Another fine spring day saw Jackie and me driving down to Upper Dicker in East Sussex for a family meal with our son Mathew and his wife Tess.
In the sunlight the suburban roadside crop of dandelions rivalled the yellow splendour of the countryside’s fields of rape. Trees were now fully plumed with fresh green leaves and all was bright and clear.
We stopped for a late lunch at The Barley Mow in Selveston. This is a large friendly pub serving real ale and excellent food. Jackie had a tasty omelette with scary chips and I had a first rate ploughman’s.
Mat and Tess live in a pretty Edwardian terraced cottage the gardens of which are filled with flowers. It was warm enough to sit outside until time to eat the wonderful salads, home made quiches and pizza meal Tess had prepared.
Desserts and coffee were taken in the village cafe/restaurant/general store which Tess runs. The desserts, like the cakes, pasties etc served in the cafe, were all home made. Since taking over this previously run-down establishment about 5 years ago the couple have transformed both the shop/cafe/restaurant and the life of the village. What was once little more than the tuck shop for St. Bede’s school opposite is now a well stocked shop, thriving cafe and meeting place for residents and often passing visitors. In the recent past if you wanted eggs, bread, or even milk after 10 a.m. you’d best drive elsewhere. The place was bare and drab. Now it is well stocked with everything one could possibly dream of in a village shop and more. Fresh local produce is a speciality and meals are well prepared and cheerfully served. It is well decorated; has tasteful, interesting, pictures on the walls; and always has characterful music from all over the world playing unobtrusively in the background.
In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m proud of them.
Driving back through sunset over the Sussex downs was a delight. Jackie drove and, as usual, I nodded off about halfway, coming to about 10 minutes from home. You see, I am perfectly relaxed when she is driving.