It seems to me that Geoffrey Chaucer was wrong about April being the month that folk go on pilgrimages: hearing of the epic length of the queues on the M25, I find myself thinking that August is the month in which folk undertake their peregrinations. And, quite unusually for me, I have also been doing a bit of peregrinating, too, and yesterday found myself on a girly visit to the Big Smoke, a place I tend to avoid in high summer. But off we went to Buck House to see that dress: for me the high points were the video of Sarah Burton, the designer, explaining how the royal wedding dress was designed and constructed, and the wonderful paintings by Rembrandt, Poussin, Winterhalter et al; the low points were the queues to get in, the queues for security, and the general overcrowding which made it difficult to stop and study things. And at £17.50 for an adult, £10 for a child it is not a cheap day out - being of a Frugal Turn, and the Great Wen being so very full of the most wonderful things which are completely free of charge, I rarely pay to see the decorative arts, and in my rustic innocence have no idea how these prices compare with other attractions, but it is certainly a lot more than I am used to paying.
Unfortunately for me, there were also long queues for the cafe in the garden, so I did not get the chance to sample the tea and cake - my fellow pilgrims regaled me with tales of the magnificence of the royal garden party teas, to which I being insignificant and anonymous, and on one occasion, a married, rather than unmarried, daughter, have never been invited (sob).
But all is not lost: this week I have had the chance to sample copious quantities of the most magnificent cake (and baked by a princess and a fairy goddaughter), so opportunities to expand my waistline have not been wanting.
I received in the post an utter chocfest of a book called Fabulous Brownies, written by Annie Rigg, and published by Ryland Peters and Small, who very kindly sent me a copy to review.
And I have to say that for chocolate and cake lovers, they are pretty fabulous brownies to eat - not only that but the book provided two days of fabulous holiday activity for Princess Bunchy and Fairy Goddaughter.
The recipes are divided into four categories: Simple (everyday variations on the brownie theme), Pretty and Indulgent (which would be good for special tea parties, or dinner party puddings), and Kids.
Not only does the Kids section appeal to children in terms of look and taste, but the instructions are very straightforwardly written and easy to follow, so that two girls of 11 and 12 could be left to themselves in the kitchen to create the cakes and their mothers could sit in the garden undisturbed and have a Good Natter - which to me constitutes the ideal holiday activity for children.
We of course did not neglect our offspring entirely - we were always on hand to taste the results and offer advice and encouragement from a safe distance, whilst we put the world to rights and caught up on many months of news and anecdote.
So if you want to keep your children quiet and amused this holiday time, Fabulous Brownies could be just the answer: just take my advice and put pinnies on them first, because the kitchen did get quite chocolatey (as did their faces, hands and Princess Bunchy's trousers).
We then took the brownies (and the children) to the beach: the sunniest, warmest evening ever spent on Knitstable beach (before the grey skies set in again). I actually had to remove my socks and plimsolls, and found no reason to don my great big granny cardigan, the last word in festival chic (I bought it at the Big Green Gathering, so festival wear it is).
Fish and chips, Brownie Owls and Brownie Wheels, and a bottle of rosé as the sun set over the sea and the gulls wheeled and cried overhead - what more could any of us want?
I have also done a little light sewing. I am unable to cope with anything too demanding in the dog days so I just ran up a trio of cushions for a ballerina who has taken to loft living.
You might notice from the picture that these cushions are not in a loft but reclining on a bench: they were very nearly kidnapped en route, the Amy Butler Love fabric being so enticing, but I am happy to say that they made it up the stairs and are now enjoying the high life.
So there's what we did in the summer holidays: a bit of stitching and a bit of travelling, up to London and down to the beach - don't tell me I don't lead the high life, too . . .