Tag Archives: dry

The Scone Chronicles – Number 5

The last scone report was a bit of a cheat because it featured oatcakes rather than scones.  However, it seemed a bit of a waste not to mention oatcakes as we were in Stoke. This one, also from Wednesday, does feature scones.

After the various trials of the day we ended up at Westport Lake. It’s not very impressive at first sight – muddy surroundings, idiots with bread and lots of domestic geese.

It was actually quite pleasant once you started looking at the birds. I don’t need rarities, I can amuse myself with common birds, and the sight of tame geese chasing toddlers for food never loses its appeal.

The cafe is in the visitor centre, which is a wooden building that looks a bit like an ark and is mainly balanced on legs over an artificial pond. I’m not quite sure why they built it on legs, but it’s quite interesting. We ordered scones and tea and sat on the balcony. The seats are a bit tight for a man of ample posterior.

The scones were too dry and crumbly for my taste, but once buttered and jammed looked OK, though one pat of butter isn’t really enough for a large scone.

The first half of my scone had a slight, though not unpleasant, tang of baking soda.  Julia confirmed that hers did too, though she thought it was a bit off-putting. By the end of my second half I was beginning to agree with her. Early in my scone baking days I made a batch where I failed to mix the baking soda in properly so I do sympathise, though it should be easy enough for a professional baker to avoid the problem.

I think we’ll be back – it’s a pleasant place to spend time and they have oatcakes in the cafe too.

 

Book Review: She Wolves – The Notorious Queens of England

She Wolves – The Notorious Queens of England

by Elizabeth Norton

The History Press (2009)

Paperback 288 pp  £12.99

ISBN-10:  0750947365

ISBN-13: 978-0750947367

I always feel it’s wrong to be too  critical in a book review as I have never had a book published. In this case, when the author has degrees from both Cambridge and Oxford and I don’t have one from anywhere, I feel even worse about it.

However, the back cover indicated that this was going to be a story of  “bad girls” and “witchcraft, murder, adultery and incest”. That indicated a tabloid approach to the subject and I was looking forward to an interesting read.

It wasn’t. The writing style was dry and the material was from being as interesting as advertised.  I was left with the distinct feeling that the writing improved as the book moved on to better known Queens, and was distinctly more interesting as it moved on to the Tudors. Not only that, but though the book made frequent references to the way women were seen and treated at various times in history, the theme was not developed.

When I read some of the comments in the reviews on Amazon, I find I’m not alone in this. I also found I had missed most of the poor editing and only spotted one of the factual errors (the “thousands” of Marian martyrs).

If I’d have paid £12.99 for this I’d have felt cheated. As it is, having paid just £4.99, I don’t feel so bad.

I do, though, feel like I’ve wasted my time reading it.  To make things worse, after missing the various faults outlined in other reviews, I’m feeling insufficient as a reviewer.

There’s another book called She Wolves. I may try that one later.

 

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