.....and other thoughts on a cold morning (minus 6).
I was persuaded to walk with the farmer and Tess after lunch yesterday. I didn't really want to go but how pleased I was that I did. It was very still and very quiet - not a bird to be seen and, although walking in the pasture was quite hard, I felt so much better for my half hour in the fresh air.
I took the picture from just above the holly and hawthorn cam (a local word meaning old hedge that has half-disappeared!) and apart from a streak of ice-blue in that sky, the world is in monochrome. I think it is Nature's way of emphasising the colour when it does arrive - think daffodils, tulips, lilac, anemones - need I go on? Actually, if you looked closely at the hazel in the hedge, it was just beginning to show yellow on the catkins. But this morning there is almost a hoar frost and everythings is white.
Thirteen blackbirds were waiting by the bird feeders and every vestige of food we put out yesterday had disappeared - mixed seed, sunflower hearts, niger seed, peanuts, chopped apple, suet, raisins, fat balls - all gone. But it is satisfying to know that we are sustaining so many of our garden birds through this cold snap.
What a to do (and rightly so) about horsemeat being found in the cheapest burgers in our supermarkets? I suspect that if we knew half of what goes on with the production of our food we would be very wary of what we buy.
I have eaten horsemeat once (to my knowledge) and I can tell you that it tastes very similar to beef. It was in Khazakstan about twenty five years ago. We had dinner in a local restaurant and the meat was served, sliced, on the plate. It was in thin, very lean slices and was quite like beef to look out but perhaps a little darker in colour. It was served with a help-yourself wine sauce and was delicious. Afterwards, somebody asked our guide (in those days there was no way you could walk round places in what was then the Soviet Union without a minder) and she went and asked and told us it was "mare". There was a bit of a stunned silence but then everyone agreed it was tasty.
I do remember a horse meat butchers in Lincoln during the war. It was on a street where we walked regularly and the window was full of cuts of meat. My mother would avert her eyes but as a small child I was always fascinated by it - mainly because the fat was such a bright yellow.
That story reminds me of another holiday in China and Mongolia, when we went on two successive nights to the same restaurant. The first night a group of local men were gathered round a large pot of something which smelt lovely, while we had what passed for Westernised food (usually pretty awful). We asked if we could have what these men were having the next night and it was duly served up and really enjoyed. When we asked Mr Yuan our guide what was in the dish he answered (in his very strongly accented English) with a word which sounded like "eyeballs" - we all visibly paled until we were made to understand that he was saying "apples".
We are just off to Tesco to stock up again as heavy snow is forecast for tomorrow -must watch out what I buy and steer clear of the 'beefburgers'! Keep snug and warm.
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