To the border country, diagonally across middle England, my trusty steed of four wheels took me ... before Bateman’s Arms in Herefordshire welcomed me to stay awhile ...
|The Bateman Arms|
The Inn has recently been taken over by a local couple and is already thriving ... it helps having a social outlook with good contacts ... the pub had been allowed to drift downwards ... so was ripe for some rejuvenation.
A cousin of my mother’s lives nearby and is not able to travel, hence my visit to see her ... having not been up since last year, when I picked Jenny up (another cousin of theirs) to drive her down to Cornwall for the Memorial Service.
|The Coach House - bedrooms|
I recognised “my garage” in Leominster – and from then on the spiral of tiny lanes made sure I lost my way numerous times ... “that garage” constantly appeared to at least give me a handle that I was still in the right vicinity!
|The bar's fireplace|
The pub was very welcoming ... and had very good food – so much so ... that I was able to arrange a private room for my cousin and I to have a quiet lunch ... courgette soup with a parmesan crisp and home-made bread, followed by mushroom and tomato risotto, with a side salad – plenty for small eaters ...
|The somewhat dumb waiter ... and glass stand|
As befits an architect (not me!) a copy of Pevsner’s Guide to Herefordshire appeared and we thought a quick visit to Shobdon Church warranted a walk ... this was unrealistic as it happened being considerably further than anticipated and thought not prudent in the circumstances of elderliness ...
I know that we would both love to see the Church, as it has recently been refurbished to its previous amazing glory. Strawberry Hill Rococo Gothic style church it certainly is ... it calls me for another visit sooner rather than later!
|Shobdon Church pulpit|
The Strawberry Hill type of architecture came about for the church style here at Shobdon, as Lord Bateman was great friends with Horace Walpole, of Strawberry Hill House fame at Twickenham – a place that was in the process of being refurbished (2010) ... and now that needs a visit ...
To get back to The Bateman Arms ... Lord Bateman’s history will need to be told another day ... it is woven into English history – that at times I despair of ... so convoluted!
|Monkland Blue cheese|
Suffice to say ... talking about
- a salad of Monkland blue (cheese), poached pear and candied walnuts, or
- Ham Hock and white bean terrine with home-made piccalilli, or
- “Mac’s” whitebait – which I decided on ... taking me back a few decades ... as a starter – delights me far more – less taxing on my brain!
|My "Mac's" whitebait ...|
Or ... sharing platters for two could be had – this seems to be the trend in this country ... mix and match ...
- marinated baby artichokes, scorched peppers, blush tomatoes, olives and mozzarella with a dressed salad, oil and bread; or
- flakes of poached salmon, home-cured mackerel, crayfish tails, smoked salmon, smoked prawns served with aioli, tartar dressing, salads and bread, or
- how about a platter of Trealy Farm charcuterie, home-made piccalilli, chilli and balsamic oils with warm bread and a salad ... now I’m hungry!
... then for the mains there was plenty of choice ... pies and mash: vegetarian, fish, chicken or beef; a slow-cooked lamb shank with mash, honey roasted carrots and parsnips and a tasty herby gravy ...
|My beefburger ...|
... home-made lasagne, steaks various – depending on your appetite, all served with field mushrooms, roasted tomatoes and heaps of triple cooked chips!
I had the homemade Herefordshire beef burger ... without the bap (remember: the same large soft roll I mentioned during my Gospel Burger post), coleslaw, home-made tomato chutney, garnish of salads and a basket of fries ... positively delicious!
Desserts ... Lemon Tart, Cheesecake or ice-creams were on the menu, as well as home-made apple pie ... and coffee ... this section I didn’t partake in ... but I did have a cider or two, couldn’t miss out on some Herefordshire ‘zider’!!
“Mac’s” whitebait were requested to be added to the menu by Tracy’s son, 7 or 8 ... discerning taste-buds in the offing ... they were very good Mac – so thank you for suggesting that addition to Chef Jim for his menu ...
|Potato trailer ...|
To tie all this in ... chuntering along in my trusty steed behind great trailers of potatoes ... reminded me of “mangelwurzels” ... and the Wurzel’s song “Combine Harvester” ... potatoes were dropping and bouncing all along the lanes ...
|Strawberry Hill House, Twickenham|
Thankfully that garage at Leominster regularly turned up and I managed to find my way back to the Arms of Bateman ... in the village of Shobdon, with its Strawberry Fields Rococo style church ...
It was a good stay - thank you Tracy and Simon – I then went on and met up with a couple of blogging friends, one from the States ... more to follow ...
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