JACS came to stay for four days. I had my activities and menus prepared, including a visit to Bocketts Farm. On the day we had set aside for this visit the weather was atrocious. But Bocketts has a large covered area where there is a Soft Play network to play through, including some netting walkways across the main gallery, a large slide and an area of pens which contain ‘tame’ farm animals like sheep, goats, cows, llamas (!) who are willing to be stroked – in exchange for food.
So in the expectation that the heavy rain had set in for the day Nick and I set off with four excited children strapped into their Zafira. We arrived, were obliged to park in the upper carpark because it was evidently busy, and made our way down to the large barn. The children spent a good hour playing on the large padded climbing frame structure which is typical of the genre. How we grandparents would have loved to have such a facility to take our own!
The older children had several goes on the slide as well and after an hour it seemed the right time to go and find some lunch in the Tea Room which is housed within one of the other barns. The older boys had egg, beans, sausages, Amelia and Charlie had a ‘Happy Meal’ which comes in a cardboard box with a sandwich of one’s choice and Nick and I had a jacket potato with Coronation Chicken.
Fed and watered, we proceeded to the penned animals to administer to them. I bought a bag of food pellets and asked for extra bags to share the food out amongst children. My 75p worth of animal feed went a long way. Sam and Joel were very resourceful and gathered up all the pellets which had been dropped by children feeding the animals. Consequently they never ran out of food. Feeding activities were brought to an end when one of the goats Sam was feeding decided to take the matter into his own mouth and snatched the paper bag, scoffing the contents.
Amelie and Charlie were enjoying a session on the tractors when we noticed that the sun had come out. Just in time for pig-racing. This must be regarded as a Bocketts highlight. As spectators line up round the fenced circuit you can hear squealing, and battering on the ricketty wooden door of the low shed where the six piglets are confined. The visitors are invited to cheer for their favourite: will it be Curly Sue……… or Lester Piglet?
The pandemonium in the shed reaches a crescendo and the piglets are released. Four of us are based at the lower corner of the track which traces three sides of a square. Sam and Joel are at the finishing line, where, surely, there must be a trough – or maybe six troughlets – of something worth running for! With much squealing the piglets streak past us and pelt up the hill, their pink piggy bottoms rocking from side to side.
The sun stays out long enough for the contingent to enjoying the outdoor play facilities which include a large tractor which entrances Charlie and a maze for the older ones. It is approaching six 0’clock when we leave. Once home tiredy ones are bathed whilst I rustle up mini toads and a bucket of gravy. Tomorrow is another day. And Saturday is spent at West Wittering, blogged by chezperryman……….