Sunday, 21 October 2012

keep watching the skies

It would appear that acorns are going to be in short supply (as are apples) this year. Evidently that means lucky so-and-sos with gardens may see jays turning up looking for food. As our garden is so tiny, we'll not be blessed but I did see one fly in front of the car yesterday crossing from an oak tree on one side of the road to one on the other side. Always a pleasure to see.

Despite it being a beautiful autumnal day yesterday, the rain settled in during the early evening.  Today's a particularly dreary one.  We should be on half term break this week but for some reason there's still another week to go. Mrs Dave and I got married in the October half term break so we usually get to celebrate our anniversary during that week - obviously not this year. Thirty years is a long time* and every single one before this has been during half term break. It's a bit weird. Anyway, we'll obviously be celebrating it a week later this year. A few days in London and an opportunity to go to the Pre-Raphaelite exhibition at the Tate and we've finally got tickets for War Horse so it should be fun.

A path on Trimley Marshes
 A friend has just dropped a bag of quinces off so I need to decide what to do with them - they need a little longer to ripen fully so I've got plenty of time to think about it. Last week we were foraging for sloes.  We managed to find some really ripe ones at Trimley Marshes (TM 274358). Mrs Dave soon had them in a litre of gin and another bottle of sloe gin begins its unique journey. I, however, found hundreds of rosehips so made another load of rosehip syrup. I'm quite enjoying getting out and foraging for foodstuffs - I think I'll book onto a course next year. I still have no plans to eat really disgusting looking fungi. I mean, whoever thought that something that looks like that might be edible?  "Hmm, I'm really starving hungry. I wonder if that clump of disgusting-looking jelly fungus will taste nice?" Actually, I often wonder what on earth some people were thinking when they decided to try eating some of the things that are (supposedly) edible. Snails, for example.

I was off ill for a couple of days last week - I went home feeling awful and went straight to bed. I had a couple of days off which allowed me to catch up on some reading. More of that another time.  I began to feel a bit better and decided to go for a walk by the sea to "get a bit of colour in my cheeks" as my dear old mum used to say. When I got to the front I stood by a sign and looked both ways:

So from exactly the same spot I had the hyperreal beauty of Maxfield Parrish to my left and the apocalyptic horror of John Martin to my right. It was a strange week. It didn't actually rain but it was a very foreboding sky. It was very much like the storm on the mainland here. Well, without the possibility of jumping into a swimming pool and getting sunburnt, of course.

Anyway, I'd better go and do some cooking or something useful. For a change.

* thank you, yes, I know that's bleeding obvious

Saturday, 6 October 2012

goat your own way

A late night out last night with a few more glasses of ale than are strictly necessary meant a tentative waking this morning.  The crab curry was wonderful, though. However, I felt better than I deserved to.  I awoke much as many of you did too, I'm sure, to a wonderful sunny day - almost a brief Indian Summer after all the rain of the last few days.

Still, it is officially Autumn and that means listening to Sandy Denny come rain or shine.

A Martello Tower by the Links

Mrs Dave and I walked up to the Ferry this afternoon in the warmth of the early autumn sun. I was tempted to buy some locally caught sea bass from my favourite fishmonger but we'd already done the shopping so perhaps I'll go back up later in the week.  We sat in the Ferry Boat Inn and had a glass of Woodforde's Wherry before wandering back home.  We had to get back by 6:30 as Strictly Come Dancing is back on and Mrs D has to watch that. We walked back past the Links (a golf course near the sea) that M. R. James mentions in Oh, Whistle And I'll Come To You My Lad and near a couple of  Martello Towers still defending our coast. There were a lot of fishermen out today - we watched a Mackerel being caught. There were a few sailing boats out as well as two hardy souls in kayaks - we haven't managed to get wet suits yet otherwise we may have been out there, too.

As the sky grows darker a more autumnal feel grows, too.  Suddenly, Sandy Denny seems more appropriate.  Tomorrow should be another nice one and I'm torn between getting the little foot ferry over to Bawdsey to do a bit of foraging or drive over to the Cold War Museum that I've just found out about. It's always so exciting around here.

Bawdsey Manor
 Bawdsey Manor was where Radar was developed by Robert Watson-Watt et al and they have a museum there which you can only go to on certain days in the year.  The last one was 9th September so I'll have to wait until next year now to go to the exhibition. It must be great living in large towns and cities where you can see things all year round.  As soon as I get an interest and think about going to a museum I have to wait half a year by which time I've forgotten about it.  After reading Francis Spufford's wonderful The Backroom Boys, I've got a real interest in going to see this sort of stuff.  Ah well.

We're having a very quiet weekend at home. We were supposed to be out camping with the Duke of Edinburgh kids this weekend but not enough of them could get it together to go this weekend. I said that we need to remind them what a fantastic weekend this would have been if it's cold, miserable and raining when we finally get to go in (probably) November.  Their loss.

Despite a poorish summer, we're still harvesting tomatoes and I managed to pick these fine specimens this morning (the ones in front).  There are still loads of green ones out there - we can't possibly make any more chutney as we have a cupboard full of the stuff. Talking of food, I finally managed to source some goat meat last weekend. We also bought a new slow cooker in an attempt to be more organised.  Actually I think it's a cunning plan by Mrs Dave to get me to prepare food so that we eat earlier during the week.  Still, I made a fantastic goat curry on Tuesday that had been cooking very, very slowly for about ten hours.  It was wonderful.  Why more people don't eat goat in this country continues to amaze me. Evidently the company that I bought it from can't source it from Suffolk and get it from Spain. Jokingly, Mrs Dave suggested that perhaps that's our plan B - leave teaching and start raising goats? Hmm . . .