Saturday, August 23, 2008

Super Saturday - Weather good too !

Still working on 'bee close-ups' and I'm getting 'closer' ha ha!. The bees seem almost intoxicated on the nectar from the Echinacea. The camera can be within an inch or two and they show no inclination to move, let alone fly away hence Picture 1.

And you live and learn. I didn't realise that bees have this sort of proboscis between their eyes, which they extend and poke into the nectar - like a retractable straw.

I could do with one myself to avoid spilling my coffee.

We've had a great day. Lovely lunch with Helen and Julien. Julien is a real bibliophile and Helen, I learnt, is a fellow 'charity shop' enthusiast. We found loads to talk about.

Julien is also a keen cook which will give us much fuel for future conversations. He had made a gorgeous sorrel soup with 'grown in their garden' sorrel. And a paté and a tapenade, the recipes for which he will e-mail. Of course he may not have actual recipes and be a fellow member of the 'bit of this, bit of that and cook it till it's done and no longer' school of chef-ery !

I hadn't realised their bungalow was so 'out-in-the-country'. Great view over the valley to The Jessop Monument on the skyline. And while I was googling for that (not very successfully I'm afraid - where is niftygoogler when you need him?).... I found this 'Jacksdale Timeline' which is a useful quick guide to the history of the area.

The Monument is in honour of William Jessop the canal-builder and nothing, as far as I know, to do with the camera-shop.

The picture on the left is - I think - a goldfinch chick. If the other perch is occupied by a parent I can understand the slightly bemused look. I don't mean to be anthropomorphic (it was mentioned over lunch) but as a lover of nature it's an easy trap to fall into.

At Burton Joyce on Thursday we were discussing wildlife and Millicent (3yrs) informed us she was going to get her "Bloddy Book" out of the play-room. Unwilling to believe such a swear word, we were relieved when she returned with her "Bill Oddy book".

After lunch Reg and Maureen called in, mainly so Reg could fix my Photoshop (yet again !) and anyway it was nice to see them both. It seems ages - hospitals, holidays, family etc. Maureen's arm looks much much better, but I can well undertsand it is still very painful. And she has lots of physiotherapy exercises to do.

n.b. Mainly to reassure Bungus - I have given Reg a solemn undertaking not to 'bogger about with my Computer' in future.


Bungus ..... You mustn't confuse The Railway Museum in any way with 'train sets' over which I agree with you. However sophisticated their owners make them - they remain a 5 minute experience at most. As a child I much preferred my 'farmyard' where, as well as little lead animals, I had a shepherd, a farmer, a milkmaid etc., and I would put them wherever they needed to be in the story I was writing in my head. The 'train set' was never so stimulating.

Trust you to extend ' ill-lit galleries' to the notion of looking at pictures in the dark. It's rather like the point that, had electricity not been invented, we would all be watching TV by candlelight. I reluctantly agree that the work of some artists would be much improved thereby. And I am not referring to modern art, as you know.

I certainly agree with exchanging a visit this coming weekend. A phone call will perhaps be best.

Em's courgette misshapes look good and obviously they are from different plants. I am always amazed they a priced as delicacies. The seeds are easy to germinate, the plants are robust (but not frost hardy) and they crop prolifically. Admittedly I never managed to work out a good method of storage because, for the home-gardener at least, they are seasonal.

A word of caution though, if their misshapen-ness is because the plant has been pollinated the fruit will be bitter. This happens with traditional varieties of cucumber, like Telegraph, but not with the F1 hybrid varieties which of course cannot set viable seed.

We are with you over 'faded elegance' in Hotels. AnonymousRob's Cuban chums had it in spades.

Reg ..... Thank you very very much for, yet again, sorting out my Photoshop. It now works perfectly but, as I said, I would have given up much earlier and simply gone out and bought Elements 6. But it is much better to have the real McCoy.

The Sgt who threatened unpleasantness from a great height reminded me that on the day before pay day the saying was "The Golden Eagle shites tonight". Written without asterisks because we now know Jill doesn't mind a little vulgarity. But I don't want to offend Helen, or any other lady reader. Or children. Or even gentlemen who are a little on the precious side.

Jill ...... So glad you enjoyed the sepia. It just seemed right for the subject matter.

The Railway Hotel - If you click it and open the link you will see that google took me to the Royal York Hotel which might be a different place altogether. But the description including the phrase the "The Hotel is an integral part of York Station, and is situated adjacent to the celebrated National Railway Museum" makes me think it must be the one where you stayed.

You are right of course about 'pictures in the dark'. Bungus was pulling our legs !


Quotation time ...... Had time tonight so I dug out a photography specific one ....

"I photograph to find out what something will look like photographed"

Sounds like an adequate enough reason for us 'snappers'. But aren't they a type of fish ? Perhaps they have them tinned in Aldi ?


A quiet day planned tomorrow. A couple of garden jobs I feel up to tackling, and I plan to do a crispy beef stir-fry. I still have some British Choi to use and it has remained in good condition in the fridge since last week. Same family as Pak Choi but longer stems. As soon as the leaves wilt they are cooked and the stems are tender but retain a pleasant crunch.

Apologies for such a lengthy blog. Sleep tight and I'll catch you tomorrow. I guess the 'train' must be due !



bungus said...

At last! Another bee photo that I can truly admire (I thought that, ilke the echinaceous bees, you had been at a bit of a standstill). But this one is very good even thought the creature is monotonous (colourwise).
I belief that Serif were offering a proboscis (£7.99 + p&p)specifically for sucking up coffee. I was somewhat put off acquiring one by memories of lemonade coming down the nose.

The Jessop Monument, quote:
“The world famous French tight rope walker Charles Blondin, also visited the monument, walking a tight rope from the top of the monument down to the ground.”
I can only think it must have been a very long or exceptionally steep walk!

Surely Jessop’s camera shops are ‘Johnny-come latelies’? I had never heard of them until the late 1980s and am not certain they are Nottinghamshire centred. But I suppose it could have been a relative of the engineering Jessop who founded the Jessop’s department store in Nottingham which is now part of the John Lewis group.
For a bit of reflected glory, I note that he was building the Derwent Viaduct at much the same time as one of my distant relations, Wm Strutt, was erecting the first cast-iron framed building in the world at Derby (followed by the one at Belper).

You are right about the risk of falling into anthropomorphism.
I do it with our mouse but that may be because he wears little red shorts with braces and a blue & white striped jumper.

Nice "Bill Oddy book" story but, when one sees some of the sayings now printed on tee-shirts, I doubt if ‘bloody’ is still generally regarded as swearing.
In our house, when I was a child, the words ‘belly’ and ‘bum’ (certainly not ‘arse’) would never be uttered. As the old joke almost has it, ‘manure’ was considered a bit extreme. And, of course, GB Shaw caused a furore by having Eliza utter a ‘bloody’.

I am pleased to hear that Reg has apparently persuaded you to put at least a temporary halt on your 'boggering about’.

I too had a farmyard when young, and I still have two of the lead animals that dwelt thereon, albeit somewhat incongruously. One is a rhinoceraos with a detached rear leg, the other a hippopotamus that fell from the shelf above my keyboard only last week and became decapitated. (Photo by email).

I seem to recall a gallery at Yorkshire Sculpture Park that was pitch black and so necessitated feeling one’s way around the walls. Is it a figment?

Maybe we could meet up in somewhere a bit rural? There are, as always, ‘considerations’ so I will get back to you.

Had one of Em’s misshapes yesterday and no bitterness.
A round one, which we thought was a squash, was included on a tray of roast veg a few days ago which led to the discovery that it did not require peeling. Chef’s keep assuring as that butternuts don’t either.
Courgette plants take up rather a lot of space and like several other things, you don’t get just a few. I always seemsed to get either none or 3 dozen. If left on the plant, of course, they become marrows which can be stored for a long long while. Marrow is not a favourite veg of mine and, not liking mince, I do not like it conventionally stuffed. If anyone has interesting recipes I would like to hear them (blog or email via RG; I am sure he won’t mind). There is a Delia Smith vegetarian one (in her basic cookbook) that is done with coriander and is very pleasant, perhaps twice a year, with a jacket spud.

Certainly 'faded elegance' is one of the attractions of Cuba. Not just the buildings but the cars too.

I recall a drill Sergeant Major whose favourite threat was to
“…ram this pace-stick up your arse and march you round the square like a lollipop.” That destroyed any preciousness that I may have possessed!

Nice quote that in a circuitous way reminds me of Magritte’s ‘Ceci n’est pas une pipe’.

I shall keep an eye open for Snappers in Aldi. We tried their Mahi-Mahi last night (with courgettes, new potatoes and broccoli). It was very acceptable but not so startlingly good as the Marlin.

Let’s see how long your influence lasts. He’ll take no notice of me!

Just occurred to me that ‘Pictures in the dark’ works in the cinema.
But, for non-viewable art, I am reminded that a famous sculptor of the mid 19C, beginning with C (I can never remember whether it was Alexander Calder or Lynn Chadwick) produced a humanoid shape in steel which was than placed in a steel box and the steel lid welded in place.

Helen C. said...

I like the bee and the goldfinches. I have no great desire to photograph bees but I am reminded that I should fill up our bird feeder which has been empty for months and then I might also get some interesting birds in the garden.
Thanks for your kind remarks about the lunch. I too thought the soup was good but it turns out that Julian was disappointed with it - not enough sorrel apparently as we come to the end of this year's harvest. I will do my best to get some recipes out of him but, as you suspected, he is a 'bit of this etc.' type of chef.
I think Jessops photography shop may have started in Leicester. Certainly there was one there in the 1970s when I lived there. It was sufficiently well known (and well thought of) that when my friend came on a visit with her new husband from New Zealand, he went rushing off to visit it.
Bungus - I'm very impressed to hear that you are related to the Strutts. You will know that Jedediah Strutt provided some of the capital for the building of Sir Richard Arkwright's first mill at Cromford (where I work as a tour guide!)
Since Julian's cooking skills have been mentioned, I will just add that he does an excellent veggie stuffed marrow. I think the base is veggie-burger mix but with lots of spices and things added. The way it's cooked means you end up with very little marrow which is as it should be in my view!

bungus said...

I take no personal credit from my ancestors! My mother was a Strutt prior to marriage. Two of her maiden aunts (missionaries in India, nieces of Wm Strutt who wrote the gently amusing ‘A Missionary Mosaic of Ceylon’, and one of whom attended and later taught at Nottingham High School for Girls) had family items bearing the Strutt crest and their mother was a Pearson (of the Nottingham store). Via my uncle, I inherited a photo from them of my Great-great Grandfather George Strutt, taken when ne was 90 in 1890.
I have tried to help my cousin jane in her attempt to create the family tree but we have been unable to establish a link to Jedediah who appears to be the end of his particular line, although Jane's father (my mother’s younger brother) was sure there is a relationship. Something must have slipped sideways!

If I cannot find a veggie stuffed marrow online I shall come back to you. I agree that a little marrow is sufficient.

Jill said...

A great bee photo - now that is what I want, a retractable straw, I am always spilling coffee down me. That or a bib. What exactly is tapenade? I think it is something to do with olives, which neither of us like. Like the sound of the sorrel soup though.

Lovely story about the 'bloddy book'. Agree with Bungus, the words he quoted were never used in our house either! Most my father said was 'Damn and Blast'. Don't know where I have picked up my bad language from (I was doing fine until I learned to drive) as R never swears at all either.

Thanks for the link to the hotel, yes, that is the one, I read through it all and it has been complately refurbished and renovated - good.

Visited my friend in hospotal today, in the rehab. ward now. This is an improvement, physio three times a day (except Bank Holiday week-ends!) food comes up on heated trolleys so much hotter. A mixture of people with broken hips like hers and stroke victims. They are encouraged to get up and wear proper' clothes, and walk around as much as possible - she is on a zimmer frame and very slow, but we made it out to the corridor. A much more positive attitude, assuming you are going home and will manage. She'll probably be there another week.

Off to watch Andrew Marr floating about the UK - it has been quite interesting but nowhere as good as The Making of Modern Britain.