Monday, 7 March 2011

Make Do Countryfile

The moment I left the house at 6:45am I reverted to me. I was a single gal and on a road trip. Normally any travel is en famille or for styling work. But on Saturday I had the car all to myself and I was on the way for a weekend in Somerset.

First stop on my adventure the Little Chef Popham. It is the first time I've set foot in one since my days of driving to Aberystwyth and stopping off at the Little Chef in Builth Wells. Of course I wouldn't be stopping off here if it weren't for Heston Blumenthal's intervention and redesign of the menu and interior. Handily the mirrored back wall provided me with a substitute wardrobe mirror in my bedroom!

I wore my French Connection flared jeans, a Dolce & Gabbana patterned silk shirt with my knitted poncho from an evening market stall in the Travesti area of Rome.

I settled down with my Guardian ordered a black coffee and orange juice and waited for the arrival of my bacon sarnie - my treat of the year. Although having not eaten one for years I can't say would be hurrying back to eat one again. The bacon was very good but the white bread was more sliced manufactured than proper bloomer. I had to ask for brown sauce as the offered condiments, probably according to Heston, were tomato ketchup or mayonnaise. I'm strictly a brown sauce girl or tommie k at a push.
The sleeve detail of the Dolce & Gabbana shirt ( a TK Maxx find years ago) I thought the red was very jolly inside as the decor was so light and airy. Normally the red clashed dreadfully with the dullness of the usual Little Chef offering.

It was a pleasant 40 minutes or so spent reading and having breakfast on my own and I would do it again. But I had to get back on the A303. I was driving along enjoying the views and the fact it was so much nicer driving on an A road than a motorway. I though that A roads were the new black of the road travelling season especially when I chanced upon Stonehenge. I was amazed. So much so I took a detour off my route to go to Stonehenge car park and take a peek through the fence. I'd actually never seen or been to Stonehenge before.

My view of Stonehenge, the first sight of it on the hill from the A303 travelling south was spectacular. It was actually freezing at 8:30am and I was amused greatly by the fact someone was playing bongos and chanting inside the circle. Apart from myself there were 4 others, 2 of whom were Polish men who live in Liverpool on route to Southhampton. I know this because I asked them to take a photo of me. The photograph was so bad after I showed my friends I deleted it. My eyes were closed and my cheeks were at their chipmunk best, I looked like a 12 year old Polish girl on a school trip!

When I finally got in to deepest darkest Somerset on the Dorset border I joyfully saw sheep. I couldn't stop on the A303 to take the jumping lambs so when I hit a lane I thought I'd nip out and snap a photo because it felt so spring like and I was at one with the countryside. Actually the sheep and her lamb looked very disdainfully at me and if they were speaking plain English I think the translation might of been 'go away'.

'Hasn't she gone yet!'

Upon arrival at The Queens Arms I dumped my bag in my room, nabbed the lovely Jelly Tots and settled down with the girls to catch up on all their tales. We set off at 11:30am for our planned hike across the hills to the next village. Our destination was another pub and at 1:40pm we arrived for lunch.

Outside the pub was an amazing well decorated retro looking large shed. Where a Mr Harold F. Miles provides three services of carpentry, decorating and funeral directing. Harold is your man if you want a well crafted nicely painted coffin. I was suitable impressed with his ability to turn his hand to a few tasks, I immediately felt quite comfortable with my forthcoming patchwork quilt of dabbling in things and realised 'doing things' is the new way rather than a fixed job spec. Of course the building on its own didn't look as good without a model in the frame so Claire happily obliged as my country model in a Bond girl-esque pose.

Some of us decided to do another walk back to the Queens Arms which started off nicely enough but culminated with a big hill climb.

The stylish stylist Isobel Kershaw does nothing by halves and 'just because I'm in the country it doesn't mean standards have to slip and I'll wear wellies ' so that explains the muddy high heeled boots she stomped around in for miles.

I actually decided to try the barefoot walking thing as we ascended the hill. I've been intrigued by it for ages after reading about a barefoot shepherdess in Cumbria. I took off my socks and wellies and did it. It was utterly amazing. Isobel has a photo of me doing it which I haven't got yet but I will return to this subject again.

The climb was steep and the views across Somerset were exhilarating.

More sheep! I'd forgotten how much I liked them. I remember getting put off liking sheep when there was that dreadful Shaun the Sheep phase.

The Queens Arms is happy to supply you with a whole pig should you be so inclined.

I will miss the real fire.

And the sight of a very thoughtful hospitality, particularly the Sunday morning help yourself to a Bloody Mary with fresh horseradish to grate in to it!


  1. What a great weekend, I do love a good ramble followed by drinks in a cosy coutnry pub. I'd love to know more about the barefoot thing, it sounds quite sensible but weren't your feet very cold? Disappointing about the bacon sarnie - mayonnaise? An abomination! xx

  2. Hi there-sounds like a wonderful outing, the scenery is absolutely stunning and it must feel so lovely to have some good country air in your lungs too! Love your green poncho, looks very stylish indeed xx

  3. Looks like a loverly weekend! Hope you're feeling fully refreshed after all that outdoors activity.

  4. The thought of mayo on a bacon buttie is utterly revolting! BLT - yes. Hot bacon buttie - NO.

    I drove the A303 last summer as part of my Tudor jaunt round the UK and was really shocked to drive round the corner and suddenly see Stonehenge. I hadn't expected it at all!

  5. Mayo!!!! My god what is the world coming too! I can't eat bread any more but it was either just butter on a sarni or brown if toasted, red if there was an egg involved, that is the law.
    I love being barefoot, although generally not in this weather, eek! I do like how all bloggers are now trained, see mirror-take photo ha ha! Looks like you had a wonderful time xx

  6. Having just got back from a camping trip with the family (in a tent no less) I am most impressed with your weekend away.
    Fresh horseradish & a grater, my tent didn't supply that!

  7. The thought of going barefoot makes my legs go all funny, I'd have stuck with wellies! Sounds like you had a fun time!

  8. Looks like a blast! The countryside is beautiful.

  9. I love running around barefoot, I'm far more sure-footed with naked feet than sensible walking boots.
    Love your poncho and that fabulous blouse. xxx

  10. I was going to rave about your green sweater, the country side and all the beauty and yet all I can focus on is how amazing it must be to have a Bloody Mary with fresh horseradish to grate onto it.
    I love this post and all the pictures.xo

  11. The English countryside is so very beautiful. Thank you for posting photos of your day in the country.

  12. What a lovely weekend. Just to let you know that La Gitana is produced where I live. It's fron Sanlucar de Barrameda and I live in the neughbouring town Jerez de la Frintera. Was surprised to see it on your blog.

  13. I have a nostaglic love of that Little Chef, followed by Stonehenge, to me it says 'almost on holiday' from my childhood! Love that poncho, too! The chicest thing to grace that service station ever, I'd guess!!

  14. Looks like you had a fab time, definitely sounds like a nice pub to visit with jelly tots and Bloody Marys given as a hospitality! PS that Harold F Miles sounds like the ultimate multi-tasker! xx

  15. Congrats on a fab trip (with fab boots)

    Marie @ Lemondrop ViNtAge

  16. I love Somerset. That's where I went to boarding school as a teenager. And I cannot believe you can't go right up to Stonehenge now?! I used to sit on those stones. I also have photos of me as a 4 year old wandering around them in a raincoat :-)

  17. Looks like a great time. And I like you in green!

  18. Dear Kate, I still love a Little Chef breakfast, it must be a childhood thing.

    The countryside looks fabulous as does that pub. Love the poncho xx


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