Tag Archives: tea

Scone Chronicles XXX

It’s definitely time to move away from Roman Numerals.

XXX is quite a good number  but it begins to get a bit unwieldly after that, particularly as I’m not quite sure how to handle 40. Is it XXXX or is it XL? It’s XXXX according to my old History teacher, who told me that this was the classic way, and that the subtraction style was a newer method. For “newer” think less than 2,000 years. It’s XL according to this chart, but even this chart can’t make 50 – 54 look good. (That’s L – LIIII, in case you were wondering).

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Oat and Raisin biscuit, tea, walking stick and my leg. Not my best work. Yes. it was a big biscuit.

The “scone” today is an oat and raisin biscuit eaten in the outside area at Carsington Water. We ate in the outside area so I could throw crumbs on the floor to attract sparrows. I was that desperate for a bird photograph. The results were, as you can see, not good. Most of the shots featured an empty space, half a bird, a blurred bird or a bird with its eyes shut. Of all my bird photos, and there have been some horrors, I don’t recall “eyes shut” being a problem before.

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Male Hose Sparrow Carsington Water

There is a reasonably good restaurant at Carsington Water but it’s upstairs and it’s enclosed. They would probably take a dim view of me throwing crumbs on the floor, and even if I did, the sparrows are unlikely to find their way in. Anyway, after a large breakfast we didn’t need another meal.

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Female Hose Sparrow Carsington Water

There is an RSPB Shop and a charity shop there. In the charity shop we bought a couple of books – a vegetarian cook book for Julia and a history book for me. It’s the diaries of an Olympic rower in the Great War. The title, Kelly’s war : the Great War diary of Frederick Kelly, 1914-1916 tends to give the game away. I am not expecting a happy ending.

 

Hasselback Potatoes – the Final Photograph

This, at last, is the final photograph. The potatoes don’t look too bad, though I’ve never really mastered the art of making food look good in photos. The stir fried sprouts and broccoli look, to be honest, burnt, but they were actually very tasty. The other, orange, bits were roast carrots and sweet potatoes. The pink bits are gammon.

That’s all for now. I’m just in and need a cup of tea and a warm fireside.

 

The Scone Chronicles XXIV

We took a short ride out on Friday, just to blow a few cobwebs away. I even remembered to take the camera with me.

After breakfast and a couple of errands we swung out to Lincoln to have a look at Whisby Garden Centre. It’s looking a bit threadbare, the butcher has gone and a lot of book covers in The Works are curling due to damp.

On the other hand the staff are friendly, the place has character and I was able to east scones whilst sitting by a wood burning stove and looking out of the window at a duck pond.

We’ve drifted off course this year – with fewer piers and fewer scones than originally intended. That’s partly my fault as I’ve not done enough planning, and partly circumstances – including Julia’s time on jury duty.

If I had to be honest I’d have to say it was mainly down to me because I’ve not felt like walking much, and I don’t like the south-east, where we have to go in search of piers if we are going to be serious. Our last pier expedition was to Wales and the North West and the walk round Llandudno really struck home. There is a lot of difference between this year’s trip and the one we took before all the trouble started.

But, as a Victorian novelist would say, I digress.

The subject is scones. At Whisby we had tea and scones and, as I mentioned earlier, were able to sit with one side facing a duckpond and the other side being nicely warmed by burning logs.

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Not sure what she’s looking at, but she seems worried by something behind me. Note the scarf – it was a birthday present.

If I ever have grandchildren they will probably read this one day in absolute horror. And it won’t be at my deplorable writing style because grammar will have died by then and spelling will have been replaced by predictive text and American spellcheckers. See here for a note on American spelling.

Did my grandfather really burn fossil fuel and choke a nation just to go for a scone? And did he really kill a tree just to get warm? That’s before they get to the point of wondering why anyone would want to eat a scone, which will be seen as a dangerous fat and sugar delivery device.

The answer is yes, and I enjoyed it. Though I would have enjoyed it more if they’d baked it at a lower temperature to avoid the crust, and if they hadn’t sprinkled it with icing sugar – it isn’t necessary.

Scone Chronicles XXI

It’s a bit late, but if we go back a while I can pull in a very nice afternoon snack and re-use some Puffin pictures.

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Puffin at Bempton – Sad-Faced Clown Contemplating a Life Devoid of Eccles Cakes

At the end of our second trip of the year to Bempton Cliffs we decided to see if there was room at the cafe. It had been quite crowded on the first visit but was slightly better this time, despite the presence of two coaches in the Car Park.

I just suggested a cup of tea, and asked a lady if we could share her table. As a result, my conscience is clear. It was Julia’s idea to buy the Eccles Cakes, and all the damage done to my weight control plan is a direct result of her dietary delinquency.

 

I like Eccles Cakes. They are available in supermarkets all over the country and they are crammed with dried fruit, sugar and fat. As they have dried fruit they must be full of fibre and vitamins too. What’s not to like?

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Puffins at Bempton – eyeing Up my Eccles Cakes

My all time favourite is the Sad Cake. My grandmothers made Sad Cakes. They are like Chorley cakes but more pastry and less fruit. The Chorley cake link includes information on Sad Cakes. I used to make them when we visited. I also used to make Rock Buns. I was quite handy in those days. I really must start baking again.

Eccles cakes are probably more palatable but sometimes it’s the association rather than the actual food that makes things a favourite.

There are many variations on the fruit, flour and fat theme. These include Welsh Cakes, Shrewsbury Cakes and Blackburn Cakes. To be honest, despite having lived in Blackburn I’d not heard of that one until this evening. It was a footnote on one of the links and is, it seems, stewed apple in a pastry case. Sounds like a pasty to me.

Anyway, the tea was good, the Eccles cakes were good, the company was good, the clifftop sea breeze was good and the Tree Sparrows and Jackdaws were fun to watch. A Jackdaw can fit a lot of bread in its beak. Five big pieces torn of the edges of sandwiches by the kids on the neighbouring table.

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Jackdaw at Bempton Cliffs

 

A Day Off

I say day off, but it wasn’t quite as clear cut as that.

We started with laundry. This was Julia’s idea – she thinks that the kids need clean laundry for their foreign adventures. I agree with her on that point. I do, however disagree that we should be doing it. Neither of them are working at the moment, as they are both flying out this week, so they have plenty of time to do their own laundry.

Despite this, we were able to enjoy a freshly-cooked bacon cob at the cafe down the road, before we returned to the launderette to do the drying.

We went to the jewellers after taking the washing home, cadged a couple of cups of tea and had two watches fitted with new batteries.

After then had a late lunch at Frankie & Benny’s. They charge £2.39 for a cup of tea. I was expecting a pot for that price. Not only that, but it’s served as a cup of hot water and a teabag, so you don’t even get properly made tea. You need boiling water for tea.

They are having some problems, with closures and redundancy, I’ve been told. I’m not surprised. If their grasp of business is as good as their grasp of tea making they are in deep trouble.

No photos again today, but at least it’s a slightly less depressing post. I’m planning our next holiday now. It’s likely to include piers and scones, so watch this space.

Dentist tomorrow.

Into each life some rain must fall, as Longfellow said.

 

 

 

 

Scone Chronicles XVII

We went to Harlow Carr yesterday but decided not to repeat either the scones from the garden or the cost of the main tearoom.

I couldn’t get all the way down to the bottom of the garden this time, as going downhill (I refer here to my direction of travel, rather than in my accelerating physical decline), is tricky with a bad knee. So I returned to sit near the sycamore key sculpture.

As I sat, a robin played hide-and-seek and a blackbird perched on a dead tree turned it up to Number 11.

Here I eavesdropped on several bizarre conversations (which may have been more mundane if heard in their entirety) and waited patiently, taking a few photos, as Julia went to fetch tea.

Eventually she returned, and placed a cup of tea on the bench next to me. Then she sat down next to me and we talked of robins, rhubarb and whether she had anything in her bag. Knowing her as I do, it seemed unlikely she’d been to a tearoom and not purchased comestibles.

She had done us proud, with a pair of Fat Rascals.

Yes, make all the jokes you like. They are rock cakes with spice. My Mum made them like this for years. Betty’s claim them as a traditional recipes, add cherries, nuts and a daft name and suddenly a legend is born!

They were very nice. They were even better with butter (though the butter pat was a bit chunky and needed slicing rather than spreading.

Of all the things I’ve eaten in the Scone Chronicles, this was the tastiest. It was also the best dining experience. No sticky tables or dirty cutlery here!

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Fat Rascal at Harlow Carr

Still no pictures, Julia pointed out that the netbook actually does have a USB port, but when I connected the small camera, with yesterday’s card, the computer refused to cooperate.

I’m beginning to hate this bloody netbook…

As you may have noticed I can now add photos…

 

Surprise, surprise!

Earlier this week we had a telephone call. For once it wasn’t about “rare coins”, it was about rare baknotes. Proper, rare, banknotes.

White £5 notes are reasonably common, particularly from the 1930s to 1950s. From the 1890s they are quite rare, and the caller had discovered several in a tin when sorting through the effects of a deceased relative. They had left him several white Bank of England fivers and another from the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Banking Company.

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£5 note – Nottingham & Nottinghamshire Bank 1897

Obviously, the tin had rusted a little over the last 122 years, and was too small to fit a banknote in without scrunching it up. Hopefully, with a little work and gentle pressing, they will look a bit better next time you see them. No matter how much work we do on them, we won’t be able to close up the holes, but that’s so often the way – rare notes but poor condition.

It was an interesting end to the day.

Earlier, I’d dropped Julia off at the garden and taken some mint to work. My stomach hasn’t really recovered from the events of last week, but several cups of mint tea seem to have produced a positive result.

 

My co-worker is troubled by the use of the words “mint tea” to describe boiling water poured on mint leaves. I know this because he brought the subject up several times. I actually checked it up. If you look up “tea” the internet tells you it’s a brewed drink using the leaves of Camellia sinensis. Look up “mint tea” and it tells you it’s a drink made from pouring boiling water on mint leaves. You can, of course, also call it a herb tea or a tisane.

Or you can get a life.