It being Adam’s birthday weekend, we made our merry way up to his home town of Hitchin to spend a few days with his family and the fresh, country air. As usual, we managed to cram plenty in as well as some quality slobbing!
We arrived on Friday evening to Adam’s parents’ house, and enjoyed a yummy dinner of spring vegetables with pasta and cheese sauce, before settling in front of the telly to watch A Shot In The Dark. I do love the silly slapstick humour of the Detective Clouseau films! We also sampled a bottle of liqueur given to us my Adam’s Mum….. It’s called Bajtra and is made in Malta. It’s absolutely delicious, with the prickly pair, honey and herbs it’s made from blending beautifully. I’m looking forward to trying it with some Champagne as a sort of Bellini.
On Saturday morning we made our way down the lane into the beautiful market town, where we had a snoop about the shops and market. I spotted for only the second time in all my visits there the wonderful Town Crier who still shouts out news in his melodic cry, wearing all his finery. In the market square were a bunch of friendly chaps from the local Sikh community, commemorating the life and teachings of their 5th Guru, Guru Arjun Dev Ji. We were given delicious veggie samosas and drinks as we chatted, which I thought was just so lovely.
It being World Gin Day, we stopped off in the impressive Blue Otter Wine Shop next to the churchyard, and chatted with the knowledgeable owner before purchasing our first bottle of The Botanist Gin, which is distilled on Islay. I can’t wait to try it…. It is made from 22 wild native botanicals and produced in the unique ‘Ugly Betty’!
We then had a mooch about the wonderful market, eyeing up the amazing cakes by Fentons Cakes, buying coffee beans (and sampling a free cup of coffee too) at the Wakelins of Hitchin stall, and purchasing some supplies from the brilliant Beadbitz stall.
Next it was over the road to The British Schools Museum Beer Festival, which takes place in the playground of the school which Adam actually went to as a very small boy. We were rather disappointed that they didn’t have any ciders this year, especially as Adam doesn’t drink beer, but I certainly enjoyed trying some that were new to me! The Pegasus and the 92 Squadron were both splendid!
Whilst we were sat, a charming lady from the museum came over to chat to us, and I learned that we can actually have a tour about the place on certain days (really want to do that), and they have regular events too (I wish I was closer so that we could see the London Philharmonic Skiffle Orchestra there on the 29th). The lady also chatted to Adam about his time there at the school and he promised to get in touch to share some more of his memories to help with their information gathering. We purchased a fundraising quiz from her before drinking up and making our way to meet friends.
I adore the Half Moon, which is very close to the house and has won all kinds of awards. They always have great ales and ciders on offer, so we opted to meet with friends there to catch up over some birthday drinks. I did some more beer sampling and tried the Adnams Diamond as well as the Dixons Jubilee (well, tis the season) whilst Adam sampled some ciders (favouring the FTJ from nearby Baldock). We gave the rather cryptic quiz a good go, although even between us all, we only managed about a third of the questions!
After quickly popping home to freshen up, it was back out again to The Plume at Wymondley for Adam’s birthday meal. It’s such a charming pub, especially at the moment covered with festive bunting. And better still, they have an adorable resident dog, a Bullmastiff called Madge. She got lots of attention from us until it was time for our meal…. Adam and his Dad both had the mixed grill whilst his Mum and I both had the rump steak. The portions were all more than generous, and the steaks cooked wonderfully.
We opted to wait a good hour before attempting pudding, so headed home for tea and cream cakes whilst we watched Star Trek on tv.
Sunday morning was set aside for a trip to the Upper Caldicote car boot sale. Adam drove us the pretty 20 minute journey through the countryside, and with the sun finally showing its face, it was warm enough to wander about the field full of stalls without our jackets. It’s a great boot sale, with lots of stalls….. I found a couple in particular that had lots of amazing treasures…. I bought up a whole load of old keys, a leather bound copy of Alice in Wonderland, a gorgeous gilt frame, and 14 vintage match boxes with all kinds of pretty designs. Adam also snapped up a stunning Claret carafe…. He’s been eyeing them up for a while!
Back at home we grabbed a quick lunch, sitting in the sunny garden, before heading down to Hitchin Market for a look around another car boot sale! It was getting on by this time so lots of the stall holders were starting to pack away, but I did manage to pick up some lovely old cigarette cards with Royal Family photos on them from the 30s.
Then it was off to the common to walk the dogs. I love the land at Oughton Head which is just covered in pretty trees and wild flowers. Adam’s Mun had spotted some wild orchids there earlier in the week, so we tramped through the mud to see them. They are absolutely incredible, in glorious shades of purple, and so remarkably delicate.
We had an early supper of meatballs with pasta and tomato sauce before packing up our treasures and making our way back to London…… Tired and wanting to be prepared for another busy week ahead, we read in bed before a nice early night!
Hope you had a lovely one!