Church Farm Ardeley

A Free Range Experience

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Dr Finley’s Walking Stick: Fin and Dr Finley get lost


Fin’s Nineteenth Adventure

Another very long walk

May 19th 2017

National Walking Month and Dementia Awareness Week

Having a sense of direction is useful in life as it is when you go for a walk.  Many people have trouble finding this and become lost in one way or another.


The problem was that Dr Finley had done this walk before and ….got lost before!!

When you make a mistake it is really good not to try and make the same mistake again!!!!!

At least he had Fin for company this time and they talked about countryside things and tree things and they found out what Fin was.

They looked at the bark of other trees and the leaves and now that Spring was here it was easier to identify the trees. They were pretty sure that Fin was an Ash tree.

He really wanted to be an oak tree but it was clear that he wasn’t.  So he was going to be the very best Ash tree that he could.

They talked about protecting themselves from harm, from other things that would try to damage them and how different people and different plants and animals had different methods.


They talked about Flight and Fight or Freeze and Faint, the things that people and animals do when faced with danger or injustice.

18 sign


They had a lot of time to talk before they finally got back on track and returned to what they thought of as home.

Dr Finley got his feet wet and his boots being worn out and with holes in didn’t manage to keep the water out when they waded the stream but Fin with his waterproof bark tested the depth of the water and helped Dr Finley leap into a dry and safe new world.

He was reminded of a rather well known song that talked about storms and being afraid that was known around the entire planet and may indeed be talking of some great power who looks over us.

“You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

Tomorrow as they say was to be another day.

—Dr Finley
May 19th 2017

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Dr Finlay’s Walking Stick: Tragedy and Recovery


Fin’s Eighteenth Adventure

Tragedy. (Part 1) All the Birds are Dead

Recovery. (Part 2) A Long Walk to Freedom

May 18th 2017

National Walking Month and Dementia Awareness Week

Words would be difficult to find today to express the day’s happenings so pictures would paint thousands of words.

Dr Finlay took his camera to get some more pictures of nest of Blue Tits that had been found on the farm.  He gently opened the lid and found all of the birds, the whole generation were dead.

day 18 birds

Tomorrow as they say was to be another day.

Part 2

After the Shock of finding the birds Dr Finlay found Fin and took him off for a long walk.  He was going to retrace some of the steps that had taken him to where he was now and they would return via a place called Wood End.

Fin got to drive a tractor made from a tree.


He got to visit the place where all the pain began for Dr Finlay.

He compared himself to a mighty Oak and a Horse Chestnut but decided he was neither of these.

fin-tree-18-1.jpg                    fin-tree-18-2.jpg

He was chewed by a Horse.


He met a real reindeer.

fin reindeer 18

He thought about the nature of death and the death of nature a bit.


18 pigeon

Dr Finlay was reminded of some lovely people he had met.


18 cottages


Found objects and his friend Henry Moore appeared everywhere they went.

18 fin stones

18 moor green


And Dr Finlay found a new home for them both to live happily ever after.

18 single cottage

Would End?

—Dr Finlay
May 18th 2017

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Dr Finlay’s Walking Stick: Fin goes Missing

Fin’s Seventeenth Adventure

Homeless and Hungry

May 17th 2017

National Walking Month and Dementia Awareness Week

It wasn’t until lunchtime when Dr Finlay went back to his battered old caravan with the wonky door behind which Fin lived that Dr Finlay realised something was wrong.

Fin was not in his usual place.

Fin was missing.

Dr Finlay had forgotten him somewhere!!

He felt dreadful.  He had abandoned the only thing he had in his life that he cared for and that he thought cared for him.

He was frantic.

Where had he been?  He tried to remember.  The pub where he had drawn Fin last night.

He checked with Victorious Victoria but no Fin was nowhere to be seen.

The birds nest?  But no Fin was nowhere to be seen.

The diner? But no Fin was nowhere to be seen.

The office? But no Fin was nowhere to be seen.

Nauseous with worry and panic he racked his aging brain to try and remember, to recall, to think where he could have left his only and beloved stick.

Who should he tell?  Who could help him with the plea “I have lost the one I love?”

He had to go back to work but his mind was elsewhere throughout the afternoon.

Was he getting old and forgetful, was he becoming a danger and a burden to those around him?

What else had he forgotten?  How would he know?

Forlorn and not having anywhere or anyone to turn to he turned to his old partner the whine bottle as a last resort.

He would get drunk and forget some more, forget the pain, numb the sorrow and hurt and forget the one he loved.

Before settling down for an evening of deep melancholy he went to collect his washing from the shed.

As had happened the night before something caught his eye, hiding in the corner was Fin.

Unbelievable happiness and relief cursed through his entire body and he sank to his knees in gratitude to whatever powers had reunited them.

He held Fin close and realised what loss meant and the poems he had studied many years ago came to mind.

Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained.

Tomorrow as they say was to be another day.

—Dr Finlay
May 17th 2017

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Dr Finlay’s Walking Stick: A Day of Wonder

Fin’s Sixteenth Adventure

Hungry Birds

May 16th 2017

National Walking Month and Dementia Awareness Week

In the middle of a small wood a nest box had been put up on a tree.

Dr Finlay was working late as usual but on this occasion he was to be rewarded in a way that money simply cannot buy.

A small movement caught his eye and looking more closely he saw the gaping mouth of a tiny, tiny bird.

Awestruck he went to find a box to look more closely and used Fin to support his clambering.

Gently lifting the lid he saw not one but eight hungry birds, their eyes not yet open and their beaks open wide desparate for food.





Retreating to a safe distance he felt the need to share this wondrous experience with people he knew and cared about whom he thought would appreciate it.

He rushed off hoping they would share his amazement.

Later he was to share the experience with colleagues and Co-Farmers, staff and friends.

Their joyful faces were something to behold almost as wonderful as the sight itself.

This would not have happened if there were no trees and he was reminded of the famous book by Rachel Carson, Silent Spring.

Imagine, no birds, no trees, no farms, no animals, no life on Earth.

No don’t, enjoy it.


Tomorrow as they say was to be another day.

—Dr Finlay
May 16th 2017

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Dr Finlay’s Walking Stick: Walking the Tightrope And Tripods!

Fin’s Fifteenth Adventure

May 15th 2017

National Walking Month and Dementia Awareness Week

Fin was determined to make sure that Dr Finlay had a better life and tonight it was playtime.

Off to the playground they went and tried walking on tree trunks that had been cut up into sections and put in a circle.  For some weird reason known only to tight rope walkers and physicists everywhere this becomes easier in two ways.

Firstly Fin was used as a third point of access to the ground, three points being steadier than two.

Secondly, and with no understanding of the reason why all tight rope walkers hold a long stick like Fin in front of them to stop them losing their balance.

Even the Niagara Falls can be walked over if your stick is long enough.

It works, why?  God knows, some physicists too, but all Fin and Dr Finlay knew was that it worked.

The universe is a surprising and wonderful thing as they were both discovering together.

Tomorrow as they say was to be another day.

—Dr Finlay
May 15th 2017

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Dr Finlay’s Walking Stick: Fin takes Dr Finlay to the pub

Fin’s Fourteenth Adventure

May 14th 2017

National Walking Month and Mental Health Awareness Week

Fin had been doing some reading to see what he could do to help Dr Finlay, whom he was worried about.  His research told him that indeed there were lots of things they could do and that they fell into five groups.

The first of these groups is called Connect which meant that Dr Finlay needed to get out more and meet more people.  Whether he liked the idea or not!!

This would take bravery and a little cunning on the part of both Fin and Dr Finlay.

“Don’t you fancy a pint of beer?” asked Fin.  “Maybe,” said Dr Finlay who then came up with his normal excuse “but I’m a bit tired after a day’s work”.  “All the more reason to relax for a while in that pub across the road The Jolly Waggoner and if you take me with you I will let you sketch me while you enjoy your beer.”

This cunning plan meant Dr Finlay would spend a gentle hour or so drawing and having a quiet drink rather than worrying and he would have a few people around which he could get used to without having to talk to them.

So off they went and here is the result of their first outing in Fin’s campaign to bring out the artist in Dr Finlay.

Dave's sketch 15 May 2017


Tomorrow as they say was to be another day.

—Dr Finlay
May 14th 2017

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Dr Finlay’s Walking Stick: Not Enough Bark

Fin’s Thirteenth Adventure

May 13th 2017

National Walking Month and Mental Health Awareness Week

Fin had started to get out and about and was probably seeing as many people as he did trees.  What was he learning about them?

There were lots of different ones, just like trees, but basically, like trees they had a lot of similarities too.

There were small ones, large ones, young ones and older ones but when you got close to them you had the chance to notice in more detail the differences.

Today he got the chance to see what that might look like.  Up close some people seemed to have a very thin layer of bark, or what they called skin.  Others had much thicker layers, it seemed that older peoples’ skin certainly was thicker than younger peoples.

Very small young people seemed to cry a lot as a way of talking and older people seemed to talk a lot instead of crying.  Some people didn’t talk or cry and these were the ones with very thick bark.

Fin looked at himself and saw he was fairly sturdy with a good layer of bark and then he looked at Dr Finlay.

Dr Finlay had bare patches in his bark, wounds where he had been damaged and some of the wounds looked very sore indeed.

Fin decided that Dr Finlay needed better bark and to become a lot more resilient against the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” something Fin’s ancestor Shake Spear had written about.

This would be part of the adventures Fin would invent for Dr Finlay.


Tomorrow as they say was to be another day.


Dr Finlay May 13th 2017