Friday, 26 August 2011

Staffordshire oatcakes


We first saw them on top of the deli counter at the Spar in Great Haywood. This week we decided to give them a go. The woman behind the counter told us how to do it Рa bit of ham and cheese inside, roll them up and pop them in the microwave for a couple of minutes. They were fabulous, reminiscent of the savoury buckwheat cr̻pes you get in France. Quite different to what I'd thought of up to now as an oatcake.

In the shop down the road we came across a packet of oatcakes that looked similar but which were labelled as Derbyshire oatcakes. Wikipedia says these are a similar recipe but usually a bit larger and thicker. Perhaps those Dales walkers need greater sustenance.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Salt and Sandon

The Hollybush at Salt does a wonderful venison casserole, but they'd run out by 1 p.m., so we both had guinea fowl for Sunday lunch. Yummy! Then we set out to walk it off. I've been experimenting with the Garmin Dakota 20 given to me at retirement – plotting a route on the computer, and then using the Garmin to follow it. Having the OS map on the device is great, and it's interesting to work with the differences from using a paper version.

The route we'd planned took us from Salt, over the Trent and Mersey and the A51 and through the Sandon estate. Woodland, grassland, the odd monument, a 12th century church and a long stretch of towpath before we got back to the pub. My best beloved's knee reports feeling ready for a 24 hour rest, but OK apart from that.


The Hollybush Inn, Salt


The helmsman and the fishermen seemed to be playing chicken. We stayed to watch – and they did get their rods up just in time.


This entrance to the Sandon estate looks more inviting than the main one down the road.


Pisa it is not, but Pitt's column really does seem to be off the vertical.


Trentham Tower. Folly it may be, but it must have offered some fabulous views when new. Now it is a bit of an eyesore, with broken stone and plasterwork.


All Saints, Sandon, unfortunately locked.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Tixall Wide again

Saturday morning we moved Erin Mae to the service jetty for a pump-out, and decided on the spur of the moment to see how my wrist would respond to slightly longer on the tiller. So off we went on our favourite day-trip, a gentle half-hour down to Tixall Wide. The wrist was mostly OK, the day was mostly fine, and we had a great chill-out. Is this retirement, holiday or convalescence? Not sure, but it's what the doctor ordered!

Cannock Chase


With hospital appointments done and dusted, we came up to the Erin Mae just in time to miss the appalling storm that soaked the Bournemouth area. Can't do the jobs I had planned, because it's amazing how the simplest of pactical tasks seems to put stress on a wrist fracture. But it's good to be here in our normal holiday month.

So we went for a walk on Friday, giving my best beloved's knee its first real work out in the wild. It did very well – three and a half miles of heathland with a few mild ups and downs. Cannock Chase seemed pretty empty at first, though some walkers and cyclists appeared later on. We had a brilliant time.


Fields of heather across the Chase


Not much water in the Sherbrook valley, apart from this puddle where we had lunch. The construction looks like a piece of aqueduct made from concrete blocks, but what it was doing here was not at all clear.


The workout


The "Glacier Boulder" apparently consists of a type of rock found in Scotland, and is therefore supposed to have been deposited here during the last Ice Age.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Fracture clinic

It seems that fracture clinics, at least on the first visit, are normally for those who need a stookie, rather than those who already have one. So I had to explain more than once how I came to be taking up NHS time when my wrist was already adorned with a plaster wrapping in a fetching shade of blue. But they were very nice, confirmed that I should not be driving, showed us that the fracture was rather more extensive than we had thought at first, and fixed up the next appointment for 6th September. That will be six and a half weeks since I carelessly fell into the water, and five weeks and one day for that part of my anatomy to remain unwashed. I find extremely unconvincing the assurance from my best beloved that I'm the only one likely to be aware of the whiff developing under the plaster.

Since we had to make this trip to Lymington we extended it to Southampton, partly to buy some stuff from Ikea for the Erin Mae, and partly to take my MacBook to the Apple Store's fracture clinic genius bar. The edge of the wrist support had worn to the point of breaking away, and a colleague had suggested that Apple would do something about it. Which they did – a new keyboard and surround for free, even though the laptop was nearly four years old and well out of warranty. "No problem at all, sir, provided I've got one in stock." Service, this time, that smells of roses.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Cocked wrist

Up on Erin Mae the penultimate weekend of July we continued to prepare for cruising – sorting out equipment, measuring up the front locker covers for replacement, etc. Everything was going swimmingly until, for some inexplicable reason, I put a foot in the rightangle gap between pontoon and jetty and ended up in the water. Getting wet wasn’t a problem – but dignity, right wrist and left knee were all feeling distinctly bruised.

With equanimity suitably restored after a shower and a cup of tea, we assessed the damage and began to be a little concerned, both about Sunday’s drive home and the state of the clothes – marina water has some pretty strange components. First things first then – time to test out the new washing machine. Except that it wouldn’t work. Water in, OK. Water out, OK. Turn the drum to actually wash something, nope. And, by this time, arm and knee were really not up to doing much investigation.

In the event, over-use of the arm-rest and under-use of the clutch got us home safely, so my best beloved could get to her Monday physio, and I could start the final week of clearing out my study at the college. Half the books went to the librarian, half came home with me. The arm seemed OK with this provided I didn’t throw things around or twist it too much, and the benefit to my biceps was considerable. I received sympathy for the bruising and mockery at what led to it – just what colleagues are for. Meanwhile Candy turned up trumps and sent a engineer to sort out the washing machine – pulling out the polystyrene packing had apparently disconnected a lead to the motor.

So Thursday came, with its farewells to those who were still around (except that I’ll be back in the autumn to do some IT work). A great weekend at the IWA festival in Burton-on-Trent, and then home for my best beloved’s final physio assessment and discharge. I too had a doctor’s appointment on Monday about something else, but I thought I’d mention the wrist as it was waking me up in the night (that’s quite a feat). Hm, he says, better get it checked out. So we did, and those nice people at Lymington hospital did an X-ray, told me the wrist was broken, and put it in a stookie. You’d think half a ton of books would have told me earlier. Still, it was quite gratifying to have four nurses telling me that I obviously wasn’t the sort of person who did man-flu (they clearly didn’t see the slightly sceptical look on the face of the one who knows me best!).

Erin Mae, we haven’t really abandoned you. We really do want to go cruising. If only it wasn’t so complicated to get to the starting gate.