Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Burn's Night Etiquette

'Burnish no bones with thy teeth for this is unseemly, neither belch thou near to a man's face with corrupt fumosity. Scratch not thy head with thy finger whilst thou art at meat, and blow not thy nose on thy napkin, where you should wipe thy hands, but cleanse it in the handkerchief. Fill not thy mouth too full, least thou perhaps of force must speak, neither blow out thy crumbs when thou dust eat. Blow not thy pottage nor drink, for it is not commendable; for if thou be not sweet in thy body, thy breath is corruptible. If you must spit, keep it out of sight; let it not lie upon the ground but tread thou it outright.'
Words of advice (predating Burns by a few centuries) in a little pamphlet of Scottish recipes 'Friends Cook Book' I got many years ago near Glencoe. There is also a helpful guide to measures. 1 1/2 Pints - 1 Lippie; 4 Lippies - 1 Peck; 4 Pecks - 1 Firlot; 4 Firlots - 1 Boll.

Happy Burn's Night and if you have to spit be sure to smear it into the carpet while your host is looking the other way.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Accomodation Available

High rise living with views out over the city for south London's stag beetles at Nunhead cemetery - part nature reserve part burial ground. They don't offer 24 hour security which is a pity as a magpie or crow can pick off emerging bugs in their dozens. Maria.Fremlin has posted some particularly macabre footage of the aftermath of such an attack which could be animated out-takes from a Svankmajer film. She also very helpfully provides a guide to the larvae of several beetles which is worth consulting before stomping in disgust any and every grub one unearths. Size would seem to be the big giveaway for indentifying a stag beetle larva - 8 centimetres!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Do Not Make Cucumber

Found on the world wide interweb @ eatliver.com

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Signage in Yorkshire No.2

'Life is an old cabbage wrapt up in newspaper'. Photo taken by Nev in the late 70's.
One week until the South London annual Potato Fair!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

One Egg

Hurrah! Doris has ended our 10 weeks of egglessness.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Least of All

"This is the least of all birds found with us in England, weighing not more than one single drachm... The top of the head is adorned with a most beautiful bright spot (which they call a crest) of a deep saffron or pale scarlet colour. Hence it got those ambitious titles of Regulus (little king) and Tyrannus (tyrant). This crest or crown (if you please so to call it) it can when it lifts, by corrugating its forehead, and drawing the sides of the spot together, wholly conceal and render invisible."
The Ornithology of Francis Willughby John Ray 1678

I saw the goldcrest again yesterday foraging in and around the currant bushes. So, one has survived the cold snowy December weather.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

A Quiet Sun!Day Afternoon

... at nearby Nunhead. Hirsute and snag-toothed, this wooded necropolis is a good place for a wander. Last year I saw one of Britain's rarest mammals here - the black rat.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Me New Bamboo

I took home a bundle of MH's* thinnings when we visited last week - raw material for pole bean supports which will be arranged artfully (?) in the spring.
*A founding father of the Bamboo Society, you can see some of his bamboo illustration here.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

'Natural History of Selbourne' the Musical Play

Scenes from my little paper theatre play 'Entries from Reverend Gilbert White's Diary in December' performed last night for Nev, Iz & M. And they, each in turn put on their very own, very idiosyncratic plays. Much fun was had.
Pictured here are such entries as - December 3 1788 Good mackarel brought to the door. And December 17 1774 Mrs. Snooke's tortoise, after it had been buried more than a month, came forth & wandered round the garden in a disconsolate state, not knowing where to fix on a spot for it's retreat.