Saturday, April 17, 2021

 Summer Fete

Dear Friends and neighbours of Amberleigh,

As you will have seen by the notice at the public well, Lady Caroline and Lady Elizabeth have set the date for our Summer Fete which is to be July 24th. We hope to provide another enjoyable day for the families of Amberleigh and its surrounding area. We shall have our games to participate in, the many stalls to browse as well as entertainments for the children. Music shall be provided in many forms, from a string quartet to a pipe and fiddle to lighten the mood and put a spring into your step. There will also be our judging tent with all your lovely entries.

This enterprise, as always, relies upon the kindness of the villagers to help in whatever way they may. Many hands shall be needed to erect the tents, set up stalls, move tables and chairs to the tea tent and many other tasks which require the strong help from our menfolk. Assistance with setting up the judging area and making temporary pens for the livestock will be most appreciated. Our games will need to be organized and set out also as will the decorating of the dancing area where a ball shall commence when the fete festivities have concluded. We ask you to help in any way you may be able, to ensure the day is a success.

Ladies, may we call upon you to provide cakes and buns for the tea tent, which we remind all, is in aid of our church fund. Any of your home favourites are sure to be a nice addition to our cake table. When you are making your elderflower drinks we ask you make an extra jug for the fete. We shall also need volunteers to prepare and serve the tea throughout the day. You may work for a short time so that you may enjoy the festivities while also lending a hand. We shall be happy to work with you in this matter.

Those of you so inclined, may have a stall to hawk your wares. We have a generous area set aside to accommodate as many as 50 stalls and are hopeful you would like to be a part of this day by providing your special crafts and creations for the perusal of the guests.

There shall be, of course, the judging tent filled with all your entries. You may enter as many of the categories you wish, but only one entry per category, if you please. The more entries we have the better the competition as well as the display. Let us make this an exceptional competition, one the judges must take care to deliberate upon before choosing the winners. The categories this year are many and varied, with something to appeal to each of us.

As is tradition, such a day as this shall culminate in a ball to be held on the green. A special dance floor is to be erected and the Bexford orchestra shall play to our heart’s content.

We thank you for your continued help and inspiration in creating this Summer Fete and we hope to greet you all there on July 24th.

Your devoted organizers,

Lady Elizabeth Marlowe and Lady Caroline Farnsworth

Saturday, April 10, 2021

A Family Buisness


The Amberleigh Candle Works

What started out as a home business in Amberleigh has become a thriving enterprise, providing not only candles but also jobs for the village. Run by the Canfield Family for three generations, The Candle Works is an important part of Amberleigh Village life.

Mr. George Canfield, an ambitious young man, saw there was a need to provide candles locally for the people of Amberleigh and its surrounding area. The nearest place producing candles was in Cheltenham, a ten mile journey and not always easily assessable when the weather was harsh. Candles may be purchased in Bexford, for at that time there was no variety shop in Amberleigh, but they were dear and many did without, relying only upon daylight to complete their daily chores.

With Money inherited from a kindly uncle, Mr. Canfield built his house and an outbuilding in which to start making candles. He worked from dawn until dusk with the help of his brother to produce a candle of quality, knowing a product well made is worth the money paid to purchase it. He set out to make enough to sell but also built up a reserve inventory with the intention of sending his brother out to find customers in nearby Cheltenham. Because his prices were much more affordable for the locals, he soon made a success of his endeavour, branching out to provide candles for the shops in Bexford as well as a wider area, thanks to his brother’s salesmanship.

Having established himself, he turned his attentions to building a family, proposing to Miss Evalina Winthrop, that season’s most eligible young lady. Theirs was a much talked about union, both having ambitions for their future and together their business and family grew. Their stylish home, Micel House, became home to four daughters and one son. All learned the business of making candles but it was the son, Mr. Winthrop Canfield, who expanded the business, buying land to enlarge the small outbuilding, where the candle enterprise began, to three times its size and adding a counting house to the premises. The larger building enabled their outcome to triple, creating a need to hire extra help to meet the needs of their customers.

Today the Candle Works boasts a work force of twelve, supplying the neighbouring villages and the nearest towns with candles. Mr. Heath Canfield, son of Winthrop and Evalina, newly returned from his grand tour, works with his father overseeing production and shall take on the job of managing director upon his father’s retirement. He has also become a very sought after young man by the mothers parish who hope he will marry one of their daughters; a very auspicious match indeed. He has embraced his role in the family business and hopes to make his mark with his ideas on expanding and developing the Candle Works.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

An Easter Feast


A Taste of France

Bonjour my dears! Lady Caroline Farnsworth at your service. I have news for Amberleigh. So exciting, One simply must share with my fellow villagers. Joseph Farnsworth (Viscount Comely), recently came back from a month long in Paris, and brought home an especially excessive gift – an accompaniment for my kitchens, a gesture so grande that I want you all to enjoy the pleasure of his company this Easter Sunday. So do read on, I have to tell, I simply must!

A genuine French chef, formerly of the lauded Court of Versailles – and trained under a celebrated royal chef. Our new man is Monsieur Anton Leopold de le Brechampe and was apprenticed as a young boy in the lower kitchen, chosen as he shared the same Christian name as his tutor. He spent twelve long and informative years learning his techniques of mastery. This young man is but a few weeks shy of one and twenty years, yet so accomplished with his craft. His utterances of mon dieux and c’est moi! can be heard all over the great kitchen at Comely Hall…which by his tone, is none too pleased with the ingredients he has to work with, I dare say. Ingredients are scarce at this season. But he is an amiable young man, and has endeared himself to the staff and us all in only a few short weeks of employment. Monsieur Anton was deeply saddened to leave his previous royal establishment, but times are changing so rapidly in Paris the change was a timely one. Yet he is greatly appreciative to be in service at the manor, as his singing can be heard as testament, floating out the mullioned windows into the kitchen garden from his vast benches, as he prepares his fancies. He invites one and all to call him simply Anton to make his embarrassment far less painful, as none of us can pronounce the rest of his name with sufficient grace (unless you are Madame d’Avignon or Miss Freyda Gildermann of course). Anton learned his craft exceedingly well indeed! We have been party to elaborate concoctions such as coqovan and vichyssoise and soup de celeriac. The taste magnificent, it is a pleasure to be spoiled at table.

As this weekend is the sobering rite of Easter, we have occasion to invite you all to dine at table in the Great Hall along with our family at Comely Manor this Sunday at 3 of the clock. Anton tells my cook Mrs Lambert, traditionally in his village on the border of Italy and France, they serve a special dish called Coscuiotto di Agnello con Patate. It consists of a generous roasted lamb and potatoes platter that he has added a spectacular gravy & a flourish of local fresh vegetables to suit his sensibilities. We shall also enjoy Mrs Lambert’s Simnel cake that is a local tradition she bakes for our family – but with the welcome input from Anton with a delicate twist to the usual flat top. Eleven balls of marzipan in a circle, representing the 12 apostles, they keep the fallen twelfth in kitchen for staff to sample the sombre occasion with respect. I like this gesture. Anton was most put out that he had not access to saffron to colour his marzipan yellow, and Mrs Lambert tells me, we must endure palid, bland and insipid almond paste! It sits on a cake of creamed honey and butter with eggs and flour and spiced dried plums as that is all that is available in the stores. I am sure we can all endure that sacrifice, with pleasure.

Simnel Cake lightly burnished with flame.

May you enjoy an happy Easter from “Welcome to Amberleigh”.

Foraging with Old Mary

  Hello, My Dears, As you know, I like nothing better than to meander around the Ackley Wood, foraging for herbs and wild flowers to use i...