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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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Cheese, beautiful cheese. [20050628|00:01]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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Rounds of week-old Cheshire cheese, slowly ripening to the appropriate sharpness on long wooden shelves.


imyril and her boyfriend took us to a top-secret location in Shropshire, England this weekend to visit the farm where a particularly delicious form of Cheshire cheese is produced. We stayed in the five hundred year old ivy-covered farmhouse with ceilings at strange angles, 5'6" doorframes, uneven floors and looming wooden wardrobes. Despite our late arrival on Friday night, the proprietress was still awake to greet us and feed us tea, cheese and crackers before we went to bed. We slept well and woke late.




Naturally, the best room in any farmhouse is the place where the food is prepared. We made ourselves a hearty English breakfast here. Technically, the room with the stove and the refrigerator was the pantry and the adjoining room was the kitchen. The dining room was a separate place entirely. These shots were both taken in the pantry. Digital scales may be more accurate, but I think I'm glad the one in the second photo hasn't been replaced just yet.





Some of the farmhouse inhabitants had friendlier miens than others.





From the windows, we could watch long lines of the most important farm inhabitants, the mooing dairy cows, plodding away from the milking parlor. Outside in one of the barns, we discovered that a cow had given birth the night of our arrival. It's difficult to see in the foreground of this picture, but the afterbirth is lying in the hay in front of the mother.




We took a drive in the afternoon to Chester and walked the Roman city walls. The walls defined the city's boundary until the 1700s. The view on the left looks inward towards the medieval city center. The view on the right looks outwards. I found the contrast striking.





The farmhouse's proprietress fed us a meal of such monstrous proportions that we decided we needed to take a short walk. We squelched down a path through the pastures as the sun was setting around 9 PM. imyril demonstrated her versatility here as she simultaneously admired the glowing horizon and kept her trouser legs free of the fragrant mud.





A derelict windmill stands at the border of a nearby golf course. If it had been a little lighter or if we'd had the foresight to bring a torch, we would have done some exploring.





We didn't have the foresight to bring a map, either, so our short walk turned into a seven-mile hike. It was nearly 11 PM when I took this picture. I wouldn't trade being lost for missing the sight of summer twilight in rural England, though.
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Comments:
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-06-28 11:32 (UTC)
I may have been here for a while, but it's still a bit of a mind-bending experience to visit a house and be told, "Oh, it's not that old. It's only Elizabethan." ;-)
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[User Picture]From: smallfurry
2005-06-27 23:03 (UTC)
Here's to you and another fascinating adventure! Thanks for sharing it. Now I want cheese...
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-06-28 11:01 (UTC)
We were given about a kilo of it to take home. There's one big chunk of regular Cheshire and another of smoked. Come over and help us eat it!
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[User Picture]From: taische
2005-06-28 04:36 (UTC)

Cheshire Yentas

The cheese looks a little lonely in its aging portliness; its crust isn't growing any thinner, you know. And the windmill looks a little sad. Oh, sure it's doing its best to keep a stiff upper lip, pretending its sails are just off at the cleaners- it's not like anyone would notice a little quiver 'neath its snout anyway. Anyhow, I think someone should introduce them.

The last picture is quite beautiful, as is the landscape shot with imryl managing to look intensely focused and almost-hennish all at once. There's something timeless about that picture.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-06-28 14:29 (UTC)
Aw, the poor cheeses. Those are the younguns! They haven't even formed their crusts of mold yet. The oldest were already measuring their lifetimes in months. I don't know if the windmill would welcome their company. It might be inclined to chase off the whippersnappers, waving a shotgun and shouting.

imyril has a classically beautiful profile. Perhaps you can't see it too well at the resolution above, but in addition to her posture, it contributes to the sense of timelessness.
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[User Picture]From: ironed_orchid
2005-06-28 09:26 (UTC)
Lovely pictures.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-06-28 11:02 (UTC)
Thank you. Did you have a favorite?
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[User Picture]From: ironed_orchid
2005-06-28 13:52 (UTC)
It's hard to choose. I like the cheeses and the scales.

Are you keeping the new layout?
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-06-28 14:17 (UTC)
I think so, yes. I was getting a little tired of the green.
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[User Picture]From: seismic
2005-06-28 15:02 (UTC)
Mmmmmmmmmmmmm. Picture entries make me happy. Black and white pictures make me happy. Cheese makes me happy. Picture entries involving cheese? My gods, woman, may I make a shrine to your camera? ;)

I especially like the aging cheese wheels, the scale and the windmill. Somehow my minor obsession with lighthouses seems to be transferred easily to windmills. Whoda thunk it?
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-06-29 07:14 (UTC)
I would have happily moved in with the cheese, except the cheese storage room was very cold, the concrete floor was dripping wet and the door could only be locked from the outside. Oh, and no windows. But other than that, I can see cheese being a fabulous roommate.

I can't wait until August. Then, dSLR. Wahey!
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[User Picture]From: elleclectic
2005-06-28 16:04 (UTC)
The pic facing in towards the city center reminds me a bit of Diagon Alley...
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-06-29 06:53 (UTC)
Heh. I went to a conference in Bristol last year and stayed in one of the student halls. Our meals were served in the cafeteria, which had long wooden benches and the raised platform at one end with the table for the faculty. I walked in and I thought (but thankfully, did not say), "Whoa. Hogwarts!"
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[User Picture]From: elleclectic
2005-06-29 14:41 (UTC)
Haha!
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[User Picture]From: behsharam
2005-06-28 17:22 (UTC)
Fantastic photographs! I think my favourites are the twilight photograph and the one of the creepy little guy with the bagpipes.

Sounds like excellent cheese. I haven't had Cheshire but I bet I would like it; I have yet to try a cheese that I don't. My favourite kind right now (it changes often) is Double Gloucester with Stilton. Yum.

Out of curiosity, what does a hearty English breakfast consist of?
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-06-29 06:57 (UTC)
A full English breakfast consists of baked beans, bacon, eggs, sausage, toast, sliced tomatoes and mushrooms, all fried in an unholy amount of butter or lard. We had everything but the mushrooms.
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[User Picture]From: sadira42
2005-06-29 16:04 (UTC)
I loooove that last picture. I love sun-sets and sun-rises. That teetering in-between. And dusk.

Oooh, I milked a cow once. It was pretty cool, and actually more difficult than I imagined.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-06-30 10:33 (UTC)
Wow! We didn't get to milk the cows. Cow-milking is a very modern operatino these days. All of them are microchipped so the magic machine in the milking parlour knows what feed to give them while their udders are being emptied. All a human has to do is pop the teats into the milking apparatus and then pop them out again and shoo them along when their turn is over. The whole thing can be done by one person.
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[User Picture]From: sekl
2005-07-01 17:14 (UTC)
500 years later a 5' 6" doorframe just doesn't stand as tall as it used to.

Does the creepy bagpipe doll have a name? Perhaps a history of violence against those who do not like cheese?

The photos are beautiful. The contrast between the city center and the road outward gives a neat sense of isolation.
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