goats, pigs and poultry to see and sometimes feed and handle and there is a good balance between fun and education. "I am very keen that visitors realise that animals are raised for food and are not just cute and fluffy," says Catherine – pointing out a panel depicting a sheep with lift up sections showing the cuts of meat the quarters provide.
The museum collection is fascinating for old and young alike, with its delivery carts, churns and measures, milk processing and packing equipment. A shop front showing a typical Victorian town dairy shop has some beautifully decorated tiles, ceramic milk churns and porcelain cows and milkmaids and decorative swans that can filled with eggs for sale.
Its all a far cry from todays utilitarian dairy counters which are downright boring by comparison. Perhaps the Victorians knew a bit more about marketing than we give them credit for today.
Longdown Dairy Farm is open daily until Oct 31. (Tel 01703-293326).
This informal friendship club has more than 60 groups nationwide and is open to all female readers of FW. Details from Jean Howells (0181-652 4927)
Wed, Apr 14, 7pm. Meet at the Hirsel Gallery, Coldstream where silversmith Pat Young will show us what she makes. Please note change of time. Contact
Liz Niven (01890-860605) by Apr 12.
Sat, Apr 24, 2pm. Meet at Victory Hall, Dalston for a talk with slides A Journey to India by Mr and Mrs Norman Knapton. Contact Zanna Johnston (01228-523847).
Tue, Apr 20, 12.30pm. Meet at Cadeleigh Village Hall for lunch followed by floral arrangement demonstration by Shirley Lake. Contact Margaret Reed (01363-866392) by Apr 16.
Tue, Apr 20, 7pm. Meet at Pembridge Hall for Antiques Evening by Geoffrey Crofts followed by buffet supper in aid of charity. Contact Janie Manning
(01544-318328) or Gwen Phillips (01544-318242). Jean Howells hopes to be there.
Mon, Apr 26, 7.30pm. Meet at Llanwarne Court for floral art demonstration by Malcolm Willis. Tickets £8 including supper. Contact Ionwen Williams (01981-540385).
Tue, Apr 20, 12.30 for 1pm. Meet at Gs Restaurant, The Yew Tree, Priors Frome for spring luncheon. Jean Howells hopes to be there. Contact Mrs H. Phillips (01531-670411).
Wed, Apr 21, 7.30pm. Spring supper at Arties Mill, Brigg. Names by Apr 19 to Margaret Gratton (01652-678218).
Mon, Apr 12, 7 for 7.30pm. Meet at Fronoleu Farm Hotel, Dolgellau for cookery demonstration by Wendy Jones. Contact Rona (01678-540643).
Wed, Apr 14, 10.30am. Meet at Elsie Jones home 83a Cromer Road, Holt for talk Laughter in Court by Maurice Taylor. Contact Elsie Jones (01263-711061).
Wed, Apr 21, 12 for 12.30pm. Meet for lunch at The Carriage House, Higham Ferrers followed by 2pm visit to Dodson and Horrells Mill at Ringstead. Names by Apr 14 to Rita White (01604-810351).
Wed, May 19. Coach leaves New Cattle Market, Brackmills, Northampton at 9am, High Street, Wellingborough 9.30am for visit to Sandringham. Contact Rita White (01604-810351).
Thur, Apr 15, 12.15pm. Meet at Gates Nurseries, Cold Overton, Oakham for ploughmans lunch. Contact Isobel White (01572-822387).
Wed, Apr 14, 6.30pm. Meet at Buccleugh Arms Hotel, St Boswells for bar supper and gardening talk with slides by Teyl-De-Bordes. Contact Netta Harvey (01890-850227).
Wed, Apr 21, 9am. Coach leaves Taunton market car park for visit to Cardiff Castle and gardens. Contact Eileen Harding (01823-672731) or
Mary Organ (01398-331880).
Tue, Apr 27. Coach leaves Lichfield lorry park 8.30am, Eaton Lodge 9am, Darlaston 9.30am for visit to Charlottes Ice Cream Parlour near Dewsbury then on to Holmfirth and Betley Factory Shop followed by a meal at the Fox Inn, Brotherton. Contact Iobel Smith
(01543-480678) by Apr 13.
Mon, Apr 19, 10.30am. Meet at Westwood Home Farm for Poetry Round the Fireside by Alex James followed by lunch. Limited to 40 members. Contact Kay Ballard (01299-896238).
AN OSTRICH, KIWI STYLE…
MY brother has bought an ostrich. Just the one. Ive no idea why it should have seemed like a good idea to him. After all, Alan lives in a New Zealand city. To us Brits thats really a large village, but even so his quarter of an acre plot is hardly the stuff of agriculture.
Like many farmers, Alan seems to survive on the barter system. Some time ago he did some work for a neighbour and in return received a young pig. Not keen on the idea of the animal living in his garden and eating his prize fruit and veg, Alan took it along to a nearby pig farmer. Yes, agreed the man, he would be happy to keep the newly christened Francis (named after the famous Mr Bacon) in return for a regular supply of pig food. Alan had recently repaired a sewing machine for the manager of a staff canteen and was owed a favour, so very soon daily tins of food scraps were transported from the city centre to the pig farm (all of half a mile) until the day arrived for Francis to fulfil his lifes destiny.
New Zealand butchers have an excellent system, which could well be copied over here. Take in half a beast and tell him you want four roasting joints, three family sized pies, 6lb of mince and the rest turned into sausages made to your old grandmothers secret recipe, and a week or so later the goods are ready for collection. Theyll even swear an oath not to reveal your secret ingredients to a living soul.
As Francis had been more or less free, Alan decided that instead of asking the butcher to make the leg into a ham, he would try to do it himself. Hes a great experimenter, is Alan. Following the instructions from an old library book, he immersed the meat in brine and left it to soak while he did a conversion on his barbecue, fitting a cover and putting in a chimney to carry the smoke to a small box. In due course the leg of pork was placed in the smoke box, wood shavings were lit and Alan, diligently tending the fire, sat back and waited for the advised length of time.
The great day finally arrived and with some excitement and ceremony, Alan opened the box. The sight that greeted him was not the one he had hoped for. Instead of the beautiful, golden smoked ham hed envisaged, there was a writhing, squirming heap of maggots. It would have to be consigned to the bin. A Maori neighbour was horrified. This was an appalling waste of perfectly good food. He offered to buy the joint; after all whats wrong with a few maggots? Its just extra protein! Alan couldnt bring himself to even think of the leg being eaten and refused to sell. The last remains of Francis were interred at the bottom of the garden.
As for the ostrich, (Alan wont tell me his name, so it must be rude), he is living on a local ostrich farm, and has just become a proud father. So now Alan must make the big decision. Does he keep his share of the chicks and rear them for breeding stock, ultimately becoming one of that happy band of impoverished yeomen? Or should he fatten them and sell them for their meat and much prized feathers? Or maybe a better idea is to just relax and enjoy the thought of all those lovely, huge, free range omelettes.
An angel of mercy to Bombay street kids
* IDDEN away in Suffolk is a delightful village called Castle Hedingham, where all the houses are either timber-framed or painted in lovely bright colours. Essex and Suffolk FWC held their March meeting in a beautifully decorated room behind the Bell Inn. Starting with coffee and chatter which echoed along with the creaking floorboards from the domed, wedgwood style painted ceiling, the members soon changed their mood whilst listening to their morning speaker.
An incredibly caring lady called Valerie Mulcare-Tivey turned out to be an angel of mercy. She works as a paramedic but, in her spare time and when funds permit , runs clinics for the street children of Bombay.
Her dedication to these poor children started many years ago when she was travelling back from Singapore with her parents. Although just 11-years-old, she vowed to return one day to help. Her clinics deal with the many problems that go with the extreme poverty of the orphans. Many of them are HIV-positive, riddled with maggots and between each of her visits many will die.
Her visits to the leper colony where the late Princes of Wales was photographed holding a baby are something that we in this country find difficult to comprehend. Contact leader Edna Philp wished her well on our behalf and a collection was made for her much needed work.
In the afternoon we had a speaker who is a dedicated mother who helped her graduate daughter out of the familiar problem of no job once qualified. Jackie Wisbey saw an advertisement for graduates to teach English in Japan and before too long was visiting her daughter Anita in the Land of the Rising Sun. She thrilled us with slides of her visit and we all came away having learned much of the Japanese way of life, so different from our own.
Above: Essex and Suffolk contact leader Edna Philp. Left: Valerie Mulcare-Tivey with some of the girls at the orphange for street children in Bombay. Below: Tricia Gooding writes out a cheque from members to help Valerie with her work.