Monday 1 September 2014

Flatford Revisited

You may be wondering why I returned to Flatford Bridge Cottage today, when I have approximately 500 National Trust properties still to see.

If you've been to Flatford, you'll know why. It's a stunningly beautiful little place. John Constable based many of his greatest paintings on Flatford and his scenes are still recognisable today, thanks to the National Trust who look after the buildings and countryside in Constable Country.

It gets my vote as the most idyllic spot in Britain. I would gladly and willingly pay the National Trust £58 a year for the upkeep of Constable Country alone. In fact, I'd probably pay them ten times that amount, but don't tell them.

Anyway, I covered the general story of John Constable and Flatford in my first post about Flatford and its scones in November 2013. But here are a few pictures from today's visit:

Flatford Bridge Cottage
A rare sighting of the Scone Sidekick at Flatford Bridge Cottage

Flatford Bridge Cottage
Flatford Bridge Cottage, River Stour and apple-laden tree

Flatford Haywain
Flatford - scene of the The Haywain (see below)

The Haywain
The Haywain, by John Constable

There was one moment of heartbreak for me today. Last time I came to Flatford I helped bake the scones. I remember being amazed at how the outside of the scone was so crisp, while the inside was soft and fluffy. 

Well, it turns out that this wasn't down to me. The fruit scone today was exactly the same. I've eaten around 60 National Trust scones since I last visited Flatford and I haven't come across any other scones that achieve crisp vs fluffy perfection.

Flatford Scone of the Month
Flatford is on my World Scone Heritage List because it is brilliant at scones but also because they have a Scone of the Month. I arrived at the tea counter ten minutes after it opened - today being 1st September - and was HONOURED to be the very first person to buy an Apple & Blackberry scone. I'd seen about a billion blackberries in the hedgerows round Flatford and the tree next to the tearoom was about to keel over under the weight of all the apples, so it made perfect sense. It was delicious:

Flatford scone of the month
Flatford scone of the month - Apple & Blackberry

I'm going to end by giving you another helpful tip (the first tip being GO TO FLATFORD): I recommend staying overnight. I had noticed on my first visit that the granary once owned by John Constable's father is now a B&B called, cleverly, The Granary. It claims to offer "3* accommodation at 2* prices in a 10* location" and I wouldn't argue with that. Here it is:

The Granary Flatford
The Granary at Flatford
We had a lovely evening wandering around the area and the best night's sleep I've had in ages, because apart from the odd quack there wasn't a sound.

Suffolk sunset
Sunset near Flatford
So you haven't been to Flatford/Constable Country, go as soon as you can. If you've already been, go back. It is without doubt one of my favourite places in the world.

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