Friday, 1 May 2015
Lovely, local, lunch and laughter......
We never get together often (she's always so busy) but when friendKK and I manage to synchronise a free day out we always have fun and yesterday was no exception.
My first dilemma was what to wear. It looked so lovely and spring like but I knew it was colder than it looked, so it had to be layers, warm enough but not heavy if I ended up having to carry not wear and a rain coat as Hubby assured me we would have heavy showers at midday.
FriendKK arrived about 10ish and we headed out to a place she knows just over the Suffolk border into Essex.
Hall Farm Shop is just off the A12 on the way into Stratford St Mary and the gateway to Constable Country.
Hall Farm got some pretty impressive awards for being the ‘Best Farm Shop’ in 2008 and the ‘Best Informal Dining Venue’ in 2009 – so worth a visit. The Suffolk Food & Drink Awards granted them Best Farm Shop 2011 and they pride themselves on offering everything you may need for a weekly shop plus much more!
They have a wonderful cafe open for breakfast and serves lunch and afternoon tea. There is a shop and deli to browse round before enjoying a relaxing cup of coffee or tea in the cafe.
We were just popping into the restaurant to reserve a table for lunch but decided to start as we meant to go on and have tea and cake as elevenses......my coffee and walnut cake was enormous but as light as a father so I ate the lot mmmmm. The windows of the restaurant area look out onto the farm land and we watched goats and alpacas and sheep wandering around. And we talked and caught up on life, families, friends and general gossip.
Leaving there we got into the car and the heavens opened into a really heavy shower and sure enough it was 12:05pm hahaha.
We drove into Dedham village and parked just as the rain stopped! We marveled again at the houses covered in wisteria (quite famous locally). We have so many lovely villages.
We headed into the art and craft centre which is run as a co-operative and is very big inside, packed with a great variety of stuff that kept us there browsing for nearly two hours!
Then it was back to Hall Farm for lunch, we both had the grilled mackerel fillet on a bed of cabbage and sanfire in a butter and crab sauce with new potatoes, truly scrumptious! Conversation carried on as always with not much time between each recollection of what we used to do together and hilarious memories of past times, we always laugh a lot. Neither of us had dessert, not so soon after the morning cake, there just wasn't room for any more!
Then of course we had a good wander round the farm shop and I bought some huge scones to bring home for Hubby (his favourite). As we were leaving the car park we spotted the pigs in the nearby pen had two young piglets in there too so we watched them for a little bit too.
Heading homewards and then a sudden diversion into Bypass nurseries at Capel St Mary.
They have so many departments other than the huge plant nursery including their pet store called "Cats, rats and elephants" which I knew was a memory so far back that I couldn't quite grab, so frustrating and made worse because I couldn't get an Internet signal in there to look it up. I just did and it was from The Unicorn Song by The Irish Rovers, find it on YouTube and you may remember it too. Of course I now have it as an ear worm!
Home with just enough time for a quick cup of tea and to show friendKK my new studio space, and she is so jealous (her words) as we used to do so much of our crafting together which I'm now back to but she doesn't have time until she hopes when she has retired in two years time.
Waved her off then rushed around to sort some art stuff to take and check if I'm giving friendDJ a lift (unfortunately he's still not feeling well enough) and get out for art group, followed by live music at Olive's Bar and home just as the street lights went out.
Disclosure: none of the photos are mine, I pinched them all off Google searches as I was having too much fun to take photos.