Losing a Best Friend

Posted on June 8th, 2014 - Fiona

Words from Mum

Clio is ten and has just waved goodbye to one of her close friends of several years who has moved away from Cornwall. This is the first time this has happened and has had quite an impact on her. She wanted to write about how she feels and what she will miss with her friend’s departure. It is all her own words, thoughts and photos. 

Clio's perspective

Over to Clio

My school is called St-Tudy school, and there are only about 60 pupils in the whole school, years have to share class rooms because it is such a small school. My class room has year five and year six in and everybody knows each other. A new person coming to our school is such a big event.


St Tudy school & church


When I was in year three, a new girl came to St Tudy School, when she first arrived I didn’t know a thing about her, but because she was new, everybody was crowding around her and I felt I couldn’t talk to her. Anyway over the following weeks Lucy became good friends with me and my friend group and that is how it has stayed.


Friends forever

Last year she said “guys I might be moving to Aberdeen in Scotland.” But she also said “but if I do it won’t be for another year or so” But the year has gone now and she has moved. In her last few weeks I tried to spend as much time with her as I could before she left. These weeks have been the best with Lucy. For example we went on a school camp and had an amazing time messing around together.


Messing around on School Camp


We had a farewell boat trip for Lucy with some of my other friends. We jumped into the sea, it was freezing but we still had lots of fun. Leaving the boat I discovered I knew where we were, I had been there with my family on an adventure and recognised Guy’s Cottage. We were treated to chips and tango but Lucy didn’t want her tango so she gave it to me. 


Clio on boat trip with Lucy & friends


I am now no stranger to friends leaving because when my friends come and stay on holiday they leave, but most of them come back the next year, however Lucy might not ever come back and even if she does it won’t be for a few more years so I’m definitely going to keep in touch with her though Skype and she is sending us a monthly letter to our class.

Lucy will do great in Scotland just as she did when she came down to us making exciting new friends, plus she will be with her extended family up there.

I will always miss Lucy because whenever I felt upset she would always come over and make me laugh, she would also never exclude anyone, but the thing I will miss most about Lucy is her smile and that she was always there for me when I needed someone.


Lucy on the farewell boat Trip

Bye Bye Lucy it won’t be the same without you.

Clio xxx 


 Linking up Clio’s post to these great linkys; Click on the badges to see what other’s have been doing.





Train Disaster

Posted on April 21st, 2014 - Fiona

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

What Motivates a Tween Girl?

Posted on March 27th, 2014 - Fiona

Girl Talk Magazine

A new copy of Girl Talk goes on sale today marking 500 successful issues for tween girls. This landmark publication seeks to raise awareness of roles models for youngsters with a ‘Girls Are Amazing’ campaign. This follows a readership survey which found that the most admired celebrities were all pop stars or actors, headed up by Katy Perry. The campaign aims to broaden the horizons of their 7 to 12 year old readership group to encourage them to consider alternative career possibilities when they grow up.


Girl Talk Magazine

Clio's Perspective


My own daughter is coming up for 10 with some very clear ideas of what she hopes to do in the future and she is delighted to share these aspirations here for Girl Talk.   



Clio’s Perspective on Tween Role Models & Ambitions

“As a young girl myself I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, but I have always loved to help Mum when she was on the computer, I would either help design where the pictures went or add my ideas to help with her blog posts or even just take the camera and grab some photos. I realised that whatever I did in my life I would love to include photography and writing and that is when Mum gave me her old camera and got an awesome new camera herself, which I love to borrow. Now I have my own space on the Coombe Mill blog called Clio’s Perspective, so it was my own Mum who inspired me to start blogging and in a way she is one of my role models.


Clio & Mum


Outside of my family one of my role models is Leah Gooding of CBBC Newsround because she is an amazing news presenter and a fabulous journalist. If she makes a mistake when she is live on news round, she will just carry on like nothing happened, that takes guts. I have also been thinking that as a job when I am in my early 20s I might become a news presenter as I think it will be so much fun and I might get to meet and interview celebrities like Leah got to interview David Beckham (Ok so I like celebrities too!) and also travel the world with my job reporting on interesting events.

 Clio as a Newsround Presenter


One of my other role models is Karren Brady off the BBC series “The Apprentice” because she is immense at being a success in Business. She has a strong character and survived a severer and even life threatening brain tumour! Another reason I look up to her is that  when she was just 23 she managed Birmingham football club and I have always had a little thing for football too but most of all she is inspiring on The Apprentice which is where I heard about her. When I am older I want to go on the Young Apprentice just for the amazing experience and because I think I could help my team win with what I’ve learned through our family business.


Clio as a Young Apprentice


I have heard from my friends that if they could choose to be either pretty kind and funny or strong clever and brave then they would choose to be pretty above all else followed by kind and funny. I know that as children we are always are trying to act all grown up like we are in year eight or more but I feel my friends care too much about their appearance and not enough about their school work and grades. For example in my class we only get two bits of homework, one bit of Literacy and one bit of maths, but still some people don’t complete it. Of course I would love people to see me as funny, kind and pretty because I think this makes you popular, but I know growing up with five bothers I am also brave with a strong character and I am working on being clever.  

Clio reading Girl  Talk & trampolining

My advice to all tweens out there is to think beyond being a pop star, actor or model, as you have to be so good at them to become a celebrity. Instead work hard at school and find out about other careers like journalism; you never know you might get to interview the celebrities then or even someone more important like the Prime Minister or the Queen!” 


Clio x


Girl's are amamzing


I hope Clio continues to aim high and follow her dreams. Nick and I will certainly give her every encouragement; in between like most tweens I’m sure she will continue to admire her favourite pop stars too!


Disclosure: Clio was thrilled to receive a subscription to Girl Talk for her post; however all views expressed here are her own.

Fifteen and Going Places?

Posted on February 24th, 2014 - Fiona

Introducing AllyAlly

Alistair, or Ally as he became know the day he moved up to secondary school, is now taking his GCSE’s. As the eldest of my six children he is much loved and respected by all his younger siblings, though of course they would never admit to this.  At school he is a typical boy generally doing just enough to keep the teachers off his case, but so often I wish he would put in a little more effort and pull the top grades his teachers say he is capable of. However on his English Language assessment last term he has shown he can go the extra mile achieving full marks with his short story. He has no idea what he want’s to do for a living or even which A levels to choose, but while he is happy helping his Dad out on the farm, Nick and I both hope to expand his horizons, and I’d love to think he has a writing talent here to build upon one day.


Please have a read of his draft copy here and see what you think. The title was given, the rest is all from Ally age fifteen. He reproduced a version of this in exam conditions to gain his 20 out of 20 towards his GCSE and I am so proud of him.


=================== Trees Logo ====================

The Journey Home – A Short Story by Alistair Cambouropoulos

James Anderson had never been particularly academic. It wasn’t that he was slow at learning or didn’t try, he just seemed to obtain rather average grades; average, in fact he thought, would be the perfect way to describe him. So as he cycled home from results day, pedalling as fast as his legs would take him with three ‘A’s, four ‘B’s and three ‘C”s in his pocket he was beaming with joy.  He couldn’t wait to be home and watch his parents as they peared gingerly into the envelope, their faces illuminating with pride as their eyes scanned down the list and realisation set in. There would be all manner of rewards, he was sure of it, his parents would take him out for a curry and finally buy the new i-pod he had been asking for for months.

He turned right, past the derelict barn and over the stream where he and his younger brother would play for hours as kids; the route he knew so well taking on a new beauty in his excellent mood.  The mid summer sun beat down upon him, doing it’s best to fatigue him and slow his progress, but James would not be deterred as he powered into the long uphill, straining with the effort.

As he neared the top the valley laid out below was a scene most people only dream of, the kind you see in the movies yet one James took for granted almost every day. To the north dense green trees stretched on as far as the eye could see, interrupted only by a single ribbon of tarmac, scything its way through the thick forest, and to his left by acres of moorland centered by a glistening black lake, ringed at points with pine trees and boulders and reflecting the sun like a giant mirror.


Hurteling Down the hillsideJames was cut off from the view as he hurtled down the hillside into the forest, the trees providing welcome shade and the wind in his hair cooling him. Cautiously but with a huge excitable grin plastered on his face, James lifted his hands from the handlebars and spread his arms wide relishing the sense of freedom. The world rushed by on either side as he careered down the country lane before grabbing hold of his bike again to lean into a tight corner. 

By the time James saw the car it was already too late, his eyes grew wide with fear as the menacing black machine came into view and he knew he was powerless to stop himself plummeting into it. In an instant they collided. His bike crumpled against the bonnet of the car and yanked out from underneath him as he flew through the air. He hit the ground face down; hard. And felt the air rush from his stomach. Dazed and in shock, he rolled over not quite sure what was happening. He glimpsed the silhouette of a tall man push his bike out of the way and watched, helplessly as the sparkling Mercedes- Benz Star glided off into the distance. Reality set in and James fought down a wave of panic and tried to think logically. Wincing he sat up and checked his injuries. A searing pain was coming from his bloody hands and knees; the crimson liquid dripped from his palms and streamed down his legs, already turning dark and sticky in the heat. To his relief though everything except his left arm which gave way when he put any pressure on it seemed to be working. Gathering his strength he climbed to his feet, and with a sharp, hot pain came from his ankle immediately toppled over; it was broken. Unless another car came by, which he highly doubted, this was the first time he had ever met a vehicle on this lesser know backroad,  he would have to make the four miles back to his village alone. Not easy with only one leg.

James hobbled over to the wood to find a suitable stick to use as a crutch, frustrated cursing accompanying many falls. The wood stung his raw hands as he picked up his favoured crutch but it was better than the pain of stumbling. Satisfied with his prop James limped back to inspect his bike. The front wheel had warped into an odd shape and the handlebars no longer faced forwards, he would have to abandon it here. Lumbering awkwardly with his temporary crutch James set off down the road.

His phone broken, James wasn’t sure how much time had passed, but it felt like a lot. The sun was sinking low turning the sky a stumblingdark shade of navy blue and the tall forest tress loomed over him threateningly, making it feel even darker. He hadn’t made enough progress and was still a good two miles from home; several hours at this infuriatingly slow pace. He had long since abandoned his crutch, the endless supply of blood making it too slippery to grip properly and as a result walking was an extremely painful affair. He fell almost every couple of metres and, unwilling to get any more grit embedded into his burning hands he was left with nothing to cushion the brutal impact. He let out a furious grunt of frustration as he lost his footing once again and lay helpless and shaking at the edge of the road, too exhausted to get up.

A loud piercing bark cut through the air and James’s head shot up, returning to the land of the sane. He heard it again and swivelled his head searching for it’s origin to see a bright beam of light shooting through the inky black night. For a moment he thought he might be hallucinating, but the pain told him otherwise. Hope surged through his body giving him new  energy and he scrambled to his feet. yelling as loud as possible. “James?” came the reply. James could have fainted with relief; he recognised the high pitched, welcoming voice. He stumbled towards the light, tripping but managing to clamber back up as old Mrs Pratt and her dog rounded the corner, a senile hero in beige armour. “Good God” she exclaimed upon seeing the bloody bedraggled boy in front of her. “Your parents have been looking all over for you!” James keeled and started to cry.


My Dad is Farmer Nick

Posted on January 27th, 2014 - Fiona

Top 10 ANNOYING things my Dad does!Clio & Dad

By Clio Cambouropoulos

To you my Dad is known as Farmer Nick. You will think he is the smiley, chatty and jolly farmer on his tractor. I’m going to share another side of Farmer Nick (My Dad.) These are the top 10 annoying things my Dad does to me and my brothers. I am going to start at number 10 and work my way backwards to number one; number one being the most annoying in my view.



Whenever he goes shopping about 99.9% of what he buys is Asda smart price, Tesco value or a special offer. I find this embarrassing as all my friends seem to come to school with cool brands.

 Smart Price and Value goods


Whenever we play a song he will always say “Is this Justin do dah?” and we reply “no Dad it is not Justin do dah the singer is …!”I think he knows really but he loves to wind us up.


 Clio listening to music


My Dad is always calling people nicknames he calls me “Elle Lazo” but I say “Dad I am not lazy, I help Mum with her blog actually!”


 El Lazo


Dad listens to his horrific and annoying 1980’s music like punk at max volume. We all HATE it!


 Dad's 1980's music



My Dad will start a sentence and then 30 seconds later he will finish it. Often we try to finish it for him but then he gets annoyed when our guess is wrong!


 Dad talking to me



Dad only ever wears his famer clothes; he wears them if he is in town or if he is in Asda or even on holiday.

 Dad the farmer at the Olympics


Whenever Dad see’s a frog he will say “Clio kiss it, it might become a prince.”


 klissing a frog to call a Prince

And now we have got to the top 3 ANNOYING things my Dad does to me and my and my brothers.


To my Dad every after school club is “dancing club!” Actually I go to Gymnastics, ballet and tap dancing and they are not the same.


He cuddles me so, so, so hard and I have to squeal in return, which I think annoys him quite a lot too!


Daddy cuddles


This is most certainly the most annoying thing my Dad does:

He snores through every program and when he is asleep on the sofa we try and steal the remote to change channels but as soon as we try he will wake up and say “Oi I was watching that!”Then he will fall straight back to sleep! So we send him to bed. Unfortunately he often does not go to bed when we send him to bed so we have to put up with it, or we will go down stairs to watch our program in the kitchen!     


Dad asleep in front of the TV


Does everyone have a Dad who is as annoying as mine? I’m sure my friends Dad’s are much more normal and far less embarrassing than mine. Don’t get me wrong, he is funny and loving too and I wouldn’t swap him for the world, but changing a few of his ways would be cool. Next time he takes you on a farm tour to feed the animals, watch out for the jokes if you see a frog! 

Dad and Clio

To Dad with love from Clio 


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