TRISH TAKES FIVE: By Trish Burgess
Fancy a trip to Stamford and maybe have a nice lunch out?, I suggested to Dougie.
I thought this would be a good post-birthday treat for my hubby, seeing as the clothes I’d bought him as a present had to be returned as they didn’t fit. Too big apparently, which surprised me to be honest, as at our age most purchases are too small.
Everything seemed to be conspiring against us ever getting there. The fog took ages to clear, we were held up at two sets of level crossings and we’d forgotten it was the Mid-Lent Fair in the town, so many of the car parks were full.
We decided to keep circling the Cattle Market car park like a lion waiting to attack. Thankfully a space became free and we pounced, triumphant. As I waited for Dougie to return from the ticket machine I could see other big cats continuing to pace nearby so I did that very British thing of shaking my head and mouthing an apology to indicate we weren’t leaving.
We walked across The Meadows into the town centre, admiring the beautiful honey-coloured limestone buildings that have made Stamford a favourite location for many period dramas. I recommend a saunter up Barn Hill to appreciate the Georgian architecture and see where Holbeach-born William Stukely lived. There’s a blue plaque indicating the ‘father of archaeology’ lived there from 1740-1748.
For lunch, we chose an Italian bistro, Cloisters, in St Mary’s Street. Talented young chef, Dan Bahnam, and his bubbly fiancée Jen Totty, who runs the front of house, live in Spalding and have recently taken over this lovely little restaurant in the centre of Stamford.
The food was delicious. We started with olives and freshly-baked focaccia bread before sharing yummy calamari, which had a lush light batter, and gamberoni king prawns in a tomato and white wine sauce.
Dougie polished off a pork chop Milanese with rosemary roast potatoes whilst I chose the lunchtime offer of half a pizza and salad: my goodness, it was a big half.
I didn’t think we could manage another course but Dan’s special homemade tiramisu was calling us. The generous portion was not at all heavy and the secret ingredient (though not secret now) of Cointreau rather than Amaretto, was a masterstroke.
Dougie’s belated birthday meal was a huge success. I could have cradled my espresso coffee for the rest of the afternoon but it was time for a quick look round the shops before heading home.
“I don’t think we’ll be needing anything to eat tonight,” I said as we both flopped on the sofa later that day. “Though maybe, with all that food you’ve eaten, those clothes I bought you might fit after all.”
• You can read Trish’s blog at www.mumsgoneto.co.uk