Clavering Summer Fete

The husband and I will, in due course, be joining the escape from the city crowd. We have spent many an afternoon driving round the home counties looking for the perfect place to live when we came upon Saffron Walden in North Essex. We fell in love. It isn't too twee, has great schools, pubs, restaurants and fabulous looking properties with the much needed extra space we so crave.

So in the next year we think we'll make that move. We'll leave the big smoke and begin a life of simple country living with our little girl. Fear not, once a city girl always a city girl. That's the attractive thing about Saffron Walden: it's cosmopolitan feel, it's proximity to the vibrant Cambridge and great commuter links to London, as both of us will continue to mostly work in London. But to get a proper feel for the area we're now beginning to take weekend trips to suss out the villages and their residents. We began yesterday with the Clavering Summer Fete. Clavering is best known for it's celebrity resident Jamie Oliver, though he was nowhere to be seen yesterday!

There's me and Matilda having a go at the belly dancing with the Bishops Stortford Egyptian Dancers!

It's a picture postcard village, perfectly manicured with thatched cottages lining the main road. At its heart is the extremely popular Cricketers pub owned by Jamie's parents. The Fete was held in the grounds of the village hall and it was very well attended. There was plenty there to entertain the children, the usual races, maypole dancing, dog show, chuck a pale of hay over an impossible height, bouncy castle, pop corn stand, face painting and belly dancers which Matilda and I both joined for a bit of a wiggle. There were cake stands, a beer/ale tent that also sold the most delicious homemade Elderflower presse. A brass band provided the background music and tea and cakes were being served in the Village hall itself. It was a terribly British Summer's afternoon, people were friendly, I got chatting to a lovely Mum about the same age as me. Everyone was very enthusiastic about the area especially those with children, as there are so many activities available for that age group. Makes a change from London where if strangers talk to you you either think they're mad or axe murderers or about to steal your purse! I was relieved to see that there are a lot of other reasonably young (well thirty-forty something) couples around with children of Matilda's age.

Luckily the rain held off but when it began to turn we headed to our beloved Saffron Walden to take shelter in the many boutiques, before we came back to take our table at the Cricketers.More on that tomorrow.

We had a lovely day, Matilda had a lot of fun making little friends, and we got terribly excited on the way home about moving to the much maligned Essex. Roll on getting me white stilettos and handbag!