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Venison, Port & Roquefort pie

In a previous life, when Jack and I used to be regulars at The Crown in Great Moor, Stockport, the then-landlord, Peter, used to call time at the end of the night with:

“Can I have your glasses please, ladies, gents and…” (looking at us) “…shareholders!”

The Lunch Club

Two weeks ago, Jack and I moved to a small Somerset village and quickly signed up for some of the regular community activities, including the Lunch Club.

Once a month a group of villagers book lunch at the pub in the neighbouring village, and January’s lunch date was yesterday. At 12:15pm we set off to drive the mile and a half to the neighbouring village. We’ve already walked to the pub, following public footpaths across muddy fields, which took us 40mins, but yesterday we decided we didn’t want to turn up to our first introduction to the villagers, dressed in muddy wellies.

I guess we probably expected there would be something in the region of 10 or 12 folks who would turn up for this lunch, probably the retired folks as they’re the only ones – apart from the self-employed, like us – who would be available on a mid-week lunch time. As it turns out, some 20 folk turned up, most of whom were indeed either retired or semi-retired.

As ‘the newbies’, we were something of a novelty, everyone asking us the same basic questions, largely focussed around where we’d come from, in both the short, and longer term. I may have to record a short tape with a history of our moves on it so I can just hit ‘play’ every time I get asked the same question.

During the course of the lunch, I think we spoke to every person there and we think we’ve managed to retain the names of most of the people we spoke more than a few words to. There were suggestions of places to visit nearby, recommendations of places to eat, and a hint about some of the village characters we may encounter.

Lamb Faggots

The Food

The lunch club deal is two courses for £18 or three courses for £23, a considerable discount on the pub menu prices. Jack and I opted to order two courses each, and to share a starter and a dessert.

To begin with, we shared a Whitebait with tartare sauce which was very tasty and just the right amount for sharing. For main course, Jack had the Venison, port & Roquefort pie (top picture), and I had Lamb faggots (above). Both dishes were served with salt baked mash, winter greens, and gravy, and both were absolutely delicious. My faggots defeated me (not a line I ever expected to hear myself saying) and unfortunately I had to leave some.

Our dessert was an Apple & rhubarb crumble with vanilla custard. The portion was mercifully small and it was perfectly nice, but nothing special.

The Pub…

… is an 18th-century coaching inn set in the heart of the neighbouring village, and is owned by the communities of both villages. Coincidentally, it was the first place we dined out in when we first relocated back to the UK in June 2021 after living abroad for 18 years. Our hosts at the Airbnb recommended we try it, and we were very impressed with the place, the service, and the food.

The interior is clean, bright, and quite contemporary and there’s a lovely atmosphere in the place. The staff are bright, bubbly and very welcoming, and it’s a comfy, cosy place to enjoy a meal, a snack, or simply a drink or two.

Looking at the notices pinned around the walls, they seem to have Curry Nights, Quiz Nights, Pie Nights, and ad hoc specials. At the moment, they’re advertising a Valentines Night Special. As it’s a community-owned establishment, residents of both villages can buy shares in it which entitles them to a small discount on food and drink. Jack and I think we might opt in.

It would be brilliant, all these years later and in honour of Peter, to actually be shareholders.


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