Never mind all that, I hear you cry, isn't there the not-so-small matter of the second blogaversary giveaway? Indeed there is. A great big heartfelt thank you to the dozens of you who kindly took the time to leave a message, the answers were really interesting and on occasion, even amusing! So, Mr Random has done his best and the winner is... drum roll maestro please ...
...comment no 7, Gillian.
Congratulations, Gillian, please furnish me with your postal details via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now might we rewind to ooh about ten days ago. We packed up and headed westwards in the sunshine to our little country bolthole for a spot of R&R. Actually, we were rather busy, at least the adults were, but the Munchkin could not be prised from his den...
There was definitely a lot of chilling out going on in the teepee!
Sunday was a day to which the boys had been looking forward. I was quite thrilled to find that we were to be transported from the car park a few miles to our destination aboard this...
If only all park and rides were like this!
Ah yes, it was a case of beware of...
Sunday was a special open day to celebrate 150 years of Yeovil Railway Centre and a mighty fine display they put on, too. The Munchkin was entranced by the model railway. I can only imagine it shall not be too long before we sacrifice a bedroom to this sort of thing...
Daddy was more interested in the real thing!
I was mainly interested in the cider tent!
But my turn for jollity would come on Monday when I was booked to attend a course (a birthday present from Mr HH) here...
Yes, at the wonderful River Cottage in Axminster, Devon.
It was an absolutely fab day weather wise and no hardship to wind along the stunning country lanes for half an hour to attend a course to make and learn all about ... bread.
Here's Dan, baker supremo, who was to teach us all he knows about bread and who has written the River Cottage Bread handbook.
The course took place in the renovated barn and was well attended by about 20 people.
We made all sorts of bread: focaccia, ciabatta, white and malted brown loaves and rolls, donuts and we even went out into the courtyard to make pizza.
It was cooked in the wood fired oven, we made the bases ultra thin so they cooked in double quick time (one and a half minutes!) and I can say that without a shadow of a doubt, they were the best pizzas I've ever tasted.
There was plenty of time throughout the day, whilst waiting for the dough to rise, to wander around River Cottage's grounds. Pretty spectacular they are too, situated in a lovely valley.
To the front of the farmhouse, is a great walled kitchen garden, the stuff of my dreams.
Everything here was so well cared for, not a weed in sight, and all beautifully planned and laid out.
The hens have a pretty fabby henhouse, too!
After a long, hot day, we were rewarded with a late lunch on the deck with views over that beautiful valley.
The River Cottage team did a great job of setting up a lovely table and providing a fantastic, delicious spread of food. Hmm, but I was regretting all that pizza!
The highlight was the bread we had baked, of course!
I really enjoyed the day and our teacher was informative and very personable but my main gripe is that there were too many people on the course. I have attended a fair few of these types of courses now (this being the first one at River Cottage) and there has never been more than about 12 students maximum with several teachers/assistants to go round. This course had about 20 students and one teacher and I felt I didn't have enough time to get to grips with everything myself as we were split into groups to concentrate on certain types of bread which meant we didn't get to try making everything. We were given a copy of the River Cottage Bread Handbook which looks great but this really should have been sent ahead of time so that we could read and take it in before the course. The number of students has enabled River Cottage to keep the price of the course down but I'd rather pay a bit more and come out of the course feeling more confident of bread making at home. I guess there's going to be some trial and error around here whilst we wade our way through many loaves!
On Tuesday, we set sail for the rest of our holiday. Oooh, I'm so excited to share that with you as it was really a bit special and out of the norm. Pop back soon to read along, won't you...