“It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.” Wrote Maud Hart Lovelace, in 1941.
Fast forward t0 England, 2015.
“It was June, and I’ve blown all my Boots Advantage card points on bottles of St. Tropez. The sunshine was as rare and fleeting as the sudden appearance of a rat’s face from behind a shower door.” – Britainy Rae.
On the rare day that you don’t have to pack a “warmer outfit for later” every time you head out, English summertime is all about afternoon tea, wild flowers, tassels on every item of clothing, festivals and fizz. Sun deprived day-trippers wander round these parts, licking ice cream and glowing red with sunburn from their day off in the heat.
You can’t beat English summertime, for the determined-to-enjoy-it attitude it brings out in us all. A few weeks ago, I spent a perfect day on Camber Sands with friends, shivering under the grey windy skies, wrapped in blankets. So let’s raise a glass of lovely fizzing English wine to toast our short-but-sweet summertime. Oh, and if you happen to be in Camber, my readers get 20% off beautiful, English sparkling wine at The Gallivant by quoting “Miss Rae’s Rye, Me.” Bottoms up!
THIS SUNDAY: CLASSIC CARS AND A RYE DANCE CENTRE STAR:
Former Rye Dance Centre pupil Karen Moses and her wartime covers band, The Victory Sisters are performing at the Senlac Classic Car Show Bodiam 21st June. 10am – 5pm Tickets £5 on the door. Accompanied children go free.
In the 90s, Karen and I liked to wear long dresses to sing songs by The Honeyz at the school Christmas concert. I remember being jealous of her pink Baby G watch. Anyway, I stopped singing publicly- except for a tipsy “Lazy Sunday Afternoon” when appropriate. Karen went on to theatre college and touring as a cruise ship singer. Now, only six months since forming as a band, Karen Moses, Liz Chadwick and Marcia Brown are shimmying elegantly up the career path in their sequinned gowns. Immaculately styled and pitch perfect, they have already sung at iconic venues The Ivy and Cahoots. Their silky smooth voices and innocent, hand-not-hip-focused choreography are sweet as honey. See their Ivy Gig here. According to their website, all three are tea and cake fans. Girls, the next item might just interest you!
MISS RAE’S QUEEN OF THE MONTH: BECKY COLEBROOK
AFTERNOON TEA BY TRULY SCRUMPTIOUS BAKES at RYE LODGE HOTEL
Truthfully, if I’m going out for drinks or dinner, I would never have considered Rye Lodge. The place had nothing that I was aware of to draw me in. But the new collaboration between James De Courcey’s Rye Lodge Hotel and Becky Colebrook’ s Truly Scrumptious Bakes (TSB) is a shining, cherry-on-top of an idea. I’ve been, and loved it so much, I booked a table to return before I even left. Every morning from Wednesday to Sunday, qualified baker Becky adds her finishing touches to Rye Lodge’s breakfast room creating a kitsch little pastel palace perfect for afternoon teas. Fresh cut wild flowers, pink table cloths, rose shaped teapots and a centrepiece table full of her exquisite cakes make this a sugar sweet little escape from the omnipresence of shabby chic and “Paris Grey” walls. Becky is a mum of three, who says having children has given her the confidence to make a career from her passion for cooking and creating a happy, relaxed atmosphere. She has a beehive mind, buzzing with ideas and is the perfect host.
“I’m obsessed with food. I love cake. If you cut me open, I’d bleed buttercream.”
Seated by an open window, my darling Marie and I drank crisp Corte Alta Prosecco and ate little sandwiches, scones with homemade blueberry jam, delicate macaroons, mini custard tarts and tiny cakes topped with glitter dusted raspberries, all expertly made by Becky. And to any fellow afternoon tea lovers, the scones do not stick to your teeth. It is such a welcoming, relaxed place, we ended up staying for THREE hours. Three hours. Even my 7 month old loved it, he tried his first cucumber sandwich and loved his bit of scone with clotted cream. Importantly, Rye Lodge is pram accessible.
TSB serve Ploughman’s lunches, with locally sourced breads, meats and cheeses, plus Chapel Down Curious Brew so manly men, do not be put off. You can opt for a table in the terrace, where Becky hopes to cater to open afternoon garden parties. Six out of five stars, for welcoming atmosphere and product brilliance.
ENGLISH EFFERVESCENCE and a GUSBOURNE GOURMET DINNER AT THE GALLIVANT, CAMBER.
Tuesday June 23 6:30pm £75 per person call 01797 225057 to book.
“Showcasing multi award winning wines from Gusbourne Estate and the very best ingredients the area has to offer.”
I’m spending as much time as possible at Camber Sands. In between trips to the beach, I’m missing the beach and planning my next trip to the beach. I never stop feeling lucky to live near to a place I love so much. I also love fizz. And good ideas. So I’m excited to tell you all that The Gallivant has made the brave, and in my opinion, excellent decision to ditch champagne in favour of English fizz. After a day on the sands, go check out the calm, glamorous, pale, mirrored bar, sink into a sheepskin and try out their new English only wine list. Local vineyards Gusbourne Estate and Chapel Down– which you may have heard was served at Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding- are included on this clever and unusual drinks menu. Do phone ahead. The Gallivant is sometimes closed to the public for weddings.
A massive thank you to Karen Moses, Becky Colebrook and Mark O’Reilly for coming forward with their exciting local news and making this edition such a pleasure to write. As ever, get in touch and tell me if you’ve got something worth knowing about.