American comedian and actor W.C. Fields declared you should never work with children or animals – and after battling through a day filled with both, I can’t help but agree.
Now, I’m not saying I have developed a dislike for pudgy little fingers, curious questions, and the gleeful laughter that fills playgrounds. Nor do I have anything against fluffy animals of all persuasions.
But combining the two really does seem to throw a spanner in the works.
At the request of a tired, weary and over-burdened friend, I recently took charge of an energetic two-year-old for the day, and I knew plenty fresh air and exercise would be required to keep her occupied – and help mum get her to sleep that night.
Fortuitously, the wonderful East Coast Organics farm in East Lothian was having its annual open day, allowing produce lovers to take tractor rides, pick fresh fruit and veg, explore a straw bale maze, and even pet some rare breed animals. How wonderful, I thought, a day in the countryside! And it was, indeed, wonderful – until our encounter with the farm’s alpacas.
The sun was shining as we skipped off to the paddock, having explored the farm’s beautiful greenery, and I was just about to give myself a pat on the back for a job well done. The World’s Coolest Adult Award was coming my way for organising such a fun day out.
However, it seems alpacas are not everyone’s cup of tea. One look at their cute little faces and my tiny charge burst into tears. No amount of petting their soft little heads would persuade her to get any closer, the poor thing.
We made a hasty exit to the car, where the promise of a quick pit stop for some sugary treats helped to clear up any remaining sobs.
After a 10-minute drive, we arrived at Diggory’s Coffee Shop, nestled on the high street in nearby Haddington, where the staff’s friendly faces and the scent of home baked goodies welcomed us in with open arms.
The traditional family-run café offers a range of cakes, scones, light snacks and lunches and instantly made our bellies rumble. After eyeing up the display case, we settled on a savoury cheese scone, a sweet cherry version served with butter, clotted cream and jam, and a cappuccino for me.
As soon as we tasted the soft, moist bakes, all memory of the alpacas was gone and I was back in the good books. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that sweet treats are a cure-all remedy.
I must also praise the café’s coffee prowess – how baristas manage to create flowers, leaves, swirls and patterns with foamy milk, I’ll never know.
Once we had played with the toys provided at the back of the dining room and swept up every last crumb from our plates, it was time to head for home.
Next time I’m in the area I’ll happily pop back in for lunch or a light bite – although perhaps I’ll take a leaf out of Mr Field’s book, leaving the children and animals at home.
Warm, friendly and perfect for families. 9/10
A prime location, with a few parking spaces available at the front. 8/10
Soft and moist, just what I look for in a handmade bake. 10/10