Thursday 20 January 2011

Eating at Great Haywood

"What do you do for breakfast?" I asked the retired farmer running the retired farm as a motel. Continental for £3, it seemed. We weighed our options, and the benefits of something large and warming to sustain us against the wind while we worked on the Erin Mae, and decided to look elsewhere.

But first we had to choose where to eat on Saturday evening. A nice pub in Weston with the snooker on a huge screen? A swish hotel in Weston, which would double the cost of the weekend? The first pub in Great Haywood clearly didn't actually want our custom that evening. Then we found the Clifford Arms and that seemed a good choice – service with a smile and some friendly advice about when to come to avoid the rush.

So we turned up just before 7. There were four twenty-somethings standing round the door, having a smoke. The wind was biting, and they huddled into their jackets as they chatted. We greeted them as we passed through, and I said, "Gives a new meaning to the idea of a smoking jacket, doesn't it?" I don't think it was the accent, but they looked at me as though I was from another planet. Ah well, I thought, just because the Beatles are finally on iTunes doesn't mean that every notion from their era is suddenly common currency.

The steak and kidney pie was great – only a tiny bit of chewy stuff on the steak, lots of kidney, and gravy that (yes, really) reminded me of Mum's. Potatoes and peas on the side. It was the salad on the other side that didn't quite compute. Was it to persuade us that we'd gone for the healthy option? But the seriously low-priced glass of Australian red meant we weren't complaining.

Next morning healthy options disappeared on the wind. Something hearty at Frankie & Benny's in Stafford would set us up nicely, we thought. Two of their huge New England Breakfasts for a fiver each, with as much tea and coffee as you wanted. James the manager, fitting in with the 50s theme of the chain, wouldn't have looked out of place in a smoking jacket, though he was only about 25. Talk about helpful and enthusiastic! Did it have to be fried eggs? No, any way you want. Scrambled? If the cook doesn't know how I'll cook them myself. If you don't like them, you can have something else. Anything you want, just ask.

James, we'll be back.


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  2. Hi There Martin and Margaret.

    Thanks for the photo on the blog for Saturday. We got to Sandbach at 3.15pm. Then caught train home.

    Nice to meet you both, take care and keep on canaling

    Mark & Tina