Tuesday, 31 January 2012

January 31st - Water is free, but tap water is different

Dear Nigel,

You might have thought that living in a wonderful old spa town the water would be of the best quality. You would be wrong. It's not bad - not like the many times recycled stuff that you are probably forced to drink - but our water still comes from somewhere else.

Given that it rains (and snows) here so much of the time, and that we are on top of the hill, this might seem strange. But our water comes from somewhere else, and the water we have, goes somewhere else. None of this is the wonderful Spa water anyway, so it hardly matters.

In the town there is a fountain put up by some wealthy philanthropist, probably, for the ordinary townspeople to partake of the stuff. Every time we pass it my kids have to stop for a swig. And it's popular. People stop their cars and take out huge quantities of plastic bottles and will spend ages filling them all up, driving them all back home, and all because it's free. I used to do something of it myself about five years ago. Pregnant, with another baby in the pram, i used to load sixteen litres of the stuff onto the pram tray and push it up a very steep hill for the family to quaff back at home. Must have been mad.

The Hotel gym where i used to go, had presumably been taken  to task by its residents,at some point,over the high prices charged for a small bottle of water (- when they could, i suppose, have refilled them all for free just down the road). So they decided to carry on charging their high prices but selling Harrogate Spa water instead.

I went to buy some Mussels yesterday to make your lovely soup, but i'm reliably informed that they only sell Mussels for the weekend in Buxton. If i come back at the end of the week there should be some.I think i would  have to travel about ten miles to be able to get some, so i'll wait for friday and hope there's not a rush on Mussels in the town. Don't suppose this sort of thing crops up much in the metropolis?

It's a very cold day here today. There's a scattering of snow on the hills but the roads are still clear. Spent two hours driving back from Manchester last friday, edging over the hills in second gear trying not to skate on all the black ice. No sign of any gritters - the council don't like to bother if they can get away with it. Bernard's bins have been removed and the recycling people have just delivered me a brand-new shiny recycling box to replace the one that got pinched. I shall be the envy of the street with my brand-new shiny box - rubbish envy, no less.

You make a warming sausage casserole and zesty lime tart. I'm heartened to see a warning about filling in all the cracks in the pastry: Too often it happens to me that i make some lovely tart and watch the gooey topping disappearing through the pastry case before it has chance to cook. My cookery books are plastered with notes-to-self about such disasters that have occurred. Luckily, the friends i have to dinner are good friends, who would even find something nice to say about the dishes that haven't quite turned out like the one in the photographs.

Hoping it's a bit warmer where you are,


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