Posted on February 15th, 2019 - Fiona
We all know fire is dangerous, deserves respect and care, especially when children are near. However with the fear and danger comes fun and excitement. Here on the farm, we have an annual tradition on the back of our Christmas Fun, of saving all the wrapping paper for a big bonfire party. It isn’t a big activity, never the less our supervised bonfire event is one kids look forward to.
A Trailer full of Christmas Debris
All day Christmas Day and Boxing Day Farmer Nick leaves an open trailer out in the car park with a big sign inviting guests to leave their Christmas wrapping, from paper to party hats. This has the dual advantage of not overflowing our bins whilst simultaneously preparing for a fun supervised bonfire event for the kids.
Safety is Key
Over the years Farmer Nick has created some great firework events for us at both at New Year and Bonfire night. Safety is key; especially with excitable risk taking children around. For this reason, even our Christmas big burn is a supervised bonfire event. It is all carefully set up by Farmer Nick in advance, with a few clear rules:
Only Farmer Nick starts the fire.|
The fire site location is away from the farm and properties, just off the farm track.|
|The wind needs to be heading away from the path where people stand.|
|Wind strength needs to be moderate, not still or too strong.|
|Children are supervised by an adult at all times, as well as having Farmer Nick present.|
|Wrapping paper needs to be thrown from a safe distance to the fire.|
|Large windfall branches form the base of the bonfire. This gives substance and structure for the wrapping paper to be added.|
|Any near misses must be corrected by adults only.|
Let the Fun Begin
Mindful of safety throughout, Farmer Nick invites the guests to join him. They can watch, or take part in, burning the collected waste wrapping paper.
Carrying cardboard from trailer towards the fire.
Watching the fire with younger children.
Throwing onto the fire from a safe distance.
Watching the fire die down to a safe level.
It is such a simple event, yet on a cold winter’s evening provides welcome warmth to the late afternoon fading light. The joy on the faces of the children joining in is clear to see. This is certainly a part of the Christmas break they will remember. As I watched the children this year I couldn’t help but remember the fun my own children would have at this event poking at the embers with a big stick long after the flames had died down.
Join our Supervised Bonfire event in 2019
Weather permitting, we will be doing it all again this year, just a part of our Christmas program here on the farm. We’d love you to come and join us.
Posted on February 8th, 2019 - Fiona
So last weekend turned into an amazing long weekend when more snow than we’ve seen in 10 years hit us in under 2 hours. Timing is everything. Had the snow fallen overnight it would have simply been a snow day like last year of the best kind. However nature wasn’t so kind and it all fell just as the school run was beginning. Havoc and adventure ensued.
Famous last words
As I left for the school run at 2.40 rain was just turning to snow. Farmer Nick told me not to take the 4 by 4 car as it needed diesel and he needed later for another school pick up. I didn’t think any more about it and set off. It is only an 8 mile journey to school, but 5 miles in, it became clear there wouldn’t be a second school run. Clio’s ballet wasn’t happening and I needed to get everyone home quickly. Except by the time I had rounded my triplets and Clio’s friend up it was already too late.
Let the adventure begin
It took 40 minutes to go 50 yards from the school gate as the town became gridlocked. The kids thought I’d gone mad when I parked up in a side street and told them we were walking home. I knew we needed to get up onto the dual carriageway and hitch if we could to the turn off to our village. At this stage it was all an adventure.
I was shocked at the 3 or 4 cars that passed us at 10 miles an hour on the A30 and didn’t stop to offer help. We had been caught up by a group of children walking by this time. Finally we were all offered lifts in 2 groups. We were lucky enough to have locals with a 4 by 4 who dropped us at the end of our road.
Guy and Jed were with friends in a van and needed 3 lifts and a walk before meeting Farmer Nick who finally got up our 1 in 4 hill to meet them with the 4 by 4. We now had 4 children home and 2 out. It was time to appreciate the snow and take out the sledges before the dark stopped play. I grabbed my camera on the way out but it had the wrong lens on hence the ghost like photos!
Theo was stuck at Bodmin collage with 400 others, and having a wild time and happy to spend the night. I was more concerned about Ally who was making his way home with a work mate. I last spoke to him stuck on the main A30 at midnight where he had been stationary for 5 hours. The back log ran for miles and even made the national news.
A New Day, A new drama
I woke to discover our eldest made it home at 3.30am and the snow was still thick after a freezing night. However there was a commotion in our lane as a tree had fallen by our entrance trapping 3 cars behind it. Farmer Nick came to the rescue with tractors and chain saw. An hour later the lane was passable and our log store being replenished.
Move over technology, we have snow
While Nick headed out to Bodmin for much needed diesel and to collect Theo, the rest of us played in the snow. I was on a mission to build an igloo with Jed and Clio, there was also snow man building, rugby ball fun and some all important scenery photos of Coombe Mill in snow. Perhaps the best part of all was being outdoors with teens and no one secretly wishing they were hiding indoors on phones and gadgets.
I’ll let the photos tell the rest.
Kids Snow Play
The Grand Igloo build
Scenes from Coombe Mill
Our farm animals confused by the snow
I promise not to complain about always missing out on the snow next year. I’ll also remember that when rain turns to snow it can settle, and fast! I’m finishing with this gorgeous stylized photo taken by Felix, who was at Coombe Mill on a reading week from University, and thought to grab my camera, and my wine!
Posted on February 1st, 2019 - Fiona
So January 2019 is finally through and we are enjoying the early signs of spring on the farm with lengthening days and spring flowers. If you need something to see you through to summer we may just have the answer.
Lowest Prices and Short breaks you can’t refuse
There has never been a better year to visit Coombe Mill. We lowered our weekly prices at the end of last year and to this we have extended our short break period. Give the family an instant winter pick me up with a bargain short break on the dates you choose this February half term. Our winters are warmer than most and the farm animals will be thrilled to see you.
If it is a summer holiday you really want but just don’t have the spare days to take off or the funds for a summer week, we have extended our short breaks to the last week of June. Don’t just dream of summer, book it.
What we’ve been improving in January 2019.
January may be quite in terms of visitors, but it has been a busy month for us in forward bookings and holiday upgrades.
New Sand Diggers
The sand diggers we introduced a few years ago have been so popular and well used they were falling apart, despite many ‘fix it’ attempts by Farmer Nick. On the back of their popularity we have invested in bigger, stronger, commercial equivalents, that should withstand the heavy use much better. Head on over next time you are here and give them a try.
Just testing Farmer Nick?
Farmer Nick has been putting his expertise from Honeysuckle to use in Willow. It now boasts the same kitchen upgrade giving a lighter and more contemporary look together with new stylish sofas for the living area.
Trebah has had some lovely new ruby red sofas to brighten up the living room and add a splash of colour and comfort.
On the Farm
We have been working hard to move the animals round the grazing fields and eek out the hay after last year’s long dry summer. Fingers crossed we should have enough now to see us through to spring.
The miniature ponies are now coming down to see the guests in the mornings and enjoy a piece of apple. An all weather walk in home makes the guinea pigs a firm favourite with the children, who are encouraged to visit at any time of the day.
What’s on in Cornwall to tempt you in February
While you can easily spend a full day with us on the farm it is also fun to explore Cornwall. Not all attractions are open in the winter months but these are a few of the family friendly Cornish events and attractions open in February around us.
Nb: I have not been paid or sponsored to mention these places, they are just the events in February that I feel would be of interest to Coombe Mill Guests.
January 2019 has certainly been a productive one here on the farm but we are ready to take on the new season and welcome you to all the farm has to offer. I hope you will be able to join us at some point and even take advantage of what’s on in Cornwall during February. No BREXIT surcharges here.
With all good wishes for a happy February
Posted on January 25th, 2019 - Fiona
If the January blues have got the better of you why not follow the lead of those in the know booking a winter weekend break with us on the farm. There are some weekends where it is just our family here, then others like this one where we have a few families staying and making the most of our cheapest rates with all the same farm fun.
Never mind the rain
There is the south west we are prone to wet weather. This weekend was no exception, however is dressed for the occasion it really doesn’t affect the enjoyment that our farm rides bring. While it may be showery it is rarely cold and while the rest of the country struggled with temperatures around freezing, we were feeling smug in double figures, always important with little ones. Thankfully our tractor and trailer ride is all undercover, unless you volunteer to ride up front with Farmer Nick.
Who’s in Jurassic Park?
During the summer months our chickens are free ranging in Jurassic park; however over the darkest winter months it is just the ducks, Geese, Christmas the turkey and Floppsy the rabbit. Being careful not to slip on the wet ground the families venture in with Farmer Nick to hand out the grain and stop for a stroke of Floppsy.
The Chicken House
One little girl thought that was it, but no there is plenty more in store. Just across from Jurassic Park is the winter chicken house. This was built a couple of years ago during the bird flu scare when the government insisted all chickens were kept indoors. Thanks to the floodlight it has become the chickens winter home ever since. They are protected from the harsh weather and the light ensures we have eggs all year round. There was a giant haul waiting for the children to collect.
After the Lake
With a new driver upfront the tractor then takes everyone round the lake. Even on a damp winter weekend the scenery is beautiful with the snowdrops and winter gorse in flower.
One of the benefits of winter on the farm is how enthusiastic the animals are to come and say hello at breakfast time. Food in nature is scarce and so the morning grain and hay we bring is much needed.
By the time the tractor leaves to take the families back over the river to their cottages and lodges everyone is ready to cook with eggs for breakfast.
However for those in the know there is one more stop; our adorable guinea pigs. They have a giant shed to roam and a safe home for our guests to visit and revisit throughout the day.
Beat the January blues with a weekend away
Whether you fancy a few days in February half term or a weekend before Easter at our lowest prices, a winter break could be the boost you need to see you through to summer.
Posted on January 18th, 2019 - Fiona
Last week I shared our easy to make Christmas Crafts which formed the basis of a wonderful afternoon here on the farm on 23rd December. Today I’m looking back on our Christmas Eve 2018 through to Christmas Day Programme. I believe that having made the effort to prepare Christmas ahead of schedule and pay for a holiday with us, our guests deserve to relax, unwind and let us take the pressure of Christmas. Activities start from the moment they arrive.
An itinerary to plan around
Each property has a copy of the Christmas schedule ready on arrival, so trips out to the beaches and local attractions can be planned around our all included fun on the farm.
Meet Santa on the Coombe Mill Train
On Christmas Eve our daily train runs earlier than usual to allow for extra laps and extra time. The tunnel is decorated as an elaborate Christmas Grotto throughout the festive period in anticipation of Christmas Eve when Father Christmas takes up residence at the end of the tunnel together with a sack of toys.
Being a good sport one of my own children dressed up as a Santa helper to drive the train and take the children round and round the little track, stopping with Santa in the Grotto.
There is nothing more rewarding for all the time and effort of setting this up than to capture the faces of the children as they come into the tunnel. As if the excitement of Christmas Eve afternoon wasn’t enough, this certainly added to their spirits.
Christingle at St Tudy
Our local village puts on a beautiful Christingle service. This lasts just under an hour for families on Christmas Eve. It is very participative for little ones and aimed at keeping their attention on this magical night. Along with their glow stick Christingle oranges, they come out of the beautiful service to discover Santa has hot footed from Coombe Mill to the Church. Here he is ready to hand out yet more presents under the village Christmas Tree. Even the parents are offered mulled wine and mince pies. It is a lovely touch and a chance for everyone to chat in the street. Thankfully it was incredibly mild and dry for everyone.
Party in the Games Room
Back at Coombe Mill we have a party in the games room. Here everyone can join us for a glass of Bucks Fizz and nibbles. A perfect treat before heading off home to hang up stockings. That busy Father Christmas has to move fast to leave the village and hocked up with his sleigh for the night.
A later than usual feed run on Christmas Morning sees Farmer Nick as Santa ready to take the children round the animals. There is always a big question mark over whether our Rudolph had been out working all night or snoozing in the field? One we will never know!
Fancy joining us for Christmas 2019?
If you fancy wrapping your family up in the wonder of a Coombe Mill style Christmas holiday do take a look at our bookings. We take short breaks and full weeks and offer 10 nights for the price of 7 leaving on 27 or 28th December. If Christmas is very much a home event for you, why not join us from the 27th and celebrate New Year here on the farm.
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2018 Family Holiday Activities