Posh Lunch – 16 April 2022

Another sunny day and we were being taken for lunch.

Wandered round the garden in the morning then Jamie drove us to Bury St Edmonds for lunch at Maison Bleu and what a lunch. Here goes!

Scamp: A Beetroot Gateau which really did look like a slice of Tipsy Cake.
Jamie & Simonne: Seared Isle of Orkney King Scallop, Chicken Wings, artichoke, Pancetta and Chicken Jus.
Me: Slow braised Beef Cheek, Lettuce Ravioli, Carrot Crisp Kohlrabi with carrot and Curcuma sauce.
Scamp: Isle of Gigha Halibut, celery gel, nori seaweed powder, fish sauce grilled leek and broccoli.
Simonne: Fillet of Aberdeen Angus beef, Maury wine sauce, Celeriac, Roscoff Onion Confit, Béarnaise espuma, and salt fermented celeriac.
Jamie: Roasted Balotine of saddle and leg of Rabbit, reduction sauce, shallot confit, Jerusalem artichoke and chervil.
Me: Roasted haunch of Breckland venison, Tornatore black olive sauce, black potato purée and parsnip.
Scamp: Pear with Honeycomb (which I’d have called Puff Candy).
Jamie & Simonne: Opera Gateau.
Me: My dessert was called, simply, Apple. It looked like a shiny red apple, but when you cut into it with a spoon it crunched like an old fashioned candy apple. Inside was an apple mousse.
We washed all the foregoing down with a bottle of wine which Scamp chose but Jamie chose instead to have a bottle of beer.

Really quite an excellent and very posh lunch. Many photos were taken of the food as befits foodies like us and many stories will be told about it in the future, I hope.

We had a gentle walk round the outskirts of the centre of Bury St Edmonds before Jamie drove us home where we sat in the garden and admired the sunset over the church. I found a miner bee digging in the grass at the back of the house. The first time I’ve seen one of those. The insects down south have been an eye opener for me.

PoD was a picture of the church taken when we arrived back at the house after our lunch.

Tomorrow we may be doing some gardening.

Doing the housework – 14 March 2022

Scamp was off to meet Isobel for coffee and I was staying home to brush the stairs.

I can see why Scamp didn’t want to do the job because all the dust might irritate her recently operated on eyes. There was quite a load of dust, dirt and general detritus lodged in the folds of the stair carpet and she was correct, the best way of tackling it was to get down on my knees and brush it out with a stiff brush. It took a lot longer than I anticipated and eventually I gave up using the shovel to hold all the grit and just brushed it into the middle of each tread, then used the portable Dyson to sook it all up. Then I started on the landing using the same technique, but it was much easier. No need to climb the north face of the Eiger as you scrub. Much easier on the flat. Soon it was all done.  One of the most delightful things today was walking barefoot up the stairs after they had been brushed and Dysoned.  The treads felt so soft and springy, it was worth all that work.

After that, and before Scamp returned, I started collecting the bits and pieces to go in the box with the Sony A7ii camera that was going to MPB. That’s the original Sony I bought in October 2020. It’s going to MPB to help pay for its younger brother who is working very hard for me every day. So many different cables, adapters, chargers and a massive brick of a manual that tells you nothing, but takes a long time to do it. Finally got everything collected and fitted into the box, just as Scamp came home and the rain came on.

After we had lunch and after I’d struggled with today’ Wordle puzzle, I was hoping to go out and find something other than frogs to photograph, but the rain stayed on. All afternoon it stayed on and eventually I put my boots on and went out for a walk. Knowing that I’d find something interesting … and I did. I was walking through a bit of mixed woodland behind St Mo’s park when I found a flower on a tree, then another couple. Not missing an opportunity like that I took a few shots. Then I saw what looked like a whole tree covered in white flowers. I think it’s either apple blossom or wild cherry (Gean) coming out a bit early. After about a dozen different photos I went for a walk down the avenue of trees and found a neat little larch flower with raindrops on it. Took a few photos of that too. That’s when the rain came on. It just got heavier and heavier. By the time I’d reached home I was ‘drookit’.

Scamp suggested Amatriciana which is Tomatoes, Bacon, Pinch of Chilli flakes, Onions and Pecarino cheese. It sounded like a plan and that’s what I made for dinner, served with Spaghetti. Long time since we’ve had that, but I hope it won’t be that long until we have it again.

After dinner while Scamp was reading I finished packing up the camera for the DPD driver to collect tomorrow. Wrote an email to Alex and confirmed Wednesday as a coffee meet-up with some of the Auld Guys.

PoD was a branch of those white Gean flowers that Scamp described as a flight of butterflies. I understand exactly what she means

Tea and coffee incoming tomorrow and cameras outgoing. Other than that, nothing planned, but I’m sure a walk will be squeezed in somewhere, possibly with photos.

It’s raining again – 3 January 2022

I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but hopefully there are better days ahead.

It might be that it’s just this dull time after the sparkle of Christmas and the fireworks of New Year (yes, there were fireworks still, despite Omicron). Now that we’ve exited the weekend and are back to what my dad used to call “Auld Claes and Purrich”. You’ve probably heard me talk about it before, but it really sums this month up. It’s all over for another year. This week the decorations come down, the tree is packed away and the Christmas cards are put into the recycling bin. It’s back to normal life.

With that gloom out of the way, what were we going to do with today? First thing was to cut some kale to add to the leftover yesterday’s soup. Put a little iron in your diet. It won’t do you any harm and it might just do you some good.

Next we changed the jolly Snowman tablecloth for a clean and lighter coloured one. That meant the computer could go back on the table and I could get some things ironed out that needed fixing. I did eventually get round to it, but it took a little (a lot) more time than I’d anticipated. It always does. By that time it was lunch time and the soup was ready.

After lunch I went out looking for some photo paper, but Tesco had none, in fact neither of the two Tescos had any photo paper. I got some heavyweight high quality paper that might do at a pinch, but I’m not sure it’s quite photo paper standard. We’ll see. I also bought another pair of cheap true wireless headphones. Skullcandy this time. My original TWH are losing their pairing ability and music jumping through my head from one side to the other is ok for Pink Floyd, but not for more gentle sounds and really, really distracting when you’re listening to YouTube videos. The sound from the Skullcandys is usually good, but these were cheap and so is the sound. Oh well, at least the music doesn’t jump through my head. While I was out I dropped by Broadwood Loch looking for a suitable PoD, but I’d left it a bit late and the sun was setting. A bunch of young gulls gave me a chance to use the long zoom lens on the A6000. Not brilliant, but with a bit of work, it looked not bad.

Back home I struggled further with the Lightroom Catalog Problem and got things working. All it needed was a night’s sleep last night and all the knots that were tying up the problem fell away and the problem was solved.

Dinner was three different types and colours of pasta shapes with a Carbonara sauce. Followed by the remains of yesterday’s apple pie served with custard. Perfect end to any meal.

No plans for tomorrow. The weather fairies say the North wind will blow and we may have snow and what will the robin do then, poor thing? Probably the same as us, have dinner and try to keep warm. The temp just now has just gone sub-zero and I’m off to bed. G’night.

The first day of a new year – 1 January 2022

A day when some people make resolutions they have no intention of keeping. I’ll cut out the middle man by not making any resolutions in the first place.

The day dawned quite bright then lost some of its early brightness. But then, surprise surprise, the brightness returned. Would we? Wouldn’t we go out for a walk? I said wait and see if it lasts, Scamp prowled round the living room like a caged beast and I eventually gave in and put my boots on. The irresistible force always beats the immovable object.

We walked over towards Broadwood Loch where we played our usual game of each taking turns at choosing a direction to go when there was an actual choice. Scamp chose first and her’s was an easy choice. Right would have meant a short walk and we weren’t doing short walks today because the sun was still shining and the day looked set for fair. Left it was and all the way along the side of the loch. She cheated a bit and made the second choice for me by declaring that the winding path through the woods would probably be waterlogged today, so we went right and around to the other side of the loch. I got the feeling that clockwise was the wrong way today as everyone seemed to be meeting us face on, rather than overtaking us, or us overtaking them. However, there are no rules at Broadwood, so we marched on. My choice next was a left turn to extend the walk past the exercise machines and a joint decision for the last choice was to go right and pass between the stadium and the BMX track and from there the decisions were made for us to find our way home.

All in all, it was about 4 miles of undulating track with some chances for photos. My favourite, and PoD was two joggers crossing paths over Broadwood Dam. I reduced it to mono because there was very little colour in it.

Spoke to Hazy in the afternoon and heard how her med reduction is going  and also how others in the family are fairing in these Omicron days, and how percieved protections aren’t to be relied upon!  Speaking about Omicron, I noticed a pair of Omnicron sunglasses for sale in Boots the other week.  They were reduced.  I’d imagine they weren’t selling all that well, even with that extra ‘n’ in their name!

Posh dinner tonight with three courses seated at the table. Starter was Prawn Cocktail. Main was Trout Fillet and sweetcorn for Scamp, Rump Steak and mushrooms for me. Both served with roast potatoes. I pan fried my steak in the fancy grill pan that gets blindingly hot if you don’t use the silicone handles which Scamp forgot to put on before she moved it, resulting in an ice pack for her right index finger and thumb. It meant I had to do the serving or the Apple Crumble with Custard for pudding. Scamp had made it with our the last of our own apples that had been in the freezer since early autumn. They tasted just as good as fresh ones.

Scamp managed to elicit sympathy at every possible juncture tonight and I have to admit it was a good act. Let’s hope the burn is healing by tomorrow.

Tomorrow, we have no real plans, but the temperature is set to take a drop over this coming week, so we might manage another walk if it stays dry. Possibly having Shona over for dinner.

Recharging – 25 September 2021

Getting the wee red car back on the road.

Up with the bonnet and then … I found my socket set was all imperial sizes and the bolts holding the terminals to the battery were metric. My 7/16” socket was too tight and the 1/2” socket was too slack. I needed something like a 15/32” socket, or more realistically, an 11mm one. I did have a set of cheap metric sockets at one time, about a year ago, I think, but I reckon I must have thrown them out in a clear out last year. Oh well, I was going to Halfords anyway to get a battery charger. I’d add a socket set to the list.

Drove up to the retail park in my car, in heavy traffic all heading north or east. This was September weekend in Scotland a school holiday and what used to be a bank holiday too, so maybe that explained the rush into the wilds of the countryside. I wouldn’t have rushed, because it was another of those drizzly Scottish days. I got the battery charger and the cheap socket set that I won’t throw out this time and returned to remove a battery that’s only about a year old. Tried to remember which terminal you remove first and found that Mr Google had the answer. Dragged the battery up to the back bedroom and meanwhile Scamp had unboxed the charger which we plugged in and set it to work for a couple of hours, after which it merrily told us the battery was charged and being ‘maintained’ whatever that means. The instructions weren’t that explicit about that part of the charging procedure. Two hours seemed a very short time to charge a totally flat battery, but I took it out and after checking with Mr Google again connected the positive, then the negative terminal. Immediately the warning lights came on in the car which I remembered from last year when I replaced a totally dead battery. Locked the battery in place and tentatively locked the car with the fob then unlocked it again. Key in the socket turned and so did the starter motor and the engine burst into life again! Hooray! The Wee Red Car will live to fight another day. I left it to rest after the open heart surgery, but we’ll go for a run tomorrow just to give it a bit more energy.

A Piece ’n’ Egg, actually two eggs was a late lunch and then, while Scamp did a bit of baking, I took the Big Dog and the macro lens out for a walk in St Mo’s. Found a Black Darter dragonfly on the boardwalk which was very skittish to start with, but after a bit of patient crawling around the boardwalk, I managed to get a couple of shots of it. I saw one last year and was reading about it in last year’s blog post. It would have made PoD, but it was pipped to the post by a couple of mating Shield Bugs. The larger of the two (the female) was calling the shots and decided it wanted to head off while the poor male was dragged along behind. It’s a tough life and probably quite painful being a male shield bug!

Scamp had cabbage and potatoes for dinner while I had mince ’n’ tatties with some of the cabbage. Not beetroot, Jamie! We had a baked corn on the cob each from the Campbell Garden down south. Both were still perfectly fresh. Scamp’s baking had included a rhubarb and apple tart from the Campbell Garden in Scotland. Beautifully crisp pastry. One of the best she’s made.

We struggled through the first Strictly of the year, but I’ll admit I wasn’t all that interested in most of it. Did enjoy the gay couple’s tango. Brilliantly done. We used to do a routine with Jamie Gal’ where the leader became the follower and vice versa. It’s very, very confusing for both parties, but the two men were faultless tonight.

Maybe we’ll take the Wee Red Car out for a run tomorrow to give its battery another charge.

Out to lunch – 22 September 2021

Scamp had arranged a lunch for Gems to mark the end of an era for the singing group.

A sad day in a way, but as she, and the other ladies, admitted, although Covid had put an end to their activities with all the churches and halls closing their doors during Lockdown, the heyday for the singing group had passed. The final decision had really been taken out of their hands. All the remaining members joined in the celebration of years of providing music and enjoyment to people who needed just that little lift. I was taxi driver for today and drove Scamp and Margie down to The Village for their lunch.

That meant I had some time on my own and nothing to do, or so I thought. I’d intended doing some painting or drawing because Inktober is just around the corner. In the end I just added some pastel to the ongoing sketch that lives in the back room. Then I started on more catch-up for the blog and finally finished the posting of photos on Flickr. Finally I made a bowl of dough to make a pizza for dinner, mine really, but I knew Scamp would sample it too.

I’d almost finished when my phone chirped to tell me it was time to go and pick up the ladies. It had turned into one of those miserable Scottish days with drizzle and rain designed to dampen anyone’s spirits, but they seemed to have had a good afternoon.

I couldn’t be bothered going out to get wet and come home with a miserable set of photos, so I put the A6000 on the Gorilla Pod and set up a tabletop display of some of our apples. Red ones are James Grieve (much redder than usual) the dull green ones are Russets. One of those shots became PoD.

Tomorrow we are hoping to go dancing, tea dancing, and there will be cake!