The newspapers are still full of Katrina, and I'm sure there is probably a lot I can write about, but I'll return to the subject another day.
Instead Christine and my parents visited today for a bar-b-que. Wigan is famous for it's pies, and so first thing this morning, Bethen and I went into Wigan to the market where, possibly, the best pork pies in the World are sold. When we got there, there was already a queue of about 20 people - they are that good. The pies consist of a lightly baked pastry, filled with pink, lightly seasoned and spiced ground pork and then baked. While baking, the juices from the meat ooze out, so that when the pies cool, they are topped with a juicy flavoursome jelly which really makes the pie. (Any vegetarians reading this - I apologise for any discomfort I may of caused - but those pies are really something else!)
Meanwhile, Christine and Jayne went to a local vegetable shop to get some salad - a shop that has yet to be forced out by the supermarkets, whose quality is nearly always first rate. The fruit and veg may not look as perfect as it does in the supermarket, but it seems to taste so much better.
When the parents arrived, the girls and I cycled round to our favorite pub on the canal, and the others followed in the car. New beer on tap - Adnams Broadside bitter - very nice and went very well with the pies. During lunch, 2 boats were starting to long climb down the canal to Wigan Pier - 22 locks, the longest set of locks in the country, and would probably keep them busy until sunset (we've cycled up and down those locks many times). Anyway, a couple of pints of that, and then back home for a couple of pints of Cains IPA and Bitter. A lot of discussion about America, and bearing in mind the conservative views a couple of the parents have, a lot of agreement that Bush is not doing a very well at the moment.
Bar - B - Que lit, started cooking. Veggies, it's probably best you sign off now 'cos I'm going back to "meat-land". Some really good burgers to start, brought by Terry, and while we ate those, I started to cook the Black and White Puddings. These were delicious, with a little English Mustard. These were consumed like canapes, and are a really delicious starter. During this, Christine had been slow roasting a rack of ribs, cooked with a honey, sugar, mustard and green pepper sauce and red-wine vinegar. The meat just dropped off the bone. Finally came the steak, which we ate with salad. This was all followed with fresh strawberries and cream.
All the meat, apart from the burgers, came from Wigan market, and you would have to go a long way to beat that quality. But the most important thing was the company. It is hot, sunny days spent with the people you love that are remembered for a long time, - but for me, the food and beer comes a close second.