web analytics

Paging Argentium G. Tiger…!

silverband

Argentium G. Tiger, please go to the white courtesy phone. Someone you (presumably) know is looking for you and, believe it or not, your most recent internet presence with this nick is a comment on this blog. Drop me a line and I’ll give you the deets.

By contrast to the ploughing match I posted about yesterday, here is the house band from the poshest of posh fetes.

How posh? That ain’t a brass band, son, it’s a silver band. Yes, it’s a thing.

They’re very good, actually. It’s particularly amusing when they break into an enthusiastic version of the Time Warp or sech like.

August 15, 2017 — 9:22 pm
Comments: 9

A lady! Driving a tractor!

plough

And she probably has one of those fru-fru British accents and everything.

Ploughing match. We were told that’s her tractor and nobody else is allowed to touch it.

We managed one fete, one country fair and two parties this weekend, because our lives are just that exciting. You?

August 14, 2017 — 8:49 pm
Comments: 12

Mad as a wet owl

wetowl

Is that a saying? It should be a saying. Another picture from Saturday’s owl deluge.

In the previous thread, Ric Fan says: “I love the Old English name for August, ‘Weodmonað’ – Bede says it means ‘the month of weeds, because they are very plentiful then’!”

I know this! I’m currently working my way through a History of England podcast (from the departure of the Romans to…not sure. Haven’t finished yet). Most entertaining. He listed the months of the year in the old Anglo Saxon (per the venerable Bede), and I thought it was so cool I wrote it down. Rough notes, I’m sorry.

I’m indebted to Ric Fan for the ð – I used the audio ‘th’. Other Anglo Saxon spelling howlers, undoubtedly.

Here we go!

Dec 25th is Modrenecht: “the night of the mothers”. Not sure what that means or if it’s a pagan festival that predates Christmas.
Month 12, 1 Juil: (Jule, Yule). Last month of the old, first month of the new.
Month 2 Salmanac: the month of cakes. Or mud. They made buns.
Month 3 Arethae. Should that be Areðae or something? No further information.
Month 4 Aeostre. Easter you should recognize.
Month 5 Trimicle. Three milks. Cows are milked three times a day.
Month 6 and month 7 Lethe. Something about the moon. He says we know no more.
Month 8 Weodmonað. The month of weeds, as Ric Fan said.
Month 9 Halechmonað. Spelling unk. The month of sacrifice, festivals, harvest.
Month 10 Wintirfirað. First full moon of Winter.
Month 11 Blodmonoð. Blood month. The time when it makes more sense to slaughter livestock than feed it through the Winter. Much feasting.

I’m getting quite addicted to using podcasts to get me through dull, brainless jobs. This one is recommended, if you have any interest in Jolly Olde.

August 1, 2017 — 10:43 pm
Comments: 24

Mmmm…fresh weasel!

owl

Weather in Britain is a crap shoot, emphasis on the ‘crap’, but there’s one fete that always has lovely weather. We joke that the local witches must sacrifice small children to ensure it.

Looks like they couldn’t catch one this year. It was okay in the morning. It was lovely, in fact. And the moment we stepped out the front door, it was like someone twisted the spigot.

We went anyway. We got soaked. I felt especially bad for the booksellers, whose wares likewise got soaked.

At one particularly violent point, we ducked under the marquee of an owl rescue. They are local, we see them regularly, but I couldn’t resist giving this sweet barn owl a skritchie. She gave me a nibble in return. I was assured it was affection, but I wouldn’t like to know just how hard she could bite down if she tried.

I’d love one, but I don’t think the chickens would thank me. Also, no barn.

July 31, 2017 — 10:15 pm
Comments: 16

Mmmm…I smell!

baldwins

One of the things I love about Britain are all the little businesses that seem like they could have sprung fully formed out of Harry Potter. Baldwin’s — “London’s oldest herbalist” — is one.

Eh, 1844 doesn’t seem that old for London, so it must be the oldest still in business. It’s gone from the Baldwin family to the Dagnell family (and from one to twelve stores to one again), but they seem to have a good handle on this internet thing and likely to survive for a while.

They sell vitamins and supplements, but also scents and soaps and food and components for making your own concoctions. I make my own custom skin cream from their stuff. Not cheap, but excellent stuff and lovely to deal with. The smartest thing they ever did was send me a free sample of this bath goo, which costs about a pound a pop but makes the whole house smell of lavender, marjoram and geranium.

And so, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to stink the place up.

July 26, 2017 — 9:37 pm
Comments: 9

A conversation with Rudyard Kipling’s chikkens

kiplings

The whole flock right there. Nothing much to say for themselves, actually. I don’t know if they kept chickens in Kipling’s day, but the mill was already there — meaning grain — so probably.

I can identify a Buff Orpington and a Light Sussex. The rest are just…you know…chickens.

We did a field trip to Bateman’s (Kipling’s place) last Friday on the idea that when the weather is nice, we’ll pack sammiches and go. It’s how you have to approach an English Summer.

It has been thoroughly miserable ever since. Damp, overcast and nighttime temps in the fifties. We have the heat on tonight. IN JULY.

I sometimes wonder how much more traction they might have gotten in Britain if they stuck with their original idea and threatened us with global cooling instead.

July 24, 2017 — 9:32 pm
Comments: 13

Full moon

butt

Cheshire East Council is making some old dude get rid of his mooning gnome. It’s on public land and it’s a menace to traffic.

I know. Lame. I got home late tonight and spent my disposable time cleaning out the fridge. Trust me when I tell you I spend as little time as possible doing anything resembling housework, but I accidentally trip over a chore now and again.

Escuse me while I take a long hot bath in an Epsom salt and lavender soak and try to regain my composure.

Uncle B cleaned out the freezer and found a frozen Gordon’s gin daquiri thingie. That should help.

July 19, 2017 — 10:22 pm
Comments: 12

Oooo…stovetop still!

still

I’ve always wanted one of these little beaten copper stovetop stills. Impractical, but fun. My dad had one that he’d use to turn a bottle of cheap wine into a thimblefull of cheap brandy for the edification of guests.

They are, of course, grievously illegal in the States. They’re mildly illegal here, but still too risky for a nimmigrant who suffers residency at the pleasure of HM’s government.

This one was at a food fair went to over the weekend (of a Food Fayre, or a Fud Faire, or whatever). It was not operational, but it was at the booth of an artisanal ginmaker, so all was not lost.

It was artisanal everything there. Artisanal cookies, artisanal sausages, artisanal goat cheese and artisanal couch cushions (seriously — somebody had a handmade couch cushion in Scottish linen with the design of a hedgehog that was to die for. £75).

And that’s the thing — lovely stuff, but a good three to five times more expensive than it should be. Which is why these little artisanal shops flicker in and out of business regularly. Fun Saturday, though.

July 13, 2017 — 9:56 pm
Comments: 32

Have I got a trail for you…

ridgeway

In the thread below, Ric Fan asked if anyone hikes the old Roman Roads. Yes, some of them have been converted to hiking trails. But the best of the best hikes in Britain is the Ridgeway. It’s prehistoric, fam.

Eighty six miles (I thought it was 87, but it says 86 in that graphic I stole and I don’t want to look like a banana) and it’s J.R.R. Tolkien shit the whole way. It starts at Avebury (largest stone circle in Europe) and ends at Ivinghoe Beacon.

I’ve only hiked a few miles of it, although we’ve visited lots of spots along it. We walked up as far as Wayland’s Smithy once, during the foot and mouth crisis of 2001 (I remember stern warnings hanging on the fences). When we drove near the Uffington White Horse I thought sure the car was going to topple down the hill. It’s an amazing thing from one end to the other.

You get a Completion Certificate if you do a big enough chunk.

I want that thing. I want it bad.

July 11, 2017 — 10:15 pm
Comments: 13

Comes the harvest

jam

Our first year here, we made tons of jam. We had such a fun time making it, and then we realized we…really…just…don’t eat that much jam. Even today, I find the occasional jar of gray glob from all those years ago.

We’ve learned to moderate our jam-making activities, but we still make a few jars a year. In the picture is the makin’s of a red jam — raspberry, tayberry, a few strawberries and gooseberries. That was several days ago, and it turned out real nice.

Tonight, we made redcurrant jelly. Two plus pounds of redcurrants cooked down to two little jars and a bit. I hate to think what that would cost if you bought the berries – they’re super expensive in the store. Oddly enough, redcurrant jelly is usually used on meat here. Brits, eh?

Good weekend, everyone!

July 7, 2017 — 10:51 pm
Comments: 28