Posted by: lucylastic | September 5, 2011

The summer’s gone…………………again…………

No, I haven’t died or given up blogging – but the last few weeks seem to have passed by in a blur……… minute I was enjoying 20+ degree temperatures on a warm Greenwich evening watching the Pogues, the next I was snuggling up with Hugh at a River Cottgage ‘summer night’ – but with the Yurt fire burning, not to mention the wood stove in the ‘al fresco dining area’!

When I say ‘snuggling up with Hugh’, I wouldn’t want you to get the wrong impression.  He wasn’t actually there, you understand.  Just the concept………… There are River Cottage events attended by Hugh and for which one pays a premium, (over and above some quite hefty charges methinks), but I had signed up for a ‘Summer Night at River Cottage’, all in aid of LH’s birthday.

Unfortunately, LH wasn’t overly impressed.  But I shan’t let that grind me down.  I LIKED IT – I REALLY DID.  I liked getting picked up from the car park in a trailer pulled by a tractor, (not many tractor rides in suburbia when I was young).  I liked getting a nice glass of English sparkly wine from a nice young man in a yurt and being told I could roam around Hugh’s garden to ‘see what he’s getting up to’.  I liked nice, smiley young people bringing me trays of interesting canapes to try as I wandered around – wood pigeon sausage – moist and tasty; smoked mackerel pate on home made toast – yummy scrummy; rare roast beef with a mild mustard dressing – divine.  I liked the barn, I liked the fact that the cooks didn’t seem the slightest bit put off with hordes of people trooping into the kitchen and photographing them as they plated up 90 starters………….yes, reader, 90 starters – a few more than the average home dinner party, that’s for sure.

And that was the bit I wasn’t so keen on………….there were 62 people packed into the barn in two long rows (see above) and another 28 in the ‘al fresco’ dining area – now I’m in marketing and I know all about creating demand – but might it not have been better to offer another date, rather than keep piling ’em in?  I felt like a tin of beans at Lidl – piled high and sold cheap.  The bar man struggled to serve everyone before the food came to the table, the ‘al fresco’ diners were getting their starters as ours were cleared away and ours hadn’t been that hot to start with – heavens knows what temperature their seafood soup arrived at.

The price of celebrity seems to be not knowing when to stop – who knows when the celebrity star might start to fade………..and when the bookings might dry up altogether.  But at £65 a head, there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of a recession in this little part of the country…………..Surely, the profit margins wouldn’t have been hit that much had they just said ‘no’ to a few more bookings – I would have appreciated the elbow room that’s for sure!

I feel petty complaining, but there you go – I know I would have enjoyed it more if the strange man sitting next to me hadn’t jabbed me in the side and arm every 2 minutes and I am VERY pleased I wasn’t relegated to the great outdoors on a chilly evening, even though it was still August.

Some of you will want to know what else we had to eat I’m sure – no real complaints there…………….tasty seafood soup and home-made bread, (could have been hotter); beautifully cooked pork – roast and belly and scrummy crackling, no complaints there at all; pannacotta with big, juicy blueberries and a lavender biscuit, tick.  Coffee and home made biscuits and fudge, double tick.  Cheese board with a very pleasant and reasonably priced (£3) glass of Port, tick again.

And back to the car-park in the tractor trailer.

Is it me dear reader?



  1. He’s not called “very dear Hugh” by local villagers for nothing. Pity it wasn’t a nicer experience Lucy. The food sounds great but it’s never good being one of a big crowd.

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