Thursday, 29 July 2010

Jolly Times

Coming along to see where we went last week on our hols then? Goody, come on then. Are we going somewhere exotic? Somewhere far flung, hot and steamy? Well, not exactly.

This time, we took the car with us and from Southampton, we found ourselves crossing the water for just an hour aboard a little Red Funnel ferry.

There were some pretty cool sights as we neared the shore. A Union flag adorned warehouse? Who would have thought it? Guessed where we're going yet?

How about now, when you see all these lovely sailing yachts at the marina as we near the harbour?

Well done if you've guessed and if not, here's a whopping great clue, vintage style!

Ah yes, for this was to be a true vintage style holiday. Getting warmer?

I'm being kind to you now...

Are you squealing with excitement yet? Well I am!

Yes, we spent our week in a field! But not just any old field, I mean a field in the middle of nowhere, but a field home to these shiny beauties...

Time for the HenHouse gang to have a truly vintage vacation...

...for our home for the rest of the week was this cheeky little 1959 Overlander. An airstream trailer. A silver bullet. Yes, the Munchkin was hyperventilating as we drove into the field!

You mean you want to see inside? Well, I don't blame you, I couldn't wait to get in myself!

First things first, though. We'd better toast the occasion with a glass of Babycham.

Perhaps whilst lounging on this jaunty looking banquette in our little living area (also to become our bed each night).

Afterwards, we can wash up in the dinky kitchenette. Everything you need is there: fridge, gas cooker, toaster, kettle and every utensil and pot and pan you can think of. And a vintage tablecloth. And a vintage knitted tea cosy. Oh I am impressed!

And the Munchkin? Well he has his own veritable suite!

A spot of bedtime reading has been thoughtfully provided (there are vintage board games in the cupboard too).

Perhaps this one is for me!

Ah yes, this shall do nicely!

Feeling very excited, we are lucky that the majority of our holiday spent on the Isle of Wight is accompanied by radiant sunshine so we spend as much time as possible outdoors. Time to pop outside to our trailer's very own stripey deck chairs and gaily painted picnic bench for afternoon tea, provided for us by Helen and Fraser, owners of the marvellous Vintage Vacations. (We never go anywhere armed without West Country cider if we can help it!)

Out and about the field, there is much to enjoy whilst taking in the view. There are ten silver bullets in the field for rent and a few other gorgeous caravans which are hired out for commercial shoots and "jamborees" which might be a special weekend's camping on location, for a hen party for example.

I pretty much fell head over heels for this one and whiled away many an hour in the evenings planning my grand soft furnishing makeover!

The Munchkin was rather taken by the spam can.

And ooooh, but I do love a romantic gypsy caravan!

I love it even more once I set eyes on the interior...

And I very much love the rosy fabric on that bench seat.

Just in case you were worrying, we were well provided for when it came to our ablutions! There is a modern and clean toilet and shower block, plenty of hot, gushing water at any time. A tad chilly at night, much leg crossing going on there, but really lovely in the warmth of the morning sun!

Need some eggs and bacon for breakfast? Some homemade cakes or jam, local honey or apple juice? Then the honesty hut is the place for you and Mr HH goes on a dawn raid.

Naturally, never one to pass up a retail opportunity, I am more interested in the two little huts full of goodies for sale: vintage clothes and china, handcrafted hair accessories and cards, silver airstream-shaped baubles for the Christmas tree. Lovely!

Hmm, decisions, decisions...

Ah yes, we had a pretty blissful time here. I confess my admittedly arthritic back was very happy to be reunited with its Tempur bed at home last Saturday night, but there is no doubting that this was a very special experience indeed. I think this is one holiday which is long going to last in a certain person's memory...

And once the mini person was tucked up cosily in his very comfy bed, it was just as much fun for the adults!

Next post we're going out and about on the beautiful Isle of Wight? Coming?

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Back Again

Well hello again, readers. We're back after our little break away, the Bernina has already been dusted off, the rotary cutter is hard at work but the happy memories of last week are still with us.

Never mind all that, I hear you cry, isn't there the not-so-small matter of the second blogaversary giveaway? Indeed there is. A great big heartfelt thank you to the dozens of you who kindly took the time to leave a message, the answers were really interesting and on occasion, even amusing! So, Mr Random has done his best and the winner is... drum roll maestro please ...

...comment no 7, Gillian.

Congratulations, Gillian, please furnish me with your postal details via

Now might we rewind to ooh about ten days ago. We packed up and headed westwards in the sunshine to our little country bolthole for a spot of R&R. Actually, we were rather busy, at least the adults were, but the Munchkin could not be prised from his den...

There was definitely a lot of chilling out going on in the teepee!

Sunday was a day to which the boys had been looking forward. I was quite thrilled to find that we were to be transported from the car park a few miles to our destination aboard this...

If only all park and rides were like this!

Ah yes, it was a case of beware of...

Sunday was a special open day to celebrate 150 years of Yeovil Railway Centre and a mighty fine display they put on, too. The Munchkin was entranced by the model railway. I can only imagine it shall not be too long before we sacrifice a bedroom to this sort of thing...

Daddy was more interested in the real thing!

I was mainly interested in the cider tent!

But my turn for jollity would come on Monday when I was booked to attend a course (a birthday present from Mr HH) here...

Yes, at the wonderful River Cottage in Axminster, Devon.

It was an absolutely fab day weather wise and no hardship to wind along the stunning country lanes for half an hour to attend a course to make and learn all about ... bread.

Here's Dan, baker supremo, who was to teach us all he knows about bread and who has written the River Cottage Bread handbook.

The course took place in the renovated barn and was well attended by about 20 people.

We made all sorts of bread: focaccia, ciabatta, white and malted brown loaves and rolls, donuts and we even went out into the courtyard to make pizza.

It was cooked in the wood fired oven, we made the bases ultra thin so they cooked in double quick time (one and a half minutes!) and I can say that without a shadow of a doubt, they were the best pizzas I've ever tasted.

There was plenty of time throughout the day, whilst waiting for the dough to rise, to wander around River Cottage's grounds. Pretty spectacular they are too, situated in a lovely valley.

To the front of the farmhouse, is a great walled kitchen garden, the stuff of my dreams.

Everything here was so well cared for, not a weed in sight, and all beautifully planned and laid out.

The hens have a pretty fabby henhouse, too!

After a long, hot day, we were rewarded with a late lunch on the deck with views over that beautiful valley.

The River Cottage team did a great job of setting up a lovely table and providing a fantastic, delicious spread of food. Hmm, but I was regretting all that pizza!

The highlight was the bread we had baked, of course!

I really enjoyed the day and our teacher was informative and very personable but my main gripe is that there were too many people on the course. I have attended a fair few of these types of courses now (this being the first one at River Cottage) and there has never been more than about 12 students maximum with several teachers/assistants to go round. This course had about 20 students and one teacher and I felt I didn't have enough time to get to grips with everything myself as we were split into groups to concentrate on certain types of bread which meant we didn't get to try making everything. We were given a copy of the River Cottage Bread Handbook which looks great but this really should have been sent ahead of time so that we could read and take it in before the course. The number of students has enabled River Cottage to keep the price of the course down but I'd rather pay a bit more and come out of the course feeling more confident of bread making at home. I guess there's going to be some trial and error around here whilst we wade our way through many loaves!

On Tuesday, we set sail for the rest of our holiday. Oooh, I'm so excited to share that with you as it was really a bit special and out of the norm. Pop back soon to read along, won't you...