We got some of the afternoon off in order to explore the local area, so I thought I'd go into historic Loughborough to find an interesting local cake for my blog.
My advice for people visiting Loughborough and wanting to find a lovely old English tea shop with a tasty cake is don't - don't even think about it.
As far as I can gather the people of Loughborough don't eat cakes, they probably don't eat at all. The town centre seems to exist almost excvlusively to service the drinking habits of the local students and apart from bars there's little else. There was a market, but by the time I got there it was closed - things weren't looking good on the cake front at all.
And then I had a cunning plan - Thorntons. Every town in Britain has a Thorntons and I knew from my previous trip to Exeter that they sold a selection of quite tasty cake bars. Only Thornton's wasn't open.
Oh, it looked open, there were people inside and two women with trays of chocolates outside who looked like they were enticing customers in - only they weren't - they were compensating them for the fact that they weren't actually selling anything today.
I've no idea why, maybe they were expecting a visit from the Queen, but they wouldn't let me in. They did give me a free chocolate but that was it.
In the end, the only place I could find selling cakes was a small local bakers which had a few doughnuts in the window and some exceedingly ugly looking chicken biscuits. Sadly for me doughnuts were off as I've eaten just about ever doughnut known to mankind on my blog already and had to settle for a chicken biscuit. I wont describe it or say much more, except refer you to my previous comment about not coming into Loughborough for cakes.
The evening was conference dinner time - my favourite conference time of all. We were driven into the country by coach to a large old style pub near a river (it was called the Plough). Thirty half cut science types with free beer and wine and a giant noshup as well - fantastic. We had already made our selection for dinner the day before and I was going for the black pudding starter (I may have previously mentioned my penchant for black pudding) and was having the prawns Chicago next - the advertising said these were giant Norwiegian prawns in a spicy tomato and pepper sauce - sounds excellent.
The black pudding was very good. The horseradish was really hot and there was salad too. Sadly the prawns Chicago wasn't good at all and turned out to be some tiny frozen prawns in tomato soup. Still, the booze was free and I made full use of that.
After an excellent few hours chatting drunkenly with two very cute neuroscientist from Nottingham (one was a Cypriot, the other Russian) we headed back to the university to the campus bar again and continued until the early hours.
All in all an excellent day (apart from the cakes) - and people think scientists have no fun.
Here's the Chicken:
Cheese and Biscuits