By Emma Chaplin
It was a hot day and we all knew it was going to be a poignant session with the Bluebell House group at Baulcombes Barn, because it was the last one to be held here.
Flourish funding comes to an end in August 2018, and Bluebell House is moving to Horsham.
As Owena pointed out, members of the group have gone from being anxious around the animals, to being confident and assured, and that has been a pleasure for all of us to be part of.
Lunch was going to be a late one, so I made drinks and shared courgette cake to tide everyone over.
Since Rhiannan has done the Erasmus cookery course in France, and has developed her skills and confidence as a chef, she kindly agreed to be in charge of cooking over a firepit for the celebration meal, with myself in a supporting role. Before we lit the fire, we brought two buckets of water over, just in case there was an issue with the ground being so dry.
From her farm, Owena had provided hogget burgers, sausages and boiled eggs. Rhiannan had made rose harissa koftas from hogget mince and made pittas to put them in, with yoghurt dressing and pomegranate seeds. Also, she'd made halloumi and watermelon skewers for the vegetarians, and a lovely salad made from fennel and other delicious things. Sue had brought courgettes and beans from her allotment, and we cooked those in foil in the fire. I brought apple juice from Ringmer Community Orchard, which is special and went down very well indeed.
Whilst Rhiannan and I cooked near the pond area, everyone else spent time with their favourite animals, saying goodbye.
Then we gathered to share a delicious meal, before going inside for a final check in. I gave out the gifts of mugs, tea towels and framed prints of the cartoon of the farm Flourish had had made, and the group gave Owena a wonderful pyrography picture of a pony as a thank you for being such a great group leader.
Owena praised everyone for coming to what we all knew would be a painful session. Endings are never easy.
It has been a pleasure working with the wonderful members and staff of Bluebell House, and Owena has been a wonderful person to work with. We've all learnt so much.
Thank you to Rhiannan for her amazing cooking!
Owena will be doing two weaving sessions at Bluebell House in August, and Emma will come to the second one.