One of the things I want to do in my new life is to use local producers as much as possible. If you live in the country, it seems mad not to buy from the people on your doorstep, especially when some of them are producing wonderful things, whether it is cheese or gingham checks.
I came across the textile designs of Vanessa Arbuthnott (above) while looking for a shepherd's hut. (My mother wants to buy a shepherd's hut for my garden, where she will sleep when she comes to stay. But that's a whole other post!)
Vanessa's designs were featured on the Cotswold Shepherds Huts site, and I was thrilled to find a range of fabrics that used such clever colour combinations and subtle designs. I've never been a very chintzy person, but I wanted something for Awkward Hill that was more in keeping with a country cottage than the more austere colour scheme I had in London. I think Vanessa's designs complement the colours of the Cotswolds perfectly.
I'd discovered, thanks to VP, that there was a very good organic farm shop nearby, on the road to Cirencester, but ironically I had my first taste of Gloucestershire artisan cheeses in London the other night, at the RHS Harvest Festival show.
Godsells, who are based in Leonard Stanley, near Stonehouse, had a selection of their award-winning cheeses to taste, and I was smitten by their Three Virgins (so to speak), which is a Cheshire-type crumbly, tangy cheese. Only iron willpower prevented me from ripping open the packet I bought and eating the cheese on the train on the way home.
Another of their cheeses is Singing Granny, a Cheddar-type cheese that is so strong, you could almost use it as a substitute for Parmesan.
The man at the Godsells stall also gave me a copy of the Grazing Guide, which is a directory of local food and drink producers (including pubs and restaurants) in Cirencester and the Cotswolds. I only got it on Tuesday but it's already well-thumbed.
I anticipate that I am going to put on weight in Gloucestershire. But at least I'll have nice curtains.