On a return to Starbucks

I didn’t see the Gundog Guy this morning. We generally meet just before the lane leading down to Park Row, and have a chat about…well, anything from archaeology to world travel. But not this morning. I guess he went earlier or had a sleep in. I know he can’t miss a day because, as he says, the dog won’t let him.

More importantly, this week saw my return to Starbucks. Obviously I’ll only be going on my shopping days (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) versus every day like I used to. Still, it felt like The Return of the Normal. Except it wasn’t because of the perspex screens and the lack of furniture.

Actually, the lack of furniture is a good thing. Because the only chairs and tables are around the walls, the central space is empty. This means that when the parents return from dropping their kids off, they now sit outside. Inside Starbucks is now quiet enough to concentrate on anything other than them.

I almost didn’t return. Plastered on the perspex screens are stickers ‘politely’ suggesting that customers wear face masks when ordering and collecting. This is as well as having a perspex screen between the customer and the server.

I wasn’t challenged for not wearing mine on Monday or today. I might be on borrowed time but if I am challenged, I’ll simply stop going to Starbucks. But for now, at least, all is well.

Surprisingly, Amelia remembered my order. She always struggled with it before the plague struck but, on Monday, she had it down pat. Which was handy because I’ve probably forgotten it. Sue, today, had no problem remembering it, but then she has been making my coffee for many, many years.

There was quite a steady flow of customers as I sat there reading Sharpe 10. There was a lovely little puppy and lots of masks and one poor toddler who had hand sanitiser smeared all over her hands by an unloving parent. It was good to see the toddler then happily crawling around on the floor and licking her fingers.

In sad news, I shan’t be going north for the Great Northern Weasel Gathering because the government has forbidden it. Our so-called prime minister has declared that meetings of more than six people are not allowed except at race meetings, football, schools, pubs and restaurants. We were going to be seven Weasels. Also, we’d be from five different households when we are only allowed to be from two.

So that’s killed that particular bit of joy. John has suggested we just go to Europe for our regular Christmas jaunt (which I’ve yet to indulge in) to St Omar. Who knows what the Dictatorship will allow by then. I’m not holding my breath for any kind of freedom.

But enough misery! Tonight I made something new. It was yoghurt and spice roasted salmon on Maast-o-Esfenaj from Simply by Sabrina Ghayour. And it was delicious. And super simple.

I steamed some pak choi and fried some of Neighbour Dave’s courgette (obtained by Mirinda who had a tour of his garden today) to go with it but the main attraction was the salmon. So bloody good!

I’m loving Simply.

Today, this happened

Peter Perez Burdett died today in 1793. He drew maps and did a spot of aquatinting, among a few other things. He was also a peripheral member of the Lunar Society of Birmingham.

Pete was born in Essex and died in Karlsruhle in Germany where he hid from people seeking payment of his unpaid bills.

Money was an oft recurring issue for Pete. He only managed to start making maps when a mate loaned him some start up cash. This mate was Joseph Wright of Derby, the artist. And, in return, Burdett posed for him as well as explain how to draw perspective.

Peter’s first successful map – successful in that it was recognised by the Society of Arts – was a map of Derby in the one inch to one mile scale. His was only the second to be thus recognised. The same year, 1767, he also produced the rather amusingly titled aquatint, Two Boys Blowing a Bladder by Candle-light.

Eventually, though incredibly talented and much sought after – he intrigued the likes of Benjamin Franklin – his debts soon forced him to leave Liverpool and head for Germany. Oddly, he left his wife, Hannah to the bailiffs. He did take a painting of her with him though, so I guess that’s something. Here’s the rather rakish looking Peter on the left while Hannah on the right appears to have been added afterwards.

By Joseph Wright of Derby – https://sbirky.ngprague.cz/en/dielo/CZE:NG.DO_4289, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12427896

In Germany, he was working for Charles Frederick the rather grand Duke of Baden. He then married again, a German woman. I have no idea what happened to his English wife. He and his new German wife had a daughter called Anna, and she married a Count. So that’s nice.

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