Monday, 15 November 2010

Playing hookey


My friend Lynn decided to take the afternoon off from work today, and off we went into the wilds of Northumberland to Matfen Hall's Christmas Fair. Despite Lynn being the boss in her organisation, owed a lifetime's-worth of lieu time, as well as being contactable by iPhone, we felt slightly naughty, as though we were playing truant from school. Much more fun that way!

En route, we noticed a vehicle creeping along the road, hazard lights flashing. Cows? we thought. Dutifully, we stopped.


No; sheep, ambling along in a relaxed fashion, no dogs to make them pick up their pace. We sat and watched, and a small queue of cars formed behind us.




And then on we went. We chatted, and agreed to support each other in losing some weight before Christmas. No more chocolate! No more cake! No more bread! Or all the good things that go with bread, chief amongst them butter.....


The Fair's final afternoon was quiet; plenty of space in which to park.


The grounds are beautiful.



The interior is pretty impressive too. We shopped; I bought some Christmas presents, which of course I can't show you. We sampled handmade chocolates. I spent what cash I had on me; some of these small stalls were not geared up for bank cards.

Lynn admired a bag. Later, I asked her "Did you like it enough to want it for Christmas, from me?" Yes, she did. "Did you like it enough to want it for Christmas, from me, and to lend me the money to go and get it for you now?" Yes, she did, and hooray! that's one of my more challenging presents sorted, with just a few little surprise odds and ends to add to it later. 


We wandered through to the conservatory for tea and coffee, admiring this little anteroom with its slightly bonkers decor.



We chose a window table. In the distance, (far left) on the edge of the golf course, two swans and their cygnets settled down on the grass.


We could have had a game of outdoor draughts, but we were engrossed elsewhere.


An assortment of little scones (3 each! and all delicious, although Lynn elected to have only cheese ones) with thick balls of clotted cream and cherry conserve for mine. Did we eat them all? Of course we did. Did we remember our earlier weight loss resolutions? Of course we didn't.


But we failed to make much of a dent in the cream and jam - we do have a modicum of self-restraint, you know.

We looked at the Christmas brochure, and resolved to have my birthday lunch here at Matfen Hall next month.




And then we meandered home through the country lanes, through little villages that seemed (but weren't) dozens of miles from the city. Lynn faced a three-hour motorway journey to her head office, and I faced the realisation yet again that the war on excess weight is not won by brave words alone. 

But they were exceptionally nice little scones....

18 comments:

Fran said...

That was a lovely post - I enjoyed going through your day with you and could just taste the scones. I would have gone for cheese, too, like your friend. But I would probably have put cream on them all the same!

June said...

Gosh, that's pretty... It sends me off into a dream of Olde Englande...

Paul C said...

A most interesting chronicle of a visit to a delightful estate. The conservatory and gardens look absolutely amazing....and the scones...who can stop at one.

Von said...

Lovely day out and what a joy to have a friend who will lend you the money for her own Christmas present!
Forget weight loss, life's too short to diet and food is too much fun! Besides a bit of extra weight is so good for the bones....

flwrjane said...

Can I go next time if I loan you some money?

xo Jane

Catherine said...

What a terrific day you and your friend had Rachel! Good for you! I would have totally forgotten about the losing weight pact and eaten the scones too ~ along with the jam and cream cheese! :)

Hope the rest of your week is just as fun!
xo Catherine

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

What a wonderful day you had with your friend! Thanks for taking us along. I can almost taste those scones.

Kate on Clinton said...

Posts like this are why I love the blog-o-sphere. Sheep herds, lovely teas, stately historic buildings and grounds - a perfect afternoon mental ride-along!

frayedattheedge said...

A fabulous day out (and the second post I've read this morning about a Christmas fair not taking cards!) I laughed at your promise of weight loss followed by chocolate sampling and scone scoffing!!

SusanFrances said...

What a lovely day , thanks for sharing.... I spent yesterday at work in a bank, and we processed a pile of cheques about 2 feet high if put all in one tower! Who says cheques are going out of fashion? I shall def remember to take cash next weekend when I visit a similar event. And...you are not the only one to have the "lack of cash" problem at such venues it seems!

rachel said...

Er.... can I assure you that I did repay that money, first cashpoint we came to on re-entering the city? The scones, cream and jam, by that time, had slid comfortably onto my hips.....

jabblog said...

Glorious countryside and made all the better for that feeling of going AWOL. Hope Flossie behaved while you were away.

judy in ky said...

What a charming post! It looks like the perfect day off. You definitely did the right thing regarding those scones.

Lynda (Granny K) said...

That's what hips are for! :o)

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

great post !!!!

and come on over anytime....we have plenty

:-)

"Sunshine" said...

What a grand post. I checked the place out on the internet and it looks so wonderful.
Did you bring a treat home for the critters?
Perhaps a few crumbs off the "kings" table?

BumbleVee said...

I'm surprised you haven't lost weight just having Flossie to chase around after ...and renovations on cat flaps and moving stuff in the little area that will soon become a bathroom....

not to worry....you soon will ....never give up scones or chocolate..just move a bit more...it's melt off.... I lost 7 pounds this summer just doing more walking and golfing....however, now that I haven't been outside in months...due this stupid foot....I've put it all back on. Guess the baking isn't helping either...but, it's all I feel like doing. Can't even get interested in bears or dolls or anything.... sigh.... oh, god.... maybe I need a dog....hahahhahahha..... er...no...... forget I even said it.

Dartford Warbler said...

What a perfect day you had! You will have to encourage your friend to play hookey again soon. Much more fun than work.......

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