Seaside charms


Cold meats, a freshly baked cake, and bottles of ginger beer; I spent my childhood dining out on Enid Blyton’s mouth-watering food descriptives – from suppers shared around the family kitchen table to the gloriously naughty midnight feasts squirreled away in the shadows of the common room. I was then happier than Darrell Rivers herself to stumble over some pristine Enid Blyton story books while on a family weekend in Margate this month – including a 1972 edition of ‘The Children of Cherry-Tree Farm’ (1940). After their parents leave for America, siblings Rory, Sheila, Benji and Penny are sent to the thatched farm-house of Uncle Tim and Auntie Bess, whose wholesome home cooking underpins the children’s new-found appreciation of country living…

‘Auntie Bess had made them a lovely picnic lunch. There were ham sandwiches, hard-boiled eggs in their shells, each with a screw of salt beside them, slices of sticky gingerbread, last autumn’s yellow apples, and half a bottle of milk each.’


Fudge cake sitting pretty on one of four faded gold-rimmed china plates I picked up from a charity shop in Fulham this week (£4 the lot) – and a hot, brick-red cup of Yorkshire tea in Royal Doulton’s 1940’s ‘Royal Chintz’

Another gem lay in waiting at Margate Retro – a considered collection of mid-century furniture, lighting, battered postcards and up-cycled treasures that spill out of a gorgeous old shop onto a pavement bustling with bargain hunters. I chatted with Manager Joe (dressed in a white overcoat) about cloud formations and – undecided over whether to splash out on an antiques trunk – he sent me up the hill in the direction of his second shop – Margate General Store – for a complimentary cup of coffee. Needless to say I bought the trunk which came with a free copy of Hobbies Weekly (1956) and which now serves as a great coffee table, stuffed with spare pillows.

Published in: on August 17, 2013 at 6:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

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