Saturday, 4 July 2015
The Places I Go . . .
I have to say that I am living the most amazing life. For a Canadian Girl, daughter of simple folk, born, bred and having grown up in simple circumstances and from humble beginnings . . . my life is truly TRULY an amazing one. Each day I feel like I have to pinch myself to see if I am dreaming because I just get to do and see the most amazing things. Just living and loving in the homeland of my childhood heroes (Haley Mills and the Beatles) is amazing enough for me, but to have been able to experience all the extras I have since being here is just over the top for me. I could die tomorrow (I sincerely hope that I don't) and I would die knowing I have lived a fabulous life.
On the 1st of July I was invited to travel to Crewe to experience the "Mornflake Seed to Bowl Event," being held at the Mornflake Mill. Todd was also invited to go with me as I don't like to travel alone these days because of my arthritis, etc. He wasn't complaining. He loves to travel and he loves farms, so this was a bonus for him!
I was really looking forward to this excursion actually. Crewe isn't very far from Chester. I don't like the events where I have to travel all the way down to London, and I will admit now that I turn all of those down. It's just not worth all the hassle for just a few hours. (Overnight is a different story.)
I am no stranger to the Mornflake brand of oats. They have been my oats of choice for quite a while now. I am very fond of their old fashioned Rolled Oats. I like the big flakes and chewy nutty texture. They've been milling oats in the South Cheshire countryside since 1675, making them the longest established miller of oats and cereal in the UK, having handed the business down through fifteen generations of the Lea family. As one of the few remaining, independent, major, family-owned British cereal businesses they are passionate about what they do. Mornflake is actually one of the few cereal brands which selects, mills and packs everything into each box of cereal that is sold. They are comitted to Provenance and take great care to ensure that only the finest blend of the Oat harvest is included in every box of Mornflake cereal and that each box can be traced with exactness right back to where it originated . . . in a field.
This promised to be a very exciting day for us indeed. And to top it off, it was the hottest 1st of July on record!
It was a very quick and simple train journey to Crewe from Chester. (Crewe is actually very close.) A coach was waiting for us at the station and we were driven to the Mornflake Mill, where we were warmly welcomed with teas/coffees/water/juice and all of the bloggers were able to get acquainted with each other and Maria (that's their PR girl in the apron at the front) filled us in on what our itinerary of the day was going to be. Maria was my contact with Mornflake throughout this whole experience, and I have to say, she was a real gem. Very friendly and helpful every step of the way. I think the Mornflake people are really blessed to have her on board.
After the welcome etc. and once everyone had arrived we were all taken in a coach to one of the nearby farms (Rushton Farm, owned by Liz and Hartley Rushton) which grow some of the Oats for Mornflake for a beautiful breakfast in an Oat Field. (They have oats being grown all over the UK, including Gluten Free Oats on a remote Island in the North of Scotland.) Being treated to breakfast in an oat field was a first for me. A pathway had been cut through the oats leading to a Marquis right in the middle of the field. We were in for a real treat!
There's Maria leading the way and if you look really closely, you can see Todd just behind her shoulder in his iconic ball cap and stripey shirt!
Lots of cameras at the ready and smiles for the day we were about to begin to enjoy in earnest.
Our welcome sign. Very well appointed.
The table inside the Marquis was beautifully set, with place cards and everything laid out in such an attractive manner, breakfast menu at the side and a small sheaf of oats garnishing each place setting.
It truly was gorgeous and we were treated to a lovely breakfast which began with a lovely little pot of Bircher Muesli, which was made with Mornflake Organic Oats and served with local Cheshire Strawberries and fresh cream. It was topped with a sprinkling of chopped Pistachio nuts and was absolutely delicious. I really enjoyed it very much. I was actually sitting next to a blogging friend Helen Costello that I have known for a while now and this was our first time meeting in person! Another bonus of the day!
Everyone was busy clicking photographs and chatting away. It was great fun. We were also treated to bowls of Mornflake Oat-bran Nuts & Seeds Granola, served with honey made on the Rushton Farm, fresh fruit and Greek Yogurt, and Mornflake Homemade Oaty Soda Bread served with a delicious selection of homemade local jams and marmalade. It was all very, very delicious!
Hartley took us through all the ins and outs of growing oats. We learned from him everything there was to know about the process from the seeds going in the ground to the harvest. He was very informative and willing to answer all of our questions.
I, for one, really learned a lot. That is one aspect of these trips that I really enjoy. I love knowing how the food I eat is grown and getting to learn a bit about the people and farms that grow it, and I am especially interested in the Provenance of the things I eat.
After breakfast we were taken back to the Mill where we were priviledged to learn more about Oats itself and the history of the Mornflake Mill given to us by the present generation of the Lea family. It was really very informative and I also enjoyed this part of the day very much. We were also treated to a lovely luncheon/tea with all sorts of finger foods/sandwiches/cakes, etc. We were really treated royally and I was so interested in learning more about Oats in general and some of the things which go into the production of a cereal I really enjoy.
After that we were all kitted out in protective gear so that we could have an actual tour of the Mill itself and experience what goes into the production of their cereals right from it coming from off the delivery lorries and into the mill . . . and down into the boxes and packages which land on our grocery shop shelves.
Cameras were not allow in this area due to safety concerns. Lets just say that it was hot, very informative, noisy and I never walked up so many flights of stairs in my life. I finally had to give up after about 12 flights because my arthritic knees would not go any further, but what I did see was very interesting and Todd finished up the tour for me. A very kind employee took me back down and escorted me back to the headquarters, and would have stayed with me for the duration, but I wouldn't have it. I didn't think it was necessary for him to have to babysit me and let him off. ☺
What followed was goodbyes, presentation of goodie bags, group photos, etc. and before we knew it we were on the train heading back to Chester, after having had a truly fabulous day.
I have to say that this was one of the nicer blogger experiences I have had, second only to the Turkey Awards (and I don't think anything will ever top that!). We were treated with such courtesy and genuine appreciation for what we as bloggers do. It was informative and just a really top, top experience. Every detail was well planned and organized and Todd and I both just really, really enjoyed our day!
Many thanks to the people at Mornflake for providing us with what will in all likelihood be one of the highlights of our 2015 summer! With special thanks to Maria, for all that she did to make it happen, and happen so smoothly! You're a treasure!
This is another highlight of our 2015 summer and will eclipse all the rest! Look at what arrived yesterday in the post! Squeee! (Did I just say that? Yes I did!) Our official Missionary Badges. Now we can not only be Missionaries, but LOOK like Missionaries! So excited! I can't wait to put mine on and go out and about on Missionary work! So proud to be serving the Church in this capacity. I've been waiting for this opportunity for a very long time and I am so blessed to be able to do it with my very best friend of all. ☺
And with that I will leave you with a thought for the day . . .
"It is by faith that you can lay hold upon every good thing.
Just as you are marked as a target by the enemy of righteousness,
you have been protected and watched over by
your Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. They know you.
They know all the forces and individuals around you.
They know what is ahead of you."
~President Henry B Eyring
I love knowing that I have angels watching over me . . . to help to hold the enemy at bay.
There's something tasty and cool brewing in The English Kitchen today . . . Peach Melba. Tasty tasty!
Happy Fourth of July to all my American family and friends. Happy Saturday to everyone else. Hope it is a good one! Don't forget!
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And I do too!
PS - I have my second great nephew on the way as I write this. Praying all goes well for Ben and Krissy!
PSS - Atlas has landed, 7 pounds six ounces, mother and baby doing well and dad over the moon.