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Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Coombe Mill

"Tales from the farmers wife" shares the funny and interesting happenings on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. A behind the scenes look on balancing family, farming, the holiday business and cooking for all. 

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


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Kids Perspective from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Train Disaster

by CoombeMill 21 April 2014 08:23

Introducing GuyGuy

Guy is the Coombe Mill resident Train Driving expert at just 10 years of age. Since the train first ran last June he has taken charge of the daily rides. I am so proud of the way he stands up undaunted to a new crowd of guests each week to introduce himself and explain all about the train. He shows maturity and patients with the children and thoroughly deserves his pocket money for his work. However just like British Rail sometimes there are problems. Guy tells the latest drama in his own words.

Kids Perspective - Guy

Cough, Splutter, Bang went the Train

It was just a normal day driving the train when *bang* something broke, so I stopped the train, looked under the bonnet and cleared it of leaves but it would not start. I was not sure what else to do so I called Dad (farmer Nick) over, even he had no idea but he does have a mate who knows more about electrical things and together they managed to get a solution, but we were worried that it was not going to be a long term fix. We have a spare tractor but we never thought of getting a spare train... until now! Dad rang the train company and they said “no problem we can fix it and get you a new one” but Dad said it would not be cheap or quick. It took them a couple of days to get our new one ready for us and during that time we were praying the temporary bodge we had done would hold. Thankfully it did.

No Train today 

When the call came to say the new train was ready we had to change the train clock to “not running today” with the use of our tool box which caused lots of misery and disappointment. We promised to try and do it all in 24 hours so that the guests would only miss one day of train rides.

Train not running at Coombe Mill sign


Off on a Road Trip

Dad and I packed our bags, loaded up the train and set off on the long journey to Kent.


Ready for a Train Adventure

Lucky for me our journey involved a stop at KFC’s, something we don't have in Cornwall and a huge treat! 

At the Train Workshop

When we arrived at the train place there were thousands of trains and cool parts. I wish we could have bought them all. My favourite was the one with the side steering and soft leather seats; it was like sitting in an armchair.


An engine like an arm chair

There was even mini coal for the small steam trains. I was lucky enough to see half built trains with all the working parts on show, this was awesome. If I had to guess how many trains there were I would say about 120 including the ones that were part way through being built.

The Train Workshop full of Wonder


It was too far to travel in one day so we stayed overnight at Yia-Yia’s house (my Gran). We were treated to a meal out in a lovely Italian restaurant. The following morning at 6:00am we set off on the long journey home. It was a really boring drive, well apart from the McDonald's stop where I won a free Fanta and on the free Fanta I won a small fries, how lucky was I?

Back at Coombe Mill

When we finally arrived home I helped Dad to take the extremely heavy train out of the car and took it for a test run. It was running as smooth as silk so Dad and I grabbed the screw driver and changed the train time on our big homemade clock.


Home from a long train adventure


For now we have a shiny new blue Thomas the Tank lookalike train while we wait for ours to be repaired. I wonder if I will be able to go with Dad to collect our old one?  After all I have a free Fries to redeem from McDonald's!


 New Thomas the Tank Engine Train Running

Linking Guy's Adventure up to Magic Moments and What's the Story. Click on the badges for more stories from others.

        Ethans Escapades

Silent Sunday / Project 52

by CoombeMill 19 April 2014 23:04

          Polish Bantam Cockerel  



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On the Farm

Country Kids from Coombe Mill

by CoombeMill 19 April 2014 00:45

The Coombe Mill Annual Raft Race

This is the 5th annual Easter Raft race at Coombe Mill spearheaded by a group of lovely guests who have been returning each Easter for as many years. Every year the newcomers join the regulars for this annual tradition. Word filters round during the day and everyone sets to work building, construction, taping and painting from the ornate to the practical. I snuck round with my camera to capture the work in progress outside various properties, our house included.

 Easter Raft Building

Guy's train ride with our newly returned train was a chance for the 1 hour warning for anyone still unaware. (More about the train from Guy next week).

New Train & Raft Race notice

At 6pm everyone and their crafts made their way towards the starting line, the footbridge to the farm. The race was to be from here to Coombe Bridge downstream, not far but with a river that meanders and plenty of river banks to cause obstruction it is not every vessel that will cross the finishing line. As always there were some real masterpieces and some proud raft builders, parents included!

 Rafts Ready to Race

In the past we have waded into the water for a start line but this year we decided on a launch from the bridge with a countdown to start.

 Launching the Easter Raft Race


The anticipation and excitement reached fever point as the count ran down from ten back to zero and launch. No sooner were they in the water than everyone was dashing down the river bank cheering on their creation. A few tears along the way as some ran aground early, but there was always someone to free them and set them on their way again.


 Easter Raft Race, chasing the rafts along the bank


Long before the rafts arrived people were gathering on the finishing bridge seeking out and cheering on their own creations. To watch the finish line you would swear you were standing on the line at the Grand National, such was the noise!


Rafts over the finishing bridge


The oldest raft that is lovingly kept and returned each year by our guests came second with Team Guy coming in first place. Everyone was still in high spirits as raft races turned into jumping in the river. Round and round they squelched, jumping off the bridge and splashing into the freezing water while Guy surfed up and down collecting passing rafts.


Jumping off Coombe Bridge & Rast Rescue


Dinner was late in every household that night, but sometimes having fun takes precedence. 


Joining in with Country Kids

Country Kids is live every Saturday to Thursday and is about leaving sofas and screens and enjoying time outdoors in any way you like. Playing, crafting, day trips and learning can all become an adventure in the great outdoors. Every week here on the linky there are some wonderful posts of families taking time out together. If you have a post to share please grab the badge and link up. Do please check out the others here too, it might just inspire your next activity.

Just a few of my favourite posts from last week:

I am a huge cycling fan and loved the posts by Lakes Single Mum and Belle Du Brighton  

Geocaching is one I am yet to try but Fun as a Gran makes it into an adventure

The freedom of mud play by Family Fever and Mummy to Boyz is so very Country Kids

Remember you can join Country Kids here on the linky as well as:

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Join the Google Plus community page for Country Kids

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Win a Rounders Set with Coombe Mill

by CoombeMill 15 April 2014 08:36

Summer Fun

Now that the weather is warming up and the days are drawing out it is wonderful to be able to enjoy outdoor time without the layers of winter. The grass is greening up, the plants springing into life and the longer evenings make outdoor play after school a possibility as well as at weekends and holidays. It is always a joy here to see all our guests making friends together during the week. The morning tractor rides are a catalyst to meet and friendships are then cemented during the day around our play areas and on the evening train rides. My own children love to mix with holiday guests and age becomes unimportant with children from 3 to 16 joining in with holiday farm life together.

Organised Games

When the lovely Katie from Little Big Sports asked if I would like to review one of their beach rounders and cricket sets over the Easter Holidays I jumped at the chance. I have known Katie for a long time and admired her website with its wonderful range of sports equipment and clothing from tots to older children and knew something from her range would be perfect for our farm holidays. Knowing how well the guests were all interacting together I thought an organised game of rounders towards the end of the week would be perfect. My hunch was spot on. The day the beach set arrived I suggested a meet up for a game on the front lawn to test it out. I must have had 15 children all join in and parents too. The train ride carried on around the game and children came and went as rounders changed to cricket but the fun continued late into the evening.


 Rounders on the farm


About the Beach Set

The beach set comes with soft ball, cricket bat, rounders bat and the four rounders posts which double up as cricket wickets. A perfect 2 in one game all in a zip up carry bag all for £26.99 on the Little Big Sports website. 

It is perfect for taking out to a park, the garden, the beach or for any family or group gathering. We now have our set in our reception shop for our guess to borrow at any time for a game here on the farm or at the beach.   

 Little Big Sports Beach Set


Child led Inspiration

It wasn't long before my children had the beach set back out from reception and in the garden for a little home inspiration. They had walked up to the village shop and invested in a packet of balloons. Their plan soon became clear as they filled them with water from the outside hose and used the cricket bat to hit them. Clearly a miss involved a water soaking. A great way to enjoy the summer sun and improve coordination all in one!  

Water Cricket

Win your Beach cricket set with Coombe Mill

If you would like to win one of these sturdy yet portable beach sets just follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part. It really is a great set for some summer family fun.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was sent my beach set to review for this giveaway. All thoughts and opinions are my own.



But Lambs Can't Swim!

by CoombeMill 14 April 2014 07:38

A tale a week on the farm this spring.

No sooner had we settled the new kid goats into their trailer home in Nick's shed, than we needed it for a farm emergency. One of our lambs had given birth in the early morning down near the lake. The very same lake the children had been playing in during the week. It isn't deep, well unless you are a new born lamb that is! Mother and one lamb were safe on the bank but some of our guests were up early and walking their dog round the lake admiring the ducks when the baa-baa they heard coming from the lake was clearly not matching up the quack quack they expected to hear! They followed the sound and couldn't see anything but could just make out rustling down by the reeds and brambles at the edge of the lake.

Lamb stuck in the lake

Alarmed by the sound they raced back to ring us at reception. Farmer Nick was up early and just doing the VAT paperwork when the call came. The first I knew something was up was as I came down to make a cuppa and saw Nick running up the garden path shouting for everyone to help. I can assure you Farmer Nick doesn't do running so I knew it was serious. I grabbed my wellies and camera, more important than clothes, and ran after him in my pink fluffy dressing gown! Guy and Ally were soon there too. Tying a rope to the tractor we lowered Guy down the rope to see if he could see and rescue the lamb.


A good boy scout knot to keep Guy safe


There was a huge cheer as he came back up, scratched from all brambles but with a soggy little lamb under his arm.


Guy the Hero as he rescues the lamb


Farmer Nick brought out the new stock trailer, the goats looking very comfy in the old one, and the plan was to put the soggy lamb, Mum and the other twin all inside together in the hope that Mum would take to her lost lamb, feed and nurse her and prevent pneumonia setting in.


New Farm Trailer into action


The fear was that if we didn't keep them all together, and quickly, Mum would reject the little soggy bundle. We were already worried that the lake would be rubbing off her new born scent. The plan was sound and Ally had the second lamb in seconds. Capturing Mum on the other hand was far from easy. Nick thought he had her and was just feet from dragging her into the trailer with her lambs when she pulled back so hard it snapped her horn and she was off. This time it was harder as Ally and Nick tried to catch up with her and grab onto her coat. Meanwhile time was ticking for our poor little lamb that was cold and wet. They managed it, it was probably only a minute, but it felt like an hour. A lack of photos as I was still hanging onto my modesty in nothing more than a dressing gown whilst trying to block off Mums escape route past the trailer!


Rounding up the new lambs and Ewe


All safely aboard it was off to Nick's shed. Here we added a good bed of straw, a bucket of water and some hay which Mum tucked into while Nick sprayed her head with antiseptic spray where the horn had ripped away.


 Making the lambs & ewe comfortable

I grabbed a nearby towel and rubbed down the lamb placing her quickly back with Mum while Nick rigged up a heater pointing into the trailer. 

 Rubbing the lamb dry

From here it was time to hope and pray that fifteen minutes alone before the morning feed run would see both lambs bonding with Mum. With just enough time to dash home, dress and make Ebony's milk up before the tractor ride we warned the guests they were in for an interesting feed run! As the tractor chugged to a stop at the shed we were delighted to see both lambs curled up with Mum. The guests peered in as we told the tale of the early morning drama and Nick went about his usual duties with iodine on their cords. We left tagging for another day as we felt they had had more than enough to deal with for one morning.

 Guests get to meet the newly saved lamb


We are so grateful to the foresight of our guests to call us straight away. It might all have been very different by the time we came round on the morning tractor run. My guess is the lamb would have drowned; we would have found the mother and assumed she only gave birth to one. How wrong we would have been. 

To see them together just a few days later out in the field is a joy.

Lambs in the field