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Try this: The Pig Barn courses (Stoke Row)

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I took a fantastic little course last month on Christmas wreath-making (oh my days, hand me my velvet Alice band and get the vicar over for tea, I’ve finally turned Home Counties!).

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Obviously wreath-making is the last thing on your mind right now – though come on, credit where it’s due, look up at this beauty I made! – but you should know about The Pig Barn because it’s a fantastic, friendly space with some cracking courses coming up.

It’s a relatively new venture, part of a farm in Stoke Row (hence the name – it really was a pig barn), and it’s very peaceful and rural. Stoke Row is a lovely little village with a couple of cracking pubs, The Crooked Billet being the best known, so you could easily do a morning course, have a walk and a pub lunch too if you were so inclined.

Cakes and coffee to start the day

Cakes and coffee to start the day

My course was a morning job with lunch thrown in, though I had to tank it back to pick up the kids so missed the lunch, and it was very relaxed. There were eight of us, most local, not surprisingly all women (though don’t allow me to be sexist if any Muddy men were desperate to get jiggy with the moss and ribbons), and it was actually really good fun. Tracey, who co-founded The Pig Barn, and was running the course, was very encouraging of my pathetic efforts, and was really chatty and friendly.

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Wreath frenzy. Hand over the moss or else.

Wreath frenzy. Hand over the moss or else.

The barn itself was lovely and cosy, with a log burner going, a kind of rustic chic-y thing going on, a bit rough around the edges but charming with it.

pig barn interior collage

There’s also a little shop there (below) with a small selection of stuff that I guess is mostly made on the courses. So it all feels very creative.

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The next courses available are for silver ring making (10am-4pm Fri 23 Jan & Sat 24 Jan) and Furniture painting (10am-4pm Thurs 29 Jan) with courses going forward including how to make a lampshade base and shade and how to style a room.

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It’s a young little company, full of ideas and enthusiasm, so it’s worth keeping an eye on it, even if the courses I’ve mentioned don’t quite yank your chain. Give them a whirl if you feel the creative muse calling and let me know how you get on.

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The Pig Barn, Uxmore Bar, Uxmore Farm, Kit Lane, Checkendon, RG8 OTY. Tel: 01491 681 172. thepigbarn.co.uk

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Bucks & Oxon