I’m sitting here enjoying my morning coffee (and chocolate) while out somewhere in the depths of the beautiful north Norfolk coast the pie convoy is beginning its epic journey from Pie HQ to the NEC (Birmingham) for the BBC Good Food Show….
I did a little google and routemap searching to see how pies might get out of Norfolk and onward to the big dazzling bright lights city of Birmingham. Looking at the map reminded me how remote Norfolk is in terms of main roads, no wonder there be unicorns hiding in its deepest woodlands and gentle landscapes. I reckon its roughly 150 miles and its going to take 3 1/2 to 4 hours especially in a van fully laden with pies (and macarons).
I’ve imagined the route and sketched out this map:
First out from Pie HQ (exact location unknown, a closely guarded secret) and over to Kings Lynn, and on out of Norfolk, driving away from home, loved ones and unicorns behind the unmarked white van and accompanying cars trundle across the unremittingly flat fenland landscape between here and Peterborough. Walpole, Walkosen, Marshland St James, Wisbech. This is perhaps the hardest part of the journey, its early stages, many miles to go with excitement and apprehension all mixed together for the crew. Each vehicle only has one occupant, the fens are flat and lonely and regardless of the weather can be surreal and bleak….maybe they’ll tune their radios to a CB band and pretend to be Rubber Duck and Plastic Chicken to while the time away.
Then finally Peterborough looms from the flat landscape, its cathedral tower shining in a shaft of sunlight or possibly the convoy simply edge around the ring road past industrial and retail parks and press onward. In fact they are almost at the half way point by now so maybe they’ll stop and think of sampling a few pies (ongoing quality control is essential) as a lunch time snack.
Then to Kettering, the landscape slightly more rolling as Norhamptonshire unfolds before them. Sharp turn at Kettering and down onto the A14, by now busy with lorries travelling from Felixstowe, way out in Suffolk, to deliver stuff across Britain. This is a busy stretch of road but good practice for the motorway to come. The pie van and convoy nudge on at a sensible pace, better to protect the precious cargo and take things steady even if it means the occasional hoot from irate trans-euro lorry drivers.
Into the final stretch the A14 ends in a mash of poorly thought out roundabouts and its up the slip road and onto the M6 trying to join the racing traffic that’s hurtled up the M1 straight onto the M6 without dropping below 80 or thinking that an important pie convoy is en route. There’s enough space and with a sudden splurge of unknown power the pie van lurches onto the M6 and speeds up as the motorway heads downhill, Rugby and Coventry to the left, the gleaming sprawl of Birmingham up ahead. Dipping off onto the M42 the convoy heads the last few miles to the NEC, into the unloading areas where the pies will be magic-ed off to their next set of chilled storage ready for tomorrow and the pie sellers will head to set up the stand….
It’ll have been a long day but the pies are safe after their 150 mile journey….the van and driver have to head back though, ready for further pie deliveries later in the week, they’ll be on standby to to ensure the punters get their pies whatever….
…to be continued…