Thursday, 13 August 2009

To Market, To Market

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 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!


The Vintage Kitten said...

As always a lovey post, the way you describe things I almost feel as though I was at the market with you. I laughed as I pictured you and your mum lurking in the bushes, picking berries. Why my imagination chose to think you were 'lurking' when you were innocently picking berries I dont know Hee Hee! And no I dont think you do have to answer to every post someone writes. If people blog too frequently (some everyday)I find I dont reply everytime because I may have just visited their blog, but others who dont blog often are the ones I really look forward as you know they will have something interesting to say. You to me are one of those bloggers who when they do post its like a 'big whammy' and give us really interesting posts that I like to take my time reading with a cup of tea. If you dont feel like commenting or dont have the time then thats ok there shouldnt be any pressure on anyone. I read so many I dont always have time to respond. X
P.S Contradicting what I just said I really enjoyed your last few posts so found myself rambling on all of them........ next time I might not *WINK* X

Dinah Soar said...

Once again I must comment on another post..I so thoroughly enjoyed hearing about your outings and with your mum nonetheless. Oh I love all things British, and I try to envision your surroundings, though my images are based on Miss Marple mysteries, and Last of the Summerwine, which I adore, and the villages in the Midsomer Murder TV series.

I will always look forward to reading your posts and am even in the process of reading your archives...but should I fail to leave a comment--due to time constraints and I don't like to be 'bothersome' with them--know that I am reading..and I imagine many others are too.

As for ettiquette..personally I prefer you devote your time to posting, for I love hearing about your life in England. Just do as you prefer, that is always best. Good posts will always cause people to return for more and I never consider it rude if my comments have no is my pleasure to read what you've taken the time to write.

And yes, we do get Victoria is always available..and a lovely magazine.

Lastly, I've never been to sis lived in London for almost 3 years--on business with her company, but my fear of flying caused me to miss out on a wonderful opportunity to vist your wonderful country. My I read British blogs and watch wondrful British programs to fill the void.

Anonymous said...

I just love your posts, and even though I don't have time to always leave you a comment,know that I am enjoying your little corner of the world through your eyes.You make everything sound so sweet and wonderful, it makes me want to look for the best in my own life as well.You have such a gift for writing about your everyday life, and we thank you for it 1000 times and more.

Suzie said...

I have to agree with the Vintage Kitten, your writing really makes me feel as though I am there.
The markets sound utterly delectable, and the joy of picking blackberries on the side of the road. Things like that just don't seem to happen here in Australia :) I'm glad you write about them so that we can share them with you.

Anonymous said...

I love libraires, too! there is nothing better then spending ones time in the stacks. I met my husband at our library as we both worked there. I could not imagine my life without books! Love your blog!
Patti S.

Anonymous said...

I love libraires, too! There is nothing better then spending ones time in the stacks. I met my husband at our library as we both worked there. He is now the Assistnat Director. I could not imagine my life without books! Love your blog!
Patti S.