Monday, 22 February 2010

The Thrill of the Chase

We received an unexpected invitation to the opening Point-to-Point of the season which produced huge excitement from our household as my eldest and middle chap have developed a passion for country pursuits and it seems that there is always something going on either following a hunt, beagling, shooting or beating all involving some form of killing or attempting to kill, all rather savage but these are the ways of the country and there are plenty of people around to protest and stand up for the rights of vermin which are the blight of most farmers.

Handsome husband and the small herd have all been kitted out with suitable country clothing for these various events and they work the country look convincingly, handsome husband looking particularly rugged. I however, have struggled as sludge green, the shade of all country attire, does nothing for my complexion and the box shapes of most jackets are not remotely flattering. My verdict is that English country clothing favours the male of the species whilst leaving even the most striking woman looking rather dowdy, perhaps that is why many of the younger women choose to dye their hair with peroxide, in the hope they may stand out.

In pursuit of perfection, I have solved the problem with ease and have the ideal combination of town and country and all thanks to some quality tailoring from Holland & Holland where I found a jacket of the softest and warmest cashmere I have ever touched in a deep cornflower blue, to which I added a silk twill Hermes scarf for my neck and all cleverly found in the same London Street.

So with clothing dealt with I only needed to concentrate on our picnic as this, along with betting on the horses is the highlight of any point to point and as ever ensuring my herd are properly fed and watered to the highest levels is a priority. I find Delia is the best help for picnics with a little input from Nigella and you not only have delicious pies, pastries, tarts and puddings to eat they also look beautiful spilling out of my Louis Vuitton hamper which I had purchased at a local auction (a tale for another time). There you have it the quintessential English picnic all set out and eaten from the boot of your car whilst sitting on your tartan rug.

We were not disappointed and we arrived just as the first race began and were instantly captivated as we watched these magnificent creatures jump hedges far taller than ourselves with ease and grace. We met a variety of people, some attending for the social aspect whilst others there very much to make a bob or two on the betting.

I left Handsome husband in charge of our gambling as he had done a little studying of the form, and eldest and middle chap were given £20 and told to double it. They weren't actually allowed to place bets themselves due to their ages, so they shrewdly roped in the Master of the Hunt who was glad to assist not only placing but also advising on where best to place their money.
Watching racing is fun, but watching when you have your money on a horse is completely thrilling as you can feel the adrenalin pumping as you shout, encourage and cheer for you horse as it takes the last jump and charges for the finishing line, and when you win the surge of elation is exhilarating.

We had turned our afternoon into a profitable one, our two chaps had won on 4 out of 6 races and handsome husband being victorious in 5 out of 6. When I questioned him on his expertise he simply gazed at me adoringly and replied that he had always known a winning filly when he sees one.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Secret Orders

Every week, on the same day and at the same time, the good ladies of the local Women's Institute (WI) gather their wares to sell. There is a cake stall, a savoury stall (pies, sausages rolls, flans and quiches etc), a vegetable stall, an egg stall, a goats cheese stall, a jam and pickle stall, there are also a couple of craft stalls, though no one ever seems to pay them any attention so I'm not quite sure why they continue showing up, and it is the the cake and savoury stall that have the biggest queues and the highest demand. All goods are homemade and I know from personal tasting experience are all delicious.
It is fair to say that I am often the youngest person in attendance so I can be pretty quick off the mark to ensure I get my greedy little hands on the items I want. Most of the buying public are women, and appear to choose their clothing on the basis of comfort dressing. Heels are definitely out, shape is out, as are jeans, and any form of colour other than grey which if it's matching your hair colour is not terribly flattering. I can ignore all this, but what I have found odd is how unfriendly most of the attendees are. I have attempted engaging them in conversation, but they are not interested and on occassion have been quite rude. One of the ladies behind the stall has implied that it is because I am a newcomer and not to take it personally. I'm not painting an attractive picture here but I believe in being honest and fair, which I discovered not all these ladies are.
I had enlisted handsome husbands assistance as I could not be at the market at opening time which is essential to avoid missing out as items sell fast here. I gave him a list with instructions of which stall to visit first to be sure not to lose out on these popular items. This was his first visit to the the market and as he is a lover of food he was happy to fulfil this task for me. We had arranged to meet at the market about half an hour after opening and as I flounced in I spied him surrounded by 6 women all looking gooey eyed and laughing and giggling.
Surveying the other customers it was simple to see why he was receiving so much attention. There is a distinct lack of gentlemen at these weekly events and the few that are there don't look up to much, and are mostly lurking in the coffee corner looking bored or having a snooze.
Handsome husband did not look comfortable and as I caught his eye, he mouthed "HELP ME". I did feel a bit sorry for him as having a woman who is 30 years older than you (around the same age as his mother) openly flirting would be difficult for any man to stomach. This was the moment where I could re-pay all the times when he has rescued me and gotten me out of one fix or another. So I walked over, grabbed him by the arm and said "There you are, I thought I'd lost you, now have all these ladies sorted you out"? I could see the panic drain away from him and he showed me what he'd purchased with pride. His admirers backed off and he explained that he'd commented that it was unfortunate that there was only one blackberry and apple pie left and that he would have taken more, whereupon the lady whispered to him that they keep some popular items back for 'Special Customers', and that if he wanted another one it wasn't a problem. He had then had the same experience with four of the other ladies who also told him that he could order items and therefore wouldn't need to be there for opening time and could come along anytime before closure.
Not once on all my visits here, had anyone mentioned this private little system, they were keeping it all to themselves, not exactly charitable. Handsome husband has recovered from his ordeal and has begged me never to send him there again, which I won't but I shall reward him for his discovery with my very own buns.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

I've Been Picked

Although the weather may be grey and wet outside and many people seem to be suffering from different forms of SAD. I have to confess that I am absolutely beaming with joy. I like to keep up with what is going on in the universe, and I do not neglect the great blogging world as it provides such random and fascinating views, along with topics I have never even considered, and I have been inspired to experiment with cooking, taste new foods, look at styles of clothes I may have dismissed in the past. There is a wealth of knowledge and information out there and I soak it all up.

Whilst blogsurfing recently I came across a post from Shopping In Suffolk inviting anyone who fancied being published in her monthly magazine, to send in a post (old or new) relating to a selection of categories she had chosen. I was feeling bold that day, so I duly sent in two posts for consideration, and after receiving an email confirming it had been received, I really didn't think any more of it until last week, when I received an email informing me that my post had been chosen to feature.

This is a great big public THANK YOU to the gorgeous
Shopping In Suffolk for choosing my little post.

I really am supremely proud and motivated to continue writing as I do enjoy it so much. Handsome husband has been going around telling everyone he comes into contact with. I think he may have been exagerating as when I popped in to our green grocer to select some ingredients for my chick pea and pasta soup (perfect for the cold spell), and handed over the money to pay for them, the owner greeted me with "I hear we will be reading about your exploits here in next weekends colour supplements". He has such faith in me. Go on have a go and send in something to SIS right now.


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