November letter from The Ferns, Vegetarian / Vegan B & B – chatting about grapes, eggs, Christmas in Newport, Shropshire and stopping Sainsbury superstore swamping our lovely little Newport town


We have had a wonderful year for grapes from our organic grape vine. Visitors have been able to eat them as part of their breakfast menu. We picked the last off  earlier this month. Although  this part of Shropshire has the national record for the lowest temperature in England (1982), because our garden is protected by walls and fencing, we tend to be quite warm here, and  also the grape vine is on a south-facing-wall.

grapes and raspberries


I am always experimenting with items for breakfast. At one stage I was using  local eggs but they seemed to have an unusual orangy colour which I didn’t like the look of. Then I moved to a supermarket free range, but they didn’t taste of much. I am now trying  Co-op organic  free range eggs, and they have a good flavour.  They are just wonderful when the poached eggs are floating  in the simmering water  – you know that they are totally fresh. Delia Smith has some very good information about how to tell if eggs are fresh

poached egg floating on water

Christmas in Newport, Shropshire

Our Christmas lights  switch on is 29th November. Father Christmas will be there. There will be fireworks in the local park and a sing along in St Nich0las’ church.

Newport Christmas Lights

Public Inquiry

We are bracing ourselves for a re-run of the public inquiry that took place last year in respect of the planning application for a Sainsburys Superstore at the end of our road (Unfortunately the planning inspector died and so it has to be run again).

Many local people are appalled at the prospect of losing our local chemists,  independent clothes stores,  electrical goods,  stationery and other small stores , because, you name it, Sainsburys will stock it.  Telford & Wrekin Council have sold a pony field (see below) at the end of our road to Sainsburys for 21 million pounds.

I am representing the History Society and will be giving evidence about the Heritage Assets that will be lost with just this one field. It has been called the Black Butts field  (‘le blak burtes’) since the early 14th century. It has ridge & furrow, a possible Anglo-Saxon boundary ditch ( AD963),  ancient hedgerows, an ancient track way – apart from the loss of natural habitat – how can a frog pond be in a 350 space car park, which is what has been suggested!

ridge  and furrow small copy

Medieval ridge & furrow in the Black Butts field

frog small

A common frog in the pond in the Black Butts field

I have created a T shirt image which I wear round town. This is the front of it. I thought it was quite appropriate!

sainburys  no thanks

I know that people love Sainsburys, but when it is your little town that is being threatened by one of these superstores, who only have allegiance to their shareholders, and they are really not interested in our town or us Novaportans, you really have to stand up and be counted. So I shall be giving evidence at the re-running of the inquiry in January. Do any of you regrets about having a superstore near your town centre?

Have a look at  Blog spot:  Garden, Tea, Cakes and Me  has Naked Bars giveaway . They are brilliant snack bars that are vegan.

Best wishes