Tag Archives: Nottingham

The Scone Chronicles XXII – Afternoon Tea

Sorry, I had intended managing one instalment of the Scone Chronicles a week, but we haven’t been out much this year and when we do go out it tends to be repetitive. Added to that, I don’t always take photos, I don’t want to admit to all the rubbish I eat and I’m not always very efficient.

This post has been maturing like a fine wine, for over a week. This probably tells you something about my definition of “fine wine”. That, in turn, reminds me of the wine kits they used to sell in Boots chemists thirty years ago. No, forty years ago…

How time flies.

However, I will return to the subject of scones rather than drift off on a digression relating to cheap wine.

Julia’s brother and sister-in-law have been up to visit and invited us to Afternoon Tea at the St James Hotel in Nottingham.

The review is a bit tricky because I don’t want to criticise a meal I’ve been treated to. Fortunately, after we’d left, the in-laws said it wasn’t a patch on their local tearoom and was more on a par with the local Patisserie Valerie. That’s not meant to be a slur on Patisserie Valerie, because they are a chain and a chain does things differently to somewhere claiming to be a boutique hotel. Or it should do.

It is, considering the deal they do, a very good value budget Afternoon Tea – if their website is correct, afternoon tea for two costs slightly less than afternoon tea for one at Bettys. If you don’t get the discount, it’s still a lot cheaper. However, don’t be fooled by the picture on the website, the sandwich fillings were much less generous in real life and the cake selection was not as good.

In fact, the sandwich fillings could accurately be described as meagre, the cakes and scones all seemed to be mass produced and they really should have been quicker on bringing the tea.

However, they surroundings are pleasant, and not as crowded as Bettys at Harlow Carr. The company was, as you would expect, excellent, and the neighbours were sufficiently far away as to be part of the background chatter, again, unlike Bettys.

So – comparisons.

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Scones with jam and cream

Cakes at Bettys were far better. Sandwich fillings at Bettys were better. Scones at Bettys were better (and not dusted with icing sugar – I hate it when they do that).

However, sandwiches at St James’s were fresher, surroundings were more relaxing and the cost was more affordable.

At St James we got one pot of clotted cream between two of us – it’s enough, but it’s the only place I’ve ever been that does that. Don’t know whether I’m happy not to clot my arteries or unhappy at being short-changed.

I’m not sure which was better value, as they both had their good points, and both had their less good points. Nor am I sure if either is worth repeating.

I suppose I’ll just have to keep eating until I find a better place.

 

(Sorry about the quality of the photography – low lighting).

More Serious Stuff – Deep Thought, Castration and the Importance of Parents

I started doing more thinking after writing yesterday’s post. There was a lot to think about, mostly about murdered teenagers. After bringing two kids up in a city that had a poor reputation at one time, you can get quite thoughtful.

Interestingly, the writers blame the Labour government for the various problems, where most of the people these days blame the Conservatives. That is probably a sign that we should leave politics out of the discussion.

Youth clubs, youth sports and such things are, at best, distractions rather than a cure. If you are keeping kids off the street they can’t get into trouble. When looking at funding possibilities I’ve often seen the terms “distraction” or “displacement activity”.

We had quite a few difficult kids at the various rugby clubs we attended. Some were the typical sort of inner city kid you’d expect to be in trouble (who we used to work with in Rugby League) and others, in Rugby Union, were much more affluent and better educated.

One of the things I noticed was that you could put a lot of effort in and make no discernible difference. I also noticed that if the parents weren’t engaged nothing seemed to work. That held good for all the kids – parents who were at work all the time were just as bad as parents who deserted their family.

So my solution to the problem is to put the family back at the centre of things. I’d also be prepared to think about castrating absent fathers who didn’t live up to their responsibilities, though it’s likely that this would be a last resort.

It’s about the basics – decent places to live, education, jobs, reducing teenage pregnancies…

I’m starting to sound like a beauty queen here, but I’ll stop short of advocating world peace and an end to famine. It is, however, a matter of some regret that I didn’t start thinking forty years ago – it might actually have made a difference at that point.

Does anyone have any good ideas?

 

Paper Flags

I first became interested in paper charity flags when I saw some in an antique shop in the early 1990s. They were stuck to a card and had obviously been in a scrap book. This rendered them useless to a collector in many ways but it had allowed the previous owner to write dates and information next to them, so they were more interesting in another way.

As you can see – ambulances were a popular subject. The stories of privately raised medical units, and the people who staffed them could be a book in itself. This list  gives you some idea. Add Lawrence Binyon to it. He often gets overlooked.

Over the years I added a few more, even buying a few off a lady who had kept one of each that she had sold for the Red Cross in 1918. She was sitting with her grand-daughter at an antiques fair in a Suffolk village hall. She was happy that the flags had found a good home, and I was happy to have spent a few minutes chatting with a lady who had eighty years of history behind her. That was in the days when it used to be worth stopping when you saw a sign by the roadside.

Horses were popular too. Eight million horses died in the Great War, plus countless mules and donkeys. They had, as far as I know, no strong views on Belgian neutrality, and didn’t get the right to vote in 1918 after their contribution to the war effort. All in all I think they got a raw deal.

There’s a good Word Press site on military horses but I can’t find it at the moment – I’ll have another look tonight.

As with almost everything, I have various parts of the collection scattered in a variety of boxes around the house, and have a patchy knowledge of the subject. If only I’d applied myself to learning more about the subject I might be an expert with a PhD on litter and a TV series on The Things We Threw Away. Stranger things have happened.

I took a few photographs recently, so here are a few examples for you to look at.

Belgians were also popular in the Great War (see Hercule Poirot for example) and ended up here in great numbers. This link told me a lot I didn’t know about them. I’ve seen the odd plaque about, including one in the Nottingham Guildhall but I never really looked into the subject. I believe that Belgians did have strong views on Belgian neutrality – look here and here for two who certainly did.

Street Furniture

I’ve not taken many pictures recently, so, rather than do another post with no photographs I thought I’d do a quick post using photographs I already have. They aren’t, strictly speaking, all street furniture, some are just things I saw whilst walking down the street with a camera.

 

There’s plenty to see when walking down the street, but I don’t often take the chance to picture it because I’m always worried about photographing people as they walk past. People can be very strange in their ideas about the internet and photography. I know, from seeking photo permission for various children’s events, that parents worry about you making money from it (I wish I knew how) or worry about strangers seeing them (crediting the internet with a power I’m not sure it possesses). I suppose these fears are the lineal descendents of the fear that  cameras steal souls.

 

Most phone boxes are now out of use (mobiles having made them redundant) and are now in use as homes for defibrillators, community libraries or spiders.

The bananas are from the old Fyffes warehouse in Sneinton Market in Nottingham, the bench is from Heckington and the round plate, which you may recognise from the Snape Maltings post, is known as a patress plate. I didn’t know that until I looked it up. Education and blogging, once again, go hand in hand.

No Moon Now

It’s not been the most industrious of days, though I don’t suppose that will surprise my regular readers. I have read a bit, shopped and cooked two casseroles and a pie filling. That still leaves a few hours and I can only suppose that they were spent napping.

Julia’s working day on Sunday is 6.00 to 4.30 and at this time of the year her shift is considerably longer than the length of daylight. I checked the day length before writing that, and found there are three types of twilight. There’s astronomical twilight, nautical twilight and civil twilight, which all follow on from each other and have various uses.  I’ll let lawyers and sailors worry about the various definitions.

There is also, it seems, a popular series of books and films billed as “Twilight”, which makes a Google search a bit annoying if you want proper information on twilight. I imagine that anyone who has a man called Harry Potter in their family tree will suffer similar frustration in their searching.

The header picture shows the street at the time we got home – that glaring globe with starburst effect is a streetlamp, rather than a blazing desert sun, as it first appears.

The lack of smears is due to me spending time cleaning the inside of the car and windscreen. Assuming that cleanliness is still next to Godliness, as I was always taught, then, as well as having a better view of the road I am close to being a saint.

The closing photographs are two where I tried to take a faithful rendition of the sky colour. It was quite a deep orange, but the camera tends to remove much of the colour. I eventually managed to approximate the colour by using the Pop Art filter, which often gives quite a false rendition.

 

Mornings, Magpies and Medals

Today I took some brighter pictures of the garden, including one of a Great Tit eating what appeared to be a caterpillar. You’ll have to take my word for that as it spent most of its time refusing to face me.

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Great Tit at Mencap Gardens

When the Great Tits eat caterpillars. I feel that Spring is not far behind. Julia later saw a group of Long Tailed Tits on the feeders, though they flew away as she turned the camera on. They do that. Several Magpies took it in turns to contort their way into the fat ball feeder, but they also declined to pose for photographs.

Birds can be very annoying at times.

It was brighter today than it had been yesterday.

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No light, no water, but we do have a heater in the cabin

The work routine is beginning to develop nicely – taking Julia to work and the driving back round the ring road to idle away my days. I went through the medal stock today, including medal-mounting accessories, foreign medals and ribbons. That took me all morning, as there was a lot of chaos to tame, and a lot of bits and pieces.

Fortunately, nothing is beyond the capabilities of a man with time on his hands and a selection of plastic bags.

 

 

 

The Snow Arrives

Finally, it arrived.

It wasn’t impressive.

We have some snow left in the street, where it will be a patchy nuisance until it melts, but all the main roads are clear. Driving into town to pick up Julia at 4.00 pm it was quite clear that the centre of town was warmer than Sherwood as there was nothing on the floor at all, not even the narrow road at the back of the leisure centre.

The bad news is that we’re meant to be down to minus 12 degrees C tomorrow. That’s minus 10.4 degrees F. We will be as cold as northern Scotland, which, the news tells me, is colder than Everest.

Based on the accuracy of previous forecasts that will probably be a few degrees under freezing.

Number Two son has just been out for a walk and says it isn’t too bad. He arrived home by train this afternoon and says Sheffield has even less snow than Nottingham.

All in all, it’s a very unsnowy day round here, though news reports do show that there is plenty of snow locally. Looks like we dodged the bullet.

Though it may be a bit early, as their is time for snow yet, I will permit myself a small smile. 🙂