Saturday, 31 July 2010

Hardys Varietyl Chardonnay £3.78 Tesco

Colour: Golden wheat.
Smell: Peach
Taste: Sparkles of fruit and vanilla and smooth.
Verdict: An excellent bottle of easy drinking Chardonnay without that old wooded flavour that seems to sit on the top of your palate. I did review this wine back in June and it is remarkable how similar the reviews are. See old review below.

On the bottle: This lively Chardonnay has rich varietal melon and peach flavour and a crisp, dry finish.
In my mouth: Loads of grapes, a hint of wood, vanilla oak and gratefully smooth.

Middle Earth is on holiday, for the children anyway. 9 weeks of sun, fun and a little boredom. Time for children to clean out cluttered bedrooms and find all those useless extras bought as a must have and forgotten immediately. 32 g Memory stick for the Xbox, Ipod covers with ear phones that are not as cool as they looked on his mate. This is a time of discovery and a lesson to be learnt, many things we think we wanted, but did not really…

Gary of Middle Smiths is in Germany, drinking their beer and introducing the world of illusion to some top players. Hope it all went well and you have the A1, A6 and are A OK with the whole pilsner, bruckwurst and mustard fare.

The Cookydales are enjoying some of the finest French Cuisine, now somewhere in the south of France, the freedom of a motor home, bringing new challenges around every French corner, ever wary of French drivers who govern the road and are kings, be it that they are French kings, do not look kindly on a humble English tourist in a huge motor home taking over his piece of tarmac. My advise to the Cookydales, drink loads of French wine and let the spirits lead you to happy times.

Talking of happy times, the Cookydales have a female, black Labrador, Saffie (It's a Cookydales dog sort of name), which we are looking after for 3 weeks. The Cookydales have a very sound philosophy, a dog is not just for Christmas but for life, except for holidays. Lovely little madam that she is, being a typical labby, our kitchen floor has never been cleaner and Sam has learnt to eat up or lose out. She has settled in so well she now sleeps on the couch, but is equally happy to sleep on the floor when thrown off the couch, also enjoys sleeping next to Sam. Sam's regular garden patrol, checking for unauthorised intruders, is now more invigorating, smell the odd fox scent, wee on it, she smells the 'fox wee scented' patch and they move on, job done. It is a synchronised dance of smelling and peeing. The black and white dog patrol.

The other interesting development from this friendship is that Sam has become more competitive. Previously at the beach he would swim out to fetch the ball, then drop it in search of more interesting pursuits. Leaving us to get our feet wet waiting for the waves to bring the ball back. Now it is a race to the ball and if he wins, he will actually brings it back. All good exercise for two happy dogs. The exchange of knowledge does not stop there, between Sam and Susan, Saffie has learnt not to go running off without the occasional look back to see if we are still there.

Cricket at Poole park tomorrow, Poole play Weymouth and a Grand Prix in an ex Soviet Block country where they now allow television and newspapers.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Angels Bay – Ocean White - SE Australia

Colour: Light straw.
Smell: Fruit
Taste: Clean fruity wine with a hint of oak.
It does what it says on the bottle, great wine and hopefully not too expensive as I would like to buy a case. It is a First Cape Wine so has the right credentials.
What it says on the bottle:
From the lush green vineyards of SE Australia to the tropical islands of the Great Barrier Reef. Australia is a country of natural wonders. A deliciously fresh fruity white wine, which combines the lively citrus and floral notes on the nose with silky, smooth, tropical fruit on the palate.

Middle Earth.
Gary of Middle Smith has paid the Gardener, £38.00 for a trim, value for money I say. The Matriarch is very grateful, being the inspiration to all of us to keep a tidy garden, a place of peace and beauty that revitalises the soul, keeps us in tune with life and all its quarks.
Talking of the Matriarch, there is a wispy shadow of communication, in those dark hours before you are fully awake, a tantalising little glimmer of something to come. Like having been there before but not knowing when or how.
Caffie of the Cookydales is visiting us for 3 weeks, Celen, Cark, Cack and Cill are touring France, Spain and the Outer Hebrides in their Mobile Home. To those Cookydales I want to reassure you, Caffie is well, Cess is over the moon as she does not have to compete with Caffie for her food and no, Caffie does not like swede, is otherwise with gem squash but will cut the lawn if you sprinkle it with bird seed.

The investigation continues, I am inclined to agree with Iran, stone them.


Sunday, 25 July 2010

Saffie and other fine dogs

Just a quick check to see if this will get to France and the travelling Cookingdales. Please leave a comment if you get this message.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Lagioiosa Pinot Grigio Blush Veneto 2009

' La Gioiosa et Amorosa' derives from a 14th Century Poet's description of the region near Treviso known as 'Marca Trevigiana'. It describes the area's joyful lifestyle and love of good wines.

Colour: Diluted rose.
Smell: French vanilla oak fruit.
Taste: Pleasant red grape flavour with a hint, and I mean a hint, of a wine barrel. Will be interested in what Merlin has to say.

What they say: Delicate peachy aroma with tropical fruit flavours.
Perfect with Cumberland sausages and French fries. Has been known to be served by itself, as a drink, with seafood or a feta salad.

Verdict: This wine is from the Claudosa region of Middle Earth. Claudia from The Middle Smiths feels the wines from her area are still to be appreciated. In her wisdom she has commissioned a website to display the fine food and exquite cookery she has to sell. The family have been making plates, cups and all manner of pottery for generations, this they have now allowed the general public to purchase. Why not take this unique opportunity to acquire a one off cookery set that will not look out of place in the most prestigious of houses. I will have the eshop address shortly and will keep you posted.

Feter of the Faydales turns 50 today, hasn't time flown. This keeper of the inn, as we now know, will be ever grateful to Fulia for her tireless devotion to honing her body to ultimate sculptures perfection, she now looks absolutely amazing. This keeps Feter young and happy. Fulia, that takes some doing, you have our eternal admiration.

Gallo Family Wines from California

Colour: Dark cherry red
Smell: Rich, fruity
Taste: Woody
Verdict: I will definitely buy it again. (Review by Mally of Musmead Manor, Lady of few words!!)

They have found a star 186 light years away, that is far away, 100k bigger than the Sun and expected to last 10000 times longer than the Sun. Jeremy Clarkson and his Top Gear team are going there in a Toyota Bakkie. (BBC News)

Have you noticed how these fiendishly clever the Vets are? I know you are all saying, there he goes again, no this is true. We received a letter from the Vet yesterday addressed to Sam Fay. Sam Fay who is that?

Your annual health check is due now and we would be grateful if you would give us a ring and book an appointment, look forward to seeing you.

They immediately get the association going, this is not just a dog it is a Fay family member. I walk in with Sam and I am Mr Fay, Sam must be Mr Samuel Fay Jnr. I know a dog is not just for Christmas but we all know they do not last longer than 15 years, we love them dearly and pay the Vet dearly but I will not be calling Sam 'Mr Samuel Fay' in the foreseeable future.

Mark forgot the ashes, the curse of Granny June, Matriarch of Middle Earth, has still not said goodbye to her eldest grandchild. Your time will come, enjoy the continued association.

You may have noticed that Mally of Musmead Manor reviewed the wine tonight, well I must say that this type of commitment to Middle Earth is appreciated and taken in the spirit that it was given. It was a terrible review, Middle Earth does expect more, where it came from and what they said on the bottle, to name just a few. Thank you for the wine on my Birthday.

Talking of thank yous, Fulia of Faydale, you are a darling, all those thoughtful gifts have been appreciated and consumed on a daily basis.





Saturday, 17 July 2010

Cimarosa Sauvignon Blanc 2009 - Chile

Colour: Light straw
Smell: Tropical fruit and grapes.
Taste: A true sauvignon variety, grassy and grapy with a fruity bouquet. Excellent bottle of wine and reasonable priced at £3.39..................... Sorry you must of been wondering where I had gone. Just prepared tonight's meal.

'What are you having?'
'Gammon, Medley of Vegetables – baked in cheese sauce and Jersey Royale Potatoes.'
'Sounds lovely my boy, we must have that when I come over for Christmas. I would have liked Pasta, Oh I so like Pasta, but I have to ration myself, three times a week, but tonight I am at a BBQ. A BBQ with all those I love in South Africa, excluding Nelson as he is getting on a bit, will be there. I do enjoy the attention but most of all I enjoy just being with them.'
'I know the feeling, just enjoy this rare moment, life is too short to chastise, be tolerant.'
'How are you?'
'I am fine, you still have not told me you are going?'
'Going where? I am still here, I will tell you when I am good and ready. In the mean time I was hoping to varnish the windows and paint the roof again.'
'When you are ready, no pressure. Love you.'

I know you are eager to know what the Medley of Vegetables is all about. Well I will tell you as this is not a family secret but a old recipe handed down by your great- grandmother, Margaret Symons, load all those vegetables you love the most and parboil for a certain amount of minutes, just before tender, drain, cover with a cheese sauce spiced with mushrooms and garlic. Bake for 35 minutes. Serve hot, why do they say that, no I prefer them cold, ????.

I hope today was good, Russell I really feel for you, the Matriarch has gone and it is up to you to be our glue, Mark let go or wait for me to tell you when she tells me she has gone, do not hold your breath. Love you all.

This funny old week

It has been a funny old week, Michael is now home on his 3 months holiday and is enjoying the time with out the strain of school. Robert has a problem with the end of the year wind down. Not learning anything new and just the general lack of directions that the wary teachers are letting slip. I have been busy and have neglected my writing which always makes me tense and a little grumpy, but in saying that I did have a Birthday and it was a good day.

Fern Bay- Sauvignon Blanc 2009

Colour: Very light straw.
Smell: Intensely fruity
Taste: Curious fruit, almost a strawberry bouquet.

Verdict: This is a good wine which hopefully did not cost the Cooks too much. This fine bottle of wine was a birthday present from my good friends in Winterbourne Road.

I must mention Julia, who presented me with 2 bottles of fine new world wines, a Smiths gift certificate, 3 exceptionally good blocks of cheese and a homemade fruit cake (my favourite) I really can get attached to Birthdays. I will review the wine and keep you posted.
Pakistan playing Australia in England, quite right all cricket should be played at the home of cricket. Very low scoring game and still very much in the balance.

Getting back to my Birthday, we had a few of our friends around for a BBQ and what a night it turned out to be. Mally and Mus arrived late, not a big surprise, those two try and fit 48 hours into every 24 – typical farmers. Julia and the girls started the party rolling, as I was cooking and burning, that is what you do on a BBQ, before long we were tucking into the most exotic of meats, fish and salad. The mood lightened as the wine diminished, full tummies and good company eventually took its toll and we all dragged ourselves off to bed. Birthday done and no-one hurt, job done.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Saturday are Golf and Cricket days in Middle Earth

The week has flown by and we are entering a more restful time, forgetting for a while the pressures of work, school and money. This weekend promises to be a sunny, hot affair. I am sitting at the Vale of Canford Golf Course waiting for Michael and Robert to finish their lesson and then it's on to the Vale of Parley, Michael has a cricket match against the Parlians Cricket Club. An all time grand occasion. Drop Michael and take Robert home, pick up Merlin, for her it is the beach and sun that beckons. I will find a cool spot under the oak trees at cricket and just sit and watch the game. The better for it that Michael is playing and well at the moment.

I do miss The Middle Smiths, Under Dickens and Markus Smith at such an event. One day we will all sit and watch this beautiful game together creating priceless memories for the future. I see it now, Gary, with Dan the Man, Mark with Travis and Matthew with Lily Florence, the first Dickens girl to play cricket, scorning the other girls at the beach. The odd pint to quench that devilish thirst. Gary did watch one match at Poole Park.

Friday Night – Burger Night

We are creatures of habit, every Friday we have Burgers and chips, why? If I suggest something else the rest of the family will rise up in revolt.

Grilled burger patties and French style oven chips, fried onion and cheese melted on the burger patty. Put that into a bun and fill the rest of the plate with golden chips and we will all be happy.

Mark has takeover from Gary and is now getting down to the necessary task of disposing of Granny Junes effects. They are items of furniture she has gathered over the years. I can see her now, running her hand over her favourite chest of draws, admiring her leopard and scolding her dogs for wetting her Persian carpet. What cruel fate life plays that we can not take with us all those things we loved in our daily life?

This week has been better and worse than last week, better because we have to get on with our lives and worse that we feel guilty for it. I say no, Granny June would have us happy, she was a positive, encouraging in all her valued time with us. For those that feel they could have done more for her while she was alive, I would just say, you are her children or grandchildren, you have her in you and if the time could be had again, the outcome would be the same. This she understood and said as much to me on numerous occasions, mostly after a disagreement with one of her family. She never expected an apology just an understanding that we are all different but still the same. You can now say goodbye in your own time, knowing she did love you all.

I will be told sometime. She does take a little time to child me into reality. Until then I will write to her and know the clouds, which are not the puff of angels, will keep telling her of how we are getting on.

Blossom Hill California White 2 for £7.00 Lidl

Colour; Light straw
Smell; Grapes, crushed and sweet.
Taste; The grapes tell it all, a full bodied white grape with a hint of Cashews.

Verdict; We have had this one before but I find the second time around they either sink or swim. This is an Olympic swimmer. I know you do not get it in Aus or SA but for those wee friends of mine in the UK, put a few bottles in your wine cellar (cupboard, under your bed, any place the dog can not get to it) and saviour your Blossom Hill for a while after the deal is off.

Middle Earth.
The Middle Smiths are in the Vale of Michael, the Matriarch resides there, cataloguing the Matriarch's inventory for future generation and history. They are staying over at an Inn originally built by Russell of the Georgian Smiths. I am sure the shadow of the Vale of George, walks the halls of that that humble inn.
The Georgian Smiths are fine executors of the Matriarch Estate, difficult task, but worthy of the calibre of a Georgian Smith. We must help and encourage him in his odious task.
Gary from the Middle Smiths has been taking care of the furniture etc of the house. Some things were treasured a great deal and this he knows and I feel for him and I am grateful for the decisions he has to make.





Monday, 5 July 2010

Silver Rock Chardonnay 2009 (Bulgaria)

Colour: Champagne.
Smell; Very fruity.
Taste; An oak wooded soft fruit flavour.
What they say; Refreshing with fragrant peach and honeycomb flavours.

Verdict; No peach, definitely no peach and as for the honeycomb, that honey and wax, no that's not there either. Where do they get the buzz lines from? Strange this is a wine from Bulgaria and it is called Silver Rock, I do believe the Bulgarians aspire to the cowboys. That is bizarre in its on right, but to want to be like an American is a little deprived.
As I write this blog, and remember a blog is just a blog, thoughts, my thoughts, the Church Bells are announcing evening mass. A mournful tone, that is haunting and sad. All those who have faith of any kind, will tonight remember, the Matriarch, mother of Middle Earth and Councillor of Wisdom and Joy. Tonight we sacrifice a cow, a pig, a chicken and a fish in her honour, as a celebration of her longevity and her strong belief in us.

Time will come when she says goodbye to me, that time has not yet come and I am grateful for the respite. When she does I will inherit the mantle, that the Matriarch carried for years, this she did with distinction and pride. When that burden, she worn for as many years as I can remember, comes to me, I can only hope I will carry it with all the grace and humility she did. Abdication is not a choice; life must guide me, council, from those who love me, and my few years of experience will judge me.

In memory of the Matriarch we must celebrate her greatest love, the sea. Twice a day she would walk the beach, never missing a time to be close to those waves, the gulls and the chance to see a dolphin, a whale or those cheeky sardines. 'To feel the sand beneath her feet.' That was her life and that is going to be our enduring memory. The greatest gift she gave was the awareness of nature she felt daily.

All those of Middle Earth, always remember to tell your children and your grandchildren what the value of nature. Michael remembers her walking through Wareham Forest and making a boring walk into an adventure, voles, fungi, dog roses and beetles come to life. The song of a robin took on new significant. He will remember, he will pass that on to his children, let us do the same.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Five Oaks Chardonnay 2009

Colour; Light straw
Smell; Ripe fruit medley
Taste; Wooded, smooth and dry with a strong brioche bouquet on the top of your palete.

Verdict: I do not enjoy oak aged white wine but this is an exception. A wine to enjoy and enjoy.

Granny June has left us and I am left a little lost. She will never again taste a good wine, a fried onion, a chocolate cake. What a cruel world to take someone who was so content with life and her place in it. Never a time went by when she did not teach me something. That passing comment that made you think. When after a little while, you knew she was right, but did not want to admit the truth.

I was lucky and grew to wait for that wisdom of reality, that;

'My boy, I think you should think about it' and then she would gently chid me into thinking it through.

I must go back to Travis and his song we all love, this song has taken on a new character.
'When we get older, we will be stronger, just like a waving flag.'

Her South Africa, her waving flag. Mum you might be a hero in St Michaels on Sea, but hell, why was it not someone else?