Lunch with the Cansfields

What a marvellous day, in marvellous company. We had lunch (which continued well beyond a cheese course) with the visiting Cansfields, made all that much sweeter given it’s been a long time since the last breaking of bread.

The reason Nicktor is waving in the above photo is because I forgot to pour him a glass of wine to toast with. This school boy error led to the destruction of one of the glasses. A little later, while I was dishing out the main course, Mirinda gesticulated my unused glass onto the unforgiving tiles. The empty glass by Dawn’s right hand.

But, the smashing was soon forgotten as the cut and thrust of literary, political and pandemic discussion kept us loudly busy for many hours. As well as eating, of course.

I had decided on a meal which could be made quickly and swallowed by vegetarians who eat fish.

While cooking was only half an hour, the prep was somewhat longer. This was particularly true of the cannoli which Mirinda insisted I make this morning because they are better the date of making.

She was correct. They were perfect. And this time I managed to keep the oil at temperature and the shells were a perfect golden brown. The fill was as lovely as last time. The ice cream, I didn’t make but otherwise, the meal was all my own work…with a little help from a couple of recipe books.

A major topic of discussion was Nicktor’s impending retirement and how he’s preparing himself for it. And what Dawn thinks about having him at home all the time.

There’s a lot of plans and some trepidation but, generally he’s very much looking forward to his new life. And, if I think about it, he was also a bit nervous about changing jobs last time around.

Then, of course, there was the subject of their impending change of house and the fate of Nicktor’s miniature bottles collection. Dawn is hoping all the whisky has evaporated.

After food, we went for the obligatory walk to the castle and back.

Back at the house, we settled down with coffee, tea, whisky and, finally, a cheese board. A perfect day.

Today, this happened

The Golden Hind, having sailed around the world, floated into Plymouth Harbour today in 1580. It had taken Sir Frances Drake, three years with a bit of argy bargy on the way.

Originally, QEI had sent him to explore the west coast of the Americas, where he’d previously had a bit of a run in with the Spanish.

While there, he declared California (or New Albion as he decided to call it) for the English. He clearly didn’t see the flag that Christopher Columbus had planted there a few years previously. Or the one left by Leif Eriksson 500 years before Columbus. The Clovis people, who were there first, didn’t have flags, and, anyway, 15,000 years earlier they had usurped the unimaginatively named Pre-Clovis people.

But, back to Drake and his sailing boat which was originally called Pelican but was renamed by Drake during the trip in honour of the heraldic shield of Sir Christopher Hatton. Hatton was one of the major sponsors of the journey. The shield, on the other hand, didn’t do anything.

While the stated intention was to circumnavigate the globe, the real purpose of the voyage was to seek out the Spanish and threaten their world domination, something he did quite well.

Returning to familiar waters, Drake asked a couple of fishermen he encountered in the English Channel who was on the throne and if there was a war on. The fishermen were amazed he was still alive.

His continued existence was much enhanced with the treasures and spices he returned home with. He was thereafter knighted for being a successful pirate.

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