Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Today is St. Patrick's Day, celebrated by the Irish all over the world, including me as my paternal grandfather was Irish. My cousins live in a quiet and beautiful corner of County Down, Northern Ireland near the famous Mountains of Mourne. Northern Ireland has been almost free from terrorism for some years, although I can remember two bombs going off within 20 miles of my cousins' home when I visited them them in 1998. Sadly this peace has been shattered by the shooting of two unarmed soldiers and a police officer, a tragedy for their families and for the Northern Irish people, the vast majority of whom want to live in peace with their neighbours.

Tonight I dined out with 3 fellow Councillors, two with strong Irish connections, Peter Hand and Andrew McConnell, and one true Englishman Nigel Haughton at a newly refurbished restaurant The Embankment, Bedford. It is a historic building located on the Embankment, one of Bedford's beauty spots which is illuminated at night. The new owners Kelly and Andrew invited us to sample their new menu free, paying only for our drinks and desserts and also showed us a few of the renovated hotel rooms.

My Scotch beef rump steak was superb as was the starter - a crab and asparagus risotto -, but my dessert was a bit stodgy. My 3 companions enjoyed their starters - a crispy duck salad, leek and potato soup and a pear and Stilton tart and their main courses of leg of lamb, rump steak and stuffed mushrooms. However they were also disappointed with their desserts. The service was friendly but the music a bit raucous for a smart pub restaurant. Do look up the The Embankment's new website, www.embankmentbedford.co.uk and go and try their delicious food:

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