Tag Archives: coffee

Lots of Errands and a Traffic Jam

Big day today. Off to the letter office where five parcels were waiting for me. There was no queue today and I parked in a disabled space as my knee was killing me. I know it’s not a good thing to do, but there were three others left empty and I was having to use my stick.

It turned out there were six parcels, which was a bonus. While I’ve been at work the postmen have been taking them back to the letter office. The trouble is that everyone wants them to be signed for. There’s no trust in the world anymore and everyone wants proof. I posted over 2,000 parcels when I was dealing by mail order and I only ever lost one.

In general I like to believe that people are honest, and the proliferation of distrust on ebay tells you a lot about the way modern society is going. I also have my suspicions that ebay and Royal Mail are in league to take as much money as possible from us. Remember that ebay also charges commission on postage costs. I was happy with my purchases, but you’ll have to take my word for it as I haven’t photographed them yet.

After that we had breakfast and set off for Newark market where, noting the lack of customers, I did the old show business joke. It basically hinges round the phrase “there’s no business (pause for effect) like show business”. It tends to amuse us, though we don’t have high standards.

Then things took a turn for the worse. We stopped at Grantham for a toilet break and a drink. Julia’s coffee, in a paper cup, cost £2.75. We’re going to have to start taking a flask.

Forestry land in Brazil costs as little as $50 an acre – about eighteen cups of coffee. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

After that we joined a queue on the A1. The traffic spent ten minutes travelling fitfully then ground to a halt. In the next two hours we listened to a Terry Pratchett talking book, chatted, watched red kites and fell asleep. Well, one of us did. The other one recorded me snoring and sent an audio file to my sister.

It seems that a trailer had become unhitched from a car and emptied itself on the road. Nobody was hurt, which is good.

Finally we arrived in Peterborough just in time to miss a low key but photogenic sunset, visited my father for a couple of hours, wished him a happy 89th birthday for later in the week and returned home without incident.

All in all, quite a worthwhile day, with the bonus of a relaxing snooze in the afternoon. I know it’s generally frowned on to sleep on major roads, but I think it’s OK if everyone has stopped.

 

Breakfast Review – Sainsbury’s

This review relates to breakfast at Sainsbury’s Arnold store, just outside Nottingham. As luck would have it, they also had a decent cook on today and we had a good, enjoyable meal. If a proper reviewer had been on the job, you would probably have had a photograph too. But I didn’t take my camera and I left my phone in the car.

I’m not really a fan of the current Sainsbury’s set up as the coffee set-up slows things down and, as a tea drinker, I don’t see why I should stand in a queue for 10 or 15 minutes as people are served, at great length, with coffee. In the good old days, when British establishments served a choice of tea or instant coffee I didn’t mind coffee drinker,s but now I have to stand round while they decide on which of the eight coffees to have I find them quite irritating.

However, today there was no queue, and we soon ordered (two Big Breakfasts and two teas) and sat down at one of the few remaining tables. It was filthy – covered in rings from cups, with a selection of crumbs and some horrible sticky patches with fluff in them.

Breakfast arrived swiftly and was excellently cooked and presented. This is not always the case.

The fried egg looked good, the sausages and bacon were both excellent (for taste and presentation). The hash brown was particularly good today, the toast was also good and so were the beans. Even the half tomato was reasonable, though a half tomato always looks a bit miserly to me.

So, that’s it. When the system is working well it is capable of producing an excellent breakfast. To be fair, it isn’t always as quick, well cooked and nicely presented as this – the last few visits here have included crusty beans and congealed eggs that seem to have been flung randomly at the plate.

In terms of a star rating – if the tables had been clean today’s breakfast would have been 5 stars. On an average day, with a queue and a breakfast that’s been flung at the plate it’s probably a 4 – good but could be better.

At £11.40 it’s not as good as the Little Chef Olympic Breakfast, but it’s almost half the price.

I’m going to try to persuade Julia to make breakfast reviews a regular feature of the blog. Wish me luck!

 

 

Reflections, Shopping and Scent

We went to the doctor his morning as Julia has now been caught up in the excitement of the endless round of blood tests and unwanted health advice. She had two appointments so I waited in the car park and did some paperwork.

After that we had breakfast and headed off for Springfields. I first went there when I was a small child, feeling like I was being punished by being made to walk round ornamental gardens full of tulips. On a really bad day we had to stand and watch an entire tulip festival. It was like a visit to the garden but the tulips drove past, so you didn’t even get the excitement of walking.

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The Fragrance Shop, Springfields

There are clearly big savings to be had if you like scent. However, as I am explaining to Julia, reflected in the window, it still looks expensive to me. Aftershave, as you may gather from looking at my reflection, does not play a big part in my life.

The gardens were looking good in the sun, though the autumn colour has been disappointing this year. I’m sure we will be back in Spring and will take more pictures, which will give a better idea of the gardens and sculptures.

Things don’t change much, even after the passage of fifty years. There’s a large shopping complex and garden centre built on half the gardens now, but as I walk round the shops with Julia I still get the feeling of being punished. Only the presence of a bookshop lightens my load.

And cake. Even the worst pre-Christmas shopping trip can be brightened by the presence of a good slab of clementine drizzle cake.

 

Confessions of a Mediocre Gardener

Twenty years ago I’d have had to go to the library to find answers but today, courtesy of the internet, I’m a coffee-growing expert.

Of course, I was a tea-growing expert at one point but that hasn’t worked out too well. I first thought the deteriorating of the tea plants was due to over-watering and/or scorching. So we shaded them and let them dry out a bit. It hasn’t really helped; they still look a bit shabby and down at heel. Then it occurred to me – we’d been doing a lot of watering with tap water. Tap water contains lime and tea plants, liking acid soils, don’t like tap water.

Seems like a good bit of deduction but trying to get the group to remember is more difficult than you’d think. Then, after more research, I find that it might not be a problem from tap water.

(And before you tell me to get more rainwater storage, I generally have enough, but people will insist on using the hosepipe for ease and speed. I confess that I do it myself at the end of a long day.)

So I’m going to add some ericaceous food, some organic matter and tap water.

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They look slightly better here than they really are.

The coffee plant looks in need of a little help too, but according to the web all I need to do is replicate conditions on a tropical mid-level mountainside and all will be OK.

Should be easy enough in a mock-Tudor semi in Nottingham. Apart from the tropical bit, and the mountainside…

So – humidity (gravel tyray), good drainage, temperature above freezing and preferably above 65 degrees F (18 degrees  C), plenty of sun (but not direct) and it likes acid conditions and orchid fertiliser.

I reckon I can do this.

But that’s what I said about the tea.

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Looks better than the tea, at any rate.