Whatever you do, don’t order pecan and chestnut mushroom pâté. It is a particularly tasteless meat free option that makes me think that vegans lack taste buds. Of course, I wouldn’t order it because if a menu boasts salt and pepper squid, that’s going to be the one I’m going for. Mirinda, on the other hand, would be the one to try something as unappealing as the aforementioned pâté.
Mirinda rarely discovers a food she finds abhorrent, unappealing and just plain awful, but today she did. And her husband was so nice and generous that he gave up his salt and pepper squid and ate it for her.
The pâté was slightly improved with salt and the dipping sauce that came with the squid. It also had some small shreds of pickled kohlrabi, which helped a bit. Mind you, it was all forgotten by the time I was well into my main course of Cumberland sausage and mash.
We’d just visited James Herriot’s house in Thirsk and were in need of some nourishment.
The World of James Herriot is an excellent visitor attraction. It uses the original house and practice of the world famous vet and is an amazing glimpse into his world.
James Alfred Wight (1916-1995) arrived in North Yorkshire in 1940 all ready to take up a position as assistant vet at 23 Kirkgate, Thirsk. He had recently completed his animal education at Glasgow Veterinary College and was originally headed for Sunderland but decided he’d rather work at a rural practice and wound up in Thirsk. He stayed there for 50 years.
His wife says that he would always say he’d include little episodes of his vet experiences in a book which he never started writing. She told him so and, basically to prove her wrong, he started writing.
He chose the pen name James Herriot after a Birmingham City goal keeper called Jim Herriot. Delightfully, he also played for Dunfermline (c’mon the Parrs!). Alf had to use a pen name because otherwise, using his own name may have been construed as advertising, something vets weren’t allowed to do. I don’t know why. I assume everyone else could.
Mirinda absolutely loved the place. As she wandered from room to room, she wore a permanent smile on her face. It was lovely to see.
Mind you, she was smiling in the White Rose Tea & Book Shop as well. She was joking with the woman at the counter who asked where her accent was from. Mirinda, quick as a flash said “Surrey.“
The woman then said she thought it was a bit further south than that. Oh, how they both laughed when Mirinda admitted she was Australian. Turns out the woman was originally from Eastleigh and now loves living in Thirsk. I must say, their coffee was excellent so North Yorkshire must be doing something right.
Their scones were very good as well, something I unfortunately can’t say about the scones we had at the very out of the way, Hawnby Tea Shop.
The tea room at Hawnby is very quaint and, in the height of summer, would be an excellent stopping off point during a country walk. It was also an excellent place to rest our bones and sip a cup of tea after driving down narrow lanes, through thick clouds across the moors.
In fact, Mirinda had to reverse twice in order to allow big trucks to pass us. My heart sank. I worried we were in for another French tractor incident. But no, Mirinda managed to navigate the lanes both forwards and backwards with great skill and delivered us safely at Hawnby.
As well as narrow lanes and low clouds, there was a lot of rain today. At one point, as we approached Thirsk on our way back to Sandhutton, the rain was so torrential we could hardly see through the windscreen. I felt a bit sorry for the chap walking his dogs across the road in the centre of town. I mean, the poor chap didn’t even have a hat.
All round, we had a marvellous day experiencing some fine Yorkshire weather, visiting Herriot World, a couple of tearooms, a pub and just a bit of the North Yorkshire moors.