Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Eating up my veg

Every Wednesday my box of vegetables arrives from Beanies, and I arrange the contents in the vintage vegetable rack that I have been carefully curating since acquiring it at a jumble sale some time in the early 1990s.
This time of year, it features a lot of roots. Not as many, however, as last year when I somewhat masochistically ordered the 'British produce only' box. That was like being a mediaeval peasant. That, of course, is possibly the future. I'm making the most of my European courgettes and fennel and peppers while I can.

I combine them with some items from my stockpile...
... to cook up a week's (or more) worth of meals.
Curried roots with chickpeas, above, and something vaguely Mediterranean style (including olives and capers not in the photo) below...
Which I then parcel up into individual meal-sized portions
Some of these go in the fridge for the coming week, and some go into the freezer, swapped for ones frozen in previous weeks. I don't have one at every single meal, but it certainly is very handy to be able to pop one into my bag to microwave at work, and to know that I won't have to cook when I get home in the evening. The portion control in particular has helped me lose over a stone since last March, and keep it off since October.

My colleague who has a family of three has a box like mine once a fortnight; I have one every week, and I eat it all up myself.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Pictures of the pier

Yes, Newhaven has a pier, otherwise known as the arm. You used to be able to walk along it, which was great. On your left as you walked out was the sandy West Beach, which you could also go on in those days; on your right a collonnade, where you could stand and listen to the waves crashing against it from the other side. On a good, windy day on a high tide, you could shelter there while the waves came right over the top, and watch the water fall in front of you. At the end, there is a lighthouse. There's some history and some interesting photos here.

I took a few photos when I was there at Christmas (I have taken many more over the years, but I can't lay my hands on them right now). These were taken from Tidemills, with the dredger approaching.

But Newhaven's pier has also drawn the attention of artists over the years.

In 1936, it was painted by both John Piper and Eric Ravilious. James Russell's blog here has a lovely account of how he followed in their footsteps - it's nice to see Newhaven and the surrounding area described so positively by an outsider. He also has an excellent photo showing the collonnade.

I'm a fan of Ravilious (1903-1942), who grew up and lived in East Sussex and painted a lot of scenes that are quite familiar to me. There's something very 30s about the way he has painted the pier:
Although I think there is a bit of artictic licence there. As you can see Ravilious died young, and in mysterious circumstances. Working as a war artist, he was on board a plane that disappeared off the coast of Iceland. Neither it - nor he or any of the crew - were ever found.

John Piper (1903-1992) was Ravilious' exact contemporary and friend. His version of the pier is viewed from the sea - or maybe, like mine, from across the bay.
Around the same time, Vanessa Bell (1879-1961) - who also lived locally - was painting a number of scenes around Newhaven harbour, and this is her pier:
Three different artists, all around the same time, but three very different piers.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Are we nearly there yet?

No, go back to sleep


Saturday, 19 January 2019

Plant potty

An occasional series in which I lazily fill a post with a photo of something I've bought in a charity shop.

There are no charity shops to speak of in Walkley. There is one, but we don't speak of it. My colleague who used to live in Walkley tells me that it was known as the 'Dead Dog Shop' and that for many months there was a boxed set of Will and Grace DVDs in the window with a cat poo on top.

So my charity shop fix now involves a three mile round trip through Crookes and Broomhill - a fun way to spend a Saturday morning.

And this is one of my finds from the latest foray. St Lukes Vintage shop, Broomhill, £5.

Friday, 18 January 2019

Heritage pub 2 (sort of): The Head of Steam

Well, it is in the book, but as being on the Sheffield Local Inventory of Historic Pub Exteriors, 'for pubs where the historic interior has been entirely destroyed'. Historic the exterior may be, but it's pushing it a bit to call it a historic pub exterior; it was a bank (The Sheffield and Hallamshire Savings Bank, until in 1977 it became part of TSB) certainly well into the 1970s and possibly into the 90s (the book is somewhat imprecise on exact dates, and Pevsner isn't any more help.) The book does note that this category does include a number of pubs that have been converted from other buildings.

Anyway, for the last few years this has been the Sheffield branch of the Head of Steam, a smallish chain of pubs owned by Camerons, the Hartlepool-based brewery possibly best known in certain circles for having an old advert on the front of the Greyhound at Hawkesbury - to be honest, until very recently, I had no idea they were still going. I used to go in the Head of Steam in Huddersfield - which didn't feel like part of a chain at the time, although it did last time I was there.

As it turned out, the Sheffield HoS on a Monday evening was the ideal place to meet up with the First Mate of Princess Lucy, because it was quiet, and served both dry rose and decent beer, vegetarian curries and classic burgers. It was cavernous, and I wouldn't want to be there when it was busy, and the pseudo-post-industrial vibe is getting a bit 2015, but hey, decent food, good beer and friendly staff, plenty of space and no music counts for a lot. We'll be back there for our next Monday meet-up.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Heritage pub 1: The Wellington

Remember that one of the ideas I had for providing blogging material was to see how many pubs I could visit that are featured in the CAMRA guide to Sheffield's Real Heritage Pubs (ed. Dave Pickersgill)? Well, here's the first (not the first I'll have visited, but the first I'll be writing about.

Jim and I (and Ricky and Geoffrey) stumbled across the Wellington at Shalesmoor when we were out for a Boxing Day walk (I'd taken him to see a demolition site and the country's last remaining cementation furnace - I must blog about that one day too). The Wellington was on the radar because it's a sister pub to my most local of locals, the Blake, owned by the Neepsend Brew Co. and serving as their brewery tap.

It's quite a good find for a first visit as the guide puts it in the third category of six (and there are only three in the first, those that are in the National Inventory - including one I visit frequently and which is possibly my favourite Sheffield pub - and very handy for the office, so we'll be hearing more about that one before long). The Wellington is listed in the Yorkshire Regional Inventory in the category of having 'some regional importance' - meaning that while it doesn't retain a significant degree of its original layout and fittings, 'specific features are of sufficient quality for the pub to be considered noteworthy'.

Built in 1839, the pub retains many features from its 1940 refit as well as some older ones, including the terazzo floors. From the 40s there is the 'ply panelled bar' which I'm afraid I neglected to notice. It was the tiles in the lobby which look to be from the same era if not a little earlier - which first drew me in.
The pub doesn't look much from the outside - a little intimidating, if anything - but inside it was very nice, and friendly. When we first arrived it was nearly empty, but it filled up quickly with what were clearly regulars. We sat in the tap room, which boasted a nice collection of old pub memorabilia and advertising, including a Craven A clock, which complemented the inter-war Tennants' leaded windows. I can't remember what I drank - it could well have been Neepsend Blonde. One interesting feature was that not only does the pub retain the three-room layout from the 1940 refit (and now I've read about it, I can see the vestiges in other pubs, including the Blake, where the rooms have been knocked through) but the rooms are numbered.

I snapped one last quick picture as we left, showing the terazzo floor in the main bar, with the tap room door just to the left. I expect it'll be a while before we pass that way again, but I wouldn't hesitate to pop in.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Surveying the foundations...

... is the title of a paper that I presented to the Foundation Year Network Annual Conference last year, and subsequently published as an article in the Journal of the Foundation Year Network (of which I also, ahem, happen to be an editor, but it was peer-reviewed, honest guv.)

But if I had titled this post 'Assessment at Level 0', be honest, you wouldn't have looked at it, would you. Whereas a bit of poking about in the basement (or bilges) is far more likely to grab your interest.

Nonetheless, if I'm going to stick with my intention of posting every day, there will have to be an element of recycling. There's 4,000 perfectly good words out there, not to mention a very well-received extended scaffolding metaphor, and I'm not going to let them go to waste.

PDF here.