Foody Friday: Church Farm Ardeley and the Jolly Waggoner

A few months ago, on a drive into the countryside to visit friends, we passed Church Farm in Ardeley and our attention was grabbed….. a mixed, ecological farm, producing the widest range of meat, fruit and vegetables, Church Farm also serve fresh food from the farm at the Farm Butchery & Store, Farm Cafe and Jolly Waggoner Pub. We made a quick stop on our way back to explore the lovely little farm shop, buying up some amazing fresh eggs and other bits, and made a mental note to find out more about the place once back at home.

And we were so delighted we did! We soon discovered we could get a weekly delivery of vegetables from the farm and quickly placed our order….we now look forward to each delivery of amazingly fresh and carefully grown veg, not to mention cooking it and eating it! The produce tastes like things used to in my opinion….carrots have that wonderfully sweet and earthy fragrance, and cauliflowers have that great peppery taste. We used to have an Able and Cole box whilst we lived in London, but are finding the Church Farm box much more home-grown and honest, and it’s wonderful to know our food has barely travelled!

And it doesn’t end with the veggie stuff…. The free range livestock (and subsequent produce!) ticks all the boxes for us….They keep their animals in small extensive herds & flocks, using older slower growing traditional breeds to produce the best meat from healthy, happy animals. You can visit the animals to see for yourself, and the farm was set up with the advice and help of some of the UK’s foremost farm animal welfare experts.

“All the animals are kept extensively and allowed to mature before slaughter. All animals can and are seen everyday by our farmers, co-farmers, and visitors. Our mortality rates are very low and our animals live on average twice as long as those in more intensive farm systems. We have a fully qualified on-site vet and call upon the RVC/Westpoint vet partnership for support where needed. The only way we differ from the Soil Association husbandry guides for all species (the highest welfare standards in the UK) is that we buy local straw and silage feed from local farms which are not organic.”

Well how could we resist?! As a treat to ourselves then earlier this week, we visited the charming pub opposite the farm, The Jolly Waggoner, to sample some of the farm’s other produce. The menu totally spoiled us, with stacks of us-friendly meat choices, as well as several very tempting veggie options. Adam and I both opted for the lamb though, his Dad the fish and chips, and his Mum the pork belly. ALL the dishes were amazing! Our lamb was perfectly cooked and accompanied by delicious pommes Anna and a scrummy jus….the pork belly was laden with amazing crackling and the huge battered hake was just perfect.

Prone to temptation as we are, we all went on to relish a pudding of walnut cake with butterscotch sauce….this too was just to die for and left us all very jolly and contented indeed! They serve real ales too, with a selection of guest ales from local breweries, and the wine list is pretty impressive too. We are sure to be back in search of a Sunday Roast!

Church Farm also boasts a woodland play area, walking trails, tea rooms and a campsite! All in all, seriosuly worth a visit!

Ems x

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Something from the weekend….Foraging, gardening, making and treasure hunting

I had such a lovely weekend! The weather really does help of course, and all the sunshine hours make such a difference!

I spent a lot of the weekend gardening….the front garden has been transformed after many hours of hard work and is benefitting from having been totally dug over and filled with plants! I can’t wait to see it all bloom, although I guess I have to wait til Spring for that. Still, it looks better already and has tidied up the front of the house no end.

We did some great foraging too…..we picked loads of blackberries and elderberries from the local common, as well as some sweet pea pods and honeysuckle berries I’ll be planting for next year. We also raided the back garden, and came back indoors with stacks of apples, more blackberries and greengages too. There is a medlar tree that is also looking rather full, but I think we have to leave those a little longer before harvesting them.

We spent an absolute age rinsing the elderberries, plucking them off their stalks, rinsing them again and then bottling them….I hope it’s going to be worth it! We made one bottle of elderberry schnapps and one bottle of spiced elderberry liqueur….can’t wait to try them! I made jam from the greengages, and it was probably my most successful yet….it tastes yummy and is the perfect consistency so I’ll have to share some tips soon!

As is traditional, we also visited the antiques market on Friday and the car boot sale on Sunday….I picked up some great treasures to use at the wedding and the place was really buzzing in the fine weather. It was also the crafts and  farmers market on Saturday, and we dawdled around there awhile, spotting some great new stalls too.

Other than that, it was a weekend of domesticity, relaxing, cooking endless amounts of marrow, walking the dogs and watching more Buffy. Bliss!

Here are a few photos from the weekend…..

Ems x

Something from the weekend: Fudge, walks and White Russians

Another little whistle-stop tour of my weekend…..

Saturday:

Lie in due to headache….followed by a naughty breakfast of Staffordshire Oatcakes with cheese and bacon…into town after that, to buy eggs from the farmers market as well as some much-needed fudge….

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Some home-alone training for the dogs, leaving them for twenty minutes at a time to pop into town…coffees back at home in between and reading up on the upcoming Hitchin Festival….

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A little gardening, plus a good couple of hours building our new barbecue….Home made veggie Moussaka for dinner….

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….then watching The Big Labowski whilst drinking White Russians.

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Sunday:

A lovely morning walk at Chick Sands….followed by a walk around the car boot sale and more home-alone training for the hounds….

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Gardening and barbecue prep after that…..then Adam’s parents over for an afternoon of grilling meats and other goodies….and some slobbing on the sofa for the evening, watching The Fifth Element….

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Bank Holiday Monday (yay!):

A stunning walk around Ickleford, through beautiful fields of barley with blue skies above….

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Another trip into town to visit the Humanitas shop and to buy sweets….then some more gardening time as well as some wedding stuff whilst sat outside in the sun eating too many sweeties (including strawberry ones shaped like brains!)…

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A lazy dinner of nut cutlets then more weddingy stuff before an early night.

Lush.

Ems x

Rainy day post…. memories of sunny walks

Gosh I hate grey skies. It’s not so much the rain as the dismal colour of everything that makes me feel gloomy. Heck, give me a sunny shower to dance about in any day. But give me a sky the colour of an elephant’s behind, and I’m in an instant bad mood.

Still, despite the rather chilly start to the year, I do at least have some fond memories of sunny days out and about. In fact, since getting the hound, I’ve been feeling very ‘back to nature’ and loving filling my lungs with fresh air whilst stomping around muddy fields, and listening to the sky larks sing for me (yes, for me) in the blue sky. Gosh it sounds so far away and romantic right now, so here’s a reminder of what that all looks like, from my stack of iPhone photos taken on my recent walks…..

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Something from the weekend…..piggies, parades and blue skies

Isn’t it amazing what a bit of mild weather and blue sky does for the soul?! Like most of Britain, we enjoyed a rather more seasonable weekend, and made the most of it by getting outdoors and, er, lazing about!….

Our morning walk on Saturday was just glorious. We’d been expecting rain, but when we saw the sun out we couldn’t wait to get outside, and took ourselves off on a lovely jaunt about the local countryside. Cooper enjoyed the warmth and getting a nice long walk, whilst Adam and I loved the sun on our skin and the welcome fresh air. We took in a visit to the nearby pig table at Charlton, walked past the summer hunting lodge of Henry VIII and negotiated a couple of horses who happened to be taking up part of the path we took!

We breakfasted back at home after that, and then, wanting to be outside some more, headed out into town for a little shopping. There was a bric-a-brac stall in the square at which I picked up a lovely little vintage typewriter, and later on we also met with the Sikh New Year parade! I’ve never seen the Vaisakhi festival before, but I love that it’s such a big thing in my new town. We met lots of lovely people in the square as the parade approached, and were given sweets and chips and samosas and a yummy spiced hot drink! The parade itself was wonderful….there was a stunning float and lots of people with swords and gorgeous bright costumes….I must learn more about it all as it was so lovely and happy and exciting. What I loved most though was the brilliant music…. local carnival band Toque Tambor played, as well as the amazing Dhol Foundation (who I’ve seen lots before and even hired for a couple of weddings!), and I was still tapping my foot to the beat as we returned home and the parade eventually came around and passed our very own house!

It began to rain shortly after that, so I spent the rest of the afternoon being quite lazy on the sofa, and mainly trying to sort out my new phone. I’ve taken an upgrade but spent HOURS backing up my old handset (I had over 13,000 photos on it!!) which was all rather dull, but needed doing. We had Chinese takeaway for dinner and watched Hitchcock’s Sabotage afterwards, then made our tired ways to bed.

Sunday morning began with another sunny walk, then we had the obligatory root around the car boot sale at the market place. Adam’s Dad joined us and we sat for a while having a coffee with him too….it was so nice to be able to sit OUTSIDE the cafe with our drinks, not least because it meant we could have Cooper with us!

Once home, we didn’t want to head indoors yet as it was just so gloriously sunny….so, we dragged out a couple of chairs and a table, as well as the hound’s bed, and sat out in the garden for a while. We used the time to do a little wedding planning, and also plan some socialising over the next few months.

I made a yummy vegetable broth for supper and we sat and watched X Files on the sofa afterwards….we are now onto Season 7 after a little break to watch Walking Dead and Magic Users Club (as well as New Girl which we are still waiting for the next episode of!). Then it was the usual Sunday evening early night.

Lush weekend! How was yours? Hope you caught some sun and blue skies too!

Ems x

Something from the weekend…..brownies, shopping and a very Austrian Hen Do!

Once again I’m utterly shattered after the weekend! It’s been another busy one, and the horrid weather has taken it out of me too. It was however lots of fun…..

The weekend started early, as my lovely friend Brigitte came up for a little visit. After a cup of coffee and a slice of the amazing Peanut Butter and Chocolate Brownie she’d made for us, we took a good look around the brilliant Antiques and Collectables Market that takes place each Friday in Hitchin. We also had a good snoop around all the charity shops in town, as well as the cook shops, and came away with a good few treasures! I made us a sweet potato and coconut soup for lunch, then after we’d taken Cooper outside into the garden to play with his ball for a while, Brigitte made her way back to London and I set about getting ready for the weekend.

Gifts from the lovely Brigitte!

Hitchin Market Treasure

I had a little lie in on Saturday morning, although as I’ve been getting up earlier since we got Cooper, it was a far more reasonable hour than usual! As it was raining, Cooper and I walked up to meet Adam’s Mum, so that she could show me her rainy day walking route. Despite the wet, I rather enjoyed myself, especially as we decided it was time to let Cooper off his lead for the first time! He was very good, and came back when called (eventually at least!), and had a nice play with some other dogs we met along the way.

Adam made us a yummy omelette for breakfast when I got back, which set me up well for the rest of the day….at midday I made my way to the station to meet up with the girls, and we all headed into Covent Garden for the start of our friend Katie’s Hen Do! We had a great lunch in Belgo’s (pils, moules et frittes, yummy!) then popped just round the corner to Pineapple Dance Studios, where we were to take a dance class together!

The Bride To Be with her goodies!

Yummy lunch

Starting as she means to go on with a chocolate Schnapps

It was amusing to us getting ready in the changing rooms, alongside lots of professional dancers putting on pointe shoes and whatnot….it was awesome to be there though! Once all ready in the studio, our lovely teacher announced that we’d be learning the Gangnam Style routine and the hilarity commenced as we all started learning the moves! It was all pretty bonkers, but great fun watching each other as we all rather inexpertly made our way through the routine, and we were shattered after our hour of exercise!

Pineapple!

Concentrating….

Once we’d all changed into our evening outfits and scoffed a load of jelly beans, we made our way out West to drink cocktails and play Hen Do games. Katie was made to pick out her hubby-to-be Peter’s body parts from a stack of photos of eyes, belly buttons and elbows…..she managed to guess most correctly but got landed with a couple of forfeits for the ones she didn’t (and I don’t think she ever completed them, tut tut!). Then there was a quiz of questions which Peter had been made to answer already, and Katie had to guess what he had answered….there was lots of giggling and ah-ing as we heard some rather silly and soppy answers!

Next it was off for dinner at the Tiroler Hut, a fabulous Austrian restaurant and music venue at Bayswater. Katie’s sisters had dressed her up in a wonderfully silly Austrian style outfit, including ridiculous blonde plaited wig, and we all joined in the silliness by plaiting our hair into pigtails. After a delicious dinner (Ungarische Krautroulade, cheese Fondue and Kaiserschmarrn for me!) the entertainment began, and we were soon rolling around with laughter watching Katie join in with the cow bell playing! There was lots of singing along to tunes from Sound of Music, as well as dancing to the birdie song and the okey cokey! It was a brilliant night of fun (I’d VERY much recommend a night out at the Tiroler Hut!), and I was absolutely shattered as we journeyed home…..I wasn’t back at the house until 2:30 and was delighted to hear our hound guarding the place as he barked and bounded downstairs before realising it was me and coming for a cuddle before he settled back down on his bed!

Despite the late night, I still managed to get up at a far more reasonable hour than most Sundays, and we headed off to Oughton Head Common for a nice long walk. The cold morning woke me up in no time, although I was glad I’d taken along another bit of Brigitte’s brownie to eat along the way, as I was in need of calories! It was gorgeous to see all of the trees starting to sprout little bits of green, and to find some blossom finally blooming!

Spring springing

After heading home for a quick breakfast, we dropped the hound off with Adam’s Mum, and went over to Biggleswade with Adam’s Dad to a little antiques fair. It takes place there at the Weatherly Centre every month and is clearly very popular as it was packed with stalls and fellow shoppers. I saw far too many treasures I wanted to bring home with me, and despite being fairly good, I couldn’t resist buying a very delicate string of Art Deco pearls, as well as a 1930s necklace which will be kept as ‘special’ for my wedding outfit!

Antiques fair

We picked up the hound and then stopped into our local, The Half Moon, for a half pint (Belly Dancer for me, Dog Dancer for Adam!). It was so lovely to take him there for the first time and he soon made himself at home!

Pub pooch

The rest of the evening was spent slobbing about and cooking up a big fry-up for supper….I felt the treat was well deserved (and needed!), as was the early night I got (asleep by 9:30!).

Ems x

Something from the weekend…. partying 20s and 80s style

Boy was I glad for a lie in this morning! I think I’d have slept until lunch time if Adam hadn’t come and woken me up when he did! I’m clearly no longer energetic enough to party two nights in a row, but I had a jolly good weekend all the same….

On Friday Adam and I finally went to see Wilton’s Music Hall’s fabulous immersive production of The Great Gatsby! It was first adapted for our favourite venue last year, whilst we were actually living just around the corner, but we weren’t fast enough to snap up tickets! So, when we heard it was coming back, we jumped on the second chance, despite being rather further away now! I spent a good couple of hours fashioning my hair into a 20s style up-do, and slapping on layers upon layers of eye make-up as per the period fashion, then threw on the stunning flapper dress I was lucky enough to pick up in an Oasis sale a few years ago…..I’d also made a very Art Deco head dress to wear, so I think I rather looked the part! Adam dressed up in one of his vintage suits, and our friends Hannah G and Hannah P joined us in vintage attire too!

Hannah G, Adam, Hannah P and me!

We started the evening with an early supper and gins at our old favourite haunt, the Oliver Conquest. It was great to see their new gin list (they had about 50 when we were last there, but now have closer to 90 just a few months on!), and to catch up with the staff. Then it was off to Wilton’s, where we had a cabaret-style table right in front of the stage! It was wonderful to see the newly refurbished venue again, and the show was great fun….I love the era’s fashions and the performers got us all involved by dragging us up onto the stage to learn how to Charleston, and Adam even had to deliver a message to Mr Gatsby! The show runs until 23rd March and there are currently still tickets available!

Scrummy ish Gin at the Oliver Conquest

Afterwards we headed back to the Oliver Conquest, where we’d been promised a cuddle with their new puppy Rex….. he is an absolute little angel and super snuggly! We sat and fussed over him whilst drinking yet more gin (well, we had lots of new ones to try, including Cold River, Malaca, Ish, Jensens and Monkey 47 Sloe!), which made it a pretty perfect end to the evening!

We both felt a little gin-rough on Saturday morning, so we were very naughty and skipped off to our nearest greasy spoon for cheese omelettes! After that we had a snoop around town, doing a bit of thrifty treasure hunting around the charity shops and a jumble sale at the church, then slobbed out back at home with lots of tea and cake until it was time to get ready to go back into London for the evening.

We managed to sneak in a cheeky Bubble Tea visit on the way to the party

Last week was our very special friend Siobhan’s 30th birthday, so on Saturday we donned 80s attire (a spangly parrot dress with big dangly parrot earrings and an overdose of blue eye make up in my case) and celebrated at a bar in Piccadilly Circus. It was such a lovely evening of catching up with friends we’ve not seen as much since moving, and we got lots of fresh congratulations on our engagement too! Several cocktails later, we made our very cold way home.

A blur of the Birthday Girl as she jumps up and down in excitement with her cake!

Sunday morning was another lazy one, with a long lie in, then a snoop around the car boot for more treasure hunting before coming back home to snarf up a brunch of waffles, strawberries and maple syrup. We resisted the urge to slob out for the rest of the day on the sofa and went off to Waitrose fore supplies, but we didn’t get much more done after that, save making cottage pie for dinner and a little knitting on my part! We’re still making our way through the X Files, so we snuggled up on the sofa to watch a few episodes before taking advantage of a much needed early night!

I was so impressed with the neatness of the shopping list we found on our trolley!

How was your weekend?!

Ems x

Something from the weekend….. Coffee, Crafting and Christmassyness

The Christmas prep is really hotting up now and I’ve been super busy with orders and getting ready for a stall, as well as making lots of Christmas gifts and decorations at home! So I’m afraid I’ve rather neglected my little blog….but hopefully I have some time for catching up today!…..

On Friday evening we started our Christmassy weekend by (finally!) decorating our tree. We’d bought it from the market on Tuesday but had a tricky time putting it up as it’s so tall and came fitted to a far too tiny stand! Having secured it in a large bucket full of sand though, the lights went on, followed by all my home made decorations and the beautiful Victorian china fairy that Adam’s Mum gave to me right on top. I’m rather pleased with how handsome it looks filling our front bay window, and can’t wait to add the other Christmassy bits around the rest of the house!

On Saturday we ran a few errands and did some shopping around town….it’s getting very Christmassy there too and the market square was hosting lots of stalls from local Young Enterprise companies, as well as a stunning antique mechanical pipe organ. It had me welling up, it was so beautifully Christmassy!

Having had a successful shopping trip, we decided to treat ourselves to a coffee, and finally managed to get a couple of free chairs in the Hermitage Road Coffee Shop, where we’ve been wanting to try for ages. I think I’ve already mentioned that we have really been struggling to get a really good cup of coffee out in our new town….we have rather turned into coffee snobs now that we can make it so well at home with the Aeropress! And so we were delighted to find on their menu that they will make you an Aeropress coffee there! You can also choose from a big pot of dripped coffee for two, as well as specialties such as Cortado, which is what we opted for. It arrived with the coffee and walnut cake we’d offered, as well home made biscotti on the saucer. The cake was yummy and the biscotti divine….but the real winner was the coffee which is by far the best I’ve had outside of Monmouth. I’ll write a little more about the place when I get a chance, as it’s really worth its own little review.

Once home, I started to slowly cook up a chilli for dinner, as we were having our friend Hannah over in the evening. Hannah brought the pudding….an absolutely AMAZING lemon meringue pie!….and Adam tried out a few more cocktails on us for practice (he really is getting very good!). We chatted the evening away until Hannah pointed out how late it was and reminded me that I had to get up rather early the next day!…..

We were up and out to the local Christmas Gala Day on Sunday morning, where I was having a stall selling my various hand made things….. I had made some Christmassy bunting, tree decorations, gift labels and greeting cards to sell alongside my usual stock of jewellery and drawings. It was a lovely busy day in the market square, and lots of people came to see my stall (and buy lots too!), as well as to see the entertainment on the stage. There were local choirs singing carols, puppet shows, clowning, some rather crazy performers known as Granny Turismo (two men dressed as old ladies sitting on top of giant shopping trolleys which they zoom around on!), and the local radio station playing Christmas songs. With the smell of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts too it was a wonderfully festive atmosphere and I enjoyed every minute, despite being sat out in the cold all day!

Once we’d packed up the stall and taken everything home, we popped around to Adam’s Mum’s for dinner…she’d made a yummy sausage supper to save me having to cook after such a tiring day and it was most appreciated! Back at home we slobbed for a little while on the sofa, before a much-needed early night!

Hope your weekend was just as Festive!

Ems x

Something from the weekend… Lights, rain and packing

Well it really IS getting rather Festive now!

Our weekend started with a very Christmassy Friday, as we spent the evening in the Market Square for the Hitchin Christmas lights switch-on! There were stalls from lots of locals, with vintage fashions, yummy foods and delicious drinks on offer, as well as carol singers and whatnot. I’m very impressed with the wonderfully large tree that has been put up in the square, right in the centre of town and only a few minutes walk from our home….and at 7pm we all shouted a count down as the tree lights were switched on for the first time!

The place was packed with people and it was all terribly jolly, so we continued the fun by inviting the friends we’d met up with back to our place for hot Winter Pimm’s. I love having the house full of guests….it’s so much cosier when there are more people around!

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On Saturday I was due to host another stall at the Riverside Craft and Farmers Market, but owing to the fact that it’s an outdoor market and I’m still not feeling very well (not to mention the weather forecast!) I reluctantly decided not to go. Instead we braved the wind and rain for a little bit, to head back to the market square for the Hitchin Food and Wine Festival. It was no good browsing all the stalls on our empty tummies though, so Adam took me to the wonderful Halseys tea room where we feasted on a gorgeous brunch (bubble with fried duck egg and mushroom for me, homemade baked beans on toast for Adam). I love how busy and cosy it always is in there, and their food is brilliant.

Duly fed, we met up with some friends and wandered about the food market, sampling some fabulous beers and chilli sauces, and lusting after all the hot dishes of mulled sausages and venison chilli on offer! There was a fair turn out despite the rain, but we didn’t last long and returned home to get warm and dry.

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We spent much of the afternoon setting up the Wii Adam bought in the Amazon Black Friday sale, and playing the bowling game on it. Then for dinner we headed over to Adam’s parents’ where his Mum had cooked up a roast lamb with stacks of yummy veggies. After chatting over dinner and putting the world to rights, we headed home to watch an episode of X Files before bed.

After the obligatory Sunday morning lie-in (and a rather large brunch of fried egg sandwiches!) we popped out for a bit into town, first to the car boot sale where I picked up a darling little bird painting for just 60p, and then on a few errands to get the last few things for our holiday. Once home we set about packing for our trip, whilst drinking tea and singing Christmas songs. Then before we knew it, it was dinner time and we went back over to Adam’s Mum’s for her amazing baked pasta dish (as we hardly had anything left in to eat and didn’t want to shop just before we leave!).

Back at home I had a lovely Skype chat with my dear friend Michelle in the States….it was wonderful to catch up with her and just natter away for a bit. Then it was another couple of X Files episodes before an early night ahead of our journey!

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How was your weekend?

Ems x

Something from the weekend….our first overnight guests!

I’m still feeling pretty pantsy all told (hence the late posting of this), but we just *had* to have lots of fun this weekend because we received our first overnight guests! Dear friends Matthew and Siobhan made the journey up from London to spend the weekend with us, straight from work on Friday. It was so lovely to catch up with them, and host them in our new home.

I had spent much of Friday cooking, so that I didn’t need to do too much whilst our guests were here. But we scoffed some lovely cake that Siobhan had made first of all (apple, pear and almond…yum!) along with a pot of tea, then it was a tour of the house before a supper of cottage pie. We had some of Adam’s wonderful dark chocolate and banana loaf for pudding, and then he made us Mint Juleps and Espresso Martinis whilst we chatted the evening away!

On Saturday morning, I served up a big kedgeree breakfast to set us up for the day, and then we took the short walk to the amazing Eric T Moore bookshop. Matthew especially loved the place, and at more than one point we lost him and thought he may just spend the entire weekend there! I picked up some yummy rosemary bread and brownies for lunch from our favourite local bakery, Quotidian, then we toured our guests around town. I had surprisingly managed to remember quite a lot of the things we’d learned on our recent Hitchin History walk and the Ghost walk, so I shared lots of random bits of information as we browsed a few shops.

After that, we took them into St Mary’s church, which is right in the centre of town and the largest church in the county. It’s pretty opulent and really rather impressive! Then we stopped in on the market on the way home, clean forgetting that we had bought brownies already and picking up some obscenely huge cream cakes for later.

I had made Sweet Potato soup with ginger, chilli, lime and coconut for our lunch, which we yummed up alongside the delicious Quotidian bread. Then it was off out again, and over the road to the British Schools Museum where there was an exhibition for the local art club. We saw some wonderful pieces, all at very reasonable prices too!

From there we took the little walk around to Adam’s parents’ place to pick up the dogs, and then from there we walked over to the old Priory grounds for a little stroll. Newton was rather nervous, as he always is this time of year, due to the gun shots of nearby pheasant shooters, but we managed to pay a visit to the Charlton Pig Table and say hello to our piggy friends!

It was a lazy supper on Saturday, as we headed over to our brilliant local pub, The Half Moon, for some lovely beer and pub grub. The pub dog ‘Moon’ was unusually friendly and spent lots of time sniffing around our table for any bits of food (which we weren’t allowed to give to her) and a little affection. Then back at home we gorged on the cream cakes we’d bought and sat around drinking liqueurs and playing board games.

On Sunday morning we continued the gluttony with a breakfast of Belgian waffles with bananas and maple syrup, then attempted to walk it off a little with a pootle around the market and the car boot sale. It was great to get there at a reasonable hour again as the traders really don’t all hang around! I picked up some very lovely miniature playing cards, a wonderful old book of pianforte music and a stunning children’s tea set from the 1940s!

Once home again, we just about had time to conclude the complete tour of the house by showing our guests the cellar and the garden. It was a beautiful day out, so lovely to see the garden all autumnal and sunny. We picked a big handful of fresh bay leaves for Matthew and Siobhan to take home, then made our way to the station as they needed to get back into town for lunch.

Adam and I spent the rest of the afternoon on another walk with the dogs, before heading to Adam’s parents’ for a supper of fajitas. Then it was home for more X Files and an early night. Rather blissful weekend!