Saturday, September 6, 2014

Amazing week in Dubai

I've been in Dubai for a week with friends, Jack and George, and had an amazing time!

We found cheap flights a few weeks ago, via Bucharest on the way there and via Sofia, Bulgaria on the way back, so decided to book it and go!
The flights were £300 return - the Dubai to Sofia was only €20! - and the 4* hotel was £60 each for 6 nights so pretty good deal!

It was 41oC during the day so too hot to stay outside and even at night it didn't drop below 34oC at 3 or 4am!

The first day was a bit of a culture shock with the massive clear divide between wealth and poverty; 5 star gold and marble hotels next to falling down apartment blocks and exploitation of Indian workers doing manual labour in blazing sunshine...
But once we took if for what it was worth, a showy resort in what once was nothing but desert, it was amazing!

The Dubai Mall was like nothing I've seen even compared to New York and America - there's a 10 million litre aquarium, Sega World theme park and Ice rink just dotted around the mall! 

We did Burj Khalifa, the worlds tallest building, at 7pm on one of the evenings.
It was dark when we were up there but apparently you can see Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan during the day!

We went to Aquaventure waterpark on The Palms, man made islands, which was awesome! 
Some of the slides and the lazy river go through underwater tunnels through the shark tanks and you can see dolphin training as you queue for rides.

Food was amazing and actually quite cheap.
On the first night we went to Just Falafel and had Falafel panini, hummus (not in the photo), chips, extra falafel and a drink which cost about £4.00!

We went to my favourite The Cheesecake Factory TWICE but learnt after the first meal all we needed was starters (Mac 'n' Cheese balls) not mains, to leave room for cheesecake!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Marrakech Photos

Had the best week ever in Marrakech!

We spent 3 days on an excursion to the Sahara desert.
Drove to the town on the edge of the desert and then trekked on camels for a couple hours into the desert and camped there under the stars

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Trip to Marrakech

Booked a week in Morocco with Nat (brother); we landed in Marrakech this evening so I've only been here 3 hours and am already completely overwhelmed.

Walking through alleyways and side streets to find the hostel was an experience in itself; 8foot wide passageways with people walking in both directions and motorbikes trying to pass through too!

We're staying at the Riad Layla Rouge hostel and Abdel the manager is really nice. Spoke to us all about Marrakech, some do's and don't and said to treat the hostel like home.

We went for a walk to try and find the Jemaa El Fna square...
First of all we got lost so turned around and went back to the hostel and asked Abdel the way - it turns out it's only a 2 minute walk and we'd just gone the wrong way!

Once we found it I felt completely alien.
It took a while to settle in and get used to being dragged into restaurants by waiters, shouted at to but orange juice and having wooden pythons thrust in our faces.
"Hello Chav, I love to shop at Sainsburys"  "Do you shop in Primark?" were their most common phrases so no idea what they've been watching to learn English!?

We got fresh orange juice for 4 dirham (28p) and a chocolate cakey thing for 5dh (35p).
Probably overcharged compared to what the locals pay but it's pennies!

Weekend in Berlin

Been to Berlin for a long weekend visiting a friend.
We left Luton on Thursday morning and spent the day walking round Berlin.
On Friday went to Brandenburg Gate, Berlin Wall and a museum and went out on the night. Got in about 11am.

Saturday was mainly spent sleeping!
We went to a Mexican restaurant and got Chicken Chimichangas... Was so good!
Went out to a karaoke bar and ended up in Ritter butzke.

Pretty good weekend!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Edible Garden Show 2014; A right Royal visit!

This weekend at The Edible Garden Show has been pretty awesome.
The show moved from Stoneleigh Park to Alexandra Palace this year so I went down to London on Thursday night to help set up our stand.
As usual we were running late so most of it was done on Friday morning but it all came together in the end!

HRH Prince Charles and Camilla visited the show on Friday morning and came over to the PoultryTalk stand to meet my Pekin Bantam chicks!
Charles was asking Jamie all about what we do, how long the chicks take to hatch and about the incubation process while Camilla held a chick and spoke to the school children on the stand.
She held a chick which she named with the school children; they decided on Rosie!

The rest of the weekend seemed to fly by!
We went out for dinner and spent most of the show networking and making new chicken friends!

I did a talk in The Experts Theatre on Sunday afternoon with Naomi from BHWT which went ok - I'd forgotten about it until half an hour before we did it so it was all quite rushed but a Q&A session at the end helped to fill time!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Dr Chicken with The Rookies in Country Smallholding

I went over to Helpless Homestead in Machynlleth in July to help them dispatch some of their poultry.
They had a batch of Ross Cobbs but we did a couple of Aylesbury drakes.

They write as The Rookies in Country Smallholding and the article was published in the October issue:

Poultry Dispatch Course Feedback

Just had 2 messages of feedback from the Poultry Dispatch Course this weekend and am really pleased!

"Just want to say a huge thank you to Lewis for a very informative Dispatch, Pluck and Gut Course which my husband Dave attended yesterday - he thoroughly enjoyed it and learned so much - came home and was gutting chickens like a pro! Excellent course and highly recommended. Will be fantastic to be able to eat "home-grown" chickens from now on, no more supermarket rubbish  
A must-do course for anyone keeping chickens for eggs too, gives you peace of mind and confidence to know what you are doing when dealing with ill hens. THANK YOU!" - Lorraine L

"Hi just wanted to let you all know about the dispatch, pluck and gut course I have just been on, was not looking forward to this course,but felt I needed to do as I keep chickens. I arrived on the day I did not know anyone that was there but was made to feel really welcome. The course was brilliant, I learnt how to dispatch correctly without causing the chicken any discomfort, different ways to pluck. Lewis who runs the course was great at explaining and answering all questions that were asked, he made everyone feel at ease. I never thought I would be able to do anything like this 
but I came home confident and prepared a bird on my own. I would definitely recommend this course to anyone. Lewis if you read this many thanks not just for the course, but also for the new friends I have made."
- Tazmin O

Next one is at Cotswold Chickens on 6th October!

Poultry Dispatch Course in Wales

I ran a Dispatch, Pluck and Gut course this weekend in Aberystwyth and had a great time.
We ended up with 5 people on the course and then as families arrived later on we had 11 for the BBQ.

The course went well, everyone seemed to enjoy it and feedback has been really good.
We dispatched in Angela's new goat shed and hung the chickens from beams:

Then went into the mock Medieval Tavern for gutting.

We spatchcocked and BBQ'd the chickens and ate them out on the decking

Then when I got home I roasted mine...
...was the best roast chicken ever!!

Really looking forward to the next course on 6th October at Cotswold Chickens now!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Mabel the Pekin Bantam

So Mabel comes pretty much everywhere with me; Uni, home, work, shows and even on random days out!

So thought she deserved a photo post:

Even a Stobart lorry...

Sherlock mini lop rabbit

Thought I'd better post some pictures of Sherlock as I haven't done for a while! 
He loves reading ;)

And chillin' in the garden 
...or the house

Pretty much anywhere... 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Dispatch Course in Wales

I spent the afternoon at writers from Country Smallholding magazine, Helpless Homestead near Machynlleth, showing them how to Dispatch & Dress Aylesbury ducks and then they'll do their Ross Cobb meat birds.
They have a great set up in the little strip of land they have - a flock of laying hens, a pen of growing meat birds, a couple of tamworth pigs for meat and a big polytunnel for growing all their fruit and veg!
Cleverly, as they're in a valley, they have diverted a stream that runs through their land to run into a pond for the ducks and I think the plan is to do the same for drinking water for the other animals!

First we dispatched and plucked then dispatched and skinned the next duck, which was a lot quicker + easier with the ducks two layers of waterproof feathers!
Adam skinning an Aylesbury Drake:

They have a batch of 5 week old Ross Cobbs which will be ready for the table in a few weeks time - they grow so fast and were struggling with the heat! I suggested they try Ixworths next time, the ideal Smallholder dual purpose bird; cockerels are great meat birds, growing fast and putting on a lot of muscle and the hens can be reared as laying birds.

Was a bit too hot in 30 degree sunshine but was great weather and scenery for it!

Next on to the gutting, we gutted the ducks ready for a roast but with the skinned bird it can be just as easy to joint it so you have the meat from legs, breasts which is a lot quicker and less mess if you're doing a large batch of birds!
You can use the rest of the carcass for stock or give it to the dog!
Gutting one of the plucked ducks:

Cutting the wings and legs off a plucked and drawn meat bird

One Aylesbury duck, ready for roasting!
Looking forward to going back to Wales in August for my next Dispatch & Dress course near Aberystwyth - 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Today, I graduated from Aberystwyth University with a BSc Hons 2(II) in Animal Science! :D

Had the most amazing week ever.
Spent it with my best friends in 30 degree sunshine, on the beach and in the sea!