Back in July (which seems an era ago now I am the other side of holidays and kitchen antics), my sister-in-law, niece and nephew came to stay with the plan to pay a visit to Hever Castle. Let me get the British thing out of the way right now and say that the weather was typical of midsummer in the UK; grey, wet, windy and cold. Undeterred, we threw wellies, cagoules, umbrellas and children into the cars and set off.
The first thing we made a beeline for on arrival was the water maze, barely pausing to admire the Italian gardens en route. I hardly need say the kids loved this part of the castle and had to be bodily dragged away once they were wetter than the weather. We then took them round the inside of the castle, where Jessica was only interested in reading the signs that told you the name of each room and whisked me through them accordingly, although the Long Gallery with the figures of Henry VIII and his wives held their attention for marginally longer than it took to walk the length of it.
Lunch was next on the agenda, after which Allie and I sneaked in a quick child-free visit to the gift shop and adjoining dolls house museum, the second of which I will confess is one of my favourite bits of the entire place. ‘Dolls house’ is something of an understatement; these are perfect miniature mansions showing varying interior styles moving from about Georgian times to more or less present day (and no, I didn’t pay much attention to the history, I was too fascinated with the tiny people! Tiny furniture!! Even tinier accessories!!!).
Anyway, once she managed to get me out of there, we all set off to find the main reason for our visit; a jousting tournament. While this was very well done and quite entertaining as these things go (they cleverly split the crowd into two factions so you were supporting one of the contestants; nothing like a bit of team rivalry to liven up an event), by the time we had tramped over to the field, hung about waiting for them to start and watched the children parade round the jousting arena before the contestants came on, the rain had started in earnest and I was getting pretty fed up of being wet and cold.
So before the jousting ended, we threw in the (soggy) towel and headed off in search of warmer pursuits, namely the pavilion café for AFTERNOON TEA. Need I tell you this is my favourite meal of the day? Alice and I both had Bakewell tart, another favourite thing of mine (ok, so I have many); a satisfyingly good end to a lovely day.