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Saturday, 30 May 2009

Busy Bee

Hi folks, as they often say in blogging parlance, “I’m back!” and I’d like to add that I’ve got some great ideas for food and drink posts for June and beyond.

So where have I been and why so few posts of late? Well it wasn’t my intention to ignore my blog but sometimes life takes you off on different journeys which all add to the rich tapestry that is living and hopefully it will give me food for thought in my writing. Aside from looking for the Holy Grail of actual paid work (I believe it is called a job) I have been keeping myself busy with some unpaid projects and been having some fun on the way. Weirdly, my experiences all seem to have a link with food and drink, somehow.

I have been putting in lots of hours helping my friend Janette edit her first novel (and very good it is too) and she very kindly treated me to a lovely meal at The Curry House in Nottingham the other night. I can recommend the Rogan Josh – very tender lamb. We also went for a drink at the Broadway bar – previously blogged – and overall had a very fine evening. Thanks Janette.

Last week was ultra busy. Wednesday saw me meeting up with a great street photographer friend from flickr called Stephen. We spent the day in Nottingham capturing some interesting photographic images of people on the streets of our city and enjoyed each other’s company over a few bottles of Blossom Hill rosé wine. We had such a good time that the day went by in a blur and we both got some great pictures. The following day was spent in repose.

On Friday Stephen and I took ourselves off on the train to Derby for some more street photography. To save us some money I made some Yorkshire ham salad sandwiches to share and we spent a couple of hours in and around Derby’s fine old Market Hall, pausing by the veg and fruit stall to recount the names of said fruit and veg in French, as you do. By lunch it was time to visit a pub for a sit down and force ourselves to try the pint of the local ale. We went to one of my old haunts – The Ye Olde Dolphin Inn – where I tried to persuade my friend that it was a good idea to take a 30 minute stroll across Derby’s beautiful Darley Park to another ancient pub and a photographic opportunity not to be missed, a real water buffalo. On each reasoning the temporal length reduced by ten minute increments until a 30 minute walk was explained as the end destination being merely ‘just around the corner, honest mate.’

As we entered the park our nostrils were assailed by the natural fragrances of the countryside – mown grass, slightly damp foliage and from the riverbanks came the unmistakable smell of wild garlic. After a short rain shower the sun came out and warmed the air, magnifying all the fantastic smells. Taking a slight detour to avoid the various big dogs ‘off lead’ we finally reached the village of Darley Abbey and the Darley Abbey pub, originally an abbey built in the 1100’s. The beer was great and very cheap at £2.84 for two pints! The journey only took 45 minutes. Hehe.

The high point of the day was when we visited ‘Oink’ the water buffalo residing in a field of long grass on the outskirts of the village. We fed the beast from old bits of vegetables from his trough and had great fun taking his photo. The ribbed grey horns were huge and Oink could dribble for England. I was just thinking about mozzarella cheese when Stephen suddenly fell down a hole by the fence and got his foot caught in the wire fencing. I laughed my head off and wished now that I had taken a photo. The buffalo dribbled dangerously on Stephen’s leg and waved its massive horns from side to side and pawed the ground with its gigantic grass stained hoof! It had a wild look in its good eye and I think it wanted sex with Stephen – or more cabbage – hard to tell. I rescued the poor chap by undoing his trainer laces and releasing his foot for him to pull himself free. We both got stung to bits by nettles and relieved the stings with some dock leaves growing close by. Oink hadn’t had so much fun in weeks!

When we got back to Nottingham that night we ate some nice buffet style Chinese food at Big Wok and recalled our fun day out in Derby. We will be back – it’s only around the corner.

Saturday, Sunday and Monday were spent at the Pulse 2009 free music event on the Old Market Square in Nottingham and at various venues around the city. Stephen and I went together and we bumped into some other photographer friends from the Nottingham flickr group throughout the weekend. A fun time was had by all but we felt knackered by the end of it. I took over 400 images and whittled them down to 95 good ones. You can see them on my flickr site.

Yesterday (Friday) Stephen came over to my gaff and we enjoyed the hot sunshine, another walk, some good food, each other’s company and a few Abbot Ale cold beers. I put together a chicken salad preceded by some beef tomatoes with slices of mozzarella and torn fresh basil leaves with a balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing. This was followed by some garlic mushrooms, then the salad. I had made a rhubarb crumble too which we had with custard.

Well, there you go, a bit of a catch up. Hope that you enjoyed that and I promise to keep up with this blog more regularly in the months to come.


Athina said...

Another title for this post could be Just Around the Corner. :)

It was amusing that you Englishmen will go great lengths to see a real water buffalo. The carabao or the water bufallo is the Philippines' national animal and we always get to see one or two whenever we are near a farm. And we never nickname him oink. Oink is for the pig. Maaa is for the carabao and for its cousin the cow. :)

I got the impression from the pic and the blog post that Mr. Wright is a clumsy and wary person when it comes to feeding farm animals.

Another funny and entertaining post, Phil.

StGeorgeOfEngland said...

Hahaaaaaaa! at the comment about SW. Clumsy? Maybe but more likely drunk knowing him as we do.
I loved hearing the story first hand on monday Phil. Great blog again and making me smile still.
I am over my work crazy time for the moment but have now got into a project with some of my pics from the gig on monday.
Looking forward to what you have in store for us in the coming month.

Gail's Man said...

I wondered where you'd disappeared to. Glad you ad a good day in Derby. There's some nice old buildings there. The art deco loos are a gem. Think the Westfield centre is having a detrimental effect on some of the shops there.

Hope to see you around town soon, or at tomorrow's motor show in Wolly Park.

Anonymous said...

Crikey, you have been having fun.

Good luck re job hunt,


Anonymous said...

Food & drink are essential to any kind of activity, paid or not.
Nice way to hunt for a job!

French Fancy said...

(sneaking in) - had to come and say hello. This blogging holiday lark is beginning to pall already but I've only got two more weeks to go


Phil Lowe said...

Great to hear from you all my friends with the unexpected bonus of French Fancy (who is on a blogging break to study)sneaking in.

Gail'sMan: I assume that the mean the loos known as Spot bogs up on The Spot. I was always keen to get in and out asap and never noticed any art deco-ness.

Guy and Tina - you both make me smile - Guy for being so funny and so 'wrong' about SW and his fondness for a nice pint. lol Tina for the assumption that we don't have water buffalo on every street corner over here. You are both lovely.
Dedene and Not Waving - good to hear from you two too.

Dean said...

Fridays dinner sounds great and now you have mentioned crumble i will have to get some rhubarb from the market for tea.

Phil Lowe said...

Well done Dean. Rhubarb is great when it is in season.