Every three to four years or so (nobody really knows the exact science of our timing, not least ourselves) we hold a summer party, as close to Midsummer’s Day as we can. A mix of employees, customers, suppliers, locals, friends and family all flock down for an open day at the Mill, followed by an evening of feasting and dancing. I had planned on using the camera to document the whole thing to the last detail and turn this into a full blog post, but unfortunately the preparation took over, the camera disappeared, and I found myself organising cream tea for 150 people… So as a result, I’ve cobbled something together from a mixture of the very few shaky i-phone snaps I took, and those that some of our guests kindly shared on social media, as a little reminder of the day.
Emily selected our most vibrant blooms for the garden, which Alix and I were tasked with turning into bouquets for the tea tables. Dusty (my sproodle) helped by unravelling all the twine and joyfully tossing it through the air, while Toby the puppy focused on stealing my shoes. The marquee and the teepee went up in the neighbouring field, and we decorated them at the last minute with ropes of ivy interwoven with ferns and greenery from the surrounding woods. It was a race against time to keep them fresh but get them into position before the evening guests started to arrive.
Below: Emily, Alix and Dusty
Twine toss action shot!
On the day of the party, the sunshine was incredible. John Compton, who has worked at the Mill now for nearly 30 years, took people on tours of the Mill, followed by buckets of tea, chocolate brownies, scones, clotted cream and jam, and my mother’s homemade Victoria sponge cakes. Inflatable sofas went into the river, and some of the more plucky guests went into the water to lounge on them as the temperatures soared, while others paddled in the shallows.
Below, Alan Osmond, holding court in river
All during this time, Chris Holister (who some of you may know from our baking school) was manning the wood fired oven to create some of the most delicious slow cooked lamb, which came from just down the road at Broadfield Farm. The heat from the flames in addition to a hot summer’s day meant this was no mean feat, and it was cooking for a good 8 hours or more. This was served up as the dusk fell with sourdough flatbreads, and a whole mixture of barbecued meats and crispy fresh salads.
Below, Broadfield lamb, halfway through the slow-cooking process
As night descended, the bands struck up and played music into the wee hours, at which point the remaining revellers slowly traipsed across the fields or back to their tents to collapse.
A huge thank you to all our wonderful team who pulled this off once again, and to everyone who came from far and wide to visit and take part.
Until the next one… See you in three years!
The six photos directly above are courtesy of @ellieosmond and @ghherbert, thank you for sharing them with us.