An early walk with the dogs this morning, the damp, soft air as mild as milk, as my mother used to say, then off to Porlock with friends for the Exmoor Food Festival. The village hall was teeming with people, tasting, chatting, buying. As did I.
I came away with some delicious purchases, all made locally; raised pork and apricot pie, venison pasties (now in the freezer) for the Lovely Son, who may be visiting next weekend; cider vinegar, chutney, handmade chocolates for my visitors later this week, some lovely cooking apples whose rather grand name escapes me, although I know that they are definitely not Bramleys.
Sausages made from rare-breed pigs described by the farmer somewhat ruefully as "free range hooligans who charge all over the fields".
Everywhere you go here at the moment, apples, and sometimes pears, are pressed on you; boxes stand outside houses, labelled Please Help Yourself, and these (name not known, left outside a neighbour's house) are amongst the loveliest apples I have tasted in a very long time.
After a cup of tea and a chance to vote for the best entry in the photographic competition (I chose a plant picture, suspecting that it would be the photo of the stag standing behind two sheep that would win), we trooped off into the steep woods above Porlock Bay to pick sweet chestnuts, lying in their thousands underfoot.
Ali showed me how to open the prickly cases by pressing down with both feet at just the right point; meantime, more of these fierce little spiked tennis balls hurled themselves down on our heads.
My wood burning stove is being installed tomorrow; of course I need a huge bowl of chestnuts to roast on it!
And then home, hungry.
The plumptious free-range-hooligan sausages had to be cooked as soon as I got home, as I made the mistake of turning my back on them, and found Millie deftly unwrapping them on the kitchen floor. Best popped in the pan at once, I thought, and cooked slowly with some local apples. An impromptu Sunday lunch, not at all what I'd planned, but rather nicer than the intended salmon and salad, and with several left over for mustardy sandwiches tomorrow.
Next week, foraging for hazelnuts. Never a dull moment round here.