After our tea in Marlborough we poked around the shops and bought a few things. I bought some lovely old prints at a book shop that I framed and now hang in my bedroom. They are of old buildings in English villages. We also got to see an outdoor farmer’s market. I was impressed at the time with the market. We do have farmer’s markets here, but usually nothing more than fruits, veg and garden plants. We’ve gotten better at this and our local farmer’s market now has honey, goat cheese, homemade jams and jellys, etc. The one in Marlborough had baked goods and meats, eggs, and cheese as well as gorgeous produce. It has clothes as well and other household items. It goes right down the center of a very wide street, with tent covers and lots of vendors.
We left there and drove through some beautiful country to the town of Warminster where we shopped in a lovely produce shop and got some fruit for dinner. We went to the grocery store and also bought some cheese, crackers, and peanut butter for a light dinner. That along with our shortbread and we were all set for the evening. It’s funny how just going to these different shops and stores is so entertaining when they are foreign to you.
I love to poke around in the grocery stores there. I’ve found some really interesting things there that just aren’t offered here. Dried black currants are one thing I buy every time I go. I’ve never found them in any grocery or specialty store here, at least on the west coast. I love to put them in my oatmeal with just a little brown sugar. You don’t need as much sugar because they add sweet and tart flavor.
Duck and goose fat is another thing that I can only find in the states on Amazon and it’s pricey. So whenever I go I stock up or have my friends bring it over when they come. It makes the best roasted potatoes. My friend Suzanne added some to her stuffing at Thanksgiving and said it added a unique flavor that made it extra yummy.
My favorite mustard is another thing. I order it online to be shipped to my cousin or my friends in London because the company that makes it doesn’t ship off the island! I am not a mustard fan, so this one is very special. It’s called “Dragon’s Breath” and it is not as hot as it sounds but has a robust flavor. It’s slightly reddish and has chives in it.
Another thing I like is the common foods we have here but completely different flavors because the demand is different. Take Knorr soup mix. I am not one to use a soup mix, but I have bought the Knorr pesto sauce mix to use as flavoring for a quick spaghetti sauce. I’ve noticed only a few flavors here in the states besides the pesto and creamy pesto mixes. There are a couple of flavors of gravy mix, and then chicken, mushroom, and leek soup mix. Not many more than that. In England you will find leek and chicken, bread sauce (don’t know what that is), crofter’s thick veggie soup, creamy baked cod, and my favorite sounding one, broccoli and Stilton soup. Anything with cheese is ok with me!
It’s the same with yogurt (which I listed in a previous post) cuts of meat, jams, teas and candy and snacks.
Marcie and I always buy loads of different cookies and candy to share back home. Marcie has a traditional English tea after every visit to England for her large family of children and grandchildren. I take back fun treats to share with my friends and co-workers. It’s always a hit!
We love the names and descriptions on the packages: digestive biscuits, fruity teacakes, dairy milk, fingerellas, angel slices, maltesers, meringue nests, bakewells, squashies, soda farls, lardy cake, twirl bites, flake, fruit jellies, Victoria sponge, fairy cakes, wine gums, Turkish delight, and something called tiffin. I’m sure my British friends are all thinking these are everyday treats, but some of them I’ve never heard of and still am not sure what they are. Somethings we have but call them something entirely different. I’m not sure a rose by any other name, etc. I think they taste different with a different name, better somehow, exotic because it’s a change from the everyday things we can find at the grocery.
We booked our B&B that night slightly out of Warminster at “Deverill”. The B&B is owned by Joy and Sim Greathead, who hail from South Africa but moved to England five years previous. Their home and garden is so beautiful and they were interesting to visit with. The house is spotlessly clean and they have a garden to die for. We clean up and have our fun dinner together and Marcie and I unload our suitcases to re-pack them, things are getting out of hand. Not only did we learn not to bring such enormous luggage, but also not to buy so much at the beginning of a journey. We now have to schlep all of our important finds all over, from London to Land’s End to Wales and back again. Lesson learned!
After a hearty breakfast Sim takes us out to show us around their beautiful grounds. He is clearly very proud of it and gives all of the credit to his wife. They have beautiful flocks of chicken, duck and guinea fowl. A prolific orchard with pears, plums and apples. A beautiful meadow full of cows. We have many questions between the three of us. Marcie is a seasoned gardener, I am just starting to garden and Jean is an artist who paints lovely gardens. We learn that Sim’s great uncle is credited with having brought Valencia oranges to the United States! He also shows us a garden book that his great uncle has written. We have to say our goodbyes and hit the road.
Today we are heading south and I find on the map that Honiton is on the way. A few years ago I took a seminar on lace making so I want to stop here.
It became an important market town, known for its lace making that was introduced by Flemmish immigrants in the Elizabethan era. In the 17th century thousands of people produced lace by hand in their homes, and later in the 19th century Queen Victoria had her wedding dress made of Honiton lace.
There is also a museum named the Allhallows Museum of Lace and Local Antiquities. The museum was once Allhallows Chapel, built in the 13th century, and said to be the oldest building in Honiton. Unfortunately it wasn’t opened on the day we visited so we didn’t get to experience that. We did go to the Honiton Lace Shop and took a walk through the grave yard. I love to look at the gravestones in the church yards there. I find them beautiful and touching because you can feel the love, longing, loss but also humor and faith in the words.
We went to a very pretty little tea room and had yet another cream tea, scrumptious.
We are heading toward Looe today and somehow get lost. We go from village to village to find a place to stay for the night but everything is full up because of an event called The Eden Project. At the time I had never heard of this, but Marcie has and is sad because we can’t take the time to go. It would take a couple of days to see it properly. The Eden Project is in Cornwall, and consists of domes that house thousands of plants collected from all around the world. It’s over 50 acres!
After searching all over, we stop at a phone booth and Marcie calls around to several B&Bs that are listed and finally finds this wonderful woman that comes down to the town and has us follow her back. It’s a good thing too, because to get to her place we have to drive through winding, hilly, narrow streets. She also drove us to a great pub in Truro called “Bustopher Jones” where we all ordered different appetizers and really enjoyed the evening.
Tomorrow we head to the southern most tip of England. I hope it’s a clear day, maybe we can see France!