Monday, 28 September 2015
River Finn. Ballybofey-Stranorlar. Central Donegal. The End.
I've held this one back until last. This was a day when we didn't have a lot of spare time to climb a hill but did have a few hours in the afternoon to go a pleasant circular walk around the Finn Valley. We drove to Balleybofey-Stranorlar, two small towns that seem to run into each other but the boundary line appears to be the river. Above is a swollen River Finn that bursts its banks occasionally during extended heavy rainfall into the surrounding fields.
None of that mundane stuff here.
This link is interesting as it mentions an ancient myth in many cultures, including Irish, about a great eye that can destroy armies and wither the land. No surprise then, given J.R.R. Tolkien's knowledge of that subject ( well read and an expert in ancient mythology and medieval history) that it reappears as the main foe in the Lord of the Rings. Inspiration does not emerge from a vacuum.. but maybe a vacuum cleaner that sucks up everything learned during a lifetime then transforms it in a new way for a modern audience.
"Looks like cat vomit. " was Alex's opinion. "You're not going to eat all that?"
(The bowl has a deep middle section meant for soup so it's a larger portion than it looks here.)
I mention this because I scoffed the lot and it was delicious. So good I had it again the next night.
By comparison Alex and myself were on a walking trip a couple of summers ago and came off the hills starving, wanting a chip supper at a popular Scottish west coast tourist hot spot that shall remain nameless here, but one with a lot of passing trade. I had a steak pie supper, Alex had a hamburger supper and despite being hungry as a Derry cow we only had half of it before leaving it in disgust at how bad it was. There was a large bin on the premises and I opened it to toss in the leftovers only to find it was nearly full to the brim with other half eaten chip suppers of all varieties so it wasn't just our opinion of the meals on offer.
That is a true story and not very helpful for the Scottish tourist board's attempts to promote Scotland. I'm the last person to want posh food as I like cheap and cheerful stuff like Greggs sausage rolls or buns but surely there should be a decent lower standard of chip shop that should at least serve edible and tasty food as it's far from the first time I've had very poor chip suppers north of Glasgow or even in the city itself and throughout the central belt. This has been going on all my life and it's a lucky dip if you get a good one in an unfamiliar place. I don't want all of them to be excellent as you will always get a range but surely tossing away good food because it's so grim you can't eat it after you have paid for it is not acceptable. There are many excellent chip shops throughout Scotland in every area and it might be a difficult industry to earn a living in ( although many of the worse places still seem to stay open alas :o) but it does not create a good impression of Scotland. As I've mentioned before I've not had a bad chip supper yet throughout the English Lake District in different areas and valleys. As a proud Scot it hurts me to say that but it's true.
So my question is... How hard can it be to put out decent chip suppers of a reasonable standard as you would think even the bad ones would improve over time with experience, like in any other profession. This is a serious question. From a personal point of view if I opened a bin to find most of the food I cooked was being thrown away I would either think I wasn't cut out to be a fryer or I'd make sure I learned how to get better fast.
This is a puzzle I've yet to solve as takeaway chip suppers are the No 1 takeaway food I indulge in on trips away if I don't have my usual donkey chunks in the tent and luckily my local chip shop is excellent but why does the standard vary so much? If I buy a Greggs hot sausage roll I know what to expect every time. It doesn't change. Likewise, my favourite camp grub of heated up donkey chunks from a tin.
Not angry.. just disappointed... and genuinely puzzled.