Tag Archives: EU

Reflections on Friday and Becoming Old and Boring

Today I have successfully fought off the urge to waste time on-line. It was my day to go to the shop. I arrived just before 9.00 after dropping Julia at work, and immediately had to ring the boss because the alarm was playing up. It is linked to his phone so I didn’t want him thinking he had burglars.

He came to the shop  later in the morning, with home-baked cakes from his wife and we had coffee with coconut and cherry buns. They were very good.

It does highlight a grey area – we are at work and we are able to sit down, chat, and have coffee and buns, but if we were a café instead of a coin shop we wouldn’t be able to do that because the coffee and buns would have to be takeaway or click and collect. I know the scale of the risk would be different but the underlying principle is there.

Same goes for talking to the neighbours. I’m hazy on detail, but I’m fairly sure I couldn’t go round for a chat, but as we needed to discuss building work it is allowable. Unfortunately, I found myself doing an impression of an old man droning on about how the street was 30 years ago. They are a nice, young couple, as I may have mentioned before, and have offered to paint the side of my wooden garage before they put their new one up.  It’s very kind of them, but does make me feel a bit old and decrepit. However, I did accept the offer – I may be old and decrepit but I’m not stupid enough to turn down an offer of help.

Julia made tea (egg fried rice and served it with some spring rolls left over from New Year. It was tasty and healthy and much better for us than the chips we would normally have had. We aren’t giving up chips, it’s just that the chip shop is broken. The fryer has broken down and they are temporarily closed. This must be a bit of a blow on top of the lockdown. I am glad, as I have said before, that I am now employed instead of self-employed.

Talking of which, we now have  a stock of CN 23 Customs Declaration forms.  Since Brexit the Post Office has tightened up on the use of customs declaration forms and we can no longer send items over £270 using a CN 22. Of course, we didn’t even have to use CN 22  forms for Europe until Brexit. At the moment I’m spending an average of 10 minutes a day messing with customs forms for Europe, which comes to an hour a week if we were working full time. Call it £500 a year.  The CN 23s require more time to complete.

I wonder how many other small businesses are finding this.

My anti-Brexit feelings are, at the moment, somewhat confused. I still think we would be better in than out, but I look at the mess that Europe has made of the Covid vaccinations. Maybe we are better out of it.

After work and fried rice it was quite some time until I could be bothered to switch the computer on – which is how I successfully avoided wasting time on-line. I just watched TV instead.

 

 

Scone Chronicles 35 (Part 2)

So, the moment of truth…

Was our second visit to Tagg Lane Dairy as successful as the first?

I decided to try a different cake this time, and opted for the Sticky Toffee cake. I cannot lie to you, it was even better than last time. There was plenty of potential for it being too sweet and sickly, but it was not. It was just pleasantly sweet and toffee flavoured.

The cake, with swirls of toffee flavour, was excellent, with a lovely lightness of texture and tiny cubes of toffee embedded in a toffee icing. It was delicious, and, although it probably had a fatal dose of sugar for a diabetic, was just right for me.

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Sticky Toffee Cake

The coffee and walnut cake, which was Julia’s choice was as good as last time, but not as good as the Sticky Toffee cake. You know the bit in Henry V where he says. And gentlemen in England now a-bed, Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks, That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day?

Well, if Shakespeare had eaten the Sticky Toffee cake at Tagg Lane Dairy he would have written this speech about the cake rather than wasting it on Agincourt. It was that good. If I was marking out of ten, I’d give it eleven.

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Tagg Lane Dairy

The premises are new and , according to a wall plaque had been built with the help of funding from the EU. People may well want to think of this in the future, as I’m not sure the government will be funding many such projects in the coming years.

Unlike the cafe at Brierlow Bar, or the one at Home Farm (where we used to be based) it was not cluttered with a multiplicity of fashionable junk but was just neat and clean and a pleasure to use.

Finally, as I was taking a few wintry landscape shots near the gate, a female Sparrowhawk flew in to the yard flying so low she actually used the gate. She flew past me at about knee high, so close that I could almost have touched her. She then flew round the perimeter of the farmyard and flipped over the drystone wall to see if she could surprise anything on the other side.

We had Magic on the Marshes two weeks ago, now it’s magic on the Moors. I have been very lucky with what I’ve seen in the last few weeks. I just wish I could photograph it all to show you.

We also picked up some raw milk while we were there. I’m not sure whether it does me any good or not but I know that around half the time I have raw milk to drink my skin seems to improve. It might be a placebo effect, but if it feels better I’ll accept that, even if it’s because I’m deluded. It still feels better, whatever the reason.

 

Toddlers, scones and grants

Another day, another group!

What, you didn’t think I was going to relax did you?  It was a playgroup today,  Beavers on Tuesday night and the second half of the playgroup on Thursday. It’s not quite the endurance test that last week was, but it’s enough. Much as I’d like to indulge my natural talents as a world class slacker, I have to work when there are wages to be had.

The trouble with playgroups is that the kids zip around like miniature demons looking for mischief to get into. They don’t mean it, but it seems logical to them to lose their parent, fill a friend’s pocket with stones or disappear as you turn your back.  They think adventure, the parents think tragedy and I think reams of paperwork. Fortunately they never seem to come to any harm, but you worry all the same.

We made more cheese scones today, using the “mistake” from the session on Saturday. One of the guide groups had used a tablespoonful of  baking powder to 225g of flour instead of 1 teaspoon. All it needed was 450g of flour to restore the proportions and three of us set to work producing scones, which were then consumed at the end of the day. They were OK, but not very cheesy, which is a bit of a let-down for a recipe labelled “cheese scones”.

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The scone crew

It’s always been a reliable recipe, and I suspect that they main problem was the quality of the cheese and lack of other seasoning. When I’ve made them before I’ve often added either mustard powder or chives to the mix, which both enhance flavour. In the case of the mustard it also renders the scones implausibly yellow. I generally use the cheap ready-grated cheese from Tesco, so can’t complain about the cheese. I’m thinking of making them with either finely cubed strong cheddar or Stilton next time, rather than grated, to see what happens.

The problem is that I’ve baked cheese scones twice in three days and my enthusiasm for testing improved versions is declining to the point where I don’t actually want to see another one for a while.

Talking of Stilton, our local cheese, I wonder what will happen to its protected status. Say what you like about the EU, and let’s face it, a lot has been said recently, it has been good for protecting our speciality food.

Leading on from that, we have had a message about ringing to talk about our grant application now the referendum is over. Can’t wait to see what happens about that…