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Tuesday, 31 August 2010

It was turning out to be very funny Monday.

It was Bank Holiday Monday yesterday in the UK and my friend and fellow blogger Janette,,and myself arranged to meet up at Wollaton Hall and park. It is a popular 500 acre park on the outskirts of Nottingham and features a beautiful Tudor mansion designed by Robert Smythson. The mansion looks out over some fantastic parkland featuring a herd of stags and deer and a man-made lake with lots of wild fowl. It’s very green and lovely to have a stroll round any time of the year. Some people like to run and jog around the parklands. Not me. Lazy? Yes and the fact that tight lyrca makes me sweat and look like a running bone thus attracting the unwanted attention of packs of dogs excited by the thrill of the chase. If you’ve ever been hunted down by a slavering Jack Russell and Great Dane combo you’ll know what I mean.

There is also a golf course and that is where the deer like to chill out and rut and they get quite cross if accidently whacked by a stray golf club. They too get excited by the thrill of the chase and the thrill of watching children step in deer poo. Oh the joys of the simple life. There are also grey squirrels that enjoy catching golf balls in mid flight and hoard them in the oak trees. Allegedly.

Anyway, Janette and I had arranged to meet as we were keen on the prospect of attending (free of charge) a Fine Food Festival and Craft Fair. It was a beautiful day and we each reached the rendez-vous by 10am. I’d already had a look round and it didn’t take me long. In fact it took me longer to sigh in disappointment than it did to go round the pitiful amount of stalls. There were about ten stalls in a outside courtyard that could have taken twice the amount of vendors. Some of the stall holders looked understandably fed up.

As we discovered, most of the stalls were of good quality items like Spanish ceramics, African artifacts and local cheeses and jerk chicken. One lady stall holder was having a fine old time politely dealing with a young girl constantly asking if the food was free. Although she was offering taster samples of her Jumping Jack chilli jam and promoted well the mango mojito dessert sauce and best quality balsamic reduction, amongst others, the fairly high prices meant that any purchases would have seriously made a reduction in one’s wallet.

We had a quick look at the cup cakes stall and promised ourselves that we would get a few of the enticing looking cakes on the way back from a walk. With that in mind we took ourselves on a circumnavigation of the lake and enjoyed the sunshine and a long chinwag about things serious and downright silly. Janette is great friend and always good fun to talk to and be with. En route we saw a fabulous view of the Tudor hall from the banks of the lake and spotted the Log Ness Monster in the waters.

Log Ness Monster

Back at the courtyard we picked up four cupcakes for a fiver and made our way to Janette’s car with the intention of driving five miles up the road to a place called The Bottle Kiln in the village of West Hallam. Janette had never been there before and I had promoted it as being a super (good quality) gift shop, gallery and cafĂ© that offered some great vegetarian dishes at reasonable prices.

Off we drove with me convincing her all the way that we were going in the right direction, honest. Finally we saw the distinctive chimney of the Bottle Kiln and pulled into the empty car park. This was immediately odd as it is a popular venue. Then we saw the sign. ‘Not open Mondays.’ There were two options here, one: we could have got annoyed or two: we could have laughed it off. We took option two and laughed all the way back to the Wheelhouse Pub near Wollaton Park and had lunch.

The Bottle Kiln (not on a Monday)
The pub was offering a very good value ‘two meals for £9 deal’ on a selection of meals shown in the menu. Janette chose the Tagliatelle Carbonara and I had the British Beef and Ale pie. Both were great value and very tasty. The pub is part of the Hardy’ House chain and for good wholesome food and a great price I would recommend a visit.

Whilst waiting for our food Janette pointed out something on the menu that had us nearly falling off our chairs with the giggles. In the ‘from the grill’ section, meaning, succulent rump and sirloin steaks and just in case you need telling, that’s MEAT, one could have the option of ordering a choice of three spicy sauces or three ‘toppers’. All these extras for your steak were marked with a green V meaning that they were OK for vegetarians! It was turning out to be very funny Monday.

Thank goodness we hadn’t arrived on Monday 9th September. Why? Because they are closed for refurbishment. Just as we finished our meal the background music changed to “I don’t like Mondays” and Janette and I giggled like naughty school kids.


The Quizzical Observer said...

Spooky! Mrs QO & I met up with friends en route to Shrewsbury Folk Festival this last weekend and had a meal at one of those roadhouse pubs, evidently in the same chain as the Wheelhouse, as we'd spotted that 'vegetarian sauce available for your steak' thing on their menu. The vegetarian and vegan friends in the party were a bit bemused.

Incidentally - with reference to the earlier post of yours - I'm glad to report none of the portable loos on the festival campsite were blocked at any stage...

Gailsman said...

Glad the day turned out nice for you after a disappointing start. Wolly Park is great. There's always something going on. Went there a few weeks ago to see a classic car show.
Not been to the Wheelhouse. You should try the Priory on Derby Road, near Wollaton Vale. They do a super carvery for £7. choice of 3 meats and all the veg you can cram on your plate.

Janette said...

Don't think we should go out on Mondays, ever again...!

French Fancy... said...

What a great day out this sounds, Phil - love the photos.

Phil Lowe said...

QO: Spooky indeed! I laughed for two days about the steaks and the vegetarian sauces. As my friend Janette said "It must have been a meat eater who compiled the menu!"

GailsMan: I will certainly give the Priory a go. Sounds good value.

Janette: i think we should launch a project to see how many places we can find that are closed on a Tuesday.

French Fancy: Glad that you liked the piece and the photos. Wollaton Hall is very special.