Halloween Feast of Treats
It was originally a greetings card I received from my dad that first introduced me to John Freeman. Later that year I visited Whitby and found John's gallery. The Wreck Of The Dmitry, Whitby 1885 was the name of the painting turn into a greetings card. Was this the scene that Bram Stoker saw to add to his already forming Transylvania Horror Story?
John came to Whitby in 1969 from Doncaster His studio in Whitby now showcases over 160 of his works. Jon has been painting in Watercolours since 1981. Previously John painted in Oil, “this has helped me give a different feel to his watercolours paintings and a strength not normally associated with the medium” says John.
I love his Nocturnal and snowy paintings of Whitby and Robin Hoods Bay. The homes have an inviting warmth emanating from the windows. You can almost smell the hot chocolate and toasted marshmallows been cooked on the open fire.
John has spent time working on his book “A Meander Down the Esk” which tracks it's course through the year. The book features 60 watercolour images and over 100 pencil drawings.
Alas on the few occasions we have visited Whitby we have either not had enough wall space or the spare cash to purchase his works of art. But what is so fantastic is that even if you only have £10 to spend there is something you can purchase with one of his famous North Yorkshire scenes depicted on them. In the past I have bought a pack of cards (for the rainy nights in the two man tent) and jigsaws.
Now these Jigsaws are not like any normal jigsaw. These pose more of a challenge as the straight edges may not be the outer part of the jigsaw, also appearing are shapes of crabs, boats, dolphins, lighthouses and submarines to name a few. Kept me quiet for a few hours anyway.
If you would like to contact John here is his website. He does have a Facebook page, but it does seem only for friends
Or check him out next time you visit Whitby.
This year why not use the Pumpkin to eat instead of carving it into a Jack-o-Lantern and putting it outside to light the way, or ward of Vampires. If you want to know more about this tradition and why here's Wikipedia to tell you why.
The humble Pumpkin just like other squashes are said to have originated in North American. It is said that the oldest known pumpkin related seeds were found dating back to between 7000 and 5500BC. It has many culinary uses. Baked, boiled, roasted and mashed. Although the Pumpkins used for Halloween I wouldn't use as mash. Take it from my experience it is rather watery and you don't need as much butter as you would with potato, although runnyish it still was nice. May I recommend a more robust Squash for your mash.
People go mad at this time of year when Starbucks bring back their Pumpkin Spiced Latte. I must say though on a trip back from holiday we stopped at a services which had a Starbucks and their Pumpkin Spiced Latte was new in. Never really heard any fuss about this drink with not been American and not a frequenter of the coffee establishment I decided to give it a go as I'd never tried it. It is a different drink and a unexplainable taste, but I tell you I was wanting to go back for another. I found this recipe the other day (whilst looking for something beer related) that you could try to make your own. It does use canned pumpkin so you may have to go hunting for it. If you are in the UK and have tried this and found canned Pumpkin please tell me how good it was and where you bought the canned Pumpkin.
Here's the recipe, you may find some more great Pumpkin recipes too
Have you used Pumpkins or Squashes for anything else? Please share with everyone in the comments section. Have you grown any Squashes for this year or previous? How did they turn out? Please share any hints and growing tips.
Badger - Poachers Choice 5.7%
On our way to our holiday destination this year (appearing in a blog soon) we stopped over night at a friends in Southampton. We don't normally frequent pubs but on this holiday we seemed to have visited a few with friends and family. The pub in question was the Jolly Sailor in Old Bursledon. I have to say it's lovely view over the water with boats and yachts coming and going, it's light airy feel to the pub, with it's low beams and a sturdy wooden furniture that's been polished by many butts, it was enough to want it to be our local. The pub is part of Hall and Woodhouse the people behind the Badger range of beers.
Now is the time of year for the dark beers to make their way around your taste buds as the dark nights draw in and the wood burners or coal fires are billowing out plumes of smoke. This is a beer you would want to drink all through the year. This is a beer that is a great starter to the Winter Warmers and Christmas ales. This is a beer to have with your pie and mash! Had this one from bottle as it wasn't on cask at the time. Boy did it drink well. I don't normally drink a whole 500ml bottle in one sitting (yes I know I'm a light weight) in half an hour I can cradle them all night. But this one – well it touched the sides just long enough to taste the fruity dark plums, damsons and a hint of liquorice. It had that just sweetness to balance out the bitter malt. I have to say this sumptuous little treasure is one that is drinkable all year long with its dark ruby colour and refreshing taste. It matches the taste I like in a beer to a tee. So thank you my friend for taking me to the Jolly Sailor ( a pub I recommend anyone staying in Southampton visits) and thank you Hall and Woodhouse for creating this Badger beer.
A TRIP TO WHITBY
It's that time of year when Whitby becomes a shrine to Bram Stoker and all the Goths in the land come together and celebrate his life and Halloween. If you planned a Half term break here expecting it to be quiet you will be in for a shock. Last year we wanted to visit Whitby at this time of year and was told by reliable sources that hotels are booked up months in advance.
So why is Whitby significant to Bram Stoker I hear you say. Well...
Stoker was said to have stayed at The Royal Hotel while deciding if it was a good family holiday destination. The hotel which stands on the West Cliffs has a view of the town which can lead any ones imagination to run wild. The harbour on a late evening / early morning when the fret and fog roll in from the sea and wraps it's self around the town can be quite eerie. The cobbled streets on the East side which leads you to the 199 steps to a dark silhouette of St Mary's church and the brooding macabre ruins of Whitby Abbey which reveals itself with bats flying around as you start the climb. And the tombstones at odd angles are enough to start the creative mind a wandering.
Whitby was the scene for the arrival of the Count on the ill fated Russian Ship The Dmitry which runs a ground on the shores of Tate Hill in a fierce storm. The crew are missing and the captain is found lashed to the helm. His log recounts tales of unexplainable happenings. As the ship runs aground a dog is seen leaping from the ship to shore.
Whitby is a great place to visit any time of the year. But may I suggest if you are of a nervous disposition don't go this time of year and if the cold is not what you like to endure stick with the summer season where you can lounge on the long wide beach and rummage amongst the cliffs for some Whitby Jet. If you can't find any Whitby Jet on the shore line you will find plenty Whitby Jet in one of the many shops. If I give you once piece of advice, don't walk into the first shop you see and buy a piece straight away wander up the cobbles visit all the specialist shops because one of them will have your perfect design.
Just a note to you all.
Apologise for been away so long. What with holidays, working long hours when I've gotten back I've been completely wapped by Friday night when I put the blog together. Thanks for coming back and sticking with me. And for those new to my blog HELLO. This is another Macabre inspired blog I did last year.
Tunes for the week
The Smashing Pumpkins - Disarm
Fall Out Boy - Uma Thurman (for The Munsters Theme tune featured)Beetlejuice - Day-o (Banana Boat Song)
Micheal Jackson - Thriller (i couldn't forget to put this on could I!)
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Places to visit
Robin Hoods Bay
Sweetheart Abbey (Scotland)
Isle of Wight P1
Isle of Wight P2
HoleHird Gardens (Cumbria)
Brougham Hall (Cumbria)
My Journey to Cumbria and brewing beer!
Part One -
Friends, Neighbours and Countymen
Life's Sliding Door Moment
Brewer - That's not a Job Title I Expected!