Tag Archives: fish

Bempton Part III – or Scarborough as it is better known…

Well, you can’t go to Bempton without having fish and chips can you?

We did have an Eccles cake with a cup of tea before leaving Bempton though, that walking stuff can be quite demanding when you don’t have all the right gear. It also gave us time to look at the Tree Sparrows. House Sparrows are in decline, but the Tree Sparrow is doing even worse – you rarely see them these days unless you are at an RSPB feeding station.

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Tree Sparrows at Bempton

Once in Scarborough I took some pictures of the castle. That reminded me of the last time it saw action – 16th December 1914. Not bad for a place that was originally built as a signal station by the Romans in the fourth or fifth century.  It was, according the write-up, a favourite place for King John to stay. Richard III was the last King to stay there and it held out for Henry VIII during the Pilgrimage of Grace. Finally, it was reduced to wreckage by a Parliamentary siege in 1645. The Royalists produced siege coins.

I didn’t need to mention siege coins, but I find them quite interesting, and if I can’t ramble in my own blog where can I ramble?

I expereimented with the camera settings. Some are quite subtle. One isn’t.

After that it sort of pottered around crumbling and, by 1914, hosting a Coastguard Station.

That day in 1914 two German Battleships emerged from the early morning mist and opened fire. Five hundred shells were fired, eighteen people killed. It could have been a lot worse, though not for the eighteen and their families.

There is a list here, if you are interested.

A U-Boat shelled the town in September 1917, but that is hardly ever mentioned. Three people were killed and five injured. Compared to some of the air raids happening at the time, killing 836 and wounding 1,982 in a 12 month period, the submarine raid was almost inconsequential. These were aeroplane raids, the Zeppelins having sustained too many losses to continue, but not before killing 557 and injuring another 1,358.

Sorry about all the stats and death, but after reading John Knifton’s posts on aircraft crashes and Clare Pooley’s mention of wartime damage to Bungay church, I’ve started thinking how violent history has been in some parts of the country.

Here are a few other photographs – a police box, a sea mine and a ship that went to Dunkirk. Violence, always violence…

(Near the lighthouse there’s a Vickers 13 pounder Naval Gun, the Naval version of the field gun the Royal Horse Artillery uses for firing salutes at state occassions. This one was raised from the wreck of the Hornsund in 1982, 65 years after it was torpedoed. I admit, I didn’t want to walk the extra distance to the far end of the harbour.)

It was a hard life in the Merchant Navy.

And that, apart from buying some cheap reading glasses and photographing a gull, was the end of the day.

Bempton Cliffs and the Truth About Puffins

It was a nice day at Bempton, being pleasantly sunny and with a nice breeze. There were dozens of people about, many of them wearing jackets and a lot of them wearing shirts, hats, shorts or trousers of various hiking wonder-fabrics.

Me? I had a ten-year-old shirt on, with the sleeves rolled up in casual manner. Julia noticed that the edges are starting to wear through, so I’ve been banned from wearing it again.

I had my normal trousers on. I was just getting where I wanted to be, with seven pairs of identical navy blue cargo trousers when Julia bought me two pairs of khaki for my birthday. At one time all my trousers were khaki, but I changed to dark blue as they are more serviceable for a man with a bladder problem.

They are also better for funerals.

Khaki, I feel, is a bit frivolous for a man my age.

I think it’s a woman thing, having all your clothes different. I’m quite happy for them to be all the same; it cuts down on the chances of making a bad fashion choice.

Women also prefer, it seems, clothes where the buttons match, the colours aren’t faded and the edges aren’t fraying. As indicated above, we had quite a discussion on this subject.

Then we moved on to my hat. That was not a comfortable conversation either.

The reports of hundreds of Puffins on the cliffs and hundreds more at sea proved to be an exaggeration. There were two burrows where birds had been seen flying in and out, and we spotted three Puffins out at sea, though one did dive and disappear within a couple of seconds of being spotted. They are like that.

Fortunately I’d been half-expecting this, as it was what had happened last year, so we weren’t particularly disappointed.

The two we saw at sea were quite cute, so it wasn’t a wasted day.

Anyway, even without Puffins, a day on the cliffs with my wife and a decent breeze is never wasted. There were other birds, a number of flowers and a seal eating a massive fish while gulls tried to steal it.

I’m not sure what sort of seal it is – apparantly being grey isn’t a sign that it’s a Grey Seal. You need to look at the nostrils. It was in the sea, I was on top of a cliff – I was struggling to see the head, let alone the nostrils. Anyway, the nostrils are situated quite close to the teeth so I’m prepared to exist in ignorance. When you go to Donna Nook they warn you about the teeth.

I’m afraid I didn’t do well with the photographs – there is no excuse apart from lack of enthusiasm. I just couldn’t seem to get things right.

 

Part Three follows…

Sunshine at Last

I decided to go for a guilt-free Sunday.

There are two ways to do this. One revolves round working myself to a frazzle so I don’t feel guilty about Julia working while I’m slacking at home.

The second involves heavy-duty skiving allied to a complete lack of conscience.

It wasn’t a hard decision, though I didn’t completely shake the guilt.

As a result I ended up buying fish for tea. She likes fish. I don’t. But I do like idleness, so it’s a sacrifice I’m prepared to make.

You never know, it may actually improve my brain-power, though Julia just went on record suggesting that it will take more than a piece of fish to show any significant  improvement. She can be very cutting at times.

I will also let her watch The Woman in White without complaining. I think Collins is a great writer, and handles his material well. I just feel that the books show their age when it comes to matters like plot and length. Having read The Moonstone a while ago I’m in no hurry to repeat the experience.

I took a few shots whilst waiting for her to emerge from work, and a few more when I took her to the Mencap Garden. She saw a Common Blue, an Orange Tip and several whites. I saw a Brimstone and several whites. It’s a good year for butterflies, even if they weren’t cooperating for photographs.

I bought a power pack last year when I was in and out of hospital as I always seemed to be kept in when my phone battery was low. Of course, once I bought it, I never needed it. I’ve finally used it and can report that it recharged my Kindle to nearly 100% quite quickly, and my phone to 50% in about an hour. At that point I gave up and unplugged it. It’s still worth having, even if it was a bit slow.

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Power Pack

Technology can be quite useful at times.

Desert Island Blogs (3)

The moment of truth. The acid test. The place where cliches come to die…

Part 1 was easy as the three bloggers have all become part of my daily life over the last few years and with eight slots that still left five. Part 2 was harder. The blogs are also part of my blogging life, but the choices had to be made against a background of declining availability. I’m happy that all the choices are good, I’m just concerned that I only have two slots left to go and more than two blogs to fit in.

From Lancashire we moved to Lincolnshire. In phonetic terms it wasn’t a great change, but in terms of weather it was a revelation. In Lincolnshire they have weeks where there is no rain.

They also had a village school that looked like it had been undisturbed since the old Queen’s jubilee. It had two rooms, dip pens, inkwells, a pot-bellied stove and a map where the Empire was still coloured red. There’s one very much like it in Retford Museum.

My penultimate choice is Beating the Bounds – a blog about walking and nature and family and the area around Lancater. I’ve just been reading one of his posts and it’s like entering a different world – lizards, damsel flies, beetles, birds, butterflies limestone pavements, bilberries, Are You Being Served? and the Song of Soloman have all featured recently.

A blog that can weave cheesy seventies comedy and the King James Bible into one story has to be one to watch. Add trips to the Lake District and Silverdale, deer in the garden and digressions into books, science, art and history…

After Lincolnshire we moved to Peterborough, which is where the family stayed. My Dad and sister are still there. There are far too many memories to even start. One of the most significant features is that the place is cluttered with Magpies now, but when we lived there we only saw Magpies when we visited Lancashire. Same with Buzzards. There are Red Kites round Peterborough now often to be seen circling over the A1 and the city tip. We had Lapwings, Yellow Wagtails, nesting Long-tailed Tits in the rough grazing around the house with newts in the back garden. As the area has been developed over the last 50 years these have all disappeared.

Final choice is difficult.

It goes, after a ecrtain amount of heart-searching, to Helen. She’s currently experimenting with bokashi (or fermented Japanese compost if you prefer it in English). She’s a couple of weeks ahead of me, which is good because I can learn from her experiences.

The blog captures the true up and down moments of growing back garden veg, making compost, learning about permaculture, earthworms and volunteering. And much, much more, as they say in the adverts. Her broccoli is currently looking skeletal after a butterfly attack, She’s taking it well, as I try to do, because let’s face it, butterflies need to eat too.

It was touch and go here, and it was hard to exclude The Snail of Happiness. So hard in fact, that she seems to have managed to get in despite my decision. When you grow veg, cook ethically, raise chickens and crochet blankets for refugees it’s always going to be tough to keep her out. So I sneaked her in.

That’s about it for now. All that remains are the bits and pieces.

I can have Shakespeare and an “appropriate cultural or philosophical work”. I don’t want The Bible because I know how it ends, so I’m going to opt for The Stripping of the Altars by Eamon Duffy. It’s the story of the Reformation, and though I’ve read and enjoyed The Voices of Morebath I’ve never tried the bigger book. It’s been on my shelves for a while but I haven’t actually opened it. When I have plenty of time to sit and wait I’ll have a good crack at it.

I intend building a tidal fish trap and digging a pit to see what meat drops into it, hopefully a pig. I’m certainly not going to run round chasing things. I’d better learn how to make a salt pan and smoke fish too. By the time I’m rescued I’m intending to be fit, well fed, brainier and, probably, sick of fish.

The book to read for pleasure is the collected version of the Chronicles of Narnia. I could probably make do with the first six, as I’ve often thought The Last Battle is a miserable piece of writing.

Finally, the luxury item.

What else could it be but another blog – I’ll go for the Nottingham Food Blog by Marcus from the Bread Group. We have baked much bread together, and managed to eat most of it, though I never did get the hang of rye bread.

It will be nice to read about the junk food of Nottingham while I’m away. He also writes about his devotion to the fast food of Chicago, so it’s never a boring blog, even though I do wonder what a blood test would reveal. I’d like to see him start testing porridge and salad to make sure he hangs around a bit longer.

And that, is that.

I’m off to look for a desert island now.

Closing music.

Nouvelle Cuisine and the NHS

Yes, I was admitted, I was (finally) operated on and the food was good.

You can’t tell from the picture, but the chips were nice, the peas were tasty and the fish was excellent in its crispy coat.

However, it wasn’t large. There’s a lot of space on that small plate. Look at the fork for scale. When they uncovered it I didn’t know whether it was a starter or a cruel hoax.

Remember that I’m using my phone for taking this picture and the perspective is distorted. The chips were just average size, and there were only five of them.

 

Thinking and Sitting

I’ve been thinking today, and sitting. Mainly sitting, to be fair.

One of the things I was thinking about was funerals. I tend to think about funerals more than I used to, which might be a sign of something. Specifically I was thinking of wickerwork coffins, as they seem to be gaining in popularity these days. I’ve not used a large sample in my researches (four funerals in the last two years) but two of them used wicker coffins. One of them was my cousin, who had a lifetime’s commitment to safeguarding the environment. The other was a friend, who did a lot of fishing. It’s probably inappropriate, but I still smile at the thought.

I’m making no recommendations here, by the way, just showing some examples. You can also have bamboo and seagrass coffins imported from China, which tends to suggest they are less environmentally good. You can also get cardboard ones, but they only come in small sizes. I am only available in 5XL, so I’m either going to build my own from recycled boxes or go wicker. They are also available from ebay and Amazon.

Actually, I’m going to pause there. £250 for a cardboard coffin? I’m definitely making my own.

Anyway, my conclusion on funerals is that I don’t want one yet.

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was on this afternoon. It’s a great film, and at the same time it’s appalling. Devil worship, witchcraft, Celts and a sheriff called George? What were they thinking? On the other hand, it does work, and I always watch it when it’s on.

I watched Grantchester later, wondering why I bother, as the TV stories don’t draw me in the same way that the books do. While I was watching, up popped Nick Brimble, last seen as Little John with Kevin Costner in Sherwood Forest.

All in all, not one of my most profound days.

I must eat more fish.