YourImage (1)I took a trip down memory lane this week as I visited Blists Hill Victorian Town Museum. It has been nearly ten years since my last visit and they have made some vast improvements including a new street and a new entrance.  The sound of a pub sing along echoed along the cobbled street and   we sat in the sun and enjoyed an amusing open air production of Sweeney Tod that was performed by a cast of one with the aid of an array of wigs and a lot of imagination. After walking around all the various Victorian style shops and enjoying listening to Harriet who thought we had entered a ‘different world’ along the lines of Narnia; I decided that we would go and have our photographs taken in Sepia before departing. For Harriet this was the highlight of the day she was in her element choosing a Victorian style costume and hat. It was soon time to go home and four hours wasn’t nearly long enough to appreciate everything on offer, but the girls were hot and clammy and I was looking forward to my dinner.

On a warm evening I always start to think about relaxing in a good British beer garden, but my memories of beer gardens have been changed forever. After vising Blists Hill I decided to visit my parents and we all decided to visit a nice pub situated on a canal and sit in the beer garden and enjoy a good pub dinner. Sounds idyllic, except after arriving at the pub and then ordering  food an hour and a half lapsed with not so much as a whiff of dinner.  In this time I didn’t see any food come out, but I could hear plenty of hungry complaints and the odd stomach rumbling.  A nice relaxing sit in the beer garden was now turning into a nightmare with my two children turning into irritable gremlins through hunger. I went into the pub to find out where our meals were and joined a queue of six people making the same enquiry. Everyone else cancelled their meal and brandishing a refund walked out, however,  I just needed to get the girls fed quickly, so I uttered the words ‘’can you please get food on the table in the next ten minutes, I don’t mind what order it arrives in’’.  Well as we continued to sit in the beer garden as the sun faded and the patio lights came on, I heard a promising sound…the clank of cutlery and dinner plates. Yes, it was food designated for our table. As the plates were put on the table, silence ensued. There was a surprised expression on my mother’s face, delighted expressions from my children and my father was looking perplexed. As I stared at the plate in front of me, my puzzled expression prompted the waitress to exclaim, ‘’well you did say the food was to come out in any order and this was the quickest thing the chef could get out’’. I could see her logic and I am a strong believer in the philosophy, there is a first time for everything, but as I ate my cake and ice cream by the glow of a patio light I couldn’t help thinking that a more conventional pub meal might be nice next time.

Well I have piles of work to get on with today, but I am making greengage jam before I do anything else as my fruit is just ripe. So until next week I bid you a fond farewell from West Wales.



About Seren Charrington-Hollins

ABOUT SEREN-CHARRINGTON-HOLLINS Describing my work through just one job title is difficult; because my professional life sees me wear a few hats: Food Historian, period cook, broadcaster, writer and consultant. I have a great passion for social and food history and in addition to researching food history and trends I have also acted as a consultant on domestic life and changes throughout history for a number of International Companies. In addition to being regularly aired on radio stations; I have made a number of television appearances on everything from Sky News through to ITV’s Country House Sunday, Holiday of a Lifetime with Len Goodman , BBC4’s Castle’s Under Siege, BBC South Ration Book Britain; Pubs that Built Britain with Hairy Bikers and BBC 2’s Inside the Factory. Amongst other publications my work has been featured in Period Living Magazine, Telegraph, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Great British Food Magazine and I write regularly for a variety of print and online publications. I am very fortunate to be able to undertake work that is also my passion and never tire of researching; recreating historical recipes and researching changing domestic patterns. Feel free to visit my blog,