photo25The fig tree is pushing it s way through the front door.
Now we see it was not a good place to plant the tiny cutting that was a gift from the local
Though from the fig s point of view, the sunny sheltered spot was perfect.
Pushing through the dense foliage to enter the house is not amusing when the leaves
are drenched.
By way of compensation – this summer, the tree is raining figs – pale green outside,
lilac shading to vermilion inside, totally exquisite in scent and. taste.FIGS FROM OUR GARDEN

Anyone passing through the Tearoom this Autumn is welcome to take away with
them a shoot from this generously fecunde tree.



> The crab apples are turning scarlet – Autumn is coming in.
> The plum alert from the Webbs at Allen s Farm in Plaxtol comes early this year.
> Bullaces are already dropping from the trees. Hurry if we plan our annual pick.
> An organic farm on the Kentish Weald, wrapped in a haze of peaceful wellbeing.
> Sheep undergraze the old cherry orchard, where a line of bullace trees were long ago
> planted, more as windbreak than crop. The farm’s living turns around the cobnut platts,> right now dense with the particular green of filberts.
> The trees are a scramble to pick but we fill the back of,the car with gold
> and red tiny plums, none of them available any other way.BULLACE ORCHARD
> Asked by French or Belgian passers through the Tearoom, enchanted by the jam,
> what they are called, we plump for the generic title proposed by one of them –
> les Prunelles Perdues.
> That will cover the damsons too, shortly ripe for picking around the duckpond at
> Allens. Has to be one of the world’s best jams. And en route, it too, for perdition, stoutly resistant as it is to industrial foodmaking proccesses.

Here, today, Indian Summer warmth -Maude, soaking it up.



The St Remy war memorial bears testament to the clutch of young men who didn t come
baxk from the Wars – and to one woman, killed by an Allied bomb while buying butter.

It s a tender tableau, the weary soldier gazing thoughtfully at the makeshift tomb of
a fallen comrade.
This year, though, he’s undergone a savage paint job by a squad of memorial                            toucher-uppers. A lick of black paint has transformed those gentle downcast eyes
into fierce laser-points beaming forth from luxuriant beetling brows.


With house, Tearoom, Shop, stable, garden, orchard and more, the moveable feast that
is the Workaway experience is always welcome. The different ages, cultures, skills,
conversations of each batch has enlivened our summer.


Here are Giulia and Michele, both from the north of Italy. He has his degree in Political Science from Trieste University. Giulia is reading Literature in Milan. Clearly unused to manual labour, they nevertheless happily clambered into the house collection of random protective clothing (photos sent home to give the parents a giggle) and set about throwing white paint at the walls of our atelier. As well as being willing, they were terrific company.

They overlapped by one day and night with the Americans and instantly bonded. We
heard querelous enquiries, Where are our Italians? anyone seen our Americans?

Meredith and Justin are both chefs in Florida. She for Universal Studios, he for Disney.
Small town, agricultural USA has made them both neatly practical ( they scrubbed up
a treat after the Italians’ cheerful paint job) and they cooked up a dream.                                                                                                                                                                      Undeterred by what might have been, to others, outlandish requests –



Checking out a fragile

knocking out a batch of handmade pasta without benefit of a pasta machine,

a peach cobbler,

and, having surfed the web, giving us a lesson in how to make a Masala Dosa.

Vive our Workaways !



citroen threeThe courtyard here is graced by Nick’s 1926 Citroên B12, found in France and since
lovingly cossetted back to a state of mechanical rude health. For that, he was helped by a posse of local enthusiasts who know their way around a vintage engine.

It’s guest of honour at the Le Touquet classic car rallies, was invited to take up a residency outside the Westminster hotel for it’s 90th birthday, citroen fourand is a mobile studio for Nick’s landscape paintings.






For that. the back seat is loaded up with oil paints and canvases and an umbrella, perhaps a terrier or two, and they jog off to the quarry or up the hill.



A gloomy Sunday, murky and sodden. And lo! all of a sudden, the terriers bark, the courtyard fills with cars and the Tearoom is zinging. Three French women, our favourite farmer, Philippe, who makes the hay for our horses, and Katherine and June.
Katherine has spent the past two weeks watching her architect designed, energy passive house being popped together in the glorious field in the next village. June, her mother,has left behind town life in Canada to share the adventure. At ninety, she s shinning up ladders to take in the view from what will be her studio.
A mild kitchen panic as we feed batches of scones into the Rayburn, fearing an outbreak of restlessness the other side. Peat-dark slabs of a Cocoa-Cherry Beer cake are taken over to a room filled with babble from the one long table where everyone has decided to squeeze on, together.
Into the kitchen strewn with scone stuff bursts Carole, a marrow tucked under her arm.
She s strictly local, comes weekdays to give a hand with everything, and has developed an addiction for the Tearoom. She longs for the days Nick and I are not at home so she can serve the tea, choose the jams, put out the cream, slice up the cake, on her own.
I suspect her arrival this Sunday afternoon is in the hope of some Tearoom action and she’s not disappointed.
And our oddly assorted table full light up the day with their multi-lingual banter. As for our farmer, he waves away the standard small black coffee he requested and calls for…. a teapot.


TOOS TWOOur French accountant nurses a strange ambition : to drive in England.
This week, the organic gooseberries were picked on Toos Jeuken’s Sussex farm.

Tuesday, these two elements came together when Alexandre Jaquet of A-J Conseils opened his boot in Cuckfield and allowed it to be jammed full of dark pink gooseberries.TOOS THREE






TOOS SIX WET HENSIt was moody, drizzle weather when we set off and the chickens were guarding their huddle room on the kitchen step from Maude, on her way in.

But it came good with mellow sunshine all along the coast road from Folkestone through
Rye and then into the downs, Alexandre at the wheel.

TOOS ONEToos got her obligatory Tearoom pot of jam,





Alexandre never winced as his impeccably groomed car was stuffed with crates of fruit, and Nick and Toos talked organic certification gossip and grumbles.TOOS FIVETOOS FOUR

This lot is bound for Tea Together Jams of Le Touquet, but with a few crates set aside for St Remy au Bois. It makes a fragrant, fresh jam with a whiff of rose-geranium leaf -hints of that light summer rain, where we came in.


brocante july 15 twoEvery Sunday, from April to September, the village brocantes draw the crowds. Churches
might envy the throngs of keen brocanteurs, flaneurs, and idlers who trawl the offers and
prop up the pop-up bars dispensing beer and merguez-frites.
brocante july 165 sixLast Sunday it was the turn of Vron, and it’s handsome green shaded by giant chestnuts.
The shade wasn’t needed for this year’s edition – a soft, summer rain kept it cool – but
the local traiteur kept up a cracking pace and families and old men sat talking under brocante july 15 fivethe trees.

Bastille Day in St. Rémy au Bois

photo 14 july 15  four photo  photo 14 july 15 three photo 14 july 15 oneThe Monument de Morts is where the village gathers for
the ritual ceremony. The flag is held by an ex-combattant while the Mayor delivers a speech written
for the occasion. He’s a good Mayor and it’s a meaningful speech that weaves the sacking of the Bastille with modern themes of tolerance and integration.
Didier, his Adjoint, who has a home-built observatory in
his back garden, lays the wreath. A minute’s silence –
and then it’s off to the Mairie for the Vin d’Honneur.
The Crémant is passed around with the peanuts,
booktokens are given out for the few village youths of
Bac age, gossip exchanged. All small-scale stuff but
it goes towards keeping a sense of identity in a village
where the old, connected families aphoto 14 july 15 twore disappearing.

Nos Enterrements – de la Vie de Jeune Fille

photo HEN PARTY 1A sudden rush of bookings for Enterrements had us concerned
until we understood that what is being buried, with glee,
is the life of a young girl. Hen Party, in the UK.
The Tearoom Brunches have been discovered for the informal
and deeply pastoral venue as well as the singularity of the two menus on offer. Le Scottish, or L’Indien.


Le Tearoom’s famous Cranachan

photo HEN PARTY TIFFIN TIN 1A local wag claimed that ours is the only home-cooked Indian food between Hesdin and Mumbai.  All clear cut but then – a group of lively Enterrements opted for fifty-fifty, Scottish and Indian. Result -our long table strewn with our home-cured with Scottish Tea Scottish salmon, Tiffin Tins hot-packed with Aloo Ghobi and chilli-coriander-marinated chicken, and puddings mingling Cranachan with mango, rose and cardamon. The girls giggled,ate, drank,and then the Mariée stepped into Nick’s citroen 1926 B12e for a chug up the hill. photo HEN PARTY SALMON