Forget Tasmania, where is the snail of happiness?

I’m pleased to announce that Tasmania, at least the one that I was talking about in my last post, has been found. It is safe and well in my sister’s living room! Yes, the jig-map of my childhood is still being enjoyed by members of my family… we are all squirrels!

However, you may have been wondering where the snail of happiness has been for more than a week now. You have, perhaps, spotted one of my little minions here, and I got a mention here, but as for me there has been silence. I know, I didn’t warn you, but I thought that I was going to have time to blog and it turned out that I didn’t.

Last weekend we had a garden party to celebrate my dad’s life. The sun shone (mostly), we had lovely pictures of dad around the place to encourage people to share their memories of him and there was lots of tea and cake. In fact the only sort of cake he really liked was fruit cake, but we made up for that with a lovely spread including scones, lemon drizzle cake, Victoria sponge, coffee and walnut cake, sticky toffee cake and fallen chocolate truffle cake to name a few. What do you think?

Our cake table

Our cake table

And then I went to spend a few days at Chestnuts Farm… a rather interesting set up comprising a number of separate parcels of rented land with sheep, goats, poultry, a horse, a pony, vegetables and a hay field. I got a real picture of the challenges faced by tenant farmers who have no security because their tenancies are only for, perhaps, three years. How do you make plans for the land you work, when you don’t know whether you will still be on it in five years time? Without longer tenancies, there is little incentive for such farmers to invest in permanent buildings, expensive fencing and planting trees, or anything else that they may not be able to get a proper return on. Since small-scale producers play a valuable part in food-growing in the UK, it seems important to give them security if they do not own their own land.

Would you brave that beak to steal my identity?

A young Perdy

During my visit, I particularly enjoyed seeing the poultry; my favourites being the bantams. However, in my absence, one of our girls, Perdy, went into a very rapid decline and died before my return. She stopped laying about six months ago, but appeared quite healthy up until the final couple of days. Now we have to decide whether we want any replacements… if there was somebody local with bantams I would be sorely tempted!

The other loss this week was the mealworm farm… the colony was, I thought, safe and sound in the greenhouse. However, a bird found its way in and has consumed not only the adult beetles that were thriving, but much of the oats and bran that they were feeding on. I’m annoyed that I hadn’t kept their container covered, but I really never expected the wild birds to venture into the greenhouse. I think the culprit was a juvenile robin. I have ordered a fresh supply of mealworms and will start again, bearing in mind the need to ensure better protection!

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  1. Jum…cakes forever!

  2. My you have been busy, sorry for your loss of Perdy & your meal worm farm. Your spread to commemorate your dad looks scrumptious 😀

    • I’m pretty pragmatic about the hens – I like them, but some seem to be quite fragile. But I’m annoyed with myself about the mealworms.
      And the afternoon tea was great!

  3. What an epic and fabulous tea! A suitable tribute, I would think. Do replace Perdy, keep the younger generation of witches coming on. Perhaps a Tiffany…? PS, you were indeed missed. I was remarking on your absence only today to the Husband, and hoping all was well.

    • Once back from Chestnuts Farm things got rather hectic, including buying a car and having a visit from sister and niece… I’m looking forward to getting back to my normal routine in the next few days although that’s going to be interrupted because Mr Snail is starting a job away from home in 2 weeks (hence the car-buying) and I will have to re-establish my ‘home alone’ routine.

    • I was wondering about an Annagramma…?

      • Yesssss! When I get my Girls, once we’re in the new house, I have to decide whether to emulate you and have Esme, Gytha, Magrat, Aliss and Co, or go with my normal choices of Egnes, Egatha, Eglantine, Eglaia, Egberta and so on.

  4. Heavens, that cake table must have been groaning under the weight.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

  5. I did wonder where you’d gone off to. Glad to see you’re back. 🙂

  6. You have been busy! I’m sorry for the two losses you had – and when we know it’s our own fault, don’t we just berate ourselves!! Lesson learned! I love bantams and your girl did look a pretty specimen. If I had a bigger outdoor space I’d be enlarging my menagerie 🙂

    I did not know you still had insecure tenant farmers in the UK – that is quite shocking really. Such a foolish waste of land and man-power. Do you think it will change?

    And good lord ‘amercy!! All those cakes! What a wonderful celebration to have for your dad. Did he enjoy himself?

    It was also fun to see where your colourful snails are going around the world. They are the ONLY snails to have in a garden!

    • The situation for small farmers is dire in some cases and the friends that I was visiting are finding things very difficult.
      As for the party, it was, in fact a wake. My dad died earlier in the year and at the time my mum was too ill to mark his passing other than with the funeral, so we planned this garden party. In total we had nearly 60 people there, many of whom weren’t at the funeral (it was family only because of my mum’s health), so it was good to talk to friends and neighbours who had known him.I think he would have approved as he loved their home and that was the place he was happiest.

      • Then it was a doubly special celebration for your dad. My apologies for not having picked that up. I think I would be most happy if my friends and family did something like that for me – especially all the cake – and maybe a few glasses of champagne too……

  7. I almost didn’t make it past the cake table, trying to figure out which type I would try first! What a really nice way to bring people together in your father’s memory. The week sounds quite intense, on the whole . . .

    • The cake table was a real success… we thought about a full buffet, but in the end tea, cake and bubbly in the garden seemed like a simple and yummy option… and so it turned out.

  8. Hello! Glad you’re doing ok in the face of the usual challenges and bumps of life. It’s nice to read you, as always. =o)


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