The London Bridge Inn, Stockton Heath.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Today has been in incredibly warm, lethargic day for us in Newton-le-Willows - we couldn't face cooking (nor decide on what to have) so the executive decision was made to drive out to somewhere we'd never been to before and eat there. One of the stipulations was that it had to have a view, so we did edge towards the canal and a sunny beer garden to relax in. The London Bridge Inn looks unassuming from the roadside, but with a good number of people already in the beer garden we knew it must have something!




So far it ticked every box we had. It had a decked area with tables overlooking the canal, and a small set of stairs leading down to the actual towpath if you cared to do so. We visited on a beautiful Sunday in June and it was incredibly busy - we did end up eating inside and bringing our drinks back outside to enjoy the sun but it wasn't so much of a chore as the interior was beautiful!


The only disappointment I had, was that the room closest to the outside windows was reserved (and still was as we left..) meaning we couldn't cosy up on the giant armchairs to enjoy our meal. Instead we stumbled into this area which was deserted - a plus in its own right - and we settled down there. The d├ęcor was a huge talking point for everyone, I don't think that any of my group had a complaint! Personally I love the duck-egg blue and almost industrial feel of the bricked wall, with the choice of ornamental items dotted around it was a great fit.

Onto the food!


I personally went for the baked goats cheese burger with charred seasonal vegetables, and a baked tomato & chilli jam (£8.50). It came accompanied with homemade coleslaw and skinny fries, with some onion rings as a garnish on top of the burger. I do have to admit, this was a messy eat! The tomato and chilli jam soaked into the brioche bun meaning I had to put bits of burger on my wooden board to eat after the burger itself - the cheese especially keen on slipping out and escaping. It was really enjoyable though, and I have to say I haven't seen a goats cheese burger before! While I'm not exclusively vegetarian, I do enjoy eating meat-free dishes and this was an original, tasty change. Just don't wear white!

The burgers (Mike had settled on the signature beefburger) came out wonderfully presented on a wooden board with a bucket of skinny fries - but my inlaws meals, the 5oz gammon steak and beer battered fish & chips came out disappointingly on a standard plate with no garnish. The gammon especially so. I didn't even take a photograph as it was so.. Well. Standard looking in comparison to the burgers!

The food was delicious albeit a little pricy for what was served - especially for my inlaws meals, but we did have a great evening out and we'll be going back for another try in the future. Maybe not on one of the busiest nights of the week, though!

The May Day 2016 Celebrations in Knutsford, Cheshire.

Monday, May 09, 2016

This weekend we were out and about again - and this time we stumbled onto a quintessentially British celebration. May Day! Complete with Maypole dancers, a May Queen and her court, and a huge fun fair amongst other things. I couldn't quite capture how huge this event was, we read about it and wanted to explore the funfair originally but when we arrived we both knew we had to do our best to try and capture a little bit of the wonderful community spirit we had stumbled into.

Firstly, lets start with the elegant May Queen and her court.
 
 
The May Queen is a girl from the local area, usually chosen to walk or ride at the front of the parade. She wears a crown and a white dress (to symbolise purity and innocence), and although this May Day Majesty is wearing a rather regal looking crown in a lot of other May Day parades she wears a floral crown. It is her duty to begin the day of celebration - usually with a speech before the May Pole dancing.
 
 


Maypole dancing may be new to some - so I managed to record a video of what we experienced. The children were fantastic and I'm sorry I couldn't catch the finale of their piece! Huge congratulations to everyone who performed. The dancing is to symbolise spring time and youth - I think its a really lovely way to see in the summer months!
 
I do apologise for any bad language featuring in the video, unfortunately I had to record from behind the crowd and some people weren't so considerate of people filming at points!
 
No May Day celebrations are quite complete without a funfair of course. As I mentioned before, this is what we saw on a poster and decided to head out to! Both myself and Mike are fans of funfairs/rides/theme parks, so we do end up at quite a lot during the course of a year.
 
 
Looks like we weren't the only ones hoping for a day of sunshine and thrills! The fair was incredibly busy, but it did have a good atmosphere to it. The security were quite vigilant on any anti-social behaviour and while I did have someone try sneak a hand in my backpack, that was the only negative thing we experienced. It was nice to see groups of people of all ages sharing carts and laughing together - again, the community spirit was felt here!
 


 
The fair was huge! The poster had enticed us with '100 rides and attractions!' and I'm glad it did. There was a nice selection of attractions and rides from children's hook-a-duck to a crazy mouse rollercoaster. The weather was beautiful too - the pictures don't look as bright as it felt on the day.

The only issue I found was that rides were very close together, so there wasn't much room for walkways between some of them - hopefully this is an oversight they may correct next year as a lot of people had pushchairs/children, and it made it a very confined space for a lot of people to attempt to navigate.
 



 
We stayed until the late afternoon before heading home - but I'm really glad we stumbled onto Knutsford and the May Day celebrations. I realise I've had my little gripes, but all in all I had a really good day - it reminded me a lot of living in Yorkshire, and the carnival we had locally which we did try to attend each year.
 
Its unfortunate we didn't make it in time for the procession through town, but as the event is annual I'm sure we will be there in 2017! The event is held on the first Saturday in May, and after this year I'm excited to see what the committee have planned for the next!
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