Even though I had the day off today, I still got up and left home early to catch the bus that gets me into the village where my little library is for 9:00. Why? Because just opposite my little library, there is a sports hall, in which, on a Thursday at 9:00 is the most wonderful W.I. Country Market. So although I could have been tucked up in bed sipping tea today, I sallied forth instead.
It has only been a few months, but Mum and I have taken to meeting at the market, doing a little shopping together, having a cup of tea, and then she goes home and I pop over the road to open up. It really makes me look forward to Thursdays!
When I first ventured into the market, I was not entirely sure what to expect, but for some strange reason, I fully expected things to be...expensive. I am happy to say that I was utterly wrong! There is a lady who sells the eggs from the hens who live in her barn, wander outside for a scratch in the sunshine and eat an organic diet, and for this she charges £1 a half-dozen. The garden produce stall is one of my favourites- everything is in season, and so fresh that it often has the dirt on still! Today I bought a bag of spinach, a cucumber, a bag of apples, a punnet of blackberries and a bag of runner beans for less than £3. Sometimes there is a sausage stall, but today instead there was the wood carving man. I bought Carl a little dibber for him to dib with when he gardens, turned from a piece of oak and less than £2! Another favourite stall is the 'ready meal' table, where you can buy a little foil dish of liver and onion, shepherds pie, or lamb kashmir curry; individual rabbit pies, and little sausage rolls with the tastiest, flakiest pastry. There is a shelf of gleaming pots of chutneys and pickles, and a sister shelf of jams...and not just strawberry, but things like kiwi marmalade and peach preserves. Between these two shelves lays the baking stall, and here you can find plain, cheese or fruit scones baked freshly that morning, cheese straws, fairy cakes, ginger and date loaf, lemon drizzle cake, bread pudding studded with glace cherries and dried apricots, loaves of bread....I could go on and on and on!
And after I have gone on and on buying things, I usually have a bag crammed full, and still change from £10! Then Mum and I take a seat at one of the little tables, covered with a green gingham table cloth and adorned with a jam jar of flowers, and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee. You go to the serving hatch, and pay 75p, and are given a cup of filter coffee and the instruction to 'help yourself to a biscuit'. Then we sit and compare purchases, talk about books, and say hello to people as they go by.
Normally, after fifteen minutes or so my phone alarm goes off, and I go to work, but today Mum and I decided to pop to the supermarket in her town so she could buy a new ironing board. She drove us through the back lanes, and we suddenly spied a bush fat with blackberries, so we pulled over, rummaged in the boot of the car for containers, and did some picking. Then we spotted a stall outside a garden selling plums, runner beans, tomatoes and bunches of garden flowers. £1.10 dropped into their jam jar got me a bag of plums and a bunch of heavenly flowers!
After we had been to the supermarket and decided that perhaps the car was a bit too full for an ironing board, we decided to collect Dad from home and go on to our favourite nursery for a cup of tea and a scone. I love sitting there and looking out over the fields, and then seeing all the rows of plants and flowers. I always feel so relaxed after a gentle meander through the greenhouses.
After all this, I hopped on the bus home, and read a little (After The Armstice Ball, my latest Dandy Gilver mystery). Now as I sit typing this, there is the smell of chocolate cake wafting through the flat, as I have baked two dozen cupcakes from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. Carl's boss is leaving tomorrow, so some are for him to take in to say goodbye, and the rest I am going to take to my work. Once they have cooled I am going to ice them with chocolate buttercream, then dip them in chocolate vermicelli. Before that though, I have some washing to hang out, and hope it doesn't rain!
Thank you everyone for your lovely comments. I am never entirely sure of the ettitquette here....do I reply to each comment? Visit your blog to comment on your comment? Try and divine an email address? I don't know! But what I do know is that I really appreciate each and every comment. I just wish that we could all sit round sipping tea and nibbling cupcakes and get to know each other better! So- Vintage Kitten, oh how it has made me smile to realise that there is someone else out there who loves the smell of libraries! You are right, there is a certain smell that only old libraries and a particular kind of second hand book shop has, and I adore it. I have been found with my nose buried in a book before, not reading, but smelling it! We have a room full of newspaper archives at work that I also love to pop into for a little smell. Dinah, it is soo difficult for me to get Lipton's Yellow Label tea, but I really do adore it! I love that we are so many miles apart but have such similar loves! Do you get Victoria Magazine where you are? Again, so hard to get here, but makes me feel so English when I read it!
Before I sign off to wield my icing bag, I must ask, did anyone else see Economy Gastronomy last night? I was utterly, utterly shocked by how much that family were spending on food a month, just through a lack of planning and thought. It made me laugh when the father said it would be 'tough' to cut back their spending from over £600 a month! I liked the idea behind the show and enjoyed some of the recipes, but I would have liked it if they had shown a few more ways to use up the giant pot of beef stew that they made at the beginning, other than just fold it into pasta. I must go to BrocanteHome.Co.Uk and print out some more weekly meal planners!
Happy Thursdays, everyone!