My birthday treat was this year's Shrewsbury Food festival - it first started three years ago, with immense success, but (as some of you may know) I haven't been in the right mental place to enjoy such things. There were also wonderful birthday presents from Joe, including a Swedish whittling knife, of the type recommended by Ian the Toymaker. And a humungous bottle of my favourite (and rather expensive) perfume.
Summer had finally decided to arrive in the UK and we were glad we got there early - the Saturday country bus deposited us in town before 10am, so we arrived before the crush. The festival was held in Shrewsbury's beautiful Quarry Park, where the legendary Percy Thrower was the Superintendent gardener for 28 years.
We wandered about. It was crammed with mostly local small producers There was cheese and pies and pickles and fudge and cider and bread and meat and stuff. And more stuff.
And rare lop eared pigs, from nearby Middle Farm. This was part of the 'farm-to-fork' section, enabling people to make the connection between what they eat and where it actually comes from.
This is 'Beckfoot Damica' and her new calf, from Great Berwick Organics. She's an English Longhorn, one of the oldest breeds in the country, dating back to at least the 16th century.
We stopped for handmade venison pies, and in my case (what with it being my birthday and all) I had a pint of 'Steam Punk' beer from Shropshire's own Three Tuns Brewery. Dark treacle-y and delicious.
By now, the crowds were building up and as neither of us do people en masse, it was time to head off. So Joe bought some sausages...
...and I bought some bread. And we headed back to the cottage after a lovely day out. Full of pie.
Goodbye lovely Shrewsbury Food Festival, you were great - and good luck for next year!