Monthly Archives: March 2010

Rescue Me

Illustration Friday - Rescue

The topic for Illustration Friday this week is ‘Rescue’.  If you have Spotify this playlist goes with this post.

The first time I came across rescue remedy was in the recovery of a bird that had smashed itself into a window.  A friend, who is a vet and uses homeopathic remedies in his practice, was staying at the house.  He dropped some rescue remedy into the bird’s mouth and set it on its way again.  Now, I know birds do stun themselves and recover and this could never be described as a double-blind trial but it was suitably impressive.

In the world of Twitter, when there are ‘too many Tweets’ an image appears of a whale, fondly known as the #failwhale, being raised by little birds.  If Twitter is nearly dead there may be no image at all.  Perhaps there should be one to show that twitter is down, but being rescued.

There are reports that use of the internet, Twitter, et al are linked to depression; but is it cause or effect?  I wonder if anyone has studied the ‘group hug’ effect of media like Twitter, when you are having a bad day and someone sends you a picture, poem, music track, some wise or kick-up-the-pants words; do they help?  I hope they do, I like receiving them and am prone to offering them to other people.

In the meantime I hope the bird above makes a full recovery.

This poem may make you smile The Parrot:  A True Story.  I found it in my mother’s old school poetry book.  I wonder if it inspired the Monty Python team.

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Smoke gets in your eyes – Food Safari – Pinney’s Smokehouse

On Saturday I was with a friend in a party enjoying a Food Safari to Pinney’s of Orford and the Butley Oysterage.  The Food Safari concept is to experience food from production to consumption within a day. This was a great day out, so if you have the time to, read on; if you have Spotify here is a playlist to go with this post.

We started with Paddy and Scott’s coffee, accompanied by some of Polly Robinson’s (the founder of Food Safari) flapjacks at Pinney’s shop near the quay in Orford.  This was an opportunity to meet the others who would be taking part in the day.  We then set out by car and taxi to Butley Creek.  Harvey from Pinney’s has enthusiasm and knowledge that can only be gained by working hands on with a product for several years.  His insight into the highs and lows of the Pinney’s history as the founder’s entrepreneurship blossomed, failed and blossomed again with the changing economic climate in the second half of the 20th century was absorbing.  From dispatching the rabbits that were once abundant near the creek to the current oyster growing and harvesting old Pinney tried his hands at many things.

A day like this really comes into its own in the opportunity to actually be in the place where the food is grown, experience the freshness of the air, the emptiness of the landscape, the sight of the boats in the water and the scattering of empty shells on the side of the creek.

We then went into the shed where the dredged oysters are cleaned and made ready for sale.  The oysters are huge and surprisingly heavy; learning about the relative merits of the oysters here at Butley over their native cousins harvested over the border in Essex was fascinating.

For me the next stage was the most intriguing of all; the smoking.  The time taken to cold smoke the brined sides of Wester Ross salmon varies according the wind direction, moisture in the air, the amount the doors are opened or closed.  All judged by experience and adjustments made by regular visits.  This is not a highly industrialised process.  Before long we were passing around a cold yet smoking piece of green oak to smell the vapours rising.

Back at the oysterage restaurant we had a delicious plate of oysters, trout, mackerel, prawns, sprats and salmon with their lovely sweet mustard sauce all served with local Staverton wine, followed by warm cake deserts.

The between course entertainment was a demonstration and then a chance to carve smoked salmon and to shuck oysters.  If you have the chance do take part, there is nothing like giving it a go for yourself.

Huge thanks to Harvey and his team for their enthusiasm and knowledge and to Polly for putting the day together.

And if you need a little poem to finish the post….. go here

Eggs Pyred –#f450 – The Great East Swim

Illustration Friday - theme expire

The theme this week on Illustration Friday is ‘expired’.  In my mind was the image of all the chocolate people have given up for Lent, being burned on a pyre.  Earlier this year when I started my #f450 campaign to be fit for fifty I gave up a variety of foods; I did feel better for it and now stay off meat during the week.  The rest of the foods have crept in and my weight has stabilised at the new level.  I might have another bash at losing some more.  For now, I am hoping that swimming longer distances the weight will come off without the need for more dieting.

Today I completed the next block in my swim training.  That was a 600m crawl, continuous without breaks.  When I started this I could not complete one length in crawl so I am quite pleased.  However, I did terrify myself by watching part of the great swim TV programme on Chanel 4 this morning perhaps that spurred me on…….  The YouTube below is from last year’s Great East Swim; just remember to substitute the rather fit young people in it for a middle-aged woman!

Subterranean – Illustration Friday – By George what a fungi

Illustration Friday - Subterranean

The theme for Illustration Friday this week is ‘Subterranean’.  First, if you have Spotify please join me in the playlist to run alongside this post.  For those without Spotify the playlist in words is the first comment.

Every day I walk my dog down the lane where I live, I normally tweet about the weather, I believe I have become some people’s alarm clock.  Being a Jack Russell there is nothing the dog likes more than a good rabbit hole for a bit of a dig. At least I assume they are rabbit holes, I’ve read and seen Alice in Wonderland; who knows what mysteries lie beneath the soil?

My friend @goodshoeday asked me today which seasonal treat I was looking forward to most.   One of the treats for me is the arrival of the St George’s mushroom.  This arrives on St George’s day; but will it this year, with everything so late?

Google streetview has arrived in this distant outpost, do not be concerned by the three-legged lady though.  Gosia of the Over The Moon coffee stall, market square, Framlingham, spotted the triped first and it currently has front page billing at nearthecoast.

It’s all in the picture somewhere.

Brave or Foolish? Illustration Friday

Illustration Friday - Brave

The topic for Illustration Friday this week is ‘Brave’.

I was trying to find brave last words, when I came across the story of  Catherine Howard.  She was the fifth of those unfortunate souls who married Henry VIII and ended up loosing her head.  According to this account her last words, spoken on 13th February 1542 were “I die a queen, but would rather die the wife of Culpepper”. At the age of 18, pretty, uneducated and neglected; she was pursued by the besotted and by then fat, ugly King, who called her his ‘Rose without a thorn”. When he discovered her adulterous behaviour her lovers were executed and as she waited her fate she requested a block so that she could practice her execution.

Was she brave or was she foolish?

If you have spotify click here for a list of tracks to go with the post.  The playlist in words is in the first comment to this post.

Reflecting on the power of small things

This is stacking up to be an ‘interesting’ week.  Monday was a gorgeous day after the heavy rains on Sunday, we had clear air; the Suffolk landscape and particularly the skyscape was revealed in all its glory.  I took dozens of photographs of the skies reflected in the huge puddles I cheerfully splashed through on my bike to and from work.

Full of gusto on Tuesday I decided to cycle into Framlingham after work to do a spot of shopping, this being the first of the lighter, drier, evenings and trying to up my daily mileage to build stamina ready for the Great East Swim.  Then nearly into town, a puncture; the tyre went down almost instantly.  As I pulled into a driveway I went over the handlebars and landed on my chin; which is now 330066.  Five-to-five, so I attempted to push the bike to the cycle shop; which was closed when I arrived.  Then to Solar where at least there would be light and I changed the inner tube.  The new tube went flat as fast as it was pumped up; I had failed to spot the little bit of flint that had caused the damage.  In the end I was rescued by car and the bike is still in bits as I haven’t had the time to mend the two punctures.  Another 21 miles not cycled.

However, I am now reflecting on the power of small things.  That little bit of flint brought me down and changed my plans for several days.  Small things can make big changes after all.

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