Jacqui & Phil's 2018 Adventures
A blissful start
Before setting off on our annual sourcing adventure, spending a couple of days with our (now firmly London-ensconced) daughter Helen was a must. However Helen had decided we should eschew London for the Cotswolds. Airbnb was consulted, a car was hired (you don’t need one in London, and unlike her Kiwi counterparts, many of Helen’s British contemporaries do not even know how to drive!) with enough luggage space for us all, she collected us from Heathrow and off we went.
It was a comfortingly brisk, grey British day, though temperatures of up to 22 degrees were apparently promised the following week. Yeah right!
We stopped en route at a huge service area, complete with mini supermarket and Ramada Hotel for a truly awful coffee – Allpress definitely need to expand their (understandably successful) operation beyond London. It really didn’t take long to arrive at our gorgeous destination, the accommodation being a cottage traditional to the area, complete with a modern kitchen, good heating, great water pressure – and soft beds. Bliss!
Helen had a timetable in mind (you don’t mess with a Virgo) so after unpacking, showering and a change of clothing we set off to the train station to collect the fourth member of our party, and head to our first eating spot: The Cherwill Boathouse. We all enjoyed a hearty and tasty meal, finishing with a couple of fine British farmhouse cheeses.
The next day we had been invited to visit Daylesford Organics and were accorded a comprehensive tour of this wonderful place. It comprises a 2000-acre organic farm complete with restful spa, as well as a restaurant, a food store and a home wares shop by Jerome, who is the export manager for one of Lord and Lady Bamford many operations – a French winery called Léoube. A magnum of their very nice Rosé had been a gift for my birthday earlier this year.
Certainly the shop and restaurant are exceptionally attractive – and we were interested to note the presence of Torres crisps. The star of the show however was not on the food side. We had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of Charlie – a chatty 10 year old on the animal husbandry side – who certainly knew his lambs, lifting one straight into Helen’s arms and enthusiastically offering to prepare a bottle for her to feed it. Charlie was not looking forward to abandoning his small charges to return to school the following week.
We then meandered through a few of the nearby romantic Cotswold villages, complete with thatched cottages, clumps of daffodils growing in artistically-placed clusters, crows and magpies, bridges christened with names like Tadpole Bridge and pubs called ‘The Red Lion’, ‘The White Hart’ and ‘The Kings Arms’, then headed to another of Lady Carole Bamford’s establishments, a restaurant called ‘Wild Rabbit’ to enjoy lunch in another of her very convivial settings.
That night we self-catered with some of the fine fare we had purchased at Daylesford Organics and took some time to enjoy our gorgeous cottage, before we packed our bags and set off early the next morning for Barcelona.