Monday, 7 July 2014

Cheeses, Tour de France, World War One, Poetry …


The inspiration for today’s post has come from the Tour de France as the route visits some top cheese-making regions, including its starting point last Saturday in Yorkshire …



… through the Yorkshire Dales, the setting of the James Herriot veterinary books – which as many of you will know has incredible scenery and names! 



Buttertubs Pass is a challenging cycle climb featured as the second of the three King of the Mountains climbs in Stage One.


The limestone buttertubs

Buttertubs – so called deep limestone potholes – are said to come from the times when farmers would rest there on their way to market … then during hot weather could lower the butter into the potholes to keep it cool …



Peak District National Park
Edale Valley from Mam Tor


Day Two goes through Blubberhouses - possibly from the Anglo-Saxon ‘the houses which are at the bubbling stream’ – through the Peak District now our first National Park … pretty moorland, rolling hills and dales to wildflower meadows and leafy forests … this is home to some of the country’s finest scenery …







Yorkshire lanes 

Could they look … as they raced around the tiny lanes, up the gruelling hills, and down the spine of England … no, I don’t think so …





Platter stops of cheese, breads, fruits and salads sounds a much better idea … for spectators along the routes … at the pubs, or picnics in the peaks … or at home just sampling our own selections, the tv remote to hand, between the tennis, Grand Prix and the Tour … (it’s been a busy weekend – I have a flat backside!) …

Kit Calvert cheese



Two Yorkshire cheeses: Kit Calvert is a lovingly handcrafted buttery, creamy textured cheese; named after the father of Wensleydale cheese, who helped save the Wensleydale Creamery from closure in 1935.





Or … the award-winning Shepherds Purse Yorkshire Bluehere is a recipe using this cheese .... 



Across La Manche to Le Touquet and on to Lille … but then an important acknowledgement for stage 5 – the commencement of World War One, one hundred years ago … on the cobblestones of Ypres, Belgium …

Ypres cobbles ... 

… what could be worse for a cyclist than the nine cobbled sectors … but many will be thinking of the carnage of a century ago …



Ypres will always be remembered as the strategic position during WW1 which stopped Germany’s planned sweep across the rest of Belgium and into France from the north …

Canadian Headquarters Staff, by William
Nicholson.  The painting depicts five
Canadian generals and one major
standing unposed in front of the bombed
Ypres Cathedral and Cloth Hall


… the neutrality of Belgium was guaranteed by the British; once Germany invaded Belgium this brought the British Empire into the war.


It would have been unacceptable for the Tour not to commemorate the Centenary of the start of World War I in its own way … that we shall see tomorrow and Wednesday …


To fast forward one hundred years and be introduced to some other cheeses along the Tour route …



Cathedral Marcel Petite Comte -
a disused fort
There’s a cheese at Stage 11 in the eastern region of France – the Jura – called Cathedral Matured Mountain Comte Aop … all the cheeses are aged in the Cathedral Marcel Petite Comte, a disused fort …





Epoisses Bourguignon

We could also try Berthaut’s Epoisses … first made in the 16th century by Cistercian monks … which has, since WW2, made a revival as an artisanal cheese … often eaten with Trappist beer rather than wine.



If we move on to Stage 15 … we will find Cave Aged Roquefort, the pungent, tangy and creamy cheese aged in local limestone caves, home to a natural blue mould, Penicillium roqueforti.



Cave Age Roquefort
It is claimed that this cheese was first mentioned in the writings of Pliny the Elder in AD 79 – he was certainly prolific … his last work was the Naturalis Historia, an encyclopedia into which he collected a great deal of the knowledge of his time ... providing us today with so much information about the Roman period.



Before we disappear off to raid the delicatessen shelves, or the supermarket cheese counters … on July 2nd in 1566 Nostradamus died.


French cheeses ... 
Did he prophesise that in 2014 we would be enjoying so many cheeses, that clever entrepreneurs would develop new cheeses for us to enjoy while we idled away hours watching our favourite sports programmes?




Tour de France route 2014

He did write a cookery book containing among other things, recipes for jams and jellies.  The title of it roughly translates as ‘An excellent and most useful work essential to all who wish to become acquainted with exquisite recipes’ …  I expect there would be cheeses in there too …





 
My iphone photo
of Waitrose's
magazine cover


Most of this eclectic information came from Waitrose’s Food and Drink magazine provided free at outlets … on occasion, as far as I’m concerned they come up total trumps …





Sheep painted the classification
colours of the leaders in the race .. not
easy to explain!

The third and last of the British Stages has finished in London … along from the Olympic Park through the centre of London, past the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben … finishing off outside Buckingham Palace …




… now to cross the Channel and find those French cheeses I’ve listed .. and many more …


Reeth Post Office duly decorated ...
in Tour colours
One last snippet – for those of us who can get the Waitrose magazine – the Poetry competition is mentioned – the second-round winners are revealed … the third round opens to entries …



… but they are great poems to read to invalided relatives or friends … and I can see my mother enjoying these and smiling happily as I read them out to her …  not to be for us …


Platter of cheeses ... 

… but a thought for all carers, Nursing Home Managers … something very different – I know I shall be taking a copy up to the Nursing Centre I continue to visit for their Care Manager to use as she thinks fit …



Happy touring … oh and before I forget completely ... Jenny of Jenny Freckles, who blogs at Saltaire Daily Photo ... has some stunning shots and comment on the Yorkshire Tour de France! 

Here's her link .. it's where David Hockney created some wonderful new artistic creations - using his ipad .. about 3 or 4 years ago .. i.e. in the dark ages, before the ipad was so well known!


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

45 comments:

Janie Junebug said...

Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori. I seem to remember a Great War poem with that title, and another called, I think, Today We Have Naming of Parts. How that war changed the world. That cheese is beautiful.

Love,
Janie

Murees Dupé said...

Brie is definitely my favorite cheese. Unfortunately I am not very well informed on the subject of cycling. I hope you enjoy it and the many cheeses.

Teresa Powell Coltrin said...

This post is for me today; I'll tell you why in a moment. first I want to say how cute the colored sheep are. It made me laugh that the why is too hard to explain.

Secondly, no one loves cheese more than I do. Maybe no Roquefort but everything else.

Finally, I just bought a new bike. Let's see if I ride it, but not in the Tour de France.

J E Oneil said...

The buttertubs are so cool looking. And I have to admit, I laughed at the word "Blubberhouse". The place looks beautiful, though.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I like riding my bike, but given a choice of participating in the Tour or sampling the cheese with the spectators ... I'd take the cheese!

And while I love Roquefort as much as the next person, I DO wonder who first saw that blue mold on cheese and thought, "Yum. I think I'll eat that."

L.G. Smith said...

Love the sheep. :)

And I would have loved to have watched the tour go by in England. But one of these days I'm going to France to catch a glimpse of the riders a they go over one of the mountain passes. My husband used to bike race (just locally) so we always tune in to the Tour.

Jo said...

I've just finished dinner and am now hungry for some of those cheeses, many of which I have never heard of. There are a lot of cheeses available in the UK which were not available when I lived there, or not sold as widely perhaps.

Love the coloured sheep too.

Betsy Brock said...

Wow...all that gorgeous cheese is making me hungry! Sure would be fun to sample all those kinds!

Laughing at the painted sheep!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Nice cheesy history.
Somehow, I'll have some cheese with my beer isn't the same as cheese with my wine/whine.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Janie - on checking that's a Wilfrid Owen poem (WW1) ... whereas Harry Reed's poem comes from experiences and WWII - thanks for reminding us about them ...

That first War certainly changed the world in so many ways .. one hundred years ago was so different ...

@ Murees - I love South African cheeses too; Cycling I know little about .. but we're seeing a lot more on tv, as we're quite good at it ...

@ Teresa - aren't the coloured sheep fun ... cheese is quite delicious .. a good cheese, some hearty bread, fruit and salads with a glass of red vino and lots of friends ... I do like Roquefort though ...

You bought a bike - how wonderful .. I'm sure you'll ride it - sounds a brilliant idea for fresh air and exercise ... no ok I won't expect to see you in the Tour!! Love the idea though ...

@ Jeanne - funny old words we have here - and I couldn't resist those names ... and the Yorkshire Dales are stunning ...

@ Dianne - yes I know you and the family have lots of fun riding out ..

I'd rather sample the cheeses during a picnic and watch others pile past on their super-charged legs and wheels!

It's interesting who first thought of tasting so many of our foods - trying them out ... people who definitely weren't wasters of food that is for sure ..

@ Luanna - aren't the sheep fun ..

Well that sounds a wonderful goal - to get over to France and the mountains to see the Tour go by ..

Enjoy the next two - three weeks .. as the Tour starts its French legs .. we are lucky that we can watch on tv .. and the photos are so good ...

@ Jo - sorry about the timing! We have more cheeses than the French, which seems a little unbelievable - but is a confirmed fact ... though the French ones offer such ancient recipes and in such gorgeous settings ... the Epoisses with a glass of Burgundy looks too good to miss!

Times have changed from 40 years ago here - many artisanal entrepreneurs have started making cheeses and various other delicacies ..

Aren't the sheep fun ..

@ Betsy - how lovely to see you .. and sampling all the cheeses would be a great idea ... especially with some good blogging friends ...

The painted sheep have caught many an eye .. a fun change in the landscape ..

@ Alex - thanks - it was an interesting post to write ... the Trappist beer gave a different thought didn't it .. might be more thirst quenching .. but wine and cheese is always a good combination ..

Cheers and thanks everyone - The Tour de Fromage continues on in France now ... Hilary

Deborah Barker said...

Where did my comment go? I shall re-try...
You always put so much into your posts, so many delightful snippets Hilary.It was my one remaining sibling's 65th birthday yesterday and she spent it relaxing in her son's front garden in the next village, (Roxwell, Essex) waiting (mostly) and watching the Tour de France cycle by. She said the atmosphere was magical and it was the best birthday ever. What a way to spend your birthday! I loved every minute of it the day we watched it go through our village, several years ago. 'Whoosh!" and it was gone but the day was still amazing. Waitrose? Maybe I should go and look ...

Mason Canyon said...

Such interesting information about cheese. I'm learning to try new types and loving it. Sad more isn't told about the route the tour takes.

Julia Hones said...

What a gorgeous tour, Hilary!
My mind is now flying on a bike and enjoying those fascinating landscapes...
Excellent! Thank you.

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi, Hilary. Lots of interesting information about cheese. I don't think I've ever seen painted sheep before. They look like they are having fun playing in the field.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Debbie - I checked in comments and it wasn't there .. sorry! But thanks for coming back to comment ..
Just glad you enjoy them ...

Well sensible sister I say - if that's what she decided she wanted to do ... and the weather was fairly good .. and what fun to be a part of the Tour as a village spectator ..

I know I saw the Old Milk Race in Newlyn, Cornwall ... when they piled down a very steep hill, over a hump-backed bridge at the bottom and as you say then they were gone .. "Whoosh" - almost as fast as a train ...

Lovely I can just imagine her day - just happy, peaceful, interesting and one final glass of champagne moment as Le Tour biked through .. fun!

@ Mason - I'm sure there's lots out there .. but it's 21 days or so - and I'd need to write a book probably! I'll email you with the route the Tour is taking ..

What a lovely thought - learning about different cheeses and then trying them out ..

@ Julia - thanks .. it was a little different .. and oh wouldn't it be lovely to ride through the countryside - up and down dale - enjoying the views ... Delighted you enjoyed it ..

@ Susanne - it was an opportunity to write about them, so I did it!

The painted sheep and bunting that was decorating all manner of things just brought the route to life .. I know seeing painted animals is a little strange ... but amusing ..

Cheers everyone - thanks for your visit .. Hilary

Gunn said...

Nice and interesting posting. I have many good memories from Yorkshire. Perhaps time to explore it again:)

Gunn / Stavanger /Norway.

Lynn said...

I'm salivating at the mere thought of trying those cheeses! Lovely post - makes me want to be there right now!

Annalisa Crawford said...

The Tour showed Yorkshire off at its best, and there were so many people. I really want to eat a lot of cheese now :-)

Crystal Collier said...

Mmm. Cheese... *reaching through computer screen for tasty treats*

Susan Scott said...

what a lovely post Hilary thank you! You're right here in SA we have wonderful cheeses too. We had friends in front of the TV for the Wimbledon match on Sunday... and we had a spread of cheeses, wine and beer - and strawberries and cream of course!
I heard or saw about the Tour de France cyclists in England and was slightly envious of their trek ..
That Eposisses Bourguignon looks too too yummy and has me drooling -

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Gunn - nice to meet you ... I expect you know Jenny's site? - She's a photographer too .. I don't know Yorkshire at all - and really need to spend a holiday up there and check it out ..

@ Lynn - some of that South African wine would go with these cheeses! But a French bistro would be so good too ..

@ Annalisa - I didn't see as much of the Tour as I'd have like to .. tennis took over! But it was amazing how many people were out and about all over the place - Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Cambridge and Essex and then London .. packed ... which is brilliant.

In England it was a good Tour .. the Brits haven't been doing to well since - the rain came down and so did many riders, let alone the cobbles ..

Cheers to one and all - Hilary

bazza said...

The Wilfred Owen poem means ' How Sweet it is to Die for One's Country'. I wonder if he was being ironic or if it reflected the romanticism that existed for a very short time at the start of the war.
As so often, you have combined many fascinating subjects in one post!
I watched the Tour go by in Woodford, Essex. We spent four hours having fun and the peleton passed by in 20 seconds.
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s fabulous Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Bazza - having just looked ... the poem was thought to have been written between 8 Oct 1917 and March 1918 and were words well known in the early 1900s.

"It is sweet and right to die for your country. In other words, it is a wonderful and great honour to fight and die for your country"

I found the above at: http://www.warpoetry.co.uk/owen1.html

I can't answer your question - I'm sure most people got swept up into the necessity of keeping the War out of England and letting us keep our freedom.

As the long as the facts fascinate ... and it looks like you thoroughly enjoyed your Le Tour ... four hours of enjoying yourselves with a picnic in the sun - and then as you say the 20 second whooooosh as the peloton and cyclists pass by ..

Thanks or the interactive comment .. cheers Hilary

Juliet Batten said...

What an enjoyable tour, Hilary, especially as it passed through Yorkshire, which is where my ancestors on my mothers side hailed from. I remember visiting this area in my 20s. I have a black and white photo of myself pretending to be crying my eyes out in from of the road side for Blubberhouses. I thought it was such a funny name for a town.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Crystal .. yes I thought you'd enjoy this post! Good luck with that move ...

@ Susan - that sounds a wonderful way to watch Wimbledon, reminds me of my time in SA when I did the same ... we did enjoy ourselves!

Thankfully the English weather played fair .. the Tour hasn't done so well since it got across into Belgium and France - lots of wet and crashes ..

But the Epoisses cheese does look exceptionally good doesn't it ..

@ Juliet - ah I brought back some memories for you .. and then you know Blubberhouses: what a coincidence - it is a funny name, which is why it got a mention here ... funny names amuse me!

Thanks to you all for your interesting comments - lovely to have you here - cheers Hilary

Rosalind Adam said...

I can't ride a bike and I always worry when i see cyclists on busy main roads. I can't imagine how any of them complete those cobbled sections. It must be bone-rattling. I do love cheeses though. I prefer our English cheeses to the French ones. I once discovered a lovely cheese in Cornwall. I can't remember its name but it was wrapped in nettle leaves. The only place you can buy it here is in Waitrose. Good old Waitrose!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Ros .. you can't ride a bike - gosh I thought we all did .. swim perhaps not .. but bicycling ... you missed something in your youth ..

Now - some of the roads are treacherous and I admire cyclists as they dart around - having seen a few yesterday in Town. Riding a car on cobble is bone rattling .. so a bike as you say even more so ..

I just love cheese - trying to stay away from it for now! But Yarg is delicious isn't it .. I love it .. I'm emailing you a pic! They are from my blog posts 2 years ago ..

Thank goodness for Waitrose - at least it's good quality ...

Good to see you .. cheers Hilary

rosieamber said...

Absolutely love the cheese tour very tasty!

Empty Nest Insider said...

All of the cheeses look and sound delicious! It's a great idea that you're sharing this poetry book with some of your late mum's friends at the nursing home. Because reciting poems, or nursery rhymes help children who stutter, I would think the same would be true for recovering stroke patients, and those who suffer from dementia. As always, we can count on you to do good deeds, Hilary!

Julie

Julie Flanders said...

Two of my favorite things in this post - cheese and the James Herriot books! I remember watching the All Creatures tv show with my mom when I was a kid and I loved it so much. Some years ago I watched it again on DVD and it hadn't lost any of its charm. When I was a kid I wanted to live in Yorkshire with the vets and I still felt that way because the scenery is so gorgeous!

Thanks for another fun virtual tour, Hilary. Enjoy your weekend.

Brian Miller said...

ha. we def need to do a cheese tour de france....i could probably last through that more than i could a very long bike race...lol....i like trying different cheeses and we are trying new blends as well in our mac n cheese..sorry with 2 boys, that is a staple...ha

cleemckenzie said...

You've made my mouth water for cheese and it's only 6AM. Still it's never too early for cheese, right? I love some of the names: Buttertubs Pass and Blubberhouses. They just sound perfect

Gattina said...

I am a cheese lover and from all countries ! I have seen the preparations for the Tour de France when we were in London watching the changing the guards, they just arrived with big lorries full of loos, lol ! We were told that it was for the Tour de France.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Mmmm, you've made me hungry for a sampler plate of cheeses, some really good bread, and a glass of wine.

Another super post. Oh, and I LOVE all the Herriot books. It's been quite a few years since I read them, but I will NEVER forget the high-society lady whose boxer had horrific flatulence.

Morgan said...

I love, love, LOVE CHEESE… I'm salivating over here!!! Gosh, I want to take this trip! Traveling from place to place just trying cheese!!!!

Sounds like a dream. The pictures are fabulous. <3

Val Poore said...

What a wonderful post, Hilary. All those gorgeous cheeses. I love cheese and I especially miss all the gorgeous English cheeses here in the Netherlands.

This was a lovely idea - to link your post to the different regional cheeses…but it's made my mouth water!

Sue McPeak said...

A very interesting and informative tour....who knew there were so many cheeses and great names along the TdeF route...Blubberhouses for one. I can't imagine sitting on those seats for a short distance much less through the grueling hills. I would much more inclined to view the moorlands, rolling hills and dales while walking that bike.

Thanks for your visits. I always enjoy hearing from you!
Sue

mail4rosey said...

Just the mention of the cheeses has my tummy rumbling. I could go for a little plate of cheese, fruit, and crackers right now!

That's a cool fact about the butter in the road!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Rosie - good to see you and glad you enjoyed the tasty tour ..

@ Julie - the poems are always fun .. but these were a little different and I thought for some people would give a different take on some produce ... people love poetry read out loud don't they.

An organisation in London, called Interact, would send actors round to read to stroke patients .. an essential part of their therapy. My mother too loved their visits ..

@ Julie - Reading a James Herriot with a platter of cheese nearby .. sounds a brilliant idea!

Wonderful childhood dreams you had ... Yorkshire is a county I don't know that well - I really should revisit and spend some time in the Dales ..

Glad you enjoyed the tour .. thanks ..

@ Brian - a blogger tour du fromage sounds a good thought?! I too couldn't sit on a bike for that long!!

Yes with kids you'll need to visit MacDonalds I guess .. no getting away from it - but they're trying with their new ideas ... enjoy your staple blends!

@ Lee - sorry for the early start of a cheese tour! I couldn't resist putting one or two of the names in, or then a few cheeses .. fun to read about ..

@ Gattina - cheese is delicious I agree ... Interesting that you saw them setting up the Buckingham Palace area for the finish of the Race in London: we all need loos!!

@ Susan - sounds a good idea that platter of cheese and wine, 'cept it's a little early here ...

I wasn't around in the 1980s when the books came out or the tv series .. so missed out ... but they resonated with so many. What a fun thought about the high-society lady with her boxer and its flatulence .. sure it wasn't her?! Crazy scenes - yes ..

@ Morgan - cheese is delicious in all its forms isn't it. Touring cheese artisans would be fun ... especially a slow tour! It's on my wish list to do some time .. good to see you ...

@ Val - I enjoy the Dutch cheeses too .. but we do now seem to have some amazing artisinal ones .. which is good for the various localities ..

Thankfully Waitrose's idea .. I just redrafted their thoughts!!

@ Sue - sitting on a bike for more than a few minutes would finish me off too .. but if there was a platter of cheese, crudites and some refreshing liquor at a watering hole I'd be happier!

Gruelling hills - certainly those .. with a name of King of the Mountains .. that scenario must be coming up soon ...

Walking through the Dales without the bike would definitely be easier ... with time to take in the scenery a necessity ...

Good to see you here ..

@ Rosey - sorry about the tummy rumbling scenario - but cheese and biscuits or fresh bread are always delicious ..

I loved the name Buttertubs - for those limestone potholes ...

Cheers everyone .. have good weekends - we've had a fair amount of rain recently, much needed down here .. now I could do with the drizzle clearing up! Thanks for your visits - Hilary

Lisa Moles said...

I feel certain I will be spending a few extra dollars at the market today...for some reason I am craving wonderful cheeses!!! Great info and I adore the painted sheep!

loverofwords said...

How do you do this Hilary? Write this amazing blog with so many interesting details--I know--no sleep! Give me a good cheese, good bread and a glass of wine and I am a happy person, friends to share with as well, as you said.

Diana Wilder said...

Oh, my... I just reread (your posts bear rereading just splendidly!) and am not hungry for Roquefort cheese. Hm... Crumbled in a salad? No, on slices of crusty baguette, I think...
Cheers to you!
Diana at About Myself By Myself

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Gosh I'm late replying to comments - sorry!

@ Lisa - delighted you enjoyed the read and I hope you enjoyed your cheeses; aren't the sheep fun to see ..

@ Nat - plenty of sleep .. but so happy to get your comment ... and I'll join you with a glass of vino and some cheese, and of course definitely friends to share with ..

@ Diana - roquefort cheese on a baguette sounds an excellent idea - just had my salad though!

Appreciate that you enjoy your re-reads of my postings ...

and cheers to you all .. thanks so much - Hilary

Deniz Bevan said...

Another great post, Hilary! I was very excited that the Tour de France started in Herriott country this year - and for once I got to watch it in the same time zone! Still upset though that I missed the part where they were in Skipton and Grassington - that's where we visited last time we were in the UK. I just didn't have the TV on at the right time!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Deniz - sorry this went off to moderation for some reason of its own making!

The stages I think are on YouTube .. should you wish to have a check out for Skipton and Grassington ...

There was a good site too - to look at .. but my connectivity is causing me hassles at this moment ... if I find something I'll email you ..

Good to see and Yorkshire is just stunningly beautiful -craggy and harsh too .. wonderful part of the world ...

Cheers Hilary