Relaxing into a Covid Summer….1/8/2020

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Covid and the ‘new normal’ are part of our life now so we are just adapting and making the most of it.  We have been lying low for a couple of months hence why there hasn’t been much of an update on the blog over the last six weeks but we are heading back to ‘our’ normality now and looking forward to the rest of the year in the UK!

After thankfully a reasonably easy – Keith did most (sorry, all) of it – clean up of the meringues which had seeped down through the oven and fridge, I had vowed to never make meringues again in the motorhome. Keith managed to get the front off of the fridge unit…knobs and all, so we were able to clean everything thoroughly but I won’t be living that mistake down for a while yet…and had said that I will be sticking to simpler desserts for a while… although Annie mentioned that she cooks a pavlova in her oven at the weekend… hmm!

We have been staying at the farm and slowly but surely integrating ourselves back into society and catching up with lots of friends and family which has been lovely… even managed to get a quick game of croquet in on the lawn before a BBQ at Penny and Richards which was the first time in about 30 years… lockdown has been good!

When things started to open up, we formed a bubble with my mum which enabled us to join her for dinner inside rather than having coffee on the bench, as well as doing a couple of DIY bits around the house.  We have also spent many an evening sitting at 2m distance on seperate tables outside the motorhome with friends and family enjoying a social drink or a BBQ in layers, thankfully we haven’t quite got to the point where we need to add a wooley hat yet! We have even now ventured to a couple of friends‘ houses and gardens…. it sounds a bit ridiculous but we are actually feeling quite adventurous!

During lockdown my mum has been finding new places to go walking with the dog which is great as she has introduced us to a little bit more of the beautiful countryside in Buckinghamshire.

We have obviously also been cooking a reasonable amount but most of the dishes are repeat recipes unfortunately so I won’t bore you too much with photos although this Butter Chicken is definately a keeper….

The recipe is apparently the original Butter Chicken recipe that came to the UK – if you ask Jamie Oliver anyway – but believe it or not there isn’t too much ghee and butter and it is reasonably easy to make – a lovely dish!

…..and just to prove that I can still make them, I had another go at the meringues but at my mums and they worked, looks like I just need to get the quantities right in the van then…..

After being at the farm for two months we headed down to Bath for eight nights to catch up with some of our friends down there.  As we have for the last couple of years since we got Hattie, we stayed at the Bath Marina Campsite which is right next to the cycle path to Bristol, the canal and the river …. so lots of great walking and running and despite over indulging ourselves throughout our stay, I managed to get several really good runs in – possibly something to do with lack of turns/hills/etc…. bliss!

Our friends are very accomodating and we managed to keep a reasonable social distance throughout all of our visits having had food cooked for us almost every night.  We did however have a take away Wagamamas one evening and and visited a couple of cafe’s …. really pushing the boat out now! We definately made the most of the beautiful weather with a few BBQ’s and lots of walking.

Whilst in Bath, Jo and Mike very kindly gave us two great belated Birthday presents… a bottle of Sipsmiths gin (yum) and The Happy Pear Vegan cookbook…. not actually sure who is going to benefit from these presents more but heh ho… not going to complain! Unfortunately we hadn’t had the chance to try any of the recipes until today and oddly, we chose to cook the Indian Golden Lentil and Carrot soup – only 24 degrees outside in comparison to the 35 yesterday! – the first time we had cooked with Celeriac but it was delicious… spicy and full of flavour!

The week flew by and before we knew it, the rain was coming and it was time for us to head down to Devon for our next little adventure.  We were lucky enough to have been invited down to a fellow Concorde owners’ ‘garden’ for the weekend for an informal mini ‘Concorde meet’.

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Despite the weather being against us, we had a fantastic time.  John and Lyn (helped by Nick and Debs) had set up a couple of big marquees which kept us warm and dry and thankfully there wasn’t even a need for any assistance from a tractor to rescue anyone!

Friday night saw lots of wonderful homecooked curries, Saturday morning welcomed the bacon butties and Saturday afternoon saw a great blind wine tasting competition followed by a team BBQ effort…. not to mention the delicious salads and incredible puddings that everyone provided….couldn’t have asked for more!

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On Sunday morning we woke to a beautiful rainbow but once again, thankfully the wind blew the rain clouds away in time for us to enjoy a fantastic Sunday Roast delivered by the local pub and a bit of light entertainment from Matt and Clive!

All in all a fantastic weekend with everyone pitching in and I even managed to get out on Monday morning to do a hilly run to help sweat off some of the alcohol and food that had been consumed… definately a weekend to be repeated!

We had planned to come back to Holyport on Monday but instead headed to Stover in Devon for a couple of nights at the Caravan and Motorhome Club Site (£16 a night inc. Elec). as we were distracted by a possible motorhome change.  However, as beautiful as it was, we simply couldn’t tear ourselves away from Hattie – just not the right time for us.

The area around Stover is beautiful though with lots of lovely walking and cycling and we may well be back to spend a bit more time exploring it.

Now back at the farm we also have been experimenting a bit more on the BBQ and tried out a few new marinades last night…. unfortunately all of which were a bit too delicious and I forgot to take photos!

Although our friendly little owl appears to have disappeared for now we are enjoying the lovely weather and the beautiful clear skies…. long may they last!

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