On Saturday 22nd September, Hobbit fans tucked into a second breakfast at Fulham Palace. ‘Hobbits’ came to experience ‘The Shires’ and celebrate 75 years of The Hobbit. Harper Collins, the UK publishers, ran a competition to mark not only the book’s anniversary but the birthdays of both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, the Hobbit heroes of both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Guests followed well sign-posted paths leading to the Orchard where a tepee was set dressed to look like the inside of a Smial or Hobbit hole. Benches, bunting, food and feasting, simple yet delicious home-made food just one of the main ingredients for a Hobbit gathering. The menu devised by Food Show Ltd read as if they had a helping hand by Baggins, himself. The spread was the first thing that caught your eye and would make any hairy-footed halfling salivate on sight and the assembled throng ate, drank and were definitely merry.
A red and white chequerboard tablecloth provided the perfect canvas for a trellis table full of bread and cakes. It was only right on Hobbit Day that there was Madeira seeded cake; cheese scones glazed and sprinkled with tangy cheddar; Leicester Old Spot pork pies, and every kind of loaf you can imagine from Flowerpot, Cottage and Farmhouse all risen and crusted to perfection.
The walled garden’s plum’s featured in the cherry plum jam and the orange marmalade was thick-cut and tangy. Fresh blackberries, strawberries, pineapple and raspberries were skewered on sticks and there were plenty of fresh cherries, and berries.
As if that wasn’t enough a cooked breakfast came served on a rustic wooden plate with organic pork sausages, scrambled egg, bacon, field mushrooms and baked beans. There was even boiled egg and soldiers for those who left their Hobbit appetites at home. That said, Hobbits like to eat six meals a day.
Pints of coffee and tea were poured into huge earthenware mugs and goblets were overflowing with old English lemonade and ginger punch.
A band played mirthful and merry music, not too much room for dancing as there are small people on the floor, but a fiddle, guitar and Cajon provided an uplifting soundtrack. The highlight of the day, though was the reading by the actor Andy Serkis. He performed as both Bilbo and Gollum from the book and it was spell-binding.
The children could dress up as Bilbo and Gandalf and take home a souvenir picture – ring and pointed ears a must.
We left just as the treasure hunt began and we got tangled in a sea of children foraging for clues around the box hedge in the Walled Garden.
The novel by Oxford professor J R R Tolkien was published in 1937 and has sold 100 million copies. It’s been translated into almost fifty languages. This celebration precedes The Hobbit event of the year, the release of Peter Jackson’s film “The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey” on December 14th here in the UK. Here’s a sneak preview of what’s to come. http://www.thehobbit.com/index.html.