Peas, And How To Eat Them

On this cold, grey, day, after a trip to Milford pharmacy Jackie and I took a local drive.

Many primroses and daffodils bloom on the verges, such as those along Lymore Lane.

On such a day it was perhaps risky to venture into Mabel’s Café at

Shallowmead Nurseries which, with much building work being undertaken, was itself closed. Shallowmead started up just as Covid hit, but has weathered that storm, yet still has much to be done after that serious setback in its development. The extensive carpark, as can be seen, is desperately in need of a level surface.

We struggled to enter the café to find cheerful, friendly, and

helpful staff working in overcoats in a vast recently built hangar of an establishment with somewhat limited heating. We also learned that the menu, seen on the chalkboard above, was of the restricted winter variety.

Although there were quite a number of customers partaking of lunch, I had no difficulty in photographing the interior without invading anyone’s privacy. Some ate at tables and chairs like those illustrated above; others in deep sofas like the one

Jackie sat in while waiting for our food.

The long sliding doors seen above give onto the garden with its tree fountain having water dripping from every leaf and bouncing off fallen ducks beneath. We imagined the windows being flung open in the summer enabling diners to enjoy cool breezes and listen to the cascades.

Perhaps it was the chill greyness of the day that made me feel that my scampi, chips, and peas meal looked rather anaemic and consequently less than appetising. This shows how deceptive appearances can be, for everything tasted good, the peas and tartare sauce exceptionally so.

It is apparent that our table was very low for the purpose of managing a meal such a mine, especially the peas.

There was nothing for it but to tip them out of their pot onto my plate,

knife them onto my fork, bend over carefully, and convey them to the vicinity of my mouth, lobbing them in with hope of accuracy. I am relieved to say that my hand is steadier than I had thought.

Jackie had no such qualms about her cheese and onion panini which was moist and tasty, and served with very fresh salad.

Should we have wanted a dessert we could have used the tongs provided to make a selection from the cabinet shelves.

The background music was tasteful and subdued. Often ignored are the loos, which here are clean, tidy, and really beautifully appointed.

Much money and effort has been invested. This is certainly a venue to revisit in warmer months.

Becky and Ian stayed another night. We all dined on succulent roast chicken and potatoes; crisp Yorkshire pudding; herby sage and onion stuffing; crunchy carrots; tender broccoli, and meaty gravy, with which I drank more of the Malbec and Ian drank Hoegaarden.