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MY STORY – ISABEL

Full name – Isabel.

Age – Unknown. But you humans would class me as OLD!

My Role at Lancombe – Queen of Fairies/Entertainments

Background – Myself and my Fairies migrated to Lancombe in Spring 2014. I heard through the Fairy Post that there was an opening in some woods, with lots of trees to make houses in. We weren’t very satisfied with the accommodation we were staying in, so decided to make a move. Since then, we have built larger houses and a very happy Fairy Village. We have also adopted Marvin the friendly Hobbit in this time and Elvis the Elf. They generally mix well with the fairies, so much so, Marvin arranged for his playboy Mansion to be built when he decided to be a permanent resident in our Fairy Colony, we can’t get the fairies out of there at times!

This is me on my favourite sign watching over the woods!

Why were you the best candidate for the role? – The fairies could not have moved without me. As the Queen of the woods, I am responsible for their welfare, training and social care. It’s a big responsibility as there are hundreds of fairies here. I was officially crowned Queen in June 2014. It went to a public fairy vote, and I was considered the best candidate for the role.

I have superb letter writing skills, and as well as looking after the fairies, I make sure every letter that is left in our post box is responded to in a timely manner. I have service level agreements with the owners and if these are breached I will receive a verbal warning and then be taken through retraining before any disciplinary action is started. At the end of the day, nobody wants children going without their fairy letters.
I am an excellent trainer. Each new baby fairy receives flying lessons, this helps them with understanding their Sky Flying Code and also to ensure they are able to avert danger wherever possible.

Interests – Being the best fairy colony we can be. We love living in Lancombe’s woods and do not want to jeopardize this. I particularly love seeing children in our woods, reading their letters and writing replies. It’s wonderful when they find their letters and seeing the excitement on their faces is a pleasure. I attend National Fairy Meetings on a quarterly basis, and we have been top of the country for the last 3 years. That’s a massive achievement, I’m very proud of my fairies. My greatest hobby is making fairy dust, and we do like a good fairies wings up, where we all get together, eat Leaf Stew, Berry Con Carne and magic the night away.

Aspirations for the future – To continue to be Queen of these woods. I’m hoping there won’t be a Coup anytime soon and I lose my crown, so I have to keep thinking of new and innovative ways to keep the fairies happy. That’s why I allowed a Hobbit and an Elf into our colony. I am currently lobbying for our own pool and gymnasium, so please keep your fingers crossed for us.

 

My house!

Protected by Magic & with Fairy Love

Isabel

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MY STORY -BARBIE

Full name – I’m Barbie Q the Brahma.

Age – I think I’m about 4. I have just realized nobody has celebrated my Birthday!

My Role at Lancombe – Food Production Specialist/Entertainments

Background – I was born with a lot of other Chickens in Maiden Newton Village. I have been a member of the Lancombe Team since February 2014, when I relocated with other members of the original Lancombe Hen Party. I am the highest in the Hen Hierarchy, this is partly due to my size, but also because we have a history of being bullied by other Hens because they think we look like we’re stuck in the 70’s with our feathery flares, so we’re born thick-shelled.

This is me having a party with my Co-Hens. Bottoms up!

Why were you the best candidate for the role? – I am a fierce layer, and frankly I’m proud of both my laying productivity and the quality of my eggs. We are quite sociable and like it when children come to visit us, largely because we get extra helpings of food, but also, we are proud of what we deliver at Lancombe. As we live here for free with a housekeeping service, we’re happy to contribute to our housing and food.

I’m a fast runner! As Hens, we know every day is a lottery because it could be our last. There are so many dangers out there, that’s why we were happy to move to Lancombe, because we have Alpacas as neighbours which downgrades our risk of harm from critical to severe. Unfortunately, this is balanced by the fact we tend to roam in the woods…badgers build sets there and they are cunning too. We’re not scared of Dogs, if you’ve ever looked a Fox or a Badger in the eye, a cuddly Dog means nothing!

We’ve recently had some new friends move in, there are a couple that are small and odd looking too (some may say ‘cute’) and they gossip all the time, but we’ll soon peck that out of them. It’s a small, close knit Hen Hostel, and we don’t like everybody knowing our business. We had to have new friends because there’s been a high attrition rate lately, you see our Bosses rescued a lot of Hens from somewhere called a Battery, which sounds nasty. They were old, and even though I don’t know my birthday, you could tell they’d had the yolk knocked out of them. We’ll soon teach the newbies our pecking order, and hopefully they’ll pull their weight.

Interests – Staying alive! We have production targets, I tend to exceed these, but you can never be complacent. The best layer gets the best place in the shed at night because you gain a level of respect. Whilst we don’t always look it, we do love having children collect our eggs, there’s a certain amount of pride and satisfaction from making children smile, and otherwise, we don’t really get to see the output of our work.

Aspirations for the future – Staying alive! I’d ideally like to see next year, I love it at Lancombe and I know wonderful things are planned, so I want to live to see these materialize. I know if I was a Turkey, that wouldn’t happen! I want to continue to meet my targets and make children happy, I never realized I liked them so much, considering it seems with the lack of males here, I’ll never have any of my own!!

Hope to see you soon!

Love Barbie Q

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MY STORY – BARNABY

Age – I’m seven now, but I was 3 years old when we moved to Lancombe. I am one of the original Lancombe Five.

My Role at Lancombe – Maintenance Supervisor/Entertainments

Background – I was born in a Rescue Centre in Southampton. Originally my name was Terence, because all my siblings’ names began with ‘T’, but that changed pretty quickly. I used to be very lively, but now like to take things a bit slower, as I feel that this move was more semi-retirement for me and when I can, I try to be retired as much as possible.


This is me on the right on a trip to Cerne Abbas with my best mate Fleur.

Why were you the best candidate for the role? – To be honest, my Dad chose me. Although I’ve been asked to stress our values at Lancombe do not include nepotism. I shadow my Dad, and supervise his every move. Sometimes, he ‘forgets’ I’m supposed to be checking what he’s doing and just wanders off and leaves me behind when I’m not looking. It’s hard being a Supervisor sometimes, it can make you unpopular when you point things out, it’s even harder when it’s working with family. I often get shouted at for barking at the Strimmer when Dad’s using it, but I am only reiterating the Health & Safety procedures because those things can be nasty if not used properly.

As well as Supervising Maintenance, I like to keep my paw in the Entertainments arena. This is largely as a double act with my best friend Fleur, but I can hold my own too. I am often used to entertain the human children with collecting eggs in my mouth and delivering them at my Dad’s feet undamaged. I have had to carry Fleur a bit on the entertainment front lately as she has been on sick leave. She’s usually a bit more enthusiastic than me (well a lot actually), and tends to be used to walk the human children and make them laugh. Her mum says she has no loyalty because she will love anyone, which is true, but I admit it comes in useful.

Interests – Being with my Dad, making my Dad happy, eating (when I’m with my Dad), playing with Fleur (even better when it’s with my Dad), having my tummy stroked (especially if it’s by my Dad).
Aspirations for the future – I’d ideally like to be retired this time next year, but only if my Dad does too, otherwise, I’ll just have to work as long as he does.


This is me (under Fleur) showing her how to relax!

Hope to see you soon!

Love Barnaby

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MY STORY – TEAM MEMBER 3

 

My Role at Lancombe – Apprentice Hunter/Companion

Age – I am one of three kittens that were born exactly 8 weeks ago to the day.  This was me when I had just arrived at Lancombe.

Background – Today is poignant for me, as I have just said goodbye to my 2 siblings, 4 & 5. They are now with a lovely family who I’m sure will give them a proper name.  They will shortly be out patrolling the streets in Southampton. We were born at Lancombe Country Cottages & Lodges in Dorset, and I am pleased to be staying and doing something rewarding, everybody seems really happy here.

My Mum and her Sister (1 & 2) are the original Team Members of the Pest Control Unit at Lancombe. They arrived here over a year ago, and I have heard they have done an excellent job in looking after the chicken’s food, the accommodation and entertaining Lancombe’s guests.  In case you haven’t met them, here’s my Mum and my Auntie (Mum’s on the left).Why were you the best candidate for the role? – As they say, no man is an island, and although Team Members 1 (my Mum) & 2 (my Auntie) hate to admit it, sometimes no woman is either. This is where I come in! I am part of Lancombe’s Succession Planning Strategy, so if anything happens to my Mum or Auntie I can step up. It has nothing to do with the fact Caroline fell in love with me, it is purely professional.

My mum will soon be back roaming the grounds after her maternity leave and is really looking forward to getting out and meeting people again. I will be getting used to being without my siblings and will be undertaking a one-week intensive training programme before starting my apprenticeship. My qualities are that I’m laid back, I like a cuddle and I work well under pressure.

Interests – My interests are playing, being stroked, being fed, sleeping, being fed, exploring and learning new things.

Aspirations for the future – I hope that Lancombe’s guests will like me as much as they do my mum and auntie and although nervous, I look forward to seeing you soon and getting stuck in.

Love Team Member 3.  This is me now.

 

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HOW TO HAVE A HEAVENLY HOLIDAY WITH CHILDREN

by Caroline aged 43 ¾ (nearly 44).

It’s no surprise that Staycations are on the rise. It’s easier, cheaper and you can speak the language. Most of all it involves less preparation.

At Lancombe we understand that even though you aren’t getting on a plane or a boat, the family holiday with children still requires some organising. So, we have some handy tips from start to finish, to make it a heavenly holiday that the whole family will enjoy.

Are you an early bird or a gambler?
There is neither a right or a wrong time to book your holiday. It’s a well known fact that there’s a lot of great deals to be had for booking late in the day. But, with a family there are some things to bear in mind. During any school holiday, whatever time of the year, the family sized properties are always booked first.

You can still receive some rewards for booking early, but having the choice of accommodation, location and facilities that you absolutely want, rather than settling for what you can get. For example, at Lancombe, we’re offering an ‘Early Bird’ booking discount of 5% for summer 2018, if your holiday is booked and deposit paid by 31st August 2017.

Research what’s right for the whole family
Whilst your idea of heaven may be a secluded property in the wilds of nowhere, or a town property with walking distance to the beach or a pub, it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what’s going to keep the children happy….and ultimately you! As one guest recently said to me, “happy children = happy parents” and this is very, very true!

Children often make friends on holiday and that adds to their enjoyment (and your quiet time). So, it’s worth choosing a family friendly holiday complex where it’s safe for the children to play together. Indoor facilities are essential for those days when the sun may not be shining, for example we have an indoor heated pool & games room, which are a god send in wet weather.

Even in the winter, it’s worth taking the kids somewhere where there are outdoor activities, or jobs that they enjoy doing (like feeding the chickens) as we do at Lancombe.

Outside of summer, are there on site activities that the children will look forward to?
At Lancombe, we have a Treasure Hunt for February half term, Easter Egg hunt on Easter Sunday, a Spooky Walk and Games for October half term, and Santa visits us at Christmas ….all free of charge.

Travelling light!
If you have babies or toddlers, there is sooooooo much equipment you need to bring, let alone the favourite toy (mine was a life sized chimp). Most family friendly holiday providers take a lot of the packing off your hands. At Lancombe we try very hard to think of what you will definitely need, and what you may want in your cottage or lodge ready for your arrival, such as Travel Cots, Bed Guards and High Chairs. It also gives you confidence that your children are truly welcome.

Whilst accommodation providers can’t provide everything you need, there are other options. We have teamed up with Travelling Tots, a local firm who hires out and delivers equipment for young children, such as Pushchairs, Strollers and Back Carriers. This lessens your packing even more. Have a look at our Children’s facility page as an example of what we and Travelling Tots provide: http://www.lancombe.co.uk/facilities/children

Fail to plan, plan to fail
Is there somewhere you really want to go whilst you’re away? Are the kids desperate to go to the local theme park? It is always worth checking what is near by, and researching on the internet what discounts can be had. For example, Sealife often give a whopping 30% discount if you book online before you visit. Check out the holiday provider’s Facebook page for details of local offers. Ours is: https://www.facebook.com/LancombeCountryCottages/

Eating out
We’ve all been there. Allergies, fussy eaters, or just “not welcome”. If you are Self-Catering always check what pubs or restaurants children are welcomed at nearby. If it’s not easy to see, check with the person you have booked your holiday with. Most places should cater for fussy eaters these days, and if they don’t, do you really want to go there? At Lancombe we provide a list of child and pet friendly pubs and eateries in our Welcome Packs.

Days out
Whilst you may love your accommodation and the facilities you have chosen, it doesn’t mean you or your children want to stay there all the time.

 

Check out the nearest beaches, children’s attractions and their distance from where you’re staying, as no one wants to spend more time in the car on holiday than necessary.We do this for you on our ‘Out & About’ section at:

http://www.lancombe.co.uk/out-about

Involve the children
Getting the children involved in exploring maps, history, plant or animal life, is a great way to get them excited and learning at the same time. For example, here in Dorset we have the Jurassic Coast, and what child doesn’t want to learn about Dinosaurs?!

Do any of your children have special needs?
If so, it’s always worth telling the accommodation provider in advance if you have any special requirements. Sometimes, it’s the little things you haven’t thought of, that we can help with. Make sure that details of the nearest GPs and Hospitals are provided in your Welcome Pack and if not, where you can find them.
An ID bracelet for your child with their condition and GP details can save a lot of stress.

Weather
Yes, it’s the UK, so still remember to pack protective clothing, sun cream and wet weather gear.

There’s nothing more depressing than being burnt, wet or uncomfortable all through your holiday. Also carrying non prescription antihistamine cream can save you a trip to the nearest pharmacy.

Other top tips
Tap Water- Check whether the tap water is safe to drink. A lot of rural properties have bore holes, as long as they are checked regularly by the local council and maintained by professionals, the water can be more pure than bottled water. Ours is!
Laundry – Packing two sets of clothes per child per day is always worth it if trying to avoid washing every day. But accidents happen, so make sure there are facilities to wash and dry those clothes.
It’s all about timing – Particularly if this is your first trip with children, allow for the fact that you will not be as quick as you usually are alone. When you get there, be very realistic about how much you want to do in one day.
The journey – If your car journey is a particularly long one, consider setting off in the middle of the night, or before dawn, so children can sleep through most of it. Make sure you have allowed time for regular stops and research where the most interesting places on the way to stop are as your holiday has begun!
Extras – Check whether linen, towels, electric and gas are included in your price…it is in Lancombe’s prices for the cottages, lodges and shepherd huts.

Group holidays
Sometimes, it’s a great idea to travel with friends or family, meaning instant play mates for the children and taking turns in child minding. Although it may seem cheaper to book a large property and it’s great for get togethers, beware that you may be spending a considerable amount of time together…with children, that you may not usually do. So it’s worth choosing somewhere with individual family cottages or lodges. At Lancombe we offer discounts for booking two or more properties, so it’s always worth checking this out.

Safety first
When you get to your destination, the first thing we recommend you do, is to check windows and doors are lockable. Ensure that if there’s on site facilities, you are aware of any safety rules you need to follow. Familiarise yourself with the ‘in case of a fire’ procedure.

It’s good to talk
If there’s something that’s not quite right or not working in your accommodation, talk to the Manager or Owner as soon as possible. 9.9 out of 10 things that could really bug you over the course of a week, normally takes 5 minutes for us to remedy.

The best bit
Explore – Children love nothing more than exploring their new holiday home.
Make memories – Whilst the majority of memories are in our head, we all love to remind ourselves that they were truly wonderful. Encourage your children to write a journal of each day and what they did. They can then stick ticket stubs in it from attractions or leaflets from tours.
Remember your camera –  When you’re old and you can’t remember everything, you will be grateful you took photos. Also, what else will you embarrass your child with when they grow up?!

On the last day encourage the family to talk about what they enjoyed most, and what they didn’t enjoy. Because soon… you will be planning it all again.
Happy family holidays!
Caroline

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