Tracey and I have actually managed to be like proper grown ups this week and escaped our animal friends to go out for dinner, not once but twice! Unheard of!

First night out was by invitation from Stuart our butcher who wanted us to go to The Stag at Titley, the only Michelin starred pub in Herefordshire I believe. Anyway, Stuart had sampled their pork and cider menu a few weeks back and last wednesday they were doing a beef and ale night.

Stuart is a top butcher, if you close your eyes and imagine the archetypal butcher, thats him. Larger than life both in build and personality, a friendly smiling giant who loves his job and is keen to promote real food and the forgotten skills of a traditional butcher. His shop in Drapers Lane, Leominster is fantastic, one of three in the town which might seem a lot but he remembers a time when the town was supplied by over a dozen butchers shops. So if this man recommended the meat served at The Stag it had to be good.

It wasnt. It was fantastic. What a fun night, started with Stuart giving a demonstration on how to bone and prepare a brisket for pickling. Large men with knives are always worth listening to and he didnt disappoint. Neither did the food which was stunning, a plate of three beef starters and then a steak and kidney pudding which when it first arrived I assumed was to share but turned out to be one each! All washed down with two beers at an all inclusive price of £10 each, quite simply a bargain. We cant wait to see what the Duck night has to offer in June. Fortunately all the surplus calories were walked off the following day when I set off on an exploration of the hills surrounding Rock HQ as part of my training regime in preparation for walking Offas Dyke in June to raise money for prostate cancer research.Several times during the walk I questioned my sanity as Sara, my walking partner set a blistering pace. I also questioned why I chose an athlete 15 years younger than me and half my weight to take the lead! In her spare time she cycles up and down mountains(A womens downhill champion)and sets up cycle races while I spend my spare time thinking about training while eating steak and kidney puddings.

Saturday we went up to see The Stable Sprite, a purveyor of fine wooden stables and keeper of Berkshire pigs. He has provided us with piglets since our first year here. It was good to catch up and once again we were treated to a lovely meal while swapped pig and horse tales. Horses are scared of Lions, but thats another tale. He has got our first recruits for Pig Club which starts in a couple of weeks. His advice should make life a lot simpler for us and the pigs over the next few months. Our two pigs Patches and Pixie have had their pet status revoked after another raid on the garden turned the lawn into a model of The Somme. Having seen the size of full grown Berkshire sows, which are bigger than Trevor our miniature horse I am sure we wouldnt manage the devastation one of these creatures would unleash on our plot. Neither would we manage the potential 50 piglets a year they would produce which would mean us having to sell the surplus piglets to a commercial fattening unit, thus defeating the object of why we smallhold.

The animals managed to occupy themselves for most of the weekend while Tracey and I refurbished the Chicken Run. This now contains twenty hens bought especially to bring on for meat. A strange looking heavy set white chicken which hopefully will survive the attentions of foxes long enough to reach a good weight when they can be sent to Mr Whirlpool the freezer. Time will tell whether the fence is fox proof! Chicken in a basket will be on the menu by Easter with any luck.

Another full week at Rock HQ has ended sadly with the death of Midas, the little chap was busy racing around the stable provoking the other Mums to be when he climbed on a bale and stuck his head through a loop af baler twine used to tie the gate. We didnt find him until it was too late, a tragic accident and such a sad waste. This has been our toughtest lambing yet with one born dead and one commiting suicide we wait patiently to see what the other four produce. They are still intent on prolonging their stay in the luxury accommodation so have managed not to give birth for another week.

Feel free to drop into the world of smallholding at Rock HQ, our website had visits from thousands of people in 37 different countries last month.Strange to think that someone in Senegal or Peru is as interested in what happens on our hill as we are.