We celebrated the new year at our friends’ wedding in Buxton, Derbyshire. There was snow on the ground and we drank mulled wine outside, trying not to fall down in our high heels and twat ourselves on the ice. The bride and groom had a tower of cheeses (left) instead of a traditional wedding cake, and we lit giant paper lanterns in the park which soared up into the wintry night. We partied late into the night in the underground cellars of the UK’s reputedly oldest hotel. Feeling limp and hungover this morning, we started the four-hour drive back to London with heavy heads, in search of somewhere to serve us breakfast. About 20 miles from Buxton is the small town of Ashbourne; a wonderful cafe-cum-florist shop sits prettily on the edge of the main square. We were drawn by its twinkling fairy lights and steamed up windows, and the menu looked like it would nurse us back to life.
Inside, the cafe is a retro heaven. All the tables and chairs are mismatched, as is the crockery. Jugs, garlands and knick-knacks hang down from the ceiling. There are magazines and well-thumbed cookery books to read. (We flicked through a terrifying Microwave Cookery book circa 1980 – yuk!). Bunches of flowers for sale sit prettily in the corner. Menu choices (soups, sandwiches, jacket potatoes) are scrawled on a big blackboard. There is a wonderfully laid back atmosphere and an air of tasteful dishevelment. Our friendly waiter brought us Earl Grey tea in a fantastic 1950’s teapot with elegant china teacups (below), and served us very decent baked potatoes with baked beans and cheese. Perfect hangover fodder. I only wish I’d had room to try some of the cakes – the likes of coffee and walnut or almond and Dime bar cake sat temptingly underneath glass domes. The portions were hefty.
If I could, I would transport this cafe on wheels down to South London and have it as my local hangout…I hated having to leave!