It's the last day of my East Midlands holiday today, and it's bright and sunny and rather cold. Perfect for market-going. I'm hunting for pies and cheeses today.
This part of England has a reputation - well-deserved, so far as I can judge - for foody excellence, and when I'm home again I'll take you through my two visits to The George Hotel at Stamford, where I had a succulent lunch and a georgeous evening meal. These were high-quality experiences, but came with a price tag to match. In fact the evening meal was by far the most expensive meal-for-one I'd ever paid for in my whole life! It was however my deferred Birthday Meal, because I'd intended to go to The George way back in early July, but an electrical problem on the caravan had hastened me home without the planned posh nosh taking place. I was now simply putting that right. Completely just and proper, as I feel certain you'll agree, and not in the slightest bit self-indulgent. Of course not.
I've packed in quite a lot while here, the mostly-fine daytime weather being a boon. I arrived on Friday, and the forest walk was covered in my last post. Saturday was Stamford for lunch, shops, and dinner, and Peterborough for the cathedral. Sunday was Burghley House. Yesterday, Monday, was a visit to A---, aka the Eclectic Chicken, whom I'd not seen for over two years, and, on her recommendation, a visit to Crowland to view the abbey and the famous three-way bridge in the middle of the town. I also took Fiona into the network of dead straight but very bumpy fenland roads to the south-east of Crowland - my goodness, what lonely and windswept countryside! All these things will get a post written about them once I get home tomorrow, except my visit to A---, to preserve her privacy. I had visions of churning out posts while actually here, complete with photos, but although posts-with-photos are theoretically possible with Google Chrome, I was thwarted by the slow speed of wi-fi when away from home. Uploading shots to Blogger was taking much too long. So the holiday will end up getting reported (as usual) after the event.
Back to cheeses and pies. There's a cheese shop in Stamford, my first stop today, that seems to specialise in selling whole cheeses. One, called Stinking Bishop, caught my attention.
I think it's a type of locally-made Stilton, but I shall enquire, although if they are asking too much the Cheese Project will have to be abandoned - or else I'll just get a few samples of various cheeses for immediate eating at the market I have my eye on. The Pie Project will be no less vulnerable to cost limitations. I am going to Melton Mowbray. The market there is held every Tuesday. I'm in search of a whole freshly-made classic Melton Mowbray pork pie. Surely some local baker or chef will have a stall there. Failing that, there is a well-known proper pie shop, Dickinson & Morris, and another I've heard of that rejoices in the name of Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe - or are they one and the same? It sounds like a place for the tourists to me, but nevertheless the shops (or shop) clearly warrant a personal visit.
Given that Melton Mowbray must be heaving with wares that Simple Simon would take a keen interest in, I thought my quest would be clear and straightforward. But when I discussed this with A--- yesterday, she put a spanner in the works by suggesting I check out Nelsons in Stamford first. Apparently Nelsons make pies that kill you with ecstacy, and have to be tasted to be believed. Her daughter emphatically agreed. Well, I listen to such things. So maybe I'll end up with a whole collection of pies, from both Stamford and Melton Mowbray, and will have to hold a jolly Pork Pie Tasting Contest when home again! Plus another: Who Dares To Smell The Stinking Bishop?
Time to get going before they sell out.