Nancy’s first day & Sunday ramble

Hello from a gloriously Autumnal Sunny Sunday in Somerset.  I write to you this morning in slight discomfort entirely self-inflicted, and brought about by significant over indulgence!  Before you jump to the obvious, and not entirely unfair conclusion, that the demon drink is involved you are wrong it is actually entirely the fault of Stanley (5).  At about 5.30am yesterday morning Stan having kicked his mother enough to ensure that however hard she kept pretending “I know you are awake” he announced that “whatever full English is that’s what I want for breakfast”.  Having by now regained the ability to speak, if not open my eyes, I suggested that if he tried to go back to sleep I promised to make him a full English on Sunday morning.  This was not an entirely successful deal as he would not try until he knew exactly what would be on his plate.  By the time I had finished listing this all three of us decided that we were now famished and how long was it before breakfast.  It was alas only 6am.  So this morning true to my word we had an enormous cooked breakfast consisting of everything including the deadliest of them all – fried bread which I genuinely don’t think I have made since I was a student, and like all really bad things for you it was utterly delicious!  However the meal did not pass off without incident.  I am, and have always been, a Tomato man (not tinned).  My wife and it would appear all my children are supporters of the baked bean.  I consider those to be wrong on every level and an insult to the breakfast plate, they apparently feel the same about black pudding so after much posturing and a good deal of “Don’t be an arse Daddy” everyone eventually got the plate they required and now as a result I can barely move!

 

This ridiculously gluttonous start to the day also ensured that I tasted a lot of different bits from our own shelves which I raided after we closed last night.  Two different types of sausage, Pork and Parsnip and Pork and Cider, smoked streaky bacon and black pudding all of which were really delicious and definitely worth a reminder from me to you that they are all available on line at www.brownandforrest.co.uk As are our September Box which contains

Smoked salmon, smoked mackerel, trout fillets, whole smoked duck breast, and whole cider cured pork tenderloin. All delivered for a price of £35. It is also the last few days that our whole side of hot smoked salmon is available for £32 delivered and what has proved to be our immensely popular ‘Sausage Box’ which contains three different varieties of sausage for just £20 delivered.

You can of course order what ever takes your fancy by calling Amber in the office tomorrow on 01458 250875.

 

The other big news to share with you is that yesterday we officially became a real family business as of 9am yesterday morning Nancy (14) joined the Brown and Forrest payroll to work in the shop every other Saturday.  I can’t pretend that this has ever been some deep rooted ambition of mine but it is quite a lovely feeling and of course finding young folk who will happily work for £1.00 an hour seems to be getting harder and harder!?  As I told her it’s what I started on and the more she sold the more she would earn.  I know some folk will think that almost 100% commission based pay for a 14 year old is unfair and probably illegal, but we will soon find out if she can sell or not!  It has made me think of my first job, which having refused to work in my folks restaurant in Lewes (East Sussex) was told that that was fine but I’d better go and get a job somewhere as cricket bats, rugby balls, trainers, tennis racquets and of course reverse charged phone calls from the golf club requesting collection did not, somewhat surprisingly to me at the time, grow on trees and all would quickly dry up if I did not start to contribute to their existence!  My response was to get a job at my favourite place of them all John Edwards sport shop on cliff high street in Lewes.  I loved it and John being a total sport fanatic always let me work half days in the summer to play cricket in the afternoons.  He was a great teacher too and taught me so much about selling and service and the importance of trust and professional integrity.  He was also jolly good at making you realise that should you ever turn up on a Saturday morning with a hangover it might be the last thing you ever did!  Having played second row at a very high level of rugby football with cauliflower ears and a ridged forehead to match his 6ft 4” stature I can confirm that it jolly nearly was!

Enough of my inane drivel.  I hope you have a very restful Sunday and remember, if a 14 year old tries to sell you something in a shop on a Saturday think twice before declining as it may be the difference between wages or no wages!

My very best regards,

Jess

Midweek ramble –

Good morning from a slightly darker damper Somerset. Luckily the trout I have just taken out from the smoker having been hard at it since “sparrows fart” (my darling dads phrase I’m afraid) this morning are looking anything but dark and damp so all is well with the world on that basis. One of the things that I like to cling too when all around us are orders and rules and mayhem is that there will always be some things that never change.

Having rung my much loved Mum very early this morning when she and dad were still in bed clasping their essential mugs of very strong tea she proved that point again. Having established what their views were on our illustrious leaders I asked if anything else was afoot. At this moment she removed her Mother hat and replaced it with her biggest Church Warden bonnet. She then launched into a tale of weddings and wedding flowers on Saturday, followed by ‘Harvest festival ‘ on Sunday and how having been promised by all the main players of the nuptials that they would leave their wedding flowers for the week of Harvest festival she had been delighted as all she had to do was rely on Neil the local farmer to produce seven magnificent pumpkins. Of course what happened was on Saturday night when dad went to lock the church the flowers had gone and all that remained were the fortunately, magnificent pumpkins! It’s a dangerous hobby crossing my mother but to do it and involve church flowers and leaving their beloved church (it really is the most wonderful place) bare for harvest festival is approaching the realms of a death wish!

We are still busy here and have Sausage Boxes £20 delivered. September Boxes £35 delivered and whole sides of hot smoked salmon £32 delivered on offer for you as well as all our other delicious offerings. You only have 24 hours left to order in time for us to deliver to you for your weekend feasting.

I hope you have a good rest of week and remember the world really does keep turning and things that matter like church flowers and harvest festivals will still be done. As will calling up ones folks early in the morning to hear what’s going on beyond the madness.

My very best regards to you all,

Jess

Mrs Ps birthday!

I hope you are in fine fettle and not allowing your self to become too disheartened or indeed totally confused by what we are and are not allowed to do, with how many people, in what order, under cover or alfresco, with one trouser leg rolled up and ones left index finger in your right ear whilst facing East! If anyone does work it out before I split the atom later today I would be most grateful to know! Madness to one side its been a big week in our household as all four of the loons returned to school which three days in appears to have been a huge success although Charlie did feel the need to inform me as I left this morning that it might be rather a “long weekend” as “we already have 4 VERY tired Children”. That has clearly prompted me to ensure that I am now smoking 400 chicken breasts on Saturday so sadly won’t be there to don my riot gear and prevent the inevitable blood shed until at least half of them are in bed on Saturday evening! Before you think it, yes I am indeed a coward and this missive is exactly how Mrs P will discover that she is flying solo on Saturday!

My view throughout the last 6 months and will be going forward is that all we can do is take a deep breath and smile and do our best to help others to follow suit. My pathetic way of doing this is rather unsurprisingly food! So, if you would like anything from a September Box or a hot smoked side of salmon to a selection of pates and some goats cheese to give yourself a gastronomic lift or to send to a chum that maybe feeling a little glum then just go to www.brownandforrest.co.uk or call me in the office on 01458 250875 and we will get whatever you fancy delivered to any door of your choosing. You have up until midday tomorrow to ensure things arrive in time for the weekend.

We are living in uncertain times and it would appear that the water is about to get a bit choppy again but feel safe in the knowledge that everything will feel like a mill pond compared to the rolling seas I am about to find myself adrift in once Mrs P reads this and realises that I intend to spend at least half of the weekend in a different postcode to four exhausted children a mad dog and a soon to be physically violent wife!

My very best regards to you,

Jess

Losing track of time, fantastic smoked salmon & weekly ramble

We have the most glorious morning here in Somerset the air is almost crisp, the sky is blue as blue and the view from my desk here at the smokery is quite simply good for the soul.

It has been a brilliantly busy week here with so many folk placing lovely orders for this long weekend.  I have to confess to feeling more than a tad weary recently which is rather embarrassing as my amazing crew here have definitely been putting in longer shifts than me.

There are two major concerns that my weariness causes.  The first is that I yawn a lot and Amber whose throne is two meters away from mine literally looks murderously in my direction as she claims that I have the longest and noisiest yawns in the world and they appear to have the same effect on her as nails scraping down a blackboard have on so many others!  The other issue is a new one which has only presented itself in the last couple of mornings.  As is our way at home on a weekend morning I make tea and hot chocs and the loons congregate in our room.  The conversations that take place are never very normal as you can probably imagine but yesterday as I phased in and out Stan gave my face a little slap and said “Daddy we are waiting!” when I enquired “what for?” there was a collective sigh from all five of them and Stan said, completely seriously, “we want to know which of the Teletubbies would you like to throw off the Empire State Building and what you think would happen to them when they landed”.  I’m putting this most bizarre of questions down to my exhaustion as if I don’t then I fear I must follow the path of my own childhood and have them all psychologically tested!

One of the products that has been so popular this week is the whole side of sliced smoked salmon we have on offer for £35 delivered.  Due to its popularity we have had to step up production a bit and hence I have been unloading and reloading the kilns this morning.  I very nearly dropped a whole rack just now and as I turned to slide a rack out of the smoker daughter number 1 – Nancy was suddenly there brandishing her phone.  To say I jumped would be a slight understatement but the product of her labour is here for you to see.  I apologise for anyone who is offended by my Harlequin rugby jersey but it would be quite nice if they could beat Northampton today.  The photo does also capture the amazing colour of the salmon as a finished product quite nicely too I thought.  They remain on offer until close of play tomorrow as does the August Box.  It is also the last day and a half to get free delivery on any orders you place.  The offer finishes at midnight tomorrow so whatever you would like to order for whenever you would like it delivered, be it a birthday present in October or a dinner party in January if you place the order by tomorrow the delivery will be free.

Finally, I thought I ought to share something that happened this week that not only made me feel old as it was a clear example of the passage of time but also has made me fear for my future quite significantly.  On Thursday evening having decided we would have ‘Fajita Friday’ a day early (please don’t ask) I gained permission to pop to the local and meet a mate of mine called Ben for a quick catch up and a pint.  All was fine and as I left the house I suggested I would be back by 7pm at the latest.  One of the many issues that these mad times has caused is that one-way systems and queuing times in order to get ones libations have significantly added to the time it takes to have a pint (that is my story and I’m sticking to it).   So, having had to do this twice, and have a significant chat with Ben about the price of rugby international tickets at Twickenham in 1989 (it was £3 by the way) it was just after 7.15pm and fast approaching 7.30pm by the time I returned.  Now, I am not a complete fool so possibly expected a slight scolding and a moderately stern glare from Mrs P.  What I was not prepared for was that Mrs P was fine and the tirade that appeared to be bouncing off the kitchen walls was in fact pouring out of my 14-year-old daughter Nancy.  When I heard the phrase “7 o’clock should mean 7 o’clock and not 7.30!”  I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.  Supper was not quite ready and feeling a bit peckish I got myself a bag of crisps which before I could open were ripped from my hand by the same child with the words “you will spoil your supper if you eat those now”.  I knew then it was indeed time to cry as on the basis that she is only 14 and Edith who was cheering from the side-lines is 11, I am in really deep trouble for the next eight years at least!

I hope you manage to enjoy the elongated weekend and remember teaching children to tell the time can have serious consequences on ones social life in the future!

My very, very best regards,

Jess