Saturday, 25 April 2015

Eggs and Omelets

We have always had hens as long back as I can remember, mother bought and reared her day old chicks by the hundreds, they had to be collected from the railway station in boxes, where if you were late collecting them, the station master would put them by the stove in his office "to keep them warm", This would sweat up the chicks then would catch a chill when taken out of the insulated boxes, so it was better to be on the spot when the train came in.

The eggs mother sold to the egg packing station at Gnosall a lorry picked them up every week, the driver paid her for the previous weeks eggs when collecting this weeks.
That meant a steady income of cash from the poultry, and every effort was made not to break or crack any eggs, particularly when us lads were given the job of collecting eggs from the hen pens or field arks in galvanized buckets with a bit of hay in the bottom..
Occasionally you got a soft shelled egg that felt like rubber, or a soft/thin shelled egg which were were almost impossible to carry back to the house. If they were put in the bucket with the others they would squash them, if they went on the top of  the bucket of eggs and then broke it would wet nearly all the eggs right to the bottom, and every egg had got to be wiped clean otherwise they would glue to the cardboard egg trays when packed.
 Any eggs not saleable ( cracked, thin shelled, double yolked or misshapen)went into the pantry where they would be fried or scrambled for breakfast, mother was not too keen on boiled eggs as that would mean using good solid shelled eggs that could have otherwise sold.

Omelets seems to have been a modern sort of way of using eggs, I can never remember mother every making an omelet, right now I have recently aquired an omelet pan, its only about eight inches across.
 Now doing most of my own cooking and watching Jamie Oliver cooking on the TV I've learnt how to cook a mean omelet,  the only thing I forgot to do was to put a spoon full of water in with the whisked eggs before cooking.
One question I would like to ask is why don't you flip/toss an omelet  like ya do a pancake, as I seem to have lost our spatula when we moved house. So in a catalogue that gets shoved through our door once a month, it has all sorts of kitchen gadgets and in it, there was an plastic omelet spatula, and I  bought it. The problem is, I being owd and not familiar with metric measurements, the spatula was 22mm and round, and the pan 8 inches, it's bigger than the bladdy pan, so I got the kitchen scissors out and trimmed half inch off it all round
So next time I may av a go at flipping it with a big dinner plate handy to catch what missed or don't get caught, but it sound like a big mess waiting to happen.
Advice please from those more experienced than I,  "willing to learn"


Being born in a ducks yard does not matter, if only you are hatched from a swan's egg.
Hans Christian Andersen  (1805 - 1875)




Saturday, 4 April 2015

‘The Nottingham Knockers’

‘The Nottingham Knockers’


My wife defended her decision to feed a hungry lad no matter who it was, it’s always been in her nature to help those who in need, and feed anybody be it animal or human who is hungry, she had always done it, and it’s always been appreciated.

In our farm house I can never remember our back door ever being locked or bolted, on the front door there was a key hole and a key, and it had two strong bolts on the inside as well, then there was the side door, to which most folk came and knocked when they called which again had a similar set up. But the back, back door was the one where we always used to go in and out of to work and back in with boots and dirty working clothes that could be taken off at that point to go into the house proper for meal times and a rest. That door only had one big bolt on the inside that was never used and the old conventional thumb latch that most doors had in them days.
This big old bolt has been used in more recent years


The old thumb latch the part that you press with ya thumb and goes through the door is missing

We did have folk calling wanting to pick up scrap iron, and also there was a market for empty hessian sacks that had been used for different feed stuffs for the cattle. It got that you sort of trusted some of them who called regular, but there were others who called who were positively not trustworthy. They had eyes everywhere, looking in the tool shed, and round the corners of buildings to see what we were hiding, you never knew if they would be back that night after dark thieving.

This was where the local bobby came to the fore, the policeman used to ride round quietly on his bike at night, and if he had had a tip off, would watch and keep a look out for anyone who he did not know and tackle them if they had gone into the farm buildings or gate.
Nowadays the police are more mobile and in marked cars, and drive through the different villages and do not make contact with the residents, and do not know who they supposed to be caring for.
So we now have a neighbourhood watch system in place for the police control centre to give an early warning to a couple of folk in each village, who then will ring round the neighbours warning of criminals or suspicious folk who is active in the local district.

We always make a note of the number plate of any strange van or car driving through very slowly just in case it is a criminal, more often than not it’s quite an innocent person just lost, but ya conna be too careful nowadays.

One such warning came and the news got round just a bit too late, and that there was of a gang of three touting small household goods door to door. It said that while one is keeping you talking at the front door the other one is walking round to the back door to go in to steal anything they can get their hands on. On this day we had a knock on our front door while we sat having a cup of tea at 3pm before we started our evening feeding of the stock.

My wife went and answered the door, which was way down the other side if the house, to be confronted by a dishevelled looking young chap, in her words looking hungry and tired, he was selling kitchen cloths and towels and other small plastic kitchen gadgets, she felt sorry for him and bought a few items which were of very poor quality in relation to the price she paid. (In my words there’s one born every minute) , then she appeared back in the kitchen (we could not hear what was going on)  and dug out a can of coke and cut a couple of big slices of cake that we had been eating and took it to feed the young man at the door.

Then on the evening local new came a warning to watch out for the “Nottingham Knockers” a gang of three men were working their way around the midlands area, it said they would keep you talking at the front door while the other two would be robbing you through the back door. It went on to say, do not confront these men, just report it to the police and then they would then know where they were working and arrest them.
It seemed that we had had the “Nottingham Knockers” knocking on our door, but at our house there were two or three strong farm workmen and lads having a cup of tea in the kitchen, so the second part of their ploy would not work. To his credit, the chap/lad who did knock the front door got a drink and was well fed, it just goes to show how careful you have got to be with some of these criminals.

In the meantime my wife defended her decision to feed a hungry lad no matter who it was, it’s always been in her nature to help those who in need, and feed anybody be it animal or human who is hungry, she had always done it, and it’s always been appreciated. He had been telling her of his hardship of just having been let out of prison and trying to make a living selling door to door just enough to buy his food and clothing. They had chatted for a good ten minutes whilst he ate his cake, then politely said thank you to her and left.


But it got a good laugh in our house when the announcement came on the news about these “Nottingham Knockers” and the fact that Eileen had been ‘watering and feeding’ them, and we pondered as to what the next nights news might have been if we reported that they had got well fed in our village.

As a foot note Nottingham is about 40 miles north east of where we live, and these criminals were known in the Nottingham area for how they worked, and had widened out to new areas to where they were not known.

Owd Fred



Good manner will open doors that the best education cannot.
Clarence Thomas (1948 - )