Thursday, 13 April 2017

Shepherds for the Night

On Tuesday, we had a lovely surprise: Mum and Dad had booked us a night in a shepherd's hut as an Easter treat! They had stayed in the hut before and knew how lovely it was. We travelled down to Headcorn, in the countryside near Ashford, for our stay - it actually coincided nicely with a meeting with our wedding DJ! We decided to stop for lunch before checking into the hut, so we drove into a beautiful, sleepy village called Sissinghurst. Mum and Dad had recommended a pub called The Milk House, and it did not disappoint! I literally loved it there. The Milk House is a converted 16th century hall house, with timber beams and a Tudor fireplace; it prides itself on using all fresh local ingredients from the nearby farms and vineyards. As well as having a sophisticated dining room menu, we discovered a tasty bar menu and a pizza menu - the pub has its own wood-burning oven on the outside terrace! As it was a beautiful day - slightly chilly in the breeze, but still warm for April sun - we ate on the terrace. The little touches really made it welcoming - for example they had a box called 'The Comfort Zone' where you could collect little pinstriped cushions in candy colours for your chair! The menu had plenty of choice, yet I opted for the battered cod, skinny fries and mushy peas; while Matt had the Old Spot ham, egg and chips. Both were genuinely delicious! Pudding wise, the only gluten free dessert was the creme caramel with root beer, which we thought was quite quirky but still yummy! I chose white chocolate and strawberry ice-cream - mmmm! A highlight for me was a tea I had for afters, called Frasier Cake - a blend of strawberries, lychee and lemon peel. I'd never had such a pretty-sounding tea, plus it was a gorgeous rose pink colour!

We then went for a stroll around the village and picked up goodies for the evening from the weeny but incredibly well-stocked village shop! We took our cheese, cold meats, olives and kettle chips to the hut where we laid out the chequered picnic blanket and cracked open the white wine. The view from the hut was idyllic - it overlooked a large field with four beautiful horses in. We watched them have a playful gallop around as we nibbled and played cards and dominoes (because everywhere we go, we have to play games! We are self-confessed game geeks.) The hut itself was so cleverly done, making perfect use of space. The owners managed to fit in a folding table and two chairs, a sink, fridge, kettle station and cupboard space, a wood burning stove, a double bed and a proper bathroom with a lovely tiled shower. We had the cosiest night's sleep - verging on too cosy, as we lit the stove early in the evening and it turned the hut into an oven! The window by our bed had quaint wooden shutters with a brass bolt; I would love to add shutters somewhere on our house! The hut, set in a small orchard, is part of Wilderness B&B and is run by a husband and wife as an extension to their family home. There are two other accommodation options at Wilderness but we would definitely recommend Bramley Hut as a unique experience! I have left links below for you to have a snoop.



Friday, 7 April 2017

The Fitzgerald Diaries

Feline friends, don’t panic – I haven’t gone to cat jail! It’s Fitz here, and this is the first of hopefully many furry funny little stories from our adventures with the parents. After all, I'm named after a writer. He wrote a famous book called The Great Catsby. I'd like to see this Catsby; see if I compare. Hem’s too sleepy right now to blog, so he’s letting me write this one. Today started as any normal day: we woke up, had a prowl along the kitchen counters and then….phew! We heard one of the parents get out of bed to feed us breakfast. It was Dad, as it often is. Mum doesn’t come down as early, though she is quicker to feed us than Dad; he’s very careful. To be honest, we just want the food, no matter what state it’s in! Though I guess I’d rather not have it on my whiskers and sometimes on my back, would you believe! This is what Mum manages to do. Strange human. Anyway, back to the story. After I’d licked out every last piece of cat jelly, I headed to the flap to do my business, when woahhh. I saw there was no way out. The flap didn’t flap. That damn litter tray was back. I knew then that something wasn’t quite right. Hem didn’t seem bothered and went to cuddle the humans on the sofa. I followed him as I thought: might as well get cuddles in now before something dreadful happens.

Next thing I know, we’ve snoozed, woken up and been put into one of those beds that swing in the air. Well, it was a squash, I’ll tell you that much. I curled up at the back but Hemingway really wasn’t enjoying my company. He was scratching at the door at the front, desperately trying to get out. Maybe he needed to do his business. I shuffled right back just to be safe. I tried to be relaxed though I did wonder if the parents were moving us on. Then I saw Mum through the bars and I thought: they’ll be something not great at the end of this journey, but they’d never get rid of us. Surely we’re too cute. Just to be certain I thought of a back-up plan: I decided Auntie Charlotte would have me, there was no doubt about that.

After a bumpy ride - and no accident from Hem, thank goodness; he chilled out towards the end– we arrived at the square, white building. Then it dawned on me. I knew what this was – the V.E.T. The last time we were here… we were cas…. cast….I don’t even want to think about what happened. All I know is that something’s missing. This time, we were pulled out of the box and placed on a table. I looked at Hem and I thought: mate, you’re going first. I leapt over onto a second table where I was safe for a short while. Hemingway got cornered. The lady in the uniform pressed a big white circle into his mouth; she pushed it right back and he looked like he was going to choke! Then she rubbed all this wet stuff into the fur on the back of his neck. I tried to climb into the sink like I do at home, but it was too small. Clever, this V.E.T human. I was grabbed and there was no point trying to wriggle. I surrendered.

The ride back was a highlight of the day. Mum got out those treats that smell like Wotsits but taste like Milky Buttons inside. Hem didn’t fancy any so I used my Puss in Boots eyes to collect more and more. Mmmm. When we returned home, the garden was bright and sunny; just how we like it. The parents disappeared so we had the afternoon to find some mice and rabbits. We were unsuccessful today. I think that white circle thing we ate really put Hem off. He’s normally the catcher; I sort of tag along for moral support.

Before long, the parents were back and it was dinner time. I ate then fancied going out again to enjoy the weather. And that leads me to what I’m doing now. Laying on the wood store soaking up the last of the rays.

Look out for The Hemingway Diaries next time.