31 January 2017

Woe Is Me

I have a man-cold.  As everyone knows, this is far worse than just an ordinary cold.  My nose is streaming, my head hurts, I have a sore throat and no doubt it will spread to my sinuses.  I have super soft tissues and Paul is making me soup. I’ll be strong and put on a brave face, give me a week or two and I’ll probably be OK.

29 January 2017

Desperately Seeking Chewy

It’s raining in Wiltshire today so no healthy walks to the pub.  Instead I did some baking.

When I was in Australia I baked a vegan version of my healthy rock cakes but they came out quite flat and chewy. However, Paul was very keen on this hybrid cookie.  Since we’ve been back in England I have tried to reproduce them but failed miserably to get the same chewy texture.  

This morning I experimented with a completely different recipe that promised a chewy, fruit and nut slice.  The recipe called for dried cranberries; I didn’t have any so I used a couple of spoonfuls of cranberry sauce left over from the turkey and some dried cake fruit (it’s called improvisation).

We tried a slice each with our afternoon cup of tea. 

Paul's verdict:  "A nice piece of cake but it's not a chewy bar..."  The search continues.


28 January 2017

The Dumb Post

The Dumb Post

This morning the frost had disappeared so I decided it would be a good day to go for a hike to the pub.  Paul was reluctant but was finally tempted with the promise of a pint and a sandwich.

We set off on foot through the housing estate, across the busy ring road and then climbed a muddy stile to follow the footpath.  Carefully negotiating the rickety bridge (a piece of corrugated iron) across Fisher’s Brook, we followed the path around the edge of the farmer’s field and out onto a narrow country lane.  Behind us we could see Cherhill Downs with the Lansdowne Monument perched at the top.  The Cherhill White Horse was barely visible.

Cherhill Downs

We walked along the lane, past pretty thatched cottages, with the Dumb Post Inn clearly visible in the distance. 

This 18th century inn was once part of the Earl of Shelburne’s Bowood Estate.  It got its name from the custom of mailmen on carrier wagons pinning letters on a post outside the inn for local people in the days before the Royal Mail.

the pub has two very different facades

After forty five minutes walking we arrived at the pub and rewarded ourselves with food and drink.  We eschewed the blazing log fire in favour of a window seat with magnificent views over the local countryside.

An hour or so later, with the skies darkening, we set off back home.  This was an 8 km round walk and my hip was starting to hurt.  The rain started and turned into hail.  The hailstones were falling right into my boots.  Then it stopped as suddenly as it had started and the sun came out again.  I’m home.  Just in time for a cup of tea.

27 January 2017

Poor Show

Theatre Royal, Bath

Two years ago my daughter, Sarah, took me to see The Nutcracker ballet at the Sydney Opera House.  It was the most wonderful, sumptuous production of a classic.  When Paul and I saw that it was being performed by the St Petersburg Ballet Company at our local theatre in Bath we bought tickets straightaway.

Last night we braved the freezing temperatures and drove into Bath and had a tasty early  supper before heading off to The Theatre Royal.  This Georgian theatre is very old, built in 1805; it is also quite small so I knew the production would not compare on scale, scenery, acoustics etc. to the Sydney Opera House but I was expecting a polished performance from a Russian ballet company. 

When the curtain went up I was so disappointed, no lavish scenery here, just a painted Christmas Tree.  When the dancers came on there was an abundance of polyester, I think their costumes had come from Primark.  It was amateurish at best and quite frankly I would expect a better performance from the local dance school. One of the highlights of the Australian version for me was the dance with the mice and the Mouse King so I could only watch in disbelief when a large radio controlled fluffy mouse appeared on stage.  
Sadly when the curtain went down after the first act we grabbed our coats and departed.  We didn’t even stay to see the Sugar Plum Fairy.

an abundance of polyester