The Pet With A Lucky Escape

August 30, 2015 at 9:30 PMCoombeMill


Guy's Portrait

Hello I am Guy one of the Coombe Mill children and I have a pet rat.  My rat is called Francesca and she is special to me.  I had a hamster called Bobby before Francesca but Bobby died of old age as hamsters don't live very long they are also nocturnal and hard to play with during the day.  Rats on the other hand are awake during daytime and in my experience more clever than hamsters as you can teach them tricks and they are very responsive.  For example if I whistle and tap Francesca as cage she will come to that part of the cage knowing I have a food treat for her.


The Pet with a Lucky Escape


I first got into rats because my Brother Theo has one called Captain Sparkles.  Just like any pet rats need looking after, I clean Francesca's cage out every week adding new shredded paper as her bedding.  I used the paper shredder from mum's office to make her bedding.  Every night I'd check she has clean water and feed her a small handful of rat food.  I also like to give her a fresh food treat from the fridge; her favourites are lettuce and carrots.  I never forget Francesca as I also have to put the Coombe Mill rabbits to bed and feed them too.

Rats are very sociable and like to come out to play, on a sunny day Theo and I like to have our pet rats out together in the garden.  We sometimes give them a bath in a bowl of warm water, Captain quite likes this but Francesca doesn't, they like to nibble on the grass, feel the fresh air around them and nuzzle each other.


Rats in the garden


One sunny Sunday Theo and I were playing with our rats on the grass when mum said it was warm enough to have our Sunday lunch outside, rather than put our rats away we thought they could play while we ate our roast dinner.


Roast in the Garden

It was funny hearing Dad shout as one of the rats ran up his trouser leg or nibbled at a toe!  I thought we knew where the rats were all the time, but after lunch Captain Sparkles was still under the table (he is very old now) but Francesca was nowhere to be seen.  Mum excused me from clearing up while I looked for Francesca.  As the afternoon went on she's still hadn't been found, all my brothers and sister were helping me by now.  I was getting so worried and afraid for Francesca.  We even shut Penguin our cat in the greenhouse in case she found her and was not so kind to her! I asked Mum to help me make some lost signs on the computer to put up around Coombe Mill as we had no idea how far Francesca might be by now.


Missing Rat posters


I went off to run the train at 6.00 and still Francesca hadn't been found.  I stood up to introduce myself at the train and ask all of our guests to look out for her for me


Telling people to keep an eye out for Francesca


Now I was getting really worried as it would soon be dark.  Mum insisted we let Pengiun out and that worried me even more.  I really thought I wouldn't see my rat again.  Then Theo heard a rustling behind the greenhouse and began to search in mum's Rosemary bush, having a rat himself he thought it sounded just like the noise a rat might make moving through there, the next minute he came into the house holding Francesca high.  I have never been so relieved and even gave Theo £5.00 of my pocket money in thanks.


Guy with a Found Francesca


Never again will I eat dinner in the garden without making sure Francesca is secure first.  Having a pet is a responsibility and one to be taken seriously.


Guy wanted to create and share this post himself; I only helped with the spelling and grammar. I am not mad on rats myself but am delighted for the children who are keen to have them as pets as I welcome the responsibility it gives them.


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Weekly Farm Photo

August 29, 2015 at 11:30 PMCoombeMill

The first day of the Coombe Mill feed run this week and this young man was very proud of managing to pick up a chicken, the pride shines through in his face. A whole week with us here and even the more timid children begin to do the same, it is always a joy to watch.


 Chicken cuddles from a proud Coombe Mill holiday makerCountry Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall          

Country Kids from Coombe Mill

August 28, 2015 at 11:30 PMCoombeMill

A visit to Polzeath

We have been enjoying a long weekend here at Coombe Mill with some of my long-term NCT friends and their children.  Our eldest are all now at 17 with siblings every couple of years thereafter.  Even though we left  Surrey when Alistair was just four years old we have stayed in touch and met up periodically ever since.  As adults our friendships have never wavered, and it is lovely now have to see the children looking forward to meeting up too.  On our last day together one family headed back home while the others joined us for a day at the beach.  They had never been to Polzeath and we were keen to show them what a wonderful beach it was and how much fun surfing could be.

A Day at Polzeath

With Jed in plaster after falling of the trampoline in our garden, and Clio on crutches after someone fell on her foot in the indoor play barn at Coombe Mill, the pair of them were left to play on the beach and guard all our possessions.


Jed's cast and Clio's Crutches

The rest of us climbed into wet suits, our friends hiring theirs from  Surf Up where Guy and Jed are board riders, this also entitled them to borrow surf boards, these combined with our body boards and surf boards meant we had enough for one each.


Pre-swim photo

It was lovely to see Alistair and Felix having a laugh with the girls and quite forgetting their usual objections to me hovering with a camera, as a result I captured some rare and natural photos of them before they headed into the sea.


Fun messing around on the beach

I followed them all in with my camera, there was a perfect offshore we and creating beautiful surfing waves.  Alistair and Felix spent some time trying to teach the girls how to catch the waves and of course demonstrating in style how it is done.

Surfing fun at Polzeath

The beach was packed and the lifeguards really had their work cut out keeping an eye on everyone between the flags.


Busy Beach and Lifeguards

There was no way I was missing out on these lovely waves so I ditched the camera for a surfboard.  Usually I only body board but the girls had these so I figured as the waves were so clean I'd give stand up boarding a go.  After about an hour of trying I actually managed to catch a few, this is a real achievement for me.  Sadly there was no one to take my photo but I was so excited I did insist on standing on the board on the beach and pretending!


Fiona standing on a Surf board

I rarely indulge in ice creams on the beach but as it was such a lovely day it was worth making an exception.  How the hours drifted past I will never know but it was glorious watching the sailing boats on the horizon, the buzz of people on the beach and marveling at the waves. Soon we were wishing our friends a safe journey home and racing to get Guy back in time for the evening train.


After the sea fun on the beach

Polzeath you are still one of my favourite beaches even on a crowded August day, as for our friends I have a feeling they will be back to join us again soon. If you were wondering where Farmer Nick was, he doesn't do beaches, but he did finish making Sally the Pig her new garden fence ahead of the arrival of her piglets.

Joining in with Country Kids

If you have been outside enjoying the summer weather then please come and join me on the linky. All outdoor fun from playing in the garden to days out are welcome but please make sure they are predominantly outdoor based. Country Kids is all about promoting fresh air and time away from sofas and screens. I would be very grateful if you would take my badge or link back to me and please remember to check out the other posts here, you may just find the inspiration for your next post.  

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A few of my favourites from last week:

Susan Snaps had a blast at The Ekka having a go on the rides and watching the fireworks displays.

Exploring picturesque Oregon One Tiny Leap shares their fun at Canon Beach and Ecola State Park on their around the world trip.

Over 40 Mum to One enjoyed their day wandering around Brill exploring the old windmill as well as Hartwells Barn.

A blogger meet up was on the cards for Bubba Blue and Me at Rushmere Country Park exploring the woods on a photography walk.

Little Hearts Big Love took a step back in time as they explored the little village of Cregneash on the Isle of Man and learnt about life as a crofter.

An underground adventure was enjoyed by Kids Days Out Reviews who went exploring the White Scar Caves and learnt all about the stalagmites and stalactites. 



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Coombe Mill Makes It Into The Daily Mail

August 23, 2015 at 9:30 PMCoombeMill

So many times I have tried to have a family photo of as all at Coombe Mill.  It shouldn't be so hard we go out as a family enjoy a family meal times and are often all at home together, however teens are notorious for shying away from a camera in the world of social media, unless it is them taking the selfie!  An inappropriate gesture or a sour face has scuppered many an attempt of mine.  Yet thanks to a tip off from Tanya of Mummy Barrow I ended up with a phone call from an editor for the Daily Mail last week requesting a phone interview and arranging a photographer to be sent out all in one day.  Huzzah, an opportunity for my family photo!


Coombe Mill Makes the Daily Mail


Sadie Nicholas the Editor was lovely on the phone and made me feel very relaxed, I couldn't believe I had chatted away to her for over an hour answering all manner of questions about family life and running Coombe Mill. She were especially interested in our family as we have so many children, apparently this is becoming a bit of a trend, I've never seen myself as a trend setter before but there's a first time for everything!

Having put the phone down I then had the task of rounding up the family to have them suitably dressed ready for a photographer who was due at 5.00 PM.  It would be the day my second son had gone out for the day with his new girlfriend.  I managed to intervene their cinema trip with reluctant permission and bring them both back to Coombe Mill just in time, not as easy as it sounds here in Cornwall as it is an hour round trip but possibly the most unusual way to meet a new girlfriend!  I thrust a camera into her hands with the very basic instructions to grab a few photos on my DSLR, there was no time for anyone to quibble as the photographer scoured Coombe Mill for his chosen backdrops, I was glad of a lovely sunny afternoon to have the photos outside.  We did have one attempt all piled on a sofa in the living room but it really was too much of a squeeze!

Family Photos Around the Farm

I was really impressed with the whole process and I was even able to read the script the following day before it went live and make a couple of alterations, I've never had this opportunity with the press before and it was very refreshing.  The story really does reflect our family here at Coombe Mill and some other things we chatted through over the phone.  It is of course a press article and therefore designed with an angle to elect a response from readers which it has achieved with many a controversial comment added to the on line paper, but it is counterbalanced with some supportive comments too.


Mail Online Comments


Whatever your own views are, I am so very proud of my large family. The upbringing the children have enjoyed here on our holiday farm with the freedom and safety of our 30 acres and new play mates arriving every week, I can't imagine a more idyllic childhood myself and I hope in years to come they will look back and agree. Now they are growing up they are an invaluable help to Nick and I in the running of the business and have a strong sense of family values. I wonder how long I will have to wait for a new family photo though.  

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Weekly Farm Photo

August 22, 2015 at 11:40 PMCoombeMill

The Coombe Mill Train runs every evening. It is a wonderful way for all the children staying to meet up at the end of a busy day. They take it in turns to ride on the carriages behind driver Guy and someone has the chance to man the signals half way round the track and wave the train off from the platform tower as this young man is doing. 


 Waving off the Coombe Mill Train at Coombe Halt


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