01 January 2003 18:31
He who twitches last, twitches longest
GOOD MORNING EAST ANGLIA
It's January 1st 2003
the weather is, well, its raining.
That's twitching as in bird watching - that's birdwatching as in those of a feathered persuasion, by the way.
Back to bed with a pot of tea.
Something went flob onto the front door mat. A lump of papier mache that in its former existence had been today's Grauniad.
Got up, had breakfast
Decided to head for Minsmere for a spot of birding.
After about 40 mins
Started to rain
Donned waterproofs. You can picture the scene. Big Mac in mostly navy and black striding out through the puddles. His little hood pulled down with sticky-out pull cords like Andrew Marr's ears. Me, who says it as shouldn't, a vision in pink and purple hurrying alongside. My green wellies don't do anything for the ensemble. I wonder where I can find some purple ones. I suppose I could wear purple DMs but they won't keep my feet quite as dry. I digress.
Sizewell's Great Ball disappeared into the mist twice.
My Bins are snuggling under my jacket. I must resemble one of those carved figureheads that adorned the old sailing ships, except those ladies only have a wisp of fabric to protect them from the elefants. Thinking about it they must have been truly hardy breasting the seas with nothing but a bit of something diaphanous to protect them.
Decided to head for the visitors' centre for a sustaining cup of Ridgeways Best Organic Tea.
Headed out again.
Sizewell's Great Ball disappeared again.
Oh what the heck - cut our losses and give up, light going, murky, wet can't see anything anyway.
Big Mac mining an new seam of Ham 'n' Pea
Better go as I've got to do something unspeakable to some shallots, mushrooms, rognons and a bottle of Burgundy.
Tomorrow's forecast ain't much better
01 January 2003 19:29
If it's any consolation to you it piddled down last night. We had thunder and lightning at 4 o'clock-ish in the morning. Finished off with a day of rain with occasional bright spells (immediately followed by torrential rain).
Wasn't there myself but initial reaction to new year's eve has been less than favourable. Even a notoriously acquisitive local businessman was heard (I was there) to complain that potential profits were fast diminishing in the light of growing overheads and damage done (two of the Segal's were swiped from the Sloop last night, windows smashed down Fore Street).
PS. Why have you suddenly started speaking in LARGE PRINT? Do you think I'm deaf or stupid ......
Well, OK, do you think I'm deaf?
02 January 2003 15:44
Pardon? Oh, well, you know what they say? "If the cap fits..........." but no more so than the rest of us. Its what keeps us sane.
Braved Norwich this a.m. Not too bad except for the precipitation. Big Mac had a lesson on the RIGHT way to sharpen a knife so now he's playing in the kitchen, practising on the old ones before trying it with his new Wusthof (or however you spell it). I've promised I won't do anything to upset him!
Shame about the Segal's. Makes me sick when people do things like that. Why can't they just have a good time without spoiling it for other people?
02 January 2003 16:13
Aye, 'tis true. People here seem to be growing ever more disenchanted with the new year's eve shenanigans and it seems to be just turning into a 'get pissed and trash St Ives' party for out-of-towners. Apparently they were arriving by the coachload from Camborne, Redruth, etc. as well as further afield. Unsubstantiated rumours of violence including a claim from someone (of an oldish and usually reliable disposition) that the filth had to wade in with the extendable truncheon thingies when one reveller tried to assault a policewoman.
Any chance the St. Ives residents can come to your tranquil East Anglian marshes for the nest new year?
PS. It doesn't matter if Big Mac bends his Wusthof (albeit it would take an effort, they're heavy buggers), real chefs use Globals! The difference? Like using a scalpel for surgery instead of a broadsword (as recommended by Mr Bourdain in KC!).
Still as long as it keeps him happily entertained while you go out and enjoy yourself at AS parties .....
03 January 2003 15:25
Can't say I agree with M. Bourdain in all his pronouncements, anyway, Big Mac isn't a real chef - he usually refers to himself as the old retainer.
Perhaps the Ians could be bussed out of St Ives to our tranquil marshes of East Anglia to nest for next new year. Just let me know in advance so that I can clear the place up a bit. You're welcome at any time.
Looks like we might have to have some MAJOR repair work done. The house is about 400 years old in parts. The oldest bit was built on sand with a timber base plate supporting the timber frame and lathe and plaster and wattle and daub walls. Part of the base plate has rotted at a corner. Big Mac noticed while he was crawling around the floor (Oooooo, we were having fun) trying to get the xmas tree straight. Comments like " I can see daylight through the wall" could be indicative of all sorts of misuses but on investigation you could. In my usual ostrich-like way I decided that we couldn't do anything about it until 2003 so let's not worry.
You'll be amazed to hear that as I type it isn't raining. (oops its just started) The Waveney is on high flood alert from Diss, about 10 miles west of here, to Beccles, about 16 miles east. Most of the water meadows are under water with somewhat bemused looking herons hunkered down or proceeding in unusual hunting grounds. It actually looks very attractive. The worst that has happened in Harleston is for the main road through the "shopping centre" to flood, making a few shops a bit soggy. Nothing like you had in St. Ives, inches rather than feet. The road outside our house has flooded to a depth of - oh, up to my knees ( I know I had to leave the car a wade home) The water just reaches the front gate and as we're on a hill (we don't do hills like in Cornwall so its really a slight rise - terribly flat - Norfolk) so fingers crossed, we should be OK
Just dismantled the tree and got to go to clear up all the needles.
03 January 2003 15:45
Oh you don't have to agree with AB, it's just that you have got to get behind the mysticism of it all. I mean why say finely dice vegetables and cook them slightly in oil and butter, when you can say 'sweat a mirepoix'. Pedantic, I know, but I regard it as justifiable revenge on all the car mechanic bullshitters that have afflicted me over the years! Besides, what would you rather read about, Bourdain's orgiastic tales or the Dish Pig's tales of shit-shovelling (not literally in case any former eaters see this!) in the Sloop.
Mind you, he's bang on about when to go out and eat and get some decent scran!
I'm sorry to here that you are living in a centuries old mud hut. Aren't they building anything more modern? No, they aren't round here either! Hope the floods don't get you (I was assured by a person from Brassicashire [not that you live there but it's threateningly close] that all that part of the country was sorted flood-wise because, unlike the rest of the country, you'd had years of practice keeping the water out).
PS. I hope you are wearing strong rubber gloves when you pick the needles up, all the workmen round here do after new year's eve!
PPS. In case you're interested, SSI may be back. Had a fiddle about with the HTML to try and cure the bugs. Solution not perfect but it seems to work. There didn't seem much point continuing if the finished product was going to become increasingly unintelligible.
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