The sleet which had threatened all morning finally arrived and the consequent bracing acceleration for the last ten minutes of the walk helped to stoke hearty appetites which were well served by the friendly and hard-working ladies at the Coach & Horses Inn.
After spending millions and years of dedicated work in restoring the house to its former glory and in addition acquiring as much of the original furniture as was possible, it was bequeathed to the NT. The well-proportioned building exterior is in the Palladian style; most of us particularly enjoyed the classical style interior. Many of the elegant plaster reliefs integrated into the room’s décor were stunning, particularly when combined with some quite breath-taking ceilings. However, for the ladies in the group the icing on the cake was to see the rooms so beautifully decorated for Christmas as it would have been in former times
These and the loaves then went in to the ovens and while they were baking 6 more volunteers tried their hand at bread plaits, much to the amusement of the audience. Their efforts may have owed more to the Generation Game than to Craft Bakery, especially when it came to dipping the finished plaits into a mountain of poppy seed, but they did all eventually make it into the oven, together with a batch of bread knots embellished with ground sweetcorn which our hosts somehow produced while keeping up a running commentary on proceedings. While these were all baking, we were treated to an excellent buffet lunch, following which we were able to inspect, and take home, all the finished products. Safely back in Andover by 14:00 all agreed that it had been a fascinating, educational and enjoyable outing.
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or members who still had some energy left then made their way to the church of St John the Baptist, the parish church of Cirencester (where we were offered and enjoyed the mince pies;
first of the season). It is one of the largest parish churches in England and has been a place of worship for over a thousand years. The oldest part of the church is The Chancel, which was started around 1115. The church is renowned for its perpendicular porch and fan vaults; it also has several merchant tombs.
On returning to our cars, we made a short detour via the oldest part of the town, appreciating its architecture and narrow streets.
Prepared by: Bob Taylor & Rosemary Crumplin