With the weather set to put a damper on the weekend, I wasnt terribly convinced that I’d get up to much this weekend. And yet the shone shine just enough and our weekend out of London was very fruitful indeed.
Adam had managed to get the afternoon off on Friday, so at lunch time we made our way to Kings Cross to catch a train to Hitchin in Hertfordshire (Adam’s home town). It was the first time we’d used the new concourse, and we were wowed as we walked through to our platform under the stunning new ceiling…..
We arrived just in time for a yummy lunch of Adam’s Mum’s home made Leek, Potato and Stilton soup, and then we were off for some treasure hunting right away! We headed down into town for the Friday afternoon flea market…. it wasn’t busy because of the rain and some of the stall holders were already getting ready to pack up. Still, I had a great chat about my stamp jewellery (and my collection of stamps that I use to make it) with a lovely chap on a stamp collectors stall, and I managed to catch the wonderful bead stall to get some supplies. Next, we popped into Tim’s for some art supplies…. it’s a wonderful, proper old fashioned art shop and has brilliant stock. We even met Tim himself (we think) who offered us tips and was very friendly!
Then it was around a few of the wonderful charity shops in Hitchin….. I find some great stuff there and lots for my crafting like old picture frames and odd brooches and charms. We even saw at one shop an amazing collection of old film cameras, including a Super 8 movie camera! I really wanted it (and Adam even offered to buy it for my birthday!) but I know how expensive it is to process the film and buy it in the first place, and I didn’t want to have it just to sit around doing nothing. Still, if I win the lottery I would definitely go back for it!
For dinner we headed over to nearby Letchworth, and to the amazing Italian restaurant there. We’ve been to L’artista plenty but it still feels like a treat….. every dish I’ve had has been brilliant and they have delicious foccacias and the best tiramisu!
On Saturday morning it was back into Letchworth to snoop about their charity shops. I picked up a lovely new (although old!) table cloth to use for my craft stall. We also happened across a little farmers’ market which sold extremely yummy cakes and lots of free range meat! We bought up a load of Free Range smoked streaky bacon, as we struggle to get that even at Waitrose (it was a bargain too), as well as some scotch eggs (hardly ever get those now so snap up the Free Range ones when I see them!) and some Free Range herby sausages….. we actually ate them last night and they are INCREDIBLE! Will definitely be visiting the Farroby Farm shop and tea room on our next visit to try more of their stuff!
After that we took a pit stop back at the house to yum up some of our goodies, before heading back into town for that day’s market and some more charity shop shopping. On our way back, Adam took me a different route than usual, down the little lane that runs behind the house. It was lovely to hear about all the places that Adam used to play as a child, and a shame that lots of the open spaces (where he would pick blackberries and plant trees) are now built on with new houses.
For dinner, we went over to Holly and Jamie’s, where we met a bunch of other friends too. Holly had made a delicious selection of Spanish dishes for a sort of Tapas meal….. some yummy fritatta…. Patatas Bravas…. olives…. butter bean stew….. We ate lots and lots, and drank some wine whilst chatting about nothing in particular. I also managed to show off some of the jewellery I’ve been making to boot!
On Sunday we decided to take a chance on the changeable weather and go for a nice walk with the dogs at Chick Sands. Adam has told me lots about how he loved going there as a child, adventuring in the woods. It’s a remarkable place, and in the ‘just rained’ light everything shone beautifully (and very photogenically!). We dawdled about, meeting other dog walkers, and finding treasure all the way…. before an approaching grey cloud of doom told us it was time to head back to the car and we just missed a down pour!
We were due a rest after our adventure, so back at home we relaxed with cups of tea and home made flapjack, whilst I played around with double exposures of the photos I’d taken and surveyed the treasure we had found!
There was still time before dinner, so looking out at the now sunny again sky, we decided to have one last wander about the market and shops (just in case there was any more treasure to be found). Unfortunately, all of the stall holders had already packed up by the time we got down there, so we opted instead for a nice walk around the church. It’s the largest in the county I believe, and exceptionally pretty. In fact the whole town centre is terribly idyllic if you can ignore the recent additions of chain coffee shops and Italian restaurants.
When we got to the market square, we began to hear some wonderful drum music from the far side….so we went to investigate….. There was a parade on its way towards us with a brilliant drum group, followed by hundreds of Scouts. I think it must have been a St George’s day parade. It was lovely to see all the children in uniform and marching along to the fabulous music. I love a drum group! (If anyone knows the name of the drumming group I would be much obliged to find out!)
After packing up our treasure and having a lovely supper of meatballs and chilli pasta, we began our way home. Or so we thought. We’d happened to check the trains from Hitchin to London and found out there was a broken down train stopping all the others getting through. So an hour’s worth of phone calls later we found out that we weren’t allowed to use our tickets to go from Luton on the other line instead, but we could pick up a train from Stevenage. But when we got to Stevenage the trains were far more delayed than we’d been told, and in fact we waited for an hour before giving up on the mythical train that the staff had no idea of an arrival time for. And so we called for a lift back, and no sooner had we left than a train arrived of course! Still, who knows how long it would have been delayed further (I feel awful for those marathon runners who got stuck and spent 8 hours getting home!), so we enjoyed another evening of relaxation before heading home on Monday morning.
What a weekend!