Today’s staycation trip was to a local(ish) pick your own farm, we’d never been before, it being one of those sort of places that I’d been very aware that it’s there, all my friends go, it’s just that we’d never got round to it.
I knew there’d be an amazing amount of choice there, lots of vegetables, flowers, as well as the normal fruit, I didn’t want to go with no idea about what I was going to do with the produce afterwards, so after checking what was available at the farm, I decided on another go at Jamie Oliver’s Blackberry and Apple Pie, that I’d originally made back in February ’08, with raspberries instead of blackberries.
After proving that your wife sitting in the passenger seat with her beloved iPhone using the map app is not equivalent to sat nav (Mr. Lacer is desperate for sat nav), we eventually got to the farm. We then had to take a while to find the pick your own bit and then took a while to figure out where to go (Mr. Lacer equated to the first time you visit Ikea). It didn’t help that I was fielding phone calls with Boy Lacer’s physio at the time, as I’d left a message with the physio before we’d left the flat and I’d left her my mobile number. I’d wanted to make another appointment for Boy Lacer, which is normally a fairly easy thing to do, as it’s easy to get to the hospital, so not much risk of the appointment clashing with drop off or pick up with Girl Lacer, but the physio broke the news that the entire special needs children’s department is relocating from the hospital to a suburb not exactly close, suddenly appointments which were a twenty five minute walk away are now a twenty minute walk followed by half an hour on the bus away, sigh. I know it’s probably great for people in this particular suburb, who previously had to make their way to the main hospital and I was lucky in that I live so close to the hospital, but I think it’s yet another infuriating case of decision making where the needs of ‘clients’ who don’t drive haven’t even come into it. The hospital where the unit was based is in a major town and probably (I don’t know the unit’s exact catchment area) pretty central in the catchment area and of course there’s multiple public transport links to get there, whereas this suburb is quite out the way and I feel for anyone else who would have to say catch a bus into town first from whereever they’re living, to then have to go and get another bus out again, with a special needs child. And of course there’s the time it takes to get to the appointment, followed by the usual wait for the appointment, followed by the length of the appointment itself, then followed by the time it takes to get home again, what are you going to do with any siblings during that time? So car use and a ready supply of alternative child care assumed then? Oh well, Boy Lacer shouldn’t need to much more physio, he’s progressing, still not at the level physically he should be at nearly four, but the progressing bit is the important bit. He also should be still having occupational therapy, which is in the same unit, but after a long long time with no appointment, I rang the unit up to discover the occupational therapist had actually left ages ago (and the occupational therapist was actually new when we originally saw her) and they’d only just hired, to quote the receptionist “some girls”, needless to say we still haven’t had any occupational therapy appointments, despite me putting a request in for them to contact me. Boy Lacer is also still having speech therapy but luckily he was transferred from the hospital unit to the community unit, where we finally had an appointment, a single appointment, with the promise of more if I agreed to jump through some rather useless hoops, they eventually send me the information for the useless hoops I had to jump through and when I ring back and say that due to childcare issues (see there they are again, assuming this limitless alternative childcare) I could in no way go to their course, I then get informed that oh the speech therapist has left as well (see a pattern forming) and the speech therapist we’d seen had been new as well. Finally we have the occasional appointment at orthotics, which will mean more long bus rides in the future and of course the paediatrician appointments will be at the new unit to.
Anyway, here I am getting seriously distracted from the more yummy prospect of blackberry and apple pie, so after finally sorting out Boy Lacer’s medical calender, we went to pick some apples. There were quite a few different varieties of apple trees but most seemed to have reached the windfall stage, so no cooking apples, however we did manage to pick six small apples. Next up were the blackberries, which, obviously by their size, is more picking fun, as you have to pick considerably more than six. We were going to pick some flowers to but a certain five year old in my company needed the toilet.
All in all though I was impressed, if initially a little confused about where to go. I was particularly impressed with how much value for money it was, the apples were just 44p and the blackberries £1.46 for about 400g worth, I doubt you’d even get a small punnet for blackberries in the supermarket for that sort of money. I know definitely where I’d go if I was in the mood for making jam.
So, we got home and minus an antiquated fuse blowing, I got to make my blackberry and apple pie. Girl Lacer helped make the pastry and I did the filling. It didn’t turn out quite to be Jamie Oliver’s recipe, as I didn’t have quite enough apple so it’s more ‘blackberry with a hint of apple’ pie really and for the pastry I didn’t have quite enough plain flour, so I was a bit naughty and topped my flour up with self raising, so it was about two thirds plain to one third self raising and you know what? That really worked, yes it was slightly puffy pastry, a tiny bit cake like in places, but that was actually a bonus, as it helps keep the pie together when it’s cut so that not all the filling leaks out. And as for taste, yum, one slice, you want more, second slice, you can’t eat another thing.