Tag Archives: Glastonbury

Pizza Night

20 Feb

Hi, I’m Vicki and I write a blog called ‘Normal for Glastonbury’ all about living in Glastonbury. Jill, your host at Middlewick, has kindly commissioned me to write some posts about the town on Middlewick’s blog. She invited me along to one of their popular and regular pizza nights, where locals and visitors are invited to meet and mingle while eating heaps of delicious pizza.

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To offset the calories I made the short and almost flat journey from town to Middlewick by bicycle, arriving just after 5.30 for the first part of the evening. I arrived to find a number of families assembling their own pizzas from dough (prepared by friendly chef Keren) and numerous toppings, which they then took outside to the wood fired oven where they were expertly cooked by Jill’s friendly team.

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Waiting for my own creation to be ready at the pizza oven and sitting around the big tables in the function room gave me an excuse to talk to everyone and ask them what brought them to Middlewick, while they tried to answer with a mouthful of hot dough and stringy cheese.

I met a Japanese lady with her husband who had been living in Brighton, but had enjoyed their many stays at Middlewick so much that they had moved to Glastonbury six months ago. She commented that she went out more in Glastonbury than Brighton because there was more going on in, which both surprised and pleased me. Her pizzas were delightfully symmetrical.

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One of Jill’s visitors was Justin, a Chinese Canadian boy who goes to school in Taunton, and particularly impressed me by turning the ‘make a funny face pizza’ concept into an art form, complete with sweetcorn beard. Someone commented it looked like Jesus, but I thought it was more like Cheesus.

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If there had been a prize for best pizza it would have gone to Justin. However, this nutella and marshmallow creation, constructed by a small child who couldn’t understand why we were all laughing, would have to be awarded the boobie prize….

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A family from London were talking about their visit to Glastonbury Lake Village Museum above the Tourist Information Centre in the Tribunal. The TIC staff had seemed surprised that anyone should want to go upstairs to the museum and pointed out that they would have to turn the lights on especially for them. They then found a couple of the lightbulbs had blown making the museum gloomy and some of the exhibits were hard to see. It seems a shame that when Glastonbury has such a fascinating history the museum is hidden away and under visited.

The kids were clearly enjoying making their own pizzas. Some had perhaps not realised they were welcome to make as many pizzas as they liked, and appeared to be working on the ‘eat as much as you can pile on a plate’ principle, with multiple toppings stacked four inches high and in danger of melting into a huge puddle on the stone of the oven. At a previous pizza night someone came up with a pepperoni and marshmallow combination, strangely this doesn’t appear to be a popular choice. Here is my nutella and marshmallow creation.

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I was fascinated to meet Soso, a Glastonbury artist originally from Norway, who makes beautiful, detailed fantasy characters, and fantasy and historical costumes. You can see some of her work here on her Alderworlds website.

I also chatted to a visiting family from Newcastle, a reflexologist from Frome with her very entertaining son (who talked me through his choice of toppings with Jamie Oliver like enthusiasm) and a local organic fruit and veg seller.

I really enjoyed my evening, the people, the pizza and the Orchard Pig cider from the well stocked bar. Jill is a very funny, friendly and accommodating host and clearly loves bringing locals and visitors to the town together. She told me that local farmers often along in Summer, so I look forward to more pizza nights where I can hopefully indulge my enthusiasm for talking about tractors, and Glastonbury.

To read more about life in Glastonbury, England’s oddest town, please check out my blog at Normal for Glastonbury.

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Treasure Hunting in Somerset. My favourite places to shop for unique finds.

6 Jul

I am not a fan of shopping, well not ordinary shopping.  Going into a High Street Chain store and seeing foreign made goods stacked up and sold cheap has never appealed to me. I do however, like Treasure Hunting.  Treasure Hunting is how I describe my secret shopping trips off to hideaway shops in Somerset.   I can disappear for hours without warning and then come back to Middlewick with a car full of exciting finds.

Now I guess I shouldn’t be revealing my secret shops but as my cottages are getting pretty full now with all the bits I have picked up, I am happy to share.

On our doorstep here in Glastonbury are my 2 favourites.  Glastonbury Reclamation and Wells Reclamation are a few minutes drive from us here at Middlewick.  Both are bursting at the seams with interesting finds.  I spend a lot of time shopping here and you will find many of my purchases in our cottages.

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Myakka FairTrade Furniture is a company based down the road in Wincanton.  They have a shop attached to their head office where you can pick up slightly damaged pieces.  There are some that have slight scratches or bumps and some do need repair work. One of my cottages, TorView has been decorated entirely with repaired Myakka furniture.

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Now the person who usually helps me with all my furniture projects is John Tucker Carpentry who also has a few treasures hanging around his workshop.  Quite a few of his upcycled and new creations you can see dotted around our cottages.  The headboard in the Cabin from some old shutters and a coffee table made from a wardrobe door from Russet are two of his.  For Glastonbury Festival we borrowed a few bits and pieces from him to decorate including a pop-up bar, some wooden stags heads and the coolest comic book table.  The table and the stags heads he has for sale if you fancy a little bit of quirky Glastonbury to take home.

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Owen Barry are a family owned leather and sheepskin factory based in Street.  The factory has been manufacturing there since 1948.  Attached to the factory is an outlet where you can buy samples and slight seconds.  Here you will find some amazing interior furnishings at really reasonable prices.  For Glastonbury Festival they decorate our function room with gorgeous beanbags, cushions and rugs.   They also make the leather cow doorstops  which we are always a topic of conversation here at Middlewick.

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The Green House in Ilminster is a bit of drive from us here in Glastonbury but well worth it.  Here you will find some gorgeous upcycled furniture made by the talented Georgina Spencer.  You will find her lights on many of my bedside tables and my favourite piece of hers is the fossil table in Bramley Cottage.

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Emporium in Yeovil is a treasure trove of goodies.  With an array of individual traders including OohLaLa Lampshades there is always something interesting.  Add to this a fantastic cafe upstairs you can spend many hours browsing.

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Bath & West Giant Flea Market and Antiques Markets.  My idea of heaven.  Dozens of stallholders selling the weird and wonderful.  I have picked up so many interesting pieces at these shows.  The bed in Blenheim, tables in Russet and Appletree as well as quite a few of the paintings that you find on the cottage walls.

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Happy Treasure Hunting.  Let me know what you find on your adventures.

Bird Watching in Somerset

2 Feb

I wrote this back in January but thought I would repost it today as I say goodbye to a lovely group of Bird Watchers that have been staying here with us in Glastonbury.

They were with us all week exploring the wonderful Nature Reserves in our area and they were so pleased to have spotted 99 different species of birds while they were here(to be honest I didn’t know there were that many here in Somerset- but what do I know)

They even managed to see 2 of the Great Cranes that are now found in the wild here in Somerset after an absence of over 400 years. For more information on this project you can visit this site Great Crane Project

The group also heard the most booming bitterns they have ever heard.  If you have never heard them before – click on this link and it will take you to  what they sound like. Listen to the Booming of a Bittern

If you want to learn more about the birds of Somerset there are some great Bird Watching events, for both beginners and regular birdwatchers. If you follow the link below you will see some of the courses offered at the Avalon Marshes Centre on the Somerset Levels.  Avalon Marshes Centre

Here is my ramblings on  from January 2016

Just a few miles from us here at Middlewick lies the Avalon Marshes where you will find RSPB Ham Wall and Shapwick Heath Nature Reserves.   On a cold weekend in January I had the pleasure of taking part in an organised bird watching walk with a couple of the RSPB volunteer guides.

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View of Glastonbury Tor from Ham Wall Nature Reserve

I regularly use the Nature Reserve for my marathon training runs.  I get dropped off at the end of the reserve and run back to Glastonbury along the disused railway line that runs through the lakes and rivers of the marshes. Today though instead of running through I took the time to explore the area properly and learn about the many birds that make the area their home.

6000 years ago most of what is now Somerset’s Levels and Moors was open water and reedbed.  Over time the reedbed was replaced by wet woodland and then by a raised bog. This formed layers of peat. In the late 20th century the demand for horticultural peat was high and the local peat industry expanded rapidly. Huge quantities of peat were removed from the area leaving behind a scarred landscape.

These stripped areas of land were passed on the RSPB in the mid 1990s to re-create vital reedbeds for struggling bird populations in the UK.  The land was dug out and shaped with machines and then thousands of reeds were planted by hand.

The main focus for the RSPB was to help with the threatened Bittern population in the UK.  Prized as a medieval banquet dish and hit by hunting and the loss of its reedbed habitat, the Bittern became extinct in the UK in 1886.  The bird returned to Norfolk in 1900 and by the 1950s there were 80 booming males again.  The population of the Bittern then declined again and was down to only 11 booming males when the Ham Wall Nature Reserve was established.

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Bittern

 

In 2008 all the hard work of the volunteers paid off and the first pair of Bitterns returned to the Somerset Levels.  The population has grown every year and according to this year’s figures the UK’s top county for Bitterns is Somerset, with over 40 booming males. 20 of these were in the Ham Wall Nature Reserve.

Other birds that have benefitted from the work on the nature reserve have been The Great White Egret.  I was fortunate to see one while we were on our walk and with only 35 of them in the whole of the UK that was an unexpected treat.

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Great White Egret

 

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Great White Egret

 

We spotted Teal, Gadwell, Shovellers, and Wigeons which are all on the RSPB Amber list as the population is in decline.

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The guides who took us on our walk were so full of amazing knowledge of the birds and the area. So much work has gone into creating this natural paradise for wetland wildlife.  There is so much to see and do on the Nature Reserves and the best way to find out the latest events is to go on the Avalon Marshes or the RSPB websites. http://www.avalonmarshes.org/

http://www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/seenature/reserves/guide/h/hamwall/

I like the sounds of the Mr Boombastic walk to visit the Bitterns. They take place in April and booking is essential as I know they fill up quickly.

http://www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/seenature/events/details.aspx?id=tcm:9-412661

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