Tag Archives: breakfast

Birds, Breakfast and Books

We weren’t quite sure what to do this morning, so we turned over and went back to sleep. By the time we awoke, blogged, ate a slice of toast with Frank Cooper’s Oxford Marmalade and stepped outside, the frost had melted from the car and the birds were singing. We appear to have several Great Tits in the garden and I feel that avian romance is in the air.

First call was breakfast at Sainsbury’s, but I’ve covered that before. It was good today. I’ve scored it so that you can compare them, but it would feel like cheating to do a full write up again.

Portion size – good

Sausages – excellent and herby

Hash Browns – crispy and delicious

Beans – average, after all opening a can and heating beans is not a skilled job

Mushroom – excellent

Toast – average, another unskilled job that is difficult to do badly

Eggs – excellent to the point of “almost perfect”. Much better than last time.

Bacon – succulent, thickish and almost perfect.

Service and cleanliness were also better than last time.

After that we went shopping at theEast Midlands Designer Outlet. It wasn’t too crowded, though the shops aren’t that exciting, a bit of a re-run of our recent Springfields visit.

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East Midlands Designer Outlet – though it could be anywhere

We went to a few shops – Julia bought some new slipper socks, some bedsocks and some new socks for me. It was a sock sort of day. These were the only things she could find of interest in M&S. Her slipper socks are pink and white hoops with a gold thread in them. I remarked that they were rather girly and would look good in a disco. This view was received coldly as she pointed out that they were the only pair left.

In The Works I asked if they would be getting more stock in soon as I had yet again failed to find three books for the 3 for £5 deal. The assistant positively looked down her nose at me and informed me they had a good selection that was replenished weekly. I begged to disagree and we left it there. She looked offended and I felt patronised.

I’ve been to five of their outlets recently. In one I failed to buy a book. In one the covers are curling up because of damp. In two I have failed to buy three books for the deal.

It’s getting to a stage where I might as well buy off the internet – there are some really cheap deals out there on books I actually want.

We had coffee too, but that is a different post.

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East Midlands Designer Outlet – though it could be anywhere

 

 

The New Project

It’s nothing grand, but I will shortly be embarking on a fortnight of writing two posts a day. This is an effort to catch up both with my material, and the target I set myself some time ago. If I do one week of two posts a day I catch up with the things I missed in the week I was cast into the wilderness by WP. If I do two weeks of it I should return myself somewhere on course for the target I set myself a while back. Unfortunately I can’t remember what the target was or where I wrote it down. It probably isn’t that important if I can’t remember it.

Anyway, the new project is two posts a day for fourteen days.

This isn’t one of them because I’m going to prepare myself overnight and start tomorrow, refreshed by a good night’s sleep and provisioned with a suitable breakfast of eggs and bacon. I may have gone a little bit veggie recently, but a serious project requires a serious start.

In the old days they would have employed a haruspex to check the omens and probably have made a small sacrifice. In this case we will use the eggs rather than the entrails and I’ll let the pig make the sacrifice. Having just linked to Wiki I’m amazed at just how much I didn’t know about such things – I didn’t know, for instance, that they also used sheep for divination and specialised in livers. There is always so much to learn. I also learned a new thing about Thomas Becket. Who would have thought that a Christian saint would have dabbled in entrails? Didn’t do him much good in the end, but such is life.

The new posts will be at least 250 words long and will include photographs and links. They may. on a good day, include wit, humour and wisdom.

I had thought of writing it in an upbeat tone, just to make it more of a challenge, but even as I wrote the words, I shuddered. It is, frankly, more likely that if I need a challenge I will write in Latin. I am not a Classics scholar, but I am even less of an optimist.

Today’s photos are recycled. They are photos I took 12 months ago and serve the artistic purpose of highlighting the cyclical nature of life. Or they may highlight the amount of waffle talked by artists, and be reused because I’m too lazy to walk to the other room and fetch my camera card.

Breakfast at Sainsbury’s (Scone Chronicles XXVII)

I’m going to have to up my work rate after what I said in the last post. This is therefore going to be the first of two posts today.

We have not had a good time at Sainsbury’s at Arnold recently. Twice before Christmas we went in and ordered Beef Baguettes. The first time we tried, we were told there there were no baguettes. I pointed out that they had a shop full of baguettes. It seems that they aren’t allowed to use them.

The second time it was a lack of beef that interfered with the plan. We had festive toasties instead, which allegedly contained turkey and stuffing, but tasted of cotton wool and ketchup.

When we found that the place was crowded at 11.30 I nearly didn’t bother stopping, but I’d promised Julia a day out, which, in my view, means that she doesn’t have to make breakfast.

The cafe was full, many of the tables for four being monopolised by a solitary coffin dodger who was on first name terms with the staff. Say what you like about quality of a service (and I will cover that fully in a later paragraph) , they know how to treat the elderly and I may well move in when I’m a few years older.

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Tea – note the cup for a milk jug

i got a table for two while Julia ordered the food. It needed clearing and wiping down. So did many of the others. A member of kitchen staff emerged at one point, cleared the pots off one table, left the crumbs and went back into the kitchen, never to be seen again.

One lady went as far as to get the table wiping equipment from the staff and wipe her own table down, also wiping the table for a lady in a wheelchair. To be fair, we are supposed to take our own pots away, and it must add more work when people are too lazy, or too arrogant, to clear the table after eating. On the other hand the staff should keep the place clean – I’m paying enough and should have a clean place to eat.

When Julia arrived with the tea I noted the milk was in a coffee cup, rather than a receptacle designed for pouring milk. Again, we paid enough for them to provide a small jug.

It’s just minor details, but it’s annoying that people can’t get the simple things right. For an echo of these thoughts seethis post, though I note there are one or two typos in it – sorry for that.

The food arrived quite quickly, and a member of staff took it on a tour of the cafe before finding us, so we were never in danger of burning our mouths.

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Big Breakfast – Sainsbury’s, Arnold

The breakfast report –

Portion size – good

Sausages – excellent and herby

Hash Browns – crispy and delicious

Beans – average, after all opening a can and heating beans is not a skilled job

Mushroom – excellent

Toast – average, another unskilled job that is difficult to do badly

Eggs – borderline – a hint of snottiness to the white means they were slightly undercooked

Bacon – this could take some time. There is a division of opinion on whether bacon should be crispy or pink and juicy. I favour pink and juicy myself but if the cook does it crispy I’ll eat that too. However, I’m not aware that there is a school of thought that says bacon should be cooked until hard, tied in a knot and basted with grease before being dumped on the plate. If there is such a school of thought I can recommend the cook at Sainbury’s in Arnold.

The bacon actually looks quite nice in the photo. But trust me, it wasn’t. And it was salty too.

So, despite the lack of cleanliness, mediocre efficiency and patchy breakfast, how was it?

Pretty good, to be honest. The good bits of the breakfast were very good, the staff are always friendly and cheerful, even if they do get behind with the cleaning and, judgingh by the way they get on with their regular ancient customers, they are providing a valuable community service.

I suspect the staff are great and the management is poor.

Would I recommend it despite my sarcasm and criticism?

Yes, though its constant failings with cleaning and detail are a bit wearing. On a good day it’s probably the best local breakfast, but the good days are, at the moment, in a minority.

The Scone Chronicles XXV

The one with McDonald’s…

Yes, we’re back at the budget end. With a day full of errands stretching to eternity (the whimpering about seals having produced no effect on my hard-hearted wife) I decided on the easy option to give us a solid foundation.

There’s not much I can add. We had sausage and egg McMuffins, hash browns and coffee. It’s what we always have, because we’re predictable. As usual, it was very good. There’s not much else to say.

The most interesting thing was the coffee cup, which has changed over the years from a receptacle for coffee to a medium for messages – more like a billboard than a cup.

Apart from two robins chasing each other round a tree there isn’t much more to report. That’s why you have a picture of Julia’s feet for a header – I was looking for a photo, they seemed bright, so I took the picture. This evening I used it because there was nothing better.

Moving from food review to diary, I can then report that we went to drop clothes and books off at a recycling point before going to look for a gas heater. Despite what the Homebase website says they don’t sell them.

Recycling - Sainsbury's, Arnold, Notts

Recycling – Sainsbury’s, Arnold, Notts

We then went to Currys. They don’t sell gas heaters, but they do sell tablets. That’s in the sense of small computer type things (which I don’t really understand) rather than a bottle of pills. We had to hunt down a sales assistant because nobody seemed interested in making a sale, and when we got one we needn’t have bothered.

It seems the tablet we wanted was out of stock and they clearly weren’t interested as they advised us to try on-line.

So today’s hint is that if you’re looking for a useless, apathetic excuse for a salesman, try Currys. If you’re looking for a tablet, don’t bother.

And if you try to order on-line, prepare for a long and frustrating experience. I ordered three items – it took nearly an hour as it repeatedly refused to accept the order details, delivery details and filled the screen with useless pop-ups.

I’m going back to Amazon next time.

We stopped off at the park next, as Julia went looking for a municipal employee to browbeat into helping her garden group. One was on holiday and the other was in hiding. I sat in the car park and photographed damp leaves.

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Not my finest moment as a photographer, but I was bored

We eventually bought the gas heater from B&Q. They had a choice of one model, but it was in the right price bracket and the staff were all cheerful and helpful.

After that it was the garden centre. But that is another story…

 

 

Great Expectations, or A Disappointing Breakfast and a Damp Day

Sorry, due to a lethargic few days I missed posting on Sunday after we got back and fell asleep in my chair last night, waking after midnight – too cold, too stiff and too late to post.

When I say “yesterday” I mean Sunday.

Yesterday we went to Lakeland. It sounds good. It sounds like it should be a National Park full of lakes and trees and thoughts of Wordsworth. In fact Lakeland, formerly Lakeland Plastics, is Britain’s biggest seller of kitchen accessories, as generations of long-suffering husbands have found to their cost.

We actually went to the HQ, the flagship store, or the Mother Lode, call it what you will. Julia set me down in the cafe with a slice of Lemon Drizzle Cake and told me to stop whimpering.

Fortunately the Lakeland shop is based in Windermere, which is in the Lake District, so it could have been a lot worse. If it had been the one in Nottingham the views would have been terrible and there would have been no cake.

We started the day by waking up in Skipton, having dropped Number One son off in Leeds on the way through. We didn’t really need to drop him off but Julia hadn’t seen his new flat so there was a certain amount of nosiness involved.

To get me to agree to the trip she had promised me a night in a Travelodge followed by breakfast at the farm shop next door.

I am easily bought, but having visited the farm shop to buy pies and veg before I had high hopes for the breakfast.

I’d still recommend it for pies and veg, but can only say that my high hopes were not entirely justified. For one thing, we arrived at the front door to find it closed. There is a much smaller entrance at the other end of the building and no sign that we could see. If it hadn’t been for someone walking past and telling us we would probably have driven away and eaten somewhere else. With hindsight…

The cafe is new since we last stayed in Skipton. It’s nicely set up in the modern fashion (ie tables made from planks with paint on and that sort of gubbins) and was bustling. There were plenty of staff about, we were shown to a table fairly quickly and although I was sort of sitting in a gangway it wasn’t too bad.

I think they had to fit the table in that way. Seeing as they took twenty quid off us, and presumably off several other people during the course of the day you can see why they succumbed to the temptation to crowd an extra table in. It did cause a bit of a hold-up several times but that wasn’t my problem.

We ordered tea. We waited. We eventually ordered breakfast. We waited some more. The waitress who had taken the tea order noticed we hadn’t had the tea and chased it up for us with profuse apologies. The tea arrived. So did the breakfast.

We’d been there about twenty five minutes, which is a bit too long for breakfast. I want to feed and get back on the road.

It was busy, to be fair, but they had plenty of staff. The problem was that it all seemed a little chaotic and disorganised. Several couples who came in after us had their drinks before we did, and one even had their food order.

This gave me time to inspect our table properly – there were three uncleaned grease spots on on it and a big blob of something foodlike adhering to the salt cellar.

The good bits were – nice bustling atmosphere, lovely friendly staff (though the supervisor seemed a bit frazzled), excellent black pudding, fried eggs done exactly as I like them (turned over, set all the way through), great hash browns, tasty mushrooms, good portion size.

Average or  a bit above – Sausages were above OK but not as good as expected from the write-up. Bacon tasted good but had been cooked until leathery, massive cups which I always feel let the tea get cold (and are tricky for arthritic fingers).

The not so good bits – long wait, served out of turn, cold baked beans, poor signage, toilets upstairs, table hygiene (not just our table, they were a bit perfunctory with their wiping down – I was watching).

Then three women with pushchairs decided that they really had to make me move so they could get past. I’m sure that they could have got through without all the fuss and pulled faces, but some people just love to make a drama out of nothing. It’s not like they are the first people to push a kid in a pushchair…

Anyway, enough for now. I may well go to Greggs next time we stay at Skipton. It’s not a great breakfast experience but it is value for money, quick and never disappointing. I don’t expect much from them and I don’t provide much so our expectations meet perfectly.

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My Stalker

Did I mention it rained? If you know the Lakes you probably already knew this. It rained the first time I went there, around 1964, and it’s been raining ever since. To be fair, it only rained for about thirty minutes. Judging from the puddles I think they had more rain in Nottingham than we did.

One More Quick Post

I had a day off today and spent much of it trying to write. It didn’t go too well, though it could have been worse. That, could well be the motto for my life – good, but could have been better.

I also checked on the internet to see what sold in the shop, and found that one of the coins I’d listed yesterday had sold. It often seems to be the way. In fact most of today’s orders were for the cheap and cheerful end of our stock. That’s the end at which I operate.

Now, having watched the day slip away, I find it is time to take Number Two Son to work. I will return with only 40 minutes to post, so am getting it done now.  And that, I’m afraid, is why it was hardly worth your while clicking the button to visit. Sorry about that.

The final picture is my breakfast from Tuesday – overnight oats. You put oats, milk, yoghurt and fruit into a tupperware and leave it in the fridge overnight. It’s just a posh name for cold porridge. However, it does save time in the morning as I take it to work, and as I always arrive at work early I use some of that time for eating breakfast instead of starting work. On Fridays I will eat cold porridge in the garden with Julia.

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Overnight Oats

Note how I’ve included the keyboard in the picture to indicate that I’m a high-powered, high-fibre thrusting executive.

Photography can be so deceptive…

The Scone Chronicles – XV

Another one with no scones.

We’ve not been out much recently, partly because Julia has been making me give books away (or “declutter” as she likes to call it) and partly because we are trying to economise. Despite my lottery win we are still adjusting to Julia only having one job.

On Friday, we decided to treat ourselves to a McDonald’s breakfast. It’s not something to boast about, but as they serve 3.5 million customers a day in the UK it’s not like I’m alone in my poor diet choice. The problem, of course, was that I’d already had one on Monday. One a month is acceptable, one a week is borderline. Two a week is a source of shame.

Anyway, as we haven’t had scones recently, I decided that this would have to do.

Sausage and Egg McMuffin

Sausage and Egg McMuffin

It’s difficult, when looking at a Sausage and Egg McMuffin, to work out where the sausage element is.

British sausage (bangers) recipe.

These are sausages. Proper British breakfast sausages.

It’s also difficult, having read that it was inspired by Eggs Benedict, to actually see the similarity, apart from the egg and muffin.  That’s a bit like calling a bicycle a horse and cart just because it has wheels and a saddle.

Despite this, the sausage and egg McMuffin, particularly with the addition of BBQ Sauce and black pepper is a good start to the day.

The best bit is probably the chance to sit and talk for a while. Too many of our mornings are spent rushing about, and it worries me that Julia doesn’t see enough of me. That’s why I took the final photograph – I thought you’d like to see a picture of a woman spending quality time with her loved one. Note that I got us the best table, just by the toilet door.

Help, get me out of here!

Help, get me out of here!