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Lets hear if for the girls out there………
This is the International Space Station travelling over Crispiero in Italy tonight, where I happen to be, It travels at 27,724 kilometres or 17,227 miles per hour. The space station completes 15 orbits a day, which means the crew members on board the station experience a sunrise or sunset every 92 minutes.
You can track the ISS on a free app called ISS Spotter and if you have a lovely clear sky, as we do in Italy, you will see it clear as you like.
So I’m in Crispiero in the Marche region of Italy and when in Rome (or anywhere in Italy) or even at home in your garden, one needs to drink Veneziano Spritzer, or Aperol Spritz, also called just Spritz, an Italian wine-based cocktail, commonly served as an aperitif in Northeast Italy. It consists of prosecco, Aperol and soda water and it’s blooming splendido! Seriously guys try this on ice, you can buy Aperol on Amazon and in supermarkets so just do it.
Over the last couple of days, I’ve heard a lot about the Government’s Guacamole approach to Covid 19 spikes in various areas across the country. I’m not sure what the humble Avocado has to do with current pandemic unless it’s a new form of treatment that we’ve not been told about. When everybody talks about a Guacamole approach to lockdowns do they mean that we have to buy tubs of the dip and smear it around our windows and doors to keep the virus out, or do we now have to consume large amounts of the Avocado based delicacy with tortilla chips to stave off the viral infection.
Oh, dear it seems the battery in my hearing aid has gone flat, so what was that about wack-a-mole
There’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that there is a global pandemic and hundreds of thousands are dying and we are all to wear masks. The good news is I look amazing in a mask. You are still thinking about the bad news aren’t you?
Credit to Ricky Gervais for the joke.
I love that there’s a town called Muff in Ireland on the border of Donegal. You are now entering Muff is one of the renown signs as you approach the town showing that the locals have a sense of humour and there is a Muff Diving School in town. If I was ever to take up diving I’d want to be certified at The Muff Diving School.
There is also The Muff Liquor Company. Seriously you couldn’t make this up “hello is that muff liquor?” How tolerant must you be to work as the receptionist at Muff Liquor?
I want to live in Muff, how much fun would that be? I would be sniggering all day long. Or maybe I would want to live in Donegal so I could say every day “I’m just popping down to Muff”
You are now leaving Muff boooo!
I’m sorry I’m in touch with my inner Sid the Sexist today.
STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER…
“But don’t forget the gooseberry”
Pick-your-own farms are as much a part of the traditional British childhood summer as donkey rides along the beach and egg & spoon races on sports day, conjuring images of long sunny days spent rummaging in the strawberry beds and eating more berries, than went in your basket. When pick-your-own fruit farms began springing up in Britain in the 1960s, people were still living in the post-war years, having been brought up with rationing and the ethos of making a little go a long way. Families would drive out at weekends to pick baskets of fruit and vegetables that were preserved, tinned and frozen as supplies to see them through the winter.
The golden years for PYO’s were in the 80’s, but the arrival of supermarket giants a decade later, sent fruit picking popularity into decline. Since then a generation has passed which simply went to a retail park for convenience, choice and cost. Although they have never gone away, pick-your-owns are enjoying a revival this summer, thanks to glorious weather, a renewed passion for fresh, local produce and a desire to get out in the fresh air after weeks of ‘lockdown’.
Family run McLauchlans of Boxted is an Essex fruit farm currently enjoying the resurgence of fruit picking popularity. On reopening for the start of the 2020 season they experienced a massive increase in demand for their produce, welcoming 4 times their usual number of visitors, over the first 10 days. Unsurprisingly strawberries are their most popular fruit, but also cultivated on the 15-acre farm are raspberries, redcurrants, broad beans, sweetcorn and not forgetting the humble, hairy and quintessentially British gooseberry.
We visited Boxted Berries on a beautifully sunny Saturday morning, eager to fill our punnets full of this somewhat forgotten but deliciously versatile fruit. The gooseberry, once so popular, has fallen out of favour over the years. You rarely see them in our supermarkets, which is a shame, as with a little imagination, gooseberries can make delicious additions to both sweet and savoury dishes. It is important to use the right variety for each dish, seek out the pink-tinged dessert gooseberries (Pax) for crumbles, fools and cakes. The bristly little green gooseberries (Invicta) lend themselves perfectly to chutneys and relishes, beautiful paired with mackerel or pork, where the tart fruit cuts through the richness of the meat and fish.
The moment we arrived at the fruit farm; we knew this was a special place. It immediately filled us with a sense of nostalgia as we took in the hand written chalk boards, immaculate hedge rowed fields and listened to the sounds of excitement as children compared the fruits of their labour. We were greeted warmly by Jim McLauchlan, who proudly showed us around the farm; his family’s legacy. Founded in 1939 by Jim’s grandfather Charlie, and opened to the public as a PYO in 1969, the ensuing McLauchlan generations have ploughed their love and passion for farming into the business. Employing around 4/5 people year-round and 15/20 seasonally, the farm is a very much a family and local community affair.
Fruit farming is hard work and frustratingly unpredictable; one harsh late frost can wipe out a whole crop, but that’s the nature of the business, Jim tells us. It can be a constant battle against the elements, insects and birds. Boxted Berries farm organically, using bio-pesticides only when absolutely necessary and on each row of netted plants, hangs a cocktail of cider vinegar and raspberry juice that the pests just can’t resist! The result: plentiful, tasty, plump fruit that’s had a chance to mature naturally.
STAWBERRY AND GOOSEBERRY JAM
If you’re short of time or don’t fancy grappling with the incredibly thorny gooseberry bushes (gloves definitely recommended!) then Jim’s pickers have done the hard work for you and you will find produce from the farm and plenty of other locally sourced fruit, vegetables and more, in their shop. We highly recommend the gooseberry and strawberry jam made by Mrs McLauchlan (Jim’s mum), it’s delicious!
So, what is the future for Pick-your-own fruit farms? Is this just a temporary revival that will lose its appeal once we fully return to the rat race? We sincerely hope not. It’s true that 60% of McLauchlans of Boxted’s regular customers are over 60 but we optimistically hope that the tradition of fruit picking will be passed on to their children and grandchildren. With a passionate generation emerging that champions the environment and sustainability, it’s fantastic to see that more and more of us are celebrating and supporting our local farmers. Long may this continue, keeping the small producers and farms thriving and saving ‘Pick-your-own’ from becoming just a childhood memory.
McLauchlans of Boxted Fruit Farm
53 Straight Rd, Boxted, Boxted Cross, Colchester CO4 5RB
to follow the gooseberry theme, and they are actually really worth a follow, we have created a gooseberry liqueur and gooseberry crumble that will both be featured in our next couple of posts, so make sure you subscribe.. and sign up to the EDGE .NEXT POST: Gooseberry Rum Liqueur…
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Last night I made my first visit to a pub since February. Every few weeks I meet up with two good mates to have few beers, a bite to eat and put the world to rights etc. Usual old bloke stuff. I decided to walk down to The Angel (other boozers are available), a decision I immediately regretted. I will be honest and say that like a child getting nearer and nearer to the prize my walking pace picked up considerably, I was making a fair trot time I got within the vicinity of said hostelry.
We arrived and were shown to our booked table, booking a table to have a drink! It is all working well at The Angel, plenty of sanitisation stuff everywhere to allay your fears and a one way system for good measure. The three pints of Doombar were ordered, (other beers were not available on this occasion) and arrived at the table. The glasses were picked up, they were examined, they were chinked and finally after an awfully long time they were disposed of in a coupe of measured gulps. Fish and chips added in to the mix and job done. Then came the bombshell. the manageress who had came out on our arrival to say she was wondering when we would turn up, announced that because it was so quiet they would be closing at 9pm. The obvious joke of ok 12 pints of Doombar then didn’t get the approval it deserved.
Thing is fellow Edgers it is clear. We do have to overcome some of our fears and get back out into the big wide world. I speak as somebody with a serious illness that puts me in the risk category for good measure. There is talk of a winter resurgence, well if that is the case best you make the most of your new freedoms in the last remaining summer and early autumn months. The waitress did make a remark that we are paying her wages, true, but she speaks for many in that industry. Some of my own household also work in the hospitality sector and others have their own fledgling start up businesses. We need to help them, even The Edge depends on everybody getting back out there and bringing confidence to the advertisers that pay for EE not to be back at Tesco’s!
But back to the beer, we managed to neck down 2.5 pints, fish and chips and sticky toffee pudding in 1.5 hours. We were standing back out on Broomfield Road just after 9pm. It was momentous. I decided to walk home despite the offer of a pick up from Mrs M. A decision I immediately regretted, again.
And what was the power of three. Well I trundled back up School Lane warm in the glow of ale, food and friendship. Zoom and Whats App are ok but sitting down with real people will never be beaten.
So, who is enjoying the little mini league that we have before us? The 8 game rapid bonanza to decide premiership champions, European places, relegation and mid table obscurity!
I was very much against the resumption of football as I said here http://theedgemag.co.uk/blog/lets-forget-about-all-the-human-suffering-and-get-the-premier-league-started-again/ but so far I’ve really enjoyed the return of competitive football and I realise how much i have missed having this distraction in my life.
Being a long suffering West Ham fan every game is a cup final now but I like that, so long as the Hammers survive of course. I am forever the optimist, indeed I predicted West Ham to finish third in The Edge Premier League prediction table! Mind you I also said Norwich would finish bottom and Villa second from bottom so there!
Enjoy the remaining matches guys, I’m very uncertain whether we will see the new premiership season kick off on time, or even at all, as I fully expect to see Mr Covid return for another spell.
Stay save folks.
I’ve just heard the most amazing and impressive interview with Nicola Sturgeon who stated:
“When we come out of Lockdown so does the Virus!”
That should be food for thought as we all try and pretend that the Virus has now gone away.
She also said that the Science is identical in England and Scotland and cannot understand why face masks are not compulsory in England as they are now in Scotland.
As I’ve said before – The Virus is still out there!
As we can all see – there are lockdowns now occurring in MELBOURNE – LEICESTER – SINGAPORE – ISRAEL – CATALONIA (in Spain) – TEXAS – ARIZONA – FLORIDA and a whole host of other places.
So the advice should be
BE CAREFUL WEAR A MASK.
I’ve been called a lot of things but never a Gadabout. So Super Saturday was followed by Super Sunday. Who ventured out to a public house? I did Saturday afternoon but only to my local and we sat in the garden.
Which reminds me of someone once saying “the walk to my local pub is only 5 mins but the walk back is 45 mins. The difference is staggering!”
The White Hart in Little Waltham had an App upon which you can order your drinks and food and pay for it too and it is then delivered to your table. Very clever if you ask me. I can see that staying long after the virus has gone.
Prices were hiked but that surprised no one I guess. The hospitality business has a long road to recovery and me and my pals convinced ourselves that we are doing our bit to help!
So who would’ve thought that what good old Sam Pepy’s had to say 350 years ago would apply again in 2020?
Welcome to the new normal folks.
It’s about a year since Shaun invited me to write a monthly column in “Fogey’s Corner” and hasn’t the world now changed in a completely unrecognisable manner. The changes have both terrified and confounded us all, and we now live in a world where up is down, black is white and for many, being employed means you don’t have to travel into work.
The Pandemic has had a profound effect on our behaviour, beliefs and confidence. A recent study has shown that over 65% of people don’t want to go back to a life as it was before lockdown, and for those in work, approximately 55% want to continue with some form of home working. Estate agents have reported that they’ve been overwhelmed by people wanting to flee the cities to a more rural setting – a kind of reverse Industrial revolution.
Our belief that “Johnny Foreigner” was not up-to scratch with regard to their Economies, Healthcare and Social Services lies shattered as we sit at the bottom of all tables in the handling of the Covid 19 crisis and we are truly the “Sick Man of Europe”. Who’d have believed that the Paupers and Minnows of Europe, such as Greece, Portugal and Denmark would have performed so well in the Pandemic.
The message that is being put forward is –
THE VIRUS IS STILL OUT THERE
To quote Albert Camus the noted French Philosopher/Author and Goalkeeper –
Everybody knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world, yet somehow, we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down on our heads from a blue sky. There have been as many plagues as wars in history, yet always plagues and wars take people equally by surprise.”
“We tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away. But it doesn’t always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away.”
The lockdown has had a profound effect on our social behaviour in that we rediscovered our homes; learnt to queue in an orderly fashion; discovered that we could shop online for almost everything up-to and including cars!
The real problem now is the haphazard manner in which lockdown and social distancing is breaking down due to the many conflicting signals being given– Stay in/don’t stay in – Go out/Don’t go out– Wear Masks/Don’t wear masks; and we’ve now seen the catastrophic problems of – Street Parties – Crowded Beaches – Mass Demonstrations and is it any wonder that we’re all waiting for an upsurge in cases of Covid 19 or am I wrong?
And Now there is the FIRST of the Local Lockdowns in Leicester!
THE VIRUS IS STILL OUT THERE.