Arriving late on Thursday night we were due to leave early the next morning bound for Shillingford via Godalming. Here I had an appointment with my dentist and my hairdresser. We ate lunch at the Harrow at Compton where I found a less exciting menu than I remember from formerly. In desperation I chose the scampi and chips, something I was to regret after as coupled with a rich chicken casserole for supper later I suffered for several days after with digestive discomfort!
Arriving at the cottage at North Farm we found Barns and Lukie and shortly after Barns and I drove over to Cholsey to pick up the gang of 4. Fond greetings all round and then back to Shillingford where the children are to spend the weekend.
Our visit was nicely time in many ways. We had been enlisted to keep the children after Barns and Lukie headed off on Saturday evening for their Cretan holiday with the Dorans. We enjoyed a long walk on Satuday through and over the spectrum of green habitat, reaching the summit of Wittenham Clumps after a steep and breathless climb! On the way Nick and Joel gathered wild damsons (which were so delicious when we stewed them subsequently and ate them stirred into stewed apple) and some sloes. All the fruiting shrubs and trees were laden, reinforcing this most amazing ‘mast’ year.
Back at the cottage whilst the children rode their bikes and played with their devices Nick and Barney explored the slightly neglected orchard whose apple and pear trees were dripping with fruit. We picked plenty of each and Nick enjoyed spacing them all out on pallets when we got back to Winteborne Kingston.
On Sunday we took the children for a Chinese buffet in Wallingford before Claire and Carl came to collect them to take them back to Cholsey. We had a great time with them all and a highlight for me was the time spent in the farm sheds across the way watching the Gloucester Old Spot sows with their piglets of varying ages. One litter was but a few days old. This was very reminiscent of Bertie who lives at Maiden Newton, even more so because just before we left, we learned that the tiniest piglet of the youngest litter had suffered the same fate as that experienced by Bertie, but had unfortunately not lived to tell the tale. Talking of tales, Bertie’s follows forthwith.