I've been living in this bit of Lincolnshire for 4 years now, and I thought I'd got it sussed from a foodie point of view: you can come by most things, but not all the time, and you do have to make a fair bit of effort.
How did I never know about this?
Simple, really: the other side of the A1 is another country - they do things differently there. Daft as it sounds, a dirty great busy A road acts as something of a psychological barrier (even if it's no longer a physical one, thanks to the new-ish flyover). Burton Coggles is only a few miles from my house, but I'd never been there. So a big thank-you to Elly, who told me about the shop over tea this morning. She lives a stone's throw from Burton Coggles, so I called into the shop on my way home.
The shop and the pub (and quite a lot of other things locally) are owned by the Easton Estate, one of the two big estates in this area. The game is shot on the estate, and at this time of year they must have tonnes of it - hence the ridiculously cheap price of £3/brace for pheasant and partridge. I got a brace of each. They will get you most types of game on request - rabbits, hares, ducks...there were even a couple of Canada geese hanging. They also sell local beef, pork and lamb - the lamb, pleasingly, comes from my village. The other produce is sourced as locally as possible, with lots of it coming from the Fens. And it's a lovely little place, too:
To pay for my booty I had to go next door, into the exceedingly cosy pub, all chunky furniture and blazing log fires. I could have cheerfully found a perch and settled in for the afternoon.
The slightly longer and sunnier days of the past week have made me start to feel restless, and I'm inspired to get out and explore a bit more. The church at Burton looks well worth a nose around, and there's Easton Walled Gardens down the road, which are apparently rather lovely - and open just in time for the snowdrops.
So roll on springtime. I'm ready for ya. But first we need to see off these guys: