ON the last leg (and my last legs) of a five and a half mile hike I was dying for refreshment. It was getting too late for a pub lunch but there ahead in the Birchin Clough layby was the Ladybower Café.
And when I read the menu it reminded me of Monty Python. For sandwiches I could have Spam; Spam and Egg; Spam Egg and Cheese Slice; Spam Bacon and Sausage; Spam and Sausage; and Spam and Bacon.
But I had bacon and egg instead!
I hadn’t really noticed the cafe, more a mobile catering van but with tables and chairs in good weather, before although I must have driven past many times on the A57 in the last 15 years it has been there, according to Julie, who served me.
To be honest, I was a little exhausted or would have asked a little more about this splendid throwback overlooking the Ladybower Reservoir. Judging by its Facebook page it has a host of admirers and regulars.
And I got talking to a whisky salesman whom, he said, had been made homeless and was living out of his car. I saw later that he had posted grateful thanks to Julie, who runs it with a bloke called Geoff, for giving him a free lunch.
The Ladybower Cafe (not to be confused with the Ladybower Inn up the road) is apparently very popular with bikers. Among them are Si and Dave, aka the Hairy Bikers, who dropped in for Spam and egg while filming for their TV series.
Sandwiches come in a breadcake, only white, because there is no call for brown or wholemeal, according to Julie.
My sandwich was great and she didn’t demur when I didn’t want tea because I had some left in my flask.
Next time, though, I’ll have Spam.