The morning talks are great. The speakers are inevitably very experienced, often amusing entertainers, and the hour passes only too quickly; yet afterwards in the sunshine outside they will linger and chat as they sign their books and everyone mills around wondering where to go for a quick bite of lunch, often before scu8rrying off to the next event of the day – or perhaps as in our case, back to the real world.
Since the Three Explorers we have been to listen to Alastair Sawday talking – not on travel books and websites – but on the global food crisis. We were all thoroughly depressed by the message at the beginning – daily as a nation we are all getting fatter and less healthy, manipulated as we are by the supermarkets and the food industry generally to consume yet huger quantities of junk and unhealthy food…
To everyone’s relief (he was preaching to the converted) here is a chink of hope… the growing interest in organic food, in growing one’s own vegetables and in buying local produce. John and I felt unreasonably smug when he praised the Riverford Farm box organic fruit and veg scheme, which we use (we have a weekly delivery from their Riverford Stockley Organic Farm in nearby Staffordshire which guests can also make one-off use of while they are here).
The final surge of second hand pride was when he singled out the George at Alstonefield as being a wonderful example of a pub producing excellent food cooked on the premises from first class local produce. Emily, the owner of the pub, look rather embarrassed when she was asked to stand up and be recognised but as all our guests who have been to the pub will agree, the praise is due!