Sunday ramble – caps, Easter orders & thank you!

Good Morning from a jolly blustery Smokery.  I write to you this morning through the pain of a significant head injury.  As with most injuries that I pick up there is a direct connection with one of the ‘loons’ in this instance it is Stan(6) who, as is his way at present, decided that he and I ought to swap beds at somewhere just North of midnight.  The crucial part of this exercise is to not wake his mother up as a whole world of misery lies down that road.  Having accomplished this and squeezed myself onto his bed and then removed the obligatory four books, one Rainbow Barbie doll, a cricket bat and finally a wand which were all attacking different bits of my anatomy I settled down back to sleep.  It was upon waking that I was dealt the near fatal blows. As is my way I threw my covers back and leapt like a salmon from the bed.  The blows came almost instantly one after another the first on the top of my head and the second just above my eye as I recoiled from the first and I was rendered blind and practically unconscious.  As with all really deep sleep one forgets where one is and in this case I had forgotten that Stan sleeps on a bottom bunk!  After some appalling language and having resisted killing Bertie who was sat on the top bunk genuinely crying with laughter I retreated to make the morning tea for Mrs P.  I am as a result not in the best of moods as the sympathy has been non existent and the inability of anyone to stop laughing is just too much!


I also have a great deal to do here today as with only three days to send all the orders for next Sundays Easter feastings I have duck to slice, sausages to roast, salmon to cure and pate to make!  The orders have been coming in thick and fast although it does appear that folk are genuinely horror struck when the penny finally drops that it really really is Easter a week today and that Wednesday is the last day that we can send anything in order to ensure it arrives with you and your friends in time for Easter.  We are still taking orders and have pretty much most things still available.  The only day available for delivery now is Thursday the 1st  so if you would like to send a gift to anyone or need some goodies for your own Easter weekend menus you really need to get them ordered in the next 24 hours!  Either online at or call the office from 9am tomorrow morning and speak to Amber or Steph on 01458 250875.


Finally, as many of you may have gathered by now I can be a creature that gets rather odd bees my bonnet about certain subjects and have been known to become a tad entrenched about such things?!  One such thing has been a long established one and it Is that of branded clothing of any kind I simply cannot bear.  I have resisted the crew’s almost constant pleas for polo shirts, caps, sweatshirts and the latest request heated gilets with Brown & Forrest emblazoned across them.  It now appears that Tim and Will decided to take the law into their own hands and unbeknownst to me or anyone set about disobeying me and on Wednesday this week presented me with two personalised Brown & Forrest Caps one of Grey and one of Pink (my go to colour).  Try as I might I could not stop my face betraying how utterly delighted I was with them.  The grey one is now my work one and the very special pink one will be my golf hat when I am allowed to swing a club again!  I fear having “given in and been proved wrong” in their minds it won’t be long before we are branded from our wellies to our pants via of course a heated gilet!


I must away as I have been told that being home before 6pm this evening is a pre requisite to remaining happily married?  I also thought I would just mention that today marks a year since I wrote my very first ramble, it is quite simply beyond comprehension what has happened in that year not just to Mrs P ‘The Loons’ and I but to all of us.  What started as a way of trying to cheer myself up as impending doom looked to be going to strike down our tiny business somehow became a vital part of its salvation.  So, I would like to simply say THANK YOU to you for reading, and it would appear occasionally enjoying, my mad missives and of course the odd morsel of our food.  There is simply no doubt that we are still here because you did and do.


My very, very best regards,



Sunday ramble, Easter orders, cobwebs & hair bands!

As I write to you this morning from the kitchen table of Pattisson Towers four things appear to be occupying my as ever over full and inadequate brain.  The first of these, and probably the only one of any real importance, is that believe it or not two weeks today is Easter Sunday and from a mail order smoked food perspective this means that in reality you only have one week left to order what you need.  The second is that being an arachnophobe is a genuine nightmare when your halfwit of a boss asks you to de-cobweb an entire building.  The third is the fun I get watching folk don the scarlet rugby jersey of Wales and pop a leek in the lapel when their only apparent connection with the country is that their maternal Grandfather once spent a week camping there in the 1970’s!  The final one is how one should react when ones wife presents you with a gift of three luminous head bands with the words “these might help a bit”.  The unmentionable virus has it would seem destroyed romance as well as a good many other things!


I’m afraid it really is Easter Sunday two weeks today and that if you have not already placed your orders for gifts to family, folk who need treat or indeed your own requirements for the feastings of Easter Weekend you really do only have one week left to do so in order to ensure it arrives in time.  We may manage to carry on taking orders through until next Monday but at the moment it is highly likely we will have to stop before that as with Easter week the way it is and the Bank holiday on Good Friday we can only send your parcels out on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and there is a limit to how many we can physically pack and despatch each day!  So whether you would like a March Box for Great Aunt Eddie, a Supper Box for your parents, a Whole Ham for your daughter or a side of salmon for your own table simply go online and order at or call and speak to Steph and I in the office from 9am tomorrow morning on 01458 250875.


As a chap who is pretty much scared of most things it was rather a surprise when I suggested to Seb (18 years old 6ft 3in) on Friday afternoon that he and I would spend it attacking the cobwebs that had become more than a tad embarrassing in number through the old restaurant and shop.  He went a bit pink and ever so gently suggested he wasn’t great with spiders to which I yielded and said I’d go up the ladder and he could hold the hoover and the ladder.  We were progressing well until I, at my highest point from the ground, thought it would be amusing to drop my large cobweb gatherer (we had given up with the hoover) somewhere in Sebs direction and mention something along the lines of “look at the size of that one!” The ladder shot sideways and a scream of significant volume shattered the silence and by the time I had managed to reintroduce myself to the ladder that was preventing me from a 10 ft drop Seb was nowhere to be seen.  Within five minutes he was back but accompanied by Steph, Andrea and Tyna who old made it perfectly clear that I always went just a bit too far!  It’s funny how the same sentences one can recall from the age of five through an entire school career to student days, married life and to my shame even now appear to be on constant repeat!  I apologized profusely and was put further in the dog house when I returned home and told my sorry tale to which my trio of girls said it would serve me right if I was convicted of work place bullying!  So there we have it – basically a week of shame for me made even worse by the fact that my lockdown locks are now so long that as previously mentioned Mrs P has taken significant action and given me luminous head bands to keep them out of my eyes!


I wish you a restful rest of day and remember some folk who suggest “they are not too good with spiders” actually mean they are terrified and risking their boss breaking both legs falling from a ladder is one they may have to take.


My very, very best regards,


Jess 01458 250875

Mother’s Day at Pattisson towers

Good Morning from Pattisson Towers which is a hive of activity and helpfulness today!


It is of course Mothering Sunday and that basically means that ‘The Loons’ were read the riot act last night explaining that Mrs P should not be allowed to do a single thing today other than eat, drink, read her book and spend time in her garden!

It was also suggested, by their slightly over aggressive father, that bedrooms should be cleaned, clothes put away and any inevitable mess created cleared up afterwards.  In my ever over-optimistic state I truly believed that this had hit home and been not only heard, but entirely understood and digested.  I was half right.  As I write this at the kitchen table Nancy is peeling, chopping and preparing all the vegetables for the requested roast pork, Edith has made it possible to at least see some of her bedroom floor which is I’m afraid a triumph by her standards and the boys have decided that counting every single piece of Lego they own is somehow the stuff of their mother’s dreams and is likely to be one of the highlights of her year?  To say I nearly wept when I discovered the counting house of Lego they had created and had their philosophy behind it explained to me would be nothing but the truth!


We have had a wonderfully busy week here at The Smoke sending out all manner of orders for peoples mums, grannies and simply people they are fond of.  There has been a lovely buzz of busyness in the office as hopefully you have all now received our catalogue and my letter introducing the March Box and the Supper Box.  Both have been hugely popular and as promised we have also adapted the Supper Box so that it can be for one person not just for two.  This is now also available on the website as an option to be selected if so desired.  I must also mention to you that by some terrifying speed of time passing three weeks today is Easter Sunday?!  On that basis you really only have two weeks left in which to place any orders you would like to send in time to arrive for Easter as the last sending day is Wednesday 31st of March.  So whatever Easter feastings you may have already started planning, or even some family gatherings and picnics you are finally allowed to have, you only have a relatively  short time to ensure you get your sides of salmon, pots of pate, canapé hampers, whole baked hams and anything else you may need for your Easter weekend feastings.


As I have mentioned on a number of occasions Charlie (Mrs P) adores her gardening and her garden and having moved house rather too often in the last 12 months leaving her plants and borders behind is one of the worst parts of the whole process for her.  She always insists on taking as many of her much loved herbaceous menagerie with her as possible which can and has on occasion very nearly brought us to blows!  The main reason for this is that that like all good Sergeant Majors she becomes quite brilliant at giving the orders and equally gifted at not actually taking part in the carrying out of the said orders.  Most of the time this is of course fine BUT with one such plant back in the Summer ‘Edith’s Apple Tree’ limbs, eyes and sense of humours were very nearly all permanently lost.  So you can imagine my horror when I received a text at work yesterday lunchtime saying that the hole was dug and could I please collect the poor girls and go and dig up the apple tree from her parents’ house and bring it back to Pattisson Towers and re plant it!  We of course obeyed our orders and did our best not to suggest that Mothering Sunday may well be cancelled if she didn’t stop laughing at her freezing cold daughters rammed in the back of a truck with an apple tree during a gale whipped hail storm.  She didn’t stop and simply started taking pictures.  However,  she now has her apple tree back and like so many brilliant mums everywhere she entirely deserves whatever makes her happy.


My very, very best regards,



Pattisson academy for academic excellence final awards!

Good Morning from a gloriously cold and frosty Somerset.


Breakfast at the Pattisson table this morning felt a somewhat foreign affair and yet one that had significant amounts of deja but mixed in.  The reason for this was that the main topic of conversation was who wanted what in their packed lunch for school tomorrow!  As you can imagine ensuring all four of the loons receive the right ingredients in their sandwiches, and then they are put in the correct lunchbox, is an operation that requires military precision and planning and if it’s wrong one could be forgiven for thinking that upon their return from school you had committed a crime against humanity!  The day has arrived and tomorrow the loons all return to their respective schools and The Pattisson Academy of Academic Excellence has, we hope, closed its doors for the final time.  It would be untrue to suggest that everyone is over the moon at this prospect as a return to real school, catching early morning buses, meeting up with mates and not being allowed to go and play cricket whenever there is a break will undoubtedly feel as foreign as once upon a time not going to school did.  But it seemed to Mrs P and I that it was a cause for much celebration and so invitations were issued for an end of Home-schooling Awards evening, Dinner dance/disco. This took place last night of which I will report more later.


We have had a busy week at the Smoke sending out copious amounts of March Boxes amongst other things and taking lots of orders for later in the month. A good many folk are miles ahead of me and have been placing orders for delivery just before Easter which, without wanting to depress you, is less than a month away and only just over three weeks before the last delivery date for the Easter feastings you may be planning.  The other date we have been very busy with last week is for next Sunday which is apparently ‘Mothering Sunday’ it seems to have taken a significant amount of more importance this year as clearly those of us that are lucky enough to still have them have not been allowed to see them so that ‘gastronomic hug’ or indeed any sort of virtual hug has possibly never been more needed to both give and indeed receive.  We are here to help with any delicious food parcels you might like to send and will ensure they are all delivered Thursday/Friday next week to be consumed at their leisure by a mother, grandmother or indeed godmother who you may decide needs it.  You can order at or call Amber and I in the office from tomorrow morning at 9am on 01458 250875.


So, we sent out the invitations and the instructions were clear Dress was to be Smart, Dancing was compulsory and punctuality essential.  We were to dine upon a delivered feast from our wonderful local pub ‘The Duke Of York’ after the ceremony.  Well they didn’t disappoint they all dressed to up to their nines in their favourite clothes and having been presented with the medals that Mrs P had found and had engraved on the back with their names and hung round their necks with rainbow NHS ribbon, WE DANCED!!  I am hopefully not one for blowing his own trumpet but I have a long held belief that I am a very, very fine mover and indeed groover on the dance floor.  I quickly joined the girls and demonstrated one of my throwback to ‘Brighton Night clubs in the early 90s’ routines. Their reaction was at best unappreciative born out of an ignorance of being in the presence of a true artiste.  At worst it was cruel, resembled bear baiting in the 1700s and was tantamount to bullying.  The howls of laughter and refusal to be anywhere near me let alone dance with me will leave deep, deep scars I fear.  I comfort myself with the fact that many of the truly great creative forces were not recognised until long after their demise.  However, it was a great party and a fitting farewell to the Pattisson Academy of Academic Excellence.  We are all desperate to get back to a normal life and lets hope we really are a good step closer come Monday morning.


I will wish you a lovely restful Sunday and remember words like “you cleared that dancefloor like a ticking bomb” are simply spoken by those that don’t understand!


My very, very best regards,




Sunday ramble – cricket, rugby & new March box

Greetings from what is the most glorious morning here in Somerset. I hope you are blessed with the same deep blue sky and a bit of genuinely warm sun on your back.

It is much much needed here after a fitful night wrestling with my anxieties that were brought to a crescendo late yesterday afternoon. Calm, warmth and the odd primrose have at least returned some form of equilibrium to my troubled soul!? I shall explain. Those who know me will know that of all things I can not bear it is the stereotyping of people and the inevitable judging that follows once one has pigeon holed great swathes of people into said ‘type’. It started with the odd moan from me to Bertie, and anyone else who would listen, about the odd dubious decision of the cricket umpires in India. Next came the slightly more vociferous exclamations about the “appalling quality” of the pitch that made batting in India a “total lottery” and “made a mockery of Test Cricket”. Finally, it ended late yesterday afternoon during the Rugby international between Wales and England, when screams of “That referee must have Welsh Grandparents” and “even Stan can see that’s a knock on, and that’s without a replay”. All this has led to an utterly ashamed realisation that not only have I become one of the worst nationalistic stereotypes of them all, I have also become the thing that I have been sending my children to their bedrooms for since they were born. These are a ‘The Whinging Pom’ and it would appear to my utter shame ‘A Bad Loser’. Hopefully by admitting these deplorable character flaws out loud my journey to redemption has begun?! The final straw, and what has proven to be an economical disaster, is the introduction of a swear box three days ago. According to Stan “if Daddy keeps this up we are going to need a bigger box!”.

But the sun is out and to my delight it is March tomorrow! This most importantly means that our new March Box is now available it contains the following: –

200g Cold smoked salmon
4 x Pork and cider sausages
2 x Smoked mackerel fillets
1 x Hot smoked whole duck breast
2 x Hot smoked trout fillets
All delivered to any door of your choosing for just £35

Finally don’t forget that midnight tonight is the last chance to order the February Box £35 delivered and our whole sides of salmon offers
1 x 1kg whole sliced side of salmon £35 delivered
1 x 1kg unsliced side smoked salmon £32 delivered
These offers will be gone by tomorrow morning and will revert to their usual prices of £45 and £42 delivered respectively.

Finally, I must away as with such glorious weather comes a significant list of garden jobs, family games of cricket and netball which must all be completed before sunset! I will leave you with this thought to ponder on. On Thursday it is ‘World Book Day’ and at home the Loons are all under instructions to, as is tradition, dress as a character from any book they like. Edith has announced that she will be dressing up at something called Tunip from a book called Octonauts. This may sound fine however Octonauts is aimed at 2-6 year olds and Edie is nearly 12?! It also turns out that ‘Tunip’ is a cross between a carrot, a leek and a turnip. I almost despair – could someone please tell me what is wrong with a simple Anne of Green Gables or a Hermione Granger? Obviously I will keep you informed on what a thrice crossed vegetable 11 year old girl ends up looking like!

Have a wonderful Sunday and remember a swear box is a terrible idea under any circumstances BUT with four children and a wife all in possession of bat-like ears it is the road to financial ruin!

My very, very best regards,

Jess 01458 250875