Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Locations of reviewed cafes

For more information on the Cafes I have visited and the latest cafe cycle news go to http://www.cake-crusader.co.uk/

Cake Crusader Book

There is now a Cake Crusader book available where you can follow my journey from humble local trips to world record attempts and near-death experiences. How did a simple method of keeping track of decent cycling café pit stops turn my life upside down? Track my adventures into Europe, up mountains and right across Great Britain as I become a 'rising star' on social media. Will I prove my critics wrong? Should cheese scones be served hot or cold? Do I really have nothing better to do with his time? A must read for lovers of cycling and cake or anyone wanting to make it big in the virtual world

Available on Amazon

Friday 17 October 2014

Tractor News. (Muddy Boots cafe, Blickling Hall Car Park)

Muddy Boots Cafe,
Blickling Hall Car Park,
Open when they feel like it,
When it comes to tea rooms then the National Trust is the number one brand so I have been keen to check them out and see if they live up to their reputation. Earlier this year I had a failed attempt to test out the National Trust cafe in the car park at Blickling Hall (see the best laid plans..). As, despite stating otherwise on the Blickling Hall website, it was shut. I therefore didn't even bother to check out opening times today and decided to take today's guest Big George out to Blickling and hope for the best. 

On the ride out Big George had a rant about what was wrong with this country. Apparently too many men were watching Bake Off instead of doing more traditionally manly things like drinking beer and playing rugby. This was breaking down the traditional barriers of society leading to national chaos. "Before you know it some bloke will be posting pictures of cake on a blog", he said. 

As a fan of Bake Off I couldn't agree so to avoid further conflict I decided to change the subject. I asked him if he had managed to complete the hoovering before the start of today's ride. Apparently he had made a good start but still had got some to do. He was confident of finishing it before Mrs Big George's weekly dust inspection. He thanked me for my previous vacuum cleaner advice, on buying a ball based Dyson (other vacuum cleaners are available), as this had been a great improvement on his old machine. I told him that our Dyson kept breaking but unlike him I only ever got involved in fixing the hoover rather than using it.

As we continued to discuss urgent matters of the day the miles zoomed past and we soon arrived at the Muddy Boots cafe in the car park at Blickling Hall, which to my relief was open.
Outside Muddy Boots cafe at Blickling Hall, which was open
Inside was rather dark and I needed to use my phone flash to snap a see-able photo of the cake selection. On first glance it looked like a large selection but on closer examination it was just a well spread out cake and biscuit collection. There was only one sponge cake, several types of biscuits, Bakewell tart slice and scones. However probably enough choice to satisfy most people so I still awarded a reasonably good effective cake selection (ECS) rating. Big George went for Bakewell tart slice, which was going to be my choice as well. So as not to miss out and to get a proper cake review, I went for the Bakewell tart slice plus a cheese scone.
Cakes, biscuits and scones collection
There are two rooms of tables inside but as it was such a lovely day we decided to sit outside in the outside seating area where there was a stunning view of Blickling Hall. 

The hot chocolate was very big and nice. Big George said his drink was a very good cup of coffee, so thumbs up on the drinks front. As a National Trust staple I found the cheese scone was only fine especially as it had not been warmed up. I believe all cheese scones should always be lightly heated before serving (remember cheese scone hot, fruit scone not). However the Bakewell tart slice performed well and so overall I awarded a decent cake quality score.
Cakes, scone (sadly not warmed) and nice large drinks
As you would expect from the National Trust, the Muddy boots cafe in the Blickling Hall car park was a good stop. With warm scones and a larger cake selection it could move even nearer to the top of my ratings table.

Egg News dominated a lot of today's ride. Just outside Hevingham we found eggs for sale at the knock down price of £1.00 a dozen. Assuming you could have half a dozen for 50p this made them by far the cheapest I have found anywhere. However on closer inspection there were no eggs left in the egg container so I don't know if they actually have eggs or if it is just a marketing ploy to tempt you to buy the potatoes and onions that they did have.
No actual Eggs but two bags of onions and half a bag spuds were available for sale
When we got to Tuttingham we appeared to have stumbled on an egg price war. First we saw eggs at 80p per half dozen which was obviously a clear attempt to under cut the eggs at £1.00 for half dozen eggs just a few yards down the road.

To supplement the clear fall in sales of the overpriced eggs this house also had a tractor for sale. As I was taking a photo of this curious combination the tractor owner came out and assumed I was taking the photo as I was interested in buying his tractor. Rather than explain about the Egg News feature on the blog I felt it easier to go along and to fake interest in the tractor by discuss my ploughing experiences. As these were fairly limited it was not a long conversation but I cunningly said I was really looking for a blue one so was able to make my excuses and got back on the bike. I have decided against introducing a new feature about local tractors for sale (which I would have called Tractor News) and will stick with just eggs.

Eggs and tractor for sale. Big George was eyeing up the tractor
but was no help in engaging the tractor owner with tractor related questions.
The rest of the ride went smoothly giving Big George ample time to finish his housework. My National Trust cafe experience had been good so I look forward to trying other National Trust outlets in the coming months.

Ratings based on two visits
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating

The route was rather poor crossing Norwich and on several busy roads so I won't add it to my useful routes facility.

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