Not used to the freezing cold weather, when the Romans invaded Britain they took to stuffing their trousers with stinging nettles- the sting’s inflammation caused a heat sensation that soothed winters bite.
That’s one of the brilliant nuggets and insights I had into herbs and our environment while on a foraging walk with Natasha from Forage Botanicals.
It would be easy to forgive a passerby to a wassail for thinking that to wassail is to simply sing songs about fertility and getting trashed while taking as many slurps as you can from the shared wassail bowl, for its contents are most certainly alcoholic. But it is oh so much more than that.
On route to this family celebration weekend in Shropshire I got a message from my sister saying that there were pigs and multiple log burners.
And so the stage was set for a cracker…
The weekend I spent at Amberstone Manor was a bit rogue.
In part because of the spontaneous nature in which me and my friend Hannah ended up there. It wasn’t intended. We were having a night at River Cottage HQ and were asked in a last minute frenzy to join this gathering of bloggers after we were done down on the farm. We also almost didn’t make it. Our trusty steed, Doug the landrover, seemed a bit over our night of West Country adventuring and as we wound down country lane after country lane (past witching hour and with 4% battery on our GPS to go) he slowly puttered to a standstill as we made a left turn.
Until he brilliantly breathed himself back to life, we had resigned ourselves to a shivering night in the rusty wagon by an unattractive, dangerous roadside .
Park Farm sits in a valley and on 100 (organic) acres neatly split by the Devon/Dorset border. You’d think it was a ready made set created just for the River Cottage show with the way that it so perfectly (even in- and probably because of- its wonkiness) ticks the ‘good life’ box.
It is one of those happily English cottages sat next to a few pimped out barns with a polytunnel, walled kitchen garden and of course rolling fields to boot. Shrouded in mist as it often is being in a valley was a pretty sweet way to get my first autumnal view of the iconic farm, setting the tone for a night of seasonal goodness I got lucky with thanks to This is Your Kingdom.