Move away from the dog poo, kids

I have been trying to make a tomato based jelly. I have not had a lot of luck. Then, late today, I managed to knock something together which, well, held together. It wobbled in a very jelly-like way. I will have to wait for the morning but, at present, I am faintly confident.

Hopefully it’ll be a little less violent than the foam I squirted all over Mirinda at lunchtime. It was in my brand new CO2 canister foamer. I loaded it, chilled it then let fire. I had no idea it would explode. Honestly. Well, possibly not explode so much as ricochet off the plate all over Mirinda who was watching intently.

The foam worked (if I ignore the violence of the delivery) except it needed more gelatine to thicken it up a bit. I shall perservere.

That was it for the food based experiments today.

For our Sunday Afternoon Adventure, we headed down the M3 to the little village of Littleton and the Featherdown Barrows. They are quite difficult to find. Eventually, though, having parked Max and set off on foot, we found them.

Mirinda insisted on sitting in the bowl barrow because it reminded her of the first NGS garden we visited because it had an artist-made bowl in the garden. We returned to the garden last year but that first visit was with Farelli, and she sat in the bowl. So it goes.

Flowerdown is a 4,000-ish year old, Bronze Age site featuring uninvestigated barrows. Or so the info board says. The main feature is a disc barrow and is quite large. Even so, it doesn’t take that long to walk around the raised rim. It also has a ditch that goes all the way around. Small as it is, it’s still quite impressive.

We also took a small, circular track which goes through a small wood and behind a group of houses that are on a private road which ends in a secret place. I know it’s a secret place because it has a big sign on the gate which says it is bounded by the Official Secrets Act. Unless it’s just the gate that’s the secret in which case I shouldn’t have written about it.

While we were sitting, admiring the grass, a couple with a golden retriever arrived. The dog, quite happily took herself off for a walk and the couple sort of followed on behind. The woodland track had many entrances, hidden by trees and the dog and the couple each entered by different paths. They would then reappear in different places, as if they were all in a French farce. It was very entertaining.

On the way out, I noticed this sign:

It made me wonder why dog poo, in particular, is marked out as being dangerous to children. There’s plenty of things that are more harmful to children and yet, it doesn’t stop people doing them. There’s second hand smoke, exhaust fumes, sugar, soft drink, bad food, etc. Sure, bag dog poo because it’s gross but there’s surely no need to highlight children as being the ‘particular’ reason.

Eventually, we returned to Max and drove home via Avington Park, a place we once stayed at on a holiday where Mirinda first heard Katie Melua sing. Sadly, it’s a victim of The Great Fear and, therefore, closed.

At home, I made Persian chicken, which is always a treat.

Today, this happened

In 1920, the Guardian newspaper reported today that the Gentlemen’s Concert Society was to disband. It had been around for quite a while (200 years or thereabouts) but, due to apathy was to cease being a thing.

The Gentlemen’s Concert Society was in Manchester and, the newspaper piece claimed, was only attracting audiences of about six. It wondered where the music lovers were. It wondered at the decline of audience members. It wondered at the shrinking of musical culture.

This was far from the glory years when the society had its own orchestra and would shop around for world renowned conductors like Charles Hallé (1819-1895) to front the band. He conducted from 1853 then went on to form a small orchestra to entertain Prince Albert in 1857.

Now, I’m no expert but I can imagine that a lot of the downturn could be because it was only gentlemen allowed to attend. In the 1920’s, I reckon women might have wanted to have attended as well, possibly along with their husbands. Also, men who weren’t considered ‘gentlemen’, may also have had an interest in these concerts.

I have to say that their issue may have been with nomenclature rather than general public apathy. And to prove that point, the society returned a short time later, renamed The Manchester Beethoven Society, boasting that anyone who loved music could attend. Though, again, the name may have put off the music lover who preferred a bit of variation in composer.

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