Monthly Archives: August 2009

Who is Friday anyway?

I was going to post a comment on Angela Montague’s, (another blogger) post about Follow Friday, when I realised my comment would ramble on, beyond a polite length for a comment. For non Twitter readers, Follow Friday is a Twitter ‘thing’; on Fridays you post a message containing other users’ names, indicating that you have enjoyed their posts and encouraging others to follow them. Then the more I thought about it, the way you do when you repeat a word over and over, the more it took on other potential meanings.

So the classic Follow Friday – might be follow as in ‘travel behind’, but that seems a little passive, riding in the slip stream, rather than taking an active interest. Of perhaps, ‘go after’; but is that too active? Most twitterers dislike the association with a form of stalking. So how about, ‘come after’; that just seems like the person who turned up late for the party.

Then there’s ‘post date, or be later in time’; like Follow Friday isn’t as good as first out of the blocks Thursday, but is perhaps better than – sorry I’m late I’ll be there in a minute Saturday.

‘Adopt: choose and follow; as of theories, ideas, policies, strategies or plans’ – oouch potential evangelism or cult leadership, or brutal dictatorship; a world of chanting, posters and blind sycophancy.

‘Succeed: be the successor (of)’; so you put someone’s name up and suggest someone else takes their place with immediate effect; it won’t win you many friends.

In the finish there is Robinson Crusoe’s friend to consider, we may all end up doing several laps around that island if we choose to follow Friday.

There are more definitions for follow than I can shake a stick at; if you like a different source for definitions try this

I may keep my Follow Fridays short and sweet in future, this could blow my mind.


Harvest, season of mists, ironing and witches mirrors

The full industry of harvest arrived today. Most of the time in our little lane it is all peace and quiet; not a lot happens, so when something does it is worthy of comment. This morning, the lawn was covered in witches’ mirrors; dew covered spiders’ webs, a sure sign that harvest is upon us. When I was a child we used to collect the webs on pieces of looped grass, straw or thin twigs from the hedge to make witches’ hand mirrors. Of course we were all witches; you couldn’t see our reflections.

Just a few hours later, when the dew had dried off, the field behind the house became a hive of activity. A combine, trailer, baler, lorry, and bale lifter all arrived and a great speed the field was harvested, baled and cleared. The gap between the first and last picture is only 4 hours, during this time I ironed and thought back to harvest in my youth. It makes me feel about a hundred years old but things really have changed. My father went from dairy to arable/beef farming in the mid 60’s, in the Cotswolds an area much better known for its dairy than arable farming. The lanes around there are narrow and banked hedges rather than open verges mean that the size of equipment used here in East Anglia would still not be viable. Also, back then as children we could be employed as child labour blistering our hands on baler twine, and ripping our knees when stacking bales and because health and safety hadn’t been invented we were able to ride on top of the bales on the trailer back to the farm. The bales today are cleared within minutes; whereas we used to stack them

one day and if not finished, the children from the ‘other’ end of the village would destroy some of the stacks by making dens that evening, we would then have to restack before carting back home the next morning. Where now the farmer is hooked up to his Bluetooth and satellite my mum used to communicate with the field by hanging a bath towel out of the window of the farm (which sat on the hill above the fields) to indicate that lunch was on its way. I wonder if we can still describe rural England as bucolic.

What to do with Green Plums?

There was the phone call; ‘a branch of our plum tree has come down can you use green plums?’ Then a bit of research on t’internet which led to some interesting sites covering India, Persia and Japan in their influences:

First and most amusing was two recipes using green plums to make mango/lime chutney like pickles.

The first hot and sour the second sweet and sour. I have tried to interpret the recipes. I may have some problems; the hot and sour one keeps developing a surface mould. The sweet one; once the sugar was added, became very liquid and appears to be ‘working’, creating slight fizzing activity. I suspect both would have been enhanced by Indian sunshine rather than English humidity. I’ll let you know if a) I am poisoned b) they explode c) I recommend repeating the process.

Second was – wow the result was SOUR. I can see how it might work,

certainly add sugar or honey but overall perhaps our English plums were just too unripe or bitter.

Third, well; I’ll have
to wait and see the liquid is currently off brown,

but clear and I did put in plenty of sugar, so give it a few more weeks and it might be worth a try.

Post script added 20th September 2009 – Just tasted the Umeshu and decanted it into a bottle.  It is now clear, the colour of weak tea and tastes fantastic!

We caught crabs in Walberswick

Today I realised there was something urgent that I needed to do. D2’s boy friend was staying and we discovered that he hadn’t caught crabs. You cannot come to East Suffolk to stay and miss this experience, no matter how old you are.

When the children were younger this was the best value day out you could have. Back then, poking your head round the butcher’s door, [Ray Kent’s in Framlingham] and saying ‘crabbin’ would elicit free bacon scraps. The only equipment required is a bit of wood, a couple of heavy nuts and a length of line, a big bucket and if you are really posh a net. A short drive later and you can be parked up near the beach where the creek runs out into the sea.

The bridges are full of families learning the craft of crabbing. Team work, sharing, water safety, patience, all essential skills; as the crabs are caught, deposited into the bucket kept a while and then poured back down on the shore to start the whole cycle over again. These days you pay to park at the beach car park £3.00 for the day, but take a picnic and if like me you enjoy a swim it is a great beach for a really good salt water workout.

You can keep your amusement arcades, piers and theme parks. Walberswick, a pack of cheap bacon and picnic of salad bits from the garden and a few fresh rolls and you have bliss. Sunday 9th August is the British Open Crabbing Championship, so there is still time to get some practice in; ‘Tight Lines’.

Food Auctions– The country market

One of my indulgencies when I have time off is attending the local market at Campsea Ashe near Woodbridge, in Suffolk. When I first started attending this was a ‘proper’ auction market with cattle, pigs etc being brought in for sale. However, in recent years with the various diseases and changes in rules and regulations the majority of the livestock element has ceased. Now there is some dead stock (turkey, duck, chicken and gammon) a small amount of live poultry, some market stalls, a house clearance auction and my favourite the fruit and veg, sold by auction. Here a hardy tribe of Suffolk boys and gals, well above pensionable age auction items for a few pence to a few pounds.

There is witty banter, “who’ll give me 80p for a bunch of carrots – an’ they’re good ‘uns “

“Yuh goota be kidin Basil I ken get they in Tesco for 40p”

Of course we all know – a) you can’t b) these were pulled out of someone’s garden this morning or last night c) it’s all in the thrill of the chase. The challenge is also in snatching the definitive bargain, so people will refuse to raise the bidding above 40p if they think five minutes later they can get something for 30p. There is also the art of being the ‘under bidder’. This is the person

who helped raising the bids but stopped at the last minute. Where several lots of the same item are on sale and the winning bidder doesn’t take them all, the under bidder gets the second option. As the bids are called, small amounts of cash move from hand to hand across the hall; bags of tomatoes and bunches of carrots, gladioli and marrows weave their way from one part of the old pig stalls to another. Not all the items come from local gardens, some are the ‘run off’ from market traders who had stock left on a Sunday and don’t do a market on Monday so sack loads of over-ripe bananas can be had for a few pence too.

I made pints of tomato (40p a pound) sauce for the freezer, the carrots, cabbage, sweetcorn, cauliflower, were all used ‘as is’ during the week, the Sharron fruit (woppers 30p each) and avocadoes, kiwis were the basis for lunches and the peppers were turned into jars of roast pepper antipasti for sale, presents and home. The beetroot became part of a chocolate and beetroot cake.

Is it a bargain? – add in the travel, the cooking, the two or more hours out of your day…….. Of course it is; nothing in life is just about the money. I’ve been going here for over 20 years, some of the same faces are still there, buying and selling, ranting and bantering, I just wish I was free on a Monday more often.

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