Barrow Dock Museum

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We’ve been intending to check out the Dock Museum in Barrow for quite some time and, last week, finally got around to it.

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It’s a small museum, but it has model boats, which are pretty irresistible,

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…and The Furness Hoard, found locally in 2011 and including Viking, Saxon and Arab coins plus fragments of arm-rings and bracelets, not dissimilar in fact from The Silverdale Hoard.

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Having examined the area’s Viking treasures, you may want to dress the part…

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There are also axe-heads and arrowheads of Langdale stone which were apparently brought to the Barrow area for finishing and polishing.

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A big surprise for me, and a great discovery, was this furniture by the late Tim Stead.

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I’ve not been aware of his work before, but shall be looking out for it in the future. He was one of the artists who built the Millennium Clock, now housed by the National Museum of Scotland, and definitely added to my ‘too see’ list.

Whilst the boys hared around the playground in the museum grounds, I took a quick look at the docks themselves.

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Our trip to the museum was intended to be a precursor to a trip to the Wildlife Trust reserve at the southern end of Walney Island, somewhere I’ve long wanted to visit, much like Foulney Island in fact. But, having had my sutures removed early that morning, I now discovered that everything was not quite going to plan, and we spent the next three hours, or thereabouts, sitting around in A&E at Barrow Infirmary waiting to see what was to be done. Not much, it eventually transpired. Patience is the order of the day apparently. Ho-hum.

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Barrow Dock Museum

Into The Woods

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A couple of times last week we had open house, with the kids inviting various friends around. Thursday was one of those days. I got out quite late and had another short zig-zag around a few local spots. The aim had been to arrive at or near the Lots in time to see the sunset, and although I did just about make it, I could really have done with being there about 15 minutes sooner. Whilst I was still in the woods, I caught glimpses of the western sky through the trees, which suggested that the sun was suffusing it with a warm glow of oranges, yellows, pinks and purples. By the time I had a clear view I felt that I was only seeing the final fling of the show.

Not to worry: any disappointment I might have felt was more than compensated by the fact that I bumped into two of the most talented and creative people I know*: the Painter and the Glass Artist and it was lovely to catch up with them both.

(*Not that I keep a league table of talented and creative acquaintances and friends. That would be weird.)

You’ll have noticed that I’ve skirted around Wednesday: on Wednesday we had Our Grand Day Out – a trip to Lancaster. Ta-dah! Not that there is anything wrong with Lancaster, in fact, it’s really worth a visit, but it’s our local town, so not much of a departure for us. However, we took a tour of the castle which was excellent: highly recommended. In the past, lots of castles have featured on this blog – they’re one of the things we all really enjoy – but Lancaster will have to wait; next time I shall take my camera. Whilst we were there, I bumped into another old friend and colleague, now working at the castle, and discovered that he also ranks highly in the ‘talented and creative’ stakes, what with having become a playwright.

After a very pleasant lunch at Molly’s, we went to the cinema to see ‘Into The Woods’. Did I ought to offer a review? I’ll give it 4 out of 5, because 4 (out of 5) of the family enjoyed it. My appreciation was somewhat marred by the fact that A kept elbowing me awake. That’s a couple of hours of my life I shall never get back.

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We had one errand to run in Lancaster too: a trip to the draper and haberdasher. Little S had hit upon the notion that he wanted to make himself a Teddy Bear. As you can see – he has. Well, it was a joint effort really, in which everybody had a hand (except me – I was out with my camera, but that’s another story). I suppose this means that TBH and the kids all get promotions into the top tier of the creativity league too. A and S have jumped on the bandwagon and both have materials for their own Teddy Bears.

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I mentioned the possibility of branching out into recipes: here’s a very simple soup one (to go with the bread from earlier in the week). It’s so simple, I think the only reason it works is because it’s based on homemade stock. None of the quantities are precise, because they don’t need to be.

Into a big stock pan chuck:

  • A chicken carcass, stripped of any useable meat.
  • A carrot
  • An onion, halved. Don’t bother to remove the skin it gives the stock a nice colour.
  • The leafy bits from a bunch of celery.
  • Half a dozen peppercorns.
  • Any other tired vegetables from the fridge, or vegetable trimmings, parings etc.
  • Enough water to cover that lot.

Put it on a low heat and leave it for an age. (You want it to simmer gently for a few hours).

For the soup:

  • on a low heat, sweat some veg – I used onions, leeks and carrots – in your fat of choice (mine’s currently ghee, but I think I might have used rapeseed oil this time). For soups or stews I put the lid on the pan and leave the veg until it’s properly softened (stirring it now and again).
  • Add enough stock to give the sort of consistency of soup you fancy. Chuck in some left-over cooked chicken if you have some. Simmer for say 20 minutes. (But 10 would do I think.

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How did it go down? I’ll give it 3 out of 5, because B and TBH and I all liked it. S and A weren’t so unreservedly enthusiastic, but then they’re fussy.

Into The Woods