Friday, 25 July 2014

Coot Club Forever!

You won't be hearing from me for a few weeks - it's that time of year when we head east for happy holidays, ginger beer and ice cream. Same old, same old and we absolutely love it. This will give you a bit of a flavour of what floats our boat - I remember watching this after school and I am chuffed to bits you can buy it on DVD. Check out Sam Kelly as the kindly pike fisherman - how I would love to be in the gang with those Death & Glory boys!

Monday, 21 July 2014

More tea Vicar?

I know I do it and have gone and done it again............I am a sucker for quality packaging and if done correctly I do get sucked in......more often than not for the better I might add! Good old Miles Tea got me the other week. I only popped in to the wonderful village stores in Cerne Abbas for a bit of tucker to keep me going on my evening fishing trip when I caught sight of the delightful box below. Now I am a lover of tea in leaf or bagged form and will rarely deviate from the teas of Clipper, but this brew from Miles is a good pantry back up.

I drink an inordinate amount of tea in a day and even better if it is taken as in the above photograph from my favourite 1960's Portmeirion mug...........such simple pleasures to help keep things on an even keel. More tea Vicar?

Friday, 18 July 2014


It's no use going to the river with a plan in your head as it invariably doesn't work out - my plan was to cosy up in the woods and look down on huge carp hoovering up my bait and all being well my first river carp of the season would be in the net. I can hear the trad amongst you wince at these tactics - carp on a river, an iconic river like the Avon too - how dare he!

The omens were good too - on my drive over I spied a Red Kite whirling over the eastern edge of Cranborne Chase so I couldn't possibly fail.

A first outing in about ten years for the old B.James MKIV Avon too, a treasured family heirloom that I had actually forgotten was lurking at the back of the rod rack. It once looked like a chimney sweeps brush until some magic was done by the mighty Edward Barder in the 1990's and now it is as good as, if not better, than new.

You can rest easy, the carp didn't happen. I got side tracked by some enormous chub and whoever said chub were stupid and the first fish to eat anything thrown at them needs to think again. In fact the Germans call them blockheads, but I don't think they meant it in a derisory way and there was nothing dim witted about these bullish fellows. I found a delightful pot hole in the river bed where chub to over 6lbs were ghosting around. My feed of hemp certainly got them going along with a nice barbel or two and it was just a case of casting out my hemp juice steeped spam and they would be mine!

This part of the plan didn't work out either. Although I did catch six chub to about 4lbs or so, the big 'uns were as wily as foxes. The pot hole was like looking into an aquarium of gin, so clear that polaroid glasses were not required. They spat out my spam and generally viewed everything with the utmost suspicion.

It does add to the mystique that you don't get everything you wish for first time round, so let's wait until the next time and possibly a few times after that, but even so, what a lovely way to spend an evening! 

Friday, 11 July 2014

Friday Ditty Pt 7

You get a double dose this week! It doesn't get much better than this - the mighty Electric Prunes........enjoy your Friday!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

How rude!

Phallus impudicus

I could smell this specimen long before I clapped eyes on it - it really is a foul stinker! A rather rude shroom known as the common stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus). When I walked past it again later it was covered in flies. The flies are what carry the spores about - the olive coloured head of this specimen is no more as the flies have done their worst. Believe it or not they eat this in France when it is young - haven't quite got round to it yet myself.................nor likely to in the future. I just don't fancy it. Has been known also as: Witch's egg, Pricke mushroom, Hollanders workingtoole, Phallus hollandicus - take your pick as they all imply rudery.

Phallus impudicus

Psathyrella hydrophila

Monday, 7 July 2014

On the cusp!

We are at that time of the year when all of a sudden we will be hit with a glut - it creeps up on you, but you know it's coming! We got going in the greenhouse early this year and have been rewarded over the last few weeks with our first tommies (Sungold), cucumbers, salad and herbs. 

The Captain put about nine different varieties of spuds in the veggie patch and we are already getting stuck into the first early planting of Lady Christl - don't ask me what the others are (not my department) but I do know we have Home Guard and Pink Fir Apple somewhere in the bed. I get told to dig!

The raspberries need picking twice a day, strawberries still coming, plums and apples firming up nicely, chillies and peppers coming along and courgette too.............there's a long way to go, but we are ready for pickling, jamming, brewing and preserving if we can't eat any straight away! The preserving pan has already seen action with the first batch of redcurrant jelly and a huge amount of jumble berry vodka (every red berry!) is on the go for the festive season. We are on the cusp of plenty and enjoying it very much!  

Friday, 4 July 2014

Don't forget the beer, dear

A bonus as a result of our little jaunt back up to the Cotswolds was that I was able to get a little supply of some beers from one of my favourite breweries. Not just a bit of old nostalgia, as this beer was drunk during halcyon days, but it is very fine indeed. So fine that all their beers would be in my Top 10. Praise indeed!

The Donnington Brewery is one of life's treasures - beer as beer should be and brewed in one of the most stunning locations beer could ever be brewed in. Just outside Stow-on-the-Wold by a lovely millpond where water is drawn from a spring. I remember, quite a few years ago now, popping in to ask if the brewery could supply the beer at our wedding reception and was given an impromptu guided tour and tasting by Claude Arkell who ran the brewery until his death in 2007. It was like stepping back in time - my sort of place with floors that creaked, fixtures and fittings that were not just pleasing to the eye, but were just right and not a computer in sight. Lovely to be reacquainted with it again - cheers!