Wednesday, 15 May 2013
One of the unusual features of this company is that they have one or more musicians on stage providing the music, whereas most companies have recorded music. The disadvantage is that some of the floor space is taken up by the grand piano, but that didn't seem to cause any difficulty. Well, they'll have rehearsed with the piano there for years, so must be used to it.
We were really enjoying it and telling each other how good it was, but when they started the final set we were just blown away. This is called The Devil in the Detail and is set to a series of Scot Joplin rags. Not only was the dancing brilliant, but it was also perfectly obvious that the performers were having an absolute whale of a time.
There's a short clip on their website, but I couldn't manage to embed the html, so I'm afraid you'll have to click the link to see them in action. This is a the last minute and a half or so of Devil in the Detail.
Posted by Rob Clack at 11:57
Tuesday, 14 May 2013
The Dan people are from Liberia, Guinea and Ivory Coast, and this is a 'singer' mask. The wearer sings praises, though I'm unclear exactly whose. I've not found anything like it in any of my books about African masks.
I might get in touch with the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge to see if they can shed any further light on it.
Posted by Rob Clack at 16:49
Posted by Rob Clack at 00:23
Monday, 13 May 2013
The chippie is called Seafare and is in Church Street, and if you're looking for decent fish and chips in Sheringham, I recommend them. Jenny and I discovered them the very first time we stayed in this particular flat, and we've settled into the routine of getting fish and chips there on the Friday whenever we stay in Sheringham. Terrific!
Richard and Lorna supplied lovely warm croissants for breakfast on Saturday, accompanied by the most enormous fruit salad! We were well full by the end of that! After a wander around town and a look at the market, we drove to Cley next the Sea where we had lunch in the Dun Cow, actually at Salthouse, next to Cley. Despite the place being pretty full, they managed to serve us good food promptly. We were impressed that the operation was so slick, given the number of customers.
The Cley Marshes Nature Reserve is owned by Norfolk Wildlife Trust, of which we're not members, so we had to pay to go in, which was fine. There are decent boardwalks to the hides we visited, and we got good views of quite a few birds, including ringed plover, black-tailed godwit, dunlin, redshank (displaying), avocet, gadwal and shoveller ducks and marsh harriers. All very satisfactory. Lorna and Richard are not birders, so their interest was limited and we didn't push our luck, so Jenny and I would cheerfully have stayed longer, but let our friends drag us home!
Dinner in No 10 was as great as ever, with a warm welcome from owner Sonya. I had an excellent local fillet steak, but as the rest were all eating fish, they had white wine, while I contented myself with an enormous glass of red.
On Sunday it was my turn to cook breakfast, so first we finished off Richard's fruit salad, then I made omelettes Arnie Bennett. The pukka Omelette Arnold Bennett requires clever sauces, but the version I did is designed, according to the author of the book I used, for people who don't have staff.
Omelette for two.
4 large eggs
a slug of milk - you could probably use some of what you cook the fish in
salt and pepper
a small knob of butter
a lump of undyed, smoked haddock - say 10 or 12 cm square and a couple thick
enough milk to just cover the fish in a pan
a bay leaf
75 - 100 gm gruyere or emental
- Lay the fish in a pan and just cover with milk. Add the peppercorns and bay leaf. Bring the milk to the boil, remove from the heat, cover and leave for 5 minutes.
- When time is up, take the fish out of the pan, skin it and flake it into a bowl. Add a good slug of cream and mix it all up.
- Fire up the grill so it's hot when you need it.
- Beat the eggs with the milk, then season with salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a large, heavy bottomed frying pan and when it's bubbling, pour in the egg mixture. As the edges set, pull them towards the middle and run more liquid egg into the space.
- Once most of the egg is set, but with the middle still liquid, spread the haddock and cream over the top, then grate the cheese over the top of that. Stick it under a hot grill until the top starts to go golden.
- Serve immediately.
After the walk, we decided we really needed to get some lunch, not so much because we were hungry but it was getting towards two o'clock and we knew we needed to eat before setting out back to Royston. We went into a pub that just happened to be handy and were served enormous portions. Needless to say, I could only eat about half of mine, but it was good - three tasty sausages in a big Yorkshire pudding with a big serving of gravy. And chips, and peas, and carrots. I was defeated before I'd even started it!
Lorna and Richard set off homewards more or less straightaway, but Jenny and I wanted to go to Pensthorpe Nature Reserve near Fakenham. Sadly, the day was so far progressed by the time we set out that it was not practical, so we've had to save that for our next visit.
We were pretty glad to collapse in a heap when we got home. A great weekend, but knackering!
Posted by Rob Clack at 18:19
Wednesday, 8 May 2013
Well anyway, here's one of the things Jenny and I got up to over the winter, finally finishing the project about three weeks ago. I did eventually find a 'before' photo dating from 1992, but then realised it's just anyole leylandii hedge so there's no point inserting it here.
You'll be able to tell from the shape of the image that I've stitched together a couple of photographs!
This hedge was mature when we bought the house in 1986 and we've never liked it, though until now, not disliked it enough to actually do anything about it. But now we've stripped off all the green stuff, so the conifers will die, and we've planted hawthorn, blackthorn, dog rose, guelder rose, bramble, honeysuckle, etc, intending it to grow into a more typical English hedgerow, better to look at than the old one and more environmentally friendly to boot. The old trunks lend an architectural character to it, and the trellis with brushwood screening attached improves our privacy while the hedge is growing.
Posted by Rob Clack at 14:47
Monday, 22 April 2013
First, we had a weekend silversmithing course on the Hereford-Worcester border. I've blogged about these before, so will spare you the detail. Suffice it to say we had a great time, stayed in the Talbot at Knightwick as usual, enjoying excellent food both evenings.
The following Tuesday we drove to Crickhowell in the Brecon Beacons of South Wales, where we stayed for several days. Jenny had been asked to consult about some fossil fish and we'd extended the trip slightly so she could visit the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff to look at some other fossil fish.
Crickhowell is a lovely old-fashioned sort of village, with lots of different kinds of shops, but no supermarket anywhere near. We stayed in the Dragon Inn, which was fine and served us decent food.
The fossils were all a bit disappointing. An amateur palaeontologist had collected some Carboniferous fish fossils on Anglesea, but they were very small, scrappy and fragmentary. Jenny put lots of post-it notes into the specimen boxes with comments on each one, but there was nothing there to encourage her to return.
We visited the site up in the hills that she was being consulted about, along with a couple of folks from Natural Resources Wales, but that was disappointing, too. The site is being designated an SSSI because of the stratigraphy of the rocks, but abundant fish fossils had been reported from the site too, and they wanted to know if they should designate it an SSSI because of the fossil fish, too.
We walked the length of the exposure, past where the fish were supposed to have come from, and found barely a thing. This actually tied in neatly with what Jenny had found in the research she'd done beforehand. She'd read several papers and somebody's unpublished PhD thesis, and although there were several references to the fish, at no point did anyone say "I found fossil fish there" nor could she track down any specimens anywhere. So even before we arrived, we suspected we'd find nothing. We did see specimens of very concentrated deposits of Devonian fishes in the National Museum in Cardiff, but they had come from quite a few miles away from our site. So it won't be an SSSI on the grounds of the fossil fish!
Last week we went to Milan. Jenny had been invited to give a couple of lectures at the University, so on Monday we flew out from Gatwick. We were staying in a curious place, part student accommodation but with one floor for visiting professors. It was OK, but not brilliant.
The student who had arranged it all took decent care of us, though the whole thing was rather stressful, and indeed, must have been so for him just as much. He'd booked us tickets to see Leonardo's Last Supper, which was great, but hard work as his only choice was 08:45. We had to rush over there with no breakfast! It was worth it, of course, and we breakfasted twice afterwards!
We also spotted an exhibition of pictures by Modigliani and some of his contemporaries. This was also disappointing. The Modigliani's were good, especially his Blue Caryatid, but most of the work by his contemporaries, by far the bulk of what was on display, was simply not very good at all. Jenny summed it up well when she commented that you could see work of that standard in any village art show.
On the other hand, the city was full of elegantly dressed, attractive women, and there were masses of scooters and motorbikes rushing around the place, so we were kept entertained the whole time.
I'd read recently that Spanish and Italian are so similar that a Spaniard and an Italian, each knowing only his own language, could understand about 70%of what the other was saying, so was able to practise my Spanish, which worked well!
Jenny's talks were well received, after which it was possible for us to relax a bit, and it was all very satisfactory.
On the way home, we saw warning signs of long delays anticlockwise around the M25 so went the other way, and discovered that whichever way you go, it's more or less the same distance and takes pretty much the same time.
Posted by Rob Clack at 10:50