Tonight I went to a Halloween party in the small village of Whiston. Being a miserable shit I didn't bother getting dressed up for the occasion. There were plenty of adults dressed up, particularly women, but unfortunately being Rotherham it was at times difficult to tell whether any of them were actually wearing masks or not! At 11pm and after several pints of my friend Mr Guinness we wandered home.
According to Mr Fray his toilet apparently empties directly into the POV. This is a great comfort in that despite being some 600 or so miles away I am still contributing to the biodiversity of the POV. What is particularly rewarding is that the near resident Killdeer could be benefitting from all those pie deposits that I made several weeks back. How many birders can boast that a BB rarity might have feasted on their bodily deposits? What I find disturbing though is the fact that some birds could be feeding on the porn filled kleenex deposited from the chalet of Virkie!!!
All pies and no exercise and you'll die, probably
(of sausage roll pie fame) last night, though the resulting wind problem made me glad to be sleeping alone. This would have been the weekends highlight had not my friends on Shetland phoned me at 1:30am (2:30 bst). Not quite sure what state they were in but it was good to hear from them and made me long to be up there even more, only 62 more days.
After lunch and doing my ironing, for two hours, and watching Hollyoaks I finally ventured out for a spot of birding at RVCP. Predictably it was dull but I did at least see the Slav' Grebe this time. With Strictly Come Dancing and a bottle of Rose to look forward to I am concerned that I might be turning gay!! Perhaps some of the cows in those pies had had a few hormones too many!!!
Spent an hour at Catcliffe Flash this morning, probably the longest amount of time I've ever spent there. The reason being that Bethany had requested it (I normally drive straight past on my way to RV) as she wanted to get to grips with duck I.D. and being the kind parent that I am how could I possibly refuse. Highlights were ducks various, which with the aid of the Collins Guide I managed to I.D eventually and a smart male Peregrine which was my first at this site. However as I was getting Beth' back into the car I noticed an unfamiliar Ladybird on one of the rear tyres. Fortunately Beth' had seen these on Newsround and recognised it as the evil Harlequin Ladybird so we splattered it and got in the car. Actually we didn't I photographed and left it alone to wreak havoc on the biodiversity of Catciffe Flash.
*For bread cake see also - Balm Cake, Bread Roll, Cob, Stotty, Teacake etc etc
This of course raises the very important question. Do pasties count as pies? A colleague of mine wasted a whole pound by asking the know all text service AQA "what is the difference between a pie and a pasty." Their eye opening response was as follows "The difference between pasties and pies is that pasties are flatter in construction, whereas pies are round, also the pastry in pasties is thinner. A full British pound well spent Nicky!!!
So what are you opinions on the Pie v Pasties debate?
Right then, it's pie time. First things first, a review of the breakfast pie: this was purchased from Mainlands, so automatically loses 2 points for the lack of heating facilities there. However, I brought it home and used my own microwave, so I'm not sure if that allows it to have its 2 points back? The pie itself was good, but not as spectacular as hoped for, and I would award it 8 out of 10. Definitely not quite up to the standard of lasagne pie or chicken and white sauce pie.
Now two new pies, both of which were purchased from the garage/shop at Brae yesterday. It occurred to me whilst I was there that most of the pies reviewed so far (including the two I am about to review now) are made by Johnson and Wood of Voe, which is just up the road from Brae. Therefore, the Brae garage/shop should be a fine source of new, unusual and plentiful pies.
Exhibit A is a Curry Pie. The ingredients, as you can see, include "bovine meat", which is a little bit vague and perhaps slightly disturbing. The pie was quite average, it wasn't particularly curry-some (if that's a word, which I don't suppose it is), and unfortunately it only warranted 6 out of 10. However, the Brae shop has a microwave, so that's another 2 points. There is also a bonus point available for the Brae shop which I shall explain below.
Exhibit B is a Macaroni Pie. This is without doubt the best pie in the world ever, and looked so good that I took a photo of it undressed as well as in its package. Macaroni cheese on top with a splendid baked bean bonus underneath. Easily 10 out of 10, plus 2 for the microwave. In my opinion, the new King of Pies. And what's more, the Brae shop gets another bonus point as there is a bit of a stunner who works there too - on a par with the Eshaness cafe girl, fine br**sts etc. I didn't know whether to look longingly at the Macaroni Pie or the br**sts. In the end I got completely confused and tried to put the br**sts in the microwave and pay the Macaroni Pie for my shopping.
So that's it for pies at the moment. I will continue exploring. Rob
Thanks Rob. I see six months on Shetland has not made you lose your shallow feelings towards the female form.
Hot pie news from Shetland. My good friend Rob has uncovered a breafast pie containing Bacon, Sausage, Egg and Beans. This, it would appear, is the elusive holy grail of Shetland pies. Rob, being a well regarded pie sampler, has yet to eat this pie and has placed it in his fridge. Anyone wishing to view the pie should form an orderly que outside Sunnydell, Eastshore, Virkie. Please park sensibly at this sensitive site and respect the privacy of the residents. A charge of £1 will be made for viewing with all monies going to the Greggs rehab charity.
A planned shopping trip to Murderhall with Bethany and my mums store cards was the order of the day. I think I‘m getting too in touch with my feminine side as I’m starting to enjoy these shopping jaunts – god help me. There is a decent pie establishment at Murderhall – Crawshaws. Unfortunately, following the spectacular floods during June it remains closed. Do not be tricked in visiting the Pie King in the Oasis as it is shit and don’t mention the Chav pies from Greggs. Three full days have now passed since consuming any pies, though I did make a splendid Paella tonight, which half sounds like Pie!!
After consuming a great deal of quality pies over the last eleven days it was time to take to the scales. With the morning ablutions out of the way I stood on the scales. Now my weight before embarking on this trip was 12 stone and 5lbs, to my utter amazement my new weighjt was 12 stone and 4 lbs. There you go it goes to prove that several gallons of Guiness and countless pies are good for you.
We then checked a few fields for Golden Plover flocks but spirits were low following the pie disaster. There was always a chance however that Mainlands would come up trumps and they did just that. Not only was there a selection of previously ticked pies but also a rather new phenomenon in the form of a Lancashire Hot Pot Pie. A review of this pie will follow as it's still festering in my hand luggage. A White Sauce and Chicken Pie was also purchased t this point.
It was now time to say my good buys to Rob and the two Andy's and depart for the airport.
Once gain with a heavy heart I said goodbye to the wonderful Shetland, however this time I will be back much sooner 10 weeks and 4 days exactly.
Thanks to everyone who helped make this trip the best yet: Rob, Helen, Andy, Andy, Rachel, Katrina, Hugh, Pete and Ken and anyone else I might have missed.
I came for the birds but stayed for the pies
Last day tomorrow so a visit to the Sandwick bakery will be in order to clean up on the pies.
A report of an unidentified Locustella at Quendale was intriguing enough to go and have a look. After an hour there we had had enough the fact that it had changed from being a possible PG Tips to a Lancy filled us with a bit of sceptism. As Sparky had been sat in the car all mornng we thought it only fair to take him for a walk in the Exnaboe areea where we saw absolutely nowt. We returned to Sunnydell for refreshments though again being Sunday pies were not on offer, although there were two catergory D Pork Pies in the fridge. Whilst entertaining the local tour guide we were alerted to a Dusky Warbler at Sumburgh Farm. On arriving the bird was feeding in the sheltered garden before becoming very mobile and elusive.
After returning for breakfast we decided to have a quick look in the Quendale area for the Hornemanni Arctic Redpoll and if any new migrants had dropped in. There was very little apart from a couple of Yellow-broweds and the odd Chiffchaff. We only had flight views of the Redpoll flashing its very striking snowy white rump. A quick visit to Noness failed to produce the Woodlark but gave us chance to visit the Sandwick Bakery. An amazing array of pies was on offer and I chose to go for the Cheese, Bean and Tattie. An excellent choice a good weighty pie with a generous layer of quality beans and mashed potato topped with cheese. Heated up in the microwave for 1 minute 20 seconds and consumed in no time at all a full 12 points on the Pie Scale for these two hot beauties.
Hot Pie on Pie Action
A phone call from Bethany (my daughter) informed me that the Lada (see post 6th Oct') was coming round which thrilled me no end!
Rob appeared outside Helen's with a cup of tea which seemed a good idea, it all gave me a chance to check I'd not made a mess of the bathroom which of course I hadn't! Tea drunk Rob and I headed back to Sunnydell. On the POV both Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwit were close to the road so I took a photographic diversion. Whilst photographing them both I thought I heard Rob shout me. He shouted me again so I thought it must be something urgent like the Toab shop ringing to say they'd had their pie delivery. No such look it was just to say that Andy M had just found a Pechora in the Toab turnip field. Of course it would have been impolite not to go and have a look so we did. We picked it up in flight immediately and I noted the call and its similarity to the Starling I'd heard earlier - SHIT! I managed a few lucky shots as it perched on the fence.
With this in mind we headed towards Sumburgh. Compass Head was alive with Thrushes and Meadow Pipits but the Grutness garden had just two Goldcrests. Walking along the top between Compass Head and the light house produced little else except for a Merlin. As we reached the lighthouse garden Andy M pulled another gem out of the bag in the form of a seven striped sprite from the east (that's a Pallas's Wobbler to them that don't know).
abietinus Chiffchaff and yet another Yellow-browed but nothing else. A 'proper' Arctic Redpoll had been present in the Quendale Area since early morning associating with a party of Twite unfortunately it wasn't among them whilst we were there. With the rain getting heavier we decided to head back to the Virkie area. A visit to Mainlands Store gave me the opportunity to sample a corned beef and tattie pie. Not a true pie in the strictest terms more a slice of a much larger one. There was excessive crust on this pie and the tatties were hard. To be honest Sparky had half of it and seemed to enjoy it though like I said earlier he eats shit so can't be relied on to give an accurate rating. With this in mind I awarded it a rather mediocre 5 on the Pie Scale.
I decided to lay off the alcohol this evening and do the driving instead so no doubt my body will be in a state of shock in the morning.
Took Sparky for a walk to Nordagerdi (with thoughts of raiding the fridge) it dawned on me that dogs really are man's best friend they return your loyalty with love and affection and don't piss off with another dog when you're at your lowest ebb in life. Took Sparky for yet another walk this time into Toab.
The Nordagerdi Gay Boys (M N Reeder)
As Sparky was due a jab at the vets in Scalloway we headed towards there stopping at several locations on the way. Feeling a bit pissed off about the current home situation I consumed a couple of drams to cheer myself up and fight the man flu before we made our first stop at No Ness for a Woodlark. On exiting the car I glimpsed the bird in flight over the house where it appeared to drop into the adjacent field. Further investigation revealed that it must have carried on though my alcohol fuelled I.D was strengthened by the fact that Andy Mc heard it call. A quick call to the Sandwick Bakery turned up a very good Scotch Pie (small) and again due to the reheating facilities scored a 10 on the pie scale.
Paddyfield Warbler (Dougie Preston)
First port of call was the ridiculously long staying Killdeer at the Pool of Virkie some twenty yards from Rob's front door. After a short walk along the shore it dropped in obligingly in front of us. A quick walk in to Toab produced 3 Lapland Buntings in the crop field, including a fine male, and the first two pies of the trip - mince and onion eaten cold scoring a respectable 7/12 on the Pie Scale. There were no other varieties available on this visit.
After Rob had picked up the last member of our party we headed for Hoswick where a Barred Warbler and at least two Yellow-browed Warblers had been present. After a few minutes both Yellow-broweds were on view but the Barred had vanished.
Our next point of call was for an Olive-backed Pipit at Swinister. In addition to an OBP we had the added bonus of a quick stop at the Sandwick Bakery shop for one of their legendary Lasagne Pies. This stop did not disappoint with the target quarry showing well on middle shelf of the chiller. The added advantage of the Sandwick Bakery is that they have a microwave which automatically gives them a two point advantage on the pie scale. This 'king of pies' lived up to expectations and scored the maximum 12/12.
The OBP was, as typical, a right little bugger to see but eventually gave itself up to the masses (all 9 of us) when it walked across the narrow burn. Unfortunately I had a faff with the camera and didn't even get a blury shot to put on Surfbirds to prove that I'd seen it!!
With the birding and pie munching at an end it was time to head back for some tea - what more food you fat bas***d - look I've been on a divorce induced fast for the last six weeks and am starting to resemble that Mr Muscle bloke!! With tea (pitta bread pizzas) out of the way it was time to hit the bright lights of Sumburgh! Several pints of the black stuff later we headed for the swinging night spot that is the Ness Boat Club. On arrival we had a crisp fiver crowbarred from each of our tight northern fingers. I think the fact that there was a hen party inside helped us part with our hard earned cash. After initial scepticism it turned out to be a good night with some of the very friendly local ladies inviting Rob and I back for a party. After more beer and getting to know the locals a little better we staggered back to Sunnydell at 4:30am a personal best of being awake for some 26 hours! The day had gone well Birding, drinking, party and waking up at the side of someone in a strange bed the only problem being that this was Rob's bed!!!