We are away on a break in our favourite county, Lincolnshire. We take off early one Friday morning with Master Mason and Ms Atherton in tow. Having mastered the car’s integral sat nav, we manage to navigate ourselves to the village of Stixwould by lunchtime. Dumping our bags off, we raid the local town for food and drink and do a splendid round of the charity shops, of which there are many. We also take Ms Atherton to a couple of the local antique shops. When I say antique shop, you may be thinking of something spacious and ordered with beautiful objects artfully displayed. In the town of Horncastle, there are many antique shops but they are all crammed with stuff including vintage clothing. One of the things we can find aplenty is fur. Oodles and oodles of fur of all hues and types, hanging lifelessly. The are amazingly cheap to buy. £28 would buy you a full-length fur coat although I couldn’t tell you the animal it came from. They also have astrakhan coats which, I have to amit, I like until I realise the pelts come from baby lambs, sometimes lamb foetus. Not very nice. But there are all kinds of other exciting vintage clothing, shoes, bags and hats to peruse and try on.
During the course of the weekend, we visit the beach, eat fish and chips, manage to cook on an Aga and immerse ourselves in antique shops. There is one particular shop in Horncastle which challenges even the most cluttered-minded of us. The shop itself is a jumble of antiques but on the first floor, there is a room dedicated to fabrics and it is just that – a huge fabric room with rails, shelves and heaps of fabric everywhere. It is a challenge to get into as it means stepping on fabric which seems just wrong. Outside in the yard, there are tables full of porcelain and china objects, just open to the elements. I have warned Master Mason that the shop will perhaps provoke a panic attack due to the disorganisation and, on entering the main part, he says initially he is a little disappointed and that it does not live up to his expectations. He is a little more convinced when he sees the fabric room but when he goes out into the yard at the back, he is truly impressed. He has to go and fetch Ms Atherton from her exploration of the fabric room to ensure she sees the full glory of the yard.
At some point late on Saturday afternoon we find ourselves in Louth and want to show them the tailor’s shop. We push the door open and find ourselves in a cramped shop with bolts of fabric on every side and suits hanging around the shop. The tailor is pleased to see us and seems particularly taken with Ms Atherton. The tailor is 76 and three-quarters and has few teeth but is full of life and glad to still be alive. He has no time for any airs and graces but, as a Yorkshireman, prides himself on plain speaking. He cracks jokes at Master Mason’s expense (“Do you like a good joke? When you get home, look in the mirror”), no doubt to worm his way into Ms Atherton’s affections. They discuss fabric, mills and her knowledge clearly impresses him as he gives her his number so they can discuss mills and fabric at some later stage. She says she will pass it on to her employer which may be a bit of a disappointment to the tailor.
We see the game butcher in Louth and ask if he is going to make any 3-bird roasts for Christmas. He says he has thought about it but they have not made them before although his colleague is currently making one and they are planning to try it later on. We agree we will call and, if the experiment is successful, they will make us one. One the agreed date, I wake to find I have no voice at all so Mr Mason has to make the call. The butchers have enjoyed their dinner and will make us one so we agree to collect it on Friday before we head back to London.
The week is fabulous and we thoroughly enjoy it. Lincolnshire is a beautiful county but please don’t tell anyone. We want to keep it a secret.