Adam Drake Photography

The Drake's Holiday, Feather Down Farm, Holland

The Drake's Holiday, Feather Down Farm, Holland
Adam Drake personal

feather_down_hoeve_de_pippert014 Fitting in a holiday which ties in with our children’s school holidays and the height of wedding season is near impossible which is why until about two weeks prior to our holiday, we had no idea whether we would be going or not, and where we might end up. We managed it however, and what an adventure of a holiday it was! The holiday was squeezed in-between two Saturday weddings which meant working until about midnight on the Saturday, then dropping off computer hard-drives with my parents and picking up two excited children just four hours later!! We departed Gloucestershire at four o’clock in the morning – ever hopeful that the children would go back to sleep in the car on the way to the Channel Tunnel, that certainly wasn’t their plan! Molly and Harry were instantly awake the minute they were lifted from their beds and proceeded to chat, eat and sing all the way to Holland (mainly One Direction from Molly). feather_down_hoeve_de_pippert001 feather_down_hoeve_de_pippert002 Eight hours after leaving home we arrived in Amsterdam where we spent the first night of our holiday. We explored the city despite the torrential rain and then took Molly and Harry to experience our favourite restaurant The Haesje Claes. Relieved to finally be out of the rain, Adam and I ordered our first Dutch-brewed Heineken of the holiday only for me to receive my second drenching of the day moments later as the waiter tripped and poured four drinks directly over me. This was much to the amusement of Molly and Harry who obviously share their father’s sense of humour!! The following morning we explored the city by canal boat – we realised this was the best way to see Amsterdam whilst avoiding more rain! feather_down_hoeve_de_pippert003 In the afternoon we left Amsterdam behind to drive into the ‘real’ Holland where we would spend our week on a Feather Down Farm called Hoeve de Pippert. As we drove through the gates to the farm we were welcomed by Anja and her husband Cor who were keen to show us our home for the week. Cars are kept away from the tents so we loaded up the wheelbarrow provided with our belongings for the week and headed through the trees. feather_down_hoeve_de_pippert004 To use the word tent is an understatement – our ‘Frills’ tent included hardwood floors throughout, a farmhouse style dining table, a kitchen area with cold running water and a flushing  toilet hidden away in a cupboard. The tent was heated by a wood burning stove and lit by candle light and oil lamps. We also opted to have our own shower which was outside the main tent in a wood framed hut, the water for the shower was heated by a wood burning stove and a galvanised bucket provided the perfect shower-head. The hot –tub was also heated by its own wood burner. Molly and Harry were beyond excited to see that they would be sleeping in a bed hidden away in a little cupboard and raised up just high enough that they need a ladder to climb into bed at night. Adam and I were treated to a double bed, all made up and ready for us to just fall into that night. feather_down_hoeve_de_pippert005 Waking up the next morning to the sound of the cows in the milking parlour and the chickens pecking on the floorboards of the tent had to be one of the best ways to start the day. This added to the fact that Adam had to get up first every morning to light all of the wood burners while I stayed in bed cuddled up to the children until the tent had warmed up. The first job of each morning was to collect milk from the farm honesty shop; we simply took the milk pale to the shop and left it there to be filled with fresh milk collected that morning. Once that was done it was a breakfast of croissants or waffles warmed on the top of the wood burner followed by a dash to the steaming hot shower. Exploring the farm was an experience in itself, Molly and Harry discovered the go-carts and scooters the first morning which were then a favourite for the rest of our stay. We raced around the farm, zoomed through puddles and rode through the milking parlours. We also met all of the farm animals including numerous mother hens with their chicks, cats and their kittens, the goats and the rabbits. On the second morning Molly and Harry were lucky enough to meet a calf which had been born fifteen minutes earlier, they were able to help feed her later that evening. feather_down_hoeve_de_pippert006 feather_down_hoeve_de_pippert007 We also ventured away from the farm to explore some of the local towns including 'S-Hertogenbosch and Heusden. It was so refreshing to see parts of Holland which the Dutch themselves travel to for their holidays. Heusden was a beautiful town with three windmills for Molly and Harry to view up-close. We walked along the city wall and then sat down in a café in the square to have lunch of the typical Dutch dish of croquettes. feather_down_hoeve_de_pippert015 In 'S-Hertogenbosch we had a typical Harry experience, needing to cross a river on our walk around the city. We waited patiently whilst Adam cranked the handle to bring the foot passenger ferry across. We all jumped on excitedly and Adam once again cranked the handle to move the ferry to the other side. It wasn’t until we were within jumping distance of the far bank that we realised that Harry’s coat had been left behind and was close to floating back down-stream. Luckily Adam was able to see the funny side as we all had to the travel back and forth once more! As we returned to the campsite each afternoon Molly and Harry would start to get excited about feeding the animals again – we even had to visit the supermarket to buy packets of carrots for the goats and the rabbits. Molly and Harry also enjoyed a dip in the hot-tub or playing on the swing rope and trampoline in the barn. feather_down_hoeve_de_pippert008 feather_down_hoeve_de_pippert009 feather_down_hoeve_de_pippert010 feather_down_hoeve_de_pippert011 feather_down_hoeve_de_pippert016 As the sun went down the oil lamps and candles were lit. With no electricity there was obviously no television so the only option was to sit and watch the sun set over the farm and as it got colder we moved in closer to the fire.  This was the perfect opportunity to unwind and take some time out from the busy Summer. At this point one of the chickens would choose to roost in our tent for the evening and was also partial to a bit of a cuddle. feather_down_hoeve_de_pippert017 feather_down_hoeve_de_pippert018 feather_down_hoeve_de_pippert019 feather_down_hoeve_de_pippert020 Although it was hard to find the time to go away, we are all so glad that we did. Our holiday was amazing; we had such a special family time together. Adam and I came back feeling relaxed, refreshed and revitalised and ready to get back into wedding season.  

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