Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Sunday Road Trip

I’ve only had one day off this weekend (finished at 6pm on Saturday, start at 8am on Monday – so early to bed tonight to get up even before the crack of bloody dawn tomorrow) but one way or another it’s been a good one and what’s more has felt like proper time out. The Scottish one came and picked me (and quite a lot of wine – Christmas is coming...) up from work, took me out to the countryside and set me down with Fortnum and Mason's latest catalogue (unbelievably sumptuous, terrifyingly expensive) whilst he cooked. That man is a treasure.

Last night was clear and frosty – the first time I’ve seen stars in weeks - and all the way we drove back out from town to the countryside there were wreaths of smoke from fireworks accompanied by a wonderfully sweet autumnal aroma; quite romantic, and very nice to be indoors by the fire with wine (and Fortnum’s catalogue). Today was equally clear and sunny and far too nice to stay indoors, I could have tidied the garden but we got itchy feet and decided We Should Go Somewhere And Do Something. Given the beauty of the day with its opportunities for getting the last of the sloes for gin making, or a few late apples, or just a simple walk through all the fallen leaves admiring the colours of the landscape we decided we’d go to Stoke-on-Trent.

Whatever else Stoke has going for it, it really isn’t a pretty town, but again the drive up (yes I’m talking about the A50) was lovely with a fantastic sky full of sunlight and clouds (and Ratcliffe on Soar power station but we worked hard on ignoring that). Mum and I used to regularly visit the potteries where she gathered a formidable collection of china, and where we both developed a slight obsession with Emma Bridgewater... Poor Scottish one, no idea where he was being directed and probably no interest in trawling through shelves of mugs, but he dealt with it all manfully. I might have mentioned my love of overpriced, middle class mugs before – but what the hell – here’s another picture because they’re just so nice, and tea clearly tastes much better out of one of these than out of a lesser mug.

After Bridgewater we went to Burleigh Pottery – the really remarkable thing about today was the fact that we didn’t really get lost (just one very minor detour which hardly counts at all...) because all these places are tucked away down side streets behind housing estates, or empty bathroom shops and the like; it’s almost impossible to believe your anywhere near where you want to be. Burleigh was fun too, a big warehouse full of intensely coloured and decorated plates, bowls, jugs, and who knows what else, the overall effect is definitely overwhelming but leaves you in no doubt that there are treasures to be unearthed.

I had a great time and he didn’t complain, so I like to think we both enjoyed ourselves, and I actually feel like I’ve had a holiday which is a bonus because work is going to involve a mountain of stuff to move around tomorrow – anybody would think Christmas was coming.


  1. Stoke-on-Trent is the stuff of legend in my family, having attempted a day trip just like the one you described, but getting so terribly lost we never found a single pottery! I'm pleased to hear they actually do exist :) And I'm quite sorry to have missed out on those mugs!

  2. What a lovely day you had. The weather was so wondeful this weekend. I'm putting off going out in this mornings horrid rain by having my tea in an 'overpriced, middle class mug'.

  3. Laura - it used to be the same with us, but Stoke is now much better signposted - all the potteries have brown signs to reassure you as you dissapear down yet another dingy back road. Wishing you better luck for next time - those mugs will be yours!

    Joan Hunter Dunn I did the same this morning, it was horrible and my tea-in-a-mug-that-cost-enough-to-buy-a-dozen-mugs-and-still-have-change was the thing that got me through a perfectly foul day. Sometimes I just need things to be pretty. Now I'm off to bed with a hot toddy in another damn fine looking mug:)