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Cultural Concubine Blog

Neither here nor there…

Tag Archives: UK


Vegas on the North Sea?

At present I am working in Great Yarmouth…
Yes I know, not just Yarmouth, but GREAT Yarmouth.

Most people in the UK roll their eyes when they hear of this town>
Also known as Las Vegas on the North sea.

Rather sad really, Las Vegas without the sunshine, the sea without the fresh breeze.
Over the last months working with the the old buildings in this town I have learnt never to judge a village center by first glance. There are some amazing Edwardian Hotels waiting to rise like a phoenix, old rides that are still cool. And actually the whole place has been maintained by neglect.

Neglected by lack of investment from the government…


Glory days… But the winter gardens is one of the biggest challenges ahead. Would be amazing!

The whole town was built on the money made from silver darlings, herrings. And they still sell the very best kippers you have ever had!
But sadly when they made the big investments in their new concrete harbour they forgot to invest in the access on the land side…
So now, with the upcoming elections, politicians have promised to improve the main road there…

What do you think? Will more people come? Will more people leave?

Time will tell. At least we have a super enthusiastic team of conservation officers in place and a supportive Borough Council… With all the sad and terrible things happening in the world, rebuilding and treasuring what we have must be on the political agenda! Fingers crossed for the elections!


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Fresh, one hour and some scratches later...

Fresh, one hour and some scratches later…

Yes, I know… it has been almost a year. So about time to get back in the saddle.

In the meantime I have been pretty busy.

There are many things to learn in the countryside.

But the most important is simply to live, but more importantly to live simply.
Quite some time ago I wrote with great pleasure about growing up, loving to drink Roosvicee.

Today I made it myself. For free.
(well ok, if you discount the oil used in the AGA, the sugar from the jar and the cost of the water…)
It is nice how the online recipe for Rose hip syrup looks so simple, but isn’t.
It leaves out the experience of one hour or so, picking and cleaning the hips. (if you can find any at all!)
Then to boot, at the bottom of the comments, a reader lamented the poor advice, explaining that temperature and cooking pots had to be significantly different.
(no metal with acid, no boiling vit. C.) Pfff. Fussy.

In a way, the way I made the syrup today shows exactly what I have learnt in the country this year.

It is so important not to leave out the experience and value of actual handy work. (the hour of picking, thorns, fresh air.)
And instead of getting lost in the very exact details (see comments) and ‘have to-s’ you just follow your gut feeling.
Everyone, sing along with me: 
… The cold never bothered me anyway…

Rose syrup done... Fruity and warming. Bring on the zing.

Rose syrup done… Fruity and warming. Bring on the zing.

In the end just I simmered the chopped rose hips in an enamel pan. Strained it once, none of this double filter nonsense… Left it to cool. And have been drinking it all day. Wonderful.


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This morning I was surprised to find something I had not seen since my childhood.
A sight I only remember from early mornings after sleep-overs at my grandparents….

Everyone with central heating will probably not know what I am going on about.

Frozen florals...

Frozen florals…

Ice flowers…
or: IJsbloemen, as we call them in the Netherlands.

I haven’t found a similar name for it in the UK. Here it is simply called frost on the windows, or slightly more poetic ‘Frost ferns’.

Beautifully intricate crystal patterns are formed from the condensation, blooming gradually up onto the glass.. As the sun gently grew stronger, they slowly melted down onto the window sill…
The sight was so pretty I almost forgot how freezing my bedroom had gotten…
Brrrrrr and chattering of teeth.

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My concoction…

Some people just can’t help but get their hands dirty. As do I.

Instead of just talking about how lovely Elderflower cordial is again, I actually got stuck in and made one.
I was surprised about how easy it was.

We had cut back a long branch off the Elder, so the initiative for this event was mostly due to the lovely scent of the severed flowers.
Picking the small flowers off the corymbs takes a little work, but eventually it is quite satisfying to find yourself surrounded in the sweet smell and your hands covered in pollen. (so this is not for the pollen averse, drinking the home made brew might have the opposite effect though…)

Pity the flowers are only around end May, early June…

For the recipe:

1. you add equal measures of sugar (preferably raw cane) and water (half a cup each ~120gr.) and boil it up to a thick syrup.

Then pour the hot syrup over the plucked flowers (about 1 ounce of flowers ~28gr.) and leave to steep, over night outside of the fridge, or 3 days in the fridge.
Most people add lemon or citric acid at this point, as a preservative and to add some zzing.

Just pour through a fine sieve or piece of cloth and keep in a nice bottle or jug in the fridge.

One table spoon is enough for a large glass…

I just wanted to try mine pure before diluting the flavour… I found the plain stuff on its own or with a slice of lemon most refreshing.

Whether this is really the most powerful potion the druids wrote about, I am not sure.

But it surely works like a tonic on me.
It is always such a pleasure to have a new experience… learn a new skill.

Now all we need is a sunny day so we can drink the brew in the shade.

Summer and a slice of lemon, do we need anything more?

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I am sure I have written about this pet hate of mine before…


Last weekend, upon arriving back in town by tube, the following happened…

After lugging a heavy suitcase up the stairs from the underworld of gnarly air and noisy trains, I had to swerve through the senseless shoppers on the busy back road behind Harrods…

Half way I got stopped by one of the doormen, sounding rather grumpy… He growled: No no no… heavy suitcases should go to entrance 2A on the other side…

Another good reason for avoidance…

I just looked up at him all astonishment and mumbled: Could you get out of the way please, I am trying to get home. If you don’t mind that is…

He stepped aside, but didnt even apologise.

No wonder locals avoid this place like the plague…

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One of the advantages of having a vagabond lifestyle is that you continuously encounter new things.
Living between two countries means you can no longer hold on to habits or doing things in a set way. I find I now always adjust my routine to wherever I am.
This state of flux has now been for more than a year, so I have made the art adaptation my standard way of life.

'from the middle of the tube...'

While traveling around I continuously run out of things, but there is one habit I fear I will never be able to change: forgetting my toothpaste.

However this does supply me with a great new hobby of stealing (‘borrowing’ doesn’t quite cover it) and trying out new toothpastes.

Last month I have however met the mother of all pastes… Euthymol.

Any toothpaste with a name like that has to be something special. It doesn’t even have the words ‘clean’, ‘white, ‘fresh’ or ‘protection’ anywhere on it. The packaging only reads: Euthymol Original Toothpaste, a scientific dental preparation. If it wasn’t for the word ‘Dental’ it could be for anything really…

Naturally attracted to certain differences?!

It comes in an old fashioned tube and red top and is bright bubblegum pink, which reminds me of the children’s toothpaste they used to make in the 80’s and we were only allowed to use when staying with our grandparents… Still the flavour is something else.
Not the usual tepid and lame minty freshness, but a combination the kick in Rootbeer and Listerine on steroids.
As the add says a true ‘wide awake flavour’… Nothing like a good kick in the teeth at the end of the day and in the morning waking up… (oh and it also really cleans your teeth)

I wish I could make this my standard paste, but I am sure I will just forget it again…

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Yes really…

I am flying today…

… see you all on the other side.


PS and thanks to everyone for their support and kind wishes.

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