Gloucester Fortnight - Part 3

To read about this trip from the beginning - click here

Turnip Tossing Championships
The following day we planned to do a Parkrun in Newent. We woke up to rain, but ever hopeful, got dressed and drove to the Parkrun venue. It carried on raining so we abandoned the idea, despite plenty other enthusiastic runners not shy to get wet. Back at the guesthouse they mentioned on BBC1 News it was 10th anniversary of Parkruns. All the clubs had brought cake and were celebrating. We missed out! BTW Parkrun is a free 5 kilometre run that occurs globally in parks around the world.

We watched Saturday morning cooking with James
Old fashioned cider press
Martin on telly and then decided to visit to Cheltenham. Why Cheltenaham? On TV they mentioned there was a literary festival there. Also it was a much bigger place than Lea and we needed to do a bit of shopping. We headed straight for the Tourist Info and asked for a brochure or guide. They wanted to charge us for it! Not a lot - but that was a first for us. We declined and wandered around the town poking our noses in alleys and walking up
streets. We also popped into the book fair.
Forest Showcase Food and Drink Festival

After a few hours on our feet we headed for Wetherspoons where we had a beer and supper. They were having their International Beer Festival and were promoting beers from all around the world. Some really interesting beers to be had. Wetherspoons are a chain of pubs known for bargain prices. We couldn't exactly complain. One pint of beer, 1 large glass of red wine and 2 jacket potatoes with bean chilli and a mixed salad with dressing came to £12.

We stopped off at a Mini Tesco, bought snacks and a local TV guide, went back to room and watched BBC - much better than our local SABC!!! We had asked the owner of the B & B if we could buy a salad and eat at the communal table but she wasn't happy about it. Which is why we ate at Wetherspoons.

The next day we set off to the Speakhouse Hotel to
Lydney Outer harbour
do the Forest Showcase Food and Drink Festival in the Forest of Dean. It's a big event with over 70 stalls. The stands are a mix of (HOOF) Hands off our Forest activists and Citizens Advice Bureau to a cider press in action and lots and lots of cider stalls. And there were craft beers, bespoke bakers, cookery demos, harvest crowns, children's play areas and heaps more. We also got to watch the annual Turnip Tossing Championships - you read that right.

Info on River Severn
Once we had enough we drove to Lydney Harbour to see the River Severn. Who knew it's the second most tidal river in the world? It has a range of up to 15 metres! From there we popped into Chepstow in Wales. We were so close, how could we not? The Tourist Info lady gave us a map and marked out a drive we could take that would deliver great views of Chepstow and the river. We also wandered around the ruins of Chepstow Castle. Then we headed back to our B & B for an early night in anticipation of our raw food course.

Monday to Friday we did the Feast 2014 course at Harts Barn Cookery School in Mitchelsdean. Wow! What a life changing experience. When we decided to go vegan we wanted to go the whole 9 yards and
Chepstow Castle
eat raw as well. Our reasons for becoming vegan are ethical. We cannot reconcile the horror inflicted on animals to satisfy our appetites. In addition - going raw is a healthy choice. Man is the only species that eats cooked food. If we had to subject our body parts to the temperatures we apply to our food we would have 3rd degree burns. So why do we cook? I don't know. Here's what we do know. Cooking destroys most (not all) nutrients and compromises others. (Protein is way less digestible after being cooked) That "caramelisation" that we love on oven baked and roasted food is plain old burning and apparently a
Raw cookies
known carcinogen. Yikes! We wanted ways to eat more than a salad. And we certainly learned a lot. Read more on my husband's blog - Meat Free Everyday on Blogspot.

The course was hands-on. We watched how to make food. Then made it ourselves. Ten of had us had our own stations in the kitchen complete with blenders, food processors and utensils. We got to work with a sous vide machine, a dehydrator, high speed blender, a mandolin and a spiraliser. The techniques used in creating raw versions of regular foods were shared with us. A person can imagine raw mueslis, salads or smoothies without too much of a head twist. But
Raw cheese, raw bread, raw chutney with thinly sliced fruit
how about soups, cheese, pizza, biscuits, yogurt, gnocchi, custard tarts, bread and Phad Thai? The flavours of raw food are much more powerful since they have not been damaged. Apple pie and cream, chocolate truffles and creamy pastas don't have to be bad for you if you re-invent them as raw treats. And are even more delicious than the cooked versions. What I most liked was we could take a recipe and customise it. We were encouraged to play with flavours.

We ate all the food we made - a bit tricky with our evening meals as our B & B wasn't keen on us using a table. Also we were all inadvertently detoxing. I cannot honestly say we eat raw all the time now, but I don't cook nearly as much as I used to.  I try to steam or blanch food rather than use our oven but we certainly eat a lot more raw food meals now.

Read the next bit by - clicking here.
Find our experiences of other places by going to the My Holidays and Trips page.

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