24 November 2013

November visit to Van Hage nursery and Finchingfield, Essex.

The morning was cold and bright for the outing so we were all wrapped up well. The journey to Van Hage in Ware, was uneventful. As we entered the gates we saw the sign that said they had an ice skating rink there, the driver commented that he didn't do hospital visits so we had better leave well alone!
Betty & Cynthia with the massive reindeer at the entrance.
 It was a veritable winter wonderland inside, with almost every Christmas decoration, trees and lights you could imagine.
Just some of the Christmas figures.

Deer amongst the trees.
The ice skating ring was doing a roaring trade, with families out in force. There were several  young children doing really well on their ice skates.
Ice skating with Mum.
We all had a really interesting visit, many of us stocking up on food for the birds. They had massive suet balls there, reduced to 10p, as well as  seed and feeders. The range of things for sale was amazing, from plants, garden sundries, seeds, candles, decorations and gifts galore. There was also a large pet department with a very big resident moggy in it.
Jeannette peeping out from the giant reindeer.

At the allotted time we all boarded the coach again to make our way to Finchingfield and a tasty meal at Bosworths Tea Room, suitably decorated for the occasion.
Members await their meals.
Finchingfield is a village situated in the Braintree district of Essex. It is in the north-west of the county, which is a primarily rural area. It is situated approximately six miles from Thaxted and somewhat further from the larger towns of Saffron Walden & Braintree. 
Sign on the roadside.
Ducks hoping for dinner.

Finchingfield is often called the most beautiful village in England and it is regarded as a 'picture-postcard' village and one of the most photographed in England with a duck pond and village green surrounded by Georgian and medieval cottages; a church, St John the Baptist Church, which is on the hill; an 18th century windmill; three public houses; tea rooms; a hall; a primary school; and a doctor's surgery.

Some of the beautiful old cottages.

Finchingfield has often appeared in television programmes and films and in television and film commercials. Also it has been seen frequently adorning chocolate boxes, biscuit tins and other quality products.
Finchingfield was the later home and resting place of Dodie Smith, the author of several books including The Hundred and One Dalmations written in 1956. Dodie Smith lived in The Barretts at Howe Street, a hamlet in Finchingfield Parish.
We had a lovely lunch there, a carvery with a choice of 3 meats, lots of tasty vegetables and the biggest Yorkshire puddings I have ever seen, with all the appropriate sauces. This was followed by a choice of desserts and tea or coffee. Everything was delicious.
A close-up of some of the decorations.
Once we had finished the meal some of us strolled around the village until the coach came to pick us up. The drizzle started and the light began to fade, very quickly it was nearly dark, so it arrived just in time. There was much snoozing on the way home!

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