Archers at the Larches. We had a wonderful time. Not only is Lou's home as amazing as it seems on her blog - it was just nice to visit without rushed lunches with train schedules looming, etc. Lou and I haven't seen each other since a lunch about two months ago so I was so looking forward to a leisurely weekend in the country at their really, ridiculously fabulous house and farm. And it was especially nice to sit over a glass of bubbly and just chat in her huge kitchen while the delicious stew was bubbling in the oven.
It was mighty cold but they had roaring fires in just about every room. Cate and X both loved all the space. Cate ran off with Lou's two sproglets to play dress up and other fun games, Fen and Lou's Hubby watched rugby while sipping beers so everyone was happy.
Lou made the most amazing meals: the beef stew (recipe on the link above), a full turkey dinner, great cheese, hummus and nibblies (see how I carried the cheeses here), full English breakfasts - it was all delicious and she made it all look so easy. I tried her stew last night, threw in mango chutney and loads of burgundy wine - but it couldn't hold a candle to hers!
We took a trip to Ludlow - a medieval castle in Shropshire (photo above) which used to be the capital of Wales but now is actually in England. It is where Prince Arthur, King Henry VII's brother died and his heart is buried (not sure where the rest of him is). Prince Arthur's grieving wife, Catherine of Aragon went to London where she eventually became the first wife of King Henry VIII and the mother of Queen Mary. She lived a tragic life, really. The town is very quaint and magical. There are Tudor buildings at every turn. This one on the left is the Feathers Hotel. It's magnificent and the picture doesn't do it justice.
There was the Christmas Fayre going on and we walked amidst the medieval townsfolk and took in all their wares:
The music makers were my favourite although everyone looked fantastic
We also walked around the town and visited the Lou's favourite cheese shop which was tiny and delightful. The folks behind the counter could not have been nicer and had the thickest, fullest, waves of locks for hair, Rosy cheeks and quick with a smile. They looked like they had just come down off the mountains in Scotland - fabulous! I loved their front window:
All in all - a marvellous weekend. Lou, get ready, we're back in the spring - especially now that you're finished with NaNo!