The Grim Adventures of a Refined Savage

thefrogman: This is the real reason I grew a beard.  [video] 

SavagelyRefined: why does this never happen to me?

Just because this needs re-blogging


thefrogman: This is the real reason I grew a beard.  [video]

SavagelyRefined: why does this never happen to me?

Just because this needs re-blogging

The Continuing Adventures Of…

Last week my partner Kelly (Porphyee) and I decided we were going to make our first attempt at geocaching, we weren’t exactly successful. We found a grand total of zero caches, which was slightly disappointing, although we did have a lot of fun trying. Coming to the conclusion that last week we’d been a little over ambitious with our choice of caches, we decided to make our second attempt this week but this time we would head off in a different direction and search for some caches that are easier to find.

This time around I can gladly say we had a lot more success, we found our very first cache after just a few minutes of looking. We signed and dated the log before leaving a small item and replacing the cache where we found it, being careful to make sure it was pretty well hidden from site. Shortly after we found the location of a second cache, which had unfortunately been vandalised and was awaiting replacement by its owner.

Though we had originally planned to continue along our route and seach for a third cache, in the same area, the discovery of the vandalisation of one of the local caches had left us feeling a little disheartened and some what annoyed by the mindset of someone who would do something like that for no other reason than it was there and they could.

Though this has far from put us off from geocaching, in fact we are planning on heading a little further afield and maybe making a day of it this weekend. It has made me think twice about planting a cache of my own, something I wanted to do in a small local park not far from our house. I don’t think I will ever fully understand that disrespectful, destructive mind set.

Geocaching Attempt 2

Geo Adventuring Through Kirkby

My partner and I live together on the outskirts of a small town called Kirkby-in-Ashfield, the area we actually live in is the old part of town and is surprisingly rural. Basically all you have to do is walk for 5 minutes in most directions from our house and you will literally be surrounded by fields and small areas of woodland. That said we have actually explored very little of the surrounding countryside, despite the fact that both myself and my partner enjoy walking.

Last weekend we decided it was time for that to change. Several months ago my partner had stumbled across a pass time known as geocaching and although we both thought the concept was interesting, neither of us had really done much in the way of research into it. That was up until a couple of weeks ago when one us downloaded the android app and discovered that there are in fact several caches within a couple of miles of our house. Knowing that these caches are so close made us curious and last weekend we set out to find our first cache, after a little deliberation we chose which cache we wanted to head for and consulted the map to work out the best route. The cache we chose is situated by a small stream in an area of woodland a little over a mile from our house.

Having located the rough area we were heading for, we packed a small bag of essentials and set off. Less that 10 minutes into the walk and we were absolutely surrounded by corn fields, we followed a public footpath right through the middle of some truly picturesque country and down into the woods. We were both surprised by just how dense the patch of woodland is and how pretty it is considering we were literally a 20 minute walk from the centre of Kirkby. After double checking our map to ensure we were in the right area we headed into the woods and selected the path that looked most likely to take us in the right direction. As we headed further into the woods we noticed that the ground was starting to get muddy and my partner Kelly started to get a little anxious about falling in. We spent the next 45 minutes or so slowly trekking through the woods, investigating every nook and cranny, poking in to holes in trees and taking photos all in the hope of locating some hidden cache of mini treasures so we could sign the log and swap one of their nic knacks for one of our own. Eventually we ran out of woodland and, feeling slightly disappointed in ourselves, we decided to head back, taking a slightly different route just to give ourselves one last chance at success. This it turned out was a mistake as the path we chose led into some heavily muddy areas and both my partner an myself ended up slipping over on more than one occasion.

Unfortunately we made it all the way back home without finding a single cache, this hasn’t dampened our spirits too much though as we are already plotting our route for this weekend with high hopes of our first cache find.

The Dudes Adventures In Cornwall

Summer Holiday

Ever since we first started seeing each other my partner and I have made it our goal to get away on holiday at least once a year, whether it be a weekend camping in the lake district or spending a week in Scotland staying with my partners grandparents. This year we decided to visit the south coast of Cornwall, Cornwall is somewhere both my partner and I have visited in the past and an area of the country we both love and feel at home in.

After spending some time searching the net and doing a little research into the local area we settled on a small cottage on the outskirts of Polperro, a quaint fishing town about 15 miles south of Bodmin. We chose Polperro because of its close proximity to main roads and because, despite being a fairly popular destination, it has managed to avoid becoming too over crowded and has maintained much of its ruggedness and charm. Over the last few years overcrowding has become increasingly more important to us as my partner and I have both noticed that we no longer have the patience for even fairly small crowds of people, this has led us to seek out smaller more remote areas and to appreciate the ruggedness of places such as Cornwall and the south west coast of Scotland.

Unfortunately our journey down was cursed with, the seemingly ever present, holiday traffic and ended up taking close to 10 hours, not arriving in Polperro until around 5pm, by which point my partner and I were both thoroughly fed up and quite tired. we dropped our stuff off at the cottage and basically headed straight out and walked down into town to find the sea in an effort to wind down a little after our long journey. All I can say is the town is beautiful, set in a steep sided valley with narrow winding streets lined on either side by tiny, stone built fisherman’s cottages, eventually opening out in a small harbour full of small working fishing boats. You can literally see the history of the place as you walk through the town, nothing much has really changed here for generations and nothing really needs to, the locals have worked hard to preserve their town and have adapted well to suit the modern world.

We decided to spend our first full day in Cornwall staying fairly locally and we only really ventured out on foot to explore more of the town and to check out where was good to eat and drink. Despite Polperro actually having several restaurants we discovered that some of the best food to be had was available in the local pubs, the pick of the bunch being the Blue Peter Inn, unfortunately on our first visit it was so busy I literally couldn’t fit through the door never mind make it to the bar to order drinks. We opted for a less busy pub at the other end of town called the Crumplehorn Inn and we were far from disappointed the building was gorgeous, they had a few local ales and ciders to chose from, the staff were friendly and the food was good quality pub grub. We spent a pleasant afternoon/evening drinking and generally winding down before heading back to the cottage to get an early night.

On our second day we decided to venture further afield and drove into Looe, a larger town a few miles away from Polperro. Whilst the town itself was fairly pretty it was so crowded that my partner and I weren’t really enjoying being there and we left after just a short stay to look at a few gifts to bring back for our family. After Looe we moved on to Cawsand and Kingsand to explore and spend some time at the beach, it was lovely and a complete contrast to our experience in Looe.

Over the next few days we slowly visited several of the local towns and villages, spending a little while exploring and just soaking up the atmosphere. We found that although Cornwall is now massively touristy there are still some places that are just far enough off the path to retain their character and offer the relaxed, chilled out atmosphere that Cornwall has become well know for.

As we became aware that the week was drawing to a close we wanted to spend the last couple of days staying local and decided to couple up two great pleasures of mine, walking and beaches. Consulting a local map we noticed a small beach, called Talland Bay just a couple of miles away from town along the coastal path, packing up a day bag with beach essentials we set off. At first it seemed like a pleasant walk along a well trodden path but what we had failed to notice was that about half a mile along the path was mile long, very steep, uphill hike. It has been a long time since I last felt my calf muscles burn like that but it was worth it when we arrived, the beach was a lovely little bay surrounded by woodland and, apart from a few surfers, was practically deserted. We spent a couple of hours on the beach before it really started to get busy, about 50 metres back from where we were sitting, set into the trees was a small car park and a cafe serving snacks and drinks, we treated ourselves to a glass of homemade lemonade and some cornish ice cream before braving the trek back in reverse and having to re-climb the hill. Arriving back in town mid afternoon we called into a small shop selling a wide range of local beers, ciders and mead to stock up for the evening. We spent it getting pleasantly drunk on mead and cider whilst playing a couple of games of scrabble, which I lost.

Friday morning had arrived and we were acutely aware that it was our last full day before journeying back the following morning, setting out early, we headed for the village of Lansallos were my partner had read was a little known beach. Being only a few miles from Polperro and knowing it was considerably smaller we weren’t really aware of what to expect. What we found was possibly the most picturesque village either of us had ever seen, really there was just a handful of small stone built houses, a gorgeous old church and acres of farm land. After a parking up and walking for a couple of minutes we found the path down to the beach, a small woodland foot path, about a mile long, that looked more like something out of a fantasy novel than real life. When we arrived at the beach we found it was largely pebbles but got sandier as you got closer to the sea, it was set back in a truly gorgeous bay hidden by steep sided cliffs on either side. For the first hour or so we were literally the only people there and it was lovely, the sea was totally clear and I braved going topless so I could have a swim. We had been there for around 3 hours before the beach started to get anywhere near busy and it was at about this time we decided to leave and headed back to Polperro for some lunch. Earlier in the week we had decided to make another visit to the Blue Peter Inn when it would hopefully be less busy and Friday lunch time seemed perfect. Being situated right on the harbour, and having sea views out of literally every window, the Blue Peter Inn is a proper local pub, a rare breed these days, offering a good selection of cornish ales and ciders with genuinely friendly staff and a really relaxed atmosphere. The really surprising thing about the Blue Peter Inn is the food, its all good hearty, home cooked fare and quite frankly its awesome. I had a seafood platter consisting of local smoked mackerel, battered haddock chunks, Cornish crab meat, scallops and squid and my partner had battered haddock chunks with chips and bread. As the plates came out from the kitchen they looked incredible, you could clearly see that everything on them had been prepared by hand and was freshly cooked, not a frozen chip in site. I am a lover of fish and I have eaten a lot of it from many different places and this was one of the best plates of fish I’ve ever had (I think only the Magpie in Whitby actually beats it). I really can’t give this pub enough praise, I’ve never seen a place that can offer the real pub feel and experience yet still get the food so right. You so often get one or the other but very rarely get both, it was an excellent way to end an amazing holiday.

As the following morning rolled around both my partner and myself were very sad to leave, we really didn’t want to say goodbye to a place we’d both enjoyed so much. We will definitely be visiting again at some point in the future.

Happy Birthday To Me…

It was my 31st birthday at the weekend and, as usual, my lovely lady spoiled me with awesome gifts, amazing food and epic cake (which I am currently eating a sizeable chunk of). The Birthday celebration really Kicked off on the Saturday evening when my lady took me out for a meal to The Junction, a local Bar/Restaurant well know for its high quality food and pleasant atmosphere.

All I can really say about the food is that, as always, it was amazing. I started with a terrine of locally smoke mackerel, dauphinoise potatoes and horse radish with a balsamic dressing and it was delicious, there was just enough acidity to the dressing to cut through the richness of the potato and the oily fish, without overpowering the dish. The freshness of the horse radish was evident and was just enough to lift the dish and provide a hint of heat on the tongue, it was an excellent counter point to the overall richness of the dish.

I washed the starter down with a very pleasant pint of Ringwoods excellent craft ale, Old Thumper and moved on to a main course of pan fried duck breast on a bed of stir fried summer vegetables in a hoisin sauce with spicy polenta chips. The duck breast was tender and perfectly pink in the middle, whilst having a lovely sear on the skin. The veg was al dente and maintained its own flavour well in the lusciously rich hoisin sauce. The overall flavour of the dish was suitably oriental whilst still maintaining an English aspect, from the choice of vegetables and simple, but very well executed flavour of the duck. My one criticism is the inclusion of the polenta chips, whilst very nice and having an interesting flavour of there own, they seemed entirely disconnected from the rest of the dish and were largely surplus to needs. I would have preferred to have seen a portion of deep fried rice noodles in place of the chips, as this would have better suited the dish and provided a bit of crunch and an interesting textural depth.

Kelly decided to forgo the starter and instead opted to go straight for a main course of a classic hand made steak burger, with triple cooked chips and a side order beer battered onion rings. The quality of the beef used to make the burger was apparent, it was tender, flavoursome and maintained the texture of the meat very well, something that is often lost when using beef of a lesser quality. The chips were fluffy, flavoursome and crisp thanks to the triple cooking process, they had been allowed to colour giving a very slight edge of sweetness to the flavour that worked well with a sprinkling of salt. The onion rings were crisp and the batter was light, the onion inside was not overcooked and as such had not taken on too much oil giving them a refreshing bite. It is very hard to criticise burger and chips at the best of times but when done with such a level of quality and consistency as is to be found here it is almost impossible.

Given the richness of my starter and main course I chose to follow these with a refreshing pale ale, this time in the guise of a pint of Boondoggle, a crisp citrusy blond ale, again, by the excellent folks at the Ringwood brewery. Having both had our fill from our main courses we decided to split a desert, Kelly made the excellent choice of a home made cheesecake & mango jelly with passion-fruit sauce. The combination of the richness of the cheesecake, sweetness of the mango jelly and acidity of the passion-fruit sauce made for an excellent palette cleanser and a perfect end to an delicious meal.

The remainder of the evening was spent in the company of Kelly’s parents sharing a few drinks and catching up. All in all and wonderful evening spent with good company and my amazing partner.

Happy Birthday To Me…

Dear Mum

Dear Mum

There’s a lot of stuff that I often find I want to say to you but never do and in all likelihood never will. And even though I am writing this to get a few things off my chest I am actually glad you’ll never read it because, even though we argue, I would never intentionally say something or do anything that would hurt you, I am not that kind of person.

I have been bullied for the vast majority of my life and off all the bullies I’ve had you were always the worst, you were the only one I couldn’t deal with. There are only two ways, that I know of, to deal with bullies. You either have to show them they can’t hurt you or show them that you can hurt them more than they can hurt you. Neither of which I could ever do to you mum, you’ve always known how to hurt me the most. Over the years I’ve learned to live with the constant nit picking, the pointless arguments, the persistent name calling, the continual undermining, the threats of violence and the snide comments. It’s just become a part of my day to day existence, to put it simply it has become the norm for me.

I have spent the vast majority of my life feeling that I don’t belong, I’ve never really felt like part of the family and it’s only in recent years that I’ve discovered that you can make your own family, the one forced upon you by birth doesn’t have to be the be all and end all. Thankfully I have my own family now and even a place that I really do feel that I belong and can call home. It makes me happy to be there and be with my family, even in the relatively short time that has passed since I got my home I’ve had some of the best times of my life there. That’s not to say that there hasn’t been some good times with you, because there certainly has, but they’ve been very few and far between and are getting further and further apart with each passing year.

Throughout my teenage years and well into my twenties I would go to sleep at night hoping to not wake up, the thought most prominent in my mind throughout this period of my life was how I didn’t belong and that no one would actually care if I didn’t exist anymore. For the longest time the only things that kept me from doing anything stupid was my own stubbornness, the anger you caused me and a deeply ingrained dislike of physical pain. For the longest time those thoughts were never very far from the surface, thankfully they’re buried now and I never have to go back there again.

Mum, you have been one of the biggest influences of my life, you have played a major role in the person I have become and the person I want to be. Even though I know that it has damaged me emotionally and will continue to have an effect on my for the rest of my life, I have come to believe that my working through all the hostility you have often shown towards me has made me a stronger person and has made me better equipped to deal with many of the harsh things life will throw at me. Unfortunately it seems that no matter how old I get or how much I armour myself against it, whenever I’m around you, you still manage to bring out the worst in me and I hate that. For the last few years I have been slowly working to supress what you bring out in me and I genuinely believe that one day I will be free of that part of myself. Who knows, when it’s finally gone, when I am a better person, I might even be able to like myself.

Yours Sincerely

Your loving son.