The Falcon at Long Whatton last night was mediocre.
On arrival there was only a young girl behind the bar. I never saw anybody more senior. She handed me the room key and said the room was down the yard at the back of the pub. That was a fifty yard walk to a purpose built annexe. My room was miniature with just a single bed. I couldn't open any windows - there was nobody else in the annexe so I propped the door open with a stool to get fresh air from the open window on the landing. The Falcon did not serve evening meals, they told me it was a four minute walk to the pub down the road - it took me nine minutes ( admittedly I was stiff and tired after walking 18 miles, but I pity anybody less active). There was supposed to be wifi but when I tried to log on I got a message from BT saying the service was unavailable until the bill was paid! And all that inadequacy at an unreasonable £75 for nothing more than an averagely comfortable single. The exception was the very pleasant matriarchal lady, on her own, who fixed my breakfast to a high standard and attended to payment of my bill. There was nobody else in sight. I may well send a copy of this to the Falcon when I get back home.
The pub down the road provided the best food so far on the trip. Grilled smoked haddock (natural) on a crushed potato base with spinach and various subtle additions, and a strawberry desert presented on a piece of slate with about five variations on the strawberry theme set out like the plan for a Roman town.
As I type this sitting in the Bulls Head at Ashby-de-laZouch I have just had a very basic, but acceptable Cumberland sausage and mash with garden peas for £5.95. The Falcon should learn to provide at a price commensurate with what they are offering.
Breedon on the Hill was blessed with a garden centre café where I dallied too long. Early walking had been arduous over recently ploughed crop fields and the like. From Breedon there was more interest crossing the golf course and then the sudden appearance of the lake on the Melbourne estate. Although artificially landscaped this was a place of calm and contemplation. It is staggering to think how much money the landed gentry had in those days to develop these estates.
Approaching Calke I met a young lady walking her two collies and we walked together for half a mile with interesting chat and her showing me the best way to the National Trust visitor centre.
At Ashby I was too late for the TIC and eventually tracked down the Royal Hotel, a traditional English country town hotel with s good sized room, double bed and bath and a general ambience of luxury and good order.
It took me five seconds to retreat from Witherspoons - the noise was like a football cup final stadium, so here I am at the Bulls Head.
A word of warning: Ashby is the most dangerous town for road crossing I have ever encountered.
The tractor who "blocked my way" yesterday
Another rare seat after several hours non-stop walking. Pity it was a lay-by and there was a parked car with the occupant allowing cigarette smoke to drift in my direction.
Breedon the Hill - village off to the left.
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