It seems a while since I’ve sat down to update the blog. Its been one of these periods where life seems awfully busy without terribly much actually happening. I keep trying to think about what I have been up to over the last couple of weeks; but apart from a meningitis drama which landed my visiting cousin in hospital (thankfully better now and thankfully not down to my fish pie) there is nothing of note.
So what to tell you ? A couple of weeks ago the sun shone long and hard enough to allow the Grumbling three to enjoy a fantastic day out at the Hopetoun House Country Fair (and horse trials). Horses are nice from a distance but I am still traumatized from the day I tried to dismount a horse whilst in full gallop. Hanging from a horse by one stirrup is enough to put one off horses for life BUT country fair was surely double-speak for FOOD. So off we trotted with empty and expectant tummies to the beautiful Hopetoun House estate, which lies just outside South Queensferry.
After parking in a big old field looking out over the Firth of Forth we trundled along until we spotted a tractor pulling trailers of fair going folk down to the area where the stands were. Pretending that it was a big old adventure rather than admitting our sheer laziness we hopped on board. We were transported in dingly dell fashion to the beginning of the Country Fair. There we found a small pleasant area with a few coffee stalls a vintage style merry-go-round and a lot of horses in their horse houses. The principal thought running through my head was ‘lovely but is this it?’ followed swiftly by my second thought ‘where is the food?’. Stick with me – it gets better! After a bit of stumble trip stumble trip (prize to the person who gets that reference) through what mini GT refers to as a deep dark wood, we were greeted with this sight!
Ah ha that was more like it. Forget everything else – who would not be impressed by the majesty of Hopetoun House and its beautiful fountain. We put our sharpened elbows away ( taken to most food festivals) it was clear that this was one very relaxed affair and I for one was loving it. There was the sound of folk music drifting from the band stand and a modest collection of craft and food stalls to discover.
Puddledub from my own stomping ground were in attendance wowing a rather long queue with their hog roast sarnies and Hopetoun House Estate who are very proud of their home reared Aberdeen Angus beef, lamb, poultry, venison and seasonal game from the surrounding Hopetoun Estate had a fantastic BBQ on the go. B and I decided on the hog roast – principally due to the fact that the queue was moving faster and I was absolutely starving. I did stand in the Hopetoun House queue eating my hog roast to get some sausages for mini GT as there was an outside chance she may deign to sample sausage (she did not, but we did and very nice they were too).
Sitting down in the sunshine, eating beautifully cooked local food, listening to a young singer and playing endless rounds of duck duck goose with the wee one – it was bliss (well the duck goose was a bit tiresome but hey ho!). This could only be improved by some afters! I had spotted some fair-goers carrying what looked like a fresh strawberry and biscuit dessert with oodles of cream and set off to track one down for myself. These lovelies were on the Crystal Shortbread stall and Crystal herself was preparing the delightful puds. They were simple – crumbled shortbread, lots of cream and strawbs with a bit of chocolate flake crumbled on the top – it said Scottish and summer and I loved it. Mini me appreciated the presence of the best ice cream in Scotland (as far as my husband is concerned) – LUCA of Musselburgh.
As well as the small clutch of food stalls there was a fantastic craft tent, rather appealing bar area and a few other brands pitched perfectly to the horsey crowd such as AGA and things made from tweed. I bought a beautiful bracelet from a wonderful lady who upcycles old jewellery to make fantastic creations.
There was also a fantastic area for children brimming with toys, games and experiences from yester-year and of course lots of horses galloping and jumping around the perimeter. The only thing missing from this country fair was more in the way of food sampling from local producers. It is what I look forward to most when I go to bigger events but then again these bigger events are not nearly as relaxing and often not as enjoyable as Hopetoun House. I don’t suppose it is possible to have everything and after all the main thrust of this weekend event is the horse trials, which have been going on long before the addition of a country fair. I do hope Hopetoun enjoy success with their rebranding of the event and continue to grow the country fair side – but not too much. The pared down size was part of the charm of this little festival with a very big personality.