A Duck's Diary from the Jinney Ring Craft Centre

Just some of the stuff that I see here!

Friday, 14 August 2015

Catch up with the summer

Well , so much for my good intentions of writing every week - it has been so busy we have not had time to put webbed foot to keyboard!

If you would like a bit of a catch up as to what we have been seeing here in the gardens here it is....

The 7th BLUES FESTIVAL took place on the last weekend in May - this was a bit earlier this year so should have given us a clue just how busy the summer is going to be.  The weather was reasonably kind to humans and ducks alike and the music was great.  We didn't try the beer but it sold out so must have been good!

We loved Dave Migden and Twisted Roots - what a treat!

Steve Ajao and the Giants - they were big lads -- and they could quack a tune!

 Trev Bambridge - he agreed to compare as well as play on Friday night and Sunday - our own very special star!
At the end of June it was time for the second ever folk festival - this time it was bigger and used the same stage as the Blues - the Music was very different though including some artists on there way to or from Glastonbury (same weekend) we often heard the term 'Glast-Hanbury' used!
The Leylines were fab!

We love Becky and Bababjack - at last we managed to get together and have them play here!

Foreign affair - a breath of fresh air!
What a couple of great festivals - if you would like to see the reviews have a look at
http://www.slapmag.co.uk/Slap-Issues/Issue-49-July-2015.pdf  Blues - Page 47

http://www.slapmag.co.uk/Slap-Issues/Issue-50-August-2015.pdf Folk - Page 27

The photos above have all mainly been taken by Graham Munn - many thanks

Over the course of the two festivals we saw so many people, so many pets, so much cider and beer and of course the Jinney Ring staff did not stop moving, especially the Chefs!  Happily we also had plenty of corn thrown our way - come back next year....

There was also a bit of bird news around the festivals - one of my girl friends decided to make the most of the hay bales that were kept in the bar tent between festivals and build a superb soft nest underneath the beer stillages.
Beautiful nest
She then laid 6 eggs and started to sit on them - it was a few days later when the JR team were getting ready for the Folk festival that she was discovered.  Unfortunately the nest could not stay in place as she would have been soaked with beer (and frightened by all the people), so her eggs were taken to the incubator and about 3 weeks later 5 out of the 6 eggs hatched into gorgeous yellow ducklings (one of them is a magpie duck).  A happy result for the  'beer tent duck'.  The ducklings are now out and about in the gardens all fit and well.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Watch the Birdies!

Now we all know that Stuart Fletcher from Top Glass is a bit of a golfer - have often heard it said that 'he is on a course' when he is not in the glass blowing unit...but now he has taken his enthusiasm to a new level he has his own 'Birdie Tree' out the front of the Jinney Ring. (Have to say that chances of this many 'birdies' are somewhat slim from what we 'duckies' hear!!)

'Birdie' Tree - changing the season.

Talking of trees - we also had a lovely gift endowed for our new Memory Tree - Steve Allen, who is part of first family to put up their memory leaves, is a photographer and very kindly made us a proper sign - this is now up next to the tree, thank you Steve it has smartened up the garden beautifully. Steve is an equestrian photographer and you can really tell he loves horses when you look at his pictures - we have told Wally and Jonah, the horses in the field next to us that they need to lose some weight and tidy themselves up before they could look this good - Wally just rolled in the mud again!

Thanks Steve
Out on the pond the new ducklings were released out of their pen for their first swim on Monday - since then they have been getting more confident every day and yesterday a whole group of them got out of the netted area onto the big pond - fortunately all but one realized that they needed to go back in to be fed.  The remaining duckling was out til 10 o'clock but finally worked out how to get in again so all was well.
First week out and about.
 We have also notices that Mick has spoiled our dining experience in the garden this week - he has put some green fencing over the willow hedge - darn shame it was so tasty for us!

That is about it for this week - weather yesterday was 'good for ducks' but not people but was better today so hopefully summer is around the corner!

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Singing the 'Blues' for the 7th year!

Last weekend was the seventh Blues Festival held in our gardens, a bit of a change this year as we normally see this going on in August, so it was a surprise to see all the preparations going on in May, and this year even more marquee space for the Beer tent and the BBQ/food area - it all seem to work really well though and we saw lots of familiar faces back here - some of them camping and in motor homes in the gardens.

A festival 'old friend - setting the trend for festival fashion'

The music for the day was great - for us ducks to get into a concert like this free of charge was an added bonus!  The stage was all under cover and the tempo gradually increased as the day went on, a terrific mix of sounds and a wonderful team of artists, we loved them all!
The Steve Ajao Giants 

Dave Migden and the Twisted roots

Sending everyone home on a high - The Official Recievers
The festival also featured a lot of real ale and these went down a treat - there was not much left for Sunday and the barrels were pretty much empty at the end of the day ...I think this fella had not paced himself enough....

Lots of dogs came along to the festival and none of them chased us!
All the Jinney Ring staff were a bit whacked out at the end of Sunday but they were clearly worried about the weather forecast as on  Monday morning early the main stage tent was taken down very quickly and the other tents were seriously tied down - but not tied down enough as it turned out. Tuesday saw some incredible gusts of wind in the garden - they were blowing us around - look what they did to the bar tent.....

Upps !
 It looked like a complete mangled mess at this point, but happily with the talented team in the gardens it it now ready for the next (Folk) festival and more or less back to normal!

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Duckling Antics and Memories

We now have some new ducklings in the pen at the end of the garden - some of them have been incubated and some are natural but 'rescued' to save them from the beastly crows that keep raiding our eggs and stealing our babies.  It is lovely to hear them chirping away in the the small arc.

Yesterday they gave us all a fright though,  they managed to escape their arc and the pen and got out on the pond.  They are pretty quick swimmers when this size and with 14 of them all racing around the pond it took quite a while to get them back in again - much wading in the pond and using a large net.  What they forget is that they don't float very well at this age as they don't have the benefit of the wax like secretions that a mum would normally give them.  When they were all eventually rescued and returned to their pen they needed a lot of drying off and most of them looked very sorry for themselves.  Happily they are back to normal now none the worse for their adventure - and thankfully none took a trip with the crows!

We have some other new ducks arrived into the garden as well this week (and they may have been responsible for letting the little ones out!!) 4 new girls who are about 18 months old have come to join us from a home where they were dearly loved but could not look after them any more.  There are two magpie ducks among these.  They will have a few days in the pen before coming out to meet the rest of us - we are looking forwards to meeting them.

Last weekend we saw the first leaves put on the Memory Tree in the garden and they look so pretty. The whole family came to pay their respects to their grandmother/mother.  What a nice family - they even thought to feed us too, we hope to see them again.

the leaves are engraved with the 'memory'
The Memory Tree with the first glass leaves installed

Taking an occasional stroll around the car park is a bit frowned upon by the staff as they worry that we will get run over - however we often do it at this time of year (when we are trying to find our own private space for woo-ing (isn't this what owls do to?)).  Before I got shoo-ed back in to the gardens I spotted this lovely car - just wanted to share it with you.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

A very 'Civil'-ized weekend!

As the bank holiday weekend arrived true to form so the weather got a bit wetter and a bit chillier out here in the gardens at the Jinney Ring.   This was a bit of a shame for the two civil weddings that took place but happily it did not spoil either day....

Firstly Dani married Anthony on Saturday.  We have seen the couple on a number of occasions, but had never seen Dani (Danielle) out of jeans - so were 'wowed' when she arrived at 1:30pm ready for a small civil ceremony in our meeting room which had been especially decorated in her colours for the big day.

Dani with her father and bridesmaids on their was to the ceremony

Teal was the wedding colour

Once the marriage contract was completed we saw a lot of the Bride and Groom as their photographer took them around the gardens for lots of photographs.  After this they went into the restaurant for their 'Wedding Breakfast' (personally don't get this as it was nearly our tea time - breakfast was hours ago!).  They had a specially designed menu cooked by Shirley the chef, they all seemed very happy at the end of it!  Finally lots more people arrived and they had a party, dancing in the Barn, it all looked very nice.

The next day there was a change of colour for the wedding ceremony of Sophie and Russell.  They  
wanted a really relaxed wedding at home so decided to just have the Civil ceremony and photos with us.  For this one the wedding party were all congregating in the gardens when the rain came, really hard and heavy - fortunately everyone go under cover in the garden marquee and waited until it subsided!  We ducks loved it - it was like a really hard massage!  It did not spoil the day for the Bride and Groom who made their vows and and got some lovely (if stormy) photos too.

Storm clouds could not spoil the day for Sophie and Russell
We thought we were in for a bit of a rest after this wedding party left but it was not to be - at 4pm a coach arrived and we had a large group of French visitors arrive.  They were all from Gruchet le Valasse which is in Normandy and the town is twinned with Redditch.  These visitors were very appreciative but as it was a bit wet and windy they did not spend much time with us, we were of course practicing our best 'charlatan' (quack) for them!  They moved into the restaurant at 6pm and had a typical English Sunday Roast meal with their Redditch hosts - there were nearly 9o guests in total so the staff were working hard.  

It has been pretty lively on the pond this week too - one of my Call duck friends arrived on the pond with 7 ducklings on Thursday - here she is showing them how to get out of the water.

New arrivals
Yesterday we also saw some new Mallard ducklings too - they diced with death getting to the pond though, as the daft mum walked them through the garden next door on the way here - she has clearly forgotten the two large dogs and the cat that live there!

Sunday, 26 April 2015

High Teas and Fast Cars!

Another lovely weather week in the garden but I think we really could do with some rain now as it is a bit hard under web at the moment and digging for worms is just a bit too much like hard work - not that we do much of this when there are so many people anxious to feed us corn - well you have to help them out don't you!

Talking of food we saw some wonderfully colourful jellies, cakes  and platters of sandwiches and other delicacies being taken down the garden yesterday afternoon.  The garden marquee had gone up in the week and was decorated with bunting and balloons all to celebrate Lynne Watson's "big" birthday.  She had a lot of company and they were very chilled out eating their high tea in the gardens.

Today was my favourite day though - on the bottom lawn of the gardens next to the ponds we had 17 very special cars - most of them were Austin Healey make and pretty old to my untrained beady eye. The car club had a 'drive out' and stayed with us most of the day which included a full Sunday Roast Lunch in the restaurant.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Guide dogs in the garden

It has been an interesting week around the ponds, lots of work going on with the mini-digger again and listening to the conversations it would appear that we ducks are the cause....... The digger has been rebuilding the sides of the ponds and back filling all of our lovely inlets with soil, then a new willow layer fence/hedge was constructed by painstakingly weaving a complete side of the pond and including a very nice duck 'portal' in it, we are just waiting for the ramp to be installed into the pond now - we have all used it already!  The fence line should become a hedge in the fullness of time as the willow has been planted into the soil.

This weekend we have also see some activity from many dogs - the Guide Dog for the Blind fundraising event was held today (Sunday) and lots of dogs all came along for a sponsored long walk. Everyone in the Centre is hoping that we have now reached a collective £5K target raised for the charity as this will mean that the Centre can name a guide dog pup, we shall see soon what was raised.  There have been lots of suggestions already.

A lively bunch waiting for their walk.
 The two horses in the field have found the dog event very interesting - but then this is the first one they have seen,  they spent most of the day leaning over the fence watching.  We hear that next week they will be in for some company in the field as the cows will be back for the summer.