I know British food doesn’t have that much to commend it a lot of the time. I once read somewhere that English food is all beige, and other than the odd bright burst here and there, I’m inclined to agree. Roast dinner, beige. Fish and Chips, beige. Fry up, beige-ish. Sandwiches, predominantly beige. Toad in the hole, beige. You get the picture.
However, for me the occasional Fish and Chip supper is a real treat. It’s something that always gives me a holiday feeling and brings back memories of the coast: chilly wind, salty sea air and trying to eat lunch or dinner quickly without a mouthful of wind-beaten hair in the process. I’ve got many a happy memory of eating fish and chips straight from the paper on a British seaside. So when some bunting in our local chippy (a 2014 regional winner in the Fish and Chip awards, none the less) on our last visit alerted me to the fact that 16th to 22nd February is National Chip Week, I thought it might be a good time to recall my favourite Fish and Chip moments:
- Battered Scallops from Rick Stein’s Fish and Chip shops (in Padstow or Falmouth)- at first I thought it might be a waste of a good scallop, but in reality- perfection.
- Speciality battered catch of the day from what I really think might be my favourite discovery of our 2014 Cornwall trip- Smugglers in The Lizard. Delicious there and then in the centre of town, but get in the car and drive down to Lizard Point of an evening when the sun is about to set, walk down to the coast path and find yourself a bench. A hot, vinegary supper and a fantastic view at the most southerly point of the British mainland.
- Walking up to town and back for childhood Fish and Chips which was best when we got to bring home a bag of frozen ‘fish for cats’ too. (Can you still get that, does anyone know? I think our cats would love us to eternity and back if so!)
Whilst Valentine’s Day isn’t something we really go for, it’s a nice excuse to take some time to really appreciate your loved ones. I know that’s something that most of us do every day, but it is a reminder for me not to take things for granted and enjoy what you do have.
I also gave myself the day as an incentive to get back into baking, and made some simple little fairy cakes topped with jellybean hearts. A perfect start to the weekend, whether it’s Valentine’s Day or not.
Have you ever heard of Ramsar? Thought not. It’s the Iranian city on the shores of the Caspian Sea that gives it’s name to the world’s most important Wetlands- Ramsar sites, protected here in the UK under European law. Protecting these sites is something I deal with at work nearly every day, so I know how valuable and vulnerable these sites are, but I saw a statistic this morning that truly shocked me:
64% of our wetlands have disappeared since 1900.
64%. In 115 years. I just find that incomprehensible. Here in the UK we’re lucky enough to have 170 of these vitally important natural sites, and since 1997, 2 February has been celebrated as World Wetland Day, the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971. This doesn’t mean all is well. Whilst these sites are afforded some protection they’re still constantly threatened by our actions- development, climate change, sea level rise and habitat loss.
Happy World Wetlands Day to you all!
So, on the 44th anniversary of the convention, why don’t you consider making a pledge to help secure the future of our wetlands?
As for me, pledge to share the majesty of our wetlands with as many people as possible, both here, in my professional and personal life. If we don’t take small steps to action, we may find it’s too late to continue to appreciate these sites, and reap the benefits they provide to the world around us.
Let’s hope that we (and future generations) can have wetlands to enjoy way into the futures.