It had been a long day, finally coming to an end. Driving from London, waiting for the ferry, then finding our way down the Isle of Wight.
After we checked in to our BnB, we made our way down to the beach around sunset. A cool autumn day with a bit of a breeze, it was still warm enough to just chill out on the beach with a couple of glasses before we found some dinner.
One of first "adventures", in 2014, we had spent a few days in London exploring Camden Market and the poppies at the Tower of London, before making our way to the Isle of Wight.
A couple of Saturdays back we wandered over to Great Tew, mainly to visit BakerGirl (see my previous post), which, sadly, was about to close down. Being lunch time we decided to have a bite to eat at the local pub, The Falkland Arms.
The Falkland Arms Pub
Walking into the pub made me think of a “proper” English pub (from a Southern African’s view anyway). Low ceiling, a bit smoky with a lovely log fire in the fireplace – something necessary on a cold Saturday. A cosy and welcoming space.
On a previous visit to Great Tew and a short walk my wife had commented that she could “smell that the food was good” without even going into the pub. It was no disappointment.
The menu offered more than a normal pub menu, prepared on site from fresh ingredients. Indeed, the Falkland Arms prides itself on the use of local produce and support for local business.
We were too late to sample the chicken pie. Beef features very low in our diet preferences, though the beef pie was tempting. We chose a lighter option in the form of fish cakes. Served on a bed of french fries with creamed spinach, the salmon and chive fishcakes were “full meal” sized and well cooked and presented. Accompanied by a glass of wine for my wife and a glass of cider for me, they made an excellent Saturday Lunch.
Note to self – take food photos. Sorry readers, though I had two cameras, the food photos didn’t happen. May be we need another visit?
The meal cost just on £40. Arguably expensive for a pub lunch, but good value as a better quality meal. No complaints from us on that score.
Stay at the Inn
The Falkland Arms offers B & B accomodation in 6 rooms in their 16th century building. These look good and, if the accomodation is anything like the food, would be a great weekend getaway or a base to visit Oxfordshire.
A Bit of History
There is evidence that there was human habitation in the Great Tew area in the Bronze age, and the remains of a Roman Villa have been found nearby.
Th Falkland Arms pub, itself, has carried the name since 1830.
Our crazy summer of 2019. What more do you want from an English summer – heat, rain, coffee, mud, country trips, more coffee, fast cars, aeroplanes, coffee, That was our summer of 2019, as predicted in an earlier post, Sourdough, Coffee and SEO.
Bretts Own Brews Coffee
The main event of our summer was travelling as part of the coffee team with Bretts Own Brews. We’re the backup team for when things get busy or someone needs a break. Great fun, sometimes hard work, but an opportunity to go to places we would never otherwise think of going. There were a few events for which we went along, but here are some of the most enjoyable and interesting ones. Being on the “other side” as a trader gives a totally different view of the event and the people attending it. You get the odd chance to wander around and see the event, but you are not part of it in the same way as visitors. The trader gets to see people at, shall we say, their most interesting. Sometimes at their best, though not always.
Cowley Road Carnival
A riot of colour, music and food from all over. The Cowley Road Carnival started in 2000 as an idea to help regenerate the Cowley Road. The first Carnival happened in 2001, with just 5,000 visitors. The 2019 Carnival organisers expected a crowd of at least 50,000 people. We had a spot right next to the main stage, so saw some of the music acts and the procession.
Silverstone British Formula 1 Grand Prix
To anyone with an interest in Formula 1, the British Grand Prix must feature on the bucket list. Silverstone Circuit, though much changed over time, is where modern world championship Grand Prix racing was born in 1950. As part of a trading business my access to the track was limited by how busy we were, so I couldn’t go far. Located between Woodcote and Copse corners, I was able to grab a few photos of the cars on track, using various methods to shoot through the fence. Around 351,000 vistors to the track, over three days, created a tremendous atmosphere. With 150,000 of those attending on race day, coffee service can only be described as manic, until the race started. That was weekend to remember!
Standon Calling – Summer Music Festival
Located in the Hertfordshire countryside, Standon Calling calls itself a boutique music festival. Certainly it proved to be a full-on family affair with a great atmosphere. I saw a few families with at least three generations all together. Like all good music festivals, rain featured strongly, and muddy feet became the standard for a few days. Not that it spoiled the fun. Sleeping out in the back of a double cab, and staying dry, did prove a little tricky. The downside of working at a festival is limited time to see the music acts. We enjoyed a great show by Rag ‘n Bone Man on the Friday. Unfortunately we had to head home on the Sunday, fo Monday work, so missed Nile Rogers and CHIC. Next time, maybe. With the trailer in the Wild Wellbeing area, we were very close to the hot tubs. Spending an hour at the end of a busy day in wet weather (with a couple of beers) comes with strong recommendations! That was great.
Castle Howard – BBC Countryfile 2019
BBC Countryfile Live at Castle Howard was the event. We managed to avoid the traffic jams on the first day by arriving late in the evening and meeting the rest of the crew at a charming AirBnB, The Arches, in Slingsby, a few miles from Castle Howard. Friday dawned very wet. While the rest of the Brett’s Own Brews team headed to the event to open up, we went shopping in nearby Malton. The rain kept people away, so we had a free day. A little Yorkshire country drive took us to Hovingham, where we enjoyed a light lunch, and to Helmsley, for a bit more shopping, then back in a loop to Slingsby. It’s an interesting part of Yorkshire, deserving of another visit. The beautiful stately home of Castle Howard forms a backdrop to the event. There seemed to be good quantities of food and outdoor equipmenton display. I understand around 40,000 people visited Countryfile Live over that weekend.
Sourdough Bread Baking
After a few failures and a few “frisbee” loaves, my sourdough baking has finally reached a level of consistency, and a great fit to my lifestyle in general. Watch this space. If sourdough bread interests you, I will be writing more on this subject.
Our various travels over the summer gave us the opportunity to sample some interesting, and some perhaps not as great, foods. We dined out in Brackley at the new Marstons pub, the Paisley Pear, and the new Turkish restaurant, Little Istanbul, on its opening night. There will definitely be a few more visits to both.
Never one to simply follow the “standard” approach, I acquired a Chromebook, an HP 14A G5. I deliberately chose a low end, low cost device. More on that in a later post. On a different track, behind the scenes, and maybe not so visible, the whole SEO approach to this site has been tweaked. Search engine results are slowly improving, AMP is working, and search engine visibility has improved.
So that was our crazy summer of 2019. Summer travels come at a higher price and destinations more crowded than we enjoy. The Summer of 2019 offered a great way to have fun and experience something new. The rest of 2019 will see us travelling to a few interesting places, Watch this space! (Hint: The trips have been booked!) And don’t forget to drop in and buy some BoB’s Coffee.