Monday, July 28, 2008

Pottering about on Saturday morning, a significant flaw appeared in my otherwise excellent plans for the day. We were expecting Bea and Steve to arrive at about 1pm for an afternoon and evening of eating, drinking and making merry. At 1pm, the Tupton Carnival Parade was due to commence. The caravan route goes past our place and along QVR. There would seem to be a significant conflict here between our moving our cars about and the parade's priority.

I rang Bea and suggested that they perhaps would be advised to arrive a little earlier than planned. They did. Happily, the parade started late, but there were lots of people lining the route ready to watch it. We went out and missed it.

Our first plan was to go to lunch at the Three Merry Lads at Cutthorpe. It was a beautiful day, so we sat outside in the beer garden. I decided to have an appetiser portion of mussels – I have been ambushed by full portions before!! And it was just about the right amount for lunch. Only, being an appetiser portion, it didn’t come with chips or bread. The lack of chips was a bit sad – they properly home cook their own chips and they’re lovely. But they brought me some bread when I asked for it. Steve had the biggest ploughman’s I think I’ve ever seen.

Thus fortified, we went up the road to the Linacre reservoirs, which are three small dams in around 200 acres of broad leaf and conifer woodlands with walking tracks and riding paths and things. It was lovely. Mind you – we nearly acquired a Westie terrier. Some people came towards us with an older Westie on a lead, and a younger grey dog of indeterminate breeding bouncing along beside them, not on a lead. Was this Westie by any chance ours? They had found it crying in the woods at the other side of the lake. Not ours. Tempting to say yes and take it home and see what Marlo made of it, but no. Not ours. And it’s just as well we didn’t give in to the temptation to nick the dog. It’s rightful owners appeared shortly afterwards, looking for it.

The weather really was beautiful on Saturday. The Builder had put the gazebo up in the morning. I had made a potato salad with some of the Arran Pilots, and a salad with some peas, broad beans and tiny runner beans, and a leafy salad with the French spicy mesclun mix growing in one of my salad boxes. We sat under the gazebo and drank wine, then Steve and The Builder lit the barbecue and when the wood had burned down to coals, I barbecued some tiny hamburgers and some sausages and some steaks. We had mint and chocolate ice cream for afters, with cherries (alas, not from the trees), and the last of the raspberry ice cream and the cookies and cream ice cream. I am now pondering what flavour to make next.

And then it was time to go inside (for it was getting a bit chilly) and then to bed – for Bea and Steve needed to leave at 7:30 on Sunday morning to go to the RHS Garden Show at Tatton Park.

Bea found a strange man leaning against the wall of the house diagonally opposite when she got up in the morning. He was still there when they left at 7:30. I noticed that he was still there when I went into the front bedroom to grab a clean shirt at 8:00, only now he was sitting on the wall. By 8:20, I was beginning to wonder whether perhaps we should do something about it, particularly as by now he was sitting on the pavement, propped up by the wall. We had all been assuming that he was very drunk. But it’s unusual for people to be quite that drunk, quite so early on a Sunday morning. Maybe he’s been taken ill. I was just debating whether to alert the police or to call an ambulance when I heard a police siren. A little police car came buzzing around the corner and stopped by the slumped man. Someone had beaten me to it. I think that he was, after all, just drunk. It’s not normally this exciting in Tupton, first thing on a Sunday morning!

Yesterday was the day we were to go and collect our pottery from Planet Pot. First, though, we collected Freyja from her place and we trundled to Ecclesall Road for lunch in Felicini, which is an Italian-style, but more a kind of Mediterranean chain of food places. Allow me to warn you that, when you stop to think that crispy duck with hoisin sauce is an odd topping for a pizza – you are thinking this for a very good reason. It is a VERY peculiar topping to put on a pizza. The first few mouthfuls were quite pleasant. By the time I got half way through it was very definitely not pleasant. And there was way too, way too much duck. Duck should be eaten in extreme moderation. Much to rich to be eating mountains of it! The Builder managed to finish his duck pizza. But I don’t think he’ll be having it again. I think Freyja more or less enjoyed her margherita pizza.

Then we went and collected our magnificent pots. And they do look magnificent. Freyja’s tea pot is a positive work of art. I’m hoping that she’ll put the “After” photos on the web very soon! I used The Builder’s oven dish last night to do some roast beef and roast potatoes. I don’t think it enjoyed it very much. Some cracks have appeared in the base. I think I might use it as a serving dish in future. It crosses my mind that it would make a magnificent serving dish for a plentiful quantity of soup or stew.

We’ve just had the fire alarm go. I have a suspicion that it might have been a test – no fire engines turned up and usually, even when it is a false alarm, fire engines arrive within a couple of minutes. If it was a test, I think we probably failed it. Someone has put tables and chairs in a stash right in the middle of one of the escape routes, and we trapped a load of students. Mercifully – there was no actual fire.

I spoke to Stella this morning. She seems to be making excellent (but slow) progress. I am a bit worried, however, that she was drinking milo. I don’t remember her ever having drunk milo before. I believe that Tony is being well looked after by Martha, the doggie across the road from their place, and Martha’s person.

Ooooooo. Ooooo. I knew I had something to tell you. We’ve SEEN the invisible Joanne next door. Her brother in law came around to mow her very overgrown lawn and she actually came outside and stood in the garden for a bit while he was doing that. I was beginning to wonder if something Evil and Mysterious had happened to her. All we ever really hear is the occasional closing of a door and sometimes the upstairs curtains open. (Cue spooky music). They do have a cat, however. I saw it sat on the inside windowsill yesterday morning. Like the cats in No 6 – it never comes outside. (Cue even spookier music)

Taffa and Gaz have gone to Paris on the ferry. Not that they can get all the way to Paris on a ferry. I think they might have to take a train part of the way.

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