Leaning tower of Foxgloves

17 07 2012

Another oldie here. I was messing around in the garden just snapping away at random flowers…don’t I know how to live the high life!

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The new house

9 05 2012

So in one of the crazier things  I have done recently I convinced herself to move house last week.

Now just to set the scene and lessen how weird I sound I should mention that moving had sort of been up for discussion for a while…..just not really in this fashion.

We had just been going through the motions really, you know how it is. A few minutes day dreaming on Daft.ie, a couple of visits to completely random houses. Nothing concrete.

Then boom! I saw my dream house.

I really, really didn’t think that C would be interested in it. Our tastes in property are normally wildly different, she likes trendy new houses and I like rambling country estates where you could set a remake of an Austin novel.

Still I decided to send her a link to it anyway just for a laugh. Next thing I know my mobile is ringing, “I’M IN LOVE! I have called the letting agents and we are going to look round it tonight at 5”

That was Tuesday 1st May…. somehow between then and Saturday we found ourselves handing over a stupidly large deposit and moving in, how is that for hasty!

So here in all it’s ridiculous Georgian glory is the house that has made two normally sane, rational adults go more than a little bit ga ga… Underhill House

Oh and yes, the nerd in me is stupidly pleased at the silly little reference to the Lord of the Rings in the house name 😀

 





Whitebait

12 12 2010

As a child I remember being horrified by the sight of my uncle sitting there munching his way through a veritable mountain of Whitebait. It just seemed to be such carnage in order to put dinner on someones plate.

Now things have changed a little bit; I quite simply can’t get enough of them, particualrly as a light meal in a beer garden with a refreshing pint.

For those of you who are wondering what exactly Whitebait are they are immature sprats, normally Herring in the UK, the whole fish is floured or lightly battered and deep fried. Because the fish are so young and tender the entire fish can be eaten as is without needing the bones or head to be removed.

I think the best way to enjoy Whitebait is really piping hot with a good sprinkling of lemon juice and plenty of bread and butter – delicious

When you are flouring the Whitebait you can add in some light seasoning such as salt and pepper or through in some cayenne pepper and chilli powder in order to have deviled Whitebait.

There is no real special trick to cooking Whitebait and in my opinion the simplest method is the best –

Dredge the Whitebait in the seasoned white flour

Shake off the excess flour and fry in hot vegetable oil until the fish are a light golden colour – around 2 or 3 minutes

Serve immediately





Shed of the year 2010…

24 11 2010

A sheddie from Southend-on-Sea, Essex, has won Shed of the Year 2010 after beating off competition from 1,250 shed-lovers. Reg Miller’s pirate-themed shed, ‘The Lady Sarah out of Worthing’ named after his partner, was judged best shed in the competition sponsored by Cuprinol Sprayable and comes complete with a Koi Carp pond and even a parrot!

The judging panel, including Sarah Beeny and ‘Head Sheddie’ and creator of readersheds.co.uk Uncle Wilco , commented: “Reg shows that a perfect shed sums up the personality of the individual that created and uses it. The pirate atmosphere is superbly evoked throughout and underlines that when it comes to creativity, sheddies have it in spades.”

The man of the moment himself  had this to say: “I’ve spent years working on my shed and to win Shed of the Year 2010 is a real thrill – it’s the ultimate accolade for shed owners! It’s still a work in progress, as I’m constantly adding to my collection of pirate memorabilia and props and the shed is slowly but surely taking over the whole garden.

It’s become a real talking point in the area and since I entered it in the competition, I’ve had loads of really positive comments from sheddies around the globe – it really seems to have caught everyone’s imagination! Funnily enough, I’ll be spending my winnings repairing my decking at the top of the garden! It has recently collapsed and I really want to spruce it up again so that I can use it for the summer and yes, I will be using Cuprinol products!”

Reg bagged himself £1000 cash and a boatload of shed care products courtesy of competition sponsors  Cuprinol.

This sort of thing could only be from Britain; it captures the slightly strange eccentricity that we as a nation seem to thrive on. I mean seriously where else in the world would a happily married man be able to get away with converting his back garden into some sort of pirate themed fantasy land…

I have long been an admirer of all things shed and have made most people in my life well aware of the fact that one day I too will be sitting in a small wooden box at the bottom of the garden oohing and aahing over my collection of assorted detritus  as I lovingly catalogue it.

 





A Drop of Nelson’s Blood

5 05 2010

A Drop of Nelson’s Blood is one of a range of bitters from Farmers Ales (Maldon Brewing).

It was brewed for Trafalgar Day (21st October) and takes it name from Nelson’s body being returned to England preserved in a barrel of brandy. It is said that the sailors on the Victory drank some of the brandy as part of their grog ration, which became known as Nelson’s Blood. So a beer inspired by a national hero, a promising start!

Farmers Ales are based in Maldon in Essex and from what I gather they are very much a local brewer with local pubs featuring their beers on tap and a handful of restaurants and shops distributing bottled beer.

I had this particular beer in it’s bottle conditioned form at the restaurant of the Hyde Hall RHS garden a few miles down the road from the brewery.

In appearance it was a nice dark amber colour with no discernible sediment and very little by way of a head, the aroma is quite light and fruity with a slightly malty undertone but wasn’t particularly pungent.

In terms of taste I found Nelson’s Blood to be a little watery for my liking but it had quite a pleasant fruity,hoppy taste with a slight hintof caramel, there was also a fair strong nutty, woody taste that was coming through.

There is a slight hint of warmth to the beer which is possibly from the addition of the brandy.

All in all I found a Drop of Nelson’s Blood to be a not unpleasant beer from a good local brewer, it wouldn’t have me clamoring for more but at the same time I wouldn’t say no to a pint.

Overall I would give a score of 3.9/5








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