The same day as Beecraigs (see previous post) I was still on the bike gliding through the Oilseed
fields when I noticed a bulky land mass in the distance. The heat haze was increasing along with the temperature as morning drifted into afternoon. Maybe it was the beestings... or the pollen over the rape fields...or the perfume from all the flowers in the hedgerows but my mind started to drift as well.
Long before oilseed fields this area had been famous for another kind of oil. Shale oil and the Paraffin extracted from the rocks under this area had helped drive the industrial revolution. Some of the old shafts go down 3000 feet and the used shale after burning to extract the oil was dumped in giant mounds or Bings around this area. The towns of Winchburgh and Broxburn are both dominated by massive Bings so a new idea formed. It had been a while since I'd explored the canyon lands of "Shaleopolis" and I knew these pink-red waste tips would be an interesting ecosystem in spring.
It also has a very modern legacy as "Fracking" has been in the news over the past decade and is a major issue in many areas with pros and cons debated as conventional sources of oil decline.
I don't know what the local view is on these bings and it's probably varied depending on who you ask but I think they are magnificent as there is nothing else like them in Scotland. They are being gradually eaten into for roads and building material but if I was a youngster here I'd want to save them for future generations to play on. They are a major recreational asset to the area as everywhere else is productive farmland locally so this is like a high level man made country park for locals (and occasional visitors.)
And it is truly beautiful up here with a completely different landscape and a mixed range of plants, wildlife, and insects.
The wondrous Canyon lands of Greendykes Bing.
A view from the summit plateau. This is Scotland's Uluru right here.... It's Red Centre.... The Heartland... and I for one think it should be treasured as a national asset. Not in any formal way with numerous restrictions but just left as it is right now as a lasting monument to the generations who worked here and built these massive mounds and for nature to decide what it becomes as it is being slowly colonised by the surrounding environment. Is it an eyesore or a treasure?
Where else in Scotland can you get views like this?
Beetle and flower display
View of Niddry Castle and Niddry Bing
Panorama from the summit Plateau
Back in the house I decided to cook a tasty meal but it seems to be all the rage now on telly to cook with someone watching you who can critique what your doing and offer advice on ingredients. You cant cook without someone watching you these days. It's uncool!
As Gordon Ramsay and the Master chef guys were all busy doing other projects ( G R swears too much anyway and I'd just end up fighting with him) I decided to go on Skype with my good friend and up and coming Mediterranean pop star "Smiley Cyprus" and her older relative/ godmother "Dimple Darling" who is the wise old owl in the kitchen just like Mary Berry in the UK.
The first course I prepared seemed to go down well and they both enjoyed it. Baby potatoes, butter beans, cherry tomatoes, boiled egg, a dash of salad cream and horsenfurthfur sauce mixed together and pork medallions with a drizzle of butter. "Dimple Darling" had to perform at a city down the road from her home town as she's always working and likes to keep busy so that left me with Smiley on her own.
"Apple and Rhubarb." I replied.
Apple and f****** Rhubarb ! Are you f******* shitting me!! That's soooo old School gramps. Get with it! We need more mother******g fibre in there. Get rid of those wimpy apples and that slimy red stuff. Are you trying to poison me!?
I was baffled "How? What should I put in? "
Weed man! Mother******g weed. Loads of it! Shovel it right in there! That's brain food!
"Are you sure?" I asked.
Listen here c********r. I'm on tour in the USA just now and its legal in certain states here. Shove in in. It's one of my mother*****g five a day! Damn good fibre! Keeps you regular! It's in my contract!
Me. " Doesn't heavy long term use lead to depression, memory loss and mental health issues?
"So what! Dumb is the new smart! Get with the programme! Albert Einstein was only famous because of his crazy hair and stick out tongue on tee shirts. Image man image! That's what counts. Intelligence is over rated!
I was beginning to think maybe Gordon Ramsay wasn't so bad after all. "I haven't got any." I confessed.
" You lame D*****d. M***** F****** S*** for brains. That stuff should be in every ******* ****** kitchen! I'll send some over. Express Courier!!!" ******** ***** ***** Brits!
Twelve hours later I made another pie.
" Man, That's what I'm talking about! Did you get all those nasty apples out of there?"
Dimple Darling returns from her gig. "What a night I'm shattered. Good audience though. What's in the oven Smiley? That sure do smell pretty good."
"It's a special pie recipe sent by a fan in England by E mail".
Me. "I live in Scotland actually".
Smiley. " Same place isn't it?"
Me "It's actually a different country".
Smiley. "Is it near London?"
Me. "Not really"
Smiley. " It's not important then, is it gramps!."
Dimple Darling. "Wow, that sure is a tasty pie Smiley. Best I ever ate!" What was the filling?
Me and Smiley together. "Nooooooooooo!! You didn't!!!
Me. " Only Kidding! I live in London! England ! Get a doctor!
(Thought I'd have a change from the usual music video. Must have been all the bee venom inside me that cooked this idea up)