The Storks of Böbs

The Storks of Böbs
A Very Fine Pair

Christmas tour 2010-2011 - Pershore

We set off from Dorchester after breakfast and headed towards the M5 via the A37, as it was a Saturday morning the traffic was quite light, though there where a few tail backs at some of the round-abouts, the countryside always looks serene after snow, it deadens sound and levels sharp contours.

We arrived at Pershore at around 13:30 we had aimed for 13:00ish, but considering the conditions we didn't make bad time. We arrived just in time to have a bacon bap thrust into our hands with a hearty hello. We chatted for a while, as the feline tried to make friends with me, but I was having none of it!

She had more success with Linda (she is such a soft touch). We next got fixed into our room and Carol said we would have a cuppa and something to eat prior to going out to have a Thai meal. As I had parked out on the street I decided to bring the car inside of the compound . I must say that I am most impressed with the sheltered accommodation, it was originally built as British Legion accommodation for retired members of the forces, it has now gone "socially private" but it is very, very well run and well kept. If I didn't lead such a Gypsy life it would be a real consideration for my forth coming retirement.
The snows had started that day with vengeance

Carol next took us out for a nice stroll around Pershore, we went via the Abbey church and then onto the High street took a few photographs.
She required a bit of veg for the next days Sunday dinner so we popped into a few shops, including the local factory shop. We returned the next day and Linda bought some boots for the snow and I bought Christmas cards for next year.

We returned to the Close and Carol invited us up after a snooze for a cuppa, it was a scones with cream and strawberry jam. Oh! the waist, but not a waste.

We then went for another walk into town, we went to the high street and she then took us down through the town to show us the sights, I enjoy looking at various architectural styles, I found that houses with the wrought iron balconies most interesting, with a certain Mediterranean flare. The Christmas tree was ablaze with blue sparkle.

We next popped into Number 8.

Number 8 is the Pershore Arts Centre, this is run by the local community, for the local community, but it does have international reputation. That Saturday evening they had the Swan Lake Ballet being performed by  the renowned Vienna ballet company. In the main foyer is where they have their art exhibitions, during the week they have a films, theatre, dance, opera, workshops for the young and old. It's a vibrant Arts centre, with a fantastic group of volunteers, and also a very nice coffee bar serving homemade cakes and scones.

Need to know more? Have a look at their web link:

or better still pop in.

Bill joined us as we sat having a G&T or something similar, Carol and Bill had suggested their favourite Thai restaurant called Legends. So suitably clad it was cold, very cold in fact it was the coldest place in Britain that night -19°C and which fool set that urban mist about that it was too cold to snow????.

We settled into our seats and the Ballet troupe trooped in! They had also heard that this was the place to eat.

We ordered our meals and again I always go with the flow, in this case those in the know (Carol & Bill) they suggested the sea food banquet for 2 and the Hot and Spicy banquet for 2.

Well what can I say? The  starters alone where fantastic, I think that for normal eaters the starter would have sufficed, but then we ain't normal eaters.

We chatted about this and that, mainly about their time in Germany interspersed with food, the evening just winged by. I think the Ballet crew enjoyed it as well, the food not our chatter :-)

Meal finished we sauntered back to Roland Rutter Court, very full and very happy, as we parted Carol said "just come across when you feel like breakfast but not before 09:00". Well I don't think there was much chance of that!

The wonderful Abbey Church

After breakfast we a decided to go to the Farmers Market which was to be held that Sunday in the square on Broad Street, we trundled through the snow and through the Abbey grounds Linda taking photographs as if they are going out of fashion.

Popping in, to what is left of the inside, the nave as it is now had been the original Choir transept.

So do I
One little soul had put up a christmas star on a board for the Sunday School.

We headed for the market place in Broad street, just as we turned the corner, Carol was chatting a bout the locals and as we pssed a rather impressive though not overtly large house she said this is where Chapman Pincher lives, I looked up and I was confronted by a largish man chatting on a mobile (I actually heard him say "well it was -19°C here" he was rather flambointly dressed. Carol said that's him!!!

Alas on turning the corner, we did notice that there was not a market stall to be seen, it had been snowed off. Oh what a pity, After the disapointment of Dorchester market I was so looking forward to going to a Pershore Farmers market. Never mind we went into Number 8 for a cup of coffee and Linda had been hoping for a mince pie, alas all gone, she was ever so sad, what ever next? no market, no mince pie.

We left number 8 and Carol took us to the lieusure centre where she (when in good health) goes for her early morning swim. From there we walked down to the Avon (the second one on our journey), it was ice free but still looked most uninviting.

Returning back at the ranch we had a little break as Carol was cooking a Sunday roast for us (Leg of Lamb)

Carols leg of Lamb with roasties and Fantastic Yorkshires, well what can one say perfectly cooked Lamb (Bill gets the outside as he likes it a little less pink)

We had Carols home made Christmas pud for afters, it was a dream, we finished off with a few cheeses and crackers ( well Carol had to live up to her "nom de plume"). After that we watched HFW on tele what an afternoon. Thank you kindly Carol and Bill!

The next morning we set off to Hollyhead and Dublin:

Christmas tour 2010-2011 Dorchester

We set off across the snowy land scape from Trowbridge to Dorchester making a small detour to visit Hunts kitchen shop in Sturminster Newton, this is well worth the the trouble as there is a wide range of cooking "things". Due to the weather and the stop off we arrived at Dorchester just as the market was closing up, it was such a pity as I do like the Dorchester Wednesday market, it is normally a busy, bustling market and all we got was a pair of slippers for Linda. No cheese, ham or pickles, I spoke to a stall holder and he said the weather had kept a lot of people away and the stall holders had been obvious by their absence.

We the parked up at the rear of my Brothers and SILs and on getting in guess what a nice light meal was waiting (My SiL is Spanish,an artist and a fantastic cook).

After getting bags unpacked and settled, we decided to have a look around the town, nothing much had changed in the last 12 months, but I do like to browse (book shops are my addiction) around the town, Dorchester is very compact and as my Brother lives right in the centre it is all within easy walking distance (if it hadn't been for the snow and biting wind) .

We pottered about and then went back to my Brothers and watched a bit of television.

Thursday after breakfast Linda and I decided to go out for the day (Snow had stopped and the main roads had been cleared), we headed out toward Bridport, passing the famous (or is it infamous?) Cerne Abbas Giant.

Wee Willie of the South Downs?

We went into Bridport and done a bit of looking and window shopping. We where undecided, was it to be Lyme Regis, Mark Hix and his Oyster and Fish House or Beaminster and Mat Follas at the wild garlic. Well by a unanimous decision Mat won, we got into Beaminster just in time for Lunch and just in time for a down pour. We parked a little up from the restaurant and dashed inside.

The Wild Garlic

The Restaurant is situated on the square, it is pleasant and homely, no glitter and sparkle here, tastefully decorated. The tables are  decently spaced and there are window seats for those that like watching rain.

They serve morning coffee etc. we got in just on midday and there where a couple of others finishing off their morning tipple. We where the first in for lunch (I always reckon you get the biggest piece), the nice staff showed us to a table and produced a carafe of water and fresh bread  with an olive oil/ balsamico mixture.

We ordered our meals, he did have a nice black board hanging on the wall with specials of the day, I ordered the sprats from it!

Linda decided not to have a starter, but the local caught sprats sounded just up my street. Mat brought them out himself and had a little chat, he seemed a little taken aback when we told him that we had come all the way from Germany just to visit his restaurant (well the coming from Germany was the whole truth)

For the mains Linda had chosen the calves liver with onion gravy and  mash and she said it was excellent.

Calves Liver, onions and mash

The Barnsley Chops

well the plate was empty all I could do to stop her licking it

And I had the Barnsley chops, with potatoes and fresh vegetables, couldn't fault it, looked nice, smelled nice and more to the point tasted fantastic.

The chops (large ones as they should be) where done to a turn, nice and pink, the pesto was a great accompaniment, the baby carrots and parsnip fresh and full of taste. The spuds, well, tasted of what new potatoes should taste the soil, the wonderful earthy taste that you only get in really fresh new potatoes.

Linda not a girl to miss her pud decided on the Guinness and  Ginger cake with with Licorice ice cream and an Orange vanilla sauce (I think). This may seem a strange combination at first glance, but Linda said all of the flavours worked very well together and she said it was most enjoyable.

The pud

Another plate that didn't need a lot of washing up

Just as we where finishing Mat came into the front of house carrying a massive plaice on the bone, this had been ordered by someone at the window seat, it did look magnificent, I started wishing that I had ordered that, but you can't have everything on the menu can you? More the pity!

I shall certainly be visiting the Wild Garlic again, maybe this summer. It is a friendly, well run establishment, a pleasure to eat at. Mat you are a true winner!!!

After lunch we did head out to Lyme Regis, just to have a quick look and quick it was, the weather was freezing, the wind howled and it hissed down. We decided to go to Dorchester to do a bit of shopping, I wanted to book browse and Linda had a few odds and sods that she required  (women always do, don't they?). I went into one of my favorite second hand bookshops, the owner was outside on his mobile, I went in and started to browse, he then came in and said that unfortunately he had to shut up shop as his assistant had been unable to get into work that morning and he had just heard that the roads out of Dorchester where now becoming impassable. I had come in a couple of hours prior and though snow had been falling I had managed it quite comfortably (it may be that in Germany all cars and Lorries must have winter tyres on from the first of November) it is also a case they don't often get that amount of snow on the South Dorset Downs.

We did pop into that wonderful kitchen shop (Owen and Simpsons) in Antelope Walk (this was in times gone by, the entrance to the stabling areas of the coaching hotel called the Antelope), there is also a smashing Celtic sic, Pasty shop in the walk (Cornish really). There is a nice fresh fish stall on South Street (Pedestrian Area) right outside the entrance to the walk, this sells local caught fish from the inshore boats and always has local crabs and pots of cockles, mussels and whelks. Alas because of the weather none of the boats had been out and the stall was a little depleted.

Friday was a day that we had decided to do to Poole with the Train, I think that train travel is much maligned, I like to be able to stare out of the windows at the rain drops. Now I like Poole, it is nice, when the sun shines, very nice, you can sit outside at one of the harbour cafes, it would have been  nice,  if only it wasn't bloody raining, this meant me book shop browsing and Linda had other more important things to do????

We visited the Dolphin shopping centre (it is just a short walk from the railway station so you don't get too wet if it is raining) it is quite a nice shopping centre, not massive on the shopping centre scale (Metro, Blue water and Trafford centre are about 10 on the SC scale). I find that shopping centres are all right, in that they serve to get a lot of people to part with their money very quickly. But I prefer, yes, you may say it's "old fashioned", real shops, in real streets, I don't mind having to dodge the number 17 bus while crossing the street, stepping around the dogs droppings or being rammed in the back by push chairs and the elderly mobility scooters, if it wasn't for this bloody rain.

The last time I had been in Poole was a good 10 years past (summer and wonderful sunshine)  with my daughter and SiL, we had gone there to see a series of paintings that she had been commissioned to carry out for a Spanish restaurant, I would have loved to have seen them again, but all I could remember was that the restaurant was quite near the quay and was upstairs. She had informed me that the restaurant had closed (I do hope the closure had nothing to do with Manuela's paintings). If anyone knows the restaurant in question please let me know!

We did have a slight hold up on leaving the Dolphin centre to stroll through the town the train barrier was down for what seemed an hour or more, yes I know their is a footbridge that spans the line but it is steep and I am one of those that if I had started to climb the train would come , the barrier would be up and I would be left thinking "why didn't I wait those couple of minutes", so we waited in the rain.

We ambled through the streets and came at last to the quay, popped into a nautical shop, I also love browsing in nautical suppliers and chandlers, they always seem to have a wiff of the sea and shutting ones eyes you are on the deck of a ship crossing the seven seas.
We did take a stroll along the harbour and around to West Quay road passed the RNLI college, Linda took a photo for her BiL, he is Commodore of the Kilkeel RNLI in Northern Ireland.

We decided that it wasn't the best of days to be wandering around Poole so we went to the railway station and sat in the waiting room, it had by now stopped raining but it was blowing a hooley and freezing. As usually happens on these occasions we had just missed the train back to Dorchester.
On returning to Dorchester we (Linda) decided that we(she) wanted to do a bit of food shopping, we wanted certain Dorset supplies, we went to the deli in the Waitrose arcade and got some Blue Vinney, Linda wanted some for our friends in Pershore, Malahide, herself and also to freeze to be used as her part of the belated cookery club Christmas Dinner (she was making a leek and blue cheese soup). Crossing the street we went into M&S, don't ask me why, we just did, but they had Christmas cakes reduced to clear, well we shall be clearing on at our Kiel Cookery Clubs (Kikoklu) Christmas Dinner being held on 29 Jan 2011 (Kikoklu could well have 2 Christmas dinners in 2011)

So we had a nice evening meal, watched a couple of soaps and had an early night, as next day we where setting off for Pershaw and as it was bacon baps for lunch and we didn't want to miss them did we!

See you in Pershore

From London to Trowbridge

After leaving London on the Monday morning, we headed East around the M25 car park and then onto the M5 towards Bristol. At about 11 O'clock we started to feel a bit peckish and after a short discussion we decided on Mike Robinsons for Lunch, due to the Sat Nav having difficulty in finding it (it always does) for some reason it thinks that it is in the middle of a field with no roads. Arriving just on Midday we decided to take a bar meal, had looked at the blackboard, had a peek in the menu and just then out came a steaming plate of sausage and mash for the people on the next table, that made our minds up pronto. We ordered 2 of the same and ate a wonderful lunch in front of the blazing fire.

I do like visiting Mike when ever in the area, I have been three times now and have never been disappointed. Good home cooked food, always tasty and full of flavour. (I was unfortunately driving but would have loved to have sampled the real ale from the local brewery)

Next we set off across country to Trowbridge, getting there before dark parked up and went to our friends Steve and Jennies, as the evening meal (always arrive on time, if possible a little before) wasn't quite ready Steve suggested we go out for a couple of beers  round at his local, no sooner said than coat was on. On returning Jenny had made us a nice meal, shepherds pie, after which we sat around and chatted about there time in Germany, it was time for bed, as Steve had to be up early the next day to travel down to Exeter.

The Avon at Bradford

Next day we had planned to go into Bath, but Steve had suggested that we went to a small town just North of Trowbridge called Bradford on Avon. So after a spot of breakfast we went there and found it a smashing, charming, Olde Worlde town with an Olde Worlde tea room.

Incidentaly the round turret on the bridge is a medieval lock up, that was used as a drying out cell for those that had partaken in too much of the local brew.

A bridge across one of the many Avons


The Saxon Church of St Laurance, though search as we might, not a Saxon in sight, must have all been pillaged?

The river Avon once more with its flotilla's of ducks, couple of Swans bringing up the rear and geese, coots and ducks keeping watch on the whole revue from the shore line

The Bridge Tea Rooms (they also sell Coffee)
After spending a nice hour or so (if you spend any longer you will start to repeat the places that you have already seen), I promised my self that I must visit in Summer, which one? well that will be left until a later date. 

We now headed of towards Stonehenge. We took the road that passed Westbury and one of the famous Downs White Horses, it is also purported to be the most ancient.

A white horse looking down from the downs at a black comrade

A bit of a close up

There is a bit of a Story here as a couple of years ago I took Linda there as she had never been to Stonehenge, we arrived at dusk and there was nothing to see but duskness.

This time we made it late morning and walk around in a bitingly cold wind, listening to the Audio guide, this is a great improvement to the last time I was there, I have read much on the myths and legends that surround the standing stones, but to have them explained as you walk around them, is indeed very enlightening.  It was all very interesting but, why, oh! why do I seem to visit it in winter (I did many years ago do it in summer but it was in the days when you could actually go and touch the stones).
A bit of a far up

With the sightseeing done we popped into the very nice on site cafe, it is clean, not over priced and the staff very friendly, I suppose they are happy just to have anyone at all to talk to in the middle of winter.

We now headed back towards Trowbridge to do a bit of shopping as we where going to prepare the evening meal for Jenny and the kids.

All in all a very nice day out, though the wind was bitter, I suppose it has its advantages it keeps all the normal sane tourists away!

Game burgers and carrot & cumin buns

Makes 12 patties.


750g of game (the choice is yours) I used Red deer & wild boar (there may have been a bit of pigeon breast in to make up the weight)

250 g pork collar

Game spices *

10ml of gin

10ml of Cinzano bianco

5ml of cassis

1 stale roll soaked in milk

1 large onion sautéed

Small handful (if you have a large mitt) or a handful (if you have a small mitt) of dried cranberries

Salt to taste

*See my standard recipe for game spices

Put all of the meat into a zip lock bag, add the game spices and shake to mix well

Mixed game and pork collar

The ingredients ready to be marinated

The mixture in the marinade

Add the gin, Cinzano and cassis

Shake it all about and place in the fridge over night(or in cold weather on the balcony, for those that are hardy and picnic in winter)

Mince the meats and the bread

add the cranberries mixing by hand

Now sauté the onion add this along with the chopped cranberries and mix well (at this point I will taste the raw mixture and adjust the seasoning, for those not able to do this (the wimps of this world) heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry a small disk of the mixture, this way you shall be able to adjust the seasoning to your taste.

Me being a wimp (I had already tried the raw mixture)
Form into patties, I use Chefs rings, this way they come out all the same size and there are no fights over the biggest one.

12 nice formed patties

Now doesn't that look good enough to eat?

You can fry these on a very hot skillet (or even in a little oil in a frying pan), but for me the best way is out in the open on a real wood fired BBQ, adding a few sprigs of Juniper and rosemary to the glow (no flames).

Slice a Gillthepainter (to Dan Lepards recipe) Carrot and Cumin burger bun in half, smear with a good relish (homemade), mustard, aioli or any thing else you fancy, place the game burger (now done to how you like it, mine has to be juicy and still a little pink) plonk a bit of gherkin, tomato or what ever else on top and away you go.

Link to Dans recipe for Carrot and Cumin burger buns:

My Dan Lepards Carrot and Cumin buns

The Ingredients

The wet ingredients ready to be added to the dry

The mixed dough

Dough ready to prove

Doubled in size

Forming the six balls

Popping them into the oven

The finished Burger Buns

These excellent buns went together with the game burgers like they had been paired in heaven, fantastic and thanks Gill for putting me onto them!