The morning was bright and sunny. The rain and north winds of yesterday were gone. The day was right for a walk in the country.
I drove to Brearton, a small village just outside Harrogate and walked along narrow lanes in to the country. A white and brown cat followed me for a while. Sheep dogs barked and a strong farmyard smell hung in the air. There were sheep and horses in the fields. A young farmer and his wife were vaccinating lambs. “They are just one month old” he told me.
I stopped at the Malt Shovel for lunch. The wall next to the entrance was covered with plaques showing awards the pub has won over the years. It was warm and cosy inside. A Polish woman in black pulled me a pint of Rudgate ale. We talked about Warsaw and her face lit up. It was good to see that out of the 31 wines on the list, 11 were available by the glass. I wasn’t having any – I refuse to drink wine in pubs. I sat near the open fireplace and ate confit lamb shoulder and creamy mash and wondered what happened to traditional pub grub.
That evening I needed only a light supper. I opened my penultimate bottle of Vilmart’s excellent Champagne Coeur de Cuvee 2006 and drank most of it with smoked salmon and salad. It started to rain again.
It was a thoroughly nice day.