Artisan cheese fair in Melton Mowbray

I have given myself a week off between finishing writing book 2 and restarting editing book 1. I needed a break and that’s a good thing because I want to put some distance between the two books – I want to use some of what I ‘learnt’ from book 2 within book 1, but I need to focus on book 1 in itself and I knew I wouldn’t be able to do that if I restarted editing straight away. Also, work is stressful at the moment and I’ve been trialling different shifts. We also have a busy barbeque on Bank Holiday Monday and I won’t be able to focus properly until that is over with! So, this week has been something of a catch up week – catching up with Harry’s scrapbook which I had not written in since October (His scrapbook is basically a journal of all the daytrips, holidays, special events, firsts that he has done since he was born. I say scrapbook, but we are on the second book now!) and also sorting photos (this is a neverending job but I have so far managed to tidy up my albums on the computer and upload almost a year’s worth to Snapfish so next job is to start getting them printed and into albums, which is the neverending bit as I am a year and a half behind!).

Today, Harry and I met up with a friend to go to the Artisan Cheese Fair in Melton Mowbray. It was a spur of the moment thing but worked out really well. I was wanting to go to Leicester this weekend anyway as I was running out of some Lush bits and bobs so was going to text Lizzie to see if she was free as I can’t go to Leicester and not meet up with her (she is busy revising for exams at the moment so I didn’t know if she would be). But, she beat me to it and asked if I was interested in going to this cheese fair. Well, come on, its cheese! Of course I was interested. So, Harry and I got the train to Leicester, met Lizzie, then got the train to Melton Mowbray. We wandered around for half an hour trying to find the Cattle Market (you know how easy something is to find if you are coming from the right direction? Well, we weren’t. So we walked around in circles and found the most horrible circuit of traffic lights imaginable). When we got to the Cattle Market Harry was asleep, which turned out to be a very good thing! We paid our £1 entrance fee and joined the crowds!

To begin with, it was slow-going. There was a lot of hanging around at the different stalls to sample all the various cheeses, and to buy them. Without a pushchair it would have been hard, with a pushchair it was near impossible! But, we worked our way around, some stalls easier to negotiate than others, and tried an assortment of cheeses, and even various drinks to cleanse our pallets – including port (we particularly enjoyed a rose port and were surprised by the variety of different ports, not realising that there were white and rose varieties as well as red!), red grape and grapefruit juice, a couple of spirits from a local company called ‘Sloeberry Spirits’. These included Gin and Raspberry and Whisky and Wild Damson. The latter was particularly scrumptious and if anyone ever bought me a bottle of it I would not complain! I didn’t want to try anything else after that the taste in my mouth was pleasantly lingering (but I did because our next stop was a chocolate stall). Other stalls included preserves, baked goods, and even a book stall on which I found a book I had been looking at the prices for on Amazon only yesterday for only £4 (compared to £4.89 for an acceptable used copy on Amazon, after that the prices were around £10)! I also bought an oak-smoked cheddar from Quickes, a cheesemaker in Devon. It was not my overall favourite but I had to buy something that James would enjoy too! My favourite was a goat’s cheese from Cerney Cheese in Cirencester called Miniash. Lizzie’s was a black pepper one from the same stall. We also tried a brandy and vine leaf one there.

The fair also had talks and demonstrations, including ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Cheese’, ‘The UK’s Rarest Cheeses’ (cheeses protected by EU Law), ‘A History of British Cheeses’ and ‘Make Your Own Cheese’, and also tastings. We did not attend any of these although if I had been there on my own I might have been tempted. I did find a rather fascinating stall selling a load of cheesemaking equipment… A new hobby (obsession) coming soon, me thinks :-D.

By the time Harry woke up we were ready to leave and made our way (much quicker) back to the train station, stopping via Ye Olde Porke Pie Shoppe for some lunch. Back in Leicester I bought Lush (I got a free face mask AND a Birthday present for someone AND I get double pay and a day in leiu for working the Bank Holiday so it was totally justified) and we had a drink in Costa where Harry got himself a free balloon. Afterwards, he had great fun chasing Lizzie around Leicester with it and dancing to the bizarre music being performed by the clock tower! We made our train home with three minutes to spare thanks to an emergency nappy change. I hate running for trains and its a million times worse with a pushchair! I didn’t even check the platform when I got to the station and had to take an educated guess which lift to take (I was right). On the way home I asked Harry how many trains we had been on. ‘Four,’ he said, without any prompting! What a clever boy :-). Needless to say, he fell asleep rather quickly tonight!

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