Tag Archives: memories

Scone Chronicles – 34

This time it’s a hot pork sandwich.

We didn’t want much for lunch, having had a scone for elevenses, so before setting off home after our day in Derbyshire (the one last week, not this week) we did some thinking.

There were several places to purchase chips, but that seemed a bit much. There were other choices nearby, but I was  feeling lazy. So, something light, and something where we didn’t have to move far.

We happened to be standing just yards from the Bakewell Pudding Parlour. I’ve had the hot pork sandwich before. We’ve also had the macaroons and other things from there, which always helps – it’s good to buy from places you trust.

And that is what happened.

We had the hot pork sandwich with stuffing and apple sauce and we ate it outside, where they provide chairs and tables. We weren’t only ones to sit out, so it must be a sign that spring is coming. It also gave me chance to watch dog owners talking to each other and to take a photograph of yet another padlock.

It’s a good-sized sandwich, and with hindsight was probably a bit bigger than I really needed. There was plenty of pork and reasonable amount of stuffing. The apple was a bit runny.

All in all, not quite as good as it could have been, and probably not one I’d repeat. However, I will still go there for other food, as I do like it, and I like eating whilst watching people walk past.

Before Derrick jumps in to tell you that you can’t beat the pork cobs in Newark market place, I am going to provide you with that information, as it is true.. Their pork is more succulent, and everything else is just a bit better. And they give you crackling.

With my teeth that’s a bit like Russian Roulette, but don’t you love a nice bit of pork crackling? Or is that just me?

So if you ever find yourself in Newark – Nottinghamshire, not New Jersey – give it a try.

Five Years on WordPress

According to WordPress it is now five years since I first registered with them. This was a surprise as I always thought that I’d started in October. It seems that it took me nearly two weeks to get the first post written.

When you read the first post this is even more of a surprise, as it doesn’t seem to have the polish you’d expect from something that took two weeks to write. In fact it looks like I just threw a pile of words at the screen and took a very bad photograph. This has remained my technique throughout the five years.

 

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A bad photograph of guinea fowl . The start of a proud tradition of average photography

 

The whole blog is, in fact, a log-jam of typos, false starts and broken promises.

 

This is a better photograph. It’s a salad of weeds and edible flowers

The post which featured this salad was the third and things were getting better. This plate of f floral delights was unequal to the weight of health and safety wielded by one of the visiting Guide officers. She was determined to make everything difficult and, as I remember, her first complaint was that people were shooting on the fields and I should have known better than to allow it when sweet delicate Rainbows were going to be on the farm.

They were 200 yards away and the way the farm shoot was run were unlikely to be achieving much in the way of slaughter.

Anyway, if you’ve ever had to host a visit from any scouting/guiding group you will know as well as I do that it’s the closest you can get to being a lion tamer, now that we are no longer allowed real lions in circuses.

And Rainbows, being the youngest and squeakiest of the lot, add sonic weaponry to the horror of the day.

A brief read  will soon show you that I haven’t really developed over the years – five years ago I was idle, overweight and out of tune with modern life, and nothing has changed.

The featured image is another robin. I’m thinking of running a series of lookalike photos, under the title “Nugget or No-get?

Those of you who are currently looking bemused and wondering what I’m talking about should probably have a look at this post by Derrick Knight. It’s a typically elegant Derrick post with wine, women and song (represented by wine, Mrs Knight and a film) and a robin called Nugget. You’ll have to scroll down a bit for Nugget as Derrick is more industrious than I am and tends to write more. (This entire post, in case you hadn’t noticed, is about reusing old posts and photographs. Laziness, I feel, never goes out of fashion.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts about Water

It’s been wet for several days and there has been standing water on the roads. It’s been drier today and things are getting back to normal. This is a relief as my joints have been a bit creaky and I’m wondering if this is caused by the damp.

In many ways it is more like November than June. I remember a summer like this before. I must have been about twelve at the time and the mental picture of me staring out of a window at rain for an entire summer holiday is still with me. It has haunted me for years. The sense of loss, and being cheated out of six weeks of holiday, must have been really strong for me still to remember it so clearly.

Apart from that there is little I can think of to write about. Rain is not a terribly interesting subject, though if, due to the magic of WordPress, you are reading this in the middle of a drought, I can only apologise for my insensitivity.

I tend to stay off politics and other contentious subjects, as I don’t want to offend people, but I’ve only just thought of water in this context. It’s obvious really, when you think that the next series of World Wars, if we escape annihilation over religion, is likely to be over water. I have read that the Nile is likely to be a source of problems, and that the Portuguese are concerned with the way the Spanish are using all the water on the Iberian Peninsula.

When you have massive salad crops, as the Spanish do, you need water. Personally, I’d solve that one by banning lettuce, but you know how I feel about salad.

This is what happens when you mess with nature. Spain should stick to growing olives and grapes and we should stick to eating salads only in summer. In summer they are a necessary evil; in winter they are self-indulgent and wrecking the planet.

At last! I have found moral high ground concerning salad!

Normally I try to limit myself to one exclamation mark a day, but I think this discovery merits two.

Scone Chronicles XVIII – Bakewell Pudding

The header picture is Julia sitting outside the Bakewell Pudding Parlour. Last time she was left to her own devices here she ended up buying macaroons. I’d forgotten all about that, and, once again, failed to supervise her in an appropriate manner. She emerged with teas, bakewell puddings and cheese pasties. She keeps feeding me despite my diet. When I say pasties, by the way, they were monstrous. They were big enough to use as hats. It seemed rude not to eat it, even though it contains a possibly lethal dose of fat and calories.

 

However, I’m not going to talk about pasties, because this is a chronicle of scones. So I’m going to talk about Bakewell Puddings. There’s only so much you can say about scones, and I’m short of ideas for places to visit at the moment. My brain seems to be working rather slowly at the moment. I swear I’ve declined in intelligence over the last few months. Much more of this and I’ll have no option but to embark on a political career.

The Bakewell Pudding, as made in Bakewell, is not the same as the shop bought Bakewell Tart, which is generally an iced cake in a pastry case.  I’ve not made a Bakewell of any type myself, though I have made frangipanes with Cape Gooseberries (physalis, inca berries, ground cherries – it has so many names).

Today’s puddings were great – flaky pastry cases full of sticky deliciousness. Julia didn’t care for them, preferring something less sticky. It’s an ill wind that blows no good, or, in other words, I ate hers too.

In truth, they will never replace scones, but they are a pleasant change and it seems silly to go all the way to Bakewell to eat scones.

 

I also bought a few books, so it was a good day.

Change is Easy…

I’m giving the new editor another try. I don’t particularly want to, but I do want to access some of my older photos and I can’t do that in the normal editor. Anyway, it’s time I started embracing new technology.

Julia has had an adventurous day, first cutting herself whilst trying a spot of woodcarving, then melting a hole in her fleece when she transferred her attention to pyrography. Well, I say “attention”, but if she’d been paying attention she wouldn’t actually have melted the fleece.

I’m now going to put some photos in, if I can. The new editor doesn’t seem keen. I’m already remembering why I switched it off and went back to the old one.

This, hopefully, is a selection of my favourite photos from the last year.

Spice selection
At Clumber Park



Cromer


Robin at Clumber, Nottinghamshire
Fungus close-up

I’m not finding it as easy as the old editor because I’m having to load one large photo at a time.

Change is easy, as they say, but improvement is hard.

As I stood in the shop one day

Yesterday afternoon the sound of “Greensleeves” drifted through the open door of the shop. It wasn’t the instrumental version, with its memories of school music lessons and a youthful Henry VIII, but the tinny ice cream van version. According to the Wikipedia entry for Greensleeves, it’s probably not by Henry VIII, and it is a common earworm.

Where do I go from here?

I could discuss Henry VIII. I could talk about the psychology of ice cream van music.  Or I could tell you that when I was working in Africa a letter arrived from my mother telling me my cousin had been killed on his motorcycle I had Linda Ronstadt’s Blue Bayou playing at the time.

Every time I hear the song it takes me back to that letter. Everytime I think of that letter, the song starts in my head. And every time the subject of earworms crops up the whole thing starts going round in my head. It doesn’t happen often, but like now, when it crops up the whole thing starts again.

Forty years have passed since it happened and though the image is fresh in my mind, it’s simply there and no longer evokes any emotion. This might be natural, or it may be I’m just not very sensitive.

It’s the same with the car accident flashbacks. After a lifetime of driving I’ve been in a few accidents and near misses as driver or passenger. With one exception, which happened nearly 30 years ago, they’ve not really made much of a mental impression on me.

One of them caused flashbacks. I don’t know why, but for a while I was getting two or three a week. They gradually declined over the first year until it was one or two a year, then none for a couple of years. However, when they did come they were quite disturbing. The last one was about five years ago and it woke me up with a feeling of panic just as I was drifting off to sleep.

Since then I’ve rarely thought of it and it no longer bothers me when I do. It’s now just a memory.

I suppose this is how we are meant to be – you can’t worry about everything in life or you’d break down.

Well, that’s been quite a journey – from ice cream vans to road traffic accidents. All I meant to say was that after two fire engines and a police car it was nice to hear an ice cream van.

The Excitement Continues…

Look what drew up outside our house tonight.

I’m going to get invited to the Fire Service Christmas party at this rate.

Fortunately they didn’t rush up to the door with axes. Instead they went to the house across the road and climbed in through an upstairs window as the owner had, it appears, locked himself out.

That took me back to the early ’60s when we were living in Blackburn. We went to the seaside and spent the day at Southport, which always seemed like a treat compared to a day in Blackpool. Even now I can’t tell you why I preferred Southport and Morecambe to the bustle of Blackpool. It may be something to do with the time we went up Blackpool Tower and I discovered I was scared of heights.

Whilst relaxing on the beach the shop keys fell out of my Dad’s pocket. We sifted a lot of sand but never did find them.

On arriving home we rang the fire brigade for help and, as today, they entered by an upstairs window.

The difference between the two events, apart from nearly 60 years and 150 miles, was that we had a dog, a Border Terrier called Pip. He had been left to guard the house and that’s what he did. Fortunately we were able to distract him while the firemen entered and opened the door.

Ah, memories…

As you may notice, we have lace curtains so I can twitch them whilst spying on neighbours. I didn’t need to do that today, I just sat in my chair and took the photo. It’s probably my laziest ever blog post.

Eleven Photos and the Benefits of Blogging

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Teasels in flower

The main picture shows some teasel in flower. They have gone over a bit but you can still see some of the bluish flowers. I thought I’d include the picture after showing the mature ones earlier on this week.

 

The fungus is growing out of one of the raised beds in the Mencap garden and the mooring ring is from the quay at Burleigh pottery in Stoke.  I spotted the blue butterfly on a visit to Men in Sheds in the summer and the bear was in a field near Scarborough advertising a music event. The dragonfly was pictured on our trip to Rutland Water, but I don’t seem to have identified it on the photo and can’t find the reference. I think it’s a Common Darter if I  remember correctly – I only see common things.

 

The bird with the bandit mask is another Nuthatch and the Swan was cruising down the river at the back of the National Arboretum last year. The mouse is from a harvest loaf we cooked on the farm and the remaining two photos are also from the farm – a Mint Moth (there were dozens about in the herb garden) and a poppy with chamomile.

They all bring back memories, and without blogging I wouldn’t have restarted with the photography – another thing I like about blogging!

A Treasury of Flowers

I’ve been looking at other blogs with envy this year, particularly Derrick J Knight and Tootlepedal’s Blog.  They have a lot of things in common, including beautiful gardens, great photography and gardening partners – the Head Gardener and Mrs Tootlepedal.

It may be time for a little pep talk with Julia. Nothing major, just point her to a few relevant posts and leave an unspoken suggestion…

That way I hope to avoid being told to do it myself, as I already have lots to do. That TV won’t watch itself and blogging takes time.

Meanwhile, just to show we can grow plants (despite the state of our garden this year) here are a few things from last year at the farm.

 

Orton Mere


I just realised that although I said I was going to start on the Ely visit next, I still have to finish off the visit to Peterborough. The subject is Orton Mere.

If you travel south on the Great North Road (or A1 as it is now less interestingly known) you turn left at Alwalton and carry on a few miles until you come to a set of traffic lights. On the right is the village of Orton Longueville and on the left is Orton Mere. The village is a lot more interesting than you would think from the Wikipedia entry, though maybe that’s just my view. My childhood memories are, I suppose, of limited interest – probably limited to me and a few of my contemporaries.

For now, turn left and go down the hill to the car park. There are now several  ponds, a flyover and a golf course. In my day there was just the one pond. Where the flyover now towers above you, there used to be tanks where effluent from the British Sugar factory was piped – I’m not quite clear on the process as we rarely went there due to the high sides, scrub and quicksand-like nature of some of the tanks. The golf course was just water meadow.

The reed beds, I recall, used to support a large population of Reed Buntings.

We didn’t use the name Orton Mere, it was “the pond near the Staunch”, and I only heard the name in the 1980s when they started to develop it. The name Orton Mere seems to be used for the wider area these days, as in this news article. Whenever there’s a drowning, and there have been a few over the years, Orton Staunch seems to be known as Orton Mere. (I added this 12.05.20 after revisiting the post and finding that the news article link now goes to a Sheffield Wednesday related page rather than news of a rescue from drowning – I have left it all as it was but removed the hyperlink.)

We used to have rafts down at the pond, which was less reed-fringed in those days and had shallower beaches. Someone had made them from railway sleepers and they just stayed there to be used by generations of kids. My mum used to go mad with me for doing it, as I couldn’t swim in those days. The poles which went with the rafts were about a foot shorter than the depth of the pond, and sometimes called for interesting contortions, with hands underwater, to get back to shore, so she may have had a point.

There used to be a large tench in the pond during the 1980s, after Health and Safety had landscaped the pond and burned the rafts. I recall seeing its dorsal fin breaking the surface once and it was huge. I can’t remember what its reported weight was when it was caught, but it was a good size.

I’m not sure what a staunch actually is, but from what I’ve seen on the river it is a set of vertically acting gates that controls the flow of water. This sets up a series of currents and undertows, which is why a few people have drowned there over the years, and scours out channels down stream of the gates.  These used to attract large numbers of chub, which, according to Wikipedia, are easy to catch. This takes a bit of gloss off my memories of summer evenings spent catching good numbers of chub, but in time I’ll forget Wiki, whereas I will always remember the summer evenings.

The photographs show Orton Mere with no filter, Dramatic filter and Landscape filter. Even with no filter it looks the sort of place you’d find secretive fish and arms raising swords from the depths.

You can’t fish there now because the area is reserved for canoeists.

Looking for links I found this one relating to helping with  eel migration. I remember seeing the glass eels trying to make their way up the stream when I lived there, and had been thinking about them recently after reading an article about declining eel numbers. It’s nice to see something being done for them.

The other thing I’ve been thinking about is an overcast day back in 1970. I was walking home from school when I noticed the police had closed off access down to the river. Two brothers from school had been canoeing during a games lesson and had drowned after getting into difficulties. This was in the days before risk assessment. We weren’t close, as I was only 11 and they were in their late teens, but we played rugby together. In those days all ages used to train together, and one or two of us even played in school matches with the big boys – unthinkable in these days. To be honest, the Bukowski brothers were very big boys compared to me, and scared the life out of me, though I tried to hide it.

So there you go. I suppose it’s a sign of getting old when your memories run to this length…