Mrs Running Buffet had to work this weekend. It was still dark when she got up and left me lazing in bed, early on Saturday morning. I said goodbye to her, then snuggled down under the duvet and closed my eyes.
This feels like a good moment for a shimmery, wavy line dissolve…
I’m standing in a field and the pope is telling me that I have to judge a bake-off competition. A pirate has just told me where to go. In a nice way. I look to my right and there is a cowboy on a horse and a human-sized bumble bee. Over to my left I spot an angel, wings glinting in the watery sunlight that fills the field. Above me, a heron flaps lazily across the sky. I’m trying to ignore the demonic clown just behind me.
This is not normal.
You may be thinking that I had over-indulged in cheese last night, but you would be wrong. This was no dream; that wavy line dissolve was put there just to trick you. All of this actually happened. Let me explain.
After Mrs RB left me this morning, I did indeed curl up under the duvet again. The rain was hammering against the window, thunder could be heard in the distance and lightning was lighting up the curtains. I did not feel like going anywhere, certainly not for a run. But then I thought “what’s the worst that can happen”? I gave this some serious consideration and then resolved not to ask myself stupid questions like that. Putting all of the horrible things that I had just thought of to the very back of my mind, I steeled myself to get up, get dressed and get down to Plymouth for Parkrun.
I have been to Killerton Parkrun a couple of times now, but never the one at Plymvalley, and seeing as I live equidistant from both, it seemed only right that I should remedy that inequality. What I had not realised was that my first visit would coincide with the first anniversary of the Plymvalley Parkrun, which was being marked by a special fancy dress-themed event.
Which is why there were bees, fairies, Frenchmen, cowboys, a santa and many more colourful costumes lining up in a field in Plymouth on a Saturday morning. You can see some of the costumes on the Plymvalley facebook page. A pirate gave us newcomers the course talk and the pope got us underway. I’m fairly certain it wasn’t the real pope; I’m not sure about the pirate, he looked very convincing.
At the end of the run, there was a cake competition and a raffle. As well as that, we also got to enjoy the coffee from the Devon Coffee Machine, as the raffle prizes were handed out and the winner of the fancy dress was announced.
And this allows me to segue smoothly into what I was originally planning to talk about today, before the excitement of this morning distracted me. Having recently decided that I wanted to spend some time exploring the variety of local food and drink available in Devon, I am keen to take any opportunity to sample local products. Standing in a field, sipping a coffee, I was able to tick The Devon Coffee Company off of my yet-to-be-written list. According to their website,
the Devon Coffee Company was created by a co-operative of cafés to provide consistency across three variables for the coffee business owner; coffee beans, equipment and staffing.
I can certainly confirm that it was a nice cup of coffee, served by a very friendly bloke in a van. He had even joined in with the fancy dress theme for the day. Or, at least, I hope he had, otherwise I have probably just insulted his dress sense.
The Devon Coffee Company are not the only local food producers I have been able to try recently. A couple of weeks ago, Ashburton held its annual food festival. Being relative newcomers to the town, we didn’t have any particular expectations for the event. We certainly didn’t realise how popular and well-served it was going to be.
There were, literally, thousands of people there over the course of the day and they were able to select from at least 50 different stalls, all offering local food, drink and related produce. We carefully timed our visit to make sure that we were there for lunch. Our only problem was deciding which of the tempting treats to choose. In the end, we opted for Tom’s Pies and they were a very good choice. My mushroom and spinach pie with hazelnuts and white truffle oil was absolutely delicious.
We also came home with our arms full. The bottle of Ashridge Devon Blush cider we brought home with us did not make it through the weekend. It adds blackberries to the mix and makes for a dangerously moreish drink that was incredibly easy to drink and very tasty.
I bought a bag of orange chilli chocolate from the South Devon Chilli Farm stall. This proved to be a bit too much for Mrs RB, mainly because she kept forgetting that it had chilli in it, which can be a bit of a surprise when you’re expecting just chocolate. I rather liked it, but it is probably at the limit of how strong I want chilli to be in chocolate. I tried the smallest sliver of their Extreme Chilli Chocolate and it nearly blew my head off.
I also tried a bottle of Blue Yonder from the Blueberry Bros stall. After the last year, it was perhaps unsurprising that I was drawn to the blueberry beer over the other blueberry-based products on offer.
The beer has an unmistakable blueberry aroma, but the flavour was a little lacking for me and the sweetness of the blueberry aroma didn’t follow through into how it tasted. It drops away quite quickly and leaves a slightly earthy taste, which was a little unusual. This is brewed by Hunter’s Brewery, in conjunction with the Blueberry Bros, and I will hopefully come back to other Hunter’s beers at another point during my exploration of Devon food and drink. I would also quite like to try the rest of the Blueberry Bros’ range: their muffins look particularly nice.
I will leave you with some other sights from the Ashburton food festival. And don’t forget to leave your recommendations for Devon food and drink; I will be happy to try them out.