Location: East Ruston, Norfolk, United Kingdom

About us, Dermot and Sue Allen and our dog friendly holiday cottages. We started with the Old Forge running it for friends in 2005. In 2007/8 we were able to develop our own holiday accommodation, The Old Piggery. The Garden Room was added, belonging to another friend and the success of these prompted a further request to add Red Roofs at Hickling which has been doing very well. In 2012 we are embarking on our next project, New Barn. It isn't new at all (approx 180 years old) but it will be a fabulous new addition to our dog friendly holiday accommodation. Keep watching this space....!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

2005 in a nutshell

In February the horse - Atticus is the name on his passport, Ned to his friends - comes up for sale. I have spent a few months getting to know him and I know this - he is good to hack alone and in company, shoe, clip, box, do in the stable, load, travel, hunt, jump but he is spooky - I ended up in hospital in January with concussion after a fall from him. I can just about afford him and Dermot is on my side so we buy him! My first ever horse at 40! What a fantastic birthday present (my actual birthday was in January - a lovely few days in Prague) So now we have a new barn, some land AND a horse! We clear out the stable for him and put up an electric fence round the field, although it is not ready for the horse yet.

I am delighted that Dermot spends the money on the builder tidying up and reinforcing the stable. The builder is probably equally delighted as the weather is very snowy and there is not a lot he can do outside! In April we really get the small holding bug and buy 2 weaner pigs from neighbours and two sheep from the nearby petting farm at Wroxham Barns. In May we have a work party to take more ivy off the walls and repair the barn doors. Once again, the friends come up trumps and a huge amount is achieved in one day.

The grass is going well so we put the horse in the field with the sheep. It is far too rich and goes to his head - he jumps out and is caught by the police (very enterprising - they use a borrowed piece of washing line - as a lasso?!) half way to the coast! A lesson for me to learn - spring grass is like speed to horses!

We have our first hay crop cut in July - cut, turned and baled in a very hot dry week and we just managed to get it in before the rain started so we have to throw them into the barn. We are very excited about this and get 195 bales of really nice hay for just 66p/bale.

We get 3 more sheep from Wroxham Barns. One of them
has a name - Shorn!

September starts very dry - I love this month. The pigs go to the abbatoir in Wells on the 12th. Far less stressful for us all than we imagined. Orders for pork coming in thick and fast. Some rain over the second weekend made a 20 mile charity ride at Newmarket a real treat and brought the grass on a bit. Nonetheless Atticus had to go back to his original owners for the grazing and to escape from our closest neighbour's rave! A very settled month – getting autumnal towards the end. Had to start rugging the horse towards the end of the month. Hunting started – some lovely early mornings

October is another warm month – some lovely weather. Grass growing still. A friend's groom comes to clip Atticus. Just starting to be stabled at night at end of month.

We take the sheep in during November and again have no problem getting rid of the meat. All rather tasty. A friend gives me a set of clippers and I have a go at clipping horse myself - not too bad a job I hope!

After getting a couple of silly quotes from architects for the work on the barn we have recommended to us an architect technician who comes round and measures up barn and piggery. Drawings appear a week later and we pore over them with friends. Changes are made.


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