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: 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: Take a Stick to Work Day

Photoshoots and Horticulture

Fin’s Twelfth Adventure

May 12th 2017

National Walking Month and Mental Health Awareness Week

“Wow, what a brilliant day” declared Fin to no one in particular as he reflected on Take a Stick to Work Day.  Dr Finlay had loaded Fin into the back of the car of his good friend Aimee who let him use her car to get to work.  Fin got the feeling that Dr Finlay was a very sensible driver but he did feel a little squeamish going around corners on two wheels!

Towards the end of the day Dr Finlay came out to the car and took Fin with him into a wonderful paradise which looked like the Garden of Eden with some additional enormous funny shapes in it.  “So this is where Dr Finlay goes off to,” thought Fin.

Happily Dr Finlay managed to find a friendly photographer who just happened to be a horticulturalist and so another adventure would begin.

What am I? A beech? A birch? A Yew? A mighty oak? An ash or elm?

This was another in the growing list of questions that Fin was building.  In the meantime though he would put on the cool sunglasses and the high vis jacket and enjoy his day in paradise.

Tomorrow as they say was to be another day.

—Dr Finlay
May 12th 2017

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Dr Finlay’s Walking Stick: Slowing Down or Speeding Up

The Failed Photoshoot

Fin’s Eleventh Adventure

May 11th 2017

National Walking Month and Mental Health Awareness Week

Dr Finlay had been missing his stick Fin and wanted to have a picture he could carry around with him when he couldn’t have a stick. So he arranged with his good friend Aimee to take some photos for him.  He left Fin in the back of her car and sent her a vague message about a photoshoot!  Vague messages are not very reliable ways of getting things done!!  So poor old Fin, (was Fin old?, was Fin poor?), was left in the back of the car all day and began to realise what road rage was all about.  One thing he did learn though was that the car went faster than he normally did when he was out walking with Dr Finlay.  It was sort of exciting and scary all at the same time.

Finally though, fairly late at night after all the busy human business of the day was over Dr Finlay came over and let him out of the car and they went for lovely long walk together.  It was on this walk that Dr Finlay realised something about their relationship.  He had been worried that Fin had been doing all the work supporting him but realised that without him Fin would be lying on the ground all the time.  Their relationship was good for both of them in different ways.

He was glad they had been reunited and told Fin not to worry about the Photoshoot as tomorrow was a very special day indeed.

Tomorrow was Take a Stick to Work Day.

Tomorrow as they say was to be another day.

—Dr Finlay
May 11th 2017

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Dr Finlay’s Walking Stick: A visit to the past

Back Home

Fin’s Tenth Adventure

May 10th 2017

National Walking Month and Mental Health Awareness Week

Refreshed and re-invigorated by a day of rest, the odd couple got back into their stride and set off for what was to be a beautiful trip around the Circular Walk.  It was a bright and early start as Dr Finlay was feeling a little guilty that he had missed National Dawn Chorus Day and hadn’t taken Fin for a walk at 4.30 am in the morning earlier in the week.  7.30 seemed quite early enough and the birds were all out and singing beautifully.  “I wonder if there are any birds who can’t sing, like me,” thought Dr Finlay.  It was quiet apart from the birds and the early morning chill soon disappeared as they strode out, heads up enjoying the trees and the clouds and the birds.  Things had changed so much for them both since they had met and now they were revisiting the site where their paths had first crossed.

“Is this where I used to live?” wondered Fin.  “Are all these trees my friends and family?” “Is this where I truly belong?”.

Dr Finlay too was thinking back about his past, the walks he had enjoyed through here with his friend Sid who was a dog and who loved the bluebells as much as he did if not more.

Thoughts about the past can be painful or happy and it is good to have as many happy ones as you can to help you deal with the unhappy ones.

Fin and I will be able to look back on this walk as something very beautiful indeed thought Dr Finlay although he knew it would also be tinged with bits of sadness too.

Tomorrow as they say was to be another day.

—Dr Finlay
May 10th 2017