I have a thing about food and absolutely adore all types and origins: Mexican, Chinese, Thai, Moroccan, Malaysian, Indian, Vietnamese, Mongolian, French, Spanish, Traditional English, Modern English, Austrian – I’ve never met a food style I didn’t like as my ever-expanding waistline can attest to!
So today was a rare treat! We have a bit of an annual date on the August Bank Holiday with the food show at Holdenby House in Northamptonshire. It was at one time the palace of King James the 1st and is now in private ownership. Every year they hold a fantastic food show with live cooking demonstrations and a range of organic and local artisan produce stalls. They also have an extensive choice of excellent wines and spirits which are not available from commercial supermarkets or grocery stores.
The kitchen gardens are especially beautiful and it also has a croquet lawn and a falconry centre.
So, the Food….
There is something about tiny bits of bread that you dip in stuff that gets my food motor going! It was a smor-gas-board of taste sensations. Olive oils, salad dressings, mustard’s and I can’t forget the cheeses and pickles. There were also cakes, cookies, fudge, sweets, fruitcake and fresh bakery breads. I think some of my love comes from the passion of these small craft producers. They live and breathe their products, selecting only the very best ingredients and ensuring they get just the right mix. In some ways it reminds me of the beauty of writing, all that want, preparation and finesse to craft something of value.
Now the Falcons….
They have a falconry centre at Holdenby which accepts rescue birds. I am always a little upset to see the wild behind bars, but I do understand that without the centre they would have a much worse existence. I’d rather they are able to inform and educate and not have to be put down (having been stolen from nests or bred in captivity their chances in the wild would be slim) or worse kept in tiny cages in private collections where they are not exercised properly.
Now of course there was another reason for wanting to look at the falconry centre. Hello, writer here! I have a character in the book that I want to give a sidekick… Wolves are so last season and I’ve always been fascinated with birds of prey, so this was a perfect opportunity to do some research into the different types of raptors.
I had a rare opportunity to talk to the experts about which breeds and species have the most distinctive personalities, I got a sense of scale and size and was able to ask about the sort of bond that develops between a hawk and it’s handler. The bigger birds of prey have very varied characters, especially the Black Eagle and the Eagle Owl. The latter has extraordinary Orange Eyes! Probably the winner but I have some more reading to do……
Finally the Foul Play…
Well, I did mention the croquet lawn didn’t I. What do you get when you put two couples together on a “try croquet” session where the men are both super competitive? You get my husband gloating for the last two hours of the show, saying things like…
“We beat them six two, ha – I was never going to let him win. Was only supposed to be a bit of fun. Knocking your ball out the way the whole time and playing tactics. Ha!”
Oh dear…… Is it okay if I admit secretly I was quite pleased with my husbands chivalry?
Comments, as always, welcome!