We are so lucky to live right here. We have the bustle of Witney as our local town, and we are surrounded by some of the most beautiful countryside in the UK. Whilst Witney is thriving, with new businesses opening all the time, not everyone makes their living that way. There are many working farms in this area, and for most of them it is very hard work for little reward. One of the highlights of the rural community's calendar is the FFF&B Ploughing Match held at the end of September each year. (Not the catchiest title - it stands for Faringdon, Fairford, Filkins & Burford). This year's event on 26th September was blessed by extraordinarily good weather- it really felt as if the summer was having one last stretch before curling up and making way for the autumn.
It is a very well supported and organised event, and this year was held at Home Farm in Kelmscott (also home to Kelmscott Country Pork who provide our sausage meat for Coffeesmith). I took the dogs and the children- Rob was working at the cafe as it was a Saturday, and two of my students who are from Macau, China. It was fun to see the event through their eyes- they were totally gobsmacked, and couldn't really get their heads around it, but fuelled by ice-creams and mini-doughnuts, they entered into the spirit of things!
We sat on straw bales in the baking heat in the middle of a huge field watching the falconry display which had come from Milletts Farm. The birds were truly awe inspiring and we made a mental note to go down to Milletts ourselves and see them again.
Next up was the Terrier Racing- Bingo Little was shoehorned into this race, and we all felt very proud to hear his name being announced over the tannoy!
Arthur was in charge of dog-handling and managed to squash Bingo into the trap for the starting line up, alongside our next door neighbour's dog, Murphy and a couple of others. We sat waiting for the start with bated breath, the children chanting Bingo, Bingo, Bingo. The traps were opened with the starting pistol...............and Bingo promptly walked out and ambled over to my seat wagging his tail, completely untroubled by the fierce race being played out directly behind him. Murphy could only be cajoled to run by our neighbour George running the length of the field in front of him. All in all, we decided that Bingo has other talents. There were no surprises in the other dog race where Nemo the greyhound retained his crown from last year. No wonder the students were perplexed by this very British of events!
Many local agricultural businesses have stands here and it is a great marketing opportunity for them. An animal rescue charity had a tent of reptiles which children could pet.
Our two greatly enjoyed that until Sophia was startled by a snake and dropped it- luckily it was recaptured swiftly, and we slunk off to the fairground rides before a long walk home across the fields for tea and cake. It was an unusual but fun day out and I can definitely recommend it next year.
There is something so beautiful about a freshly ploughed field; the work that has gone into it; the earth full of promise, ready to be planted with next season's crop. It got me thinking about another crop, far away on two special haciendas in Brazil and Colombia- coffee plants growing there now. Soon, their green beans will be harvested and set afloat on their journey across the sea to Britain, destined to end up at Coffeesmith. It's almost time.......Coffeesmith's very own beans, carefully chosen and roasted by us. Can't wait..........