Catching up with old friends

 A wonderful lunch with Candy and friends

We have been travelling for the past week and consequently I have fallen behind with my blog. So this one will be rather long, but will enable me to catch up.

Saturday 25th August
We joined the pre-Bank Holiday traffic and drove down to Devon to stay with an old friend, Candy, who lives in Hoarstone near Frithlestock. Wonderful old names! Apparently, a hoarstone is white boundary stone and this particular one demarcated the line between three farms. Candy lives in a farm cottage and cares for 2 dogs, a horse, 2 Shetland ponies, a family of ducks, another of chickens and a flight of doves. The journey took us nine hours, but it was willingly undertaken to gain the sanctuary of Candy’s idyllic existence.

Sunday 26th August
After a wonderful breakfast of duck eggs, mushrooms and bacon, David and I were sent out to gather blackberries from the field behind Candy’s house, ready for the alfresco lunch for nine in the garden next to the paddock. I had thought that dock leaves were somehow symbiotic with nettles until I plunged both hands into a bed of nettles whilst trying to retrieve some particularly succulent blackberries. There wasn’t a dock leaf to be seen! I do remember reading, however, that nettle stings are good for rheumatism, so my hands should be good for a few years yet!

The lunch was delicious – Coronation Chicken, rice, freshly picked salad greens and tomatoes from Candy’s greenhouse and home made pickled beetroot followed by the blackberries, melon and, of course, Devonshire cream. The lunch was for, mainly, members of a choir onto which I had been co-opted for the day, so that we could have a quick run through after lunch.

This was going to be the inaugural performance for the choir and we were to sing at the Songs of Praise service at the fourteenth century church of St Michael, Bulkworthy. 

The church is tiny, but the service was well attended and we were all invited back to tea at the farmhouse belonging to the Churchwarden, whose family have held this position for centuries. The tea was a quintessentially English high tea with delicious sandwiches, sausage rolls fresh from the aga and a mouth-watering array of home baked cakes. The farm at Hankworth has been in the family for many generations and originally belonged Henry IV’s Lord Chancellor, Lord Hankford. After such a day we slept soundly!

Monday 27th August
We spent the morning in the garden reading the papers and in the afternoon went to tea with Sue and Simon and their daughter Jo in their beautiful house with the stunning view over the Torridge estuary and out to sea. We were waiting for the tide to come in so that we could go out in Malcolm’s yacht. We spent the evening on the yacht, drinking Malcolm’s homemade wine and eating our picnic supper. As we were returning to the mooring, the keel became tangled in some buoy ropes and Candy and Malcolm dangled precariously over the edge to free us while David and I provided ballast on the other side so that we didn’t capsize! We all thought that either someone was going to have to go over the edge or we would have to sit it out until the tide went out and we could wade to the shore! Fortunately, they managed to free us with a final valiant effort and we safely disembarked.

We stopped off at Malcolm’s very fine old Rectory on the way home and followed him round while he bedded the animals. Malcolm owns 1 highland cow, 2 Dexters, 4 goats, 2 horses, 3 sheep, 2 Kunekune pigs, 2 peacocks, 2 geese, 3 guineafowl, numerous chickens, a flight of white doves and a dog. (He’s thinking of buying a ferret!)

Tuesday 28th – Thursday 29th August
We left Candy’s – dropping into Hatherleigh Market on the way – and drove to Windsor to stay with Patricia, an old friend from school. We dined at The Viceroy, a splendid Indian restaurant, and caught up with all Patricia’s news. The following day Patricia took us on a whistle-stop tour of Windsor, Eton, Ascot and Runneymede while keeping up a stream of interesting information. Thank you, Patricia, for such a well-informed tour and for looking after us so well.

Leaving Windsor, we drove to Camberwell to have lunch with Victor and Clare, who have recently retired from teaching in Malaysia. We had great fun catching up with all their news over lunch before leaving for Horley, Surrey to stay with our nephew Kevin and family. Shayna looked after us really well and we were so pleased to see them and their son, Kyran. I have taken lots of photos of Kyran to take to his Ouma in South Africa.

Finally, we are back staying with Clare and trying to get ourselves into gear for our departure on the 10th September. I also need to restrict my food intake. After all that delicious food, I have managed to put on two-and-a-half kg in weight!!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would love to have your thoughts on any aspect of my blog.

Press Centre

Press Centre
I couldn't resist this one!