Sunday, 23 November 2008

Tea and cake.

We have just returned from what was supposed to be tea and cakes with our favourite farmers. We got rather more than we bargained for, with a delicious soup to start made from the pigs that we shared a field with. Excellent I thought, racking up mere food metres for a delicious feast. Then came the scary bit. Mrs Farmer emerged from the kitchen with a chopping board on which there was a strange looking sausage.

It was about a 14 inches long, sheathed in plastic and about the thickness of my arm, tied at each end with string. It, we learned was something called Brawn. When the pigs were slaughtered, 7 pigs worth of meat was returned from the abattoir, including heads, hearts, livers and all. Mrs Farmer has been diligently making pate, brawn, sausages and a huge variety of other pig based products, nothing from head to trotter was wasted.

We got to sample the head, which had been boiled until all of the meat emerged from the lips, cheeks and heaven knows where else. After establishing that there was no brain or tongue within this daunting looking parcel, we were instructed to put our allotted slice onto a bit of bread, smother it in raw onions and vinegar and then chomp away. TLB was not entirely enamoured by the idea and was looking quite green by the end. I actually quite enjoyed it, remarking that it was not unlike a multi textured pork pie. I was quite disappointed that there was no brain to sample, purely because I could have decided once and for all whether I preferred brains over brawn. I'll get my coat.

We talked about straw bale buildings and shower blocks and the farmer seems pretty keen to go and have a nose about at the Sustainability Centre so I reckon we may be onto something, I shall keep you posted on the result. The farmers do seem to be very forward thinking about the use of their land. They already have a sizeable wind turbine and though most of their farming activities are barely beyond subsistence, they could quite happily survive on veg and pig heads were the revolution to turn up unannounced.

We have asked about extending our stay here beyond the initially stated duration and were very warmly invited to stay for as long as we wanted which is really good to know. I have already bagsied a Turkey from amongst our neighbours and now all we need to do is work out how to roast the bugger in a tent. How exciting. It would appear that Christmas in the tent is a goer.

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