This weekend was a wonderfully long one, owing to Adam having to take some days holiday before the end of the month. And so on Thursday evening we trotted off to the station to catch a train up to his home town of Hitchin. It was getting late by the time we arrived so there wasn’t much time to do anything (especially after the catch up chats) other than have dinner. Adam’s Mum had cooked us the most delicious veggie bake….layers of different veg with mozzarella in between and all topped with herby breadcrumbs. Yum!
Our excuse for visiting was that it was actually Adam’s Mum’s birthday weekend. And so I was very excited about giving her the home made gifts I had made….. as well as a yummy banana loaf I had painted two canvases for her, one of each of her dogs. She was absolutely delighted with them too, and we were all pleased to yum up the banana bread over the weekend!
On Friday morning (trying to remember it wasn’t yet Saturday!) we popped into town to go to the lovely flea market that’s there every Friday. We’ve had some real success there before, having found some wonderful vintage buttons and my incredible 50cm high Victorian Bell Cloche on the last visit. This time it was a darling little white leather flask I couldn’t resist….. I bought it for just £9 from the military stall, and it has a wonderful silver badge on the front with my initials (also the Queen’s!).
Vintage military hip flask from Hitchin Flea Market
We also couldn’t resist the chalk board sign in the window at Halsey’s (the gorgeous little tea room / gallery / deli just off the market square which dates back to 1854) which advertised Wookey Hole Cave Aged Cheddar as the best cheese in the world…..and so in we went to buy a large chunk for lunch when we got home. And we can certainly concur with the judges…..melted on toast in the Aga it was absolutely delicious….just the right balance of creaminess, sharpness and a little earthiness which comes from aging the makers’ truckles inside the famous cave.
Wookey Hole Cave Aged Cheddar from Halsey's
In the evening, it was off to Letchworth and the sweet little Broadway Cinema there. It was lovely to have a change from our usual large cinema in London….the audience were much better behaved and the auditorium is very charming in Deco styling. The film was The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and we all loved it….. I’m so very fond of many of its cast (Judie Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith…..) and it really is a very funny and heart warming film. The film’s setting had us all hankering for an Indian meal though and so it was over to Sagar for a curry. All the food was divine…. Adam had an amazing veggie curry in a banana sauce…. and my vegetable Biryani (made with Rose Water, pistachios, coconut and almonds) was lush! And when we’d finished our meal, we were presented with a whole tray full of sweeties, as well as chocolate mint thins with the bill. AND our lovely waiter then made us up his special night-cap (and wouldn’t reveal the secret recipe!) all on the house. Great place.
As the weekend proper started, I decided on three breakfasts to set me up for the day. First breakfast was All-Bran with milk….second breakfast, fruity granola with Rachel’s Organic Vanilla Yoghurt….and third breakfast a lovely slice of granary toast with marmalade and butter. Yummy!
And having yummed this all up we walked down to Gila Timur, a shop on the way to the station, to meet Adam’s Dad for some browsing. From outside, it looks like any other independent furniture shop, but inside it is a treasure trove of gorgeous pieces from all over the world. Adam’s Dad had wanted us to see the Indonesian sculptures there which are absolutely stunning….. I also loved all the gorgeous furniture made from reclaimed boat timber which still has layers of chipped paint on it. Having gotten chatting to one of the owners, he told us about his pride and joy which resides in one of the rooms in the labyrinthine basement….. an enormous (we think at least 9 feet tall) and incredibly intricate wood carved sculpture of Hanuman, the Hindu deity who appears in the form of a monkey. The owner explained how it is common practice for such sculptures (that is, carvings not made for tourists, and of such immense size) to be imbued with a spirit, and we certainly felt a presence about the sculpture like nothing we had ever experienced.
After a jaunt around all the charity shops and a trip to Waitrose for dinner ingredients, we spied a chance in between rain showers to go out for a walk with the dogs around Ickleford Common and Gerry’s Hole. The light was gorgeous as the sun began to set over all the damp trees and grass, and the dogs enjoyed running for sticks (as well as a little swim in the river for Newton!).
Walking the dogs
We worked up quite the appetite after our stroll, so we were pleased to be heading over to see some friends and cook dinner for the six of us. I’d made my signature Chilli last time, so it was Adam’s turn to make his wonderful Carbonara. Everyone yummed this up, alongside wine and cider…..and we remained at the table to eat cola cupcakes made by Holly and to play my all time favourite board game: Cranium. We played boys versus girls, and having cheated terribly, the boys beat us by a hair. It was a brilliant game though, highlights including the boys having to roll a length of sculpting clay as long as Adam’s left foot (between them, and using only their left hands)…. Martin’s whistled rendition of Tomorrow from Annie….. and my expertly sculpted toilet.
Sunday brought a shocking amount of rain, and so we decided to stay another night to avoid traveling home in it….or from leaving the house at all really. We started the day with a naughty breakfast of Belgian waffles with strawberries, ice cream and maple syrup…. and then settled down to some rainy day activities such as completing the crossword, eating home made fudge and lounging about. I did manage to be a little productive though and wove a few pendants from beads in the shape of snow drops, inspired by our countryside walk the day before. Hopefully I’ll get these onto my Etsy Shop this week. For supper, it was roast beef with Yorkshire puddings and all the trimmings….. gosh it was lovely with a glass of red (and with a pudding of ice cream and chocolate Torte made by Adam’s Mum’s friend for her birthday!). We finished off a slobby day watching the classic no-brainer Van Helsing (hurrah for Hugh Jackman!) before falling asleep very full and contented.
Snow drops next to the river
This morning we lay in before another waffle breakfast (this time without the ice cream so very healthy) and then packed, ready to leave. After a short and tolerable train journey home, we popped to Waitrose for the week’s shop and returned with fresh coffee and Duchy Originals Hot Cross Buns…..which we devoured whilst completing the cross word.
What a wonderfully relaxing weekend!
Hope you enjoyed yours too,