After nearly 3.5 years away from my native shores, I recently returned for a 3.5 week trip. Everyone in a similar situation who I had spoken to before expressed their dislike of taking a trip back to the UK and the constant travelling round visiting family and friends, they related their blatant dislike of the country, its weather, big population, aspects of its culture and the places.
The media (doom-mongering muppets that they are) is constantly painting the UK in various shades of doom and gloom following Brexit, the various terrorist attrocities and the recent general election…so how did I find it?
Well, the following series of posts will delve in further detail but let me just say this, those of whom I spoke earlier must either visit bad places, have dubious friends and family, really dislike their homeland or just generally be miserable because I had a fantastic holiday! And as for the media…well as usual, if you look beneath the surface, you generally find that the truth is rather different.
Here is just one photograph to illustrate the delight of the UK…the history!
As the southerly winds whipped up their seasonal force and chill; and began to topple the leaves from the tree in the garden in ever greater numbers, requiring me to get out there with a rake once more…I was amazed to find a fully intact birds nest woven from natural and man-made materials such as moss, grass, fishing line (I think) and some sort of white fibres. Such a thing of beauty that it seemed such a shame that it couldn’t now be used again.
I am 99% certain it is the nest of the silvereye (pictured below), one of the smaller garden visitors. Beautiful olive green little bird which makes awesome constructions to boot!
When you buy a bag of the cheapest peas in the supermarket, the question has to be asked…why on earth do you need to have a slogan on the packet?
But I must say, I think “…one, two, pea!” could catch on, for all the wrong reasons!
I must confess that I don’t know much about these little guys (maybe about 1cm long) but they are quite fun to watch up close in the garden. This one seemed to start displaying to my camera by tilting its wings from side to side as I zoomed in, and even jumped onto the lens to get better acquainted. Beautiful colours and patterns, and they can jump like they have jets in their little legs!
Here is a photo of a cicada skin I found in the garden recently…incredibly it was still clinging to the fence where it had been discarded by the new adult. Perhaps it is perfectly formed for a larval stage which happens underground…but quite alarming to see up close. Thankfully they provide what, for me at least, is a lovely soundtrack to summer.
Occasionally, I have recently experienced pretty painful abdominal cramps and have been exploring what might be causing this. One of the items I have a feeling could be to blame is coffee.
I enjoy coffee, especially a nice flat white, although not as much as I enjoy tea. As I began looking online for items about the sorts of things coffee could cause, I was amazed at just how bad for your digestion this drink can be…and that decaffeinated coffee (which I’m not overly keen on anyway) still has caffeine in it and isn’t necessarily that much better for you.
Anyway, I thought I would see if there were alternatives and came across something called Teeccino which is an American brand which is mostly organic and uses chicory, carob, dates, figs, nuts and natural flavourings to create a slightly sweet alternative to coffee without the nasty potential side effects. I was rather surprised that I really liked it, that it was not dissimilar to coffee in taste…and that with figs in there, it can only have positive digestive impact I suppose!
On telling parents about this, they mentioned something called Camp coffee (again chicory-based but with sugar (!!) and water added) which has been around a while which seems to mainly be a baking ingredient (but you can add water to make a drink). It is interesting that old ideas can come full circle to create a new market which can have health benefits.
Anyone else tried Teeccino? What do you think?
Just to the south of the Coromandel Peninsula, on the main road towards Tauranga and Gisborne on New Zealand’s North Island, lies the Karangahake Gorge, a former area of gold mining. In many ways it is a relief that this practice doesn’t occur in such a beautiful place any more, along with all of the destruction and dubious chemical processes it brings but it does make for a fascinating place to walk (including in some of the old tunnels so make sure you take a torch) and witness abandoned engineering which in many ways looks like fortification.
I got an impression of what the world might look like one day after humanity has perished and forest reclaims land for its own. Interesting. I do wonder why it is that we hold gold in such high regard?