Within an hour of arriving at The Lodges at New House Farm, inEtchingham, East Sussex, our toddler has made firm friends with our neighbours – a friendly bunch of longeyelashed alpacas and rotund sheep that occupy the field adjacent to our accommodation.
My partner and I assess the converted stables that will be our home for the next couple of nights with similar enthusiasm, noting the huge, squishy sofas, cosy woodburners, and the white linen on the plump double bed. In the kitchen, the best part of all: an array of cartons containing tonight’s dinner – an unctuous beef bourguignon studded with lardons and pearl onions; chocolate bread and butter pudding and a platter of local cheeses to finish.
The out-of-hours squawk of a cockerel on the gravel outside sounds like a fanfare: let the unwinding commence.
After an evening spent eating, sprawling and dozing on the sofas, the following day begins in a similarly relaxed fashion; our daughter wakes later than usual before motioning to be let out to go and see the alpacas. Outside the stables, we discover a trug has been left on the picnic bench – as if by elves – filled with local produce from Eggs to Apples, the award-winning farm shop that stands a stone’s throw from the Lodges on London Road.
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