Thursday, 11 August 2011

Kaffe Fasset Exhibition at Charleston Until 21 August

I'll make no bones about it - I am ashamed and not a little down about the riots that have been happening here. So we escaped the news for the day and headed for a gust of fresh air on the South Downs. Charleston House, home to Vanessa Bell and her family during World War I where they could hear the bombardments across the channel, offers always a little haven of peace. Now the gallery is full of Kaffe Fassett flowers - stitched, knitted and quilted - it is lovely to see. I can contemplate forever the peplum jacket, as beautiful as anything produced in the 17th century with its emulated damask Persian roses. And when you go to visit, take a pair of stout shoes and walk for 30 minutes up through the lovely green way to the top of the Downs. It is not a great challenge. Here you can look down on Charleston and the beautiful surrounding patchwork of chalk land, tilled and laboured and cultivated since time immemorial - and turning round, you can see for miles the stretch of the English coast which has withstood the battering of innumerable tides and ages.
Coming back we stopped at Bill's in Lewes, our favourite cafe, which I have told you about before, to find that he has published the recipes of his tasty dishes. Bill is salt of the earth, no pretentions, just someone who has worked with fruit and veg all his life and has developed the instinct to work wonders with them - as you can see from the video clip. While other small greengrocers caved under the weight of supermarkets - and Tescos is but 5 minutes walk away from Bill's - he has thrived by making his shop the most beautiful visual experience. No diminished and old vegetables here. All is polished and bright and dewy fresh. Yesterday's veg goes into delicious soups and casseroles that people queue to eat. He now has home made chutneys, jams, sauces... Watching Bill is like watching a ballet dancer - he will always find the next steps and if I was writing a Harvard Business Case Study, it would be about Bill and how small shops can prosper. There is hope for everyone - imagine! Something to smile about.


  1. Thank you for the link, I truly enjoied the video and I am sorry I cannot go and have a soup right now. It's really a charming , colourfull, joyfull place. Rosanna

  2. That video was so lovely, I wish that I could visit Bill's tomorrow for lunch, and also see the Kaffe Fassett exhibit at Charleston. Ahhh, envying you both experiences.

    I'll keep an eye out for that cookbook over here in the States. Cheers!