Tag Archives: tea

Matlock and Macaroons

We had a good day today, as I said in the previous post, despite the rain.

It started with a breakfast at McDonald’s, which I view as a treat when taken in moderation. I didn’t bother to tell Julia that I’d had one after yesterday’s blood test in case she went all diet-conscious on me.

After that we moved on to a doughnut and a cup of tea at Sainsbury’s in Matlock. Julia resisted the doughnut and just had tea, but I was in a relaxed holiday mood. We didn’t actually stop for tea, it’s just that I have a Pavlovian response to seeing a teapot. We actually stopped because my breakfast tea had worked its way through. This tea and toilet cycle was to be a feature of the day.

Next stop was Bakewell, which was the point of the day. We were looking for a birthday present for Julia’s sister and an internet search had located the item we needed in Stone Art in Bakewell. You may recall that we went there some time ago and bought a pendant for Julia. This time we bought a pendant for her sister. Pendants are good for presents – no need to know a finger size and no need to know if someone has pierced ears.

I had checked my bank balance when we were in Sainsbury’s, so I was able to do the decent thing and secure a pendant for Julia.

She, as you can see from the header picture, responded by buying coconut macaroons. She also bought a Bakewell pudding, but there is less comedy potential in a Bakewell pudding.

We paused to take the customary pictures of the locks on the bridge, and the trout under the bridge before crossing the river to the car park, which is where the previous post starts. Sometimes I confuse myself with all the time shifts, but I wrote these two posts in order of how much the events annoyed me, and it’s much easier to get annoyed about closed toilets than it is about buying jewellery.

We got caught behind a wide load coming down the Via Gellia and the satnav picked a peculiar route through Matlock on the way back. I hadn’t used it on the way to Bakewell and was only using it on the way back because I hadn’t switched it off after using it to get to the bookshop. It doesn’t seem to know there’s a by-pass these days.

Finally, back at home, we found a letter from the anti-coagulant service – I have four more weeks until the next blood test, having hit the target again. This is good news, particularly for my inner elbow, which was starting to get quite tender.

We then had seafood linguine and Bakewell pudding and custard for tea. Julia did the cooking and Number 2 son did the washing up.

All in all, an excellent day. And I still have material for another post.

 

 

 

 

Reading, Writing, Researching, Reviewing…

Easter Sunday, being one of the two days of the year when the shops close, is the perfect guilt-free day for catching up on things I want to do. There are no launderettes, no shops and no garden centres to reproach me for my lack of activity. I do experience a slight twinge of guilt at not going to church, and it does bother me that Julia has to work, but a sit down with a nice cup of tea usually helps me get over it.

Today was similar, as we both decided to block out the weather and watch poor quality TV. Or, to be more accurate, we decided to block out the weather and watch the only TV that was available.

It’s a bit like junk food, sometimes it’s just what you need.

I’ve been using it to do some reading, as I don’t seem to have done much reading recently. I’ve also looked some things up and taken photos of book jackets ready to do a bit of reviewing.

What I haven’t done over the last two days was much writing. I think the cause of this lies in potential – as I prepare, the whole world of blogging is out there, waiting for my masterpiece.

Once it’s written it’s just one more slightly disappointing post.

 

Improvement at last!

The cold finally started to improve yesterday. I started to write a post on that subject, found inspiration came slowly and, eventually, fell asleep in my chair. Waking at just after midnight I humphed at missing a day on the blog and went to bed.

The clock went off this morning, waking me from a dream where Julia and I were about to embark, as newly-weds, on an academic career at an American University in the 1940s. I think I was vaguely remembering something I’d read in the biography section of a poetry book recently, probably about Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath, but as I’m not from Yorkshire and we don’t have a gas oven it’s not a 100% fit.

Julia is now at work, I’m feeling optimistic about my prospects for the day and I now have approximately eight hours ahead of me in which to achieve either greatness or inner peace, or possibly both.

A cup of tea seems like a good starting point for either of those results, so I think I’ll go and put the kettle on.

The photograph is from the Suffolk trip, but it has tea in it so it will do as a library shot.

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Selfie in a teapot

 

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.