ARCHIVE: LEVELS 38 – THE BELLYBUSTER AT THE COTTAGE CAFE!

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The Bellybuster Breakfast at the Cottage Cafe in Burnham-On-Sea, where the Somerset Levels run down to the sea; 20 Mar 2013.

This has got to be one of the best breakfasts I’ve eaten for a long while – and perhaps the largest I’ve ever eaten!  Let’s see what’s here.

Well, a lot of very tasty food – but equally importantly all served on a warm plate – something which can make or break a meal.  Having this lot served up on a stone cold plate would have been dreadful!

And then the presentation of the food: fine by me, except for the fried bread – see below.  But then, having mentioned the fried bread, the chef was faced with the problem is how to cram as much food as this onto the plate  – even an over large plate like this one!  This presentation certainly stirred my appetite.

Then very tasty sausages containing a great proportion of meat, and sourced from a local butcher.  And more bacon than I think I’ve ever been served – that’s a stack of it and there must have been at least five tasty rashers.

The black discs at the top are Black Pudding – made from onions, pork fat, oatmeal and flavourings – and blood, usually pig’s blood (so Google tells me).  Its not something to eat a lot of, but what oh what a flavour it adds to the mix!  And beside the pudding are mushrooms, a wonderfully subtle flavour.

Then baked beans – which are always good, ALWAYS!!!

The tomatoes are canned and I’d prefer fresh ones, slightly blackened by grilling – but the combination of their taste with that of the bacon was, as always, purely magical!  Another such heavenly combination is bacon with fried egg, and that was there too.

I’m really neutral about Hash Browns.  They’re ok and I eat them, but but really quite bland and I don’t think they add much to the overall thing.  I’d rather have chips, but add chips to a breakfast this size and I might have been overwhelmed.  And underneath the egg is the fried bread, which had unfortunately lost some of its wonderfully crisp texture due to the juices of various overlying fodder.

Overall, not wildly healthy, but consumed from time to time, rather than daily >>> WOWEEE!!!

The Cottage Cafe unfortunately closed down years ago now.  I imagine that – with meals of this calibre – many of its patrons keeled over immediately after stepping out of its (necessarily wide) doors.  But, nonetheless, I value this photo, a wonderful reminder.  And a picture, I suppose, that talks about the simple pleasures and frank enjoyment of Life, a world away from Health & Safety, starvation diets, concerns about cholesterol, calorie counting, Political Correctness, body shaming and all the other sad traits that our modern society has so adeptly dreamed up.

And if you are feeling an urgent yearning to be face down and uttering little squeaks of joy in all of this moist and overt lusciousness, you can get somewhere near the effect by clicking onto it, when a larger version will open in a separate window – NOT recommended for those of a excitable disposition, as well as coming with a Government Health Warning about banging your face on your viewing device.  While admiring your boundless (and fairly mindless) enthusiasm, FATman Photos cannot be held responsible for anything untoward, although FP does not of course mind in the slightest being held responsible for anything enjoyable and deeply satisfying …

Technique: Canon G11 PowerShot at 28mm (35mm equivalent); 800 ISO.

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ARCHIVE: LEVELS 10 – NAPKINS AND WINE GLASSES (MONO)

 

 


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Napkins (aka serviettes) and wine glasses on our table in the Cottage Cafe, Burnham-On-Sea, Somerset; 9 Oct 2010.

This archive presents some of the pictures that I’ve taken on the Somerset Levels over many years.  More context can be found in the first post in this archive – 1 – and also in my first Somerset Levels post, from 2011 – here .  Further posts in this archive are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 .  All of these links will open in separate windows. 

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: Canon PowerShot G11; 400 ISO; converted to mono with Alien Skin’s Exposure 2.

SOMERSET LEVELS: SOME KEYWORDS

And finally – some keywords that will often be mentioned in this archive series:

Droves:  to avoid crossing other peoples’ land when accessing their own, the farmers constructed a series of tracks, known as droves, between the fields. Some of these droves are now metalled roads and many persist as open tracks – all of which allow wonderfully open access to this countryside.

Rhynes: the fields are bounded by water-filled ditches – which both drain the ground and act as stock barriers. Hence strange landscapes – where fields appear quite unbounded, except for a gate with a short length of fencing on either side of it, where a bridge crosses the water-filled boundary ditch to provide access the field.  These small wet ditches communicate with larger rhynes (“reen” as in Doreen), which in turn flow into larger drains, e.g. the North and South Drains in the Brue Valley. All of these waterways are manmade and, by intricate series of pumping stations and flood gates, all of them have their water levels controlled by local farmers, internal drainage boards or the Environment Agency.

Pollarded Willows: the banks of the rhynes were often planted with Willow trees, both to help strengthen the banks and also to show the courses of roads and tracks during floods. These Willows are often pollarded, i.e. their upper branches are cut off, which results in distinctively broad and dense heads to the trees. Pollarding keeps trees to a required height, while ensuring a steady supply of wood – more important in the past than now – for fires, thatching spars, fencing and so on.

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ARCHIVE 535 – CRUMPLED TABLE CLOTH

 

 


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Crumpled table cloth in the Cottage Cafe, Burnham-On-Sea, Somerset; 29 Aug 2011.

Whenever we go down to Burnham we never miss visiting the Cottage Cafe, which continues to serve up good food.  This time, as we were demolishing toasted teacakes and a pot of tea, my eyes were drawn to window light flowing down over a discarded table cloth – and the Nikkor telezoom, that most useful of lenses, reached out and got the image.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 3200 ISO.

UPDATE: now, nine years later, the Cottage Cafe has long since closed down – what a loss! 😦 

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ARCHIVE 510 – THE ESTUARY OF THE RIVER BRUE (MONO)

 

 


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The estuary of the River Brue, south of Burnham-On-Sea, on the Somerset coast; 20 Mar 2013.

The Brue is the river meandering in from the left.  Its travel across the very flat lands of the Somerset Levels is extremely slow – I could probably walk to the coast faster!

The Brue is flowing out into the estuary of the River Parrett, the water upper right, which stretches off to the horizon.

All of the Levels’ rivers except the Parrett have clyses (sluices) which help stop the seawater of the Bristol Channel flooding inland.  When the tide is out, the weight of fresh water building up behind the gates pushes them open, and the fresh water flows away to the sea.  When the tide comes in, the weight of the rapidly rising salt water pushes against the gates, forcing them shut, and the seawater is unable to flow further inland.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – highly recommended.

Technique: D700 with 16-35 Nikkor lens at 35mm; 200 ISO; converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Low Key 2 preset.

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SOMERSET LEVELS 416 – LIGHTHOUSE (MONO)

 

 


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The lighthouse on Flat Holm island in the Bristol Channel, on a stormy day.  In the background, the coast of south Wales.

The Somerset Levels run out westwards into the sea – into the Bristol Channel in fact – and on this low coast are two rather cheap and cheerful seaside towns, Weston-super-Mare and Burnham-on-Sea.  The heyday of the family seaside holiday is long past, and both of these towns are rather feeling the economic pinch.  This coast is notable for having the second highest tidal range in the world – 43 feet (13 m) – and also for the fact that, since the Bristol Channel is in fact the estuary of the River Severn, in addition to some nice sandy beaches there are also vast amounts of glutinous estuarine mud – Weston-super-Mud being the rather unkind jibe.

But Weston is also notable to me for another reason: it is my home town, the place of my youth, some of it altered out of all recognition now of course, but still filled with a vast and undying store of memories.

And so to a visit there on a wet and windy day – its only 20 miles or so from Bristol.  And standing high above the sea, bracing myself against the gale, I looked out over the seascape of my youth.  There in the murk was Flat Holm island, not a part of Somerset (or even of England) at all, but rather the most southerly point of Wales.  A sudden break in the overcast, a fleeting moment of sunlight, and I managed several frames.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Graphite profile; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Neutral preset; looking west from Upper Kewstoke Road, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset; 4 Oct 2019.

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