Bill Quay Farm

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE farms and despite the fact that we live in a farm worker’s house on the edge of a (now derelict) farm and have a collection of animals myself, I jump at the chance to go to farms and see the animals. Having Pookie is the perfect excuse to do it!

Yesterday we visited a local farm is only just heard of. Bill Quay community Farm is set on the banks of (the wrong side of) the Tyne in Gateshead and houses a range of animals from fancy mice to Shetland Ponies. Interestingly the livestock on the farm are all rare breed and indigenous species and the farm is Rate Breeds Survival Trust approved. It was therefore lovely to see that they are successfully breeding their three breeds of sheep, endangered Bagot goats and two breeds of pigs. 


The farm itself is relatively small with an enclosed barn area which opens at midday where you can find the small mammals and various pens of animals including some adorable sleeping piglets. I believe they also do a range of activities and crafts in there too. 

Outside there is more to see. We had a quick walk around with Pookie on my back to get our bearings and then spent quite a while toddling about the well maintained bark paths between fields of sheep and brand new lambs, ponies, mischievous piglets and pens of chickens and geese. We didn’t look at the map until we were leaving but there were a few walks marked on the map that could easily make a quick visit like ours into a couple of hours exploring a playing. Our visit was nicely finished off with a cup of tea outside at the wheelchair and high chair friendly picnic tables. 


Things we really liked:

  • The farm is well signposted and easy to find using the postcode on their website
  • They have a good variety of animals to see living in clean and well managed pens and fields linked by well maintained bark paths
  • A National Cycle route runs through the farm providing an alternative way to visit. Sustrans have several routes to try!

Things that could’ve been better:

  • I would have liked to have seen more information points around the farm explaining what the animals were and more information about the work the farm is doing with Rare Breed animals (but that might just be my thirst for knowledge talking!)

We’d thoroughly recommend a visit to Bill Quay Communuty Farm, and the amazing thing is…it’s FREE! We of course left a donation in the pig’s snout as we’d enjoyed our visit and would encourage you to do the same. I think we discovered a true hidden gem! 



Things I am not…

I’m not a Hippie!

Nor am I;
a ‘Crunchy Mom’!
an Attachment Parent!
an Earth Mother!
a Dolphin Parent (no really!)
Everywhere I look on the Internet lately, people are given labels! 
I’m sure the people who pass me, out on my walks with our two dogs and Pookie tied to my back, make their assumptions about me! Maybe they even have a name for me. I know I’m guilty of such things…take the running man with long dreadlocked hair I used to pass daily on my way to work or the lady we called Heidi who wore ‘different’ clothes to us and cycled everywhere with her two children in a trailer on the back of her bike. They both came up in conversations years later along with stereotypical views on their lifestyle. 
Well now I feel a little guilty for making assumptions, putting labels on people and putting them in certain boxes.

What is a hippie? From what I understand (from the most reliable source on the Internet – Wikipedia) hippies are people who created their own communities, listened to psychadelic music, embraced the sexual revolution, and used drugs to explore altered states of consciousness. 
That, I am not!
But what about a modern day hippie?

What is it that suggests I could be a modern day hippie?

#1 I carry Pookie on my back the majority of the time we’re out (our pushchair has had a puncture for weeks and it’s far easy to pop him on my back than fix it). The reasons for this are countless and it’s become second nature having him so close.  
#2 I did breastfeed (mainly due to the fact that Pookie was born so early – it wasn’t my original intention)  


#3 I’ve recently tie dyed clothes and it’s strangely addictive I don’t think I’ll ever stop! 


#4 I grow my own veg (mainly peapods and strawberries…but rarely do they make it back to the house uneaten) and have three (yes three!!!) compost heaps.  


#5 We share our lives with a small menagerie too, two dogs, a rabbit, four quails (three of which I hatched myself – in an incubator of course), two ducks, two fish and an incubator containing potentially a dozen chickens! 


#6 I like to ‘repurpose’ things. So much so that our ducks live in the bottom half of an old French dresser. In fact, I was recently caught climbing out of the skip at work, in heels, whilst salvaging a wooden draw to make into a raised bed for Pookie. Well worth it I think! I hate to see good wood go to waste. Waste not want not! 


#7 I support locally grown produce and small businesses and am particularly fond of a Northumberland sausage or a slice of Northumberland cheese
So why do I not fit into the hippie category?
#1 I eat meat (see #7 above) and I like it! The word itself is spelt mmm…eat and I see no reason not to!
#2 I have never eaten Kale, nor do I wish to!
#3 I am yet to discover the virtues of coconut oil as the saviour to all problems from dry skin (E45 suits me fine), to natural hair conditioner (I have enough small brown tubes from my regular need to dye my hair to last me a lifetime!)
#4 I don’t buy organic. I’m not against it…I can rarely afford it.
#5 I am sceptical about ‘alternative therapies’. I think that’s the chemist in me. I know the benefits of modern medicine and the meticulous processes they go through before they reach the patient and I know many of us (Pookie and I included) would not be here today without them. I am also pro-vaccination! Very!
So are any of these things label-worthy? I don’t think so! I don’t think they make me anything in particular at all!
Everyone is entitled to their opinion and to raise their children and live their lives how they wish. I’m certainly not saying my way is the best way or even the right way. My aim in life is simple; to have fun, enjoy myself, learn more and experience new things with the people I love by whichever means work at the time!
If there’s a label for that, I’ll take it!

Happy Easter

Well, what a fantastic weekend it’s been! The Little Patch took the weekend off completely (with the exception of replying to a couple of messages from customers) and spent some time doing fun family stuff!

Our relatives arrived just after lunch on Friday and after customary cups of tea and cake we went for a walk up Northumberlandia to show them the biggest boobies in the world! So childish aren’t we!



Saturday morning and the team was a man down! With cousin Lorna tucked up in bed we headed out to Tynemouth market to have a spoach (rummage for those of you not from around here) through the stalls. We came home with a lovely old earthenware chicken to keep our eggs in and a joint of pork with a pulled pork sauce as well as two copies of ‘the Geordie Bible’ to help our cousins with the local lingo!



Pookie wasn’t too well so he went home with grandma and grandad while we took in the sights in Newcastle before catching a very entertaining last bus home. 


A trip to the North East wouldn’t be complete without a drive up the coast and a walk on the beach. We were dropped off at Beadnell beach and walked to Seahouses for fish and chips before a quick drive to Bamburgh to see the castle and then heading home for the Tyne-Wear derby (which was disappointing to say the least)


And so with a final breakfast together and a quick Easter egg hunt in the garden everyone said their goodbyes and hit the road early to beat the bank holiday traffic while we spent the day in the garden in glorious sunshine.