Julia just woke me up with the words “You’ve done it again.”
She has, it seems, spent the last two hours in the company of a man who has been resting his eyes, and another evening has passed. Even the offer of a Club biscuit, which I found alongside my cold cup of tea, had failed to persuade me to open my eyes.
Looking on the bright side, I will be well rested when I get up tomorrow morning and head off for my latest blood test.
Today did not continue in the useful way of yesterday. I fell at the first hurdle. My initial to do list contained one item – write a to do list – and I failed to do that.
At work I packaged items which had only been listed on Tuesday. It is strange how things sell. Three of the items were newly listed – one of them had been listed for 18 months (the market for Edward VIII Coronation keyrings does not seem strong). You just can’t tell.
My first task, after seeing off the biscuit, was to make sandwiches. It is sandwich-making at its simplest – open a cob, butter it, insert a cheese slice and add pickle – but it is also at its finest. The classic simplicity of a cheese and pickle sandwich is hard to beat. We had tomatoes in it today, but I don’t feel up to slicing tomatoes tonight. It is a technical job and not one well-suited to a man who is half asleep.
The same could be said for blogging, but I seem to have managed…
13 came out, 14 went in. 14 came out. 15 went in. 16, of course, waited. There was a sound of chatter from the room. A member of staff went in, came out, went back in with a phone, came out, the chatter continued…
I have noticed this tendency for them to introduce random pauses into the system before.
Was finally admitted into the room, which had three staff, five bays, room for ten people (according to the sign on the door) and no patients. Number 17 was allowed in seconds after me, as they had plenty of space.
I was punctured efficiently, donated the required tubeful and left.
Picked Julia up and took her to work, then went to see my jeweller friends for the first time in just over four months. Moaned about business, drank tea.
Went across the road to collect something from the pharmacy. Involved in a disorderly queue which included a deaf man and a wiry-haired dog of indeterminate breed but great character. Had trouble re-crossing the road due to traffic until a young woman in a Nissan Micra stopped to let me cross. Since when have I become an avuncular recipient of charity from young women drivers?
Got home, plotted world domination, thought of my sandwich options for lunch.
Booked the car in for MOT next Wednesday. If my MOT date had been two weeks earlier I would have qualified for the six month extension, but I don’t. Typical of my luck.
Tried to arrange a repeat prescription on-line. Didn’t work. It didn’t work last month either. Rang the surgery who told me to email it, just like last month. Enquired as to why it constantly refuses to work and was told to email a photo in so they can check my identity. Was verging on sarcastic as I pointed out that it would just be the same photo ID that I used when proving my ID last time. Can’t believe it is this difficult to get 100 Warfarin tablets. It would be easier to buy rat poison,
Screwfix sell one ready made into blocks with “culinary-grade wheat flour, chopped grain, soft lard and synthetic peanut butter flavouring”. I’m not known as a gastronome, but that sounds delicious.
I’m still thinking about that sandwich. Maybe toasted cheese…
This afternoon I will write, before picking Julia up from work.
Yes, it’s actually my writing, though even I can’t read it…
A poor life this if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare
W. H. Davies
We took time out on Wednesday to buy sandwiches from the supermarket and take a drive into the countryside. It wasn’t as comfortable as it could have been because I had a feeling that I should have planned better and made our own sandwiches. In my defence we didn’t know what time Julia’s meeting would end and everything was a bit chaotic.
Shopping at the supermarket still doesn’t feel comfortable, paying the cost of ready made sandwiches seems extravagant after months of economy, and aimlessly driving in the countryside also seems wrong.
On the other hand, sitting at home is beginning to wear a bit thin too.
We eventually found a verge to park on and ate sandwiches whilst watching the local wildlife – which was butterflies. The flies were too small to see from the car, the grasshoppers were hidden and though we heard the call of pheasants and saw a few wood pigeons there didn’t seem to be much bird life about either.
By the time I got out of the car, brushing crumbs from my newly decorated shirt, the Peacock and the White butterflies had all gone and the promising reddish brown ones all turned out top be Gatekeepers, which are common, and not much more interesting than the Peacocks and Whites.
I clearly need to brush up on my butterfly stalking technique,and my grasshopper hunting methods as I managed to see them only as they leapt to escape my feet. I didn’t get a single grasshopper shot, just a few flies as a relief from Gatekeepers.
Even my attempts at photographing sloes were thwarted by a sparse selection and poor lighting. It’s bad when you can’t even get a shot of something that just hangs there without moving…
My efforts are a far cry from the fine efforts made by Beating the Bounds, a blog I haven’t read for a while. On seeing this post, I was glad I had chosen to return.
Insects on Thistles
Fly on a leaf
As you can tell from the captions, I have returned to my original style of uninformative caption. I must do better, but, to be honest, I’ve made it through the first 62 years without trying too hard, so why change now?
They say that hard work never killed anybody, but that’s what I thought about Covid 19 to start with. It seems silly to take a chance.
The final shot is the Grasshopper that emerged from the garden when we returned home on Friday– displaying itself on the tarmac. This is not the setting you most associate with an insect that has the word “grass” in its name.
Last night I started writing the looming presentation then made sandwiches. I always leave them until late as it keeps them fresher. This is more important these days as I no longer wrap them, just put them in a plastic box. So far it has worked, and we have cut down on plastic and foil.
I made my normal tuna filling – tin of tuna, chopped spring onion, black pepper and mayonnaise. I often add lemon juice or zest, but had no lemon last night.
I had no cobs either, so used sliced bread. Two rounds each, because Julia works hard and I’m greedy. That was when I discovered something interesting. The surface area of two slices of bread, being larger than that of two cobs, means that the spread only makes three sandwiches. That was why I had one cheese and pickle sandwich and one tuna sandwich.
Then, off to the living room to fall uncomfortably asleep in my chair. That wasn’t actually my intention but it was what happened. I fell asleep shortly before midnight and woke slightly after 2.30. Crawled up to bed, woke Julia, agreed with Julia that I was (a) inconsiderate (b) cold and (c) old enough to know better. Two hours later I rose, as my body has developed the habit of producing more liquid than it takes in, and managed to slip back into bed without Julia noticing.
Another note from Suriname
At 6.40 I woke again, as I have developed a habit of waking just before the alarm goes off. In the days of mechanical alarm clocks I put this down to the preparatory click that my clock used to give. In the days of electronic technology I can only suggest it’s a primaeval instinct. And a bloody nuisance.
Smugly, after a brief chat with Julia, I snuggled back under the covers and enjoyed the warm and virtuous feeling of a man who, because of circumstances beyond his control, need not get out of bed to give his wife a lift to work an hour and a half before he really wants to get up.
There really is no better feeling than lying under a stack of covers feeling warm and relaxed. Well, warm relaxed and with a bacon sandwich would be better, if I’m honest, but Julia seems resistant to suggestions that she cooks my breakfast before leaving.
At work I took 85 photographs of banknotes and dealt with twenty one phone enquiries about rare coins and similar things. My world tour has moved from Sudan to Trinidad and Tobago. I prefer the designs of the latter, but Sudan is a lot easier to type.
Swedish 20 Kronor – the figure on the back of the goose is Nils, from the books by Selma Lagerlof -a very interesting writer I had never heard of until today.
I wish I’d worked harder at school and got a proper skill…
I have just been watching Dracula on TV. It has been, to put it mildly, a patchy experience. The story has been spread over three nights, which is one of its weak points as there was only enough story, I felt, to fill half that time. Or less.
The first episode was drawn out and dull. The second episode was tedious and lacked grip. It finally came to life in the closing moments. The third episode was quite good and I could have watched more of it. So, could do better, and if anything similar comes along I’ll probably give it a miss.
Once bitten, twice shy.
Just a short post tonight, as I’ve got to go and make tomorrow’s sandwiches.
I finished the Christmas Chutney today. It has been very good, and reminded me of the Christmas Chutney I used to make in my farm kitchen days. It’s good and fruity and packing plenty of Christmas spice. Mine used to have cranberries in but was much the same flavour.
All went well until I chewed down on my final cheese sandwich and found half a plum stone. They clearly hadn’t skimmed it properly, which was one of the reasons I preferred to de-stone the fruit before using it. It’s quicker to boil and skim, but there’s always the risk of a broken tooth. Fortunately there was no dental damage from this episode, just a bit of a shock.
Today we selected Afternoon Tea. This proved to be a good decision.
At £12.95 it’s a mid-range option compared to the prices of the other teas we’ve had (though the comparison is with the special offer price at the St James Hotel).
It’s a typical Mrs Botham’s production, with freshly made sandwiches and a bit of salad with citrus dressing. This dressing did make a couple of the sandwiches soggy on the lower edge, as they were served on the same plate, but it wasn’t much of a problem as they didn’t have long to wait before consumption, and it’s all going to end up in the same place anyway.
They were a definite level up from the curly Bettys sandwiches. They may have benefitted from some variety of brown bread, but let’s be honest, there is a reason why soft white bread is a top seller.
Apart from being fresh they were also well-filled, the cucumber being particularly good.
The cakes were, for me, the least good bit of the meal. They were good and fresh, being baked by Bothams and sold in the shop downstairs. The meringue was fine, and about twice the size of the St James one.
The chocolate thing (my command of cakey vocabulary is buckling under the strain here) seemed to have a biscuit in it, probably with hazel nuts, and was difficult to manage with a cake fork, though it did break up when bitten, It was OK, but I wouldn’t go and buy one in the shop as a result of the one I ate.
The fondant fancy was lovely, but rather sweet. And if I say it’s too sweet that is serious sugar, as I’m not known for my sensitivity to sugar. The icing was too sweet and the creamy bit inside was too large and too sweet. I’m a lover of fondant fancies, so this is hurting me to write.
The scones were nice and soft with good texture. We had a clotted cream portion each and it was a perfect way to round off the meal, along with another cup of tea. The tea was prompt and plentiful and there was a jug of hot water to top the pot up.
Sandwiches – they best we’ve had. The salad was good, though you know my thoughts on salad. Cakes too sweet. Scone – lovely. Tea – excellent. Surroundings and service – excellent.
So far, this is the winner.
Did I mention the pork pies? We brought some home. I had one for tea, with a cheese scone and soup, and had one for lunch with my sandwiches. Don’t be tempted by the pork and apple.
If you are in Yorkshire looking for an afternoon tea, I’d definitely go for Botham’s in preference to Bettys.
This, of course, brings me to another point. Bettys has dropped the apostrophe and Botham’s have kept it. I think the lesson is clear here. Old fashioned values still rule where Afternoon Tea is concerned.
Please note the picture of the stair-lift leading up to the tea room – they know their market!
We had a bit of a mixed day yesterday – got off to a good start but ground to a halt on the Doncaster bypass. Got lost trying to get round it, more queues near York then made the mistake of relying on the satnav in Whitby. Switched it off, engaged brain and ended up in a parking space directly outside Mrs Botham’s tearooms.
Those of you who have been there before will know that the banner isn’t outside the teashop, it’s outside the bakery/cafe as you leave town for Scarborough. There’s a reason for this – mainly a queue in the tearoom and the realisation that we were going to be waiting ages.
We didn’t have to wait as long at the cafe, though it has to be said that the crab sandwiches at the tearoom would have been better than the prawn sandwich at the cafe. Julia’s decision to ask for salad proved to be a bad one as the onion swamped the flavour and the beetroot had no place in a sandwich. Beetroot, in fact, has no place in civilised society. Vile purple abomination.
We selected some pies – two for lunch and two for lunch next day (which was today).
We ate the standards pies for lunch and can report crispy crusts, flavourful fillings, excellent jelly, great texture and spiciness and an all round great eating experience. I’m a great fan of Mrs Botham’s pies.
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The pork and apple pies we had today were crispy and well flavoured but had too much stewed apple in them. They could have used more texture and a little more acidity in the apple. And more meat in the pie.
I wasn’t as keen on the pork and apple.
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But I preferred the pork and apple pie to the prawn and salad sandwich.
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Beetroot, carrot, red onion, cucumber, sweetcorn, tomato, lettuce…
Not many prawns and a distinct tang of salad cream.
Basically it was a salad sandwich with a couple of prawns thrown in.
I had to send Julia off to work on her own this morning because I had an 8.50 am appointment with the doctor and the timing didn’t allow enough leeway to get from one side of town to the other.
This brought back memories of sending the kids to school as I fussed round making sure she had her flask and sandwiches (ham and mustard on one lot, ham and pickle on the other – variety being the spice of life).
It wasn’t much of an appointment, just to confirm my new tablets weren’t causing problems and discuss a letter from the hospital.
I ended up being prodded and questioned by a medical student on work experience. There’s probably more to it than that, but that’s effectively what it was. They have to learn somehow, besides, the doctor offered to do my anti-coagulant blood test, allowing me to get on with my day instead of returning for the test at 11.30.
After that I shopped, called at the Arnold Sorting Office to pick up the parcels I missed yesterday, and called at the jewellers.
There, I scrapped in two gold medallions. Although the price of gold has gone down it is still high compared to a few years ago. As a result I got more for the medallions as scrap than I had been trying to obtain as a retail price when I last went to an antique fair.
If only all profits were that easy.
As I prepared to leave a local collector entered the shop. I haven’t seen him for years so we spent half an hour catching up. He’s aged over the years, his beard has turned white and he’s a grandfather now. It was a bit like looking in the mirror, apart from the grandchildren.
I’m seeing more people from the past now that I’m getting round the shops and markets, but also finding that several have died, which is a bit of a shock.
We had a late lunch at Carsington Water after a dropping off Number Two son in Sheffield and taking a trip through the misty Peak District. There weren’t any decent photo opportunities, and when I did stop to try I ended up depressed by the fly-tipping in the lay-by.
View through the screen
Lunch would have been a bit earlier but the satnav disgraced itself by taking us into an Industrial Estate and trying to send us up a cul-de-sac. It’s not the first time.
I may have to rethink my newly found confidence in technology…
The meal, supposedly cheese and pickle sandwiches with a side order of chips, came with an unexpected extra – salad. It was excellent salad (better than the sandwiches if the truth is told) and to my surprise I quite enjoyed it. However, I can’t help thinking that there should have been more warning that the salad element was going to be more than a symbolic garnish. You have warnings for allergies and for Vegetarian and Vegan foods, why not a big green “H” for “Healthy”?
I appreciate that healthy is good, and that I have to alter my diet, but you can’t just spring it on me. The shock isn’t good for a man of my age.
The salad was crisp and full of flavour and the chips were crisp and tasty. There was plenty of tea in the pot. The sandwiches fell slightly short – the rocket garnish was good, the onion relish was good (though without the promised bite of chilli) and the cheese was OK, though it could have been a bit stronger without overpowering things. It was just a little disappointing that the bread was slightly dried out on the surface.
As for the birdwatching, we managed to avoid all the interesting birds that were listed on the board in the RSPB shop and I also missed a good photo of a male Reed Bunting.