(Well, “Wild Goose Chase” would have been a little too obvious as a title, wouldn’t it?)
On the day I wandered into Waitrose intent on ordering a goose for Christmas, they were unable to take such orders due to their supplier being in a restricted area because of a bird flu outbreak at another farm. Not knowing how long the restrictions would last, we chose a more local supplier with a good reputation, Franklins at Thorncote, and phoned them. They were happy to take an order but their delivery schedule was full so we would have to collect our bird on December 23rd. Waitrose would have been the easier option but circumstances probably played in our favour since the resulting goose was likely to be a superior product. Time will tell.
Franklins is about 20 miles away from us so we set off en masse at 11:00 AM on Sunday to track down our Christmas dinner. We knew of Franklins from their visits to our local farmers markets in Leighton Buzzard and Woburn but had never actually visited the farm before. Senior astro-navigatrix Carol directed us to the farm without any trouble. It turned out to be a substantially larger business than any of us was expecting, I think, and Keith was particularly surprised at the scale of the operation. Throngs of people were collecting all manner of dead animals, or parts thereof, for the Christmas season. There was cheese also, which I have not seen on their market stalls but which looked particularly attractive to a cheese-aholic such as myself. Their Christmas order book was vast with three or four pages devoted to surnames beginning with “C” alone. (I wonder if they sell shares in the business?) Once at the head of the queue, the order book was searched, our goose was swiftly located and, weighing in at 5.6kg, was neatly boxed along with its valuable fat and giblets. “Quick draw McKeith” rapidly flashed the required £53 and we were soon back on the road with our festive booty. I really must take Keith shopping more often!
We paused relatively briefly to play Santa at Carol’s niece’s family on the way back. Then it was goose liver on toast for lunch and an afternoon making stock from the goose giblets to lessen the culinary burden of Christmas Day itself. We can’t have work getting in the way of presents, after all, can we?