Progressive Supper

Axbridge Review: home grown vegetables, 1970’s decor and Victorian poetry all discussed on the Axbridge Progressive Supper’s eccentric trio of courses

Trying to explain how a progressive supper works is like trying to explain the off-side rule in football or why a group of retired dentists, brigadiers and estate agents thought Liz Truss should be Prime Minister.
You need flow diagrams, power point presentations and several sheets of type written notes. Essentially everyone who takes part has a three course meal – with each course in a different house in the town – so it involves walking in the dark as much as dining.
Originally Linda and I were hosting but due to fluctuating numbers we agreed to be travellers. No not that kind – travellers don’t host a course – but travel – or in my case hobble due to a dodgy knee.

Starter at 36 High Street with hosts Bash and Gemma

Our first stop was to the home of Bash and Gemma in the High Street where we were joined by other couples to tuck into mushroom pate, smoked salmon and pumpkin soup. The joys of home grown vegetables and the recent Axbridge Pageant were discussed together with notes on whether my dodgy knee was osteoarthritis or a torn ligament or old age.

Main at Cheddar Road Farm with hosts Kirsty and Bromley

Next stop was at Kirsty and Bromley’s home where they were in the midst of updating the 1970s interior fixtures and fittings including wall paper depicting a bucolic scene – perhaps bought as a job lot as it appeared to be in every room.
Slow cooked lamb was consumed in between having a nose around the farm house which featured an early 1970s kitchen which would make a perfect set for a remake of one of Fanny Craddock’s cookery shows. The soon to be removed decor was a talking point partly due to its familiarity for me and its distance in time from today’s taste. And was rock better or worse than classical music when driving long distances.

Sweet at 18 Chestnut Avenue with hosts Rachel and Simon

On again to the home of Rachel and Simon who provided the final course – a tart and ice cream for me – washed down with generous amounts of port – plus cheese. The conversation switching agreeably (fuelled by the port) between Victorian poetry and junior football.
Feeling well fed we headed (I still hobbling) home – in the knowledge the supper had raised £2,000 for local charities. A social and logistic triumph in which we probably put on weight.

Harry Mottram

The annual Axbridge Progressive Supper features more than 100 diners who pay to take part and together with a raffle has raised thousands of pounds over the years. There’s more at