A weekend in the country

Quiet green villages filled with birdsong and clean air make me claustrophobic. Oxygen is overrated. And I can’t really hear myself think in too much silence. It’s all very good for a weekend, but I must have that ‘end’ in sight.

In one of my parallel lives, I do have an alter-ego living in one of these quiet green places. The other Pia, who fancies herself a bit of a farmer. She is out there now, plucking apples from her orchard, and making chutney. She lives in a house straight out of Country Living, and cooks in a kitchen with an Aga, a Smeg refrigerator, a butler sink and many copper pans.

She’s the country mouse, I’m the city mouse. We meet sometimes.

But a few weekends ago, me, the city mouse, was so charmed by a village that I almost saw myself living there. Almost. Almost.

Burnham Market sits close to the stunning north Norfolk coast, and is a village that you pass on the way to busier seaside towns like Wells-Next-The-Sea.

But don’t pass on by.

Be the mouse who found the Cheddar, because this tiny strip of a village really is a delicious little find. Art galleries. Independant shops full of beautiful, handmade things. Friendly, cosy tearooms. Bookstores. A little cottage selling designer clothing. Award-winning local cheese. Fresh, fresh fish. An old wineshop that makes you stop in your tracks. And a 17th century coaching inn, now a plush hotel, with a Moroccan-themed courtyard restaurant.

A shop that I found particularly hard to leave was Norfolk Living. It’s an Alladin’s cave of a shop, filled with seashell soaps, vintage perfume bottles, jars of jam, white linen, rugs and cushions, candles and crockery. Room after room of beautiful things.

I ended my window shopping for a good cause – lunch at The Hoste Arms. It was al fresco eating at its best. The sun was warm on my back. A glass of chilled Chardonnay in front of me. A Peroni for D. And a meal that could not have been cooked better.

That was our lunch.
~ Mushroom soup, served with an open sandwich of mushrooms in truffle oil.
~ A salad of watermelon, feta cheese, parma ham & pumpkin seeds, mixed baby leaf, mint dressing.
~ Sautéed smoked paprika squid, dressed rocket, piquillo pepper, chickpeas & chorizo, tahini dressing.
~ Pineapple carpaccio, fresh pomegranate, malibu, lime & mint jelly, mini meringues & pina colada ice cream.

And along with each course, we had conversation, because a little girl slept right through lunch. D and I grinned at the utter, cunning perfection of our timing. We had managed to sneak a date into our day!

We left Burnham Market feeling like we’d been given a treat.

I’m still a city-mouse, and I think I always will be. But every now and then, I like traipsing around pretty villages looking for some good local cheese.

6 thoughts on “A weekend in the country

  1. Just found your lovely new blog at brit mummy blogs,love your fabbytastic photo's gorgeous,I love Norfolk Living they have some beautiful things ….I have been blogging for 9 months now and It Is one of the best things I'v done,should have done It years ago. I am now following ….X Manda X

  2. haha…thought about that before i blogged, khur 🙂 but then, thought of all the places that i wasn't writing about 🙂 i haven't given it all away!

  3. Don't you just?! And this shop was sheer torture! Well, village traipsing it is, anytime you're in my part of the world 🙂

  4. love the mushroom sandwich- have one from my end too! i love the pics of the stuff you took- i am sure it is you piadi and not the camera or the place itself! you make everything look breathtaking : )

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