Chris and I have survived the gruelling train ride and made it out to the far flung reaches of Dorset. Today, after arriving, we have pushed even further west, into Devon, to visit a farm shop called Millers. With Alexa in tow, driving us around, keeping us company, we stop for a bacon sandwich and cup of tea. The Little Barn Cafe is basically a wooden hut out the front of the farm shop. It houses a lone woman, who greets us happily, and offers a range of sauces that compliment bacon. Chris goes brown, Alexa red; I opt for an egg. Sir Francis, the man who shares his name with the contents of our sandwich, once said, ‘hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper.’ I wonder where that leaves our mid afternoon snack.
We sit on extremely sturdy chairs. I mean really sturdy, chiselled out of finest strong wood from the most nourished of forests. No doubt their weight is needed when the winds pick up in the car park, sending the wind-chimes into chorus. We are thanked for bringing the nice weather, and as we sit here in the September sunshine, we discuss the plans for the coming month. These include a food fair and some visiting students from Plymouth University. Mostly, though, the priority is the Jammatology philosophy cookbook, Philosofood, for that is why we are here: to write, to cook, to make jam.
An overturned spoon donning a number impales the underside of plant pot. It marks our spot on the grid of tables out here. In three big pots the tea comes. A woman compliments the Little Barn lady on her brownies, saying, in agreement with the message scrawled in chalk on the hut, ‘That really was the best brownie in the west.’
Flowers, arranged in lines on a long table, flop about in the wind. A flip flop on a stick stands sturdy against a fence. From the end of the car park, stretching up a hill, extend fields which culminate in a blurred mass of an evergreen forest, the spiked trees puncturing the clouds. The constant passing of traffic brings a soft monotonous soundtrack of tyres and exhausts. The bacon, giving way with a slight crunch, lets out a smoky reassurance which is only encouraged by the warmth of the tea. The West Country will take of ye, it says, for all ye days that ye spend here.