(Fifty)Two Years Marked With Two Courses


On Saturday we had an early birthday celebration for my Dad, but his actual birthday is today! Happy Birthday Dad! He has not turned a particularly land marking year (the big 5-0 was two years ago) but a birthday is still a birthday in my eyes! Exams tomorrow influenced our decision to celebrate Dad’s fifty second year a few days early, although that doesn’t mean to say that today will pass uneventfully as I think we are still heading out for dinner at some point. Double celebrations by the sound of it! Any excuse to stick on a pretty dress and heels and I’m game – especially if it includes food too.

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Me in the garden Saturday evening before heading out, accompanied by my little shadow, it comes in the shape of a small pug and it likes to follow me round wherever I go Smile Haha I couldn’t even get my picture taken without Polly sticking close by. We had to leave her at home while we went out because although dogs are permitted in the pub we go to, Polly isn’t quite up to coming out and behaving for a whole evening with us yet.

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Where did we go to celebrate Saturday evening? Well at the pub of course. Not just any old pub though, a very quaint country pub that we have been going to for over a decade. As you’re probably all aware by now, I love the countryside: I love to walk in the country, drive through country lanes, look at all the views I pass and also stopping off at the quaint old country pubs in the middle of nowhere. Like everyone we have our few little favourite spots but nothing comes close to beating The Lord Raglan for outstandingly good pub meals. I’ve talked about the pub on my blog before, when we came here last year for Dad’s birthday and over the ten years we’ve been coming we’ve always rated the food.

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However I went through a stage where I felt a little uncomfortable at the pub as it is such an old dark building, with low ceilings and small windows. Depending on the weather outside, time of year or day influencing the natural light outside it can make the space very dark and a sort of claustrophobic. There is a corner at the back of the pub where we’ve had a table before which is so dark during the winter. For a while I think I just took a bit of a teenage dislike to the ‘dreary’ setting.

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However, isn’t it funny how your opinions change over time? Returning on Saturday (a year older and hopefully wiser since my dad’s last birthday) I could completely overlook my former silly ideas and just appreciate the pub for what it is. It is an old building so understandably it wont be as bright as some of the modern spaces we’re used to today. But above all, these factors give the pub that quaint little character that oozes your typical British country pub. And in this day and age, its good to see a successful pub.

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Be it the pictures up on the bar of all the locals

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or the handwritten menu

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or dried hops decorating the low ceiling beams

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or wine bottles stacked up

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the pub oozes quirky personality and stands out from the crowd! There are no speakers blasting awful music but it doesn’t make the pub seem eerily quiet as you could imagine. Instead you get soaked up listening to a lull of general sound, voices making conversation, glasses clinking, knives and forks tapping plates, chairs moving, doors opening. Its oddly very relaxing and natural.

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So onto the best part of the night of early birthday celebrations: drink and food! Three soft drinks for the non drinkers of the evening.

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Where we have been coming to the pub for so long we are completely creatures of habit  always ordering the same meals. My favourite starter dish is the marinated anchovies with apple potato salad, I order this virtually every time and so Saturday was no exception to the rule.

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As you can see, its a very generously sized starter with plenty of fish and salad neatly presented on the plate. Its a cold, summery dish (even though I will still order this in the winter if we come.) And if you’re not a huge lover of fish I wouldn’t advise you to try anchovies because they are what you would call rather ‘fishy’ flavoured. I however happen to love fish and especially anchovies. They taste as though they have just come out of the sea as they are salty and so fresh.

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Although they are quite fishy they are absolutely mouth-wateringly good. They are extremely edible where they are so delicate – the anchovies are light and boneless. Just so divine. A dash of lemon squeezed on top really finishes the starter to perfection.

From fish to something a little meatier for my main course: grilled lamb chops with salad and chips.

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I like to order foods that we don’t always have at home when we go out for meals: hence my decision to go for lamp chops on Saturday evening. The lamb was a complete contrast to the fish starter, the hearty grilled flavour had my mouth watering on a different level and it was chewy in comparison to the effortlessly light anchovies.

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When I say chewy I mean more so compared to the fish. The lamb was indeed cooked to perfection and it was a top notch meal with the addition of big chunky chips and salad!

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We stuck with just a two course meal in the end, as we had strawberries and icecream waiting for us at home! The birthday boy certainly enjoyed his early celebratory meal I think!

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Round two of celebrating fifty two years begins today! Stay tuned…..

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