Most of my regular readers will know that my son Michael works at a local well-known family-owned bakers, a firm which has recently produced the UK’s first ever crumpet beer. In an effort to reduce food waste the company has teamed up with Toast Brewery to create a light session IPA made from crumpets classed as too ‘wonky’ to go on sale.
Made by replacing some of the malted barley in the beer with crumpets, sugars and starches are extracted and broken down into fermentable sugars meaning the crumpets do more than just flavour the beer. At 4.2% The Toasted Crumpet is Warburtons first non-baked product in the company’s 140-year history.
Initially only available from the Warburtons website as a limited edition the beer could be produced on a larger scale if there’s enough demand; it only went on sale two weeks ago but Michael has told me that it’s already sold out although he hasn’t had any as it’s not his thing. I don’t drink anyway but to be honest, as much as I like Warburtons crumpets, I wouldn’t want to drink crumpet flavoured beer – a bit of an acquired taste I think.
Can sometimes go more than a little bit wrong for me, resulting in much frustration and a wish that I’d never got out of bed, which is just what happened yesterday.
Following on from last week’s visit to Hornby Castle for the snowdrop weekend I wanted to go to Lytham Hall this weekend to see the snowdrops there ; weather-wise Saturday wasn’t good and several checks on various weather forecasts and live webcams showed me that yesterday wouldn’t be too clever either so I had a change of plan and decided to go somewhere where I would be indoors.
My intended destination involved getting the train to Manchester so after checking and double-checking various times on the internet I got the bus from home in time to get the 10.45am train. The electronic information board near the station’s ticket office told me that the train was on time, as did the board down on the platform, however there was no sign of the train after a few minutes so I assumed it was running late. I’d been there for quite a while when one of the station staff told me that there were no trains at all going to Manchester but there was a replacement bus service from outside the station. Needless to say I was more than a little annoyed at the previous lack of information ; nothing on the internet, nothing on the information boards at the station, no announcements – zilch, nada, nothing.
Back outside the station I found where the replacement bus would go from only to be told that it would be another ten minutes before it arrived ; adding that to the time it would take to get to where I was going I didn’t want to waste any more of the morning, so I just got the bus back home to work out another change of plan. Lytham Hall was still out of the question so to salvage something from the day I decided go shopping for some items of camping equipment which I still need to get.
My first port of call was the Winfields store at Haslingden ; I wanted a blue camping chair in the same style as my previous one which I got from there a couple of years ago, also a few smaller accessories. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the smaller things I wanted but I did get lucky with the chair – the only blue one of that style in the shop, it was the right price and I even managed to negotiate a small discount because the carry bag had a small tear in it. Well if you don’t ask you don’t get, do you? – and the tear can easily be repaired with some fabric glue and a bit of strong tape.
With the chair stashed away in the van I decided to go across to the store’s café for coffee and cake, however that part of the store, a homeware, gifts and clothing section in a separate building to the main store, was undergoing a refurbishment and the café had been moved to a much smaller area downstairs. It was full, and there was hardly any cake left ; I didn’t want a full meal as I would be going out for tea later on so I decided to drive on to my next stop, Go Outdoors at Blackburn – and that was when I remembered why any previous visits to Blackburn have always been undertaken by train.
Driving along the motorway to the northern outskirts of the town was no problem but getting into the correct lane on the ring road, then finding the road I wanted once I got into the town centre was a nightmare. I knew where I wanted to go, could even see part of the right road at one point, but with various side streets blocked off and the stupid one-way system taking me where I didn’t want to go it took me ages to get to Go Outdoors. Finally pulling up in the car park I was definitely ready for a drink and a snack so I went in search of something, finding a small cafe a distance along the main road. But it was just my luck that they were ready for closing and had very little left, certainly no cake, so I got a take-away coffee and a large sausage roll – big mistake. The coffee was strong and just about drinkable – well by my standards anyway – but the sausage roll was diabolical.
Although I prefer to eat sausage rolls cold (I find warm ones too greasy) this one wasn’t just cold it was positively chilled – the outside edges of the pastry were hard, the meat wasn’t exactly soft either and after a few bites I gave up. Pulling off the rest of the pastry I found the meat was covered in a white film, a sure sign that the thing had been frozen but hadn’t thawed out properly. Needless to say it was consigned to the nearest bin, and as I’m sitting here writing this I’m happy to report that it didn’t give me galloping gut-rot.
Go Outdoors, when I finally got in there, wasn’t exactly a roaring success either. As far as camping stuff goes they hadn’t a lot of anything, certainly none of the items I was looking for, so all I bought was a slab of Kendal Mint Cake which I only ever seem to be able to find at camping stores. In all fairness to the store though, it is still early in the year and they won’t be fully stocked with camping stuff yet so I can always go back in a few weeks.
It was still only mid afternoon when I got back home so I made a coffee and had some of my own cake as it would be quite a while before my evening meal out with Michael, then I went out to put a small pot of flowers on Sophie’s patch of garden. They are supposed to be planted in well-drained soil but the newly turned earth is like a big pudding with all the rain so until it dries out enough to rake it over I’ve just left the pot as it is but surrounded by bricks to keep it in place.
Overall my day hadn’t exactly been a good one but at least I’d got the camping chair I wanted so that’s one item to tick off my list – and the next time I go to Go Outdoors I’ll go direct from home, a straightforward drive right to the store without the need to go anywhere near Blackburn town centre!