Monday, July 19, 2010

This And That And A Guilty Secret

My end of the week round-up of miscellaneous jottings - the accumulated fluff at the bottom of the drawer of my subconscious mind - unusually appears at the beginning of the week which means I'm either late or very early. Having always been a kind of half-full type of person, I think I am very early.

THIS summer we are having a whole series of house guests. At the moment our cousins are staying with us en-route to relocating to a new house in the country. Shortly after they leave, my niece and her family from the British Virgin Islands will be staying with us for a few weeks. We love having guests in the house - it's a bit like Kibbutz living for older softies - but there is one aspect of having a house full of people that does cause me some concern. It's our bottle output. We have these bottle boxes for recycling in which you pile all your empty glass bottles to be collected by the glass collector every few weeks. Before Collection Day the full boxes need to be left outside your house for easy access and the great local sport is to wander up and down the local roads having a good look at what - and how much - people are drinking. We all pretend, of course, not to be interested in such sins of our neighbours, but you would be amazed how many people suddenly discover they have dogs to walk on the morning the glass collector is due. The collector is due this week and our bin is already overflowing and therefore I am busy fashioning a large sign which I will attach to the box saying "IT IS NOT ALL OURS, WE HAVE GUESTS"

THAT dreadful word "austerity" seems to be constantly in the news at the moment. We have been warned on every occasion that times are about to get very hard and we are encouraged to find new and cheaper approaches to the provision of vital public services and infrastructure. The latest craze seems to be for something called "the Big Society" in which citizens groups and charities are encouraged to take things into their own hands. I was going through some of my vintage postcards the other evening and I came across one of Ramsdale Valley and the Valley Bridge in Scarborough. Reading up on the history of the bridge I was intrigued to discover that in the mid nineteenth century the local citizens of the Yorkshire seaside town decided they needed a bridge across the deep Ramsdale Valley. Not being able to afford a new one (there is nothing new about austerity) they acquired a second-hand one which used to span the River Ouse in York. Now I assume they asked permission before dismantling the bridge and moving it thirty miles to the east, but it does make you wonder. The thought of groups of local vigilantes creeping around at night in order to dismantle and re-locate bridges, schools, old people's homes and stretches of motorways is rather attractive although I am not sure that it is what David Cameron had in mind.

My GUILTY SECRET is not the empty bottles. Anyone who is even casually acquainted with me knows that I have  a hefty ability to empty bottles of alcohol. No, the Good Lady Wife and myself have developed another guilty secret over the last couple of months, a passion that we regularly head up onto the tops of the Pennines between Huddersfield and Sheffield to sate. There can be found the home of the magnificent Yummy Yorkshire Ice Cream Company and their range of delicious farm-made ice-creams. There is no point in trying to describe the delights of this ice-cream : mere words should be reserved for describing the beauty of Helen of Troy or the vastness of the Grand Canyon. For Yummy Yorkshire Ice Cream you have to experience both the setting and the taste in order to appreciate it. So if anyone is heading to these parts from the four corners of the world, let me know and I will arrange a personal introduction.

18 comments:

  1. What a delightful post today Alan. Ice cream is my weakness; sounds like you and the wife have found a fabulous spot to enjoy a treat and a view.

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  2. We have a place like that just on the other side of the Sakonnet Passage in Tiverton - Gray's Ice Cream. Anyone heading over to the Little Compton RI beaches or Horseneck Beach in Massachusette has to stop at Gray's, usually on the way back home. There's no ice cream like fresh made!

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  3. Yummy Yorkshire Ice Cream--another reason to visit the UK...hmmm...

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  5. Oops! I missed a word.

    What time do your bottles get collected? Ours go first thing in the morning, so most of the time people don't get an opportunity to snoop. We DO have locals on bicycles passing by to collect a few beer bottles to get a small reimbursement. Kevin tries to accommodate them.
    As for the ice-cream, my dad was partial to it, but only to vanilla. He used to put on a strong Belfast accent and tell of a time when, as a boy he dared to ask a convenor of the substance "What flavour do you have?" Only to be met with the response: "What do you mayne what flayvor? We've only got won flayvor! Vanalla!

    I think he would have enjoyed a visit to the Yummy Yorkshire Creamery; I know I would!

    What's YOUR favourite flavour?

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  6. Just ensure the collectors don't spot the empty meths bottles.

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  7. You know, I've only had my favorite ice cream once this summer. It's our local Graeter's raspberry chip. Now you've gone and given me a craving.

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  8. YOu gave me a few laughs this day..and for that I say thanks. Loved the idea of the sign! and ice cream...the best thing on a hot day...how much butter fat in yours? I'll bet a lot if it's that good

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  9. Shall I be expecting a post concerning beer-flavored ice cream at some point?

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  10. Well, some things are the same on the other side of the pond. We also put our bottles out and it is indeed interesting to see how full people's bins are. I think the solution may be to drink from large wooden casks.

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  11. I have been on a nutrition plan and a weightlifting & cardio regimen since March. Sat night, after a healthy dinner of salad and a bottle of wine, my husband convinced me to go get Ben & Jerry's a premium ice cream made in VT. We did and I, uncharacteristically, wanted half the pint. It was a super rich double triple chocolate concoction and I ate like a pig and got a sugar high and slept like a baby. No more ice cream for me!

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  12. Now you've planted ice-cream thoughts in my head, just when I was trying to forget how much I miss Roskilly's cones from Cornwall.

    The Yorkshire Ice Cream Company sounds hard to resist too!

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  13. What a fun read this was! The neighbors will just think you have THE best parties at your home! haha. Enjoy the company. :)

    We have certainly had our share of gallons of icecream this summer!..and a few extra pounds to prove it! :)

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  14. Don’t feel bad about the bottlage, we have two , yes two, large recycle Sulo bins, not the little boys, the big bad boys with yellow lids and both are chockers at the end of the fortnight. Of course we drink a lot of milk and we recycle cartons as well. Then our bins have a lid, no embarrassment.

    Do you realise how hard it's going to be travelling around France knowing that England and Ireland are so close, I'll wave to you from Mont Blanc!

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  15. Oh don't worry. I'll turn up on your doorstep someday. And the neighbors will stare!

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  16. um beer and alcohol dont mix well do they...just wondering. smiles. you hvae been quite busy it seems. smiles.

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  17. I know that bottle problem -- but I have to lug ours to the local recycling center and stand for long minutes dropping the bottles into the different bins and wanting to tell onlookers --"House guests -- lots of them!"

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  18. I can remember the parentage and company putting away the bottles! We'd often trip o'er them the next morning...ahem...

    And farm-fresh ice cream? Simply th' best, yes!

    We have a new Italian ice stand tha' just opened in May...a new favourite play to cool off :)

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