I’ve been spoilt this Father’s Day, though I’ve spent most of it without my kids. We’ve been enjoying the sunshine all over the West Country this weekend. It’s such a beautiful part of the world.
Fatherhood is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It’s changed who I am so much. In the UK, there have been some terrible events recently, and our eldest daughter is particularly aware of them. To cope with the bad news, I try to teach my children about how they can contribute to a better world through fundraising or volunteering, and I show them and talk about the many acts of kindness that follow tragic events. One of the ways I think kids can learn about compassion for others is through caring for animals. My Dad and I built a rabbit hutch (pictured above) together this week and we’re all looking forward to getting its new occupants very soon.
For the first time in years, my wife Sarah and I went away without the kids this weekend. We stayed a few nights in the magnificent Huntsham Court in Devon for a fantastic wedding. Now as the Bride was from London and the Groom was from Yorkshire, none of us were quite sure why the wedding had been booked in Devon (for my US readers, it’s about 3 hours from London and 5 hours from Yorkshire in the car). When we arrived at Huntsham Court on Friday evening it all made perfect sense!
If you’re on the lookout for a wedding venue in the UK, I couldn’t recommend Huntsham Court more highly. It was incredible. It’s a private house but as a wedding party, you take over the whole house and it feels like a home from home… if you’d suddenly won the lottery! The weather helped of course, but it was such a special weekend. The ceremony took place in the gardens beneath the trees and as you can bring your own caterers in, the Bride and Groom treated us to the most amazing two days of feasting and drinking, starting with a fish and chip van to welcome us on Friday night and ending with me slipping into a port and cheese coma about 2 o’clock this morning. I’m building myself a new kitchen later this year and I’ve come away from Huntsham Court full of ideas after seeing theirs. Thank you so much to Lorena, Matt and your lovely families for looking after us so well.
The ‘English Country Garden’ grounds of our weekend retreat (above) made me think of Welford Park, where we filmed the Great British Bake Off. It also made me realise that this weekend they were probably filming the semi-finals of this year’s show, if they’re running to the usual timetable. Somewhere in the UK there are a small group of bakers keeping a mighty big secret – hello, if you’re reading this! I dread to think how hot it must be in the Bake Off tent on a weekend like this – fingers crossed we don’t get another Alaskagate on our hands!
On our way back to London this afternoon, Sarah and I went via Weston-super-Mare on the Somerset coast. The traffic getting there was really busy – to be expected on the hottest day of the year so far – but we soon realised it was due to the Air Festival also taking place. We were treated to a fantastic display by the Red Arrows (above) and then had a Father’s Day afternoon tea on the Grand Pier to watch the rest of the festival.
One of the best things about the weekend was there was no phone signal at all where we were staying. Over the past three years I’ve spent more and more time on social media but it can get on top of you a bit, especially with so much sad news and constant commentary on it. This weekend was a real reminder about how important it is for your own sanity to unplug every now and again and appreciate how much love there is in the world. Until next week, Happy Baking.