I am hoping that this is the last weekend without a phone line and broadband, although we have learned how to cope because it has taken so long. Two months and counting. The 19th (Tuesday) is the current "do by" date, so fingers crossed. According to our local paper, the Western Mail, if you are a heavy internet user, you get withdrawal symptoms similar to withdrawal from regular Ecstasy use. That is, when you have no internet access. Whilst I've never taken Ecstasy, I did suffer without my internet for that first month!
Meanwhile, my husband and I (whenever I write that, I hear the Queen's voice in my head!!!) are continuing with logging for next winter, and if you have ever seen the Mountain Men programme on Sky (love it) we are beginning to feel just like them. We are currently harvesting a well-seasoned fallen oak, the middle chunk of which my husband is planning to try and split today to build a coffer from, and the chunks either side, which are bent and damaged, are firewood. Heavens, it weighs an absolute ton though, I can't manage to carry even a small slice! The tannin in it smells just like Daddy's Sauce (Brown Sauce to the uninitiated) when you cut it. Strange. Now I have a note of how the old tanneries must have smelt, as they used oak bark for tanning leather (I can remember, in my youth, buying stirrup leathers which were oak bark tanned).
Well, the horsemeat furore carries on apace and it would seem that unless we are strict vegetarians or vegans, we have been eating it in all sorts of disguises down the years. It doesn't surprise or disgust me (although I would NEVER choose to eat horse meat, having owned horses all my life) but I am hoping that something positive may come from this and that the return to supporting our local butchers instead of buying blindly at the supermarket (though personally I cook from scratch and have never had anything more ready-meal than a fish-finger or pizza). I hope that the NFU's adverts in the National newspapers this weekend for fresh sourcable BRITISH meat will influence the British public. After all, it ticks so many boxes and helps the British economy - particularly British farmers who have been struggling for years to keep their heads above water. Eynon's, the superb butcher we use at St Clear's (far too infrequently, I will own) is an expert at accountability and advertises the name of the farm where the beef/lamb/pork etc came from. The venison comes from the Queen's estates at Balmoral and is WONDERFUL. All this meat has lived a good life, had a good death, been properly hung, prepared, and if you think lamb is lamb is lamb - try lamb raised on salt marshes - the flavour is out of this world. Far better for us to eat less meat, but when we do get it, to go for top quality meat such at Eynon's and similar butchers sell. Far better for people to learn to cook from scratch too, and I understand that Michael Gove is aiming to introduce cooking skills back into the school curriculum - and not as part of Design & Technology where the food had to be designed - one dish in various guises, rather than learning how to cook a good soup, stew, cake or loaf of bread which was what we learned in "Cookery" lessons back in the 1960s.
Have a good weekend all.