Tag Archives: tea

Me, Mirth and Merriment

I went shopping this afternoon – a few groceries for Number One son as a hint that it was time to go back, and a few bits for the kitchen. And tea. By some oversight we had run out of tea, and I can’t settle knowing that Julia is likely to make that Indian spiced stuff that she likes and which I consider has no place in civilised society. I know that India has produced great philosophies and mathematics, and Mahatma Ghandi, but I’m sorry, I don’t consider them sound on matters of tea.

For those of you who are thinking of pointing out that India virtually invented tea may I just point out that the English invented football. It doesn’t mean we’re any good at it.

The car park was fuller than normal, a state of affairs which also applied to the shop.

Large numbers of resentful looking men were trailing round the shop muttering rude words at their partners whilst feral children stalked the aisles and trolley rage seemed to simmer, barely under control.

This did not bring out the best in me, and I was thinking evil thoughts, including wondering about the practicality of disemboweling a curly-haired tot with my reading glasses, when a wave of good humour rolled over me.  This is not normal. It hardly ever happens, and certainly not at Christmas, when the spirit of Scrooge stalks the badly heated rooms of my draughty hill top domain.

I looked at the couple arguing over the wife’s choice of  cheese and thought how lucky I was that we could afford all three of the varieties she was looking at. We would, of course only eat two of them before the third matured into a new variety of blue cheese (in our fridge even Stilton goes mouldy), but that, in a way. is even luckier, as we have lots of cheese and the thrill of playing botulism roulette.

After that I was on a roll, to the point of being quite charming and enjoying a laugh with several ladies in the checkout queue. When I mentioned this to Julia she muttered something about it not being the first time I’d provoked mirth in a woman.

There was something in her tone I couldn’t quite place…

 

A Weekend of …er…nothing much

Got home just after 6am (after dropping Julia off at work, not after a night on the tiles!) and after a few Amazon reviews, a trawl of the internet for birthday presents (I have no idea, she won’t give me a clue and the day is looming), looking at the blogs of a couple of my new followers and a diversion into Avro Lancasters, I now find it’s 9am. Where does the time go?

Yesterday started with breakfast, dropping Julia off at work, taking stuff to the charity shop and going to a meeting. I’m helping someone launch a range of Jamaican seasoning, and this involved having another breakfast to test the recipe for his new omlette. It includes chilli, and has a definite wake-you-up quality.

Home for lunch. This was a cup of tea and a mournful look at the fridge as I decided that two breakfasts meant no lunch. I am dieting, and not enjoying the experience.

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Nice cup of tea

In the afternoon I compiled a list of Farmers’Markets in a 40 mile radius and may, possibly, have drifted off for a few minutes due to the sheer thrill of listing. The defining features of Farmers’ Markets seem to be that the website must be out of date and the contact details unavailable.

Then I picked Julia up from work, shopped, moaned about the price of things, fitted a cover to the car windscreen to ward off frost, made tea and toasted crumpets. It’s autumn after all, and you need to keep yourself warm and cheerful.

We re-heated a beef casserole I’d prepared earlier in the week and served it with red cabbage and kalettes. I like kalettes, they don’t take much cooking. they taste good and they are bursting with goodness, or so the website claims.

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Picture of kalettes from last year. I do have a beef casserole photo but it shows brussels, not kalettes, and potatoes, which I’m no longer eating.

After that I blogged, watched poor quality TV (including Strictly Come Dancing), suggested that we should go to tango lessons (I’ve always fancied myself as a smouldering Latin tango dancer, despite all the evidence to the contrary – lack of rhythm, two left feet and suspiciously Anglo-Saxon colouring),  made more tea, ate a supermarket panna cotta that was crammed with sugar and additives, downloaded Kindle books and, finally, went to bed.

There was, as you can probably guess from my anti-frost precautions, no frost.

I hate it when that happens.

And that brings us back to the top of the post. It’s 10 am now and an hour has gone into writing, and re-writing, a post about where my time goes.

After looking for a couple of stock photos to illustrate this post I’ve decided to do another post about my favourite photos, but first I’ll probably do one about Armistice day.

After that I’ll heat up the beef casserole for lunch and cook most of the food for next week.

Then I’ll wash up.

I do hope all this excitement doesn’t wear me out.

 

 

More from Stoke

After a look found the shopping village, and a disappointing look round the Portmeirion shop we stuck another postcode in the satnav and set off for Dudson. (The shopping village postcode is ST4 8JG if you want it, and Dudson ST6 2BA). Dudson is mainly hotel ware and the shop can be quite good for cheap mugs. Julia bought a teapot to replace the one she bought last year, which is now chipped.

We passed Moorcroft on the way, but didn’t have time to stop (ST6 2DQ). Then it was time for Middleport (where I took most of the photographs. It’s the pottery where they shot The Great Pottery Throw Down. That’s ST6 3PE if you’re planning a trip. I’m not particularly keen on their factory shop, but they do other things too, including a narrow boat which used to carry clay from Cornwall and take finished pots to the port of Liverpool. Canals must have been wonderful things at one time.

I had to check how the canals brought clay to the Potteries, as there is no canal from Cornwall. It seems they used to bring them in via various places – first shipping the clay up to Liverpool and Hull before bringing it closer by river, then using packhorses for the last bit. You can see how the canal must have made things much easier. With the canal you can bring clay from either port to a wharf alongside the pottery.

The tearoom is quite good (though we didn’t eat this time, still being full of breakfast). It seemed a bit over-staffed for the business if was doing (three staff to six customers) and wasn’t as clean as it could be – a problem when you have an old building and tables made of old planks. There could be a solution to both problems – get the spare staff cleaning!

After failing to find anything in the factory shop we popped a hundred yards down the road to William Edwards. No postcode needed – it’s next door to the last one. Julia was happy because she bought a square plate. It seems that we need a square plate. I suppose it’s easier for sandwiches and Battenburg cake.

That left us with just one errand to do – looking for a Christmas present from Portmeirion. There are three Portmeirion shops in Stoke, which was a good thing, as the first one had been disappointing. I stuck in one of the other postcodes and we ended up at the old Phoenix Works, which was a place we’d been before. It solved the problem and produced the necessary christmas present. ST3 1EZ, for those contemplating a visit.

 

A Day With Few High Points

I’ve just spent several minutes trying to remove an unwanted comma from a piece of work. It’s frustrating when you can’t get a computer to do what you want it to do.

It was even worse when I realised the “comma” was a mark on the screen. Laptop screens seem to attract more detritus than the screens on ordinary computers.

That’s been one of the highlights of the day.

The second was my blood test. The blood was not flowing well today and it felt like they were having to dig it out. When they removed the needle it suddenly decided to flow. Fortunately it hit the chair arm rather than me. Having changed specially for the visit I was glad that it didn’t go on my clothes.

It seems I passed the blood sugar test two weeks ago. Unfortunately I had a phone call from the anticoagulant service this afternoon to tell me that things had not gone so well. I need to go down for testing again next week: they do that when things don’t go well.

The final high point was sitting in a chair making demands for constant hydration (tea). Number One Son is back from Portugal and has been working well with the kettle. He even put a couple of sausages and some beans together for a light lunch.

I had to pay for this attention by listening to his views on nutrition and where my diet is going wrong. As his first degree is in Sports Science, including nutrition, he has the moral high ground.

Apart from that, I just sat here gently recovering and shouting at the television.

The Week in Brief and the Bookshelf Principle

Just catching up on a few things from the

On Wednesday we visited Dave for a Quercus meeting. It was a cheerful time despite the sadness of winding everything down. Once we’d poured the tea, passed round the cake  and discussed our health we watched the Tour of Britain on TV.

Nobody would mistake us for racing cyclists, but it was going round North Nottinghamshire and we were trying to spot places we knew. They had been sprouting yellow bikes and parking restriction notices for weeks so we knew where it was going. I had thought of going out to take photos but I fought off the temptation.

Although it was obviously sad for the participants it was also funny to see two cyclists disqualified for riding on the pavement.

The same could be said of the crash, as they came round a corner in Retford to find that a man with a Blue Badge had parked his car in the way. I am sorry for the rider who was injured, and the others who fell, both for the pain and the waste of all their preparation. However, I’d be lying if I said that it wasn’t also funny to watch, even if there was something evil about my amusement.

It’s also an example of a disabled driver parking somewhere despite the danger. People seem to think that possession of a Blue Badge or the use of hazard warners mean they can park anywhere.

On Friday morning I saw a convoy of silver grey Rolls Royces in the mist, some with consecutive personalised number plates. There were ten of them, which tends to suggest that there is big money in the funeral business. It must have been a big family to need ten cars.

Later on Friday I found myself in Retford, thinking that it might be worth looking at the accident site to see if there was any broken glass left. I’m sure it would have sold on ebay. Unfortunately my mind works on the bookshelf principle and I didn’t hold on to the thought.

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Do I need to title this “Bookshelf”

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the bookshelf principle, imagine a well-filled bookshelf with no ends. When you put another book on the shelf one falls off the end.

We used to use it (semi-jokingly) when coaching kids at the rugby club. Some of them had very short shelves and even a piece of litter blowing past could trigger sensory overload. As I’ve aged, I’ve begun to notice that my bookshelf has become shorter.

And that was how, when I saw someone I knew on the market, the ebay idea dropped off the end of the shelf.

Sometime this week I also published my 900th post, I think it was Friday but I sort of lost count. Or dropped another book…

Derbyshire goes Downhill

Having successfully taken photos of Wingfield Manor we cut up through Crich, noted the crowds at the Tramway Museum and discovered the Crich Memorial was closed. Looking at the website on my return I found it is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. I didn’t know that.

In Matlock we noticed crowds in the paddling pool and on the boating lake, A hula hoop, if thrown at random, would have dropped round two or three people, more if you;d aimed at the ice cream queue. The cricket club and football club were both open for use as parking at £3 for the day. That’s very reasonable – at Nottingham RUFC we used to charge £5 for football parking because we were close to Nottingham Forest. It makes a useful contribution to club funds. I notice that the football club charges spectators £10 to watch. Seems like a lot of money. but maybe I’m biased. I’m sure it’s cheap by football standards but it seems like a lot for 90 minutes of semi-pro Level 7 football.

So, knowing that Derbyshire was likely to be crowded due to sun and school holidays we pressed on to Eyam, intending to visit Eyam Hall in the famous plague village.

As you may have been able to predict, both pathetically small car parks were full, street parking was difficult and the nearest public car park was too far away for a man with arthritic feet. We will go back later in the year (hopefully before the school holidays start in earnest) to have a look at the Craft Centre and the Tea Room. We might have a look at the historical and cultural bits if we have time between cakes and retail.

After a certain amount of random travel, failing to find convenient parking for photography and being hassled by lorries, we found the bookshop at Brierlow Bar (again). The tea, as you can see in the featured photograph was a nice, bright, orange colour, though the table was overburdened with foliage and the cafe as a whole was deficient in cake. If you look closely you can see Julia’s amber earings (as mentioned in a previous post) and her new amber necklace.

 

Creamless cream tea - TESCO Chesterfield

Talking of tea, we went home via Chesterfield, partly to avoid a long section of roadworks at Matlock and partly to go shopping. This isn’t really part of the travelogue, but I do want to record that TESCO’s cafe had no cream for the cream teas. They did offer squirty cream out of an aerosol as an alternative and  I tried not to let out an anguished cry. Judging by the reaction of people around me, I did not succeed.

 

The Epitome of Relaxation

I’ve just been to the doctor, which is not something to be undertaken lightly after my recent experiences. Fortunately I emerged with only mild embarrassment and a prescription for antibiotics and ointment.

I still look forwards to the day when I am allowed to keep my trousers on. This was, unfortunately, not that day.

My reward was a nice quiet sit-down in the pharmacy followed by test of willpower (swallowing a large uncoated pill which I suspect of having veterinary origins).

I then sat down to watch a number of obnoxious people competing to be judged as best value B&B. I can understand why people would want to go on such a programme to boost their business. I can’t, on the other hand, see why anyone would want to go on national TV to reveal themselves as the reincarnation of Lucretia Borgia.

Juli just returned from the hairdresser looking gorgeous. She has just changed because her last one, where she’d been going for 10 years, rang her to say they had closed down. Fortunately a new one has just opened round the corner, and it seems to be good. They will even shave my head for £6, which isn’t bad when you consider the contortions and safety aspects of doing it myself.

She just cooked beans on toast, with a garnish of sausage and bacon, plus a few mushrooms and some bubble and squeak (you have to remember the veg!).

Now I’m watching The Saint. it’s in colour and features Yootha Joyce and Tony Booth as Russian agents.

Soon it will be time to read a bit more, shout at some idiot quiz contestants and drink more tea.

Wife, tea, TV.

Does it get any better than this?