Don't you agree that preparation for a holiday is almost as pleasurable as the actual event? Not so much the boring jobs like cleaning the fridge and cancelling the milk (though there is something deliciously old fashioned about leaving a little rolled up note for the milk man in an empty milk bottle on the doorstep). I am referring more to the delightful decisions about which holiday projects to pack; the pondering over books, the gathering of yarn, the choice of sewing projects. One holiday essential for me is a capsule baking collection; two 8" baking tins, a few spices, and a tiny bottle of vanilla extract. The bulky stuff, like flour, butter, sugar etc, I order online to be delivered with our Waitrose shop to our holiday house on the day of arrival. I also take Annie Bell's Baking Bible, one of my favourite baking books.
We are returning this year, for the fourth time, to our beloved Sugar Loaf Barn in Wales (sugarloafbarn.com )
These is something peculiarly comforting about returning to Sugar Loaf. We are not a family of adventure seekers, a fact we have long accepted without regret. We love being together, in a beautiful place, pottering about the barn, going in to Abergavenney and Crickhowell, pretty little towns both, to have a coffee, lunch, or a rootle around the shops. The boys help out on the farm, loving the freedom and physical demand of lifting bales of hay, helping shear sheep, digging drains as they did last year, and generally getting sweaty and filthy.
Derek and I sit outside, reading, chatting, or simply gazing at the view. I adore watching the swallows dip and dart; they nest all along the farmhouse eaves, a quintessential summer sight.(If anyone has any tips on how to attract swallows to nest, please tell me, it would complete my world if swallows nested under the eaves of my house).
Our holidays at Sugar Loaf are like a more relaxing version of our lives at home, without the stressful bits. Perfect, really.
So what am I packing this year? My books are 'Greenbanks' by Dorothy Whipple; 'Here Be Dragons' by Stella Gibbons, and 'Ice In The Bedroom' by P.G. Wodehouse. I am also taking Isaac's quilt. It is half finished, I am hoping to complete the hand quilting at Sugar Loaf. I am also almost finished a hand stitched hexagon quilt top, which I am attempting to complete with some needle-turn applique. That is coming with me too. And, just in case I fly through these projects in super-quick time, I am taking some knitting, and a tiny crochet project.
What do you take on holiday with you? What are your holiday essentials? I'd love to know.