After a reasonable, quite typical, British summer with, as is so often the case, a poor August, we had a fair September and October with a few frosts in October. Now, in early November, it is unseasonably warm, but pretty wet too. Some have forecasted really cold weather ahead this winter. After last year’s exceptionally mild one, we could do with a slightly crisper one, but not until Christmas Day please!

Sloes have been in very good supply in our hedgerows, the blackberries here were rather patchy, but our walnut trees had fewer nuts than I can remember for years and the squirrels must have been very disgruntled. Tomatoes were poor this year, I’m not sure why, with far lower yields than normal. There are very few left now, whereas we normally reckon to pick the last on Christmas Day. On the other hand, we have had bumper crops of apples. So, all in all, it has been a very mixed year in the garden and hedgerows. The leaves are only just starting to show their autumn colours, and the beech trees in particular are very pretty with real displays of autumn gold. Our Virginia creeper was spectacularly red for a while, but the heavy rain knocked its soft leaves off rather earlier than normal. Our arable farmers in the South have had a good year and a good harvest, in spite of a damp August, often with record yields. Of course the price is down as a result! There has been plenty of forage for livestock farmers too.

As usual at this time of year, we are exceptionally busy at Trencherman’s.  We had a very good trip, briefly into North-West Spain and then crossing the border at St Jean de Luz, taking a tortuous trip back through France. We again took the ferry from Plymouth to Santander. This is a very worthwhile experience as one gets to Spain twenty-four hours after leaving home. Last year the infamous Bay of Biscay was very calm. This year it was very rough! More of our trip later in this Newsletter.

At our Tastings last weekend we offered you yet another fine selection of foods, drink and other ideas for Christmas and the New Year. We had the Wine Tasting over the first weekend in November. It did clash with the final of the Rugby World Cup, but if Saturday was a bit quiet, Sunday was very busy.

Do check for our current special offers, restaurant updates, seasonal recipes, how to go about placing orders for Christmas, and a general reminder of what Trencherman’s has to offer you. No doubt we will have forgotten something, we always do, so please accept our apologies in advance! I also apologise for the lateness of this Newsletter. We have been so busy, we just didn’t manage to get it done before!

We have again combined with The Present Finder to send everybody a hard copy of the Newsletter and Christmas Order Forms. Our thanks to them for sponsoring the postage. Do have a look at their catalogue where you will find lots of unusual presents for Christmas. Until Christmas if you quote TRENCH10 on their website or for phone orders, you will be given 10% discount.  When visiting their shop in Sherborne (in Cheap Street opposite Costa) please just show your Trencherman’s membership card before you go through the till and you will also get a 10% discount.

If you do not have your card with you, please state that you are a Trencherman’s member.