Sunday, 31 May 2009

Wm Morrison (star shaped) hand raised pies

Seven pie munchers headed south towards Brigham to sample the last pie of the month: star shaped, hand raised pies from Wm Morrison. These pies looked very similar to Crantock’s West Country pies, sampled on the 19th June last year. Parking at the car park by Peddars Way on High Bridgham Road, we set off eastwards along quiet roads to Bridgham, visiting the church of St. Mary the Virgin, which yielded no scratch dials. We then headed south via footpaths that took us through West Harling Common. Heading west, towards Thorpe Woodlands Caravan Park, a grass snake some 18” – 24” long wriggled across our path, just in front of us. At the caravan site shop, that was conveniently closed, was a picnic bench that we utilised for our lunch stop. We then made our way back to the cars via Peddars Way, crossing the River Thet at a particularly beautiful spot. Here we lingered to watch the damselflies and dragonflies mob each other. On reaching the cars the feast unfolded: first King Prawns with a Marie Rose Sauce, then the pies and Shortcake bringing up the rear. The pies when sliced revealed a coarse pink interior but no aroma. Tasting was a pleasant experience, the pastry very good and the filling finding favour with most, but slightly too salt and under spiced for myself, resulting in a score of 7.21429 with a standard deviation of 0.75593. So a normalised score of 7 for Wm Morrison (star shaped) hand raised pies. We stopped on the way home for a pint at the Larling Angel to complete proceedings.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

H. V. Graves and G. Morris & Sons

Empire day saw conflict amongst the pie munchers – we were to have gone for a walk near to Gunton Park on the forth Sunday of last month, but it had slipped the Walk Master’s memory so we were to do it this week. A provisional route was agreed at the pub on Friday, but the Walk Master, who was not present on Friday, had arranged with the Führer to walk at Sheringham. When the munchers assembled, the Führer dug her jackboot heals in and refused to goose-step anywhere other than Sheringham Park, despite the fact we could not walk at Gunton next month. Walking at Sheringham would not give sufficient time to look round the sawmill before it closed.The munchers split, three of us headed for the car park on the Weavers’ Way at Felmingham. We started by walking waking eastwards along the Weavers’ Way for two thirds of a mile. Then walking by the edge of North Walsham Wood and Lord Anson’s Wood, we spotted the top of Mundesley water tower in the far distance and the two water towers at North Walsham. Heading south along footpaths with a canopy of trees providing us with welcome shade from the baking sun, we arrived at the church of St. Michael, Swanton Abbott. Here we consumed lunch and observed the previously recorded scratch dial and two possible dials. We headed north, back along the footpath over Swanton Hill and then at the Common we headed northwest via a well-defined footpath across a field. Zigzagging along footpaths and quiet roads, avoiding a potential soaking from an automated irrigation machine traversing a field across the footpath, we rejoined the Weavers’ Way. A third of a mile walk in an easterly direction, noting a proliferation of various butterflies, reunited us with the car. As it had just turned 15:00 and we had only done 5.6 miles, we strolled up to Felmingham and the church of St. Andrew. The body of the church had been rebuilt in the 1740’s - so yielded no scratch dial, but an interesting item attached to the wall. We then headed to Gunton Park, here a 180 year old water powered Sawmill, restored by Norfolk Industrial Archaeology Society back in 1980’s, was in operation and was open to the public. Meanwhile The Führer, Walk Master, King Canape & Co. had been goose-stepping around Sheringham Park admiring the Rhododendrons. King Canape traumatised by the breakaway group not being able to sample pork pies, popped into the village shop in Weybourne to purchase spiced pork pies from H. V. Graves of Briston. The Sheringham party called us from the pub stop and advised they’d bring the tea to Gunton Park. After inspecting the sawmill, the pies were tasted: First we had Salmon rounds to ready the palate for pies. We sampled the pies from H. V. Graves, these were very different and difficult to judge as a pork pie. The coarse textured filling providing a pleasant experience that resulted in a surprisingly low score of 7.3 with a standard deviation of 0.44721. A Large pie from G. Morris & Sons was then consumed: slicing revealed a pale filling and low on aroma with little evidence of jelly. The filling was OK, though not one of their best, a dab of mustard enhancing the experience. The pastry was sweet and lifting this otherwise average pie, resulting in a score of 7.1 with a standard deviation of 0.65192. Ricky’s Shortbread completed the grazing. So scores “normalised” to 7.5 and 7 H. V. for Graves and G. Morris pies respectively.
    H. V. Graves (spiced)                             G. Morris & Sons (large)

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Frank Spurgeon

Pies from Frank Spurgeon made a welcome return to the pie munchers walk this week. Six sombre munchers set off from St. Michael & All Angels church after inspecting it internally & externally and finding two scratch dials. We set off northwards, leaving the church and the cold war early warning station behind us. Then, turning west, we followed a footpath that passed through a garden with a beautiful, crazy puppy that was so pleased to see us. This lifted our spirits and of course we had to make a fuss of her... We continued to Smallburgh and St. Peter’s church for lunch at just shy of two miles. Here we found a badly weathered scratch dial. We then crossed the A149 and picked up the old road and headed east in search of liquid refreshment, passing through a field of cows and calves that were very interested in us and followed our exit from the field. A short walk up the A1151 took us to the Wayford Bridge Inn that yielded an insipid pint of Theakston's Black Bull, possibly due to the fact that it’d been chilled so much. Returning down the A1151 a little way before picking up a picturesque route south that reunited us with the car and the feast within. This was consumed in the porch of St. Michael & All Angels, due to the ever threatening rain. Charles produced a wonderfully messy first course of marinated Anchovies in olive oil with garlic – these had to be skewered with a tooth pick... Next we had Sardine stuffed cherry peppers with raisins and pine nuts. Frank Spurgeon’s small pies were sliced revealing a dark filling and a hint of jelly. When the pies were tasted back in May 2007, the pies had a pink filling. These pies had low aroma and the pastry was crisp and very tasty, the filling less so, but pleasant. The pies came in with a score of 7.66666 with a standard deviation of 0.40825, below their previous tastings when they scored 8.1. Shortbread completed the munching, that gives Frank Spurgeon a normalised score of 7.5.

Friday, 15 May 2009


It is with great sadness that the Pork Pie News has to report that Giada was put to sleep today. Giada had been suffering from kidney failure, diagnosed 26th June 2008. She has had the best of treatment from Mum and bounced back after being severely ill on several occasions, thanks to Annalisa's exceptional care. Giada joined the pie munchers back in 2005 and has accompanied us on most walks until her final walk on 14th December, 2008. She brought much enjoyment to our Sundays, ensuring that no one got left behind. Giada had a great love of water no matter how dirty and an equal love of food. Although not allowed to eat the pork pies, other than the odd crumb that fell to the floor, she always took great interest in the pie munching! Giada will be sadly missed by all pie munchers and our sympathy goes to Annalisia and Steve.
Giada 15.7.1997 - 15.5.2009     Lunch stop on her penultimate walk

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Sultana Fingerellas

No pies again today, due to a potential lack of pie munchers, with the Führer and King Canape attending respective family gatherings and the Walk Master holidaying in France. However, despite this, seven pie punchers, one non-muncher and a dog set off on a walk led by the Pie Master. Starting from the picnic area by the Lynford Stag, we headed north through the forest towards Lynford Hall, pausing to look round the exterior of the 1878 church of Our Lady and St Stephen, Lynford, after about a mile. We continued to the lakes, then turned left, to walk around the bottom lake, black with wriggling tadpoles at the edge. Sabre took the opportunity for a swim and we all managed to avoid the inherent risk of a soaking that follows! We then headed back along the avenue of giant Red Woods towards the hall. Here we noted a tree with both red and white blossom as the result of a grafting. We turned left and onto Lynford Road, following it eastwards to the arboretum, through which we eventually walked, once Don, Paul & José had read most of the labels on the trees! Pausing by the remains of the water tower that supplied the Hall’s peach house and other glass houses, we regrouped to walk to the bottom of the arboretum and cross a small stream that supplied the top lake. We followed the south bank of this lake to the bridge that crosses the joining water of the top and bottom lakes. We again walked past the red & white tree onto Lynford Road, following it eastwards, retracing our steps to picnic area on left at 3.75 miles. Here we had lunch and observed an elderly dog being taken for a walk in a buggy. We walked along the track by the gravel pit lakes and then along the road into Mundford and the lovely old (1652) Crown Hotel for a tasty pint of Ruddles County. We headed back across the A1065 and into the forest along a path heading east then, turning left at house in the woods and south back to the cars after 6.85 miles. Liz provided tea and Don the Sultana Fingerellas, the shortbread were also present this week.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Caz's wedding

No pies on the first Sunday of May, as Caz, an occasional pie muncher, got married to Darren on Saturday and the munchers were invited to the wedding barbecue on the Sunday. As usual, pie munchers cannot munch before the obligatory warm up walk... The Walk Master had kindly prepared a walk close to the venue before hossing off on holiday to France. Five munchers set off from Stody Lodge Plantation, but then had to wait several enjoyable minutes to cross Holt road, as a parade of vintage motorcycles passed by. Heading eastwards, we turned down Green Lane after passing 6 huge chicken sheds. Along this mile and a half track, we came upon a party of Pimms drinkers, by a Daimler Dart SP250 roadster. Heading north when we reached Edgefield Street, free-range eggs were purchased on route to Edgefield church of St. Peter & St. Paul. We had lunch in the grounds of the church; with it’s tower and alter in the east. We headed back to the cars down the road to Briston, due to a reluctance to use the concessionary footpaths! We turned off the road along a footpath towards Stody Lodge. The footpath was along a track that, due to the gardens being open to the public, had much traffic heading to the car park. A short walk down the road between Lodge Plantation and Lodge wood returned us to the car. Liz then produced a fine cup of tea before we headed to Wood Farm. Here we were treated to a free bar serving Wherry & red wine and beef burgers and pork ribs from the barbecue! The pie munchers thank Caz & Darren for their hospitality and wish them every happiness for their future together.
Wedding photograph by Colin Howard. Wedding flowers by Josie.