Pork Pies, Scones and a bit of Stilton….. 24/8/15

Leaving Cambridge we chugged our way along the A14 to Melton Mowbray known as the ‘Rural Capital of Food’ …. not quite sure where the capital of food is but that’ll be another trip and we may need to plan slightly longer to make the most of it 🙂

Being a good jewish girl (ahem) I hadn’t ever heard Melton Mowbray or its infamous Pork Pie reputation before, however Keith had, and when we decided to visit this part of the country, he ensured that we scheduled a stop here to try and check out some of its Pork Pies.

We had booked ourselves in at ‘The Grange Nursery and Farm shop’ (£15 per night without electricity) which is roughly 2 miles outside Melton Mowbray situated on top of a hill looking out onto the beautiful Leicestershire countryside.

On a quest to find something for dinner and with the farm shop closed on Mondays, our quick trip into town found us at a sausage shop situated alongside ‘Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe’ which provided ample produce for our bar b q 🙂 Returning to the motorhome we were surprised to see a brown paper bag hanging from the door …. inside were two huge fruit scones from the cafe – we are starting to understand why it is called the rural capital of food!

We have been pretty lucky over the last week with market day and again appear to have fallen on our feet as Tuesday was not only the normal market day, but also the animal auctions…. something you don’t get to see every day.

image

The two areas of market are separated and both were thriving. I was a little concerned about the proximity of the sausage and bacon butties, pork pies and stilton stalls to the pigs, cows, sheep, goats and chickens…. seemed a bit cruel to me, perhaps they just wanted to highlight the ‘freshness of the produce’. Needless to say it all looked and smelt fantastic – well worth a visit if you are in the area on a Tuesday.

Lacking in local knowledge (this really is making me sound a bit dim….), I also hadn’t appreciated that Stilton originates from here (although before you say it, something in the name of ‘Red Leicester’ gave it away) …. both of which provided interesting (and rather tasty) combinations on top of a pork pie.

With so much choice on the pork pie front, we gave in and decided to try two different types, one pure and simple packed with meat, and as we had bought quite a lot of stilton, we opted for the ‘Ploughmans’ which was with Red Leicester and Chutney on top …. a kilo between them…

image

Not something that I was brought up with, and having tried the odd ‘poor relative’ to the pork pie I was a little apprehensive, but I admit to having been very pleasantly surprised and would go back for seconds. Needless to say, the ‘purist’ pork pie definitely had the edge over the ‘Ploughmans’ ….. keep it simple and it will always end in happiness 🙂

Despite the rain falling most of the night we woke to beautiful sunshine, so after a rather hilly run, we set off on a walk through some of the Leicestershire countryside guided by the very large yellow topped signposts….. it really would have been quite difficult to get lost.

Melton Mowbrey’d out – although there would definitely have been space for some more scones – we meandered our way the 25 miles over to Thornton to our next CL which was at Thornton Nurseries (£15 per night). Thornton Nurseries pretty much sits on Thornton Reservoir, on the edge of Thornton which for its tiny population still manages to support three pubs and is a bit of a hub for walking and cycling.

This part of Leicestershire used to be full of coal mines dating back to 1274.  Unfortunately, all bar one are now closed apparently, with the last three closing in the 1990’s, however they have invested in the area by creating the National Forest (planting a lot of trees), creating cycle routes, bridleways and walking routes to bring people to the area. We did a couple of circular walks near to Thornton which were really nice as they had very varied scenary, and then headed out on the bikes for a couple of hours doing a 25 mile round trip taking in a bit more of the ex-mining countryside.

With the sunshine on our side, the friends we stayed with near Lutterworth (James, Gail, Jack and Amy) came over and took us out to Bradgate Park on Saturday to see one of Leicestershires’ treasures.

image

We parked up near to the highest point (Old John Folly) and walked over to the village to get a late morning coffee and snack (the cakes were incredible). We then headed to the river to do some paddling (Jack and Amy at least) stopping to admire some of the beautiful deer which were taking in a few a rays,

image

before a walk to Lady Jane Greys’ (the nine day queen) birthplace and residence before heading back to the car, pub and home…. what a great place and a lovely day.

image

The last stop before home was just outside Buckingham (Rectory Farm £12 per night) The forecast was set for rain and it started as we arrived although ended up being more gentle on us than we had expected.  The farm was set on a hill in a very peaceful location, however as we were planning on heading back to Lane End on Tuesday and it was forecasted to rain all day Monday, we decided to cut our losses and only stay one night instead of two.  We did however manage to have a lovely pub dinner with Keith’s mum, Aunt Pat, Keith and cousin Christine who live close by before moving on 🙂

Advertisements

A year on the road….

Perugia12_20150607

We left the house in Bagnoles de l’Orne, France on the 16th August 2014 which means I am due an update on distances we have travelled and it slipped my mind yesterday….. apologies.

The totals up to (and including) the 15th August are as follows:

Driving 11,810 miles

Walking and cycling 5285 km

Running…. not sure we were counting this, but I thought I would add it in anyway 1290km

The guesses that we had were

Name Amount
Alex 9000
Sam 6200
Gail 5200
Keith 6000
Liz 7405
Nick 9001

So, I am afraid to say that the closest guess was actually me with 5200km….and I can assure you that I wouldn’t have planned an early trip home

My prize however, is apparently another year in the motorhome with Keith …… don’t worry, I feel a bit short changed too, perhaps we can try again for next year!

Frollicking in the Fens….. 16/8

You probably already know this but as I always like to get a little bit of ‘knowledge’ into my blog …..the ‘Fens’ – or ‘Fenland’ – is a term for marshland (or former marshland), which is a little harsh when it takes in most of Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and a bit of Suffolk – but it is pretty flat (and low.. which I think is more to the point) up here in comparison to some of the areas of the UK,  it is however still very pretty.

Having spent quite a bit of time with friends and family over the last few weeks, we planned in a bit of exploring on our own and have headed to Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to see a bit more of our beautiful countryside.

First stop was Bury St Edmunds, where oddly my dad has held his Bank Account for longer than I can remember, so we did come here occasionally when I was younger, but apart from it being a market town, I remember very little about it. The CL (Lark Valley £14 per night) is just over 5 miles outside Bury St Edmunds in a little village called Flempton which has a church, a pub, several farms and is very tranquil.

After a good nights sleep we set off on foot into Bury for a look around the market, the Abbey (ruins), the Cathedral and the Abbey gardens….all rather pleasant, although as several people pointed out we do appear to have missed britains’ smallest pub which is a little careless of us 😦

image

Thursday was forecast to be a bit grim, so rather than venturing out on the bikes (I still don’t have any mudguards and a wet bum is not very pleasant), we set off on foot again and headed towards the Saxon village and nature park whilst also trying to find somewhere with wifi as the coverage is appalling round here…. who would have thought that we would struggle more in the UK to get decent coverage than we did abroad?

With ducks in tow (or maybe that should be toe…. as they seemed to quite fancy one of mine for breakfast on Friday) we moved on to Cambridge, stopping at Birds Farm (£10 per night) which is about 4 miles out of Cambridge on a cycle path.

Keith hadn’t ever been to Cambridge and my last visit was when I was 17, so we were looking forward to exploring and managed to arrange for my parents and brother and family to come and join us which worked out really well.

Despite the weather forecast we actually only had drizzle on Friday with the rest of the weekend being dry and mostly sunny enabling us to enjoy the college gardens and parks

image

as well as managing to get some shopping done, taking in several coffee shops and a couple of good restaurants…. all in all a lovely weekend.

Thanks to Farah, we even managed to get into Kings College to have a look round the chapel and gardens which were pretty incredible……

image

I am sure that we will be back to explore a bit further a field on the bikes at some point.

A bit of Cornish sunshine….. 11/8/15

After a run along the Bristol Bath cycle track (me) and a bit of Tabata exercise (Keith) we quickly demolished our breakfast, packed up and set off cross country to the M5 on a surprisingly good journey down to Helston, Cornwall.

The sun was shining (it has been very on/off this week) and thankfully the cars were moving as the journey took just under 5 hours with a quick lunch stop. The only slow part was the last 10 miles where we drove past the air base and they were kindly putting on an Airshow to celebrate our arrival (ahem… ok perhaps not).

The CL site (Skewes Farm, £12.50 per night) is about 5 miles outside Helston and apart from the planes (and the odd Cow moo-ing – it is a cattle farm) it was pretty quiet and suited the purpose for a couple of nights. Unfortunately it had a very large apple tree leaning over the driveway and I have now scarred Mika for life…. and am not being allowed to forget it 😦

On Friday morning, as the sun was shining we decided to go for a walk which took us onto the south west coastal path and whatever anyone says you really can’t beat the Cornish coast for beauty….

image

We have travelled 10,000 miles through France, Spain, Portugal and Italy and I still don’t think we have come across better views …. although we were lucky with the weather and found a rather lovely spot to eat lunch looking out over Mullion Cove….

image

Tranquility over, Saturday was ‘moving day’ as the Anderson / Parker family were descending on Cornwall to get settled ahead of the forthcoming wedding. So, after a quick run, a necessary stop at Sainsbury’s we wiggled our way down a very narrow road (so glad we didn’t meet anyone coming the other way) to get to Polpidnick Farm where Angie and David had very kindly offered to let us park up the motorhome as Paul & Carly (the couple to be….) and some of the wedding party were staying in the cottages there.

With the normal changeover traffic, Cornwall enforced some slightly horrific travel times on a few, but the early birds (those who really did leave at ridiculous hours) made record time arriving just before 9:30am, and others (who also left at ridiculous hours of the morning – albeit coming slightly further from Hull) took 12+ hours not getting to us until late afternoon….. thankfully a bit of good food and a few glasses of something strong soon lowered stress levels 🙂

In between the eating, drinking and catching up with family, Keith and I managed to get a couple of walks in, one over to Helford Passage (stopping off briefly at the pub which was pretty nice) and another over to meet some friends (Sarah, Rich Wesley and kids) who just so happened to be staying in Coverack (also to the pub oddly…. it was raining – a lot)

The wedding was on Tuesday and someone up above managed to influence the weather as it was beautiful. Despite the forecast predicting gale force winds and torrential rain, it actually managed to clear and provide us with some blue skies and sunshine so the ceremony could be held outside….

image

The hotel sat just above St Ives and had the most beautiful grounds… so I think the photos the photographer took will be beautiful, but here are a few of mine to set the scene 🙂

image

image

After the hangover and tiredness subsided it was time for us to move on and head out of Cornwall in an attempt to beat the rush and get back towards London to catch up with the Becker family and a few friends in London.

After arriving back at my parents on Thursday we then spent the weekend catching up with some really good old friends – Friday in North London with Jonah, Karen and the kids, Saturday lunch with Gary and Aimee and kids (Chloe’s 2nd birthday …. what a great swing), Saturday late afternoon and evening with Keith’s school friends in Windsor and then back over to Richmond on Sunday to see Richard (Gonzo).

Needless to say, having weighed ourselves and confirmed how we feel is reflected in reality we are now ready for a bit of a detox after the last seven weeks in the UK….. perhaps we can get a few days in before we meet up with parents and brother on Friday 🙂