My Mum had not seen my allotment before but had heard me waffling on about it numerous times, so we decided to have a nice and peaceful day at the allotment. Mr Inker dropped us off and we walked up the lane to my plot. Before I could tell her which plot was mine she pointed to it and said “that has to be yours!”. I think it was the crocheted bunting festooned everywhere that gave it away. I set the chairs out for us and we had cups of tea and a cake I had purchased from the local bakery, all very civilised. The peace was interspersed with the twittering of birds and the odd cock-a-doodle doo from the cockerel on the farm next door. Mum mentioned that Tam O’Shanter is somewhere she had never visited. She had been to Bidston Hill when she was a girl but had never seen the cottage, this is something that we had to address, so we packed up and took a stroll next door to the delight that is Tam O’Shanter Urban Farm.
Tam O’Shanter farm started life around 300 years ago, it is believed that it was built on Bidston Hill by a heath squatter. Back then, if someone could build a dwelling and have a fire lit in the hearth within 3 days then they could live there for free. In 1837 the occupier was a chap called Richard Lee, he embellished the gable end with a stone carving of a scene from Robert Burns poem “Tam O’Shanter” thus giving the cottage its name. The scene shows Tam being chased by a witch who manages to grab his mare Maggie’s tail which she loses as they flee over the bridge.
In 1986 building work started on returning it to a farm again (incidently, Mr Inker was one of the workforce who built the barns and fencing). It is now open every day for visitors to come and see the collection of animals that inhabit this wonderful place. It is run by volunteers and they do the most amazing work.
On the way home we walked through Flaybrick memorial gardens, which is being lovingly restored by the Friends of Flaybrick, and what a wonderful job they are doing.
Mum and I thorough recommend a trip to Tam O’Shanter farm, people of all ages will enjoy it, there are play areas for children, a cafe for a cuppa and something to eat, dogs are welcome as long as they are kept on a lead and of course all the animals, including the friendliest pig in the world.