Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Fleece, Addingham, Yorkshire

Yesterday was a glorious spring day and husband, very unusually, had a day off. Even more unusually, we decided to beat the credit crunch and go on a walk. It was meticulously planned by husband - with the purchase of a Yorkshire dales walking book, an ordnance survey map and a special pen that you can use to write on the map. He spent a good half hour plotting the route from the book on to the map. We set off and it was a marvellous walk - taking in: not only beautiful scenery, but industrial archeology, special buildings (like the seventeenth century friends meeting house), wonderful disused railway bridges, woodland with just flowering bluebells & columbines and the river Wharfe. The walk took us about three hours.

So our expectations of the pub where we had parked and set off from were pretty low. What a welcome mistake though! The Fleece is an old, eighteenth century coaching inn with benches and hanging baskets at the front. Inside, wooden panelled walls with low ceilings, a bar and a larger room for dining. We knew we had to eat there though as soon as we saw the Michelin Guide signs and whatnot in the window before we'd bought our pints. I had half a Timothy Taylor landlord (nectar) and he had a pint of Copper Dragon (even better). I really loved the pub atmosphere: great artwork, the sheep theme (of course) and lovely mid twentieth century oil portraits of middle aged middle class men - who looked like they might have founded the Ramblers Association. I even loved the chair I sat on - a carver with two tapestry panels. Husband was less impressed with a white radiator against a wooden wall. 'Why couldn't they do what Mum does and get a posh cover?', he moaned. The service: yes, was fast, but we had at least three different people serve us. To start, he had a cassoulet. Haricot beans, chicken wings and choritzo. I had chicken liver pate with a tomato, apricot and ginger chutney. Both were utterly scrumptious. You certainly don't forget you're in Yorkshire though. Huge portions - had to leave some of mine. Since he read Kitchen Confidential husband loves to 'dissect' a menu. 'It's Wednesday today, right,' he whispered 'well, they would have done a lot of roast chicken on Sunday, so plenty of left over chicken wings and chicken livers'. We didn't care. In fact we were pleased that they were not wasting any meat - when it' was so well cooked that would be criminal.
For mains hubby had pork belly, wrapped round black pudding with red cabbage. Lush. I had halibut, queen scallops with white wine sauce topped with spinach and chopped tomatoes. Delectable. Perfectly cooked halibut - so moist. And the black pudding, I think, was the best I have ever tasted. (I'm not normally a fan).
For puddings, he had cheese and biscuits. There were two crumbly local cheeses (we think - the waiting staff couldn't identify them). A most gorgeous rocquefort (we think). And served with fruit cake. Perfect. I had vanilla ice cream. The portion was too big for me and not much vanilla. Coffees were fine.

Dinner for two - sixty five quid!

The Fleece: the place where you don't get fleeced. Great food in lovely surroundings.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Glog, Inheritance Tax and writing an essay

To everyone who got annoyed with my suggestion that inheritance tax should be 100% for everyone: sorry not got enough time to argue with you all. Anyway. The two courgette seeds I transplanted are looking sorry for themselves. On the sunniest day of the year so far I have been stuck in writing an essay. How does oral history enrich the history of dementia?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Kate Garraway

I was intrigued to find out precisely what offensive remarks had been put in an email from Damien McBride to Derek Draper. I looked on the internet. I wish I hadn't. Not because they were so offensive towards the Tories, but because of what I considered to be highly offensive remarks from members of the public on websites I will never, ever, ever go to ever again. Tory websites with hundreds of comments from trolls with totally right-wing, misogynist and sexist comments, not to mention offensive photographs, about Derek Draper and Kate Garraway - his partner and mother to his child/ren.

So I meditated and visualised happy things - and looked at them. Like my photos. Then I updated my blog with other stuff which cheered me up a bit. The trolls can stick this left wing blog in their pipe and smoke it. I am happy, left-wing, pretty well with lovely cats, friends and relatives. I am grateful to all the wonderful people in the world who have made my life a pleasure to live. Of course friends and relatives. But Germaine Greer, Gill George. Women from my trade union work - Jennie, Ros and Sharon. Diane Abbott. Plenty of men too of course. Heston Blumenthal. Sir George Martin, Francis Wheen, Ian Hislop, Ken Livingstone and Barack Obama. HOPE not hate. The world survived a fascist attack once before and I think we can beat it again, hopefully through more peaceful means. Through education, empathy, understanding, more education, love and forgiveness of your most detested enemy.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Today's glog

The garden log for today. I planted the early new potatoes in the three bins Phil bought for recycling which were made redundant by my system of depositing empty bottles in the bottle bank after every run. I didn't make any holes in them but made the drainage space quite big. Then I planted the courgette seeds on the windowsill in the pots which haven't germinated (tomatoes, poppies and some herbs haven't). I tidied up the side of the house a bit and watered the acer, mexican orange blossom and front shrubs with fertilized water. Leeds is at least three weeks colder than London - we still have the heating on. So I won't plant the non-early potatoes for another couple of weeks. Or few days. I also spliced a few dandelions and started thinking why there isn't a dandelion wine recipe on Gardener's World at this time of year - in fact anywhere. They need a wild food programme on telly. Perhaps there is one and I just haven't seen it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Dear Joan Bakewell...

I want to write a letter to Joan Bakewell. She's been on the radio a lot in her role as ambassador for older people. Privatised care companies have finally been given the slating they deserve. But she didn't mention that home care workers do not get paid travel time. This needs to be emphasised. The other issue which is going off the boil is the public enquiry over the chaos Hewitt created as Health Secretary from 2005-07. It is no coincidence that the 400 deaths in Staffordshire not to mention preventable deaths in all the other out-in-the-sticks places like Dewsbury and Shrewsbury happened after the 15% cuts she pushed through. And nobody seems to be trying to get now-Lord Crisp (was Sir) to talk about that period. He was Chief Exec of the NHS when her and Tony Blair's reign of terror occured. Apparently Crisp signed a silence clause when he resigned in exchange for becoming His Lordship.
But I haven't written the letter. Will consult with my political guru Gill George.

Been an incredibly hectic week . New job going very well - worked Tues, Wednesday Thursday. MA going OK. Went to Chapel Allerton running club on Wednesday. Somebody said I was much faster than I was. Not sure how true that is as hadn't been for six weeks, but it felt good. Did 10k in an hour again. Still amazing to have knocked half an hour off time. Had a successful dinner party on Sat night, half hour run with A on Sunday morning and then a Leeds art gallery visit (very inspirational 'Mind the Income Gap' exhibtion) & family dinner party on Monday night, followed by 'Brian Clough night'. We watched The Damned United followed by a documentary on the man. Wednesday night (after running) had a medical leaving do. Planted some perpetual spinach which has already come up. Plenty of green shoots in my world.