As most of you are already aware, we here at Chilbolton Stores love a local food hero. We already stock many of your favourites from the farmers markets, meaning you can access local produce easily between market days: Greenfields pork and sausages, Lyburn cheese, River Test Smokery smoked fish, Taste cakes and marmalade and Lower Woodgate Farm eggs and meringues to mention just a few.
Now we would like to introduce you to Parsonage Farm beef and lamb!
Like us, Sarah and John are passionate about bringing you fantastic, quality products at a great price and a convenient venue. One customer recently remarked “it really is the same price as the supermarket, or less, and not their finest range either, the standard stuff”. So basically you are getting top of the range product for bottom of the range prices. How do we do this you say?
Well, we buy direct from the farm, they butcher their own products and deliver, so there are no middle men or distribution costs to pay. Add this to the fact that you only have to travel to the village shop to get it!
Quality, local, free-range produce, that is good value and convenient… where? Chilbolton Stores is where!
Whilst tramping round the common this evening with Blue, as the rain was thrashing down, the phrase “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes” came to mind. I turned up the collar on my re-waterpoofed jacket and Blue fluffed up his coat, trotting off ahead across the purleygig bridge, with his tail wafting, happily sniffing to see who’d been around.
There’s definitely been an autumnal feel to Chilbolton over the last week, with the leaves turning and the first frost. Unlike recent years, I don’t feel that we have been cheated out of summer, in fact today, I think, is the first really wet day we’ve had since July. I know I got very wet watching the dressage at the Olympics, where the forecast for light showers, was accurate…if you were in Dehli!! But since then its been pretty good, not too hot, not too cold, a traditional British summer.
Today though I could feel that winter wasn’t too far away and with the smell of wood smoke in my nostrils I stood and looked across the common. A scene I’ve seen every day, in all weather, for almost 6 years. Timeless, yet ever changing. The Egrets standing hunched at the river edge, some Gulls squabbling over some tit bit or fish and the cows standing eye-ing Blue and I suspiciously, with water gently dripping from their ears. They’re looking pretty good this year, with so much good grass to eat – I can see some lovely prime rib roasts and steaks to come…
It doesn’t matter what the weather is, as long as you’ve got the right clothes, its always good to be out. In fact on days like today, when no-one else is around, there’s nothing better than stomping round the common in my boots, a waterproof jacket with my hat pulled down low. Then when you get home and Jo says, I thought I’d make fish pie, a good bit of warming comfort food; it just doesn’t get any better.
Roll on winter, with your hard frosts, early morning mist, crunchy leaves and snow. I’ll counter that with warm jackets, gloves, scarves, log fires, hot chocolate and steaming plates of warming comfort food. I’m ready for you.
Sunday night normally sees Jo and I relaxing in front of the TV after our afternoon off, but last Sunday was slightly different… Tree Running at Night!
TreeRunners is the newest venture to arrive in Chilbolton and Wherwell and for those of you who have been to a Go Ape site and enjoyed leaping from tree to tree using a variety of wires, ropes and logs, you’ll know what a great day out this is.
TreeRunners have upped the excitement level and Ben, who was the inspiration behind TreeRunners should have known better when he asked Jo if she knew anyone who would volunteer to attempt the course at night!
Its very dark when you’re half way up a tree at night with TreeRunners
Well of course that was it and Sunday night saw Jo, David join fellow volunteers, or should that read nutters, at the White Lion. Kimberley, who many will know from the Priory where she is more used to riding than swinging through the trees, was a little surprised to find out that her quiet Sunday drink with friends was becoming a little more active… but she grabbed her trainers and off we went (she may forgive Emma given time and space 😉 ).
By now its dark and I’m talking seriously dark, so whilst Emma told us about the witches and various other forest dwellers, we arrived in the middle of Harewood Forest.
Trooping out of our cars we were all extremely confident or was it simply nervous bravado, Andy and Ben quickly set us up with harnesses and head torches. A quick instruction on the practice course, where Kimberley demonstrated her instructors methods. Left, no left hand, no that’s your right hand, the other left….! We were already to climb up onto the Green Course.
Fantastic, amazing, scream if you want to go faster cool – TreeRunning is awesome. Relatively simple hirewires (yes I said simple), turned into wobbling logs, a climbing wall (!!!!) and then the rope swing. Fun in the day, but an inspired leap into the unknown in the dark, before weaving in an out of hoops. You don’t realise how high you are, until you get to the next platform. Then you see a pin pick of light below and Ben yells ‘Wave to the camera…’.
Following Jo, as she climbs out into the darkeness, we end up at the Zip Line. All I can say is WOW(very loudly) as I streaked through the blackness. Then the landing area rapidly looms into the small pool of light from my head torch and you’ve arrived! The final landing stage is a leap of faith, as you clip onto the descender and jump into the dark…Some of us landing more gracefully than others, Ed ;-).
As we all gathered back at the lodge and enjoyed our well needed glass of wine, we were like a bunch of kids at a birthday party, chattering away about how cool it was and what a fantastic experience we just had and when could we go back. All oblivious to the fact that its almost midnight.