21st July 2019: The week is starting badly as I have a bad cold/cough and a broken tooth, hope next weekend will be an improvement. One of our shepherd's hut guests got excited at seeing a green woodpecker and we don't see them as often as the lesser spotted (red tummy) ones. The rabbits are having a lean time because we haven't really had enough rain. John blew up the engine on one of his tractors last week and our tractors are ancient (like me) so it was not easy to find another one.
7th July 2019: Frankie the squirrel is fine and visits me every few days and the housemartins have mostly gone though they do pop back every now and then. We must be doing something right because one adorable lady camper insisted on giving us extra money because she had had such a good time here. The weather is perfect here in our orchard so if anyone wants to come and join us - tel: 01823 490686. The sheep shearing is finished and so they are all happy now with their hot woolly coats gone.
30th June 2019: Life has become very busy, John and Luke are sheep shearing at all hours and the hot weather brought a lot of weekend campsite bookings. The housemartins have hatched - 3 big babies and 1 little one - and they daily take their flying lessons in and out of our kitchen. They are unbelievably noisy, wanting to be fed all the time, but we have become used to this annual event. My little squirrel friend hasn't visited for a few days, so hope he is OK.
22nd June 2019: John was viciously attacked by a baby wren this week. We are quite used to baby housemartins flying around our kitchen when they take their first flying lessons, but this little bird fought back. My brave husband managed to finally overcome his adversary and get it safely outside and he has the scars to prove the fight. He is mortified because he said the baby bird was so tiny. Our neighbour Anne said she had a very small woodpecker on her bird table, then it was joined by it's much bigger mum. We are overrun with rabbits and squirrels too.
12th June 2019: Sadly we have had mostly tents this week and the heavy rain was very unwelcome. I have just started to do my books to complete my annual self-assessment form and I am fed up with it already. Serves me right for just shoving everything financial in a box and only looking at it once a year! We are currently over-run with squirrels and I even have one that comes to see me every day, I call him Frankie but he has put on so much weight I am wondering if "he" is going to have babies! Our guests favourite is the woodpecker though.
4th June 2019: We survived the inspection and the inspector was very nice to me, or perhaps he was scared of me, it was difficult to tell. Either way he liked out site.
30th May 2019: CAMPSITE INSPECTION TOMORROW. I have been told off by John as when the inspector said he had called on us a couple of years ago and I asked him if he was "the one I had complained about". The man was quite nice about it (when he had got his breath back) and assured me that he was sure it wouldn't have been him! Watch this space - I have crossed swords with them before.
26th May 2019: We have bought a mobility car at long last. I am still a bit nervous of getting in and out of it but we will see. I am also worried that Liz has designs on wheeling her boxes in for her craft stalls and John thinks that getting a sheep in would be much easier as it has a ramp. Our son David told me that once dad has put a few bales of hay in the back it would feel more normal for me! Sadly he is probably right.
12th May 2019: It was our annual May Fair on Saturday and it was amazing. The sun shone, it was wonderfully organized and at 4.30pm when it should have ended, no-one wanted to go home. Liz and her friend Ann had their usual craft stall and like all the others did very well. It was also nice to catch up with old friends.
John did his usual party-piece and put his mobile phone through not only the washing machine again but the tumble drier as well. The phone didn't survive on this occasion but Liz put the sim card in a new phone (I bulk buy phones as John does this so often) and it is fine, but John was tickled pink when the following day Vodafone sent him a message thanking him for putting his sim card in a new phone - we are obviously under surveillance.
14th April 2019:
John is threatening to do some gardening on the campsite but I am a bit worried as he doesn't really know the difference between a flower and a weed! We did plant another magnolia tree last weekend which when it gets established with the flowering cherry trees will make for a beautiful campsite. We do try our best.
7th April 2019: We have had our first visitors of the 2019 season both on the campsite and in the shepherd's hut/camping pod which Liz has made really pretty with her usual flair.
22nd March 2019: Lambing has started and John says he is already 1/4 way through his flock. The only conversation in the house is about sheep now and I am resisting the urge to hit him.
12th November 2018: What a week, Liz had her christmas party for Dizzy Doolittles and thank you to all who joined us. A donation will be on it's way to Versus Arthritis shortly. We have been very busy and thought we would treat ourselves to a quiet week, but John decided to slip on the path and dive through the greenhouse at 8.30pm tonight. After an evening in A&E he has to go to Southmead Hospital in Bristol tomorrow morning for an operation on his hand. I would say it should slow him down, but I doubt that it will. The state of the greenhouse is currently unknown.
The clocks going back caused some laughter in this house, John's bedroom alarm clock is still going off at odd hours and the cooker clock is still on automatic. On Sunday John's head knew the clocks went back but his tum didn't as he and Chris came in at 12noon expecting lunch. It will probably take us the next 6 months to sort it out.
12th October: The Marauders Canoe Club are amazing, they put up their tents in a gale and still managed to go off daily with their canoes. John did point out to me that when it rains they have a lot more water but they got round the bonfire and carried on regardless. We will be closing at the end of the month except for units that have their own toilet facilities. The sheep were brought back this morning in the rain.
10th October: I was really disappointed that I couldn't do my stall at the monthly market in the village hall last Saturday because it was raining so hard. I only have my power wheelchair for transport and didn't fancy getting soaked. A very nice man was there looking for "the knitting lady" but he very kindly left some knitting pattern books with our daughter Liz. I only manage to get out for this one event so I was a pain in the neck to John all day and it wasn't his fault it rained. No-one is allowed to do the rain dance for the first Saturday in any month or I will sort them out - and John would probably leave home.
15th September 2018: Some friends got married today, they asked us for money for a wedding present but didn't want us at their wedding. It also happened to be our own 45th wedding anniversary and the wedding took place in the same church where we were married. I was absolutely broken hearted and our anniversary was filled with tears.
12th September: My knitting was slowing down the other day (even though my physio has told me that I mustn't stop). I sold lots of things at the recent local market stall, so now I am re-energized like the Duracell bunny.
2nd September: I was throwing some left over fruit veg into a saucepan with some vinegar and sugar to make chutney this morning when our Russian guest paid us a visit. His colleagues introduced him to Somerset Scrumpy on Friday night- he can stand up today (Sunday) and will hopefully be OK for work tomorrow!
23rd August: We have had a good sort out of vehicles, John's van finally made it through MOT, but Dave's Landrover is still trying. Our car went on it's final journey yesterday afternoon after our friend Greasy took all the parts he wanted, then it went to the scrapyard. We will have to pinch Liz's car if we need one now - love you lots Liz. Sadly I think the next vehicle might need to be a mobility one.
17th August: Our collie Josie has been promoted to Campsite Hospitality Manager and greets each guest in turn (she secretly hopes they have little dogs for her to play with or sausages) and always meets Andy and Anne on their return home from work. She is so gentle and sweet and I feel sorry for her sometimes when she makes a really good friend and bounces out to see them (to play or share breakfast) only to find they have gone home, I always know when it happens as she returns to the kitchen quite dejected.
As many of you know I have a very old fashioned telephone - the one with a curly wire connecting the phone to the handset. It does get twisted up and when I answered the phone this morning I got in real pickle and was still laughing at myself when I managed to speak. The foreign caller was not amused, she said "How dare you laugh at me, you ........" and slammed the phone down.
2nd August 2018: What a morning I have had. Collie Josie got tangled up in my wheelchair (at the back of course where I couldn't reach her) and she was squealing and struggling hard which scared me to death. I managed to grab a kitchen chair and slide down onto it, then I was able to free Josie but I couldn't get back up onto the wheelchair and had to wait for John to rescue me. I was shaking and decided a fruit lunch would be all that I wanted to eat and then I dropped a punnet of blueberries on the floor. It isn't a good idea to go wheeling around a floor full of blueberries so I am sitting waiting for John again! I should have stayed in bed.
24th July 2018: John & I were watching a vehicle restoration programme at lunchtime (marginally preferable to boxing or fishing) and John was getting quite excited by a particular project because he said there were only 8 of them in the whole world. I pointed out to him that there was only 1 of me, I am unique, and he got me for the price of a wedding licence so I was a real bargain. He didn't seem overly impressed. Men are so strange.
20th July 2018: Our guests (Gill, Rosemary & Judy) have loved seeing the baby owls lined up on the top of the fence when it is dumpsy dark and yesterday the baby woodpeckers were in the orchard too. Gill says we have the fattest rabbits she has ever seen. I am doing a daily battle with my baby squirrels who are determined to keep digging about in my flower pots but fortunately our housemartins only had one small brood this year so we didn't need to wear our shower hats in the laundry. The unexpected late lamb is still doing well and is at our son's home being taken care of, her mum still doesn't have enough milk so lambkins will have to continue with supplementary bottles for another few weeks but John doesn't mind.
My guilty secret is out. Whenever I wanted to have an egg sandwich or make a cake, it was a lottery as to whether I could persuade John to give me some of his free range eggs - he often said he needed them for his regular customers. One of our customers urgently needed a couple of eggs for something she was making but there were none available, so I let her have a couple of mine (bought from Tesco and hidden in the cupboard - much more reliable source).
2nd July 2018: John finished sheep shearing on Saturday and was stunned when his oldest ewe produced a lamb on Sunday. He doesn't know how it happened - you would think he would know about "the birds and bees" by now. Sadly the ewe is ancient and there isn't much nutritional value in the dry grass so I think the lamb will have to be bottle fed but at least he won't need a heat lamp!
29th June 2018: John and Luke have started shearing, oh what joy! Temper tantrums (from the sheep as well) followed by beer on the lawn when all is forgiven and tales of sheep are all that is on offer.
14th June 2018: There are baby squirrels everywhere at the moment and while they are tearing around, the newest brood of housemartins are overhead doing their acrobatics as they do every year.
1st June 2018: We are very sad and tearful today as Wendy and her family have taken their caravan home for the final time as they have decided to sell it. I am sure they will be popping in occasionally but we will miss them so much. We have had so many happy years with them and their extended families and we are comforted by knowing that we will always be friends and keep in touch. Another ex-camper of ours volunteered to drive Wendy's caravan home for her and it is lovely for us to know that so many strong friendships have developed here over the years between our wonderful guests as well as with us.
Our annual campsite inspection is happening on 7th June and we are busy getting the campsite in pristine condition - well as good as it can be. I do cross swords with them from time to time, so he had better be nice!
30th March 2018: It is a little soggy here but some intrepid explorers/guests have joined us, sadly they didn't abide by the rules and bring some sunshine. However, I have decided that we will be having a long hot summer to make up for it. John is all drippy and miserable.
24th March 2018: It is official, our camping guests are the very very best. We opened today and owing to the weather we weren't able to switch on the water until the last minute, to his horror John then discovered broken pipes and panic set in. He went off in a bit of a tizz knowing that we had people coming and no water supply to the toilet or shower but when he came back our first guest Andy was coming out of the shower. Bless him, Andy had arrived, wanted a shower, discovered the water problems and being a metal fabricator, had just got on and fixed them. John had to come in and have a cuppa to get over the shock.
15th March 2018: Dave came down on Mothering Sunday with girl friend Roz and they chattered away about rugby injuries following Dave's ear incident on the field. They left because Roz had a match in the afternoon (ladies rugby is apparently always played on Sunday afternoons) and I learned the following day that she had dislocated and broken her ankle in the match. So rugby attacked them both last weekend - I am trying (unsuccessfully) to persuade them that making jigsaws is a much healthier way of keeping fit.
11th March 2018: Dave phoned yesterday to ask his dad to lock up his chickens as he was on his way to A&E to have stitches in his ear following a rugby accident. Apparently a "ruck" collapsed, yes well, some might know what this means (I don't). We asked him to ring us when he was back at home but by midnight we hadn't heard anything so we rang him. He was on his way home but had been held up because a specialist consultant had to be removed from his bed to come and do the delicate work. Our NHS is brilliant. Dave had to have 10 stitches on the cartiledge inside of his ear. I inspected the needlework this morning and it was excellent.
3rd March 2018: What a week that was. We had enough snow to close the local schools and businesses and only emergency or 4x4 vehicles used the roads. After it had taken John 20 minutes to get from the back door to the chicken run, he called for help from our son Dave and friend Ashley and asked them to bring spades and shovels. Ash stayed here and made sure the steps and gates all opened and Dave went on the livestock run to help John with the necessary extra feeding and watering of the livestock. Chris helped us today but we are now thawing slowly and we hope that by tomorrow things will be manageable again and we are just waiting to see if the moors flood!
As well as lots of offers of help from people who live near fields where some of our sheep currently are. one of our neighbours went down through Greenway checking on anyone who might need help and there were so many offers of help on Facebook from villagers, it made me very proud of North Curry and those who live here.
26th February 2018: John had to call the vet yesterday to rescue a ewe having lambing problems. He brought in a very poorly lamb and put her on the hearth awaiting the inevitable. At midnight last night the lamb decided he wanted to stay in this world and bleated at full volume FOR THE ENTIRE NIGHT. I woke John at 5am and told him I wanted a divorce - it was either the sheep or him that has to go. This morning I have decided that the divorce comes first - then I can sell all of the sheep. I have had no sleep since the night before last so nobody had better mess with me today and John must find a place to hide.
22nd February 2018: Have only just got around to updating my blog, sorry guys but making jigsaws is very time consuming! We have just had our amazing Cornish friend Richard and his son's dog Harley (Josie's brother) stayed with us for 3 days. Harley is just like his mum, soft and soppy and after his initial scenting all around our kitchen (and a dump on the floor) we enjoyed having him!
Richard grows daffodils and my kitchen dresser is now groaning with them and he also makes lobster pots which is his main reason for visiting. Somerset willows are the best or so my dad brought me up to believe.
6th February 2018: One of my dearest friends and ex-neighbour Mrs Jo Bimson died last Wednesday, she was nearly 103 years old and an amazing lady.
John must mean business because he has bought some new wellies and he complained that they cost him £15, but he has sold some sheep. Luke asked him if he needed help to take a few to the market but John said he didn't have the time (likely story) so Luke said he would buy some of them himself. I like Luke, but not so keen on sheep.
30th January 2018: The lambs keep coming and I keep nagging John to sell more sheep as he spends all his life rushing around looking after many more sheep than he should - nothing changes here. Liz is making plans to get our gift shop ready and I am quite proud of some of my newest knitted treasures - woodland animals with chocolate stuffing (honestly), lavender dolls, mittens with motifs of everything from flamingos to badgers and all in bright colours and made by my own fair hand (and at fantastic prices).
22nd January 2018: The campsite bookings diary (exercise book) is ruled up, my pencil is sharpened and I am ready. John is daily going around with a wheelbarrow collecting up the lambs - this is what happens when you put two rams in with the ewes at the same time - all the lambs come together! Josie continues in her genetic make-up and yesterday was chased and cornered by a sheep and had to be rescued by John. He really should give her "the talk" about how sheepdogs are supposed to behave.
1st January 2018: Our bad luck has continued and we had a rather miserable christmas. Last night we were all tucked up in bed by 11pm, so the new year entered unannounced and uncelebrated. Nevertheless a new year has started and we wish you all a very happy, healthy and peaceful 2018 and hopefully you will be able to spend some of it with us at Doolittle's where we hope our luck will improve.
EDF (our electricity supplier) wished us a happy christmas by sending us notification that there was a £1260 debit on our campsite electric account with instructions on how to send them the money forthwith, so it is with very sincere apologies that we must put our pitch fees us to £15 per night (or £100 per week) for the 2018 season. Just to add to the financial misery the wetroom electric invoice arrived the next day but I am contemplating selling John and the sheep to help with that one!
24th October 2017: It is complete, I now have an en-suite that is suitable for my needs. At times I really did not think it would happen. All we have to do now is pay for it, oh dear.
18th October 2017: The campsite is quite busy for the time of the year. We will remain open until the frosts come (we have to drain the toilet) and thereafter those with their own toilet facilities will still be able to visit.
9th October 2017: Anne, the lovely lady who lives in our mobile home, has offered to look after "Alan's garden" and we have gratefully accepted.
3rd October 2017: John, Liz and Dave have gone to Wales for the day to attend Alan's (my brother-in-law) funeral in Cwmbran. Many of you knew Alan as being the man responsible for the lovely garden that he planted and maintained on the campsite. My friend Bridget is coming to keep me and the 6 dogs company.
21st September 2017: I think I disgraced myself this afternoon. 2 very nice young men were putting the floor down at the end of my bedroom. I had aplogised but told them to carry on but I had to lie down for an hour to change position. They were making a noise but when I got up at 3pm, Scott said that I had been very quiet watching the TV, but since I had no idea what was on I must have been sound asleep for the whole time as I am sure he knew!
19th September 2017: The bad luck seems to continue as our son came downstairs to find burglars. He was angry because he didn't catch one of them, although for their sakes it was probably a good job. David has a green belt in sumo wrestling (is one of the top 10 in the country) as well being one of the team captains of a local rugby club so I think the burglars had a lucky escape.
At long last, the wetroom floor is going down on Friday and it is being tiled next Tuesday. Our wonderful plumber is taking over the completion of the job.
10th September 2017: It has been such a sad day for us today. This morning John's sister Meg phoned to say that her husband had been rushed to hospital but he died this afternoon. It was sudden and unexpected and Alan was responsible for the lovely gardens here at the campsite which he has worked tirelessly on during this season.
6th September 2017: Oh well the happy balloon has burst. Had a quote from the plumber to finish the job and I think he is a little out of our price range. Our son has promised to help out where he can and I will negotiate with the plumber when he returns for a discount for an elderly disabled lady! The wetroom will be finished by christmas, it is just a question of which year. It's been 18 months already into a job which should have taken about 10 weeks! The saga continues,
13th August 2017: My black eye is now more of a purple/yellow colour, I can open the eye properly and it doesn't hurt anymore. My lovely brother-in-law Alan has put a plank of wood across the entrance to the wetroom so that I cannot do it again. John collected his new van during the week and is very pleased with it so far. Liz's little Westie Pearl had an operation to remove a lump on her neck yesterday, she is a bit unsettled but otherwise OK. We knew she had the lump there but she had scratched it, so when John took our little Ruby for a routine visit yesterday Liz asked him to take Pearl as well. Our lovely vet Ben decided to keep her and remove the lump and by lunchtime he was ringing Liz up to collect her. Pet insurance is a wonderful thing! It gave Liz a shock though when John didn't bring her home.
4th August 2017: I knew my wetroom would be the death of me and it nearly was. John and I were discussing where to put the towel rail and the wheel of my wheelchair went over the edge and down I went onto the concrete. I am now sporting a spectacular black eye but the paramedic who came to our aid was very handsome and took a lot of the stress away! My blood really is embedded in the wetroom now.
The shepherd's hut is getting very popular and every occupant so far has rebooked. Our most recent guest was enthralled to see a baby owl perch on a nearby post and on hearing a noise late in the evening saw a badger walking around the back of the hut (John and I aren't the only wildlife here).
24th July 2017: Campers rang us early yesterday morning to say our sheep were out but they had put them back with the others - the sheep were actually pedigree angora goats and not ours but we appreciated the gesture though sadly their owners wanted them back!
11th July 2017: John is happy, it is raining for the first time in a month. Now the grass will grow and he won't keep having to move sheep around at high speed finding grass. My concrete patio was laid by my wonderful son and friend Matt on Saturday morning, baby steps. A housemartin shared our kitchen for morning coffee, he obviously hadn't quite the hang of "leaving the nest" yet.
2nd July 2017: I am getting used to the curtain covering the hole in my bedroom wall. The housemartins have left the nest, but they are not very good on directions yet as they flew out of the laundry and straight through the kitchen into my bedroom. Ruby was trying to catch them while I was peeping out from under the bedcover trying to avoid fall-out, though my room is such a mess at the moment that it doesn't much matter.
22nd May 2017: The bank holiday was very quiet, good job the inspectors were here and are leaving tomorrow. We had our inspection this afternoon and all good. They were such an improvement on last year's inspector who I now understand is working on a big club site. 24th April 2017:
John is 72 today but he has spent the weekend carrying blocks up a ladder helping our son with his building extension. I must be looking after him well. Not only are the housemartins back but we now have a baby squirrel to likes to come and ring the bell at the top of the back steps, he doesn't run away but stays to laugh at us for opening the door. 20th April 2017:
I am not sure whether to be worried or not, the Camping & Caravanning Club inspectors are basing themselves on our site for two weeks while they check out all the other sites in the area. I am trying to get John to behave for 2 weeks but it is an uphill struggle!20th March 2017:
What a week we have just had, first Golly Goat was very poorly and the vet didn't really know what was wrong. We put him in a cage in the living room and his bleats kept me awake for 3 nights in a row, by 3am on Sunday morning I wanted him to lose his voice and by 5am all I could think of was "goat stew". The family took pity on me and put him in the shed with our lamb and he is OK now.
John didn't know how the puppies happened (a likely story) but he put the billy goat in with Toffee and Fudge so he can't use that excuse again. I've had the dogs "done" and if he brings home another billy, it will have to sleep on his bed, it's not going near the nanny goats!!NEW EMAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org
- very sorry but the old ".net" is being discontinued on 31st May but I will continue to use both until that date.
5th February 2017:
Liz has persuaded her dad to let her keep little Cocoa and this morning we have a local garden nursery who is going to give Cola a home. So we only have Goliath (who actually hasn't turned out the biggest) to place and he has by far the prettiest markings of them all. 20th February 2017:
While we all watched "Call the Midwife" on TV last night Fudge gave birth to 3 enormous baby boys that Liz has called Cola, Cocoa and Goliath (guess who was biggest). All is well and they are cute but if any of you tell Liz or John I said so I will deny all knowledge!19th February 2017:
Despite our patience Fudge is as big as a house and is showing more signs of exploding than giving birth but something must happen soon. John and Chris have spent the morning putting bird netting over our chicken runs so we can promise that our eggs are still free range. Liz is busy getting the reception/craft shop ready and we can't wait to meet up with everyone again. John is drowning in lambs, nearly all twins and triplets but we just need goat kids.
9th January 2017: Liz's craft shop will look pretty as usual. The mobile home is now permanently occupied by our lovely new tenant Anne but we still have the shepherd's hut for all those would-be shepherds out there (we can even supply a few lambs) for weekends or holidays.
I did try to sell John on Facebook once but only got rude offers from his friends - they offered to pay me to keep him.