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Showing posts from May, 2014

The Welshcake Cometh!

There is light in the world. Or at least in this semi-rural corner of mid-Kent. Or to be even more specific on the shelves of the bakery department in West Malling's Tesco Metro where I found, for the first time, packets of Welshcakes. Made in Wales. With Welsh butter. 

And, 'hand-turned' no less, which is the kind of detail that manages to sound both anoraky and sensuous at the same time. But I am not complaining. My Welshcake fix has been met, up until now, by my own fair hand-turning, usually around March 1st, St David's Day (Patron Saint of Wales) and on my regular trips back home along the M4, at Leigh Delamare Service Station where Marks & Spencer stock their all butter Welshcakes a mere 30 miles or so east of the two magnificent Severn bridges, Pont Hafren(1966) and Ail Groesfan Hafren, the Second Severn Crossing (1996) that swing across the Rivers Severn and Wye and the start of the Severn Estuary, and usually set me off singing.
But here they are now, a mere…

Eating cake with Sir Edmund Hillary

"How about a Kendal Mint Cake?" asks the woman in Outdoor World, Porthmadog, North Wales.
"No thanks," I say. "I don't like the idea of mint flavoured cake." I'm due a 60p refund on an exchange of women's waterproof trousers, that could have seen me and the Andrews Sisters wearing them all at once, (and dancing), for a pair that the packet says fits 11/12 year olds. All I can say is, 'they breed 'em big in North Wales'.
I tell her not to worry about the refund. "Put it in the charity box when you cash up," I say. But the 'system' doesn't allow for that.
"You've paid for it so you might as well try it now," she says, handing me one. Then, "You're not diabetic, are you?" 
I needn't have worried about the 'cake' because it's not cake at all as I'm sure a lot of you already know. Committed hikers and climbers are now probably all shaking their heads in despair because th…

Breakfast at Llanelly's (House)

It is an anonymously grand and intriguing beacon in the centre of the town, a Georgian town house that's really a manor house: its only neighbour at the time of construction, at the beginning of the 18th century, was the parish church opposite. 
Restoration started in 2003 and it opened to the public last year: guided tours that illuminate the house's aristocratic, mercantile and ghostly past, a shop (with chocolate love-spoons, oh yes!) and a fine little cafe/restaurant that serves everything from Welsh breakfasts (with cockles and laver bread), to three course lunches and cream teas. I've never had a glass of Sauvignon Blanc with breakfast before, but it was just past midday and as the woman who served us said, with a smile and drawing from that rich repository that is Welsh colloquialism, 'whatever floats your boat'. We're multi-cultural now.
In the 19th and 20th century the ground floor of the house was home to Margrave Bros, Blenders & Bottlers, Vintners…