October letter from The Ferns veggie B & B chatting about Shropshire and my holiday in America and Newport Cookshop

Living in Shropshire

Recently our newspaper informed us Novaportans  that the people of Shropshire had more  “happiness, satisfaction and having a worthwhile life” than most people in the UK.  More than the people across the border in Wales (Powys), and much happier than  the nearest city dwellers – Wulfrunians (people from Wolverhampton)!  This wasgleaned from the Office of National Statistics. We are also less anxious. Interestingly, the happiest place was Northern Ireland. The ONC said of Northern Ireland:

The ONS survey of wellbeing suggested that, overall, people were more satisfied with their lives than at any time since 2011 when ONS began collecting this data. Researchers said that while it was to early to speculate on trends over time, “one possible reason for the small scale improvements in personal well-being may be the more positive economic outlook in the UK”.In 2013/14, people in Northern Ireland once again gave higher ratings for each aspect of their personal well-being on average than those in any other UK country. Report co-author Dawn Snape said people in Northern Ireland were a “conundrum”, having scored highly in all aspects of the well-being index despite having a high unemployment rate. “It may be down to social connectivity, a great sense of community, maybe it is down to how life is going there now compared with 15 years ago,”

In respect of Shropshire, we have lovely countryside, historic towns and noty far away are motorways and rail lines to get us places. Newport is a lovely town to live in -everything so close – shops, library, swimming baths, canalside walk and one of the widest High Street in the country.


The High Street. c 1900 Courtesy of Newport History Society’s Snap project

Visit to America

We have just come back from holidays in America. To sum up the America experience:

Good things – warm autumn weather,  drinking fountains,  whale watching, pumpkin ale, friendliness and helpfulness  of Americans, extensive woodlands, and Amtrak railway

Not so good:  people with very loud voices, lots of throw away  tableware.

At the Ramada Inn Boston,  I got to grips with a waffle maker!


waffle maker

This was great fun! I was quite pleased with the result, but it did need some jam on it to make it more tasty. The maple syrup didn’t quite do it for me. Note the  ‘throw away society’ plastic knives and plate! Dear, dear!

Since coming back to ‘old blighty’ from America, where all the restaurants serve tap water with ice at table, I have made a decision to always have water on the table at breakfast time for my guests.

bottle smallOur water  is very hard. It has calcium carbonate in it . Not so good for washing clothes, but it has excellent mineral qualities.  Severn Trent who supply our water say, ”  … there is evidence that calcium and other minerals in hard waters may be generally beneficial to health. ”  .I purchased a lovely 75ml Kilner bottle from  The Cookshop in Newport. The owners –Sue and Hannah – run a wonderful  independent cook shop. They  moved to larger premises this year, and the shop is full of great idea for gifts at this time of the year!

I need to do a special  piece about their shop at another time, but since we have been away and the month is drawing to a close, I shall finish now and  put it in my November latter from ‘The Ferns’

Best wishes to you all