Now en route, we just happened to stumble across a car boot sale taking place on the local cricket pitch. So a quick three-point-turn and we were booting! Hmm, I tried to take a snap of the booty for my overseas readers as I have been asked "what is a boot sale" but it was quite a little boot sale, about 25 cars, and they were well spread out around the field. It was the loveliest setting for a boot sale though and we did strike lucky with some great and very cheap perennials for our newly weeded garden border and three very lovely embroidered cloths, books for the Munchkin and so on.
Onto the Midsummer Fair then and luckily, the sun is starting to peep out from behind the clouds. I must tell you that my photos do not do the setting justice. The Fair is basically held on a farm which is really in the middle of nowhere in the rolling Kent weald, not the sort of place you're just going to happen across. There were little ponds interspersed throughout the fields which held marquees for stalls and food and drink. Little ducks and chickens were waddling round here and there. Oh it was just so lovely!
The Fair was on for three days, Saturday being the last, and Saturday was certainly very well attended. The weather was perfect on Saturday, I can imagine the organisers pray long and hard for good weather as the fair would not be quite the same in the rain.
Bunting and hens - a match made in heaven?!
There were three marquees full of yummy wares but there were also gorgeous stalls outside. There were some beautiful Victorian garden ornaments on this display but you would need a healthy bank balance to buy them.
This won the prize (whatever that was!) for best stall. This seller specialised in antique pond yachts and also had some gorgeous rowing boats, lots of Union Jack flags (at expensive prices, sadly) and vintage toys.
It was certainly the perfect setting for the pond yachts and rowing boats.
Vegetarians look away now!
Here was lunch! Yummy! None of those new fangled "portable" spit roast thingies, this was the real deal, with a Cath Kidston covered Smeg fridge and a teepee in the background for good measure. They sold real local ales too, always a winner with Mr HH.
Nearby was this lovely caravan, looking like it was awaiting its internal makeover, oh how I would love to get my hands on that! Mr HH says it was not really a vintage caravan (probably late '70s-early '80s) but the external painting did a good job of creating the vintage look.
Talking of caravans, here was a delightful stall actually set up in and around a caravan: "Happy Hampers". This was lovely, I was ridiculously enthusiastic, bounding around with my big camera and raving over picnic baskets full of vintage china, embroidered cloths and the like!
(The owner is the lady in purple polka dots.)
We were welcome to wander into the caravan which was chock-a-block full of vintage goodies.
Outside, the displays were just as beautiful with pretty china here displayed on a dresser. Bunting, there was plenty of bunting at this fair!
Moving over-excitedly into the first marquee, I am greeted by the lovely ladies on the Old Rectory Sales stand. Now I have heard of these sales via Happy's blog and I will certainly be doing my best to attend in future (I think the next one is September, in Ightham, Sevenoaks) as they had some lovely items and really beautiful flowers on display, too.
This lady, on "Bohemia and Flower" was also lovely and chatty. She makes these stunning soaps in her own kitchen nearby in Kent. I'm normally more of a handwash girl for ease but I was converted and bought a couple of deliciously scented soaps. Her stand looked (and smelled) absolutely beautiful, with the dresser behind and bunches and bunches of gorgeous garden flowers.
These poppies with cornflowers were so gorgeous and I'm amazed they still looked so good after three days as poppies usually flop in my experience (apparently, to keep them perky you have to scald the bottoms of the stems in very hot water, eek!)
Onto the stand of "Everything is Different", I spent ages chatting to the lady here who was so warm and interesting. Her goodies were right up my proverbial vintage street and I bought a lovely biscuit tin and chocolate box from her. It was the first time this lady had done this fair, having previously been an antiques dealer, and she obviously has a lovely eye, as they say!
The shelf unit looks a little bereft as I had already ransacked it!
I was very tempted by the terrier ornament...
Next door was Daniella of Acorn and Will, who always has a beautiful display of vintage goodies and looked customarily stunning herself in a vintage pink floral frock. No, she hid from my camera as all stall holders always do!
Love the candy colours.
Onto the stand of Velvet Ribbon, golly it was starting to feel as if I were amongst old friends! You may remember I bought the stunning vintage dress from these ladies at the last Country Living Fair. We chatted for ages about all things vintage, particularly eidys! Their stall always looks divine.
You can never have too many eidys!
Another stand I had visited (and bought from) at the Country Living Fair was here, that of Marti, it looked beautiful as always, full of both vintage and handmade goodies and it was nice to have a chat and admire.
I must say these photos are just the tip of the iceberg. There were three marquees full of stalls with wares for sale, two of them had a lot of vintage lovelies, one was more new clothing, candles, jewellery and so on. There was a fourth for food to buy to take home: Jimmy's sausages, local asparagus and Kentish cobnuts, delicious French wines.
Time to refuel then? There were various options but one thing I must stress which really set this fair apart was that attention had been paid to every detail and everything was absolutely stunning. This is the old "Pole Barn" where you could buy yummy Summery salads then sit at these lovely old trestle tables adorned with tablecloths and flowers and admire the bunting.
I spot a dodgy pair indulging in the local ice cream!
There was also a marquee where you could take traditional afternoon tea, the "Tea Tent". Again, this was absolutely beautiful, all the tables had proper floral cotton tablecloths, the china was all vintage as were the spoons and so on, there was even a chandelier for lighting! This was one classy do!
To top off the day, the Munchkin who had taken a keen interest in the terrier statues he kept seeing on the stands, made a new friend!
Isn't Hector just the most adorable little chap?
He belonged to the lady who owned the "Happy Hampers" stand. Photo shoot heaven!
So, if you are in a position to visit this Fair next time round, I cannot recommend highly enough that you do so. What set this fair apart, aside from the fact that it was in a naturally stunning setting and everything was done so tastefully and beautifully, was the fact that everyone was so friendly. I mean both the sellers on the stalls (all of whom were happy for me to take photos, unlike some snooty folk at the Country Living Fair,) and also, the people I got chatting to standing in queues for hog roasts and ice cream and so on. Ahhh, just lovely.
After the Fair, the boys having been very patient with me, we nipped into nearby Tenterden which is a gorgeous little town we know quite well as it is home to... a steam railway!
I leave the boys to it and wander off to mooch in Joules and Laura Ashley amongst Tenterden's other choice shops.
We drive home through the gorgeous Kentish countryside, past ridiculously picturesque villages.
Eat your heart out, Miss Marple!
That village was Sissinghurst (of Vita Sackville-West's castle garden fame).
So we rush home for that all-important kick-off at 7.30pm, Mr HH sparks up the barbie and I ask the Munchkin to help (shock horror!) by taking my bags of goodies upstairs for me. Imagine my amusement when I head up to my den later on to find this little scene...
It seems the Munchkin thought he'd have a go at styling while he was at it!