Nick embarked on a much needed trip to the fowl auction to sell some of our polish bantams coming up to breeding age, what could be more innocent while I manage our holiday changeover? However I know when a call comes in from the mobile that things have gone off the agenda.
Nick: “I’ve seen this old cart I’m thinking of bidding on”
Putting down the dirty linen I tune in “oh yes”
Nick: “To replace the old Mill Stone”
Me “The one you part turned into a wall and part sold?”
Nick “Yes, it’s quite big, just like an old flour Cart would have been originally at Coombe Mill”
The cleaners are calling me and the kids are having a squabble over counting sheets so I press the phone a little closer “You do what you think best, if you think it is right for here then go for it”
Nick “I made good money on the bantams”
Me “that much?”
Nick “Well no but….”
An unusual greeting for our holiday makers
The next thing I see is Nick arriving home with this huge dilapidated old brick cart in tow amidst the holiday makers arriving. I think they feared that might be the trailer for the tractor rides! He was ushered straight into the big farm shed where he then faced a quandary of how to remove it from the trailer and hoist the enormously heavy broken steel wheel out of the centre!
I was out of there pretty smart as it looked all too heavy and very much like boys work with some unnecessary expletives thrown in for good measure. Having a strong 15 year old son who eats me out of house and home comes into its own at moments like this and the pair of them managed to extract the trailer from underneath the cart and secure the mended wheel in place.
A labour of love
There was now clearly the potential to make this into something wonderful but wow was this going to be a challenge. Our much loved farmer Ted was coaxed back out of retirement to lend a hand. He striped, primed and painted away day after day for a full week in the shed.
Meanwhile I tapped into our facebook page to build on our fledgling list of fun slogans for the finished Cart. These were the great ideas that emerged:
Nick ordered a stencil set on line and set to work as chief sign writer. This was indeed becoming a labour of love from a farmer with a vision. We soon discovered that the slogans had to be shortened to fit the available spaces on the cart, just as well as it was still hours of work measuring, taping and carefully painting.
The final slogans
Ready to roll
Nick had proposed to place it on the road side where the old Mill had been but I had concerns that the children would try and climb in and play there and that that was not the safest place. Again I returned to the Coombe Mill facebook page with three possible locations shown in a cut and paste form as it was too heavy to move the actual cart more than once!
I was not surprised to find out of the three possible sites most sided with me on locating the cart next to the train track; great to have a source of genuine feedback to back you up. Thank you facebook followers!
Once the decision was made, it was a full team effort from Coombe Mill Kids and Farmer Kym to help Nick move the cart from the shed to its new home after school.
It is certainly a talking point there now, but I am on the lookout for a large fibreglass horse to accompany it. I have had a glance on line and they cost thousands, so if anyone hears of one going second hand to hitch our cart up to I would love to hear. The children will never want to go indoors on holiday here soon!
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“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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