How do you buy your eggs? The luckiest ones among you have chickens, and just take a stroll into your back yard to pick up your breakfast ingredients. While that worked for us for a while, we ended up rehoming our chickens because our rambunctious new dog Jack was stressing them out too much. I was sad to give up that part of my self-sufficiency dream for now, but I have found another wonderful way to get very free-range eggs. But it does take a little (literal) legwork.
I put a leash on Jack, grab some empty egg cartons, and take a walk. After one busy intersection, it’s all brick-lined walkways. I love this about England.
Ten minutes of enjoying the old architecture and peeking into gardens, and I am in for a lovely view.
I step into this little nook of herbs and potted shrubs, and take a moment.
Ah, yes. There’s the abbey. This view always makes me smile– how rare for an American to enjoy such a view near their own home!
Then we turn right, and we’re almost there.
We pass the “mini mart” on the right, but we’ll come back to that in a moment. Turn left at the dark grey door. And here we are!
These are the free range eggs I’m after, at the best price in town! Sometimes they are special– you pay a little more for larger eggs or green auracana eggs, and a little less for smaller or irregularly shaped eggs. Sometimes one green egg is placed into each little box, with a note about the breed of hen that lays these lovely eggs. All of it is so completely charming that I am happy to walk a mile to get them.
Once I have returned my empty cartons, collected my eggs and slipped my money through the mail slot, Jack and I backtrack a few doors to the “mini mart” on the corner.
How sweet is this little setup? Here, we buy raw honey, potatoes, apples, potted plants, and whatever interesting things I might find. Recently, I bought chestnuts, walnuts, quinces and medlars grown in the neighborhood. It is all extremely local, and donated to raise funds for charity. I love eating greens and goodies from other peoples’ back gardens. Not only is this community-strengthening and budget-friendly, but it’s an absolute pleasure.
So, I fill up my backpack with anything I can use, slip my money through the mail slot again, and it’s home again, home again, jiggety-jig. With more architecture and old-world vignettes along the way.
I never buy too many eggs at a time– why would I cheat myself out of another trip? Thanks for coming along with me this time!
This is a lovely post,thank you
So glad you enjoyed it, James.
Marsha Smith says
Ariana, you are living my lifetime dream! And I’m 57 years old. The chips just never fell in that direction for me. But I’m certainly glad I found your blog and don’t leave England too soon!
Hi Marsha– thanks for this sweet note! So glad you found my blog and can enjoy our adventures with us.
We have our own hens, but that walk makes it all seem worthwhile indeed to get your eggs.
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of collecting a warm egg in the morning to make your breakfast with… But this’ll do for now!
Marisa Ingram says
That is absolutely the best post!!! Oh how I long to take that walk with you. When I scrolled down and saw the shot with the church steeple I had to gasp – takes my breath away 🙂 And what I wouldn’t give to be able to buy my eggs in just the same fashion. Good quality, free range eggs are one of the things that are fairly easy to come across in Seattle but I have to buy them at the grocery store – and they cost an arm and a leg. They do sell them at farmers markets but often sell out immediately and also, are very expensive. I really, really do need to move to England I think!! Thank you for this lovely gem of a post and thank you for bringing me on this lovely stroll through an English village – absolutely perfect Ariana!
Yes, you DO need to move over here! Sometimes I think you love my favorite things about England more than I do. 🙂 But you will have to live somewhere friendlier, for sure. I hear it’s better up North. So glad you enjoyed this, Marisa. I will try to do more little glimpses into daily English life like this for you.
This is like a story book!
It’s really sweet. On my trip over a couple of weeks ago, the Egg Lady was putting a beautiful garland of garden greenery over her door, proudly proclaiming that she made it herself! I wished I had my camera so I could show you all how the charm just keeps coming!
Kristin Mutchler says
That’s amazing! What a charming life.
Thank you Kristen!
Susan Gaines says
My favorite picture was the one right after the Abby – which was breathtaking. The walk to the Gray door & back to the “mini” mart made me sigh. I know the blue and green eggs are gorgeous but do they taste differently?
Yes, the view of the Abbey makes all of this almost *too* charming. As to the egg colors– they all taste the same.
What a lovely journey on your way to get fresh eggs. Thank you for sharing. 🙂
So glad you enjoyed coming along!
How positively delightful! This is one of my favorite posts thus far. Why is it that rainy days in the UK are so lovely while rainy days in the US wear us down so much more? I suspect the answer lies in medieval abbey views! 🙂
So glad you loved this one, Rocio. I actually wondered if it was worth writing at all– would people *want* to see how I get my eggs? The response has been wonderful and surprising!
I can’t help but smirk a little reading that rainy days in the UK are lovely! Blech. Maybe if I was visiting, it would seem charming… But alas, they are just as dreary here because people don’t venture out to lovely places much in rainstorms. But we have had an unexpectedly gorgeous winter so far– lots of blue skies, so we have been enjoying the views much more than we usually would at this time of year!
Sally Wallach says
That is exactly how I buy my eggs and honey (and, during the growing season, fruit and vegetables) here in coastal Massachusetts! But, you have to substitute little shingled salt-box houses and tiny gardens for all your lovely brick and stone. Aren’t we lucky?
Yes indeed- very lucky! Maybe we’ll have to consider your area when it’s time for us to repatriate someday!
I swear, when I retire, I am going to live just like this, and IN ENGLAND.
Isn’t it nice to know that these sweet little village-y niches still exist?
This would make a cute “chapter” in a child’s story book. 🙂
Love that idea!
Mira Dessy, Nutrition Educator and Real Food Advocate says
What a charming way to go grocery shopping! And so wonderful to have all that fresh food so easily available.
Yes, I agree completely Mira. Although the food people cook in our area is pretty lousy, it’s a wonderful place to shop and cook!
Pam P. says
Just found your blog and that story is so cool.
so lovely thank you for sharing! I wish I could take a walk with you!
“how rare for an American to enjoy such a view near their own home!” …Are you serious? This isn’t rare at all. It’s not like most of America is ugly or something.
I don’t think most Americans live so close to an ancient abbey, that they can glimpse when they walk to pick up their eggs. Of course I was not saying that there are no good views in America!!!!!