Saturday, 17 September 2011

A Secret Tea Party on the farm

I spent a wonderful afternoon down on the farm today - running a Secret Tea Party for a group of hens who were staying in Bathampton near Bath. They'd booked holiday cottages at New Leaf Farm which is just before Bathampton Mill and the toll bridge or just after depending on where you're coming from - either way you probably have to go over it at least once when you stay there. I nearly missed it on the drive there as the sign is quiet small but now I know where it is it seems simple to find.

There was a cute three-legged black cat there when I got out of my van and the owner Steve told me that  it doesn't belong to the farm but to someone down by the post office. It's a very friendly cat - and black - and what with its colour and lack of a leg I think that must be a good omen. I took a pic of it rolling on the ground - it looks like it's brown but it's black - promise.

The cottages are all converted Georgian farm buildings renovated to a modern standard and seem perfect for a group. Today's party was for nine and they managed to just about squash round the kitchen table in the cottage called "The Stables"

The hens didn't really know each other, so after a morning at the spa, the tea was the next chance to get to know each other. They ordered "Package A - The Audrey" - a classic menu of egg and cress dainty sandwiches, chicken and rocket finger sandwiches, lemon polenta cake, chocolate brownies, scones with jam and cream plus Victoria sponge fingers, all prepared this morning and served on vintage china from Mrs Stokes Vintage China. Plus they had unlimited tea and had also asked for a glass (or two in some cases) of bubbly each.

They seemed to bond during the afternoon. To start, they played a quiz all about the bride that the chief-bridesmaid had devised and after they'd feasted on the sugary fancies, they decorated cupcakes using cakes and decorations they brought themselves while I washed up. And by the end of the afternoon it felt like the group were well on their way to forming friendships that are going to last them well beyond the wedding. I like to think it was the chocolate brownie that did it...but I suspect the Prosecco helped!

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