Tag Archives: Richmond Park

I want to see a doctor

Mysterious ailment

Some months ago, Bill woke up with something wrong with his leg.  It hurt him and he couldn’t seem to bear any weight on his leg. It was very worrying. I took him to the emergency room where a very young, enthusiastic doctor (he kept calling Bill “Chicken” as an endearment) was unable to diagnose the problem.  Over the day his leg gradually improved, but he limped a little over the next couple of days.  Since then I think Bill’s had a few cramps in his leg, but he’s not suffered the crippling effects of the first incident.

Weekend fun

Our weekends have fallen into a predictable pattern.  Mess around at home until Bill’s cabin fever reaches a heated pitch.  His toddler energy overcomes our feeble parenting skills and furniture is overturned, books are pulled out and chairs are pushed over to high shelves and sticks are employed to reach the really expensive bric-a-brac that we had previously thought was out of reach.

Only at that point do we start getting ready to take the boy out where he might burn off some energy.  Richmond Park with its wide open spaces and interesting ducks and deer.

Inevitably he falls asleep on the way there.

It means that we get a peaceful walk.  But it also means that as we tire of walking over hill and dale with a heavy-duty stroller filled with a hefty toddler and are ready to go home, he wakes up refreshed and ready to destroy more stuff.

So we’ve started waking him up.  Bill can be a chipper little thing in the morning, but he does not wake well from naps.   He wants to get back in the stroller.  Refusal often offends.

After some tears and recalcitrance he does enjoy the feeding the ducks and running around.  Recently, after standing on the big tree stump

and feeding some ducks

we decided it was time to walk through the Isabella Plantation and burn off some of his excess energy.   He was not so sure.

Oh my gimpy gam

Bill clutched his leg and said “My leg hurts.  I want to see the doctor.”  I didn’t know whether to be annoyed by this blatant ploy, pleased by his sentence construction or amazed by his ability to construct such a fabrication.  We refused to give in and made him walk along the paths while he continued to limp and demanded medical attention.   I did feel a slight twinge.  What if his mysterious ailment had returned?  What would other visitors to park think of our failure to attend to our poor injured child?

Funny thing, though, when we got to the stepping stumps, a sure toddler energy burner.  The leg healed spontaneously.  A miracle! He was able to hop, skimp and jump.

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Waterfowl ID for the upper middle classes

We often visit Richmond Deer Park.  And on days when cold and miserable weather has been predicted or experienced it seems that only the well-heeled go out walking.  On days like that, I sometimes feel that we’ll be asked for our papers and be ejected from the park for being too trashy. Only Simon’s National Trust hat saved us from that fate today.

Although this afternoon the weather was bright, that was very different from what the prognosticaters suggested. Although the researchers on the Jeremy Kyle ( or Maury Povich) show would have struggled to find a full line up from the park’s patrons – they might have headed to us first.

At the duck pond, I saw two young people feeding the ducks from two freshly purchased Waitrose (upscale grocery) whole grain loaves. (Which they did not share with our breadless toddler).

And the other family there, clearly upper middle class,  were marked by the erudition of the children.  “Mummy, look there’s a shelduck! And a shoveler.”  I was really impressed.  I’m always impressed by kids who can ID trees or wildflowers or some of the many types of fairly exotic waterfowl that hang around Richmond Park.

I wanted to ask the kid what this duck was – as it was just around the other side of the pond and I didn’t know what it was. But his mother gave me a suspicious look. (I swear I didn’t look that bad)

So can you tell me what this gorgeous duck is?

or this one with its fabulous ‘do.

or this one that I feel I should know, but don’t

Can you help me ID these ducks (or ducklike creatures)?

(Pintail, Tufted duck, and Red Crested Pochard – thanks Twitter! – and commenters below)

Gone to the market to buy a fat pig

I’m a grocery store, supermarket kinda girl.  I generally like buying my meat shrinkwrapped with a use-by date.   It’s fast, it’s easy, I don’t have to talk to anyone or reveal my lack of meat-buying nous and it’s – you know – OK.

But there’s a butchers on the edge of Wimbledon that we regularly pass by on the way to Richmond Park.  It’s nice looking.  I reckon it just may be where rich people buy their meat, and even if you’re not rich you need to have a reasonable net worth to shop there.  I’ve only ever bought cheap cuts there myself.

My brother makes some amazing ribs.  Tender, fall off the bone, sweet and crispy on the outside ribs.  The kind of ribs that would show a Memphis native that a Middle Tennessean has got ’em beat both ways on BBQ.    When he visits us in the summer, we usually set aside a day to make some ribs.   But the first time we tried this set up we had problems sourcing adequate ingredients.   We had been to a number of supermarkets and found some measly little piglet ribs smeared in suspicious red sauce in a little foil tray.

So, I suggested we try the butchers as a last resort, I’d never been in before.  We got there and saw some ribs in a slightly less scary sauce, but still marinaded up.   “Do you have any plain ribs?” we asked.  Out they brought the most amazing full side of ribs, plump and full of meat.   We had to get it cut up to fit in my giant boiling pot.  There was a slightly false start when they began cutting them into single ribs, but the butcher realised his mistake when my brother and I shouted “No!!!”

My goodness, high quality meat makes a difference.  Delish.

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I had planned to go to  the supermarket to buy a pork shoulder for Christmas, but was dreading the heave.

We passed by the buther shop  yesterday on our way to Simon’s birthday walk in the park.  We’ve had some lovely solitary walks in the park on his birthday in some very strange weather.  One year it was freezing mist and the park was silent but for the ice droplets falling from the trees.  Magical.

But yesterday was just plain miserable.  Rain.  Cold, cold drizzly rain falling on frozen paths.  It wasn’t even as festive as sleet.   We walked, slipping down (and Simon falling once) down to Isabella plantation and fed the ducks.

Who were very grateful for our meagre crusts.

Actually it was pretty amazing.  I counted up almost 30 pair of Mandarin ducks.  And a solitary wood duck. (These are pics from last year, because it was too wet to get my camera out.)

And then, because we were feeling very damp and cold.  We left.

In an attempt to salvage our journey I suggested we stop in the butchers on the way back and pick up a pork shoulder.  Which we did.  Excellent service as usual.  Freshly cut from a larger joint.   This year is the first time I’ve ever tried cooking pork shoulder and it’s pretty fantastic.

I’m even more excited about trying it with a really nice piece of meat.  A Merry Christmas indeed.

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On our visit to Wisley on Sunday I had a purple cabbage coleslaw in the restaurant.  It was fantastic and I thought it would make an excellent accompaniement to our pork shoulder roast.  But I can’t quite find just the right recipe for it.

However, I did find a recipe for a congealed coleslaw.  Yep, that’s right – coleslaw in jello (or jelly if you prefer), but there was no picture of the final product.   Which made me think about the Weight Watchers recipe cards which made me laugh til my sides hurt the first time I saw them – which unfortunately was at work.

And no my memory was not faulty.  Here’s what we could be having along with roast pork.  (Only sadly, I have no jelly mould).