Himself's decision that we must take our ageing camper van on a road test this weekend, prior to a longer holiday later in this year caused me considerable angst. It was a huge dilemma deciding what to do with all the plants in the greenhouse that are still in the process of hardening off let alone the ones that have not even started that process. So a warm Friday morning saw me risking spontaneous combustion as I emptied half the the greenhouse contents outside, whilst the other half got transported to the other more shadier side of the greenhouse. I was hot and bothered and more than a bit apprehensive as to how plants/seedlings would cope with wind, too high temperatures or too low temperatures and lack of liquid refreshment for a couple of days.
However some hours later in a site conveniently situated close to a pub and the Shropshire Union Canal I began to mellow. There was sunshine, good food, good ale (himself can vouch for 'Slumbering Monk' whilst the sights on the canal were a most pleasant diversion ~
There was also the prospect of two garden visits including a plant fair over the weekend. This of course soon bought a smile to my face. I also realised that such activities might provide an ideal opportunity to take part in 'The Bloggers' Cut', which is a most imaginative idea from Michelle over at Veg Plotting. It gives us bloggers the chance to participate under the umbrella of 'The Chelsea Fringe' by posting about gardening and cake. Now domestic godess I'm not! When it comes to cakes eating rather than baking them is my speciality so alas you will not find recipes for any mouth watering delicacies here. However I'm more than happy to combine plant hunting/garden visiting with the civilised pastime of cake eating so decided than sometime during the weekend that we must partake of cake.
Our first point of call was Hodnet Hall Gardens,where apart from the mishap of camper van sinking into the only wet patch on the field aside for parking, a most pleasant time was had. Once we had been towed out of the mud, we headed for the plant sale before going on to the gardens where our eyes and noises were assaulted by an absolute riot of colour and scent ~
We have visited Hodnet before but not when all the azaleas and rhododendrons are at their peak and oh what a treat it was. I will post more about this visit soon as well as on our second garden visit of the weekend.
After recovering from our earlier trauma and a good stretch of the legs we were more than ready for something to eat. However we both felt in need of something more substantial than cake, although there was a good selection of baked goodness on offer as you can see from the photo below ~
On then to Wollerton Old Hall yesterday afternoon. It's but a short distance away from Hodnet but could not be more different ~
Now we have had a cake at Wollerton in the past and throughly enjoyed the experience but it does not feature on the menu until later in the afternoon. As himself did not want to hang about until then it looked as if there could be a possibility that not a single crumb of crumb would pass our lips as we headed back to the van. I would have failed in my mission.
However about fifteen minutes away from home we stumbled across pure cake gold in the form of Davenports Farm Shop Tearooms. You know how it is with places on your doorstep - you often pass them by on your way to somewhere else time and time again. It must be a good few years since we have stopped off there and we were absolutely amazed by the choice of teas/coffees and cakes on the menu as well as the quality/quantity when our cakes arrived. All served in most pleasant and comfortable surroundings. You can see my choice of carrot cake at the top of this post. I did not realise that it would arrive so ornately and beautifully decorated - almost too good to eat. Himself had an equally delectable and moist slice of apple and pear cake. What a discovery - the icing on the cake to top off a great weekend. It was only later at home after some 'googling' that I discovered that this establishment won the Tea Guild's Top Tea Place Award in 2013. This is apparently the equivalent of an Oscar in the world of afternoon tea! A return visit is definitely on the cards before the summer is out, although I think I will have to make sure that it does not become too much of a regular habit for my waistline's sake.
Finally I'm pleased to report that all was well with the seedlings and plants on our return. The sun is shining this morning and I'm off out to do some serious allotment and gardening work. I will make time however to sit down in the shade later to enjoy some liquid refreshment and tasty cakes with fellow garden bloggers here. Do join me - there will be a cup and a slice of cake with your name on.