Tag Archives: owl

A Disaster Averted

I’m giving myself ten minutes for this as I have other things to do.

I decided I would make us brunch this morning as I was up late and Julia was already busy with meetings. The menu was welsh rarebit (using up some poor quality grated cheese from ASDA), rye sourdough toast and scrambled eggs. It sounded quite sophisticated to me, and goes some way towards redressing the meat which has been creeping back into our diet. We never intended going fully vegetarian, but we were going to cut back. Lockdown has seen us eating quite a lot of sausages and bacon, so it’s time to cut back a little.

The problem came with the sourdough. I often cut it with a sharp carving knife rather than the bread knife as the crust can be a bit tough. This loaf was a few days old and was tougher than normal. The bread knife, allied to my poor grip, didn’t make much impression and I reverted to the sharp knife, using both hands to press down at the end and cut the tough bottom crust.

Obviously it wasn’t the best way to treat a foot long blade and it shouldn’t have been a surprise when the bread and breadboard slipped and I found a sharp knife approaching my abdomen at high speed. It shouldn’t have been, but it was. Old age and arthritis seem to have dulled my common sense. Just like the time my grandfather nearly severed his thumb cutting kindling or my grandmother stood in the kitchen sink to change a lightbulb. It’s a worry, though it’s also nice to think I’m taking my place in a long line of family stupidity.

Julia, alterted by the clattering and bad language, came to complete the cutting.

That’s the ten minutes, so I’ll stop there. The description of my scrambled eggs will wait.


Blue Iris

I selected the owl picture because we all need wisdom at the moment and the iris because I like irises.

A Photo from Julia


Julia took this photograph last week, using her phone.

It is the best Long-Tailed Tit photograph either of us has ever taken and has made me wonder why I even bother trying with my camera. I rarely get one in the frame, and when I do they are normally blurred.

She not only has them in the frame and in focus but she has them in an amusing “I’m not speaking to you” pose. We had kids, we had cats, we recognise the pose.

This is what happens when you marry a talented woman. I’m sure I’m not the only blogger to experience this. My breeding days are over and my photography has been surpassed. If she ever starts using public transport I will have nothing to offer.

Meanwhile, the wind has been roaring outside for most of the day. The tail end of Storm Ciara is still with us, despite the promise of it stopping by 3pm.

We dropped Number One Son at the railway station just after 3.00 pm, and it did seem to clear. The wind dropped, the sky turned bright blue and it looked like things were definitely on the up. This lasted until we did the shopping. By the time we finished the shopping the sky was grey again and the rain was starting again.

We didn’t need more rain, as we already have patches of flooding, but weather is like that.

We didn’t need more wind either, as we already had a number of trees down.

Number One Son arrived home over three hours later due to various disruptions – about double the normal time. It was not a good weekend to travel.

Still, he did get home in one piece, our roof is still in place (apart from one tile) and tomorrow is looking better. Our weather may not be good, but it’s rarely very bad either, just bad enough to have a good old grumble.

I will finish with an Owl picture. I’m still able to do decent Owl pictures, even if my Long-Tailed Tits aren’t up to the mark.


Peak Shopping Village



Scone Chronicles 33 – Yes, we have Scones

I had meant to space the food reviews out a bit more, but I’ve been forced into this by a certain amount of heckling about the lack of scones.

Move smoothly on from Sunday evening, ignore the next couple of days and that brings us neatly to Wednesday and time for elevenses. We are at the Peak Shopping Village, the ducks are clustering round looking for food, and a small scone shaped gap is opening up in my middle regions.

We went to buy half-price boots for Julia, as her expensive ones had started letting in water. This was easy – by the time she had made her selection I had made a circuit of The Works, failed to buy a book, and had left in disgust. We then went to the hospice charity shop where the only thing I wanted turned out to be part of the display. I hate it when that happens.

By that time I was definitely in e of refreshment so we entered Massarella’s cafe and while I sought a table Julia went to get tea and scones.


A mediocre scone, with badly applied egg wash

As we breakfasted late (porridge followed by sausage sandwiches, using the sausages left over from the night before), other people were already lunching. My quest for a clean table did not go well and left me elbow to elbow with a stocky elderly lady (I select my words carefully) chasing the final clean table. She had a fine set of elbows and a surprising turn of speed, and laid her walking stick across the table to claim the prize as I floundered in her wake.

Massarella’s always sounds like an Italian restaurant, with tiled floors and lots of chatter. Add the barking of a dog to that and the whole ambiance falls apart, and not just for me. Several other people were clearly irritated by the dog-friendly aspect of the cafe.

However, compared to the scones, the barking dog was no problem. The scones were dry inside, and lacked flavour. My mother used to mutter “cheap baking” at times like this. It certainly seemed to lack the rich, fluffy, buttery sensation you get from a decent scone.


OK, not as disappointing as England’s woeful rugby performance, but still pretty disappointing

I have a feeling they may have been frozen, and dried out in thawing.

We will go back because we like the atmosphere, and the Italian gent behind the counter charmed Julia. And, of course, because they offer Afternoon Tea at £18 for two people. But, like a trip to the hospice shop, we won’t expect too much.

That last comment could also apply to the charity shops of Bakewell where we visited later – they don’t seem to have much in, and it’s getting harder to justify the time spent looking round when there are no decent books.

So, Massarella’s, the Charity shops of Derbyshire and The Works (where I failed to buy a single book) had all better pull their socks up. This is just not good enough!

Because they have ducks, a nature trail and a carved owl archway, I will visit again, but they would be well-advised to get a grip. Carved owls cannot replace decent scones.

After the Lord Mayor’s Show…

I don’t know if the expression used in the title will be familiar to some of my overseas readers. It is often rendered as “After the Lord mayor’s Show comes the dustcart.” I assume it has been bowdlerised over the years, as the material collected after the show was clearly horse manure and not dust.

To sum up our day- seaside, egrets, owl,marshes, magic. And so Act One ends with out happy couple heading off into the sunset…

Actually it’s a bit early for sunset but the sun is falling and there is a hint of colour in the sky.

The conversation is interrupted by a “Ping!” and a warning light on the dashboard. It was the one that warns about a tyre losing pressure. No big worry, as they do it regularly and you have to pump them up.However, I did wonder…

I reset it. My reasoning is that if it doesn’t go again for weeks there isn’t a problem, but if it sounds again in a day or two you have a slow puncture.

Twenty miles later, it sounded again. By this time we were back in Sutton on Sea and I pulled into the Car park and called Green Flag. After the debacle of our last wheel change I didn’t want to risk it in a deserted car park in the growing dusk. (Actually it was nearly 4.30, so not quite night but getting uncomfortably close for a man with poor form in recent tyre changes.

I decided to walk down to the toilet as we’d had several drinks on the trip, and found that they were locked. It was 4.31, which is how I know the time.. I just checked – most of the toilets round there are locked at 4.00, apart from the ones that are locked on Sundays and the ones that are locked all winter. It can’t be an economy measure as the lights were still on in the locked toilets.

I think it’s just a way of inconveniencing elderly visitors.

Fortunately, by the time I got back to the car and took the spare out, the man from Green Flag arrived. This is top quality service, as well as being a lot cheaper than the AA.

We were soon back on four wheels and 200 yards later we were outside the chip shop. The darkened, closed chip shop. After a number of average visits it’s only the fact we’ve been going there for 30 years that keeps us going. They really are pushing their luck. I’d been looking forward to chips too.

We went further down the coast. It was dark by the time we reached Skegness and selected KFC for our meal. It’s good, reliable, has toilets and a car park. And it isn’t McDonald’s. McDonald’s are OK for snacks but this was our evening meal. We do not have high standards…


Wicked Zinger Meal – why can’t they just call it a chicken sandwich meal?

It would be nice to report that we had an excellent meal and an uneventful trip home. We did have a good meal, mostly, but that will be another post. We didn’t quite have an uneventful journey home.

The conversation went like this.

“You should have stopped picking your nose fifty years ago.”

“I was clearing an obstruction in my nasal passages.”

“You’re disgusting.”

“Do you have any tissues?”

Rustling in bag.

“No, but I’ve got a spare serviette from KFC.”

Sometimes, when you are driving, you just can’t manage a decent nose blow to clear your nasal passages and a good prod has to suffice. Unfortunately, when you are on Warfarin, a good prod can result in copious bleeding and a lecture on the habits of small boys and grown men being far too much alike.

We saw another owl later. First we saw the reflected light of its eyes as it flew across the road in front of us, then again as it turned towards us for a better look, which also enabled us to the the dumpy brown shape of what was probably a Tawny Owl. which isn’t a bad final memory of the day. With any luck, when we look back, we may forget that I had a serviette stuffed up my nose at the time.