For once, the sun was shining, even at the early hour of 5.00am. It was ten years since the Dawn Chorus had been at Etal and the report from 2006 tells us that this had been the first occasion when we had heard the song of the Nuthatch. How things have changed.
To mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the HandleBards have announced their ‘4 for 400’ season – four Shakespeare plays, each performed by four actors who will cycle to over 70 venues across the country, with all of their set, props and costumes in tow.This is the HandleBards’ fourth UK season, having begun their adventure in 2013 with a 967 mile cycle from Glasgow to London. Back then, it was theatre on a shoestring - and not meant figuratively - the boys used shoelaces and a sponge to attach their trailers to their bikes.
Heatherslaw Mill has added to its flour power by launching a new product specially made for cakes and scones.
Traditionally Heatherslaw Mill has only produced flours for the bread baker but the new flour known as Heatherslaw Light is a traditionally made stoneground flour, lightly sieved to reduce the bran content then given added raising agents for perfect cakes.
Janet Dickson graduated from Newcastle Polytechnic (now the University of Northumbria) in 1984 with a BA (Hons) in Graphic Design. Having worked in graphic design then as a senior lecturer at the University she gradually returned to her first love of printmaking.
After 15 years as Curator at Lady Waterford Hall, Dorien Irving has moved on to pastures new. The new curator, Geoff Bavidge, who lives in Ford Village, took the reins when the Hall opened for the 2016 season on 20th March.
Dorien was presented with gifts and flowers from Lady Joicey and members of staff from the Hall and from Ford & Etal Estates. Thanking everyone for their kindness she added “I have loved every minute of my time at the Hall and in many respects will be sad to leave. It has been a fantastic experience and I have met some wonderful people along the way. I wish Geoff every success in his new post – and of course as I am still living in the village I will be able to pop in and see him and his team from time to time”.
A joint venture to grow and mill a primitive form of wheat in north Northumberland has been launched, brought about by an ever increasing demand for spelt flour. Matthew Rawlings of The Great Northumberland Bread Company has teamed up with Andrew and Guy Warcup of Ford & Etal Farms to grow a field of the crop that will be harvested in the autumn then processed at the nearby Heatherslaw Corn Mill where spelt flour has been milled for the last couple of years.
Lynne Allan, who makes jams and marmalades under the label of Lady Waterford Preserves at The Old Dairy Concept Store in Ford, is one of only two Double Gold winners at the World’s Original Marmalade Awards.
Airship Northstar is a full weekend (24th-26th June) celebration of steampunk, dieselpunk and victoriana created by Impossible Gears, the slightly bonkers creators of Steamtown 2015 - music, laughter, food, drink, jetpack racing, tea duelling, teapot racing, entertainment and general merriment of many sorts – plus a number of attractions and activities unique to the historic and incredibly pretty Ford and Etal Estates.