Monday, 12 January 2009


It might come across sometimes that I consider all our stock as meals on the hoof but there was a time I was a vegetarian, yes by choice and for quite a while, around five years and I was cured dear reader by the Royal Navy.

Sara who was here only a week ago, seems like longer, is also a veggie and we had a veggie meal, a lovely vegetable casserole with cheesy scones, tomatoes and mozzarella with chili beans. Altogether delicious, admittedly it would have been better with a thick Rock HQ Berkshire pork chop with a chili glaze but for one night I harked back to old times and ate a meal that hadn't been eating a few weeks before.

Why I became vegetarian was as a result of watching a documentary about intensive pig farming, the squalid conditions these poor animals are kept in turned my stomach and from that day on I shunned all meat unless I had hunted or killed it myself. This meant that in the not quite five years I kept this pledge I only ate one pheasant that I accidentally run over. It was quite a chase, up the grass verge through the hedge and across four back gardens but eventually I got it.

One of the primary reasons for smallholding was to ensure we knew where our food came from and that any animals we kept for meat were kept in conditions where their welfare was ensured and they led happy if somewhat shorter than natural lives. So well cared for, and as a result so tasty the meat some of our friends who have been vegetarians for years, like Sara and Kay have been tempted to try some of our pork and bacon.

How the Navy cured me was while I was on HMS Norfolk I had a dinner. I was for years a reserve officer, I have in fact only just resigned my commission as my arm will never repair to a level that I could carry out my role, a rescue coxswain. Whilst you can drive a boat with one hand hauling boats in and out of water demands two arms, hauling wet sailors out of the sea requires a crane! Anyway for some reason as I went past the galley I smelt the cooking and asked the chefs what was on the menu. Lamb chops. I explained I was a vegetarian. They laughed. The smell was overwhelming, I asked for a plateful. Three platefuls later I was cured.

I will miss the Navy and the scrapes and adventures I got into, accidentally having dinner with Prince Andrew was one of many weird days, I wont however miss the the lunches they gave us, pictured below, prisoners got fed better!
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