Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Snowshill: "I've never been so uninteresting to bees"

On Sunday we had some folks over for brunch to celebrate the birth of a friend's baby boy, Jonah. By mid afternoon, still coming down off the high of a good time, and barely organised to begin the clean, we dropped it all and hit the road for Snowshill. We'd been last fall, after the lavender harvest, and didn't mean to miss the spectacle of the flush fields a second time.

The website said mid July was the best time to see it -- when we were in London -- but even a week later, the harvest had only just begun. So many varieties and shades of lavender: fully 25, according to the flyer we got at the gate. It was surreal, to be honest; those sights, smells and sounds. I'll break it down: it looked like some big-budget sci-fi flick, with server farms interpreting some 50s dream of Mars. It smelled like the bath, according to Tea, particularly as we passed their distillery. (Other folks have since raised "like Gran's." Yup; full points.) And I've saved the best for last.

So - many - bees.

You couldn't call that sound buzzing. In the furrows, Tea's 50mm-equipped Rebel in hand -- she isn't a fan of bees, and her hair smelled like candy -- I can best describe it as a thrum; almost a pressure on your skin, and certainly like a constantly shifting one in your ears. Not unlike swimming underwater.

And - so - relaxing.

I've never been so uninteresting to bees. Ever.

Not repellent. More like I ceased to exist. And, yes, that even topped those beautiful views.

We decided to have supper at the Plough Inn in nearby Ford. While Tea navigated the small cart paths, I happened to catch sight of the sun as it topped an arc of these thick interwoven contrails, for all the world like the grand finale of a fireworks display at its apex, before it bursts in jaw-dropping blindness. (I'm reading The Book of Awesome right now. I'll leave my one word description of that moment as an exercise for the reader.)

We'd heard good things about the Sunday roast at the Plough Inn, and with good reason. (Thanks, Stew!) They have a lovely outdoor space, which is just perfect for days like this one, and the staff are super friendly. But it's the food that knocked our socks off: that pork was so tender, the homemade apple sauce just sweet enough, the dressing (stuffing to most of you, I guess, but the Newfies know what I'm on about) bready-herby heaven... We've had a lot of Sunday roasts and carveries, as faithful readers will know, and this one skyrocketed to the Top 3 after just a few bites. It may be the best. More testing is required. But don't worry; we're up for it.

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