Burgers, Shopping & Disappointment

I’ve started spending my first 20 minutes at work typing up my post for the evening. It’s far quicker sitting at a desk with a full-size keyboard than it is sitting at home trying to use something the size of a book. And a slow, steam-powered book at that.

That’s one of the reasons it’s always a day behind.

It’s surprising that I can do as much in 20 minutes at a desk as I can if I spend two hours tapping away whilst chatting, watching TV, playing Candy Crush and shouting at politicians on TV.

We took a trip to Springfields yesterday, had lunch at Frankie and Benny’s and looked for shoes for Julia.

F&B aren’t doing the same lunch deals anymore, though I’m not sure the price is any higher. It’s just that you feel happier after a meal when you think you’ve also saved a couple of quid. Of course, that could just be me.

To be fair, the burgers were juicy, the chips were plentiful but the special sauce wasn’t special. They keep changing the sauce and it’s never been an improvement yet. This latest monstrosity is pink, and has bits in it, a bit like the old-fashioned “sandwich spread” you used to get in jars. Or, to be less subtle, a bit like vomit.

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Lunch

I liked the old, red, sticky, chilli sauce.

In case I’ve been a bit too subtle – I wasn’t keen on the sauce. But the burger and chips were good. I thought I might make this Scone Chronicles XXI, but then I thought about it and decided burgers aren’t really scones. I’ve already sneaked prawn sandwiches and fish and chips in this week so more non-scones could be, I think, a bit too much.

We then discovered that all the decent shops have moved out and there’s a rather dull selection left.  It was a struggle to find the right shoes at the right price. We go to shopping outlets for shopping and recreation (we’re very dull these days) but it’s just like going shopping in town, apart from the air being fresher and the trip taking longer.

We didn’t even find anything particularly exciting in the bookshop – I bought a new set of The Chronicles of Narnia, but I could have bought that in any branch of “The Works”. I didn’t need to drive across Lincolnshire.

This morning I’ve already written to an auction house – part of a seven week saga of lost and badly described goods, plus poor service and lack of urgency. It looks like I might have my money back within days.

I’ve also written to the skip company. That’s only taken two weeks so far…

Why can’t everyone just be efficient and deliver what they are paid for?

The Scone Chronicles XX

I’ve decided to stick with Roman Numbers for the time being – it seems rather lightweight to use the word Chronicles then use ordinary numbers. With snowflakes, Millennials and all the rest of that stuff, we don’t need more lightweights. We need austerity, Spartan living conditions and more of those rough grey blankets we used to use as bedding when I was a lad.

Duvets, I suspect, have a lot to answer for in the softening of the species.

We couldn’t add to the chronicles at Bempton, because there wasn’t room. It was quite crowded and, despite the rain, even the outside tables were all taken. There was room at some, but people seemed to be indicating a preference for solitude by the way they were spreading their kit about.

The only table with nobody on it was one that was ringed with tripods and telescopes, indicating that someone would be back to use it. Or that tripods are becoming sentient and demanding food.

I’ve probably been reading too much Terry Pratchett…

You’d have thought they might have made provision for a seasonal rush.

We had, as you can see from the photograph, prawn sandwiches from Tesco, whilst sitting in the car on the seafront at Scarborough. That tiny stump in the distance is Scarborough Castle. It’s more impressive in real life, and it has a colony of Kittiwakes nesting on the cliffs below.

One the way home we had chips at Filey. They are excellent chips and the fish is probably the freshest I’ve had from a chip shop.

You do, however, pay a premium for this. At £6.50 a portion it’s nearly as expensive as sitting down in some places. That is the dilemma – eat excellent fish and chips in the car whilst watching the sea, or, for almost the same price, have peas and tea, and sit at a plastic table that exudes an aura of stickiness whilst moaning about the poor quality fish.

Decisions, decisions…

 

Back to Bempton

We went to Bempton Cliffs today.

It’s the first time I’ve found myself going through the motions. There are only so many Razorbills, Guillemots, Gannets, Kittiwakes and Tree Sparrows you can photograph before the novelty wears off. As for Jackdaws, I can see them any day of the week in Nottingham.

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Tree Sparrow (Male)

I did get a photograph of a Whitethroat, so that cheered me up. I’ve not photographed one before, though it’s not exactly rare.

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Whitethroat

There weren’t many Puffins about, but what’s new? There are rarely many Puffins about when you want them. At the moment they are mainly involved with feeding their young. I can identify with that.

It was a fairly dull day, and I couldn’t use the magic settings to liven the colour up as they limit the zoom to 40x, You need every bit of the 80x zoom to get a decent shot, and you also need steady hands, as any wavering is also magnified 80 times.

To make things worse, it was also windy.

The first Puffin shot was, I thought, only a shot of a half-hidden bird with bright orange feet. Imagine my surprise when, looking at the photos later, I found I’d been photobombed by another, much clearer bird. At 80x zoom, with a dull day and lots of concentration, I’d completely missed the obvious one!

Scone Chronicles XIX

Sorry, I decided it didn’t matter if I missed a day posting and, six days later I’m only just getting back to blogging.

I have plenty of things to write about, but no enthusiasm for the work.

However, I will give it a go, as scones have recently reappeared in my life. On that subject, I may dispense with Roman numbering after the next one. That’s what they did with Spitfires in WW2. They got to Mk XIX and the next one was the Mk 20.

I suppose it’s all part of the dumbing down of the world. First we stop using Latin numerals, then, under pressure from Microsoft, we adopt American spelling.

We’re on the verge of electing a buffoon, and have a fine choice, with both Johnson and Farage, so we’re following America in so many ways.

I’m going to fail to post before midnight, but I’m not rushing. It’s a bit late to worry about my posting record.

On Wednesday we went to meet Julia’s brother and sister-in-law who were visiting family in Radcliffe-on-Trent, a large village just outside Nottingham (which I thought was a town, until I checked when adding the link). The Atrium is a converted bank, and is very pleasant, though the name had led me into expecting more glass and plants.

The staff were efficient, cheerful, and very patient, which was good as they had a lot of kids running about. One of the kids was my great nephew, who is just over a year old now. He’s not quite walking but he’s on the verge, and manages to get about well enough.

The scones were large, and light in texture, though a bit sweet and slightly deficient in fruit. It doesn’t make them bad scones, but it does stop me talking of them in glowing terms. I’d happily go back for scones if I was in Radcliffe-on-Trent again, but I wouldn’t necessarily drive all the way from Nottingham for them. Julia had Bakewell Tart. It was a bit lurid compared to last week’s Bakewell Pudding.

Still having difficulty posting using the ancient netbook, so I’ll call a halt there. It’s amazing really, a few years ago I thought this machine was brilliant, but after using a laptop for the last three years it’s like torture.

 

 

You couldn’t make this up…

I arrived home last night, parked and did what I believe is known as a double take.

The skip, that has been in the drive for the last few weeks, and which was far from full as we unclutter at the pace of a sleepy snail, had gone.

“What’s happened to the skip?” I asked Julia, who had arrived home slightly before me.

“Nothing, as far as I know.” she said. “Have people been putting things in?”

“Look for yourself.”

She ambled to the door muttering.

“Aaaaaargh!”

It was the heartrending yell of a woman who had been planning to fill a skip on Bank Holiday Monday. Skipless and bereft, she stood on the doorstep wailing and rending and doing whatever thwarted declutterers do…

She had, in case you haven’t guessed, been in a world of her own when she returned home, and had completely missed the fact that a large steel rubbish receptacle had disappeared from the drive.

And that is not the strangest thing.

The skip company, when we finally got hold of them, deny all knowledge of the skip being taken away, which means that we have clearly been the subject of a skip robbery.

It’s an unusual crime, as it’s hardly the same as slipping an unconsidered trifle into your pocket. You need a lorry with the correct lifting gear for one thing. So it’s either been stolen by a rival company, or we’ve hired it off a company staffed by incompetent idiots who have collected it at random. . Julia has been looking at the feedback on their site. Some of the feedback is slightly more forthright than my comments.

It is looking likely that we have hired a skip off a company of incompetent idiots.

Scone Chronicles XVIII – Bakewell Pudding

The header picture is Julia sitting outside the Bakewell Pudding Parlour. Last time she was left to her own devices here she ended up buying macaroons. I’d forgotten all about that, and, once again, failed to supervise her in an appropriate manner. She emerged with teas, bakewell puddings and cheese pasties. She keeps feeding me despite my diet. When I say pasties, by the way, they were monstrous. They were big enough to use as hats. It seemed rude not to eat it, even though it contains a possibly lethal dose of fat and calories.

 

However, I’m not going to talk about pasties, because this is a chronicle of scones. So I’m going to talk about Bakewell Puddings. There’s only so much you can say about scones, and I’m short of ideas for places to visit at the moment. My brain seems to be working rather slowly at the moment. I swear I’ve declined in intelligence over the last few months. Much more of this and I’ll have no option but to embark on a political career.

The Bakewell Pudding, as made in Bakewell, is not the same as the shop bought Bakewell Tart, which is generally an iced cake in a pastry case.  I’ve not made a Bakewell of any type myself, though I have made frangipanes with Cape Gooseberries (physalis, inca berries, ground cherries – it has so many names).

Today’s puddings were great – flaky pastry cases full of sticky deliciousness. Julia didn’t care for them, preferring something less sticky. It’s an ill wind that blows no good, or, in other words, I ate hers too.

In truth, they will never replace scones, but they are a pleasant change and it seems silly to go all the way to Bakewell to eat scones.

 

I also bought a few books, so it was a good day.

Truth Being Stranger Than Fiction

I was manoeuvering through a set of multiple lights with crossings and shrubberies this morning and contemplating the question I always contemplate at the same point each week. This question is “If I get a quick start, put my foot down and risk going through on amber, could I get through without having to stop at the second set of lights?”

The answer is, of course, “no”.

It’s the same answer every time.

However, I wasn’t the only one asking the same question this morning. A cyclist, his mind clearly on the same conundrum, though from a different direction, decided to test the question for himself.

He burst from behind some shrubbery and zoomed across the road in front of me while the lights were still in my favour.

Fortunately, resigned to the inevitable, I was already slowing in preparation to stop. If I’d been intent on bursting through on amber there could well have been an unfortunate meeting of machinery.

It would have been less unfortunate for me than for the cyclist.

At least he was wearing a helmet. He could be squashed flat, rendered comatose or confined to a wheelchair, but his head would be protected and his parting would still be neat as they performed the post mortem.

I’m thinking of writing to the Prime Minister with some suggestions for better road safety for cyclists, though I’m not expecting she will do anything about it.

Number one on the list is sumo suits. Alternatively, and needing slightly more development, is the lycra cycling suit with air bags. Under sudden impact the air bags would inflate and prevent serious injury.  The main problem would be carrying a cylinder of compressed air. I have some thoughts on where to put it, but the cyclists would probably not be keen on my suggestion. Anyway, not all bicycles have crossbars.

Scratch that – they’ve already been developed for motorcyclists and pedestrian airbags also exist (attached to cars to prevent injury, not actually fitted to pedestrians). I was looking up a history of airbags when I found them.

Truth truly is stranger than fiction.