Saturday, 27 March 2010

Where Am I?
It is not surprising that we sometimes wonder where we are

Or where we are going

Friday, 26 March 2010

From time to time in the far east one encounters the Durian.
It is always an unforgettable experience.
As a fruit it is an acquired taste ; as a people repellent it is more effective than asking for money.
The pungent smell has led to it being banned from aircraft.

The size of a melon, they have a distinctive spiky shape ...

....which has been immortalized in Singapore by the design of the concert hall.

One place it does not find favour is on the MTR (Tube)

Monday, 15 March 2010

What, no canals?
For those of youwho think I am neglecting the canals here is a picture of the Rocher Canal in Singapore.......

Sunday, 14 March 2010

High Tea
Ten years ago we made a stop-over in Singapore with the boys on our way to visit relatives in Perth. The one thing we had on our list to do was to take high tea at Radffles Hotel. This was tea in the true English tradition. In addition to the sandwiches, scones & clotted cream, lemon meringue pie and home-made ice cream the eastern influence was evident. This comprised tables laid with Indian, Chinese and Malay dishes all presented in a buffet style with plates cleared from our table each time we made another visit to the buffet.

Unfortunately our visit this year was disappointing. The choice is of food is considerably reduced and the price has increased.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Curry & Chips for Breakfast?
Back in the 1970s I arrived in Paris at 8am after flying up from Pau where I had managed to sleep for two hours following the end of season party at the packing plant there. Feeling rather jaded I was not in a condition to object when the first person I met at the Hotel and Catering Fair offered me Champagne and French fries for breakfast. En route to New Zealand last week, we spent a few days in Singapore and selected a hotel in Little India. Understandably breakfast here reflects the location, ie: Curry

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Abbey or Not Abbey
Last Sunday Radio 4 broadcast the Northern Broadside Theatre's production of Othello with Lenny Henry in the title roll. We missed it as friends from Watford, Graham & Joyce, who have a cottage in Earby took us out for a drive (yes, in a car, not a boat). Sometime between lunch and tea we arrived at Jervaulx Abbey near Blubberhouses.
This is a charming and interesting 12th century abbey which is in private hands and well worth a visit if you are venturing into Yorkshire. It was built originally by the Cistercian order which was formed when the Benedictines started to go soft. It owes its level of preservation as much to the current owners and the 19th century Earl of Ailesbury as to the vegetation which has provided erosion resistance. Compare with Fountains Abbey where keen weeding has resulted in the disappearance of much of the stonemason's fine work.

Chapter House seen from Cloister

Looking through to the Infirmary

Parlour seen from Cloister

Stone on which Monks were embalmed before burial.

En route to Jervaulx we stopped to take a brief look at Thrusscross Reservoir which was frozen but still pouring through the dam.

Visiting Jervaulx reminded me of Bolton Abbey which is also in private hands and which many claim was only a Priory. Situated on the banks of the River Wharfe it is set in extensive and attractive grounds. A fine place for an afternoon's walk.
Seen here on a misty day in January

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Weather, whether, wether!
Since arriving at Reedley we have not been short of weather.
November was wind and rain
December was snow
January was ice
February is trying to combine all of these.
As children we had a homophonic rhyme:

Whether the weather be cold
Or whether the weather be hot
Whether the weather be dry
Or whether the weather be not
Whatever the weather
We'll weather the weather
Whether we like it or not.

Of course, as any country dweller knows there is one wether missing.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Prestigious Aspirations
As children we used lemon juice as invisible ink. It was important first to clean the nib well in order to remove any contamination from Stephen's Blue/Black ink. After writing your secret in invisible ink just like real spies one could make it appear by holding a candle under the missive. So by magic (science didn't exist in those days) the secret would gradually appear. This phenomenon can also be achieved with mutton stew, a pressure cooker and white painted plaster. As far back as I can remember as a child there was a stain on the kitchen ceiling shaped like some kind of animal, perhaps a walrus. Every few years Dad would paint the ceiling and it would disappear.....but only for a while. Gradually, just like invisible ink when heat was applied it would reappear. This particular feature was not advertised by Prestige whose pressure cooker and other kitchen utensils were the most desired by housewives of the 1950s. The quality of the steelwork and the riveted wooden handles made a Prestige kitchen second only to a fitted carpet in dreamland.
Although the Prestige name still exist the manufacturing has gone east. The site of the original factory is now a retail park but a reminder of the contribution of Burnley workmanship is provided by this Art Deco building and the decorated pavement in front of it. This has been paid for by J Sainsbury who have a store next door. I find it comforting that this company's support of The Arts is not restricted to the grand gestures.