Herefordshire said goodbye to Mike Hamilton this week, one of life’s gentleman. I had the privilege of knowing him following an interview I did with him on radio when he first set up the veg box scheme Flights Orchard Organics. From there I worked with him when he did cookery demonstrations for Heart of England Fine Foods (HEFF) and then laughed with him when he became a friend with that big beaming smile of his. The celebration of his life was held last Tuesday and it was standing room only which in itself was a true mark of the man.
Glyn and I have just spent two days at Staffordshire County Show working with the Cookery Theatre which is based in the Food Hall. I do think, and this goes for all county shows, they should give priority to their local producers to be in the main area and then if not full, offer it out to others. Was lovely to meet a couple of new chefs in the form of Rayeesa from Rayeesa’s Indian Kitchen at Mordiford who we’ll see again at Shobdon Food Festival, and the rather gorgeous Marcus Bean from New Inn, Baschurch. I predict a sweet-smelling future for this chap, who is not only talented and good-looking, but lovely with it, and that doesn’t often happen.
It’s been weird not having the dogs at home having dropped them off at my Sisters for the week, just wouldn’t be fair for them to be at home with us away so much. Going to be seeing the ladies from the Prostate Cancer Widows Support Group tomorrow of which I’m proud to be Patron and then somewhere in between it’s all change again for the cows as we yet again move them so they have a bit of grass to eat. It’s lovely to have the sunshine but we still need more rain to get it growing, the rate we’re going we’ll have to feed them hay!
Have had confirmation today that I’ll be yet again compering for the fabulous Herefordshire Food Festival in October, and it’ll involve working up close and personal with chef Jean-Christophe Novelli, I do so love my job!
I definitely have a weakness for old farm equipment having just added a vintage potato grader to our collection, not sure where it’s going exactly as it’s not like a new pair of shoes you can hide in the wardrobe only to bring them out and tell the other half you’ve had them ages! Been a busy few weeks what with the Spring Show at Malvern which I always enjoy, especially when it involves working alongside the lovely James Alexander Sinclair and Joe Swift. Had the pleasure of working with Mike Dilger for the first time too which was enjoyable and it was lovely to see so many youngsters getting involved with the nature trails he hosted. Staying with all things gardening for a moment, must say Congratulations to Cleve West for winning not only Gold for his garden at Chelsea Flower Show but for Best in Show overall and Paul Hervey Brookes who designed the RNIB garden won a Silver Gilt.
Ludlow Spring Festival was a first for us this year as usually it clashes with Malvern, but me and him ran the cookery stage which was fun and always nice when you don’t have to travel too far to get home and put your feet up. Birmingham Symphony Hall was the destination last Sunday for the Worcestershire Young Musicians Gala Concert and yet again the quality defied their ages. This year we had the youngest ever participant at the age of 4, ably assisted by her teddy bear Fluffy who went to every rehearsal and sure enough was there on the night too. I got my own dressing room again which was very swish and my name on the door too, only problem was their towels are just a little too big to get in my bag.
Looking forward to the first ever Malvern Food Festival this Saturday, I’ll be there chatting during the cookery demonstrations for Heart of England Fine Foods and on Monday, Glyn and I will be working at the Asparagus Festival at Breforton with our old pal Felice Tocchini, so should be fun.
Away from work, we’ve had to move the cows back home a bit earlier than planned but like many areas in the country, the grass just isn’t growing and sheep wise, hopefully we’ll be able to get them shorn fairly soon. Still wondering what gender one of the four chicks born two months ago is, we’ve definitely got two pullets and a cockerel and then whatever this one chooses to become, I’m sure we’ll find out soon.
Here we are then at the end of another week, and having just returned from the Vets where the very young nurse mentioned how quickly the year was going, if it seems that way for someone in their 20’s then there’s no hope for the rest of us! Sadly Tess may need another operation as her wound isn’t healing properly, she goes back on Wednesday so here’s hoping it’s good news. At the moment the view from the kitchen window is obscured by Glyn bringing his work home with him. Got home on Tuesday to find a ruddy big green container in the drive which he’s fitting with a radio studio for a client. I knew it was coming, but he did say it wouldn’t be any bigger than a medium-sized caravan, lets just say men and measurements are never a good combination. He has promised it will be gone for Easter which is when he’ll be able to come in the house again! Wednesday saw the 15th anniversary of losing our Mum ‘Shirl’ who I miss everyday but at the same time keep seeing her when I look in the mirror. On the radio tomorrow on Sunshine which I’m looking forward to and just heard confirmation that I’ll be part of the Asparagus Festival Day at The Fleece at Bretforton working alongside the lovely Felice Tocchini who once appeared on This Morning with Katie Price, maybe she could give me a couple of ….. tips!