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Thursday, 27 February 2014

The Old Peculier at Masham

A couple of weeks ago there was an item on the news about Masham (pronounced Massam). It is a short drive to the west of the A1 in North Yorkshire, but since the road upgrade it has lost its official signpost. The good folk of Masham have overcome that by putting up one of their own. Officialdom keeps ordering them to take it down.
So we decided to journey over and see what it's like there. I have been over to Artison nearby, for art courses but have not spent time looking round the town.
It's very pretty, lovely old buildings and market square and some interesting shops and as we wandered around the back streets we came upon one of their two breweries.
Theakstons was open for a tour!

There were only four of us and Emma may be more used to groups of forty but she did us a grand tour...
Showing us everything from the hops and malt...
To the vats and brewing vessels, many very old but still working well...
Right through to the brews themselves, quietly frothing away...
All the brews are ordered and each brew is the job of one small team from filling the first tub to cleaning the last vat to to labelling the firkins.
Different colours are different sizes and contents. The old oak barrels are stored in the yard too and used to make special orders.
After a good wander through all the stages, the final reward is a tasting of a range of the beers...
DJ sups a measure of "Old Peculier", one of his favourites.
There is another brewery on the other side of town called The Black Sheep Brewery, so guess where we are going next time!
Cheers Gillian

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Sir Nigel Gresley arrives...and more on the Breadmaker

Sir Nigel Gresley was responsible for designing the A4s which are at Shildon's Locomotion Museum this week so it is fitting that one of the last six is named after him.
It must have chuffed its way up from the North York Moors Railway and is getting a good cleaning in preparation for the opening of the Great Gathering today.
The Dominion of Canada was getting a buffering and its big brass bell has been remounted on top.
The others are patiently waiting their turn.
The bread maker has turned into a great success. We have not bought bread since and have eaten every crumb we have made. It was set on timer last night and the smell of baking bread is rising through the house this morning. Making the bread ahead of need is one of the matters to consider. I fancied the rustic french recipe and it takes six hours! If you lived on the south coast a ferry ride to Calais could be more economic and timely. Hence the use of the timer. Getting the crust right has been the other main consideration. A quick blast in a hot oven ensures that the crust remains "crusty". There is a liability for it to soften as the loaf cools.
This means that it is best removed from the breadmaker as soon as the machine beeps.
But it tastes great, keeps well and toasts beautifully and I know just what is in it.
There is only one bread pan so all loaves come out the same size except that they vary in height.
So this is the rustic french "Pain de Campagne" even though it doesn't look it and it shouldn't be cut open yet to taste so it will be ready for lunch. If you want fancy shapes you have to remove the dough and cook it in the oven. I browned the crust to help it keep better.
The house smells woncerful. I shall make coffee next!
Billy is being taught to walk. Not working well yet but we shall persist.
The lead can be fixed to a washing line and then he can play in the yard in the summer when we are out there too. We have time.
He does seem particularly attracted to the gap under the gates so they will be blocked off soon, probably when the weather gets better. I presume it will. Water has come into our house again during the recent rains but we are able to get it fixed and will start soon. So much worse for so many poor folks. I weep for them.

Cheers Gillian

Sunday, 9 February 2014

The Great Gathering of A4s Locomotives and some other Stuff

DJ got a small remote control helicopter from Lidl. Billy loves it.
When DJ gets more adept at moving the could become a fair battle, but in the meantime it crashes a bit and Billy hasn't caught it while it's moving. Probably a good thing.
Anyway, we went off to Shildon to watch the " Mallard" arrive. It was pulled in by the "Union of South Africa", steaming away at the front. The other four A4s will arrive during the week.
These engines will all be on show the week after next at Shildon. We went back today to see how they were settling in.
The Mallard is inside the big shed and the UOSA is parked right behind it and someone else's little girl is standing in front to show us all how big it really is.. They are here to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Mallard setting the world speed record for a steam engine.
126mph in 1938. Never beaten!!! Engines from all over the world have been recalled and refurbished so that they can line up to celebrate together. There are six left. They will all be there...
The Mallard
The Sir Nigel Gresley
The Bittern
The Union of South Africa
The Dominion of Canada
The Dwight D Eisenhower

I've got a breadmaker. There will be more about that as I gain confidence.
Over at Seaton Carew more waves are bringing in more sand. We wont need to descend the steps to the beach soon but  at least we have sand coming in and not water. There are properties for sale along the coast. which I used to lust after. Now, I'm not so sure!

DJ got me a Wasgij for xmas. The picture on the box shows the situation ten seconds BEFORE the completed jigsaw result. First of all I worked out who did it. Then I worked out the picture. It took quite a few days to complete it.
That's about it for now
Cheers Gillian

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Day Out to see Dame Laura Knight in Newcastle

There are no pics for this blog cos we went on the bus and I didn't take a camera! In fact, we caught the first bus at the end of the road.  We had to do a small jog because the crossing lights were against us but the last person in the queue held it till we got there. At the local bus station we slid seamlessly onto the express to Newcastle and climbed upstairs to the front seat.
Got off at the corner where the Laing Gallery is!... 
The Dame Laura Knight portrait exhibition is on till the 16th Feb and if you are within reach, it is splendidly worthy of a visit.
The weather remained fine and we walked a couple of blocks to our favourite lunch spot...
Afterwards the goddesses were with us and all the buses arrived at the same time as we did. We sauntered home before 4pm with a fresh loaf of bread from Lidl for ron.
Billy was so glad to see us and has eaten well and settled down in front of the fire just as I'm about to do now.
Cheers Gillian