Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Round & About our new village

by Bex

When I started writing this post I only had good things to say about our new area.  I've discovered so many fab things about it already!  I suppose it will now be a more realistic post though as I have one bad thing to add.  If it was totally idyllic here you might not believe it all, although I did already mention the spiders!  ;)


As this is still sitting in my drafts, I've even more to add about our new village so I better get this finished before it ends up another epic post!!

I think I'll get the bad thing out of the way first before I rave about everything else :)

So, the BAD thing:

Uckfield Pool!
I have started writing a separate post about places we've discovered in Uckfield (our nearest town) so I will reserve moaning about the pool until then but you can read my review on Yelp.  Suffice it to say, Mum and I were very disappointed and plan to try other pools instead, despite this one being so handy!

And seriously - the spiders!!!  (We've got some skinny pale ones which I don't mind so much, even the larger ones but the bigger hairy ones have started appearing now too!  Eeep!)

So, on with the good:

Wildlife, brambles & views
We live on the edge of the village and have great views across fields full of horses (well, 2 or 3) and lots of hedgerows and trees round about.  It's lovely seeing a variety of birds through the window that I remember from growing up near woodland.  We've had blue tits, coal tits, thrushes, blackbirds, robins...  Much more interesting than the usual pigeons and magpies in Glasgow.

I've already spoken about the brambles right across from our house and if you follow me on instagram you will have seen this squirrel and his buddies who love to run along the power/phone line by the hedges.

Oast Farm shop & tea room
We have a lovely little path nearby which runs downhill to a local farm which has a farm shop (selling a huge selection of apples at the moment along with delicious breads and various other things) and tea room.  They do pick your own fruit at various times throughout the year depending on what's in season (currently apples and autumn raspberries) and they have a carp fishing pond (the fish have to go back).

We've bought a few things from the shop and I love having a selection of local apples to choose from.  They were also very handy when I needed a bramley apple for my recent Autumnal crumble!  Of course Mum and I have tried the tea rooms too.  We went along for a cream tea when Uncle G came to visit and it was lovely!  I had a slice of blueberry & lemon cake, a raspberry milkshake and some apple juice (the milkshake was a bit too sweet so I was still very thirsty) and Mum and Uncle G had the cream tea.

Jane is a lady who has lived in the village for 50 years!  She sells flowers & fruit grown in her garden pretty much all year round, depending on what grows.  We had planned on getting some of the flowers anyway (you just take them and knock on her door to pay) but happened to meet her as she was replenishing with fresh bunches one day after lunch at the pub (see below).  We chatted for quite a while and she is very excited about us having the twins!  She's absolutely lovely and told us about a lady who often walks past and buys her flowers with a young baby.  A couple of days later she popped round with a note for us having met the lady the very next day after meeting us so quizzed her and got her details to pass on to us!  Turns out her baby's 4 months old, she's a GP and lives just up the road so I plan to head round and introduce myself soon.

The Village Shop
Our village shop is so handy!  It's not just a shop but a post office which is open 7 days!  (8-11am on Sundays even.)  The shop itself has a huge range of products, despite being small, they even have my favourite brand of frozen pizza!  They can order meat from the nearby butcher or bread, cakes and pastries from a local baker.  It's ideal for a little village as even if you can't drive, you can still get everything you might need!

Village Hall 
Right next to the shop is the village hall.  There are so many activities going on here which are all listed on the noticeboard outside.  Some local ladies run a 'pop in' every Tuesday morning which costs 50p and includes a cup of tea and a biscuit.  They have various exercise classes like Thai Chi and Yoga, Art classes and even a fish & chip van which parks outside on Tuesday evenings (we've yet to partake as the first time he'd packed up early as it was so quiet so we missed out and the second time had placed our order but then he had a problem with the gas so we missed out again!)

Nik and I did head along to the pop in last week though as he had Tuesday off.  He made me walk in first (meany) and I was quite nervous as we haven't met many other people from the village apart from Jane and our neighbours but luckily as soon as I walked in I spotted Jane and she grinned at us before coming over to take me by the hand down to the tea station to meet her sister and get a cuppa and then led us over to some seats at a table where she introduced us to everyone sat nearby.  It made it so easy and everyone was very welcoming, dying to question the 'new people' in their village.  It was a lot busier than we'd expected with probably around 20-25 people there and not just old ladies (although most of them were grandmother age).

Our pregnancy was obviously an easy topic to ask about once they had our basic info - which house do we live in, what do we do, where did we come from , etc. - and all the ladies sat nearby were delighted - we even got a round of applause!  Major beamer but it was lovely.  I now know once the babies are born, if I'm a bit frazzled and just want a hot cuppa, I can pop along on a Tuesday and hand them out to very willing grannies for some cuddles while I sit down and chill for an hour.  ;)

Jane also brought over another woman for me to meet who runs a Mother & Baby club in the next village every Monday.  Three of the members are from our village and often walk there together via country lanes as well as meeting up at each others' for coffee so she's given me their names and details of the group including a drawing of how to get there and where to park.

Our neighbours
We've met all of our closest neighbours now (quite a few of them on the day we moved in in fact) and they're all lovely!  One in particular knew I had no car for the first few days so offered me a lift to the local GP (not walking distance, especially at the moment!) to get registered asap as I'm pregnant and had to get midwife stuff and hospital referral sorted.  It was great to be able to get that done as soon as we moved in as all the paperwork and referral takes time!  She just sat in the car with her crossword to wait for me :)  She also makes blinds and curtains and has helped us out a lot with supplies and guiding Mum and I so we can make our new blinds ourselves (and has also quoted us for if we decide we need her to take over!)

I'm looking forward to being more settled in the house (i.e. building work, decorating and twin prep all done) so we can invite them over to get to know them all better.

Local pub
Our local pub, The Pig & Butcher has been very handy for those days you just want a break, especially back when we didn't have a fridge!  It was taken over about a year ago and we've heard mixed reviews from our neighbours about it although all agree that the local beer they serve is the best!  (Dad and Nik seem to agree!)  We've actually eaten there a few times now and although it's certainly not gastropub fare and nothing amazing, we've all enjoyed our meals there, particularly the Sunday roasts!

I've tried a few different meals there now but the lamb hotpot was amazing!  We also like their roasts having tried both the beef and chicken (Nik had lamb but I can't have it pink, they cooked my beef a bit longer for me).

Dad and Nik have both had the burger covered in melted blue cheese and both loved it.  Mum and I have had the pork in cider special which was also delish and served with nice creamy mash.  Apparently the fish & chips is pretty good as well and you can see the portion sizes are great!

The desserts (all £5) are a bit expensive for a local pub and we're pretty sure not all homemade - the sticky toffee pudding is lovely but we suspect bought in (and the one Mum was once served on a different day was definitely a syrup pudding, not sticky toffee).  I loved the homemade spiced traditional rice pudding!

I think you can tell we really love it here!

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