Keelham Farm Shop, Skipton, September 2017

The start of our Skipton weekend. Mrs MOFAD and regular MOFAD companion Hazel are off to Yarndale tomorrow. We were due to be joined by other regular MOFAD companions Steve and Janette tonight, but Steve has been attacked by a chest infection overnight and is not fit to travel.

Hazel & Matt stayed with us last night, and we set off for Skipton this morning. After a coffee stop at Woolley Edge services (where else when heading to Yarndale), we arrived in Skipton just after 1pm, and decided to make this our lunch stop before checking in to our hotel.

If the Keelham name looks familiar, that’s because we stopped at the sister shop to this one back in September 2015, on our way home from that year’s Yarndale trip. Today we had some lunch before doing some shopping.

There are two eating areas in this branch, a full menu downstairs (20 minutes wait this lunchtime due to the large number of Yarndale visitors) or a soup and sandwich menu upstairs (no wait, just find a table and order at the counter). We nipped upstairs, grabbed a table and then picked up some sandwiches, crisps and drinks.

A well filled chicken and bacon mayo sub roll, a bit of salad squeezed in there too. Some Yorkshire crisps (#obvs since we are in Yorkshire) and the gentle fire of Cawston Press ginger beer. Very tasty stuff and just what we needed after our journey.

Time next for a bit of shopping. As there are 4 of us and just one car, both Matt & I had to be restrained in our choices, and kept things to just a small box each. A proper local selection of Yorkshire beers for me, BAD Co from Dishforth (first encountered at last year’s Good Food Show), North Brewing Co from Sheepscar Grove in Leeds, and a couple from from Holbeck’s Northern Monk .

As well as all of this tasty beer, there was plenty of local food as well as lots of stuff from further afield. Loads of fresh stuff as well as plenty of tinned and dried foods. A lovely little farm shop, and I’d probably shop here an awful lot if I lived in Skipton.

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Needle & Pin, Loughborough, September 2017

I’ve written more than enough about my favourite pub by now. The only thing better than writing about it to get someone to go there, is to actually take them there. So that’s what happened tonight. After dinner at Centro Lounge, we took a short stroll down to the Needle & Pin for a few drinks and some games, accompanied by some good old fashioned vinyl. I’m not sure that the other customer upstairs was too impressed by our choice of Now 17, but we love the past, even if it is full of cheese. On with the night…

A pint of Exmoor Ales Silver Stallion for me, a perfectly pleasant cask bitter. Matt had the Exmoor Beast, amusingly coming in at 6.66% – thick, smooth and full of flavour.

This was accompanied by a game of KerPlunk, which is 50 years old this year, and is a game that I’ve probably not played for more than 30 years. The newer version looks a bit different to the original, but the basic premise is the same. Pull sticks out without disturbing marbles. The person with the fewest amount of marbles in their tray at the end is the winner.

Even grown adults can still enjoy this simple game, a great laugh.

We moved on to our next drink and our next game. My next drink was from San Diego’s Green Flash Brewing Company in the form of GFB. This acronym has two possible expansions. The clean one is Green Flash Blonde, the other one rhymes with Food Clucking Deer. A nice beer with good carbonation and a hint of honey. Matt had the Framework Treacle Stout, and we both struggled to spot the treacle that appears on the nose in the palate…

Our next game was the classic word game Taboo. To make things fair we played boys vs girls, and managed to get a good few rounds played in between the laughter.

Another great night out at the N&P, and we somehow managed to avoid coming home with lots of cans and bottles in tow! That won’t be the case when we come back from Skipton though…

Centro Lounge, Loughborough, September 2017

Tonight is the beginning of our weekend. Regular MOFAD companions Hazel & Matt are staying with us tonight, as tomorrow morning we’re off on a road trip to Skipton. Mrs MOFAD and Hazel are off to Yarndale 2017 on Saturday, whilst Matt & I are indulging in a cultural walking tour of Skipton, perhaps checking out the odd hostelry on the way. Other regular companions Steve & Janette will be meeting us there tomorrow night.

Mrs MOFAD and I have been to the Centro lounge a few times this year, so we chose it for tonight’s dining venue.

Drinks first, and both Matt and I opted for the Bath Ales Dark Side, which is a nice easy drinking stout when it warms up a bit.

One of the advantages of Centro Lounge is that they serve their tapas menu every day, so if you fancy a mix of different things you can find plenty to choose from, rather than just plump for burger and chips or similar.

As I’ve noted before, they aren’t too tied down by the heritage of tapas, mixing traditional Spanish dishes like chicken and chorizo, albondigas (meatballs) and patatas bravas (roast spuds and tomato sauce) with dishes from another continent, such as teryaki chicken and posh KFC style chicken goujons.

Mrs MOFAD and I shared the selection above, along with the usual freshly cooked ciabatta, and Hazel & Matt also shared some dishes. We all enjoyed our tasty dinner, and spent a lot of time examining the decor, including the painting of a weird alien/monk hybrid with a boxing glove/oven glove, and some white horses frolicking in the sea… Do check out the eclectic collection of paintings if you’re visiting.

Tasty food, a reasonable pint and a friendly atmosphere, we all enjoyed ourselves and we’ll keep coming back.

Stroud Wine Company, September 2017

Oh look, another beer buying post. Today’s target was Stroud, as we were visiting the farmers market. We’d had a nice wander round, and once we were nearly done, we nipped down an alleyway and into a lovely little shop. Stroud Wine Company have plenty of shelves full of wine, but even better than that, they have a couple of walls full of beer. There’s stuff from near (Wild Beer Co) and far (Buxton, Cloudwater) and even further afield, with lots of Belgians and US imports also available.

I filled up a box with some varied delights to enjoy in the coming months.

A lovely little shop tucked away in a corner of Stroud.

Stroud Farmers Market, September 2017

Stroud farmers market has already featured on the blog this year, as part of Mrs MOFAD’s marvellous market meander. Her solo trip was the inspiration for this visit, as we knew that we were going to be camping nearby this weekend, and a wander around Stroud was a nice gentle Saturday morning activity for everyone.

Finding a parking space was a different matter, and our group’s two cars had to part ways in order to both get parked. It’s clearly very popular.

We had a little stroll around all the stalls, wandering in and out, tasting a few things as we went. A lovely array of stalls, some very traditional such as bacon and sausages, bread and rolls, cheeses, and then other more “modern” stalls like charcuterie, vegan snacks, rape seed oil and olives.

My mission was beer, although there were only two breweries this time, Hillside Brewery (I’ve had their beers from Gloucester Services before) and Gloucester Brewery (who were here on Mrs MOFAD’s last visit).

We had a good bit of chat at the stall and I picked up four of their beers that I’ve not had before for £10, very good value. Matt also picked up some different ones.

Looking forward to trying these, the ones I’ve had so far have been very nice.

Gloucester Services, September 2017

Another stop at our second favourite service station (the favourite being its older sister at Tebay). It was our lunch stop today, en route to our last camping weekend of the year at Slimbridge. We popped in to the shop to buy some sandwiches for lunch (Mrs MOFAD’s was a bit dull, but my chicken and bacon mayo was tasty) and also picked up a few other supplies. Which means beer.

A few from Bath’s Electric Bear and one from Warwickshire’s Purity Brewing Co. Gloucester Services is looking a bit more mature now (the grass has grown in the car park), and their range of produce has matured as they have grown older.

It retains its title as the second best service station on the motorway network…

The Beehive, Combs, Derbyshire, September 2017 #1

If this pub looks familiar, that’s because it is. This is now our fifth visit, coinciding with our third stay at the Combs Valley Campsite just up the road. A reduced party today, with just Mrs MOFAD and myself, along with regular MOFAD companions Karon & John. No ninja hound meant that we got to experience the other room. We had wondered about visiting the other pub at the other end of the road, but this pub has always been so good, so why change for the sake of change?

Speaking of change, we had to change our first beer order, because the one we wanted was not up to scratch, so the bar staff had removed it from service. Just the standard house ale to start then, brewed by Wychwood and branded here as Beehive bitter.

What else on a Friday but fish’n’chips? There were a few interesting specials on (including the fish platter that many of us have had on previous visits) but it just had to be fish’n’chips for me.

Lovely piece of fish, good crisp batter, good pub chips and some peas. Simple and tasty. If you do it right, it’s hard to beat. A great combination, made better when accompanied by a solid cask IPA in the form of Thornbridge Rattlesnake.

We had been walking this afternoon, so decided that we had earned a pudding. The tasty Beehive sundae was my choice:-

This is just a great village pub. Lovely people, lovely pub.