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Showing posts from February, 2012

Our beach. The way we want it.

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I have good news for you, especially if you are among those who took pictures of Nivea bottles on the beach recently and sent them to Nivea. I had an email from Nivea this morning stating that they would be making 'a lump sum donation to the Marine Conservation Society' as well as continuing to monitor how their bottles are washing ashore. It was agreed that the job of picking up each and every one of their bottles from the shores of the UK would be impossible, which is why they have agreed to the donation (on my suggestion). This is a good outcome and whilst it doesn't actually remove the bottles from the shore, it will help to fund work that The Marine Conservation Society does to keep our beaches clean. In case you didn't know, the MCS monitor the amount of litter on our beaches as well as clear it up. They use the data about the rubbish they pick up to fight for legislation to safeguard the future cleanliness of our beaches. So this donation - however big or small

Devil be gone. It's pancake day!

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It's Shrove Tuesday today. AKA pancake day, the last day before Lent. This is your chance to indulge before it’s all over for 40 days and 40 nights. You feast then you fast and have a little think whilst you do it - at least that's the idea. But what about tossing? What's that all about? Well, as well as being the traditional time for penitence and reflection, for going to church to confess your sins, Shrove Tuesday is also a time for using up all your rich and fatty foods (eggs, milk, sugar). And that can only mean one thing: pancakes! The tossing part of the story tells of a lady from Olney in Buckinghamshire who lost track of time whilst cooking her pancakes in 1445, heard the church bells and dashed out of her house with her frying pan still in her hand, running all the way to the service. And so a tradition was created. It also explains why men wishing to take part in pancake races are usually asked to don an apron and headscarf. It’s a housewife thing. Shrove Tuesday

A message in a bottle.

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This is a picture of a Nivea bottle I found on my local beach a few weeks ago. I found a few of them at the same time so decided to get in touch with Nivea to find out what it's all about. They asked me to send them some samples so I went looking for more. I found them at Speke's Mill Mouth, Welcombe Beach and Peppercombe Beach in North Devon and at Constantine in North Cornwall. Niva tell me that they lost a container from a ship in the Atlantic about a year ago but they don't know how many of these were lost. Well I can safely say it was at least 50 because that's how many I've found. I suspect it's a lot more. It could be thousands, or hundreds of thousands. Nivea have been really good about communicating with me and I applaud them that. They also say that they have been in touch with Cornwall CC and the National Trust about cleaning up the beaches I mentioned to them. They said "if this escalates to larger numbers, that require an organized clean up

I'm not a pheasant plucker...

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...which is why I simply cut the breasts from the brace of pheasants I was presented with this week. They were given to me by my friend Neil who is one of the beaters for the Clovelly shoot. Very grateful I was too, as the pheasant shooting season came to an end on 1st February. Gifts like this are one of the benefits of living in the country. Just not if you are squeamish. These are the birds that didn't get away. They are the unlucky ones, pan fried with a red wine, orange and ginger sauce (simply chuck it in after you've taken the breasts out and let it simmer whilst the breasts rest a while), served with fried portobello mushrooms (pan fried first with thyme in the same pan to save washing up) and a few heads of young broccoli. Took about 15 minutes, needed just two pans (one if you forego the greens) and tasted delicious. Something for the van perhaps? Keep your eyes peeled when you are out and about next on those country lanes. You know, just in case you couldn't swe