Geography homework, polar bears & teeth!

Good Morning from Pattisson Towers where to my right Nancy is wrestling with a particularly arduous piece of geography homework and to my left Mrs P is filling us in on what our illustrious leaders are apparently going to inflict on us next – 48 hours before they condescend to have the good manners to tell us to our faces!  I do my best to keep my powder dry on such things but that favoured methodology of communication really has begun to irritate almost as much as not understanding my geography homework!


Anyway, its been a very, very hectic week at the Smoke with a huge amount of deliveries from fish to bacon to packaging.  The size of the crew has swelled again with Jack joining us this week.  I did inform him that he might be a little weary and stiff come the end of his first week as there was a massive amount of lifting to do.  Quite rightly he looked at me and said he was quite fit and he would be ok.  However when we had our Friday bottle of beer before sending the crew home he did admit to me that he was a little bit broken and would probably sleep all weekend.  Luckily he also was good enough to tell me he had loved it which is always a relief.  We are suddenly a crew of 12 with more starting next week the pressure is ratcheting up but the mood is great and it’s with a good bit of excitement that we enter the busiest four weeks of the year.


The orders have been coming in at quite a pace both for delivery in the next few days but also of course for lovely gifts of food for folk for Christmas.  Amber, Steph and Charlotte in the office are almost consultant-like in their roles of taking orders and giving their asked for opinions on what best to have on Christmas menus.  The November Box has only one more week to run and has been one of the most popular boxes of the year delivered to your door for £35.  Looking at the calendar it also means that we only have one week left of our 10% off all orders (monthly boxes not included) so if you know you have orders you want to place, and gifts you would like to give, then get them placed before Midnight next Monday or you will have missed your 10% discount.


One of the weirdest things about our busiest time of year is that one tends to leave the house before anyone is awake and return after the boys at least are asleep.  So it was with a gasp of horror that when Stan clambered into bed between his Mother and I this morning gave me a hug and a huge grin it appeared as if he had had nearly all his teeth removed.  As his very overworked tooth Fairy, by the name of Teddy, suggests Stan will probably have to live off “Milkshakes and Ice cream” for the foreseeable!  He has significantly more gum than tooth at present as you can see.  I have checked with Mrs P that he has not gone in for bare knuckle fighting as a career or that he is earning money by eating bricks for a dare at school and she assures me he isn’t.  He has however taken up fighting polar bears with a wand which he apparently borrowed from Harry Potter.  We have, as I have previously mentioned, got two very large chillers stood in the car park at present and they have pictures of polar bears on the outside.  Somehow we managed to convince Stan that we had live bears inside and we were going to start smoking them as a new line?!  He clearly believed us and then got himself set to “take them down” as I opened the door.  Luckily he was true to his word and we all lived to fight another day!


I must away as Nancy is about to rip up every map in the house as an act of defiance against all geography teachers and Stan is now demanding ice cream at 10am as “Teddy my tooth fairy said I could”!  It could be a long day ahead…


I hope your day is more relaxing.


My very, very best regards,



Sunday ramble, Tyna’s birthday & delivery

Good morning, from a wind battered and beyond wet Somerset.  This morning is calm, crisp and beautiful but the last 24 hours have been a tad extreme!  It was raining so hard yesterday that carrying out the simple task of walking back and forth across the car park to our barn from the smokery I got so much water in my hearing aid that it totally packed up!  This is of course a cause of huge irritation to Mrs P as apparently at least 50% of the questions she has asked me today have received that brilliantly helpful answer of total silence.  I have to confess that a theoretical day of rest with the volume significantly reduced is not an entirely unpleasant prospect, and on that basis I may put off simply checking that in fact a new battery is all that’s required for as long as I can!


Whether it was being given a slightly feminine name at birth, or having an abundance of strawberry blond hair, or simply that I have never been entirely conventional I was never one of those boys that wanted to be a train driver or a fireman or indeed  lorry driver.  That was until this week when the two shipping container fridges I have hired for the Christmas period were delivered.  They arrived on a articulated lorry with a huge trailer attached and a massive crane built into it.  The chap driving was a lovely Welshman called Christopher who then proceeded to attach massive chains to each in turn and then with his remote control lift them off the lorry and place them with pin point accuracy into the required position.  I stood and watched in bewildered awe as these four tonne fridges were swung around in the air.  The highlight was when he turned to me and said, in his glorious welsh accent, “I’m sorry if I take a while but I’ve got OCD about these things and can’t leave them until they are straight and absolutely level”.  True to his word he then whipped a spirit level from his trousers and did just that.  Even I revelled in the engineering brilliance of the whole process and have now decided to retrain as a lorry/crane driver.  All Mrs P had to say to this news was “that may take a while darling, you can barely drive”!


We now, as a result of the wonderful Christopher, have two huge fridges up and running and are ready to start filling them with deliciousness for all the Christmas orders that have been coming thick and fast this week.  We are already half way through November and that means that the clock is ticking on making sure that you get 10% off your orders as the offer will stop at close of play on the 30th of this month.  The only thing it does not apply to is the monthly box offers which are already heavily discounted and remain at their special £35 delivered price.  The November Box has been hugely popular especially for folk in lockdown and in need of a gastronomic treat and we will continue to ensure that if you need anything delivered quickly we will deliver it the next day if you order by Noon the day before.


Finally, I am always conscious that lockdown is hard for many but I am hugely lucky as I have four loons and Charlie to go home to.  Some of my crew, like a good few other folk, are doing it on their own which is clearly much harder.  Tyna had her birthday this week and so it was fab to be able to give her a bit of Birthday good cheer within our socially distanced work bubble yesterday once we had finished work.  Little Steph made her mothers famous apple cake which Tyna loves and Big Steph managed to nearly blow it up and kill Amber as having put the sparkler flares into it (upside down) was slightly surprised when they went off so aggressively.  It turns out it is what happens if you light the wrong end?!


I hope you have a restful Sunday and remember never stand near Steph when she is approaching a birthday cake with matches and never tell your eldest daughter where you keep your hearing aid batteries as best laid plans are likely to go awry if you do either!


My very, very best regards,



Bertie, Jack Leach & some of our friends.

Good Morning, from my kitchen table where the significant debris of a Pattisson family Sunday breakfast has just been cleared away! Along with this is the extraordinary noise of an horrendously repetitive song with lyrics that only appear to contain one word which is, inexplicably, Chihuahua? Please, please do not ask for any explanation as I promise I am as confused, slightly scared and bewildered as you. Apparently it is a real song and that is the only lyric! You would expect on that basis alone that it was looking like being a long day here at Pattisson Towers but this has now been guaranteed as having taken the boys Bert and Stan to the smokery for a bit of pre-breakfast salmon smoking we returned home across the moors. This particular road was so damaged by the floods seven years ago that it is known in our family as “the rollercoaster road” and with a little bit of encouragement I can be persuaded to drive rather too quickly along it as it throws the passengers of the truck around so violently if I do. It has a humpback bridge in the middle of it for which speed can add to the excitement of the trip home. I may have got a little carried away this morning and I may have jolly nearly ended
up in a ditch via a significantly large tree. However, having not achieved any such thing I still felt it important to make the boys swear not to mention it to their mother. Sadly I was only on my second mouthful of breakfast when Stan spilt the beans and Bertie through hysterical laughter gave a graphic description of exactly what those beans were. Nancy (14) instantly chipped in with “Daddy that is so dangerous you could have all been killed” 14!! Mrs P has kept her powder dry so far but I fear the worst!

We have had a huge amount of orders from you for friends and loved ones as gifts and simple ‘keep your chin up and see you soon’ missives alongside them. We are delighted to be able to do this for you and will carry on doing whatever we can to get whatever you would like to either yourselves or for folk who need things including the basics of bread and milk or fruit and veg. All you need to do is call the office and speak to Amber or Steph and just ask and we will do whatever we can to help.

On that theme I have two pals that both have tiny, but brilliant, businesses that I thought might be of interest. The first is Paddy at Vine Wines who sources and sells the most delicious range of wines to fit almost every taste and requirement. He can deliver all over the country and I cannot recommend him highly enough. The second is a chap who is currently working for us at The Smokery called Will, he has a brilliant embryonic business called TheNomadsKitchen that sells kits full of essential herbs and spices for those who love their cooking but also the outdoor life of camping and travelling. They have everything you need in them from a penknife and chopping board to a range of herbs and spices in a small easy to carry pack. I will certainly be giving these to all my nieces/nephews and godchildren this year. I appreciate they may not be of any interest but they are good folk with great products and like so many, these weird times are not helping.

Finally, I have a quick bit of news to hopefully raise your spirits. Bertie as you may remember is cricket mad and his ultimate hero is Jack Leach, the Somerset and England slow bowler. As part of a school project he wrote to Mr Leach saying how he had listened to his and Ben Stokes exploits at Headingly from the Channel Tunnel under the sea. On Tuesday he received a package, inside was an England training top and a hand written letter from none other than the man himself. It is not rushed and it is long and it made an eight year old smile and bounce like never before. It reduced his pathetic father to tears as it was simply such a fantastic and generous gesture from someone at the very top of their sport. I think the only conclusion to draw is that human nature is alive and well as is generosity of spirit and time and I’m certain such things have never been more important.

I must away as the loons are laying wreaths at the church in a hugely reduced, but just as important, memorial service on this very special Sunday

My very, very best regards,


I write to you this morning from our kitchen table, I can hear the boys (Bertie and Stan) in the garden sounding like they may actually be killing each other although having just checked a moment ago all is well and they are simply charging at each other with a John Deere tractor and a plastic bubble car, in all honesty I’m not sure there is a better way of starting ones day of rest?!

Clearly we are all slowly digesting the merry message from our illustrious leaders and folk of science last night, I like all of us fear for some of my friends and customers who have tried and succeeded in still being here only to have yet another boulder thrown at them. Please don’t think I am making remotely light of it but I genuinely believe that we can’t control the uncontrollable so on that basis all I can do is look for the silliness and fun and drive hard at the positives preferably in a plastic bubble car or even a John Deere tractor.

We were lucky enough to have the most fantastic week in Instow, North Devon and are now back at home attacking some of the most pressing and mundane jobs that simply have to be done before Monday. One of these is genuinely harrowing for all concerned and that is the need to try and force a brush through Edith’s (daughter number 2) hair. As one who grew up with Wurzel Gummidge in the late 70’s and early 80’s the only description I can give is that she would have walked into the part and on news of a new modern version Charlie and I will be writing to the television studio responsible for its production and offering her up to fill the role of any hedgerow dwellers they may need as they will save significant money on the need for makeup and wigs! As I look to my right now she could pass for a white Diana Ross in her 1970’s prime! I have attached a photo so you can be the judge.

It is of course the 1st of November and I am delighted to offer you our new November Box this will contain: –
200g cold smoked salmon
4 x oak roasted pork & parsnip sausages
2 x hot smoked mackerel fillets
1 x whole hot smoked duck breast
200g traditional Somerset cheddar
All delivered to any door of your choosing for £35

We will continue to be here and deliver whatever gastronomic treats you would like direct to your door or indeed to the doors of any loved ones who may need a hug of the food variety if the more traditional version is not currently permitted. All orders placed for the whole of November will have 10% off whether you want it delivered this week, next week or indeed the week before Christmas.
Just call Amber in the office on 01458 250875 or go to

Finally, I thought I would share something that proved to me that whatever madness we have put up with from on high there are stranger things going on right under our noses. In my case in Nancy’s (daughter number 1) bedroom. Yesterday she had a friend called Anya round for the day which has been a rare thing and Nancy was jolly excited about it. You can imagine my horror then when I knocked on her door to bid them farewell to find them sat on her bed surrounded by school books. When I enquired what they were doing they replied “Physics Homework” I retreated in a very confused state and didn’t know whether to be proud or ashamed of them. All I know is that the world has truly gone mad if one has a mate round to play and does ones homework?!! Although as Mrs P wisely says “you really shouldn’t judge everyone by your standards”!

I hope you remain in relatively good order, remember to smile and to always pick the John Deere tractor with a front end loader over a plastic bubble car in a game of head on collision!

My very, very best regards to you,