Our expectations were high as we set off early on the Saturday morning from darkest Herefordshire. Generosity and friendliness were immediately apparent and a sense of camaraderie that you don't often find. The festival organizers were also the hosts which made a real difference to the day, just one big family party.
We very nearly put up our pergola on a “right of way” and would have been trampled by the crowds dashing to the archery, helter skelter and axe throwing. Once we got established in our correct place we were happy. We were between The Best Made axe historian and demonstrator from New York, and a tipi with a rolling array of speakers, one of which I heard was a talk on Wild Swimming, with fabulous pictures mostly taken from the angle of the swimmer, eg half under water!
Look who is sitting by my fire......? Cerys Matthews was a wonderful mixer and was so chatty to all the children.
We were thrilled with the Balkan input to the event, which included Paprika playing last thing at night. We met some lovely friends of Cerys Matthews', Jelena and Nenad and enjoyed the wonderful London Bulgarian choir.
I had volunteered to do a fish and vegetable demo on the camp fire at 1.00 using all the wonderful enamel Kotlich kit. We were closely followed by Caroline Gladstone and friends with a rabbit skinning demo, culminating in a wonderful rabbit and mustard casserole. Once they had their rabbit bubbling away Tom Herbert moved on the demo site by the camp fire and made sour dough breads and pizzas.
So here is the result of the cooking demo!
Here I am starting the demo, Kullen Skink and the potatoes go in first.
While ths spuds cook I endeavor to explain what I am about to cook above the noise of some groovy band giving it wellie in the big top behind!
Taking the mackerel off the fire to turn them over. I am using the great new paella dish/fry pan that joined our product stock this year.
Second side mackerel frying. We served them up, with the help of beach hut cook, with cous cous, pickled walnut relish and a wilted spinach, tomatoe and fennel-top garnish.
While the fresh spinach, tomatoes and fennel tops from my garden soften I am adding the fish to the Kullen skink that has been resting on the side.
We were all encouraged by Charlie Gladstone to be nurtured by the new experiences we might be having. For some it may have been carving a spoon for the first time, for another hearing about Wild Swimming. What ever you experienced for the first time I hope you will have gone home feeling all the better for your evenings around the camp fires and your day of experimentation.
We do hope that this "Experience" happens again next year.