I doubt I'm the only one who has realised that one of their main hobbies was eating out. I love food and the novelty of trying to cook restaurant style (it was nowhere near) food at home has more or less worn off completely and we're back to cooking the same five meals a week that we had before the pandemic.
I got overly excited last Tuesday when I saw The Old Butchers in Stow on the Wold were offering a takeaway menu on the Friday and Saturday... "They do a whole Dover Sole for Christ's sake!"
They were also offering Healing Chicken Broth, Fritto Misto and a Prawn Cocktail for starters, Tempura Crab Roll & Chips, a Prawn Po'boy & Chips and a Rump Steak Burger & Chips for mains, and 1/2 Cold Lobster, Mayo & chips and 1/2 Lobster Thermidor & Chips.
This is incredible, but what the hell is a po'boy?
I googled it. They look amazing. But I really want a burger.
I ordered both (well who needs a summer body?). Over Instagram. And paid via bank transfer. Up yours Deliveroo.
My collection time (which I chose) was at 7pm. There were probably 10 people outside the restaurant waiting. We all kept our distance and nodded a hello, apart from one guy who really wanted a chat from about a metre and a half.
People went up to collect their bags like a university graduation, each getting judged on the amount of food they bought.
My name was finally called and I proudly marched up to the door. "Thank you" I muttered with my hand over my mouth. I realised that she was the fourth person I had spoken to all week.
I got home and presented the bag like a new puppy. We got overly excited once again when we saw The Old Butchers branding on the box. There's a moment of trepidation before opening them as you don't really know what to expect as these place don't normally dabble in takeaways.
The burger looked amazing, as did the po'boy. If it were a film, there would have been fairy dust as each box was opened.
I stole a prawn from the po'boy with my fingers as I eat with my hands now on a Friday, and never on a plate. It had a kick that I wasn't expecting but was incredibly good.
The burger was fat and ridiculously juicy. My white t-shirt looked like Onslow's vest. I didn't care. It was immense. Possibly the best burger I have eaten, ever, and I know that is a huge statement.
Thank you The Old Butchers.
Ordering via Instagram 10
Conversation while waiting 1
**Follow The Old Butchers' Instagram and Facebook for the menus and how to order**
The Stump at Foss Cross, located between Northleach and Cirencester, is looking to support the local community and businesses by opening a drive-thru take away service and farm shop, welcome ’The Stump Shack’.
Due to open from Monday, they’ll be bringing out their old events trailers from 2014, giving it a re-vamp, and opening it as a drive-thru pizzeria, produce shop and breakfast cafe. Perfect if you are looking for something quick to eat, pick up your local groceries or even grab a beer or two whilst keeping your ‘Social Distancing’ in check.
Locals will be able to purchase The Stump's knockout pizza - made by award winning pizza duo, Baz & Fred - soups, sarnies, drinks as well as local produce - without having to leave their car. Order from the car, park up and wait for it to be delivered straight to you!
Keeping the community eating well, ’The Stump Shack’ will be working along side a host of local producers, including Sourdough Revolution, Cackleberry Farm, Deya Brewery, The Cotswold Cider Co., Mimi’s Kitchen, The Extra Virgin Farm and many more. They have even found a way to freeze their own delicious pizzas, so everyone can continue to enjoy them from the comfort of their own home.
The first announcements for the Wychwood Festival have been announced and will include The Divine Comedy, Embrace, The Lightning Seeds and Seth Lakeman.
The festival takes place at Cheltenham Racecourse from 29th - 31st May, with over 100 acts performing across four stages, plus music, dance and arts workshops, a circus school and a programme of talks, debates and comedy for all ages.
Jeremy Clarkson has opened a new farm shop on his farm near Chipping Norton.
Diddly Squat Farm Shop, located on his Diddly Squat Farm, was full of potatoes grown on the farm, horseradish, eggs, apple juice and some bottles of special edition natural spring water that was being auctioned off for charity.
We have no idea of the opening times or whether this was just a publicity stunt as a full film crew was covering his every move. Whatever it was, it was good fun!
The Manor House at Castle Combe, Tewkesbury Park and Heythrop Park have all been included in the Top 100 Golf Resorts in the UK & Ireland published by Golf World.
The list sees Gleneagles take top spot, with The K Club in Kildare, Ireland and three of Donald Trump's resorts making up the Top 5.
You can find the full list HERE.
THE MANOR HOUSE
The full line-up for the Cheltenham Jazz Festival was announced this morning.
The festival returns in May with a broad spectrum of world -class contempor ary jazz, blues, soul, R&B and pop. Set against the picturesque backdrop of Cheltenham The Festival Town from May 5-10, this year’s programme once again delivers a balance of core jazz and mainstream offerings from today’s biggest stars, heritage legends and next -generation talent, with an impressive spread of UK exclusives and special commissions in the mix.
Coinciding with the Early May Bank Holiday, which moves to Friday (8 May) to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day, this year’s festival will host New Wave icons Squeeze with hits from their illustrious 45-year career, as well as rarities from their back catalogue and solo careers, beloved UK soulstress Beverley Knight, R&B funk legends KC & The Sunshine Band, Irish singer-songwriter Imelda May with the Ronnie Scott’s Big Band and multi-million-selling vocalist Emeli Sandé. Blues/folk-inspired co-operative Saving Grace unveil their brand-new project featuring singers Robert Plant and Suzi Dian, Malian pop duo Amadou & Mariam and The Blind Boys Of Alabama present ‘Bamako To Birmingham’, multi-instrumentalist, DJ and cultural pioneer Nitin Sawhney will showcase music from his seminal record Beyond Skin alongside repertoire from his 20-album career, while Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award-winning Booker T Jones returns to the Festival with material from his new album Note By Note. The Festival’s Artistic Curator Gregory Porter opens the 6-day event with a concert at the 2000-seat capacity Henry Westons Big Top and has selected various acts for the ‘Gregory’s Picks’ series: Lizz Wright, Keyon Harrold, Makaya McCraven and Gary Bartz & Maisha, announced last month.
The Parabola Arts Centre programme presents a snapshot of the global landscape of jazz today, with this year’s line-up stronger and more diverse than ever. Award-winning trumpeter Laura Jurd presents her latest boundary-pushing project Stepping Back, Jumping In featuring a 14 piece-ensemble, Portuguese rock-fuelled outfit The Rite of Trio perform their UK debut as Cheltenham’s pick from the 12 Points Festival European jazz showcase, Anglo-Swiss quintet YDivide celebrate Switzerland’s lively jazz scene and legendary jazz vocalist Norma Winstone teams up with German pianist Pablo Held. British singer Lianne Carroll pays tribute to the legendary Carole King with a concert at The Daffodil and million-selling US vocalist Stacey Kent will delve into the Great American Songbook with acclaimed saxophonist Jim Tomlinson at the Everyman Theatre.
The Festival’s long-standing partnership with BBC Radio 2 continues with special broadcasts throughout the weekend including Squeeze live in concert and a New Orleans-themed Friday Night Is Music Night with Guy Barker’s Big Band and the BBC Concert Orchestra.
Taste-making DJ and broadcaster Gilles Peterson takes up residence at Warehouse @ The Brewery Quarter – a new pop-up venue, where in addition to his own DJ set will showcase some of the acts he’s championing right now on the UK scene: alt singer-songwriter Rosie Lowe, punk jazzers Melt Yourself Down and the genre-bending Nubiyan Twist.
Also on the bill and representing the UK’s kaleidoscopic jazz scene are SE London collective Steam Down, jazz/hip-hop/soul-influenced vocalist and guitarist Oscar Jerome and 8-piece Afrobeat outfit KOKOROKO. Elsewhere, Ibibio Sound Machine, fronted by Nigerian singer Eno Williams will explore a tapestry of African and electronic soundworlds and iconic drummer Tony Allen pays homage to the late South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela. And set for Cheltenham are some of the most in-demand blues artists currently touring the world: recent Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Keb’ Mo’, US bassist and founding member of blues-rock band Trampled Under Foot Danielle Nicole and harmonica extraordinaire Errol Linton.
Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2020 is hosted in a tented festival village in the town centre’s Montpellier Gardens featuring the Henry Westons Big Top stage, Jazz Arena, Free Stage, Yamaha Discovery Space, a programme of family activities and events and a food, drink and market area. The Festival reaches beyond the festival village into Cheltenham bringing jazz to venues throughout the day until late into the night. These include Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham Ladies’ College Parabola Arts Centre, Hotel du Vin, The Daffodil and a new pop-up venue Warehouse @ The Brewery Quarter plus a dozen more clubs and bars and three street stages in the …around town programme supported by Cheltenham BID.
Tickets go on sale to Members at 10am on Wednesday 26 February 2020 and on general sale from 10am on Wednesday 4 March 2020.
Foals, Loyle Carner and Supergrass have been confirmed as headliners of Wilderness Festival, Season 10.
The 4-day feast of music, the arts, fine dining and the outdoors takes place on July 30th - August 2nd 2020 at the stunning Cornbury Park.
It's been a really good busy month with over 50 runners and a few winners which is always nice.
I have to start with Annie Mc. It's great that she has won her second Novice Chase. The horses she is beating are not mugs. She beat If You Say Run the first time at Wincanton who's a good yard stick, and was wasn't too far away from Reserve Tank who was a dual-grade one winner over hurdles last year. She beat one of Alan King's mares who is rated at 140 decisively at Wetherby. She jumped great and is getting better and better with each run.
She will probably go to a normal Novice Chase next with two penalties but will get a Mares' allowance so will probably only be offset by 3lbs. If she won that, we would definitely to have start thinking about the Cheltenham Festival with her, either the handicap or the Grade 1 Marsh Chase. Her next run will probably tell us a lot more. She's going the right way and we're very excited about her.
It was good to get Django Django on the right track. I was really impressed with the first day behind Erick Le Rouge and Not That Fuisse at Uttoxeter which is really good form. He was disappointing the next time at Aintree with Bryony but to be fair, he lost his two hind shoes so there's an excuse for that run. He looked very strong in the finish at Newbury and won going away. He does look like he could turn into a National horse next year but he has a long way to go but he does have that way about him. He's a horse I have always really liked and has probably still got another year until he reaches his full potential. A horse we're very much looking forward to for some lucky owners who are very loyal to us at Jackdaws Castle.
We really fancied Knight Destroyer in the Fred Winter at The Festival couple of years ago when he fell and it was great to see him win again at Taunton. He had a major pelvis injury, which he has now got over, and seemed to lose a bit of confidence. I would say we will be going over fences sooner rather than later. He suits the tight tracks and making all the running and it's great he got his confidence back and really deserved the win.
Arrivederci beat a strong field at Wincanton. He was due a win after coming second behind Fiddlerontheroof last time out at Sandown who went on to win a Grade 1. He's got very good form, he came third to Tea Clipper at Warwick who has gone onto win a few races since. He's progressing nicely and is going to be a chaser for next year and definitely a horse to look forward to.
It was good for the veteran Valadom to get back to his winning grove at Catterick, and good placing by Richard Hobson. He runs at Musselburgh tomorrow in a similar race but I won't be riding him as I will at Sandown.
Beaufort West was very good at Fontwell for Colin Tizzard. He quickened away nicely and really impressed me. It will be interesting to see where they go with him now. I think he could go for a handicap race at Cheltenham, perhaps the Martin Pipe or Coral Cup.
It was very exciting to win Conditional Jockey of the Year at The Lesters. It's a huge honour to win a Lester award as it's your peers who are voting. I feel very lucky that I have a good network behind me and around me. It really does make you appreciate how lucky we are that we live in a such a good weighing room where the camaraderie is great.
I'm extremely grateful and feel very privileged to get asked to ride Native River and to be associated with a Gold Cup winner. It's a huge call up which I'm relishing and don't take lightly. It's Dicky's (Johnson) ride and hopefully he'll be back fit for Cheltenham but it's great to be riding him at Newbury and hopefully it works out well. He won very well at Aintree last time and the blinkers seem to sharpen him up. I'm very much looking forward to Newbury next weekend!
I have three good rides for Mr Tizzard at Sandown tomorrow (Saturday 1st Feb). Elderado Allen in the Champion Hurdle Trial. He's pretty unexposed and ran really well on comeback when he was second at the same track earlier this month. Vision Des Flos in the Scilly Isles Grade One Novices Chase. He's bee a very good horse who won at Chepstow last time very comfortably and has a good chance n what looks like a open race. Mister Malarky runs in the Masters Handicap Chase. He ran very well in the Ladbrokes Trophy earlier in the season. If he returns to that kind of form he should go close.
The BBC confirmed last night that the third series of the Bafta award-winning comedy This Country will be the last.
The show, created by siblings Charlie and Daisy Cooper, and filmed in the Cotswolds, first landed on our screens back in 2017 and has since won and array of awards.
It will be the first series not to feature the brilliant Michael "Slugs" Sleggs who sadly passed away in July 2019.
On an Instagram post confirming the news of the third series being the last, Daisy wrote "It's been the most incredible journey of my life and I'm so grateful to you all"
This Country will return to our screens on February 17th on BBC3.
Cheltenham Racecourse opens its doors for its final raceday before the The Festival™ presented by Magners in March on Saturday 25 January, Festival Trials Day.
With seven cracking races on the card, including the Paddy Power Cotswold Chase, often considered a trial for the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Galliardhomes.com Cleeve Hurdle which always produces key contenders for The Festival™ presented by Magners.
Last year, we saw three winners from Festival Trials Day go on to success at the Cheltenham Festival, including the formidable Frodon and Bryony Frost, Paisley Park winning for trainer Emma Lavelle and owner, Andrew Gemmell who has been blind since birth, and Lizzie Kelly aboard Siruh Du Lac.
Popular Irish contemporary band, Lampa will be back to perform on The Centaur stage after racing to keep the celebrations going.
Tickets are available to buy online from £12 in advance - www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/cheltenham/events-tickets/festival-trials-day/
BUY BEFORE 31ST JANUARY AT 10:59AM FOR THE BEST PRICE CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL TICKETS
The line-up of DJ's in The Park at the Cheltenham Festival is now complete.
Nick Grimshaw (Day One) and Laura Whitmore (Day Two) were already confirmed, and they have now been joined by Roman Kemp (Day Three) and Marvin Humes (Day Four).
The Park is a brand new addition to The Festival™ presented by Magners, featuring entertainment and live music throughout the day, a range of new bars showing live racing and boasting an electric atmosphere, followed by a 90 minute DJ set at 4:30pm.
Celebrated chef Bob Parkinson is returning to the kitchen but in a different venue for a one off pop-up night on Friday 24 January.
Bob James Parkinson left his eponymous Michelin recognised restaurant, Made By Bob, in Cirencester, after 10 years at the stove in March 2019. He was followed by his kitchen team of chef’s Sam Edwards and Jak Doggett, who went onto successfully take over and re-establish The Firehouse in Upton, near Burford.
The evening is a six course set dinner with delights such as grilled belly of pork and langoustine with clam’s, Asian style peppers, bean sprouts and yam tawai or grilled fillet of lemon sole with baby gem, prosciutto and truffle.
Glass of Crémant de Bourgogne
Cup oyster soup
Oxtail Cugliones with caramelised onion puree, salsify and thyme
Grilled fillet of lemon sole with baby gem, prosciutto and truffle
Grilled belly of pork and langoustine with clam’s
Asian style peppers bean sprouts and yam tawai
Panettone French toast, caramelised apple, sultanas and vanilla ice cream
Roquefort with chicory, walnuts and pickled pear, sourdough crisps
Book now - theuptonfirehouse.com/events
There are 31 entries for the Cheltenham Gold Cup that takes place on Friday 13th March 2020.
Last year's winner Al Boum Photo is the current favourite.
Local entries include the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Bristol de Mai and The Conditional trained by David Bridgewater.
The Festival™ presented by Magners takes place at Chelteham Racecourse from 10-13 March 2020
BAFTA award-winning comedy This Country returns to the Cotswolds for a one-off sneak preview screening of the new BBC Three series on Thursday 23 January.
Held in Daisy and Charlie Cooper’s home town of Cirencester you can be the first to see an exclusive preview of the first two episodes followed by a Q&A with the brother and sister stars, producer Simon Mayhew-Archer and director Tom George.
Apply by following the link below for your chance to see what Kerry and Kurtan have been up to before everyone else and get an exclusive insight into the making of the show!
Tickets will be allocated by random draw with 70% of the tickets going to local postcodes* and 30% going to the rest of the UK.
You can register at any time until 10am on Friday 10 January.
You can apply for a maximum of two tickets.
* Local postcodes: B50, BA1, BA11, BA13, BA14, BA15, BA2, BA3, BS12, BS15, BS16, BS17, BS18, BS30, BS31, BS32, BS34, BS35, BS36, BS37, BS5, BS7, BS80, CV36, CV37, GL1, GL10, GL11, GL12, GL13, GL14, GL15, GL16, GL17, GL18, GL19, GL2, GL20, GL3, GL4, GL5, GL50, GL51, GL52, GL53, GL54, GL55, GL56, GL6, GL7, GL8, GL9, HR8, HR9, NP16, NP5, NP6, OX1, OX11, OX12, OX13, OX14, OX15, OX18, OX2, OX20, OX25, OX28, OX29, OX3, OX33, OX5, OX6, OX7, OX8, RG15, RG16, RG17, RG18, RG20, SN1, SN10, SN11, SN12, SN13, SN14, SN15, SN16, SN17, SN2, SN25, SN26, SN3, SN38, SN4, SN5, SN6, SN7, SN8, SN9, SN99, WR10, WR11, WR12, WR13, WR14, WR5, WR8
There is no better place to start 2020 than a day at Cheltenham.
There will be seven races, including two Grade 2 contests and a whole heap of complimentary entertainment in the Family Fun Zone. Under 18s go free!
Why not enhance your day at the races and book hospitality or your own private box from just £155? We can't think of a better way to kick off the new decade!
The King's Arms in Prestbury, on the outskirts of Cheltenham, has reopened its doors today by Raymond Blanc's White Brasserie Company.
The pub has undergone an extensive renovation since closing at the end of last year and will offer fresh, seasonal French fare and Great British pub classics.
The pub is steeped in history with parts pf the building dating back to the 14th Century. There has been a huge effort to bring the best of the old pub back to life, reinstating the three fireplaces, restoring original beams and floors and rehanging the front door so it could be open from the High Street for the first time in over two decades.
Take a look for yourself here - kingsarmsprestbury.com
There is an exciting brand new addition to The Festival™ presented by Magners at Cheltenham Racecourse in March 2020.
Featuring entertainment and live music throughout the day, The Park will boast a range of new bars showing live racing and boasting an electric atmosphere and a 90 minute DJ set at 4:30pm.
Radio 1 presenter Nick Grimshaw and Laura Whitmore have been confirmed for Day One and Two.
From the heights of a Ferris wheel, the buzz of the Magners bar and street food to live music from The Wandering Wings throughout the day, there is something for everyone.
Admission into The Park is available to racegoers with a Club or Tattersalls ticket, simply purchase as an upgrade in advance from just £15 per person (save £10 off the on-the-day price).
18-28 Members will receive a complimentary wristband for The Park and exclusive access to the Members only area, The Love Ireland Bar.
It's been a great couple of weeks which started with Soaring Glory winning, in my opinion, a very strong bumper at Ascot on bad ground. It was pleasing that he put daylight between the second and third who are both good horses. He still has to go forward but it looks like he has the world at his feet at the minute. He will probably return to Ascot next Friday in a listed bumper.
It was a really nice surprise to have a 40/1 winner on Who Shot Jr for Colin Tizzard in the Novice Hurdle at Taunton. He won nicely, although I'm not sure it was the deepest of races. However, he had come on a lot from his first two experiences at Chepstow and Wincanton.
I had great ride in the Hennessy at Newbury on Mr Malarky. He ran a cracker. I thought 3-out that he had a right chance. He probably didn't quite see out the trip but the cheek pieces definitely made a difference to him and there's definitely a good race for him to win this year. It was nice to see him back to his usual self.
Plumpton on Monday was a great day. I was just touched off on Bean In Trouble in the first which was a little frustrating. Adicci battled really nicely to win over 2 miles. It was a good performance and a nice horse for the future. He definitely will get further in time as he's from the same family as Black Jack Ketchum. It was great to ride out my claim too and to do it on one of dad's made it even more special.
We had a comfortable success at Lingfield on Tuesday with Maypole Class, followed by Cobolobo winning very nicely at Haydock on Wednesday after a good display of jumping.
Huntingdon produced another winner with Pagero. Hopefully we might get him out at the end of the week as he runs without a penalty.
Quarenta jumped nicely to win what turned out to be, a two-horse race at Fontwell yesterday. It was the feature race and good pot to win.
The horses are in great form at the minute. That's 6 winners in the last 9 days so hopefully it can continue!
There's no better way to get into the festive spirit than The International meeting at Cheltenham Racecourse on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th December 2019.
Don your Christmas jumpers on both days that will boast 14 thrilling races, including The BetVictor Handicap Steeple Chase and Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase on Friday and The Caspian Caviar Gold Cup and The Unibet International Hurdle on Saturday.
Racegoers will have the chance of winning on the spot prizes for the most fun and festive jumper and prizes will include a pair tickets to any of the forthcoming race meetings including The Festival™, presented by Magners.
Alongside the racing, racegoers will also get the chance to browse the stands in The Shopping Village, useful for those last minute Christmas presents.
Gates open at 10am on both days, with the first race at 12.10pm.
David Gray is coming to The Great Court at Blenheim Palace on June 18th 2020 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the seminal 'White Ladder' album as part of the Nocturne Live series.
Featuring the hit singles ‘Babylon’, ‘Sail Away’, ‘Please Forgive Me’ and ‘This Year’s Love’, ‘White Ladder’ is one of the top 10 best-selling albums of the 20th century in the UK.
Joining him will be The Lighthouse Family. Having recently released their first new album in nearly two decades, the duo will perform new music as well as their classic hits including ‘High, ‘Lifted’ and ‘Ocean Drive’.
Completing the bill is storied singer-songwriter Nerina Pallot playing highlights from her two-decade long career.
You can save up to 21% on your Cheltenham Festival tickets if you purchase before 10:59am on Monday 2nd December.
The most prestigious and unmissable Jump racing event of the year. The Cheltenham Festival is a bucket list event that captures the nation and produces extraordinary moments to last a lifetime.
The Cheltenham Festival welcomes the finest horses, jockeys, owners, and trainers to battle it out for the highest racing honours, their reputations and over £4.5 million of prize money.
Enjoy an extraordinary day out with friends and family. From shopping, to live music, to a variety of bars and restaurants available, we are sure you'll have a day to remember while watching world class racing and history being made.
We live in a very weird world, and that's not to mention anything to do with politics. Just this week I found myself defending the presentation of The Swan's pie on twitter to a "chef" who told me that the mash should have been quenilled [sic] with a little jus around the plate and some fresh watercress. I told him he was very wrong, and it's not the 90s anymore. Nobody puts watercress on top of food nowadays do they?
It's been a couple of years since I visited The Swan and lots has changed in that time. Most importantly it has been taken over by Sam and Georgie Pearman, the original founders of The Lucky Onion, with pubs like the brilliant Chequers at Churchill which they still own and the delightful Wheatsheaf at Northleach which they don't.
The pub has changed a bit too. Thinking back it was slightly disjointed but certainly not unpleasant. There was an odd little room if you entered the pub through the door on the road. That has gone has become an extension to the bar area with a few nice tables. The dining room which once had outlandish green walls, green wallpaper, and lots of flowers (the former owner was an interior and floral stylist) now boasts more subtle blues and looks more like a restaurant than someone's living room. There was a roaring fire in the other bar surrounded by the best seats in the house and a lovely room, perfect for celebrations and shoot parties leading out onto the courtyard garden which I imagine would be a nice spot in the summer. The pub has a warmer feel throughout.
It's very rare I order bread, or ever bother to talk about it when I do. However, the Chipping Norton sourdough came with horseradish and dripping butter which is very much worth shouting about.
I'm always torn between dishes and usually leave up to the waiter or waitress to decide for me. It was between the BBQ native prawns, English peas, Chipping Norton nduja and mussels. Without any hesitation, the prawns won. They were huge, messy (the water bowl and napkin both turned the colour your fingers go after eating a packet of Wotsits) and brilliant. I've never had peas with prawns before but it worked, and the nduja-fueled juice at the bottom of the copper bowl was incredibly good to for dipping the spelt toast in.
I wasn't torn for my main. It was 3 degrees outside and I wanted a pie. Chicken and leek or ox cheek and smoked bacon, and choosing the latter wasn't a difficult choice. It arrived standing wonderfully unpretentious on a bed of mash and gravy. It was a thing of beauty and yes Mr Angry Twitter Chef stuck in a different decade, there was no need for spooned mash or watercress. If anything, it could have done with an extra small jug of gravy as the mashed soaked it up like a sponge. The side of squash and cavolo nero, curly kale to you and me, was a decent addition.
This was some of the best pub food I have eaten in quite a while. I have a lot of time for places who have a one main menu fits all for lunch and dinner too.
The Swan will lure locals (there's a special menu in the bar with a £10 dish on every day ) and Londeners alike (there's a station in Ascott where one train a day stops from The Big Smoke). There are also 8 rooms at the pub for anyone wanting to make a couple of days of it which we would obviously highly recommend.
Food pictured is;
Ox Cheek and Smoked Bacon Pie
Crispy Cacklebean Egg
Triple ‘Ham’ Burger, Savoy Slaw, Toffee Apple Sauce, Blue Affine, Tabacco Onions, Alabama Fries
Series 3 of the hugely popular BBC comedy This Country will be aired in February 2020.
The mockumentary following the lives of cousins Kerry and Kurtan Mucklowe, played by Daisy and Charlie Cooper is filmed in and around the town of Northleach here in the Cotswolds.
Charlie said to us this morning "We've just finished the editing on series 3 which we think might be the best yet. We can't wait to for everyone to see it when it launches in February. Expect more of the same nonsense from Kerry and Kurtan as well as a few new characters!"
You can catch up on the first two series and "aftermath" on the BBC iPlayer by clicking HERE.
Arizona four-piece Jimmy Eat World are the first headliner announced for next year's 2000 Trees Festival at Upcote Farm near Cheltenham.
The multi-ward winning festival will take place on the 9th, 10th and 11th July 2020.
You can buy early bird tickets with a discount by clicking HERE.
It feels like the season has got properly underway now and I'm really looking forward to getting back on the course this weekend.
I went over to Ireland last weekend to watch some of the pointers, some of which will be going to the sales next week. I went around with Richard Pugh, an auctioneer with Tattersalls which was a great experience and we learned a lot.
I love The November Meeting at Cheltenham. It's the first multi-day meeting of the season, and one where I have happy memories. I rode my first ever Cheltenham winner aboard Palmers Hill in the Conditional's race on the Sunday last year for Mr McManus and dad.
I'm not sure who I will be riding on Friday. Maybe L'Air Du Vent of Colin Tizzard's who is entered in the Grade 2 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle 2m5f trial. I won his bumper in Bangor last year and he's a very nice horse. So if he goes there it would be nice to ride him. He's very much a work in progress but he could be something really nice.
Saturday, we have Prefontaine running in the Grade 2 JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle. He's a bit of a monkey. He unseated me in his first run and was quite sloppy in his jumping on his second time at Fontwell. He really got his act together at Kempton the next time in blinkers that sharpened him up and won quite nicely having made the running. The horse that came second that day has gone out this week and won, so the form looks good which bodes well. This however is a big step up in grade and we will know where we are with him after the race.
Pop Rockstar is also in on Saturday in the 3m3f Grade 3. He's an interesting horse who is on the way up. He has won his last two races at Carlisle and Chepstow and he's a good strong stayer who jumps very well. He could either go for this race or wait until next weekend at Haydock. He's in great form and dad will make a decision with owner Laura Day later this week. He could have the Welsh National in the back of his mind if he goes well in the next couple of weeks.
I was at Cheltenham on Tuesday morning with Richie (McLernon) schooling over the cross-country fences. The ground was pretty soft and I imagine the main track will also be relatively soft which is to be expected. It could definitely suit Pop Rockstar.
On Sunday, we have a couple of entries in the conditional race. It's a pretty special race for me and it would be amazing to try and win that again.
I'm really looking to getting going again with hopefully no hold ups and a clear run through the season, touch wood"