I feel very lucky that Bee & Bear HQ is where it is. By that, I don't mean in a kitchen over-stocked with young children regularly complaining they've burnt their arms on the outside of the Aga while trying to race their siblings round the kitchen table and misjudging the corners. I mean in Sussex, and near Kent. I fell in love with Sussex when I met Grizzly Bear about 15 years ago, and apart from a brief sabbatical to Hampshire, we've been here ever since. I love Sussex for many reasons, most of them aesthetic, but it feels like a brilliant place to be trying to build a food business. Everyone I have come across so far has been nothing but supportive. This weekend was the first Cobnut Food Fair at King John's Nursery, just up the road from us. The nursery itself is a pretty magical place at the best of times, but the fair itself was utterly wonderful. (I should add at this point I was there as a customer rather than a stall-holder, but I really hope to be there next year.) There was everything from gin to brownies, eggs to gooseberries, and the Bee was able to make caterpillar bread with some other children. Sadly for me, Grizzly Bear was at Lords today, so I drank no gin, missed the cooking demonstration, and spent a painful amount of time managing over-exuberant toddlers in the soft play area. But it felt like a real celebration of local food, in the most idyllic setting imaginable for a food fair.
So the school holidays are upon us, and we're off camping next week. The irony of someone so utterly obsessed with both tennis and Wimbledon managing to book a holiday during the second week of the Championships, during which Rafa features for the first time in many years, has not been lost on me. Anyway, it's three years since we went camping. At that point we only had the Bee. Putting up the tent should have been a doddle. However within 3 minutes of starting, some very lovely German grandparents had hot-footed it across the field to help, clad only in Speedos and a bikini. God help us with three of them. I did think we should just stick them all in a travel cot and throw in snacks and toys at regular intervals, but it will just degenerate into some kind of pre-school cage-fight before Grizzly has managed to get the poles lined up in size order...I'll keep you posted.