Tag Archives: Carsington WAter

Scone Chronicles 36

Warning: There are no scones in this post.

We started off with a trip to the doctor, breakfast, visits to two shops and a bit of photography for the presentation.

Then we set off in search of food.

The plan was to go to Carsington Water for lunch and a walk. Simple enough, you would think, and it was certainly easy enough to get there. There was a minor glitch with the new parking system – they have changed it since we last visited and the new signs aren’t very informative – but we eventually managed to work it out.

The meal was good in parts.

The staff were excellent and, I was pleased to see, wipe right up to the edges of the tables when they clean them. They also lifted the menus up and wiped underneath.It seems easy enough, but there are a lot of places where they clean a bit in the middle and go round the menu.

And, of course, there are places that never seem to clean the tables. Yes, Sainsbury’s, I’m thinking of you…

Service was quick and friendly and the food was piping hot. It was, if anything, too hot. The veg all came in one pot and we had to divide it up, which was tricky when the pot was too hot to hold.

We had the sausage pie. It had a lot of gravy in it, as you can see from one of the pictures, and didn’t seem to have much sausage. You expect sausage to be the most visible ingredient of a sausage pie. That was served piping hot too, with the result that one of our intrepid, and hungry, team of testers burnt his tongue and blistered the roof of his mouth. Julia showed the normal level of wifely concern.

 

It’s fair to say that we regretted our choice, particularly when we saw the massive golden cod and chips served up to the lady on the next table. I had nearly ordered it but it was served with garden peas and had decided to give it a miss.

Garden peas are for scampi or breaded plaice. Battered fish should be served with mushy peas. It’s a well-known fact, and almost a culinary commandment.

So, to sum up, the staff, cleanliness, veg, chips and serving temperature were all good. Unfortunately the sausage pie was not really up to the mark. It was still good though, just not what I think of when I think of sausage pie. If I eat there again I will probably have the cod.

Finally, after being photographed as we entered the car park, we had to enter our registration  number and pay. It’s all a bit Big Brotherish. The real problem came when they couldn’t match the car to the number. The screen kept showing a white VW van with a number that was nothing like ours.

We tried twice. Then I walked back to the car to check the number, just to satisfy the attendants who were watching the machines. It still didn’t work. So one of them walked up to the car to check the number. It still didn’t work. So we had to walk to reception, explain, pay, sign a sheet of paper and ask for a receipt.

It’s not the fault of the people operating the system, but it was annoying., and I do think if you are going to photograph people you should do it accurately.

I think I’ll have to give it a three out of ten for customer experience and service.

Come to think of it, I may not go back for cod and chips, there are plenty of places to go without being messed about by the parking system.

Lots of Gravy - Carsington Water

Lots of Gravy – Carsington Water

Sorry the post is a day late, after an action-packed day out I typed half of it, fell asleep in the chair and woke up after midnight.

A Few Notes

For those of you who wanted to know more about the wooden figures at Carsington Water here is a link. It’s unlikely I will see more, as I’m no longer able to walk eight miles to see them all, so you will have to make do with these pictures.

Theer are more details here, and here. They all have  a slightly different take on the sculptures, and different photographs.

Seeing that they cost £20,000, I am once again struck by regret that I didn’t know quite how much money was available for Arts Grants in the days I was active and self-employed. This isn’t a snide comment about art, in case you think my Phillistine side is showing, I’m equally envious of people who set up perfectly legal charities to allow them to run nice cars and indulge in foreign travel.

The Water Vole is an older carving, set up before the others. I think there were several others in the past, but they have now rotted, as they tend to do.

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Wooden Water Vole at Carsington

This is, if my counting is correct, my ninth day of attempting to write two posts a day. So far the average of two posts a day is holding up, even if it hasn’t been an exact two a day. This post plus one other will see me through the day and will leave me with just 40% of the challenge to complete. Or less, I think I actually said a fortnight, though I’ve been calculating based on fifteen.

After that I really should get back to writing haibun. I’ve drifted away from them recently and need to get back to writing. There’s a fine line between recharging your batteries and losing impetus. That has happened to me many times in the past, a new project slows to a stop as an even newer project comes to the front. I don’t consciously stop doing things I just move on to something else.

It’s like this challenge – two posts a day for two weeks. It was meant to get my numbers up after the week locked out of WP, get me back into practise and use up the backlog of material I was accumulating, like the Gairsoppa story.

I’m getting the numbers back, I’m feeling the flow return, but I have written about new stuff like shopping lists and wooden carvings and still have a lot of the backlog left.

I should do less and finish more.

The Accuracy Paradox

There is a built-in inaccuracy to all my blog posts – I am not really the cheerful happy-go-lucky soul which I portray.

The real paradox though, is that I am, just before writing, one post behind my target. As soon as I start to write the words “I am one post behind” this has the effect of bringing into being the post that means I have caught up.

It means I’m never quite right with what I write. And to think that I thought the chronology was a problem…

Timewise I’m just about to start a post that shows some of the walk we undertook before the tea and biscuits I wrote about in the last post. This is my fault, I just found it easier to write about.

However, this is is a small time slip compared to the one that has occurred with the Scone Chronicles. I had one to write when I got shut out of WordPress and though I have been catching up I’m still not quite back in line. It’s a good one, but I seem to lack the relaxed time I want to just sit and write.

The swan was a bit too friendly and had no concept of personal space. I wasn’t using a zoom lens for that close-up, I was trying to pull back because I was so close I couldn’t get it all in the frame.

The stones on the hill have been put there by the water company as an homage to the various pre-historic stone circles of Derbyshire. To be honest with you, until I read that link I thought there were only three.

I have, to be honest, used the “Dramatic” setting for two of the shots. The other, taken into the sun with a newly-cleaned lens, did not turn out with quite as much flare as I was expecting. Clearly I need more dirt and finger marks on the lens if I’m going for maximum flare.

I’m now in a position to push the button and post. Then I will truly be able to say I’m up to date.

Scone Chronicles XXX

It’s definitely time to move away from Roman Numerals.

XXX is quite a good number  but it begins to get a bit unwieldly after that, particularly as I’m not quite sure how to handle 40. Is it XXXX or is it XL? It’s XXXX according to my old History teacher, who told me that this was the classic way, and that the subtraction style was a newer method. For “newer” think less than 2,000 years. It’s XL according to this chart, but even this chart can’t make 50 – 54 look good. (That’s L – LIIII, in case you were wondering).

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Oat and Raisin biscuit, tea, walking stick and my leg. Not my best work. Yes. it was a big biscuit.

The “scone” today is an oat and raisin biscuit eaten in the outside area at Carsington Water. We ate in the outside area so I could throw crumbs on the floor to attract sparrows. I was that desperate for a bird photograph. The results were, as you can see, not good. Most of the shots featured an empty space, half a bird, a blurred bird or a bird with its eyes shut. Of all my bird photos, and there have been some horrors, I don’t recall “eyes shut” being a problem before.

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Male Hose Sparrow Carsington Water

There is a reasonably good restaurant at Carsington Water but it’s upstairs and it’s enclosed. They would probably take a dim view of me throwing crumbs on the floor, and even if I did, the sparrows are unlikely to find their way in. Anyway, after a large breakfast we didn’t need another meal.

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Female Hose Sparrow Carsington Water

There is an RSPB Shop and a charity shop there. In the charity shop we bought a couple of books – a vegetarian cook book for Julia and a history book for me. It’s the diaries of an Olympic rower in the Great War. The title, Kelly’s war : the Great War diary of Frederick Kelly, 1914-1916 tends to give the game away. I am not expecting a happy ending.

 

Lagging Behind, and Misery in Derbyshire

It’s Wednesday today and I’m still blogging about Monday.

Eventually we reached Carsington Water, where I discovered I had left my stick at home. Though I have a spare one in the car it is one of my Dad’s and is about two inches too short. It actually causes more problems than it solves and is only there for emergencies.

It was a handy excuse for not walking round and freezing. So we went to the shops. Julia spent the points off the RSPB loyalty card on crackers and cards and I poked through the books and bird food before deciding that I didn’t feel like spending money.  I never feel like spending money, but at Christmas I can at least get into the character of Ebeneezer Scrooge and claim I’m entering the spirit of Christmas.

We went into the Air Ambulance charity shop after that. It was a miserable experience.  They seemed to have taken delivery of a new consignment of stock, and most of it was stacked in front of the books so I couldn’t see the interesting books.  To make things worse, the staff member who was on duty seemed to go out of her way to obstruct Julia as she tried to look round. It takes a lot to wind Julia up but she wasn’t very pleased by the time she’d finished.

We like the air ambulance, and though the kids never needed it, we have been at events where other rugby players have been whisked off for treatment. We also like charity shops. Things are bad when I use the words “miserable experience” about a visit.

I was able to look at a cookery book – James Martin’s Great British Winter Cookbook. I won’t add a link as that might tempt someone to buy it. None of the recipes grabbed me, and one, Tomato and Cumin Soup, didn’t seem particularly British or wintery. I mean, where are all the winter tomatoes? In Spain.

Then we went for tea and cake. A day that features tea and cake can’t be all bad can it? And the restaurant is always good. I say “always”…

Julia liked her mince pie. I thought my raspberry and orange cake was a bit dry. And deficient in raspberries, though as I served myself I only had myself to blame. Then I started to think I detected the aftertaste of artificial sweetener. It may not have been, but it was definitely an unpleasant aftertaste.

To cheer things up I suggested a trip to the bookshop at Brierlow Bar.  I wasn’t expecting much, but as we were on the doorstep thought we might as well go.  To be fair, some of the book stock does seem to be improving, after a bit of a slump, as does the card stock. However, we bought cards and stationery and no books, which doesn’t look good for the future.

We couldn’t even eat cake as we are dieting and had already had our daily ration.

In my dreams of next year I see myself standing outside the shop with my nose pressed up against the window looking in at the bright lights. Inside, people enjoy tea and cake, buy expensive bird food and select books that I wouldn’t enjoy.

Sadly, I cannot participate and I gradually fade away like the ghost of readers past…

I will leave you with that picture.

The next post will be more cheery.

 

A Mystery Solved!

Last week, on our visit to Carsington Water, I took some photos of a Redshank and another, unknown, wader. That’s not the real mystery; I’m used to getting confused with waders.

After various searches I’ve decided it’s a Knot, though I’m open to other ideas if you think it’s not a Knot.

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

The mystery was actually where the photos went. I searched everything on my card and couldn’t find them when it was in the computer. When it was in the camera I could see the missing photos perfectly.

Having taken more pictures today and had a revelation I now know the answer.

The missing photos are now being put in the file 101Olymp as the file 100Olymp must be full. I’d often wondered what it was for.

And finally, one for all you Narnia fans…

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If you have to ask, you aren’t a fan. 🙂

Banty Feather Poke

I always struggle with titles, so this one, chalked on the board in the RSPB shop at Carsington Water, seemed like a gift.

The story is that an 85-year-old customer asked them if they’d ever heard of one. His grandfather had learned the term as a boy and had passed it on to him when he was doing a school project. They worked out that the grandfather was born in the 1870s.

For comparison, my Dad is 88 and his grandfathers were born in 1871 and 1874 so we are about in the right area.

A banty feather poke is a Long-tailed Tit’s nest, and was in use in the Matlock area in the 1870s – 80s. The customer told them this because he didn’t want the name to die out.

Well, I’m doing my bit to keep it going.

They’d done some internet research and found that a poke is a pocket. Sounds fair enough, though I also think of it as a drawstring bag or purse. Either are quite good at describing this sort of nest, as you can see if you follow the link.

The feather is obvious, there are between 1,500 and 2,000 feathers in each nest. Makes you wonder why they bother, but they’ve being doing it for a long time and I suppose it makes evolutionary sense somewhere along the line.

Banty, could be something to do with bantams, but if you check up on a Derbyshire dialect website banty-legged means bow-legged. Not that it helps. I’ll have to check the legs next time I see one.

Finally, if you check this website for old names for Long-tailed Tits, you will find an extensive list including bumbarrel (the only one I’ve heard before) and Feather Poke.

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Lomg Tailed Tit at Rufford Abbey

 

 

Ambushed by salad

We had a late lunch at Carsington Water after a dropping off Number Two son in Sheffield and taking a trip through the misty Peak District. There weren’t any decent photo opportunities, and when I did stop to try I ended up depressed by the fly-tipping in the lay-by.

Lunch would have been a bit earlier but the satnav disgraced itself by taking us into an Industrial  Estate and trying to send us up a cul-de-sac. It’s not the first time.

I may have to rethink my newly found confidence in technology…

The meal, supposedly cheese and pickle sandwiches with a side order of chips, came with an unexpected extra – salad. It was excellent salad (better than the sandwiches if the truth is told)  and to my surprise I quite enjoyed it. However, I can’t help thinking that there should have been more warning that the salad element was going to be more than a symbolic garnish. You have warnings for allergies and for Vegetarian and Vegan foods, why not a big green “H” for “Healthy”?

I appreciate that healthy is good, and that I have to alter my diet, but you can’t just spring it on me. The shock isn’t good for a man of my age.

The salad was crisp and full of flavour and the chips were crisp and tasty. There was plenty of tea in the pot. The sandwiches fell slightly short – the rocket garnish was good, the onion relish was good (though without the promised bite of chilli) and the cheese was OK, though it could have been a bit stronger without overpowering things. It was just a little disappointing that the bread was slightly dried out on the surface.

As for the birdwatching, we managed to avoid all the interesting birds that were listed on the board in the RSPB shop and I also missed a good photo of a male Reed Bunting.

Here are some I did get.