Monthly Archives: Feb 2019

The Scone Chronicles – Number Nine

We went to Harlow Carr garden today – the northern garden of the Royal Horticultural Society. It was a lovely spring day and the gardens were quite crowded as every pensioner in Yorkshire seemed to be having a trip out.

I’ll cover the gardens in more detail later. For now I will talk about the first scone of our day.

The queue for scones at Bettys Tea House (which is a shed in the garden rather than the posh cafe at the entrance) contained around 30 people when we joined it. Well, when Julia joined it. I have a bad knee – I can’t queue.

(Note – Bettys was originally Betty’s but they have now become Bettys. The increasingly cavalier disregard for apostrophes seems to be mirrored by a general decline in standards and I wonder if the two may be linked.)

Despite the decline in standards and the deficiency in apostophes the staff were absolutely top class. They were quick and accurate and kept smiling as they coped with a constant queue, which averaged 20 people long for at least half an hour. My research method was to count the queue three times while I was sitting there. I can be scientifically rigorous when the occasion demands.

They served Julia with two cups of tea and two scones in boxes (with the jam and cream already applied), and only took £10 off her.

The tea was excellent, despite being a teabag in a vending cup. It probably tasted better because I was drinking it outside on a sunny spring day as a robin sang from a neighbouring tree.

Tea, scones and sunshine. Bettys, Harlow Carr

Tea, scones and sunshine. Bettys, Harlow Carr

The boxed scones were convenient, though they were still rather chilly from storage. They were also, and I’m sorry I can’t come up with another description, a bit tight in texture. Fresh home made scones have a nice open, crumbly texture. Well, mostly. I have had one or two disasters in my time. Commercial scones tend to be closer in texture and come with neat, even air holes.

So, staff, tea and surroundings – excellent. Scones were good, but not as good as the rest of the meal. I felt they weren’t quite as good as some of the other scones we’ve had this year, either. They must be doing something right because they have been going for 100 years this year.

Bettys - 100 years this year

Bettys – 100 years this year

This is not a criticism of the scones, just an observation. You can’t serve thousands of scones without making some compromises.

Harlow Carr Garden

Harlow Carr is the Royal Horticultural Society Garden just outside Harrogate, a town which is home to Betty’s Tea Room and a Sainsbury’s supermarket that has a sushi bar. In Yorkshire the only dead fish you normally see has been fried in batter.

Just a few photos for now.

 

Well, maybe a few more…

There will be more when I have time, plus two more scone reports.

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A Summary in Pictures

I’m in a hurry and may be back late tonight. Hopefully some pictures will keep you entertained, and give a clue to what my day may hold.

 

A Limerick (2)

It has just been brought to my attention in the previous post, by John, of John’s Postcards that a large number of people mispronounce the word scone. It’s not their fault. They have clearly been badly counselled at some time in the past and have failed to correct the error. It doesn’t make them bad people, just misguided, and I decided to write a limerick for them too.

A Mainer, who is quite well known,

noted winter had been knocked from its throne.

She’d grown tired of muffins

and decided that nothing

could compare to a Great British scone.

It’s wrong, and I probably shouldn’t encourage them in their heresy, but in the end I like scones for the way they taste, not how they sound.

 

A Limerick

It grew from a comment Laurie made on my post about scones/muffins. I woke up just after six this morning and wrote a couple of drafts then finished it this evening. It’s not perfect but it will do to spread a little light cheeriness and fill my need for a post a day.

 

A Mainer, who was seldom wrong,

noted winter was nearly all gone.

She’d grown tired of muffins

and decided that nothing

could compare to a Great British scone.

A Rare Visit to Arnot Hill Park

I’ve tried several posts today but none of them worked for me. The day started badly when all the driers in the laundrette were taken by a couple of women who brought their wet washing from home. This forced me into being rude to someone who turned up with more washing from home.  He asked me to move because I was sitting in front of the only available dryer.

I refused, pointing out that I had three machines full of washing coming out in the next five minutes. I’m not sure what the correct etiquette for this sort of thing, but I can get very irritable when people bring their wet washing from home and fill the dryers.

This follows on from some thoughts I have been having recently about an error I made in bringing my kids up. I always taught them to consider others. The only problem is that other people don’t always consider them, which tends to make good manners a bit of a problem. The nicer you are, the more you lose out.

After a long drawn out drying session, using one dryer for the contents of three machines, I decided to go to Arnot Hill park. You can rely on ducks, and I haven’t done much walking recently.

A selection of ducks, followed by some photographs of Black Headed Gulls. They are only just getting their black heads back. Well, brown heads. They are badly mis-named.

And finally, a picture of a Japanese Quince. It looked better in real life than it does in the picture.

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Japanese Quince – Arnot Hill Park, Arnold

Not the Worst Day I’ve Had

It’s been a lovely Spring day today, I’m told. I didn’t see much of it until 4.00. It was pleasant enough, but slightly frustrating to have spent the rest of it in a room with no windows.

The day was mainly quiet, as the customers had better things to do. This was unfortunate as it gave the boss time to think about making improvements to the stock control system. There are just three problems – they weren’t improvements, there is no control and we don’t have a system.

One of the jobs I ended up with was adding four items to a pre-existing list. Seemed simple enough but took half an hour and a re-write. I will say no more.

There was a bit of excitement late on when two auctions ended. We had a trench art love token made from an Indian rupee, stamped “Mesopotamia”, “Alice” and “1918”.

 

It’s a bit crude, but I’m not sure I could do any better. I’m sure Alice appreciated it. I hope the maker got home uninjured. Don’t be fooled by the photo, it’s only about an inch and a quarter across in real life.

The other item was a silk handkerchief brought home by a member of the 8th Army. It’s a bit of a relic, and it’s falling apart, but several people obviously appreciated it as a piece of history.

The central arch on the handkerchief is Marble Arch, or the Arch of the Philaeni, a symbol of Italy’s growing power in North Africa. It appears on many photographs from the time and even on a medal. Eventually, it was demolished by the Gaddafi regime in 1973.

It might not have been the best of days I’ve had at work, but it certainly wasn’t the worst. I’ve had days that involved freezing temperatures and tons of poultry manure so a day messing about with a computer is like a luxury spa break to me.