Despite the fact that he’s currently going through a poker-face-meets-wuss phase, Sidney had a wonderful time. No, he didn’t crack a smile when we bottle-fed the clamouring lambs with warm milk; yes, he took some convincing to perch atop Bill, the placid pony, leaning fearfully into me, his riding hat tipping drunkenly over one eye; and, yep, he did thrash about wailing when Ruby the goat made a bid for his bucket.
But, you know, he’s two-and-a-half, and though onlookers may have been fooled into thinking him less than impressed, he has nattered delightedly about his adventure ever since: bumping along in the hay-lined trailer on the back of a tractor; the naughty pig who attempted a breakout; the honking, flapping geese; the ride-on cars in the garden and the wendy house where he did his daily ironing. And the cakes.
The cakes. The scones. The roast dinner. The ice-cream. The sandwiches.
For an allergy parent pondering this holiday it’s all you need to know. Lucy cooked, Lucy baked, Sidney ate, Sidney enjoyed it, and he was fine. As I said, we’re definitely going back.
Next time I may even shake off my phobia of being sociable on holiday and stay in the farmhouse. A combination of nerves – wanting to have the self-catering option should I wimp out – and preferring to have some private space led me to book Humpty Dumpty cottage in the grounds of the farm (cosy, brilliantly equipped, filled to the brim with toys and all the paraphernalia you need for kids), but there are rooms available in the main house itself, with meals catered for daily.
We opted for the cautious route, agreeing to a welcome High Tea for Sidney and a Sunday roast dinner. I’d phoned Lucy again the week before our arrival, to talk through the cans and cannots, and followed up with an email just to make triply sure no mistakes were made.
I needn’t have worried. For his sandwiches, she had bought in the brand of bread we use, sliced off a fresh wedge of butter especially for Sidney and stored it in a sealed plastic tub, opened a new slab of cheddar cheese. Then there were The Black Farmer sausages on sticks, scones made egg free and wheat free with coconut milk and gluten free flour, with previously untouched tubs of strawberry jam and clotted cream, and tiny apple fairy cakes that Sidney piled into his mouth with alarming speed. After tea, she gave us the sweet leftovers in tupperware to be frozen and doled out throughout the week – meaning during days out we could stop off for a cream tea or a slice of cake and give Sidney his own, safe version, so he’d never feel left out.
For the roast tea there was chicken and gravy made with just the juices of the meat and veg and a little gluten free flour; carrots, roast potatoes, broccoli. Homemade strawberry ice-cream that Lucy whizzed up in her Vitamix.
And the freshly baked apricot and lemon cupcakes that she hand-delivered to our door simply because she’d been “curious” about whether stewed apricots would work as an egg replacer. (They do, and here’s the recipe).
What else? Every morning we would feed the animals their breakfasts – the goats, the pigs, the lambs, the chickens, geese, ducks.
There was egg collecting for the other children, which Lucy briefed us on beforehand, but which we opted to let Sid watch so we could explain what eggs were and why he couldn’t touch them. A little allergy education thrown in, too.
To make up for not being able to join in with the eggs, it became Sidney’s job to let the geese out and feed them their grains. And he had his special hand-washing bucket, of course, and his own towel, both of which he guarded furiously from attack.
I could go on. I won’t. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. But please don’t all book at once: we want to go back, thanks, and I don’t want to hear that it’s full.
Higher Lank Farm, St Breward, Bodmin, Cornwall, PL30 4NB, 01208 850716, www.higherlankfarm.co.uk