The Brotherswater Inn, Sykeside, Cumbria, August 2017 #4

Moist.

That has been the over-riding theme of today. The forecast was very specific. Rain coming in around lunchtime. And not leaving until late evening. So we were up and out, off to bag another Wainwright. Very much a “there and back” walk, get up, get back down, and get back under cover until the rain passes.

After an afternoon of unceasing rain, we wondered if it would ever be dry again. When we arrived on Thursday, we had to pitch our awning in a swamp. The swamp had started to recede, but as the afternoon wore on, the swamp was back and bigger than ever. Squelch squelch. The only sensible option is to retire to the pub.

We did just that. After a good effort at finishing it up, the Eden Valley had gone, and was replaced by Ullswater Blonde, also from Eden Brewery. I’ve had this beer every year for the last three, and the current batch seems lighter in colour than previous brews. An easy drinking golden ale.

Food next, and after a cool and wet afternoon (if only we’d brought our radiator in August!) a warming bowl of smoked haddock chowder was just what was needed. A lovely mini loaf of bread accompanied it, but I wasn’t convinced about the salad. It doesn’t seem to fit with the creamy chowder (which was very nice).

And after plenty of properly plated meals, we have a double whammy of disappointment. A slate set into a bread board. Why, cruel fate, why? Why not just a plate?

Luckily, the plate was around for the pudding (often a prime candidate for a slate). This dark chocolate delight with raspberry ripple ice cream and a few raspberries was a lovely end to the meal, the richness of the chocolate being cut through by the raspberries.

Mrs MOFAD opted for the Cumbrian classic of sticky toffee pudding, which was sticky and delicious.

We’ve had lots of lovely meals at The Brotherswater Inn. When you are a captive campsite audience, it’s always a worry in case it doesn’t turn out to be very good, or there’s a limited menu. This was not the case. A lovely pub with lovely food and beer. Perfect for a campsite.

The Brotherswater Inn, Sykeside, Cumbria, August 2017 #1

Camping again! We were last here 3 years ago, almost to the day. We loved the camp site, a perfect place to pitch up and just do walks from the camp site. It was rather moist on arrival today, raining on and off during the journey, and there’s obviously been a lot of rain since we we up here in June, as the camp site was a bit of a quagmire in places. Including the pitch that we’d been allocated (number 13 which is the same one we had last time). For the first time in a few years we had brought the awning with us, and we had to pitch that in the swamp. So we got a bit wet and muddy.

The rain didn’t really stop, so we retired to the pub for dinner, as planned. On a busy August evening, the pub was packed, but we managed to grab the last free table. They don’t take reservations, so it’s first come first served. More people arrived later, and there was a reasonable turnover of tables, so everyone was happy.

To the bar to order. A pint of Tirril Eden Valley for me, one I’ve had before, but it was rather disappointing last time, so it was good to try it again. Mrs MOFAD had some Kingstone Press cider, which is one she has enjoyed before.

After paying a pound for an hour (I paid a pound), we used the wifi to check the weather forecast and plan our walks for the next few days. Whilst this was happening dinner arrived. For Mrs MOFAD, chicken stuffed with chorizo and wrapped in bacon. For me, this simple smoked haddock linguine, with a creamy sauce, parmesan and some garlic bread.

Just the thing to fill the hole on a night like tonight.

It was accompanied by a pint of Barngates Pale Ale, which is a new one to me. A decent bitter pale ale and only 3.3% – very easy to #keepitsession with that.

No pudding tonight (we haven’t earned one), so we ventured out into the rain and back to watch a bit of TV…

I must add a brief note about this very lovely beer that we brought with us.

A peanut butter milk stout will probably go one of two ways. Either awesome or awful. This one was awesome, sweet and nutty, utterly delicious, smooth flavours and a wonderful nutty aroma.

Mother Hubbards Fish & Chips, Swaffham, Norfolk, July 2017

Another takeaway post, and a rather impromptu one at that. If you’d asked me yesterday morning what I’d be eating tonight, I would have said curry, at home, as per.

Due to an urgent family matter, we needed to be in Swaffham this weekend. Have I ever told you that the architect who designed our kitchen extension also designed the public toilet block in Swaffham? Well, I have now.

So on an overcast Friday evening, I found myself in a long queue outside this chip shop. Possibly the longest chip shop queue that I’ve ever been in. That has to be a good sign right?

Indeed it was. Three delicious portions of fish’n’chips were served up, alongside a little tub of home-made tartare sauce (no squeezy sachet nonsense).

There was plenty of choice, three sizes of cod, two of haddock, two of rock, plaice, skate, wholetail scampi, fishcakes, cod roe, saveloys, sausages, spring rolls, pies, burgers, fried chicken, battered mushrooms and plenty of moisteners in the form of beans, curry sauce, peas (mushy or not) and gravy. They also do pizzas and garlic bread, jacket potatoes and salads. There are also desserts. And a whole cabinet of fresh doughnuts.

A cracking fish’n’chip shop with lovely friendly staff, and you can see why it is so popular (there were no queues outside Mr Chips on the other side of the market place). Definitely the place to go if you find yourself in this charming sleepy market town.

Arctic fish bar, Chipping Norton, July 2017

A quick post and one without photos. Whatever next. This is really just here as a placeholder to remind all of us which chip shop in Chippy it is that we like. We’ve been to this one every year, and we do sometimes struggle to remember which is the good one. It’s this one, lovely chips, nice crisp batter on the fish and a decent size of cod too.

If you are camping nearby (as we are at least once or twice a year!) then this is the chip shop you need!

The Beehive, Combs, Derbyshire, July 2017 #2

As foretold yesterday, we are back again. A little more tired today, as we have been doing one of our walks, and we have certainly earned some sustenance today. Not as hard earned as some of the dinners after the walks we have done as part of these circuits, but still a just reward for our efforts.

On to drinks, and if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it. Which is another way of saying that there were no new ales on (despite our efforts to empty the Mobberley cask yesterday) so it was more of the same.

Back to the specials board again, and it’s time for spot the difference from last night. There are 2 changes. A new soup, and the chicken special replaced by lamb.

The lamb was very tempting, but I was going fishy again, with the last of the char grilled marlin, with lemon and asparagus risotto.

This was not bad, but I always expect a risotto to be amazing, because of the amount of care and effort that should go into it. I find that making risotto is quite a therapeutic thing, you take your time and make a lovely dinner. It’s just stirring at the end of the day, but that process produces great results. So when you get one that’s just ok, it can feel like a bit of a let down.

The second matter in hand, is whether to flake the fish and distribute it throughout the dish, or plonk a lump on top. The flaked option can feel more like paella, but the plonked option does feel a bit like an afterthought. Mrs MOFAD had a pork stroganoff which was very nice.

It was soon time for pudding, with this ice cream sundae/knickerbocker glory concoction.

Sweet and delicious. Just like last night, another pint of that tasty Mobberley ale appeared to accompany proceedings. Yet another pleasant evening in the Beehive. Hopefully another walking weekend will bring us this way soon, lovely place.

The Beehive, Combs, Derbyshire, July 2017

Firstly, a note on pronunciation. Combs is pronounced “combs” like the thing that you use on your hair, as opposed to “coombs”, which many of us may have mistakenly called it. Maybe.

On to food and drink. We find ourselves back here again, finishing off a circuit of walking circuits that we started back in May 2014. We were last at the camp site up the road in September 2015, doing some of those walking circuits. On that occasion we came to The Beehive for dinner on both nights. It was good. So we are doing that again. Once again, we find ourselves in the bar area where dogs are welcome, as Suzy the ninja hound is with us as usual.

Tonight began as the previous nights began, a quick photograph of the specials board so everyone in our party could find out what was on it.

Whilst they perused, we were ordering some drinks. As well as some dull and predictable Marstons, there always seems to be a good guest ale or two. Tonight that guest ale was Route 97 from Mobberley brewhouse. It was a delicious hoppy pale ale. Refreshing and good Chinook hop profile.

Food next. Last time several of us had the seafood platter. We were pleased to see that it was still on the specials board, and several of us had it again. It wasn’t quite as good as last time, the bread seems to have been downgraded to a slice of Hovis Seed Sensations instead of a nice chunk of fresh granary, and the fishy offerings were less. Not as many leaves as last time, and more sliced peppers I think.

Mrs MOFAD opted for duck breast, with sweet potato and rosemary mash and a Cumberland sauce.

Although we hadn’t yet earned one, we had to have a pudding, having spotted the chocolate and candied lime tart on the specials board. This is an important lesson – if you see something on the specials board that you want, have it, because it might not be there the next time you come. This handy poem will help you to remember:-

Never put off what you can do today,
For it may lead to sorrow.
If you do it today and you like it,
You can do it again tomorrow.

The chocolate and lime choice was absolutely spot on. Lovely rich chocolate, reasonably crisp pastry and the candied lime was absolutely divine. As you may have already gathered, I love lime.

Somewhere in between courses, another pint of that tasty Mobberley ale appeared to accompany proceedings. We hung around for a while with drinks and a few games of Uno, as per. Another pleasant evening in the Beehive. Lovely people, lovely pub.

Our Plaice, Coniston, June 2017

A very quick fish’n’chips post. Another lovely day out in the Langdales today, conquering Loft Crag and Pike O’Stickle (proper scrambling required to get to the top of that one). The cottage (ground floor apartment) that we are staying in is overlooked (although hidden by massive trees) by Our Plaice, and sometimes the smell of fish’n’chips drifts over. It’s always tempting.

Tonight, we gave in to temptation and both had fish and chips, putting in the effort required for the 60 second walk to get there 🙂

Lovely fresh fish and chips (cooked to order, so they haven’t been hanging around under heat lamps). Delicious, crisp batter (sign of a nice high temperature in the fryers) and lovely fresh chips. As we have no dishwasher, we opted to eat straight from the carton.

A cracking takeaway fish and chip shop, perfect for all parts of Coniston. You can eat them just outside on picnic benches (lovely views of the A593) or you could take them down to the water’s edge and enjoy them with a proper view.

Recommended!