Well! Talk about a TiFFT! * My life in Devon has been taking a new turn this week…
This week for the very first time in my life I had the cool experience of being shown around a proper working dairy farm. Wendy’s partner Graham (Wendy is the lovely neighbour who helps me down in Devon with the Retreat/Guest House in Sheepwash) has a farm and he told me all about their routine and how the cows are looked after etc.
Then I got down into the milking room ‘pit’ – having made sure I put the plastic apron on first – not that it happened, but considering you’re in a dip faced with several cows’ rear ends, it could have been messy! Anyway this is part of what happened, when at first, I was shown how to attach the little milking suction cups onto the teats of the cows.
Each cow gives around 20 litres per time, typically, the cups are so efficient it takes only a few minutes per cow; it’s all monitored and measured and then whizzes along super clean tubes to the huge chilled tank to await collection.
Then the cows go off following each other round to the feeding area where they get given special enhanced silage and go for a lay down afterwards!
Then came the big moment. I was then allowed to actually milk one by hand! It took a lot of concentration and I can’t imagine what it would have been like all those years ago to do it ALL by hand… actually I can – I can imagine exactly, now, having done it for about a minute! Lol! See below for what happened just after this in bloopers!
There was a new baby calf too having just been born that day. Now where I used to live in Dorking there were often cows in the nearby field, usually bullocks. I said ‘bullocks. And if you’re a regular from years ago you’ll know they scared the bejeezers out of my poor Labradors, specially old Holly! These however were far more docile and one even let me stroke it.
Had a lovely week helping again in the village shop, getting lots done and establishing myself as part of the community. Yes, I’m loving my Devon life!
Folly Farm, Bristol Ironically I also went away for the weekend and wrote 14,000 more words (at last!) of my next novel ‘French or Dutch’. Julie Cohen, or WingCo Cohen as we like to call her (!) was there, along with top agent Lizzy Kremer and ‘Mrs Julie’ (not really but they are a double act!) Rowan Coleman, also a talented author. Plus the humble and very lovely Miranda Dickinson (top-selling author) and Emma Garcia whose first novel is being made into a Hollywood movie starring (atm) Angelica Houston I think. Plus lots of my writing pals old and new, including our Jules!
And one of my bestest writing friends, Litty. It was a lovely focussed weekend and I’m so glad my head’s back ‘in the book’ as I like to say. So much so, that my blogs will be shorter from now on as I have to get the book written. We set goals and mine was to finish the first draft by end of March. So you can keep me to that!
Dinner – I cooked! And New Retreat Ideas Also had major success this week with my first retreat I have run on my own, including making dinner each evening! There was a lovely gang staying, including some of my friends. I had time to have some very good chats this week with the girls who came to Sheepwash to stay with me.
In particular, fabulous PR lady Christina Bowdon of @bowdonPR, who gave me tons of ideas about how we can widen the appeal for people to come.
She has a photographer who wants to book a week to bring his people to do one – which is great, as whilst there’s apparently a talented local photographer lady I’m waiting to come back to me with an outline of what to offer, it’s always good if people bring their own bookings.
Plus we were discussing that the village is on the cycle route and we could offer the typical service of delivering the cyclists’ luggage to their next hotel if they stayed with us. Or a yoga writing week. Plus an idea for a week focussed on carers, which went down well when I mentioned it on Facebook. Any ideas from you? Let me know by leaving a comment below, or email me firstname.lastname@example.org. More about Retreats for You is here.
Kitchen floor update! As the saga of the kitchen floor continued, I took the plunge, if you didn’t already know, and decided to get it cleaned, grouted and then sealed, instead of replacing it (I was swayed by those who said they loved it!) See last week’s blog for the scary pic mid-soda-crystal-blasting – indoor snow! Well the clean up continued most of this week, to be honest, with some drawers being full up of the white powder (ooer!)
But the final result was worth it – this is part of the floor having now been grouted and it means it can now be sealed. Hopefully you can spot the difference from the original… it’s hard to tell at the mo but hoping it’ll all be worthwhile! More soon.
Time Off for Good Behaviour My time off has been lovely, eleven days in fact, but I’m back to work on Saturday, then have a superb launch on Monday, where we’ll have a Nina Leonard tunic offer. Looking forward to getting back on Saturday evening too with Richard Jackson’s Garden at 7pm.
PS Richard Jackson will be bringing us his new Easy Clean gardening product, which helps prevent black mould, fungi, green algae.
All my paperbacks! Had a little mess around in the studio this week, including proudly laying out all my paperbacks so far – more about them here. And this week’s book of the week is an interesting one by one of the ladies who came to the writing retreat, Anjana Chowdhury who is very funny and a totally original fifty-something Indian rapper! Fab story too. Read more about Under the Pipal Tree here.
Latest from Devon more from my week in Sheepwash here this week – don’t forget to subscribe when the pop up asks, in order to get the latest news first! Includes what I was asked to do this week, for a local lady, which made me very chuffed and – again – something I’ve never done before!
Watch – The Moorside – on catch up if you’re quick. I have to say I’m a real Sheridan Smith fan. And she doesn’t disappoint in this docudrama about the disappearance of Shannon Matthews several years ago. It’s not really about her or even her mum, played brilliantly incidentally. It’s more about the devotion of the trusting best friend played by Sheridan, and how it comes to light that her pal has deceived not only her but the whole town and the nation. Heavy stuff but utterly compelling. If you like really good acting, do try watching this on iPlayer before it disappears!
Blooper – when the teat wouldn’t ‘work’…!
Facebook Funny – considering my week, this seemed apt!
This week on QVC
Don’t miss QVC’s Supersize Lulu’s Timebomb offer coming this Sunday!
Next week, the floor gets finished and interesting findings down in Devon…
*Try it for the First time!
Here’s this week’s Till the Fat Lady Slims testimonial –
From J Rowe!
“Debbie Flint’s ‘Till The Fat Lady Slims ‘ books have seriously changed my life! I have completely changed my whole outlook on my relationship between myself and food, I now know I hold the key to my own prison and thanks to these books I now have the freedom to eat anything as I have learnt to listen to my own body and mind and only eat when I am hungry. It’s amazing and totally makes complete sense, given the new knowledge and tools in 6 months after trying many different diets out there I dropped from a size 18 to a size 12 and now I also feel less fatigue and in control. This fortunately for me is not a crash diet or for a number of months that you may feel pressure if you slip, this is a life style which you take at you pace and no foods are ruled not. Once you change your habits you won’t look back. Thanks Debbie Flint looking forward to this.”
MY NOVELS, SHORT STORIES AND WEIGHT LOSS BOOKS – just go to my website for all the info on my writer page – it’s here.
My paperbacks – all online –
Don’t forget that my new TTFLs book is now out– go here to see it! And stand by for lots of inspirational messages on my Facebook groups too!