Author Archives: quercuscommunity

Coins and the holes where coins used to be…

I’ve been looking back through a few old posts and have noticed that I seem to be running to a pattern. I moan, I rant, I explain why things are chaotic and I discuss the shortcomings of other road users. For variety I sometimes describe how my wife bullies, browbeats or outwits me.

Once in a while I complain about my aches and pains, disparage the medical profession and denigrate editors.

I also have problems with technology. Considering that I have problems with such basic things as sleeping and the use of apostrophes, it’s hardly surprising that technology beats me. I say “beats me”… It doesn’t actually beat me; I have three sledge hammers in the tool shed so in purely physical terms I have the upper hand. I suppose what I mean is that technology confuses me into a state of near surrender, but if the machines ever get too cocky I have the ultimate sanction.

This is actually the start of a post I wrote two days ago. It wasn’t good enough, so I sidelined it, made the sandwiches, played Scrabble against the computer, lost again, and went to sleep.

Tonight I wrote the first few paragraphs of a much better post, and lost it. I’m not actually sure where it went. Here, we return to my earlier thoughts and review my comments on technology. The day when I hammer my computer flat is rapidly approaching.

I have therefore “improved” the previous attempt by throwing half of it away and grafting a few moans on to the end.

Today I spent much of my time in the shop entering cards for coin year sets onto eBay. If you consider coins dull, and I do, then the empty cards for making up year sets are, I promise you, duller.

I have had the results from my last chest X-Ray and it was OK,  I do have a chest. This is handy as it gives me somewhere to keep my lungs, which, in turn, allows me to breathe, an activity considered essential for good health. It also stops your shirt getting messy. Imagine the laundry situation if your lungs were externally mounted.

Unfortunately I failed my last blood test. I do have blood, and it seems to be going round OK, but it seems that I need to talk to a doctor about it. I can do this on the phone but, there was a six day waiting list for a telephone consultation slot. I take it that there is nothing urgent about whatever problem their expensive testing machinery has come up with.

And that is why I find it reasonably easy to criticise doctors.

I now have a new date with the specialist and am hoping that in four weeks I may have a diagnosis. I bet they are going to tell me I have arthritis. I know this because it is following exactly the same path as my last outbreak. The difference is that it took just over a week to sort it out last time and it will have taken about eleven this time.

I have added a few coins to the end, as a relief from the hundreds of empty holes staring from the other pictures like hundreds of dead eye sockets. There’s a Battle of Hastings 50p, a Magna Carta £2 and moon landing £5 from Guernsey,

The £5, which is from 10 years ago shows early use of colour, which later became the garishly awful later use of colour. It doesn’t look the thin end of a wedge does it?.

Gotcha!

Finally, after days of trying, I got some half-decent butterfly shots. The newly hatched Red Admiral finally held still for me, though the windy conditions were a bit of a challenge. The Red Valerian does tend to move a bit in the wind.

Then the Small Tortoiseshell – the first of the year in the front garden – stopped by. No Painted Ladies today, but I’m happy with the others.

More later. I just wanted to get these posted.

The Scone Chronicles XXIII – Afternoon Tea. Again.

The Afternoon Teas were actually ten days apart, despite the two reports being published on the same day. Sorry if this seems like overkill, but it’s just the chaotic nature of my life.

I have reported on Mrs Botham’s Tearoom before. They produce excellent pork pies and capital crab sandwiches.

Today we selected Afternoon Tea. This proved to be a good decision.

At £12.95 it’s a mid-range option compared to the prices of the other teas we’ve had (though the comparison is with the special offer price at the St James Hotel).

It’s a typical Mrs Botham’s production, with freshly made sandwiches and a bit of salad with citrus dressing. This dressing did make a couple of the sandwiches soggy on the lower edge, as they were served on the same plate, but it wasn’t much of a problem as they didn’t have long to wait before consumption, and it’s all going to end up in the same place anyway.

Botham's Whitby

Botham’s Whitby

They were a definite level up from the curly Bettys sandwiches. They may have benefitted from some variety of brown bread, but let’s be honest, there is a reason why soft white bread is a top seller.

Apart from being fresh they were also well-filled, the cucumber being particularly good.

The cakes were, for me, the least good bit of the meal. They were good and fresh, being baked by Bothams and sold in the shop downstairs. The meringue was fine, and about twice the size of the St James one.

The chocolate thing (my command of cakey vocabulary is buckling under the strain here) seemed to have a biscuit in it, probably with hazel nuts, and was difficult to manage with a cake fork, though it did break up when bitten, It was OK, but I wouldn’t go and buy one in the shop as a result of the one I ate.

The fondant fancy was lovely, but rather sweet. And if I say it’s too sweet that is serious sugar, as I’m not known for my sensitivity to sugar. The icing was too sweet and the creamy bit inside was too large and too sweet. I’m a lover of fondant fancies, so this is hurting me to write.

The scones were nice and soft with good texture. We had a clotted cream portion each and it was a perfect way to round off the meal, along with another cup of tea. The tea was prompt and plentiful and there was a jug of hot water to top the pot up.

Sandwiches – they best we’ve had. The salad was good, though you know my thoughts on salad. Cakes too sweet. Scone – lovely. Tea – excellent. Surroundings and service – excellent.

So far, this is the winner.

 

Did I mention the pork pies? We brought some home. I had one for tea, with a cheese scone and soup, and had one for lunch with my sandwiches. Don’t be tempted by the pork and apple.

If you are in Yorkshire looking for an afternoon tea, I’d definitely go for Botham’s in preference to Bettys.

This, of course, brings me to another point. Bettys has dropped the apostrophe and Botham’s have kept it. I think the lesson is clear here. Old fashioned values still rule where Afternoon Tea is concerned.

Please note the picture of the stair-lift leading up to the tea room – they know their market!

Stairlift at Botham's tearoom, Whitby

Stairlift at Botham’s tearoom, Whitby

The Scone Chronicles XXII – Afternoon Tea

Sorry, I had intended managing one instalment of the Scone Chronicles a week, but we haven’t been out much this year and when we do go out it tends to be repetitive. Added to that, I don’t always take photos, I don’t want to admit to all the rubbish I eat and I’m not always very efficient.

This post has been maturing like a fine wine, for over a week. This probably tells you something about my definition of “fine wine”. That, in turn, reminds me of the wine kits they used to sell in Boots chemists thirty years ago. No, forty years ago…

How time flies.

However, I will return to the subject of scones rather than drift off on a digression relating to cheap wine.

Julia’s brother and sister-in-law have been up to visit and invited us to Afternoon Tea at the St James Hotel in Nottingham.

The review is a bit tricky because I don’t want to criticise a meal I’ve been treated to. Fortunately, after we’d left, the in-laws said it wasn’t a patch on their local tearoom and was more on a par with the local Patisserie Valerie. That’s not meant to be a slur on Patisserie Valerie, because they are a chain and a chain does things differently to somewhere claiming to be a boutique hotel. Or it should do.

It is, considering the deal they do, a very good value budget Afternoon Tea – if their website is correct, afternoon tea for two costs slightly less than afternoon tea for one at Bettys. If you don’t get the discount, it’s still a lot cheaper. However, don’t be fooled by the picture on the website, the sandwich fillings were much less generous in real life and the cake selection was not as good.

In fact, the sandwich fillings could accurately be described as meagre, the cakes and scones all seemed to be mass produced and they really should have been quicker on bringing the tea.

However, they surroundings are pleasant, and not as crowded as Bettys at Harlow Carr. The company was, as you would expect, excellent, and the neighbours were sufficiently far away as to be part of the background chatter, again, unlike Bettys.

So – comparisons.

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Scones with jam and cream

Cakes at Bettys were far better. Sandwich fillings at Bettys were better. Scones at Bettys were better (and not dusted with icing sugar – I hate it when they do that).

However, sandwiches at St James’s were fresher, surroundings were more relaxing and the cost was more affordable.

At St James we got one pot of clotted cream between two of us – it’s enough, but it’s the only place I’ve ever been that does that. Don’t know whether I’m happy not to clot my arteries or unhappy at being short-changed.

I’m not sure which was better value, as they both had their good points, and both had their less good points. Nor am I sure if either is worth repeating.

I suppose I’ll just have to keep eating until I find a better place.

 

(Sorry about the quality of the photography – low lighting).

Seventeen Minutes…

Seventeen minutes until midnight and I have successfully loafed an entire night away. If I’m to keep up my target of blogging every day I need to get a move on.

Fifteen minutes to go and I can’t think of anything…

I will now settle and go about this in an orderly manner.

Here are some pictures of Painted Ladies from the front garden. There were four of them yesterday, a new record for a small front garden attached to a semi-detached suburban house. Not only that, but three of them were looking quite fresh. We also had a quick stop from the cleanest Red Admiral I’ve ever seen. It may well just have emerged – it was positively velvety and the colours glowed. If only it had been slower.

Trade was slow in the shop, though we did buy several lots of worn out pennies.

The internet had been a little slow overnight too, but three people ordered during the day, which helped things along.

For tea we had meatballs (bought in because I can’t enthuse myself to cook my own, despite them being so simple) cooked up with onions (from the garden), mushrooms and a tin of tomatoes. Roast potatoes and carrots on the side. Not a sophisticated meal, but it was OK. We finished with fruit crumble which featured apples and blackberries from the garden.

That’s it for now. Day off tomorrow and the excitement is mounting as we decide where to go. Too late for Puffins and too soon for Seals, so it’s looking like we will be out hunting scones.

A Post in want of a Title

I’m watching Pride and Prejudice on TV and resorting to the netbook because I will only have half and hour to post if I wait until the end. Obviously I could go through to the computer in the other room, as I know how it ends, but it wouldn’t be the same.

I’ve generally liked Jane Austen on TV, but do have trouble with it on the page.

I suppose it’s better to watch it on TV rather than have no contact with it at all.

The rest of the day has been quite busy. We had eleven parcels to do, four sales to conduct via email and half a dozen  vacuous enquirers to answer. I really don’t know how it’s possible to be stupid enough to ask these questions but intelligent enough to use a computer.

It is half-day closing for us today, so I was able to be home before 1.30, and set to work on my own projects.

I managed to get some of the planning and research done for my talk on Peace and Tribute Medals and beat the computer at Scrabble (once in three attempts). Finally I took a lot of words from a list I had made last night and tried to fashion them into a sonnet. It is not going well. The trick, as they told Miss Elizabeth Bennett tonight, is to practice. I really don’t have the mental stamina to practice sonnets, so each attempt is a fresh trial. Mostly they end in failure.

I’m going to have another try now. Submission windows are going to be opening at an alarming rate for the next few months and I have nothing to send.

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Huddersfield Peace Medal 1919

 

 

1st September 2019

It’s the first day of meteorological autumn, which is a sad day for those of us with aching joints.

It’s also the 80th anniversary of the day when Germany invaded Poland in 1939, and set the Second World War in motion.

This ruined my father’s first holiday. Under the Holidays with Pay Act (1938) many workers were given a full week’s paid holiday every year, the result of a twenty year campaign by the Trade Unions. It was the “with pay” provision that made the difference, up until then workers had often had holidays such as traditional Wake’s Weeks, but without pay. It was difficult enough paying for food and rent for most working people, without the additional burden of going away so holidays were not necessarily seen as a good thing.

It was this legislation which helped make Butlin’s camps so successful. Not only did he have camps (Skegness and Clacton by 1939) but the working classes had holidays to take in these camps. In 1939 the military moved in – Skegness became HMS Royal Arthur (bombed 52 times during the war and, it is alleged, claimed as sunk by Nazi propaganda) and Clacton became a training base for the Royal Pioneer Corps. The camp at Filey was under construction and, when finished, handed over to the RAF. Butlin also built camps at Ayr (HMS Scotia) and Pwllheli (HMS Glendower) for the Navy, which he was able to buy back at the end of the war.

However, back to my father, who, as a ten-year-old, was enjoying himself on his first ever holiday. It was in Morecambe. I always remember this story when we are in Morecambe. They had only been there a couple of days when they were told they had to go home as the RAF were moving in.

I see that although we have been to Morecambe several times, including this year, it has nor really featured in the blog. Last time we visited Morecambe I ended up changing a tyre and Morecambe seemed to get left out.

Anyway, enough of my rambling for another day.

I’ve just remembered that I have a backlog of posts to write.

Earlier today I did an internet quiz and my favourite deadly sin is sloth. I wonder how they knew…