24 June, 2007

Bocketts Farm review

So (and quite why we picked the very beginning of the Wimbledon fortnight to do this, I really cannot *begin* explain - and - having lived in Wimbledon, I am doubly guilty), today was the day we had decided to take little Alexander to celebrate (a slightly belated) birthday surprise at Bocketts Farm -
Bocketts Farm #3
- which is actually still a working farm, as well as providing all sorts of visitor facilities (thank *goodness*) including plenty to do *indoors*...
Bocketts Farm #2
...Alexander started (despite the rain) to get really rather excited (dashing off ahead of us across the car park!), the minute I mentioned that there might be the chance of seeing some geese -
Bocketts Farm #4
- which, while relishing the rain, were doing so right at the extent of my zoom lens (he loved the glimpse anyway), but rather than stand and watch we dived into cover inside the main barn -
Bocketts Farm #13
- what followed was almost an hour just following him (smiling), as he *ran* from animal to animal in amazed joy, pointed out "eep!", "raddit!", "igs!"', "tow!" and "oat!" (etc.) -
Bocketts Farm #5
Bocketts Farm #17
- although he missed the miserable looking Llama who some cruel git had shaved leaving an 80's footballer's haircut (he was *not* amused) -
Bocketts Farm #9
- Anyway, at the appointed time, we went into the animal encounter room to witness (drum roll please!) the "Goat Milking"- in the poor old thing was lead (to a chorus of "Awwww!", "I don't loike it!" and "Why is it limping Mummy?" from the little kids lining the room) -
Bocketts Farm #20
- but despite *repeated* good humoured attempts to get it to mount the milking position (including, eventually some obviously difficult "backside" encouragement), in the end the poor old thing was lead back out of the room, and a younger substitute was brought in (much to everyone's relief) -
Bocketts Farm #21
- this new goat, called "Shandy" I think, hopped up as soon as it smelt the grub, and stood good as gold -
Bocketts Farm #22
- until a thick creamy jug of fresh milk had been extracted (6-8 pints per day, apparently!) -
Bocketts Farm #24
- the young man then got up, announced he was now "kn*ckered" (to a laugh from most of the watching crowd), and then a very brave little chick, and a very patient little rabbit were quickly paraded around the room, so everyone little could have a tiny gentle stroke.

Once all this was done, we all paraded out, back into the barn but it was *still* raining outside, in the lack of *much* else to do (Alexander being too young for the adventure playground) we decided to brave it anyway -
Bocketts Farm #26
- checking out some of the larger wildlife -
Bocketts Farm #28
- who were kicking their stable doors (I imagine as normally they would have been let out to do Pony rides by now) -
Bocketts Farm #29
- a lot of ducks, who couldn't care less about the inclement conditions, and some wonderful gardens -
Bocketts Farm #30
- with some incredible residents -
Bocketts Farm #37
- (driven back by the rain) we then stopped for a bit of lunch in the large "Tea shop", which was actually a licensed restaurant, shame the toasted sandwich they brought me (Bacon and Stilton) came largely devoid of bacon, but to their credit they took it back and made me a proper one without too many excuses - "but it's just been chopped up a bit, look, we all do them differently" - which was swiftly answered by a pointing finger at Mr S's plump and fine sarnie next door, which was positively overflowing with bacon, whereas mine appeared to have 3 sliced lardons that had accidentally slipped in, after which it had obviously been run over by a traction engine), anyway - after lunch the rain had let off a little bit, so we went and took the tractor ride around the site (an extra few quid) -
Bocketts Farm #38
- which was very exciting -
Bocketts Farm #40
- taking us up through "Scarecrow wood" -
Bocketts Farm #42
- which was like something out of a horror film quite honestly -
Bocketts Farm #43
- the rotten, deformed and limp, sack covered bodies, hung from trees being snorted and snuffled around by fat looking pigs (Hannibal, anyone?) -
Bocketts Farm #47
- anyway, Alexander seemed to enjoy every minute of it, and in fact, quite amazingly, in the distance from the top of the hill, it was quite possible to pick out Canary Wharf (all the way into central London), even on this largely rainy day!

We were driven, hanging onto our lunch, back down to the barn, and that was where the day drew to a close - and despite the weather, I think I can safely say, a lovely day was had by all! I can heartily recommend it as a fun-filled day out (if accompanied by a young family member, of course)...otherwise you would have the whole thing done in about 90 minutes... ;)

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