These Chinese tourists thoroughly enjoyed their cream tea at Secret Cottage. During the day they took a tour of the Cotswolds in our fully air conditioned Mercedes minibus, visiting a number of remote villages that most tourist rarely see.
In fact, I joke that once they get settled in the kitchen I have to make sure they get back up and into the bus to enjoy more of the tour of this beautiful area – otherwise they’d be at home with me all day!
Our Chinese visitors are particularly fascinated by the AGA. Many have seen photos of them, but never seen one in real life and others have never even heard of an AGA.
We get asked all sorts of questions about our AGA – does it heat the house and the water? Is it on all the time? How do you cook in it?
And to see their faces when we enjoy warm, freshly baked scones straight from the oven is one of the highlights of my day.
Talking of food, they are excited about the plate and cups we use too! We use one of the most iconic English bone china brands that many of us take for granted – Spode. The Spode brand was created in 1770 and is most famous for the Blue Italian range, which has been in production since 1816.
The history and products of the Spode factory have inspired generations of historians and collectors and our visitors are no exception – they love the delicate designs and timeless classic feel to the tableware.
And you should see them once we light the fire! At Secret Cottage we have three inglenook fireplaces to heat the building. I have to admit, even I think there’s nothing quite like a real fire to create a warm and inviting ambience. The world ‘ingle’ is actually the old English word for ‘fireplace’.
It isn’t until relatively recently that homes had separate kitchens. The ingelnook fireplace provided the area for keeping warm, drying things and cooking on.
Thankfully we have our AGA to cook on, and even though this may seem too ‘quaint’ for some, our visitors – on taking their Tour of the Cotswolds – all agree it’s what makes our house a home.