Pony day

Standard

Slightly better night’s sleep still awake at 6 though. When I finally got myself up, the ponies started. So when you are first in the New Forest and the whole concept of wild ponies wandering about is a fresh state of affairs, you just wanna get some pics and exclaim, ”Wow this is incredible, they are so friendly.”

Then, it starts to become like a horror movie. Almost all animals, no matter how cute they are as individuals, tend to feel a bit menacing as soon as there are a bunch of them, especially if they keep staring at you. Horses aren’t even that cute to begin with, and they are big. It definitely seemed like I had popped my tent down in a patch that had been recently been getting rave reviews from whatever the equine equivalent of Tripadvisor. It got so that I was surrounded in my tent and at one stage, my solar panel was attacked by an horse who was obviously very heavily invested in the oil industry, or had some other anti-green energy agenda.

As the day wore on, it fast approached the time to depart, so I thought I would strike camp nice and early to give the groundsheet time to dry off so that i could pack it away in good time. Pulled up the pegs and everything was bone dry, so actually had to do nothing at all, meaning that I was all ready to go about 2 hours early. I left my bags at reception and headed to the pub. Can’t lie, the chips they did must have been the chunkiest you can make chips before they become jacket potatoes.

I then took a slow walk back to the campsite to await my lift, where I am currently sitting, in the shade of a tree, vibing with my spirit animals.

Psychotic, yet lazy.

Mondays camping is full of woe.

Standard

Wow, what a horrible night’s “sleep”. I definitely need to invest in a proper pillow, as that certainly did not help.. The trains barrelling through the night like banshees delivering their fatal warnings. Plus the rain, obviously it was gonna rain, it wouldn’t be a camping trip without it, but does it have to be so noisy?

When I woke, I had to get dressed and make my way to the toilet block, which was at about 6am. the only positive that I can offer is that sunrise was about 4am, and my eye mask thingies kept the light away. When I had wake up two, the day did look amazing, almost worth the bad night for the view.


Then, after having washed up my cook kit with no cloth or washing up liquid, I made a cuppa that tasted of curry, and lay there enjoying the tranquility. While I was enjoying the stillness, the Cheltenham cup felt like it was run past my tent. I swear one of them, if not jumped my tent, at least jumped the guy ropes. Managed to grab a quick shot of them disappearing into the trees. When I had recovered from this, I got up and sorted my shit out. Decided to go on a little walk. There were instructions at reception for a couple of walks, and I picked the easiest one, obviously. I have included the route below:

Quick loop of some woods in Ashurst

I barely got lost, only taking a wrong turn which meant I had to walk way further to get back over the railway tracks. At one stage I was practically opposite my tent, just on the other side of the rails. Got back and chilled for a bit, made some lunch, which had a faint taste of curry still, and then booked a late departure for tomorrow. Loads of ponies wandering around but still have not seen any deer.

Took a wander around to find a Co-op and some indigestion tablets, which although it wasn’t a huge walk, was hot as hell and seemed to take longer than it should have. Got fizzy water, a can of meatballs, some crisps and Gaviscon. Wandered back and my meanderings took me past the pub, so I thought it would be polite to stop in and freshen up. After a refreshing few pints, I took myself back to my tent and cooked the meatballs by boiling the can, as cleaning the stove was beginning to be a pain. This brought me inexorably to chilling and awaiting unconsciousness.

Nearly backpacking to the New Forest

Standard

After what has been a scorching few days, followed by rain and misery as far as the weather is concerned, I have been recently stockpiling camping gear with the intention of going lone camping somewhere. I have been buying all the most lightweight items as i am a physical weakling and felt that if I have a tent that weighs less that a 2 litre bottle of lemonade, I should be onto a winner. My camping mattress is a thing of beauty, about the size and weight of a pixie’s fart and twice as fragrant. The cooking kit I just bought weighs the same as a can of beans, so I felt that even with my multiple physical infirmities, this should be a breeze.

The issue is that when you start adding food and clothing, the weight just piles on, until the point that I could barely lift the rucksack to get the train to Ashurst. Added to this, obviously, was the cool bag containing the 5 litre keg of beer, which I could not possibly be expected to go camping without. I decided that dragging all of this to the train station, and then across the New Forest to the campsite would be a hideous drain on my energy if I expected to drink all of that beer, so I chickened out and got an Uber.

Uber driver was a gent, dropped me right at the campsite, even though I cheekily set the destination for the village centre. Got settled in and also found out that the website had overcharged me so I got a refund processed. Then came the first real test, getting from the campsite office to wherever I wanted to pitch up. I was told I could do it anywhere so I was completely overwhelmed by choice. I picked a nice looking spot under a tree, enough out of the sun that I would not cook in the afternoon heat, but not so underneath it that I would be crushed by any falling branches.

Just set up.

Got myself settled and made a cuppa with my new camping stove. The thing is a beast; boiled water for a cuppa in about 50 seconds. Had a bit of a wander about to get my bearings and then headed to the pub for a refreshing pint.

Only slightly better than my homebrew.

Had a couple of these and then felt that a lie down would do me the world of good, so sauntered back to my tent and fixed up the mattress and sleeping bag. Had a quick glass of homebrew from the keg that was still icy cold.

When I woke up again, it was raining, absolutely pissing it down. I also discovered that trains run past Ashurst all through the night, and they don’t do it quietly. My incredible mattress is too narrow, so that if you wanna do anything with your arms, you are shit out of luck, and although I brought with me every kind of medication you could imagine, to deal with every possible disaster, I neglected heartburn. All in all, not my best night’s sleep ever.

More Sourdough Stuff

Standard

Soooo I realise that it was a while since I posted the very short guide on sourdough starters, and although you do need a little time to get it going, probably not as long as this. Luckily nobody tried so there is no loss.

I will provide a quick recipe for making some awesome bread, although I have not dialled this recipe in to be perfect quite yet.

Extra-Tangy Sourdough Bread

Baking
Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 30 mins | Servings: 1 1/3 loaves

Ingredients:
151g ripe (fed) sourdough starter
227g lukewarm water
241g Flour
200 grams More Flour
1 2/3 teaspoons salt
2/3 teaspoon ground pepper

Directions:
Combine the starter, water, and the first of the flour. Beat vigorously for 1 minute.
Cover, and let rest at room temperature for 4 hours. Refrigerate overnight, for about 12 hours.
Add the remaining flour, and the salt. Knead to form a smooth dough.
Allow the dough to rise in a covered bowl until it’s light and airy, with visible gas bubbles. The dough will expand and become puffy. Depending on the vigor of your starter, this may take up to 5 hours (or even longer), depending on how active your starter is. For best results, gently deflate the dough once an hour by turning it out onto a lightly floured work surface, stretching and folding the edges into the center, and turning it over before returning it to the bowl. Adding these folds will give you a better sense of how the dough is progressing, as well as strengthen it.
Gently divide the dough in half.
Gently shape the dough into two rounds or oval loaves, and place them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap and let rise until very puffy, about 2 to 4 hours (or longer; give them sufficient time to become noticeably puffy). Don’t worry if the loaves spread more than they rise; they’ll pick up once they hit the oven’s heat. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 220°C.
Spray the loaves with lukewarm water.
Slash the loaves. If you’ve made round loaves, try one slash across the center, and a curved slash on each side of it; or slash in the pattern of your choice. For oval loaves, two diagonal slashes are fine. Make the slashes fairly deep; a serrated bread knife, wielded firmly, works well here.
Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, until it’s a very deep golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and cool on a rack.
Store bread, loosely wrapped in plastic, for several days at room temperature; freeze for longer storage.

Source: https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/recipes/extra-tangy-sourdough-bread-recipe

Give this a go, but it is not perfect, but that is the joy of sourdough baking, you never know whether you are gonna just fuck it up, or produce a pistorial masterpiece that would not be equalled by Mr Warburton himself.

Well what a year this has been!

Standard

Well I don’t really know what to say to cover everything since my last post. I guess most of it has been consumed by Covid, the rest has been consumed with work and feeling ill. Luckily I have avoided the cough and temperature, but this has not saved me from feeling like shit the majority of the year. I managed a few days of holiday like experience, and have brewed and drank a pint or two; although a the time I was blissfully unaware that they might be my last drinkies, as I have become teetotal, at least for the time being.

Sadly, there has not been time or energy for the allotment, which I fear I may lose, but did get a nice late crop of spuds from there and the bag in the garden.

I have made some new friends, some of whom I have instantly lost, and I have had way less funerals to avoid this year as last year.

I am entering 2021 with a sense of optimism, if only for the fact that while the morons run around with their masks warming their chins complaining loudly that Boris isn’t gonna ruin their socialising, I will be inside waiting for them all to die off, so the lucky survivors can get on with our lives when this finally dies out.

I have also discovered hash brown fries, ate reindeer for Christmas dinner, and have lost my shit to the ‘Clips’ app on iPhone and iPad. I have also experimented with the new mini HomePods, that are, for the record, amazing.

I will close this off with some photos, as this blog may no linger be here next year, I fail to see why I am bothering with it.

Have a great new year to me and anyone else who reads this.

Rudolph the moist roast reindeer
Garden Bag spuds
Hash Brown chips, total game changer

Leading on from my last post…

Standard

I feel I should try and explain the cover photo of the last post, that appeared to be a brace and a half of bottles dangling upside down with greenery sprouting from them. Actually that was exactly what that photo was of, but it is well worth searching the internet for videos of people using old plastic bottles in the garden. What I have done is planted some upside down tomatoes, that against all expectation, seem to be thriving.

I do not believe these will be the first ones to be harvested this year, but they have survived a summer of horrific storms and winds, mainly due to their inverted lifestyle.

In fact, their dangling mitigated the wind quite nicely, and they turned out to be sweet and petite. When added to the yellow tumbling toms, they made an amazing pasta sauce.

Worth mentioning that the salad bowl at the top was salad from the garden with a mix of the tomatoes from the upside down bottles, and tumbling toms, with some home made mozzarella and free range quail eggs from a local farm. This is undoubtably the healthiest thing I have eaten this year.

Just a quick quote

Standard

“We’re all lights in the darkness for one another. When one light goes out, it makes it that much more dark for the rest of us. The human eye can see a single candle from four miles away. You never know when your light is the only light someone can see.”

Not sure why I felt the need to post this, it just spoke to me a little. Sometimes people don’t realise how important they are to others, and some people don’t realise how important other people are to them. When they’re gone, however it’s too late. Wave at people, smile, you never know when you’re bringing a little happiness to someone who needs it and won’t let it show. Unless it’s Donald Trump, he can fornicate himself with a rusty piece of scaffold wrapped in barbed wire.

You say potato guy, I say potato girl

Standard

Just a very quick update to the story of my magnificent spuds. Whilst enjoying a relaxing glass of lager on Friday evening, I was approached by the lovely young lady who posted me a potato so many months before. I got to meet her charming mother, and showed them how well the king of spuds was doing now he had been planted and given the opportunity to grow. I had intended to post a pic of how well he was doing, but now realise that I have neglected my family photos regarding tubers. I guess I will update this post when the weather is better and I can set foot outside without risk of drowning.

In the mean time, I thought it was worth mentioning that although the benevolent potato giver was known in my circles as the potato girl, apparently in her household, I was known as the potato guy. Just goes to show that you could always be a potato guy in someone else’s story.

And if potato girl and her family are reading this, it was lovely to meet you, and I look forward to keeping you updated on the spud of spuds.

More About Crypto Cards

Standard

A couple of people have asked me to go into a little more detail about the crypto.com link I posted yesterday. I realise everyone gets suspicious about links to places that promise free stuff, so I will try and clear it up as much as I can. Bearing in mind I have no great insight into the world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain, I just see what looks like a good idea and I am going with it. Crypto.com were originally called Monaco, hence their main coin being MCO. The sale of the MCO coin has provided the funding for the cards that have been released in Singapore, and are about to be released in USA. Their goal, as far as I can see, is to make trading in cryptocurrency easier, and getting access to those funds via a Visa card on the high street a more viable option. 

The free 20USD referral link I posted is designed to make the spread of the cards and app more widespread, so although it seems like you’re getting something for free, you are playing a part in making cryptocurrency more available to everyone. It is worth mentioning as well,that so far I have found the charges for using the crypto.com app way lower than any of the other apps I have used. 

As I said earlier, this is by no means an in-depth look into their plans or company, I just like the idea and it seems like a good step forward in bringing Crypto to the high streets. The link again is https://platinum.crypto.com/r/vurvacwxsm and use the referral code VURVACWXSM to claim the free $20, and if you aren’t one of the first five, apologies, but you will still be part of a revolution in cryptocurrency on the high street.

If you are Chloe, this is for you

Standard

Random post title I realised, but I needed to get a code for someone, so this is said information.
Please feel free to comment or email if this was helpful, even if you’re not Chloe lol

Click this link for the Curve Card

Use the code KDLWD for your referral and we both get a fiver in the account 😀

This is a link for a Starling account

Use Code LA98C08W and I get a little heart thingy on my app, not sure if it does anything, but it is worth knowing that Starling are awesome.

Anyway, click those links and share them with the world, and if Chloe is reading this, hi, and thanks for the help and let me know if these work 😀