Further to this debacle I delegated all calls to Matt, having lost confidence in my powers of persuasion in potentially hostile terrain and fearful that everywhere would tell me to take my custom elsewhere and we’d have to sleep in hedgerows or churches with nothing to eat but berries, green corn and communion wafers.
When Matt called Monday’s bed for the night, the sweet and helpful Howbeck Lodge, Hesket Newmarket, Cumbria, I was out consoling myself in the pub. This is what Matt told me about the conversation. The daughter answered. Matt said he wanted to talk about packed lunches. The daughter said “You’ll need to talk to my mum”. So Matt gave our number. The mum phoned back within half an hour.
“We’d like some packed lunches. One of us is vegetarian, the other is a vegan”.
“Oh yes. The vegetarian’s fine but I’m not sure about the vegan.”
“Well, something like sandwiches with hummus or peanut butter would be fine.”
“OK, I’m sure we can manage that.”
“Well, can I just check what is in the rest of the packed lunch.”
“I normally put in some home-made cake, a piece of fruit and a drink, but obviously your partner won’t be able to eat cake because it has egg in it.”
“Well, I think if you could put two pieces of frut in then that would be OK.”
[short exchange about how much food there’d be, Matt asked for two rounds of sandwiches since we’d be walking far, and upwards.]
“Oh but what about breakfast? Because obviously you won’t want meat…”
“Well, we might want meat but we won’t be having it.”
“Well I can do mushrooms and tomatoes.”
“That would be fine – could you do some beans as well?”
“Yes of course. There will be cereals but she won’t be able to have the milk, will she?”
“No don’t worry, she doesn’t usually put milk on cereals”.
“Well, would you like me to buy some soya milk?”
“Yes, if it’s no problem.”
“That’s fine – I just need to remember to put it on my shopping list.”
[Short discussion about the local pub, The Crown or something, where we’d have dinner.]
“Well thank you, you’ve been very helpful – much more helpful than the first place we spoke to who basically turned us away.”
That’s the Howbeck Lodge, Hesket Newmarket. Welcoming, helpful, considerate, professional accommodation for everybody, including vegans.