“After the Lord Mayor’s Show comes …”
Christmas Day had been brilliant – well, relatively speaking for the UK at this time of year. Today looked like being quite the opposite. The morning at least remained dry, though very overcast, and we took the opportunity to go and get additional supplies for Boxing Day. A hot roast, or in our case a barbecue, is all very well on Christmas Day itself but in my view the best part of Christmas is cold meats with bubble and squeak accompanied by pickles. We’ve got half a cold pheasant left and some Brussels sprouts but we needed potatoes to mash. We stayed dry going to Booths and back for some spuds, Branston pickle and piccalilli.
There really wasn’t much light to speak of and what there was was as flat as a pancake. It would’ve been pointless pointing our cameras at anything. Besides, just after we got back to Guillaume to stash our new purchases, the rain began. It began gently at first but built steadily; quite unpleasant. We settled in for the duration and finished our remaining cold paella for lunch.
The day’s excitement was offered by my losing the case to my reading glasses. To be accurate, it isn’t actually lost; I know precisely where it is. Our caravan has a central heating system with radiator fins tucked away behind the backboards of the bench seats. There are air vents about 30cms long and 2cms wide to allow the warm air to rise into our living space. Mr. Bozo [no, not the one in Downing Street] managed to knock his glasses case down one of said air vents. It could be seen resting on the radiator fins out of reach.
Baldrick came up with a cunning plan and whispered it in my ear. Guillaume is equipped with some barbecue skewers that were just long enough to reach down. Guillaume also has some duct tape. (Well, if duct tape could get Apollo 13 back in NASA’s greatest emergency, it must be indispensable.] I rolled up some duct tape sticky side out and attached it to the round end of a skewer. Lowering the skewer down the air vent onto my glasses case, the duct tape dutifully stuck onto the glasses case. I began lifting. All was going well but then, oops. Naturally the case was lying on its broader side and was too wide to pass back through the vent. I tried to grab it with my fingers, hoping I could re-orient it, but it fell off again and this time clattered from sight. “Bother”, said Pooh, crossly. So near yet so far.
The glasses case is still down there somewhere, I’m just not certain quite where.
The piccalilli (Aunt Lena’s Piccalilli) was disappointing, too – much too sweet. Why do piccalilli recipes vary so? Some are really mustardy and tangy, like Heinz, for example, while others are sweet and still more seem to be almost all turmeric and very little else.
And whatever happened to Panyan military pickle? I used to quite like that. A swift search reveals that the sole copy of the original recipe was destroyed by fire in 2004. How sad is that?
Fortunately Branston remains reliable, as long as you avoid that modern “small chunk” nonsense.
Such are the excitements of sheltering from a wet winter day in the Lake District. Just for a little light relief, here are a few Lake District sheep, who don’t seem too concerned about the weather, and what I assume is some kind of sheep storage device on the same hillside. Hmmm?