Monday, December 22, 2014
Fallen Trees I Have Known
Aspen and ash this week as it didn't seem very festive to be subjecting Christmas trees to the shock and awe of my big orange saw and a denouement by the medium of fire.
Next week the arboreal holy trinity of oak, beech and willow, don't miss it!
Coming soon - Fallen Trees I have known TV
A thirty minute feature on a tree that has fallen over, with accompanying sound track by Keith Helt who always gets a little down when the days draw in and plays that tune that accompanied the Hamlet ads back in the day, over and over ad nauseam,
You could be forgiven for thinking that I have gone a little chainsaw crazy, no that doesn't sound right and wasn't that phrase used in the promotional blurb for the Texas Chainsaw Massacre?
What I am clumsily trying to say is that I will be looking forward to a break from dealing with chuffin trees that have fallen over.
The ground's a bit sticky and charging around with a chainsaw or feeding fires cuts the surface up a tad, and much of the wood is a muddy morass but spring will heal all, gaps will be replanted with ash oak and beech and the pheasant pen will rise from the ashes.
Crack willow has had a high old time of it, brim full of schadenfreude at the plight of its near neighbour's, its time will come, and will duly be attended to by my terrific tangerine wood cutting machine.
Enough about logs,
As predicted, ditches and drains have been attended to in fear of a winter like the last one, some done well, others driven at with diggers. It's an important annual job, a forgotten art, and boy does it show.
Of an evening, when the spirit of Terpsichire has failed to pay us a visit, the lady who sleeps on the left and myself like to take in the odd cookery show. Don't go much on Jamie and half an hour of Delia telling all how to cook an egg was perhaps not the best value for my licence fee. Mary Berry is a given, Gino's series in Italy was inspiring, and the Hairy Bikers are pretty good, if an updated version of Two Fat ladies, which was also very watchable, and one of whom used to haunt this place on a regular basis, but Keith Floyd remains a favourite.
Currently we are held rapt by the final of Masterchef - the professionals, and this week's final saw the contestants flown out to San Sebastian to cook in one of the top rated restaurants in the world. San Sebastian has become a mecca for foodies. We visited around ten years ago while camping and fishing a nine hundred acre lake near Biarritz. It's a beautiful place with back to back beaches and a bunch of locals who fish hard off the bridge over the river when the tide is on the turn. I forget where we took lunch, but I do remember it being very good, and it was not the restaurant visited by the finalists which was half way up the hill and akin to cooking with Dr Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker. It was Sciencey stuff with much ambiguity over what was to be eaten and what was not. One dish featured a fork made from sugar, and at some point I am sure someone had tried to take a bite out of the table as there are appeared to be teeth marks in one corner. A peckish Madam swiftly raised the website and was on the cusp of booking a trip for the twenty course taster affair at Easter, before the price per head set her reaching for the delete key.
School is done for 2014 and as ever Madam returned laden with gifts from generous pupils. Thirty five years ago the bond between pupil and teacher was not so strong and nobody gave gifts, if they had they would have been eyed suspicously and held at arms length. With the climate of fear that pervaded in some classrooms thankfully long gone a friendlier relationship exists, and Madam will have spent much of the weeks preceding Christmas doing spelling tests with words like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Monty Bojangles Cocoa dusted truffles. Analysis of the hoard takes several hours and each gift is logged, and in the manner of marking, initial reactions noted,
Could do better,
See Me - Sauvignon Blanc is not red!
With the two of them home again this year's Christmas message is don't touch the posh pork pie at the back of the fridge until the rest of the family have turned up, and if you read the label it says "extra large" and not "bite size" We have a hectic forty eight hours with family staying and visiting on both days, which is always fun, and then I'm going to chase some roach at the weekend by way of reflection, and contemplation particularly on Christmas's past and the madness that used to ensue in our house when we were growing up, a huge amount of fun with the principle protagonist my aged aunt, daft uncle and dad who would done the beards, hats and elf costumes for an afternoon of Christmas shenanigans that several of my mates would turn up to take in.
Thank you for all of the kind emails throughout 2014 and for reading this rubbish that I write,