Sunday 15 January 2012

Food, Glorious Food

I was interested to read on the BBC website about a custom, Hen Galan, practised in a part of south west Wales, where the inhabitants of the Gwaun Valley still use the Julian calendar to set their New Year. This had a bit of resonance for the occupants of Tense Towers, as over the festive period, we were not able to visit relatives in the north east of England, so found ourselves delivering Christmas presents this weekend.

Any excuse for a road trip with our newly-acquired second-hand vehicle.

And what a few days of food and feasting it was, with friends, family and feathered fauna all full, fit to burst. First stop was my parents' house in the Gaunless valley, where all manner of birds were visiting the garden feeders.

Periparus ater
Several Coal Tits, Periparus ater, were relishing the peanuts and a coconut shell filled with fat, whilst, on a nearby tree, we were pleasantly surprised to spot a Treecreeper, Certhia familiaris, diligently searching the nooks and crannies in the bark for tasty morsels.

Then over to Teesside to my brother's place, where I was amazed to see a Bullfinch in the middle of a housing estate.

That evening, as many of our respective families as could make it, gathered in an Italian restaurant in Yarm (that's Y-a-r-m, California Katie), for a proliferation of pasta, Parma and pizza.

This morning, before our return south, we briefly visited the coast at Coatham Sands. It was minus 4 degrees Celsius, with the fine grains and many shells covered in an icy rime. A flock of Oystercatchers and Turnstones were busy feeding near the water's edge and a very cold-looking Seal made a half-hearted attempt to haul itself onto the beach. A few Eider ducks were bobbing about beyond the surf and a lone Redshank flew past.

Mussel shell with frost
There was still time to fit in one more meal, as Our Lass and I met up with First and Second Born and their respective partners, for Sunday lunch in a village pub nestled close to the hills of the North York Moors National Park.

It is quite possible that none of us will eat for a week.


Richard Jefferies said...

A family feud fun food fulfilling freezing fantastic friendly family weekend then


Imperfect and Tense said...

Miraculously, no feuding!

Spadger said...

Wow what an amazing weekend! Thoroughly deserved to be able to all get together and spend some quality time. I see you've managed in your blog to reintroduce the t word as well. That should boost viewing figures.

Imperfect and Tense said...

Hmmm, don't get me started! Now that I've figured out where to look for the search parameters of the hits, it has proved to be as previously thought, disappointingly.

But, yeah, a great weekend!

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Spadger, er spager, er JD, beat me to the punch (oops, very poor choice of idioms - my apologies)... I thought you weren't going to mention the "t" word anymore? And, yes, thank you for spelling out "Yarm" for me. Although, while I like to believe I can spell most words, it's the tiny fonts that are causing me to accept I may need reading glasses. Next time, try using the largest font available in blogger posts to help me read correctly. Great pic of the frost-covered mollusc!

Imperfect and Tense said...

Katie, Good point about the 't' word, but it was only for that one post. Wildlife blogging is tricky enough without painting myself into a corner. Sorry, couldn't resist a Yarn/Yam/Yarm mention :o)I was surprised to find frost on the beach, assuming that the proximity of the sea would prevent that from happening. Live and learn.