Thursday, September 18, 2008

Canons Ashby - Stoke Bruerne - Mansfield National Trust trip

En route to Canons Ashby (on our Mansfield Centre for the National Trust) outing we called in at The Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne for a coffee-break. A most pleasant little place where we could happily of stayed longer.

Cognizant of recent photography discussions I deliberately shot this at f5.6 which, I thought, should give foreground sharpness with a recession to fuzziness in the distance - hoping to avoid the flat/painting look critique of digital photography.

Another 20 minutes travel brought us nicely to Canons Ashby. A fascinating Elizabethan place with much to offer. The first thing which strikes you is the tranquility and a complete absence of the 'keep off the grass' mentality of some historic places. There is none of the roped-off areas of rooms to contend with and guides are helpful and well-informed. With her interest in The Tudors, Y had much to absorb. The original priory was Augustine (hence the canons rather than monks) and being Puritan escaped the worst of Henry V111's wrath. The house eventually became the seat of the Dryden family and descendants still occupy an upper floor flat.

I found the Jacobean plasterwork and wall-paintings beautiful and of great interest. The National Trusts' 'no photography' is a rule I support whole-heartedly but I would have loved a snap or two. The light was not good outside and the picture in the front of this link is better than mine.

So I contented myself with a detail. Monasteries as you know would feed any passing traveller, and the needy. These two little alcoves in the outside wall by the road-side were where food and drink were left when the Priory was closed at night. Why they were so tall is a mystery to me ? If the Architectural Desk can provide an explanation, it would be most welcome.

Our return trip was uneventful and we were home for 7pm. Tired, but having had an enjoyable day.


jill ...... I think you did well to leave the portals of HBOS unscathed. It's amazing how senior people in organisations can be solemnly reassuring everyone about the rock solid financial soundness of their organisation minutes before they go bust. Similarly with the tour-operator who minutes before going over and abandoning passengers all over the world was still selling tickets ! In my simple retired Police Inspector's world I think someone should be charged with 'obtaining money by false-pretences' and locked up.

Sorry - hush my mouth! I try to keep this journal out of such political and current-affairs matters. Instead we discuss really important matters like knitting, tarte tatin, and photographs.

Incidentally, the road-signing to Canons Ashby is still a little under-stated. We didn't see even one 'brown & white oak-leaves and acorns sign'.

bungus ...... You make a sound point about hedges. Our 'Derek next door' could change into someone similar to your neighbour.

Re 'as broad as it is long'. I know full well what it means ! It was the derivation and history I was after.

I still think it is midly irritating to be addressed as 'young man'..... 'Youth' in Nottingham is OK up to any age.

Quotation time ....... I hope I won't offend our ladies, but I found this in my Hand-Book of Proverbs.

"A woman's strength lies in her tongue"
Tonight is Camera Club night. I might return later. If not I'll catch you tomorrow.


Incy Wincy said...

I feel the lock gate picture has a good depth of field for only f5.6.
I have finally got "the prints" back from the lab, and hopefully may be able to cobble some sort of album together for the honeymooners.
Talking of pubs closing, we went to the mundy arms at heanor, another pub I've worked at with walk in freezers and lots of "ping" machines in the kitchen, and was charges £2 for a small lemon and lime, after remonstrating with the barman, he said he only worked there. I havn't been back for the lasy year and will not go there again.
Called at the Horse & Groom on our bike ride and had steak & mushrooms telling the wife that the cook couldn't microwave that. "wrong" again. I will never have another meal there.
One thing I cannot understand is how a bank can make profits of 5billion in 5months, and the say they are bust 4 months later?

anonymousrob said...

I hope incy wincy is being his usual understated self when he says he "hopefully may be able to cobble together some sort of album". In fact, knowing him as I do, I expect this to mean he is very pleased with the prints and is confident of putting together an album to delight us.

Interesting comments also by him and, for my money, a better pointer to why pubs are closing than those who blame the smoking ban. Pubs, like all businesses need to meet their customers needs and if they can't they will suffer. The expectations of consumers had changed significantly since the good old days when we had coal mines. Prices that cannot compare to supermarkets, food that's worse than we cook at home, staff who lack knowledge and customer service skills and who don't care anyway becuase they're on minimum wage are all part of the reason. you can probably add drink driving laws to that as well.

A good first week for English clubs in european competition, let down only by the failure of the domestic and european champions to score at home, again. The one italian newspaper I saw was not impressed by Roma's display against Cluj (where are they from?) though the other Italian teams seem to have done well.

Yesterday we had a long day out as we went to Sicily. When we were here in February we were told Sicily is only an hour's drive from here. Wrong; but we did arrive on the island about two hours after leaving the apartment so that wasn't too bad.

If the photos I took on the slopes of Mt Etna turn out how I want them to look the trip will have been well worth it, even though trees feature heavily. We also tried to stop at Taormina, which has a beautiful setting but we couldn't find anywhere to park. we weren't too fussed anyway as it seemed to consist of hotels and restaurants, and cars. We crossed to and from Messina. It's the craziest place for driving in I've ever been. How we avoided hitting anything, and how we avoided being hit, I just don't know. Single carriageway roads were used as dual carriageways, two lanes became three and even four, crossraods were suicidal - just go and hope and, whatever else you do, don't give way to anybody on any account. One day I will look back on it and laugh. Probably when I'm enjoying a drink in a nice, fresh, smoke-free atmosphere in a pub.


bungus said...

My Thursday scan was a somewhat less pleasant experience than I recall the last one being.
Two separate half pints of barium at 7.00 and 8.30 were followed by another one-and–a-half pints at 10.30. The flavour, mildly lemon, wass OK but it is a bit gloopy and the sheer quantity was daunting. I can’t drink beer as fast.
After donning a gown, I was laid flat on the movable gurney. After asking me several times (as I thought) if I suffered from eczema it became apparent that the nurse (?) meant asthma. It’s the ears you know. She then had to insert a needle in my arm to allow a later injection of fluid. After three unpleasant attempts to find a vein in my left arm, she moved to the right where, after consulting a colleague, she was eventually satisfied that it would not leak. Being a man I was left feeling quite faint. Death by lethal injection must be similar up to that point.
I was then passed several times through the giant electronic doughnut, holding breath when instructed. Fluid was then pumped into my veins, setting my ears on fire. Then through the doughnut and back several more times, again holding breath when instructed.
I queried the term ‘nurse’ (above)because we formed a distinct impression that Newark Hospital is staffed entirely by volunteers. Nice people but not altogether confidence inspiring. The nurses gave an impression that they doubled as dinner ladies. I am probably being grossly unfair but I have had needles every 3 weeks for a year, taking blood out and pumping stuff in and this is the first time I have felt any real pain at all (not terrible but unpleasant) – a distinct impression of it being a knife & fork job..
That was it and I was offered a drink. I opted for tea which came in a giant mug, but good, and welcome.
We then left, Sandra driving, and shopped at Aldi and Morrisons Then to a charity warehouse that has all sorts of strange goods that have been donated and offered for sale (Emma buys loads from there for her work with children – collages of plumbing parts, eg). I bought 2 books for 30p (‘The Thoughts of Forrest Gump’ for Jessica and a small volume of anecdotes about things curry-related for myself) and a pack of heavweight grey A4 printing paper (£5). Sandra suggested that the curry publication might be a coffee table book but at A5 it isn’t big or colourful enough (needs to be at least A3 with flowers or a cottage to impress visitors). She bought folders and name tags and other weird bits & bobs for the workshop plus a small picture of Marilyn Monroe (the ‘7 Year Itch’ one) and some coasters also featuring MM for son Simon (a fan). I wanted to get him a large framed photo of her as a Xmas Present but Sandra said his wife wouldn’t let him hang it (that really being my reason for wanting to buy it) and £35 was therefore too much. The total cost of our purchases was under £10.
I drove home, still not hungry in spite of having had nothing to eat since the previous evening – very filling stuff, that barium.

For tea we had pasta. The very best I have ever tasted. Sandra had pesto with hers and made me a simple mushroom/cream sauce. But what made it special was the Italian made pasta itself –‘Pastalsole’ brand Taglioline Salmone from Lidl. A delicate pink colour, it contains 2% salmon powder and 0.2% paprika. Highly recommended. (I bought myself a treat from my childhood recently, Grape Nuts; fondly rmembered and still the same flavour and texture although curently I can only cope with a very small serving).

Latest Jessica-Jem (just a bit of whimsy):
When in production, the ‘chimneys’ of the national British Sugar Refinery just outside Newark emit huge white pillows of condensate.
J calls it ‘The Cloud Factory’.

Don’t get too excited but I think the lockgate photo is very good – picturesque without being chocolate boxy in the worst sense.
Whether the appropriate and effective faded background is entirely due to the f5.6 I don’t know. It could owe something to lingering mistiness (it was actually foggy in the Newark area early on).
Not that it matters, as we keep saying.

Is it the family of the poet Dryden? Not that it will tell me much if it is! (or isn’t).

I don’t know the gauge of the brickwork (bricks varied from about 2” to some 3½” in those ancient times) but, if it is 4 courses to the foot, or even 7 to 1’11½ ”, the alcoves must be about 5’ high. As people were generally smaller in those day they would have been able (apart from Little John) to shelter from the August rain inside, standing up.
If the alcoves are significantly more than 5’ high I can only put it down to the contemporary habit of travellers alternately obtaining relief by being carried by each other piggy back and not wishing to waste time in a dismount.
So much for ten years being spent in qualification.
Oh, to show off, the brickwork seems uncertain whether to be English or Flemish bond.
From the link it looks a very attractive building.

Financial ethics are strange. Only yesterday a news reporter said the certain banks appear to be likely to fail but she was not allowed to say which ones lest it start a ‘run’ on the shares. The business of keeping secrets in order to protect shareholders/customers can, in my view, only be justified in the interests of the latter.
But what do I know? Not enough to be a millionaire, that’s for sure.

Like you, I strongly object to being addressed as 'young man'. I once became incredibly angered by a sycophantic if well-meaning Christian who had used the term all morning while we helped in a charity shop. He must have felt like one of those Biblical ‘sheep in the fold' when those nasty people came down on them.
The terms ‘Old man’ and ‘Old boy’ are OK by me, as of course, is ‘Youth’. Regrettably, in these parts, the influx of Geordies and Makentaks has led to a pervasion, even by some aborigines, of the term ‘Marrer’ which I do not like.

Your sympathy/empathy is appreciated (see report above).
I was all right on the narrow ledge once they had put my hands above my head. And, as I said I felt somewhat faint, they helped me to sit up at the end.

Hope your chutney turns out well. I don’t think mixing the recipes will have any ill effect provided the proportions of vinegar and sugar to fruit are right – and you cook it long enough. I don’t know whether or not you are an experienced chutney maker but, if not, I would recommend not eating it before next year. It may be even better after maturing for 3 years.
I am not a great lover of tomato chutneys having been reared on a diet of my mother’s/grandmother’s Bramley apple with onion and sultanas (which Sandra or I now make and we are currently eating 2007 vintage). I particularly like it with bacon and fried egg. I have been lucky in that wherever I have lived there has been a Bramley tree; the present one must be much older than me (our garden was once part of an orchard) and is rotten and worm ridden but still crops well.
If you have a gooseberry bush, and are interested, I have a very good recipe for ‘Spiced Gooseberries’ (excellent with smoked mackerel, in my view, and available by email via RG). It also works well with rhubarb & root ginger.

Incy Wincy:
Perhaps you should have gone to the Mundy Arms on a Tuesday? (at happy hour).
In the 70s, we used to rent a house at Sutton-on-Sea in the summer. Sandra and the kids would stay and I would look after the pub and nip down for a night in midweek.
One year I noticed that a restaurant across the road had become a pub. There was a notice outside ‘Happy Hour, 8.00 till 9.00’. That evening I went across just after 8.00. There were two other customers in, at separate tables, plus the barman. Not a smile between them. I had one pint and left before they started to commit suicide.
As for ‘never having another meal there’, something is to be said for trying again when it changes hands. One of the problems with recommending places is that the chef (or cook) can leave.

Is there a case for saying that banks and financial advisers, estate agents and second-hand car salesmen, solicitors and farmers, should never be believed?

Incy-wincy is no doubt adopting the well-proved ploy, or deceit, of underplaying it in order to increase your delight.
From what I have read in the blog he will have done a fine job (if he hadn’t he would have thrown his hands up and admitted it).
When my parents received their wedding photos my dad took one look and ‘firebacked' the lot of them. I think that I only ever saw one photo of the event, ‘box-brownied’ by a friend.

Sorry to disagree but the pubs that are managing to survive are the ones that do food – not necessarily of a very high standard (some people think a plateful is the criterion).
If someone smokes, he/she is less likely to go to the pub, especially in bad weather. If their need is great enough, they will probably drink at home. If they don’t go to the pub, there is a strong chance that their partner/friend will not go either. When my wife was given unacceptable advice about where she could smoke at a venue rightly reputed for its food, she and her five friends (4 of them non-smokers) cancelled their meal order and went elsewhere, unlikely ever to return.
One other point. Many people now do NOT cook at home; they microwave ready meals. You only have to look at the shopping trolleys at the checkouts.
I agree that the drink/driving laws have also had an effect but the ancient rule that ‘he drives there, she drives back’ does a lot to solve that. And our children tend to do it sensibly; a driver is nominated and doesn’t drink. Personally, I opt, where possible, although it becomes more and more difficult as beer strengths increase, for a ‘no-more-than 3.5’ bitter, sup a pint and a half over 2 hours or 2 pints over 3 hours, and drive. I do this in the unproveable belief that, other things being equal, I shall drive no less safely than the man who hasn’t had a drink but who is in a hurry to get home after a stressful 10 hour day at work (eg). I suggest that the biggest danger on the roads are the 17/18 year olds, most of whom did not used to be able to afford a car. I think the actuaries believe this too.

Yes, very odd that Man U and Arsenal couldn’t get a goal. It now seems that the team at home for the first leg are concentrating so much on avoiding the dreaded ‘away goal’ that they lose their urge to go forward. Cockeyed or what?

I presume there is a ferry to Sicily. If not it would be very difficult to drive there in 2 hours.
Taormina sounds rather like British tourist attracting places.

I hope you enjoy that lonely drink! (if there any pubs still open when you get back). The beauty of being a pessimist is that there is less disappointment.

4 TICKS said...

Sorry you experienced so much suffering during the scan. I didn't have needles etc. they were only after pic's of my spine so I didn't need them. Haven't got round to the chutney yet, hoping tomorrow might not be so fraught. I will certainly e-mail GM for the gooseberry thing recipe although Himself dug up the bush years ago because I, workinng full time, used to forget to harvest them and I suppose he didn't know how. Who knows, if I'm tempted, I might go hotfoot to Reuben's and get a new one. If I dig out one of those huge Hebes' there'll be room for it, that'll teach him. We have Rhubarb in the garden but I can't use much of it and usually give it to Margaret next door who always says, "Its my favourite fruit", and runs inside to cook it for dessert.
Himself had a senior moment today, he wanted to go to Awsworth and photograph part of a sign painted on a wall which had been exposed after the pebble dashing collapsed. When we arrived in Cotmanhay I began to wonder just why we were there. We eventually found the sign, yes, in Cotmanhay, not Awsworth. I did wonder but didn't speak.
I had pasta, (Penne from Lidl), for tea today with smoked bacon, tomato pesto, chopped onion and basil from the lovely plant given to us by GM. (Doesn't mean genetically modified). Thanks G. it really makes a tasty difference. (The pits of an outing when you hear about where Rob & Elaine went). Wonder if he will take me somewhere nice at the weekend..