to do better things than turning lights on and off & moving furniture around - If a ghost cant open a door but instead going through the door how can they physically move stuff. Why do you never see ghosts in Salisbury's or B&Q, why when so many people die in Hospitals do you never see them wandering in and out of A& E, yet in an old spooky looking Victorian hospital its full of old ghost nurses and old ghost solders moving furniture around and turning lights on and off. I mean what do they do for the rest of the time these ghosts - I know they are busy at night because they like to hang around bedrooms and watch you sleep - bored of moving furniture they are and like vampires not liking the day light when visibility's better. Call me cynical but the mear idea of ghosts is ridiculous.

After all if Ghosts did exist they'd be all over Lodge Farm - being Victorian and all!!! Poor old Mary back in the 1700's got hanged for burning down a barn, the magistrate was the owner of this house, I recon it was an affair and that was her revenge - she'd want a bigger revenge for being hanged in Norwich castle. In more recent times some poor old feller shot his dog and then him self as he was heart broken at loosing his lover - now if I believed in ghosts I'd sometimes hear a gun shot BANG and the hairs at the back of my neck would stand up and I'd shudder - - BUT I don't because ghosts don't exist only people with vivid imaginations and the trick of the eye and a distorted noise in the night. Why do you never see ghost spiders and why are ghosts never friendly, why aren't there masses of videos on u tube of ghosts or picture gallery's full of images of them - - WHY because ghosts are - - - - oh, shit what was that . . . . . .

Summer Sundays are for Ice-Cream

Last weeks Sunday Sundae went lickingly - The Hot Fudge Brownie one went like hot cakes and the Hot cake sticky one went like cold cakes. The whipping cream siphon went goo goo, the hot chocolate froffer machine went no where and the freezer started to plummet with all the opening and shutting but at least that's OK now. Things come in 3's especially bad things when your busy. Anyway 29 lovely customers were served and got lots of great feed back and recommendations on facebook. When everyone had left the building we amp-ed up the jukebox, scooped out some vanilla and brownie and piled on the left overs - - ah, yum yum.
We are full up with 41 booked in to round two - just need to remember to put people off the hot chocolate, whip the cream by hand and open the freezer door like  Husein Bolt after a vindaloos from Magdalen Street (not mentioning any names - apart from that Bolt feller).

Not going to talk about Geese as we are getting around 25 - 35 Grey lag and Canadian on the lawn all day everyday, pooing everywhere and eating all the grass, I'm sick of poo busting!! My husband is seriously thinking of building a 50ft wired fence around the lake to keep them all out!!! It would look like Alcatraz. Alternatively they'll emigrate soon - just leaving Doris and her three boys which I am sure will wander of to pastures green with hot chicks, very soon. I didn't mention Geese!

Anyway if your thinking of getting away we have a generous amount of availability in The Dairy over August - sleeps up to 2 in a double room with a sofa bed for a little one if needed or we hire cots for free. See availability chart or / and specials. Its got a lovely patio area out back over looking the Lake. Plus we are only 10 minutes drive in to the city center so lots to do and see with the coast, broads and North Norfolk only a small drive away.