Friday, 28 February 2020

We are the World Blogfest # 34: Preservation societies …




Anxious times … so many devastating happenings yet we have wonderful volunteers, helpers, people who go over and beyond … that I was swamped with ideas – yet … which were most relevant in today’s ‘erratic’ world of fires, floods, disputes, horrors …


I was going to write about rural communities reviving their villages – bringing hope to their dwellers … but with the extremes that are happening now … peoples will always pull together – thankfully …


But out of this … a song came to the fore … for someone as unmusical as I am – it always surprises me what the brain manages to remember … which brought a smile – a pertinent smile with relevant thoughts for us in Britain …



… while also translatable / adaptable to places around the world …  each country has communities …  where people help and support others …


Comberton, Cambridgeshire

Very  British lyrics … the Kinks’ Village Green Preservation Society words seem to be worth remembering and thinking about - for all their apparent irrelevance …


The lyrics can be found by looking - mine came up via LyricFind, but no link per se … and the Youtube link … for the song ... 
 

The Kinks - studio album


We need to laugh, to keep our values … yes to think forward, but help others who do not have that capacity …


I read a note from the Migration Museum reminding us that wherever we live and work … we are alongside others and are always forming relationships – every country does the same …


… we integrate, we absorb … we are only one generation: our history must show we care -  we should leave a world ready for generations to come …


We are the World Blogfest
“In Darkness, Be Light”



... and stay safe, think kindly ... 


Where else in the world would you find a line in a song ... "We are the Custard Pie Appreciation Consortium" ... but here in the UK?

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Friday, 21 February 2020

Write … Edit … Publish … Bloghop/IWSG hop: Café Terrace …




Cecile had dropped her off at their favourite cafe, since her husband had died she was adjusting … 


... but a visit, perhaps her last, to this their secret hideout … where the world was put to rights …




Edouard Manet at the cafe (1925)


Her Pierre … so dapper, so kind … always well-dressed – a white scarf around his neck, his fancy hat – ready to be doffed to the ladies … they were of a previous era …





Lobster Bisque
Cafe Terrace was where they so often ate – now if Madame remembered her – she would have their usual meal … a bowl of lobster bisque, some French bread, ...



Spring vegetable stew
... fresh Spring vegetable stew, followed by a crème caramel with their speciality: shortbread flavoured with geranium … all so French, and d’accord’ home made.



Creme Brulee
The table was empty, her seat awaited – she spread her sea-jewelled coloured scarf (a gift from Pierre) over the back of the chair, for now in the shadow … but, as she knew, the sun would come round to warm her. 


Scented geraniums
Madame’s beautiful café had been in the same family for years … they had always delighted in it –the trailing plants, masses of geraniums from which the perfume from a crushed leaf would linger …


Ernst Ludwig Kirchner -
Davos cafe (1928)

… the memories flooded back – their times together – their love of art … their visits to Davos – which she could no longer make. 




Summer in Davos, by Kirchner 1925

For now her memory recorded odd snippets over their lifetimes … she would bask in the sunshine, eat slowly as the glimpses of time passed her by …




She'd always loved the
colours the sun scattered as
its rays came through the glass
… followed by a short walk around the square, into the church for some solitude … perhaps the organ was being played, a look at the magnificent stained glass windows letting in the rainbow lights …




Women on the terrace in the evening
Degas 1877
… then Cecile would appear – ready to collect and drive her home.  A perfect day out … in her own space, with so many memories … she had fulfilled one last wish to visit the Café on the Terrace.




Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Birthday feedback … part 4 – just to tidy up …



Final days of the hotel … 




... as it was in 2017:





The fire – burning November 2019 …





Peeky-boo hotel …






Burnt out side …






Fallen middle …





Demolished – empty space … no photo – Storm Dennis is around … but architectural corbels saved from the Grade II* listed 70-room hotel ...



Eastbourne's Martello - known as the Wish Tower -
against which Pierre Bistrot 'sits' ... 

Along the Channel coast are vestiges of Martello towers: 74 of them, and 2 Redoubts – Napoleonic fortifications … some still around, others gone …




Rathfinny’s Vineyard … use extra thick green glass for their Sussex Sparkling wine … remember those apothecary bottles … green, blue and amber … then clear ones too – where if used the contents would deteriorate more quickly … as the light infiltrates and oxidises the contents …



I wonder how Rathfinny’s will find trading across the Channel and how other overseas areas will pan out – now that we’ve left the European Union: we are in a state of flux – being led rather fast forward into our unknown as I see it …


While the frontage was still in tact -
til it was demolished - thankfully before our next
storm, which is happening now ...

I had the poor old hotel battered by storms struggling to stay upright when ‘its corsets had been burnt’ … though it, nor I, have corsets around anymore … my brain is addled at the way the world is turning …



Thankfully Denise Covey’s WEP/IWSG Café Terrace prompt arrives soon … and I need a coffee to relax in the sun: it’s been awol recently …


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Friday, 31 January 2020

We are the World Blogfest # 33: The Poetry Pharmacy …



Heart, Mind and Soul … ‘prescription poems’ for the underside of life … when anyone is feeling down for whatever the reason …



 … poems to be read by oneself … to give a sense of meaning to ‘the underbelly of life’ we maybe feeling at this time; or to read to others …




<<< for us all – to everyone in need >>>
<<< we probably know someone we can help – thoughts / poems / prose to read >>>


I heard William Sieghart talk about this book on the BBC's World Service – remembered enough to make me want to check it out … and once that was done, instantly buy the book, which I did …


… seriously such a good book to own, to peruse … there’s even a note on how to read a poem … one tip is ‘read it almost like a prayer’ …



Photo of the book:
The Poetry Pharmacy
The main headings are: Mental and Emotional Wellbeing; Motivations; Self-Image and Self-Acceptance; The World and Other People; Love and Loss …


Some of the poets (attributions) quoted: Rumi; John Donne; Seamus Heaney; Tolkien …



A few of the sub-headings within the main ones: Anxiety; Glumness; Feelings of Unreality; Loss of Zest for Life; Self-Recrimination; Fear of the Unknown; Unkindness; Infatuation …


# We Are the World
In Darkness, Be Light

I’m going to give you other aspects addressed:  Index of first lines; Index of Conditions;  then also very worthwhile  reading: the Introduction;  The History of the Poetry Pharmacy;  and ‘How to Read a Poem’



This little book is for all of us – to use, to give away, to share … please look to buy or ask your library to purchase: so well worth it …


This month … my prescription for …

We are the World Blogfest
“In Darkness, Be Light …”

… is to check out this book to help ourselves, or offer to others – you won’t regret it.
 
We are the World Blogfest

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Birthday feedback … part 3 – the food!




Rathfinny’s website has some fascinating history on how the estate began, and how they’re coping and developing …

 
I loved the logo they've created for their
Cradle Valley still wines - the boxing hares

slow, but sure for the vines: seems to be the order of the day – one cannot hurry wine growing or making … be it sparkling or otherwise!





Cold damp January looking down the valley


The estate is only three miles from the sea, nestling in Cradle Valley ...



 … this part of the South Downs, is one of England’s exceptional natural landscapes … worked since Roman, Saxon and Medieval times …



Rathfinny's Sussex Sparkling
The setting ‘is perfect’ for producing wine … a south facing slope, mild climate, chalk soils and protected from the prevailing wind.



Our band of chalk runs under the English Channel surfacing in France as the Paris Basin – where Champagne is produced … however per protected status for the Champagne method, English Rathfinny’s is marketed as Sussex Sparkling …




Pinot Blanc, Pinot
Gris - a still wine 

We started trying the Cradle Valley wines … they’re the 'still' Sussex wines … and were interesting to learn about – as is the way … I’ve learnt more … but I’ll try and not go waxing lyrical about everything!




We'd started and I see I hadn't managed to include the fig oil
here's the hummus and sourdough ... except the green fig oil
is probably in the middle of the Sussex knob!
The tasting menu lunch was delicious and certainly unique – I went off-piste, so to speak, and had vegetarian both for my starter and the main dish … while my brother and SIL chose the same dishes … we had to taste one dessert!



No idea why it's gone blue! - but
is an example of  flavours - it's
a postcard I've had for ages


Let’s just quickly ‘discuss’ taste … an exploration of the senses: the first experience of something to savour … to be remembered.   Then perhaps we add in other ingredients … do they work together … how do we know that they would work? 





Pithiviers - Place du Martroi
There are tried and tested recipes, or there are chefs who experiment to bring us new flavours, new ideas and sensations for the mouth … things most of us would never do at home … and some will tempt, some won’t … ie here – I’m a venturesome customer, and …




The pithivier made with Belted Galloway and
Brighton Blue chees
… so without further ado – I learnt the origin of another French word … pithivier: a round domed pastry pie decorated with distinctive spiral markings – from the commune of Pithiviers in the Loiret department.



Belted Galloway - a healthy looking
beast
To go with our first glass of Sparkling we had sourdough bread, with hummus, Sussex knob butter and fig oil … it was delicious – the fig oil was just wonderful  


Allium Sativum 1793


The family had Belted Galloway pithiviers, Brighton Blue cheese, on charred alliums in an onion broth with rosemary oil … happy times …





Cubes of slow-cooked celeriac, radicchio tardivo,
clementine, savoury almond granola, smoked rapeseed
Now my starter was somewhat different – being the vegetarian option: small (I’ve kept tiny for the main course!) portions of slow cooked celeriac, radicchio tardivo, clementine (I think I could have done without that), savoury almond granola, smoked rapeseed … I did savour each item … all were delicious …



Bream with cockle butter
For our main courses – the family had tasty grilled bream, seaweed, pomme rosti, sesame, cockle butter sauce … I gather was wonderful – looked it too … I was a little jealous!!



Quite difficult for you to distinguish
as it was for me eating ... but all
components were delicious


While I had tiny! nibbles of Crisp Jerusalem artichoke, filled with cheese fondue, quince, polenta and shaved chestnut mushrooms … definitely not enough to share with others!  But the flavours were quite extraordinary …







Then we (mostly me!) shared a Sloe gin vanilla frozen parfait, with forced rhubarb … again just very delicious …







Celereac ... difficult to use - but
does have a really interesting
flavour - I have cooked with it
The idea of a tasting menu – is to taste the wines, or food, or both as here at Rathfinny’s.    The chefs can be creative and inspirational utilising seasonal produce – giving their customers a range of tastes we might not normally come across.  Personally I think it’s a great idea … and I enjoyed the birthday treat!




We’d gone by taxi so could share a bottle of their renowned Rathfinny’s Sussex Sparkling …




Radicchio Tardivo
Well that’s it … you’re lucky – I could have written a book I think!  But I got sent off in many directions … I loved the foods I’d never bother to make myself …


Quince Fruit on branch


… I looked more into flavour and taste … taste being restricted to the five experiences on the tongue and in the mouth: sweetness, saltiness, sourness, bitterness and ‘unami’ (or savouriness).





Silver bream on top, with
common bream below
Flavour, on the other hand, is detected mainly through our sense of smell, by the olfactory bulb (to be found in the brain), and, to a lesser extent orally.


Another postcard in blue again
 from years ago -
the flavours of Olive



Back to Rathfinny’s … the website is great and very informative … the whole estate is so professional … yet gave us a very warm welcome … it has ‘a unique spirit of place’ in the beautiful South Downs.





Lots of photos to explain things … but not enough … if you look at the website: there’s so much more … in other words I’m impressed with the place, their vision for the wine industry, the local area and the care of the environment …


Please enjoy and check out their site: Rathfinny's


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories