Monday, 9 February 2009

Winter wonderland

Snow Drops & Clumps of John Nettles
Off to Oxfordshire for the weekend to see friends and had an excellent time thanks folks!

And in tribute to all the awards given out here are my nominations for last 48 hours:

Time team comes alive before your eyes panorama of the weekend:

We had an excellent walk on some local hills called "the Clumps" it was an astonishingly beautiful snowy day, clear and sunny so you could see for 10-20 miles all around.

The clumps themselves contain Iron Age hill forts as did every other ridge and vale we could see. The whole area seemed to be full of Christmas card vistas filled with nestling pretty Saxon churches or Norman abbeys. I did like the contrast to Deptford which has plenty of history what with the river, the docks, railways etc. But Oxfordshire's history seems almost geological and the view with the exception of Didcot power station unchanged (if you squint) for centuries. I was looking up the Clumps on wiki and Tony Robertson and the mad one in the hat have already been their which makes sense.

Grand tour of Britain cultural landscape big tick of the winter schedule: Having been to Goatslands or "Heartbeat country" and had some chips in Holmfirth and being born near the original Coronation st I was delighted to find out that Wallingford is officially "Midsummer Murders land"and that half the town has been in the series as extras some of them several times, so much so they have to wear wigs to avoid recognition . Next on my list the Howard's Way coast and Catweazel's hamlet....

Home decoration tip of decade:
To add a hint of "theatre" to any room why not put up a framed picture of 18th century Astronomer. This essential advice is brought to you by Museum Of Art Oxford (well a slightly gushing description of one their exhibitions). I am thinking of going for Tycho Brahe for various reasons chiefly his silver nose not pictured!
(Not sure their other exhibit naked South American woman gets hosed down with high-pressure jet helps with what to do with that dark corner in the hall way though).

"I think you've got too many ingredients on your plate Belinda" aka Masterchef is seeping into every aspect of my life menu of the week:
We had an excellent meal in on Saturday, some delish fish soup was followed for me by the roast lamb with Savoy cabbage, various tasty mashes and a Jus. But also nestling on the plate like a John Torrode fake indignation magnet was what the French (?) menu writer had called a "Cornish Pie". This had intrigued us thinking it might a timbale of veg or some such. But no it was tiny pasty it was delicious, but I fear G&J would have exploded by now.

Having said that why stop at pasties why not have a little chicken & mushroom pukka pie with coq au van or maybe a teeny tiny lasagne with the spaghetti vongole. Food should be fun and it did make me smile.

Gigs I wished I'd attended of the season:

Over at Ms Woo site she's talking about gigs you regret not attending I'm quite fortunate in that I've seen most people I like and the only ones I regret I'd need a time machine to see. But I do wish the Snowdrop Teas had been being served in Swyncomb yesterday. Please do accept that I'm not being the least bit ironic here what so ever, I genuinely love the idea that there are places were people can go to see at drifts of snowdrops (and wolf's bane!), admire an 11cth century church, listen to choral evensong and probably best of all eat home made cakes and drink tea. Sadly the bad weather had meant it was called off doh!
That being said walking in the crisp utterly beautiful woods around the church, checking out rabbit and deer tracks, seeing a hare dash across the snow, the woods alive with rustling leaves as the sun melted the ice, the crunch and squeak of the virgin drifts under our boots was more then wonderful. The exercise sans cake was probably good for me to. Also it pleasing on the way to station to see the sign for "Christmas Common" (as it should be) covered in snow.

If you are Watlington way next week and it doesn't snow again, the snowdrop teas may well be rescheduled but get their early for the pick of the best cakes!

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