Friday, 27 March 2009

This Weekends Recommended Reading

Blogs. Just like buses, ya wait for ages and then three come along at once. Two of them by the same dude.

First up I'd like to introduce Hubert Hubert an Air Rifle hunter from the bit of england between 'darn sarf' and 'oop north'. Lets call it the 'mid-lands'. The writes a blog he calls Rabbit Stew. Self described as

.... because of a nagging sense that the stranglehold that the all-conquering giant alien supermarkets have on both the farmers that produce the meat and the Joe Publics that buy the meat is a fundamentally crazy, rude, unfriendly - and moreover, somehow, and this is where it gets a little less rational, I fear - yucky state of affairs: it just feels queasily, weirdly wrong to buy lamb chops from Tesco's. So, I don't really seem to do it any more. What I seem to do is go out and try to shoot rabbits instead (except I'm not very good at it, get very few, and have become, as a result, much more of a damn veggie than I'd have thought likely at the outset when I proudly purchased my manly, German, hell-bent-on-meat-eating air rifle). I seem to find myself thinking more and more of a little shack on the edge of a wood somewhere where I can dwell hermit-like with my Weihrauch, pot rabbits, pick mushrooms, grow a giant beard and, unbelievably, wash even less than I do now.

Nicely written and for such a new blog quite a few posts too. Welcome to the blog roll Hubert.

Best make your self a cup of something hot and a sandwich before you start on this one. For, dear reader, this is some blog. 

Alcoholism, Divorce, Penury, AIDS, Third world debt, Kleptocracy, Corruption, Land mines, and the fun doesn't end there. This blog contains all sorts of insights into the human condition, from the  grotesque to the inspirational. A really genuinely unique voice, and frankly the reason I've achieved so little this afternoon. 

Here's how it starts:

I am sitting in a 20-foot container, a reasonably well-appointed container admittedly but a container nevertheless. The kind of container in which people stuff cars, or building materials, illegal immigrants, whatever, or wash up on the southern coast of UK loaded with BMW motorcycles, that sort of container. It is one of a few that sitting on their little wooden blocks plugged into a generator together form the residential half of the industrial site that I am running........

......I came here nearly 14 years ago for a six-month humanitarian demining contract. Apart from occasional interludes in places like Gabon, Nigeria and Uganda to name a few, I have been here ever since. I have been shot at and stabbed in this country, I survived a plane crash here, got married and divorced here, have been formally expelled from the country and then very grudgingly and still precariously allowed to stay, been arrested three times and detained many times, went through a week long court case facing ten years for trumped up charges before being acquitted. I am raising a son here, have had seven varied and interesting jobs here, have a farm down south on which I intend to run sheep and have just finished building a house in the southern suburbs to replace the one I lost after the divorce. As much as the immigration services want me to leave, I want to stay.

I really can't do justice to his writing in a few short exerts, READ IT yourself. I promise you won't regret the time you spend on it. 

The last of this weekends blogs is also written by Hippo. 
Cooking In The Frontline is a recipe blog of stunning (and mouth watering) simplicity. 

.........I had better teach myself to cook. Easier said than done when in a war zone. It is all very well getting the best cook books but all of them assume that the local delicatessen or well stocked supermarket is but a short drive away. So I stopped lugging the books around in my back-pack and started to look at the ingredients that were available around me. I then figured out the best way to turn, what were sometimes collectively quite an odd assortment, into a dish that would not only sustain me, but was a delight to eat. Well I wasn't always successful, my rats in Satay sauce were, quite frankly, gut churning but I was desperate at the time.

To my surprise, however, I found that cooking in the front line, so to speak, was an enjoyable experience. It took my mind off the horrors around me and the discomfort we all suffered. It brought me close to a surprising variety of people and I am sure that on more than one occasion, instead of being ambushed, the smell of cooking wafting through the bush encouraged my would be assailants to appear sheepishly out of the gloom, weapons pointing safely towards the ground, politely asking if there was any going spare.

Sure he's no Hank, (but who of us is?) the great beauty of his writing is his knack of reveling just how easy it is to knock up terrific grub even in seemingly adverse circumstances. Think of him as an older, wiser, wittier Jamie Oliver, based in Angola. 
Off for a spot of fishing. 
Don't stay up too late reading will you

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Pig Dog Slut

If I may be permitted to explain, this is not a slur on the eating habits, character or lifestyle choices of the good citizens of Leeds. It's a history lesson.

The first recorded use of a tracking animal other than a dog in the UK was 'Slut' a pig owned and trained by A baronet from hampshire called Sir Henry Mildmay. His pal Charles Darwin said "Sluts sent was exceedingly good, and she was more useful than a dog"

OK more trivia than history. The book this fact is taken from looks a lot of fun 'The Keen Shots Miscellany' by Peter Holt 

All papers sat and passed. Off back down south.
Your pal

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Approaching Shoes

If your going to spend money, spend it on your shoes or your bed - if you're not in one you're in the other.

I've now put a few miles on a pair of what we call 'outdoors trainers' and the climbing crowd call approach shoes. I'm giving them a massive thumbs up 5.10 camp 4 are the best thing I've bought in ages, really comfy, really grippy, and even though they are shoes not ankle hugging boots they were very suppotive when we walked up Ingleborough a couple of weekends ago. I paid £72 the best I found online was $100.
All the best
Bruno the dog says Hi to Barkley and the other canine readers.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Due South

As my time here in the north draws to a close and I start to think about the next adventure I was delighted to see on this mornings news that the Scott Polar Research Institute has digitized its catalogue of photographs of Arctic and Antarctic exploration. Wow are we in for a treat!

The Scott Polar Research Institute in the University of Cambridge holds a world-class collection of photographic negatives illustrating polar exploration from the nineteenth century onwards. Freeze Frame is the result of a two-year digitisation project that brings together photographs from both Arctic and Antarctic expeditions. Here you can discover the polar regions through the eyes of those explorers and scientists who dared to go into the last great wildernesses on earth.
Detailed catalogue entries are provided for each image. All image captions are taken from original sources, where known. In digitising this resource the Scott Polar Research Institute has enabled Browsing through the collection by date, expedition or photographer, or searching the content directly.

It's all Here

Hope your as exited as I am
Your pal
The Bushwacker

Monday, 2 March 2009

A Shortish Walk In The Yorkshire Peaks

As the sky looked so majestic, and Saturday school was over for the day. TNM changed into his alter ego BONGO MAN and after: surgically removing Junior Geordie Monkey (TNM's son) from the computer, and rescuing Lennox the black lab puppy from the emasculating love of 'Grandma Yorkshire' (TNM's mum)  we finally set off for a bracing walk in the country. By the time we were actually got out of the door it was getting dark as so we changed destination and headed for Ribblehead. The night was foggy to say the least and as we drove away from Leeds and onto the moors we could only see three road markings ahead.
When we arrived we were delighted by our own powers of organization, we had allowed time for a small libation at the local hostelry - the splendid Station Inn.  
Readers with prolonged exposure to the 'corporate nightmare' public houses that have proliferated in the last twenty years may wish to either; Turn away now (bad thing jealousy) or Set off immediately ( good old-school pub t' station). Through visiting the bar a couple of times (as your representative and strictly in the interests of research) I was able to assemble a northern food parcel to send to the Bushwacker Jnr and The Littlest Bushwacker- Pork scratchings (a tooth cracking snakfood made of salt and pork rinds fried to a rock hard crunch and a bar of Romney's Kendal mint cake - a food synonymous with mountaineering, and fell walking. The packet even records its role in the first successful assent of Everest.
“'We sat on the snow and looked at the country far below us … we nibbled Kendal Mint Cake.' A member of the successful Everest expedition wrote – 'It was easily the most popular item on our high altitude ration – our only criticism was that we did not have enough of it.'"
We feasted on fine, fine pork pies that were kept stacked on the bar, made from gloucestershire old spot pork, sourced within five miles of the Station's kitchen.

As the night wore on we bedded down in the Bongo: northern monkeys and the dog on the fold down seats and your pal the bushwacker in the fold out crows nest. I went to sleep to the sound of a lad of fifteen whingeing indignantly  'but you still haven't made my bed' and TNM laughing heartlessly from the depths of his sleeping bag, a venue which I can vouch, once he has retired to, he is extremely unlikely to leave.

In the morning clouds rolled by lower than the hill tops, a burn tinkled as it disappeared into a pothole, the hills were rolling majestically, the camera spluttered an died.

Sunday morning had dawned bright and fresh, so after breakfasting on beans and eggs a la Bongo we set off up Ingleborough, second highest hill in the Yorkshire dales.

I don't know if you were reading back in the days of my long abandoned training regime, but yes 'Sofa- King-Whacked' just about summed up my journey to the summit. At least this time i wasn't mocked by the drinking pubic, it was the faux concern of JGM. 'are you going to die?' Fortunately he also kept up a running commentary on the state of Lennox's bowl movements  so at least the walk didn't pass without entertainment. 

As usual the 'great british countryside' is covered in crap (with only a small percentage laid by the dog) I fished a full size waste bag out of a stream and soon had it half filled with sweet wrappers, drink cans and other assorted food packaging. All left by people out for the day to enjoy the 'unspoiled' views. And they had the temerity to look at ME as though I'm mad. Go figure?

Your Pal
The Bushwacker

Bicentennial Bushwacker

Cor! Is it that time already?

It really does seem like only yesterday that I started this whole blogging malarky, and here we are at 200 posts.

Am i getting any closer to my moment with Mr Elk? Sort of but its taking a while isn't it.

Massive thanks to all of you who read this.