August is always the month The Composer looks forward to.  Why? Well, to say it’s the ‘best’ month may be unfair to the other 11 in a year, but the real pleasure of August is that we see all our visiting families enjoying ‘Composers’ and making great use of Play Paddock and play area.  The best part for us is knowing that parents and families REALLY do enjoy this facility – and keep telling us so! Guests say “it’s simply the best thing you did”

When The Composer and Mrs C came to Woodlands, we always joke that we bought a bungalow, some land,  ramshackle outbuildings and a chicken run with 10 chicks and a cockerel – we also ‘inherited’ a gardener – but that’s another story!!

10 years ago, we knew nothing about chickens! We stood and looked at the fluffy animals and their guardian (the cockerel) who eyed us with suspicion – he also could smell fear (we oozed it like an overused deodorant!)  We assumed we fed them – though not sure how often – as the previous owner left us a pile of corn.  In return for the corn feeding we found ourselves knee deep in eggs every day and  soon discovered that the big bale of shavings and wood chip ensured our brood had a copious quantity of warm, dry and clean bedding. This needed changing every week!  It also took almost as long as turning over a property for our paying guests!!  OK, so put simply – we looked after them and they looked after us!

After 4 years of 24/7/365 attention, several thousand eggs and a ‘replenishment of stock’ due to the fact that chickens do eventually ‘give up ‘ laying eggs, we decided that it was time to stop trying to be farmers!  We took stock. Looking at the area their bijou residence occupied, a check up on the amount of time we spent looking after them and the possibility of more productive uses, led us to clear the area, set up the Play centre and re-develop the paddock for the benefit of our guests.  The result – simply the best solution for us all.

Now some 6 years on we know we did the right thing!  By the way, the last of the chickens were taken carefully to a new home where the owners couldn’t wait to start ‘looking after chickens’ – ah well, each to their own!