Saturday 17 December 2016

Lunch in Salisbury (1)

A Joyous Tradition
For nigh on thirty years the fbbs and our Island correspondent (senior) and his Mrs have maintained a seasonal tradition. The foursome meet up for Christmas nosh. The convocation is at lunchtime, so baby sitters are not necessary - which tells you how long ago the tradition started!

The rules are these. The participants take it in turns to pay and to find a "suitable" venue. It is forbidden to return to any previous purveyor of festive food!

This year fbb's were the guests and the location was Salisbury.
Christmas luncheon was to be taken in The Chapter House.
According to both Anglican and Catholic canon law, a cathedral chapter is a college of clerics (chapter) formed to advise a bishop and, in the case of a vacancy of the episcopal see in some countries, to govern the diocese during the vacancy.

So it's a very posh committee room!
The little niches round the edge were where the clergy sat and the Dean ("managing director" of the Cathedral)  was ensconced as chairman in the middle.

Sadly perhaps, the quartet did NOT dine there! The Chapter House is also the name of a Greene King pub within hymn book hurling distance of the Cathedral Close.
The ambiance was modern pseudo medieval ...
... and the fare was very agreeable indeed. fbb's choice was typically modest:-

Medley of prawn and cray fish tails
with avocado and Marie Rose sauce

Sage and chestnut stu ffed roast turkey with berry jus
served with a wild boar and apple sausage
wrapped in streaky bacon
roast potatoes

Braised Chantenay carrots with chive butter,
Crisp honeyed parsnips,
Spiced red cabbage with Malbec and cinnamon,
Creamed sprouts with crispy bacon and shallots

Christmas pudding
with warm stewed fruit and brandy custard

Lest our loyal readers are concerned for fbb's girth and cardiac health, let it be reported that portions were "festive" but not huge! The Christmas Pud portion was measly!

Both parties travelled by train; the fbbs from Axminster (SouthWest Trains) and the IoW contingent from Portsmouth Harbour in the care of (First) Great Western Railway. Much excitement was generated by the GWR train, a refurbished 158.
The new livery is smartly applied but, oh dear, that green is just too dark. Traditional (real) G W R Brunswick Green never looked other than dull ...
... and BR locomotive green only looked rally good ex Works.
Sadly, from every angle and in all lighting conditions, the (new) GWR "bottle" green seems to lack punch.  

But the fettled 158 interiors look a little better.
They look more comfortable. too.
How about some nice L N E R apple green for the exteriors?
Or chocolate and cream.
That would look magnificent on a class 158

And, talking of green; the Stonehenge tour livery has gone green as well. This is operated by Salisbury Reds which used to be called Wilts and Dorset (part of the GoAhead group).

fbb photographed the poster ...
... and the bus stop flag outside Salisbury Station.
About 30 minutes earlier, their generous hosts snapped one of the buses!
Previously, the livery was brown and orange ...
... and before that, red and black.
And, once upon a time, part of the "Sightseeing" marketing brand.
Just for the record, the Tour bus runs every day to the following timetable.
If you are thinking of going, be prepared for premium tourist rates!

Bus Only
Adult - £15.00
Child (5 - 15 years) - £10.00
Family (2 adults & up to 3 children) - £41.00

Bus, Old Sarum, & Stonehenge
Adult - £28.00
Child (5 - 15 years) - £18.00
Family (2 adults & up to 3 children) - £82.00

Bus, Old Sarum, Stonehenge, & Cathedral
Adult - £34.00
Child (5 - 15 years) - £22.00
Family (2 adults & up to 3 children) - £99.00

Its a tour, so does not accept old fogeys' passes.
Advent Calendar
It was "angels" that scared the shepherds witless. But this was not the first angelic apparition in the Christmas story.

The angel came to her (Mary) and said, “Peace be with you! The Lord is with you and has greatly blessed you!” Mary was deeply troubled by the angel's message, and she wondered what his words meant. The angel said to her, “Don't be afraid, Mary; God has been gracious to you. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God. The Lord God will make him a king, as his ancestor David was, and he will be the king of the descendants of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end!”

The content of the message is not surprising; it repeats some of the ideas of all those prophecies of the Messiah to come.

But Angels? Surely too far fetched?
A few things to remember. Mary would never have worn blue; nor did she have a permanent Colgate "Ring of Confidence" round her head!

Angels in the Bible are all described with male attributes and male names, When "appearing" on earth, they never have wings! Even in visions of heaven they don't carry a magic wand with a star on the end!
Think Clarence (the angel in the hat) from the film "A Wonderful Life" rather than a Christmas fairy.
So Mary's angel might have taken a very ordinary human form. He could have been a very strong vision in her head but, taking into account the hugeness (and the weirdness) of the message, fbb reckons a human-like manifestation.
And what's wrong with that? If there is a God then he can do what he wants, by definition. If there is no God then we shouldn't be celebrating Christmas anyway. Bah, humbug!

But all the evidence points to the fact that "the angel" was right.
 Next Salisbury blog : Sunday 18th December 

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