Once upon a time, I used to read a great many magazines indeed. Now I am not sure if I outgrew them, or if they became stale, but I don't read nearly so many now. One that I still adore and cannot wait to read each month is Country Living. When I have finished each copy, I like to go through and cut out pictures and articles to make a scrapbook.
Imagine how pleased I was to find an article about my own little corner of the world! Each month they have feature a place and the food that is produced there- and this month it is the turn of the Dengie Peninsular, and the main part of the article was about Springstep Farm. If you drive out of the bottom of the town that my Mum lives in, and head into the countryside for 5 minutes, you end up at the end of a twisty turny lane, and just as you think that you must surely be lost, you find yourself on Springstep Goat Farm.
We spent a very happy Sunday afternoon there, and if you get a chance to go, do. Half of the goats are outside where they enjoy the sunshine. The other half are in a barn, which you can wander around and look at. Then there is a large pond, and some lovely garden to walk around. We found a little path that led into the dappled shade of the woods, and followed it. To our surprise, we came out in front of a tiny, tumbledown church. Although it is not used any more, it is still consecrated. I love the idea of farm workers walking through twisty paths from nearby farms to go to church, over a hundred years ago. For a picture or two, visit here:
After we had explored there, and I had planned weddings for all my single friends to Mr Darcy, taking place at the church, bedecked with candles, we wandered back to the farm. The farmhouse has two lovely cool rooms in which you can take tea, but we opted to sit outside under a leafy tree instead. You can have cows milk instead, but unless you ask for it, all the dairy products served are goats milk based. You really cannot tell! We had pots of tea, and delicious soft goats cheese and tomato sandwiches, followed by another pot of tea, and simply enormous scones which were still warm from the oven, served with pots of jam (which tasted suspiciously like Wilkin and Sons jam to me!) and cream. All that for under £6!
After our delicious leisurely lunch, we had another walk to see the goats. Imagine how delighted we were to realise that one of the goats had given birth only moments before, and then went on to have another baby while we were there! We made a quick trip to the farm shop before going home. They do the most wonderful ice cream- I chose a tub of coffee because it is slightly bitter rather than sweet, and makes the most wonderful drink if you blend it with a cup of cold coffee and a splash of Tia Maria, Rum or Brandy!