For £385, the same price as all other March weekends, we have provided an enticing extra for one couple, the first to book the weekend (or week) beginning Friday March 8th. We have bought and have waiting here in our study, a voucher for a 2013 lunch for two at Fischer’s, Baslow Hall, on Saturday 9th March. Fischer’s is the only Michelin starred restaurant in Derbyshire and a meal here is an experience you won’t easily forget: it’s not just the food, which is delicious, it is the service and atmosphere and all that goes with it. Their 2013 Lunch (two course meal) is something else. We know, we’ve done it and loved every moment and every mouthful. If you want a third course, or wine, that is up to you but neither is essential…And for those who are fighting shy of the mothering part, actually, the day (10th March this year) just marks half way through Lent. Nowadays, if anyone bothers at all, Lent is an occasion for giving up a luxury (or a ‘sin’) but originally it marked a very lean period of the year when there wasn’t much food anyway and Lent marked a 40 day period of seriously ‘doing without’, serious fasting but not total as in Ramadan. Half way through, servant girls were allowed to take a cake – a Simnel cake – home to their mothers. I think this was the only time in the year they were given a day off, so you can see what a special day it was. Traditionally also, Mothering Sunday, midway through Lent, was the day when one could temporarily relax one’s vows.
At school – a few years ago, in a rather high church boarding school run by anglican nuns in what is now Zimbabwe, we slightly lost sight of the principle of giving up (sweets in our case). We simply collected our entire ration each week and ate the lot in one almighty binge on Mothering Sunday! Our nuns were disapproving of such gluttony but seemed powerless to do much about it.
We’re not talking about binging or gluttony now, but about serious enjoyment of delicious food, cooked beautifully and served graciously. To enjoy this as a Mothering Sunday gift from us you need to have booked either barn, either for the weekend Friday 8- Monday 11 March or the week, Friday 8 to Friday 15 March. We have only bought one voucher for two so it really is first come first served.