The Compostual Existentialist

Wordpress flavour with added crunchy bits

Re-enacting the past

For shitz and gigglz I took Zoe to the Great Central Railway near Loughborough. It was a special day there as they were holding a Second World War day where each of the four stations were “zoned” into different “fronts” of the Second World War. It was a very enjoyable day out, with people dressed in period costumes, stalls selling period things, period food and drink and music from the era.

While walking round I was struck by the thought of how iconic that period was. It was a time of strife, knuckling down and patriotism. It was a time that many people today lived through themselves. Unlike the likes of say Civil War re-enactment this period was still in living memory.

And that got me thinking. What will people re-enact in the future? What iconic periods have we lived through in recent years? Will they re-enact say, the 1980s? The 1970s? Or even the noughties? What would they do?

Well, now you can join in on my special 1980s re-enactment.



>Geocaching 2010

So this weekend saw the start of the Geocaching season for me. Ok, technically it was a few weeks ago when I went mooching round Wooley Edge and bagged two caches while trying out new software. Zoe and I decided to start out with some easy ones to get us back into the swing of things.

The first trip took us to a disused railway bridge out at Hunningham near Leamington Spa. As I say, it’s been a while but it’s the little things like spotting good places to park, working out that the direct path is not always the best and if at first you can’t find the cache – look in the most obvious place.

So on getting there it became apparent that there was no easy way to get up to where I needed to be. Short of taking a good 4 mile walk to get to the cache the only other option was to scramble through undergrowth and up some rubble.

Further adventures were had trying to navigate a field of potatoes. We could either take the direct path across the crops or round the edge of the field adding about 30 minutes onto the trip. The crops were safe as we opted for the indirect approach which, fortunately, took in another cache on the way.

The glorious sunshine which graced the midlands today meant that rather than the usual slobbing out on the couch, Zoe and I would do some more geocaching. Today’s trip reminded me of why I really enjoy the hobby.

The UK is a beautiful picturesque land. There’s so much to see but often we ignore places because, on maps, there doesn’t seem to be anything there.

However Geocaching takes you to some of the most interesting places that you wouldn’t ordinarily visit.  So today’s trip took us to the lovely sleepy village of Weston Under Wetherley.

I mean look at it. It’s just gorgeous. Makes you feel British. I can just imagine poncing about the place in my blazer with service medals and being called Major or something. So this has reignited the desire to mooch about the countryside looking for bits of concealed tupperware while armed only with my HTC HD2.

Anyway, the glorious weather seems to have awoken other cachers as the travel bug – the Stegzy Gnomepants’ Badger’s Coastal Tour Travel Bug has also been on the move. So it seems the season has begun, work permitting, I intend to do many more caches this year. Maybe actually getting to places outside of the West Midlands and Yorkshire.

And yet I still find myself wishing there was something like this when I was younger….


stegzy – I think this Tshirt has shrunk in the wash
Wife – I don’t. I think its because you have grown a belly
stegzyRemembering the previous weeks of takeaways Hmmm you may have a point.

I have become rotund. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration. I’ve put on a bit of weight over the past month. I put this down to my propensity for salt and pepper spare ribs and to the fact I’m frequently not arsed to cook lately. I love cooking but lately I just can’t be arsed. Recent trips to the shops, mostly the supermarket (yeah yeah I know) as I am being too lazy to trawl the market, have been uninspiring. This week, with finances looking like a steaming pile of plop, my meals have mostly consisted of what lucybutler and aladdin_saneUncle Monty might call “Caravan Food”. Last night I had left over salad (salad made with the brown slightly on the turn salad vegetables in the fridge), the night before I had cold roasted sausage and frozen left over home made curry. These culinary morsels have been complimented with apples and the occasional morish orange. So my diet is a bit cack. I’m wondering if the belly is actually the first sign of malnutrition. Probably not though.

I’ve been thinking about the weekend and what activity I might get involved in. Money is tight (I really could do with a job) so voyages to the bottom of the county are not an option. Trips to the local surroundings are. Saturday is RMerry’s birthday. She is having a party at Elsecar heritage centre. Yes that’s right. Elsecar heritage centre. Which has a minor selection of heritage activities to participate in. Unless you count a giant kiddies fun factory type thing as heritage. So I might take the opportunity to sneak off and do a bit of geocaching.

A Day Out in West Yorkshire

I apologise about the quality. I’m still getting to grips with my new camera phone.

Emley Moor mast


Emley Moor Mast

It’s like a giant willy! Piercing the sky, broadcasting it’s signal far and wide

The Bottom

View! View! Look how far you can see!

This is Yorkshire. Thirty years ago all that would have been coal mines

Gnomepants Manor. Yeah right! I wish

There is something sexual about canal boats entering a tunnel.

Here there be trains

In Yorkshire, even the sheep are made of steel.

All high streets in England look like this. Honest.

Essential for making a good rissoto.

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So I said to GtHD “This year, we will be exploring the Lincolnshire Coast”
To which he replied “Oh you’ll have a great time. I went t’ Skegness at Easter”
“What’s it like?” I asked, expectantly
“Typical seaside resort” he replied “All that coast is great”
“I’ve always imagined Skegness to be like Blackpool
“Oh no it’s not as bad as Blackpool” he assured “Mablethorpe is nice too, it’s a bit ‘old pensioner’ is Mablethorpe, but it’s reet nice you’ll have a grand time”

So on that reccomendation, Tuesday morning after completing a few errands, the wife and I packed the car with the camping stuff and shuttled off down the A631 to the east coast. The journey was pleasant enough, sweeping landscape of crop laden fields, the hilliness of South Yorkshire giving way to the flatness of Lincolnshire. The straight straight roads littered with signage warning motorcyclists to kill their speed not themselves. Several hours of driving and I was in need of a break. So for lunch the wife and I stopped in Louth catching a sandwich in a local bakers shop before hitting the road once more and onward to the coast.

Saltfleet was our first stop. Now, on the map, Saltfleet looks like a relatively nice place. In between the rowdy clatter of Cleethorpes and Mablethorpe by all accounts it should have been a peaceful fishing village with old houses and interesting twisty bendy lanes. Tea and gift shops aplenty. Well….maybe anywhere else. Here on the Lincolnshire coast it just goes to prove that one can not judge a village by it’s position on the map.

It was pleasant enough. The village of Saltfleet was a good distance from the seafront. In fact a great distance. I suppose this should have been the first warning. The village had modern well kept bungalows. I couldn’t see any shops. I could see a sign, however, directing me to the sea. A 5 minute drive following this sign took us past acres upon acres of holiday site. Static caravans as far as the eye could see. “Fair enough” I thought “Maybe the action is just at the end of this road”.


How wrong.

The free empty and vast parking area should have given it away. The lack of amusement arcades; the dearth of demanding and hyperactive children; the lack of PEOPLE. Should maybe have given me some clue. But it wasn’t until I saw the signs warning me not to step on the sands and if I did not to touch any suspicious object that I realised Saltfleet was probably not a good place to come on holiday.

So turning round we headed south along the coast and to Mablethorpe.
Now those of you who have never been to a British Seaside resort should. No really. You should come to the UK, legally or illegally, and visit somewhere like Brighton, or Eastbourne, or Bournemouth. There in you will get an idea of how British seasides are typically laid out. Using the material availiable to me, and having never been there, I can only imagine Coney Island though as I say, I’ve never been there. Maybe even a sort of chavvy Weston-Super-Mare. Still struggling? Well ok imagine a coastal road lined with bingo halls, variety clubs, fish and chip shops, screaming little bastards, teenage mums, burly hairy tattooed vest wearing men and women, lots of old people wandering round looking at things with some faded fondness, fair grounds, gaudy illuminations, mile upon miles of caravan sites and the like. Oh and some sea, maybe a bit of sand and plenty of icecream.

Well yeah that’s the Lincolnshire coast for you.

Anyway, shocked as we were, it was too late to head to Scarborough, so we bit the bullet and headed to Skegness for our holiday. Our campsite was the lovely Sycamore Lakes (mosquitos) at £15 a night for our tent. We then despatched ourselves to the centre of Skeggy for a look round. Therein we discovered a tasty fish and chip shop and a rather splendid shop selling ice cream.

The next day involved a look round Skeggy, a trip to Gibraltar Point (a local area of beauty) and finally a drive into the market town of Boston. Our moral sapped, we agreed that on the Thursday we would head north once more and return via Cleethorpes.
OMG. Cleethorpes is positively grand and vogue compared Skeg. Sadly we could only spend a few hours there before our will to live was sapped. We then headed back to Brierley.

The end of our holiday was wrapped up nicely with a trip to Liverpool to catch up with some good friends. Theres nothing like a dose of homesickness to really top off your Barnsley Icecream.
Home now though. It’s late. Time for bed said Zebedee.


Abridged Version

Brierley -> Sheffield -> Saltfleet -> Mabelthorpe -> Chapel St Leonards -> Skegness -> Burgh le Marsh -> Boston -> Alford -> Cleethorpes -> Brierley -> Liverpool -> Brierley.

<edited 24/05/18 replaced pictures and made some  corrections here and there>


Cockleshell Bay

I do like to be beside the seaside.

I do like to be beside the sea. When walking along the promenade freezing to death in the cold sea air deafend by the incessant BOM BOM BOM BOM of the dodgems in the dodgy gyppo travelling fairground, then avoiding the dive bombing seagulls while trying not to wretch at the stench of stale piss and fish and chips.

The seaside. It’s fantastic isn’t it? So what I like to do is pretend that it is the 1950’s and the golden age of British Seaside holidays. I roll up my trouserleg, don a knotted hanky and try to imagine the hard, vomit encrusted wall is a deckchair and that there are no such things as wasps or small children.

Premature: A long post cut down so you can read the abridged version

>Ok. Maybe I was a bit angry yesterday.
Mrs Gnomepants and I did eventually get to go to farm shops as planned. But our trip to the international food store in Wakefield will have to wait now until next month.

First port of call was Broad Close Farm Shop in Silkstone. Silkstone is a fairly affluent area of Barnsley. You can tell this because there are few houses and those in the village are all nicely presented and even the village petrol station (yes it still has one) is nicely manicured.

This is the farm shop.

There were also some tasty looking rabbits.

My first worry was that because this shop had been advertising on Dearne FM that it would be overly expensive. But it was new by the looks of it. Small in layout, with only a cooked meat and uncooked meat display, a few baskets of pristine looking vegatables and some expensive looking (locally produced) oils and stuff; brands which I’ve noticed from other farmshops. There is a concern that the more successful local producers are pushing out the smaller ones before they can get a foot hold making them no better than the corporate giants. Sad thing is I see this happening more and more often and because the demand for finest finest finest foods by the middle class foodies, disillusioned with supermarkets (or just wanting to appear more ethical to the Joneses) pushes up the price of locally produced food, I think the quality and ethical standpoint suffers. But no matter.

Broad Close specialises in pork, lamb and beef and, as it happens, we came out with naught but 4 sausages. I’ll tell you about them when I eat them. Anyway, the next stop was to be the Hazelhead Hall Farm Shop in the aptly named Penistone. However just as we were heading into the foothills of the Pennines we saw a sign beckoning us to a seemingly previously unknown farmshop which specialised in fruit and veg. So we stopped off there for a nose.

In a little shed there was a vast selection of fruit and veg. Veg you’ve never even heard of. Not only that locally produced stuff was clearly labelled. We bought locally produced honey, Brussels sprouts, carrots and some free range eggs. This little farm shop didn’t do meat. But that was not to be a consequence because we spent nearly £40 on fruit and veg there which, no doubt, should last us 2 weeks.

So on to Hazelhead Hall. The approach to Hazelhead Hall was nice. A dirt track taking you past future meals (ie live pigs and free range chickens) up to the farm shop itself.

Pigs = where pork and bacon comes from

Chickens come from farms too not just Supermarkets

Hazelhead Hall looked expensive from the outside. A sign in the window announced that their coffee shop was closing for good next week. This probably means that they are going to expand. Again, a farm shop that seemingly specialises in meat. Notably beef and chicken. However there was no chicken available because there had been a run on Free range chicken since Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s TV programmes the other week*.

We ended up spending £10 on a HUGE bag of stewing beef (which should last us the rest of the month if not longer), £4 on a really nice and tasty looking steak and a further £10 on some barn reared chicken which the butcher assured us was not intensively reared (though I do have my reservations about that statement). Either way we spent a heck of a lot of money on that

* Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey are TV Chefs here in the UK. They recently did a series of programmes about how intensively rearing chickens is really cruel and how supermarkets are tricking customers into ignorance about the cost and method of production of bargain basement chicken. It was very interesting. Indeed you should go to and teach yourself something about some of the shit the supermarket has you shovel down your throat.

When we came back from our trek across Barnsley we just put the car away when Joey texted to say her and her boyfriend, Mart, were inbound to the Three Horseshoes in Brierley. I offered to pay for a meal for the missis and we hastily headed down Church Street to join them. However there was a 40th Birthday party on in the restaurant bit so food was off (which was a pisser) but we had a nice drink and chit chat with them before going our separate ways. The wife and I returned to Gnomepants Cottage, ordered a pizza and watched a bit of Red Dragon before falling asleep (Manhunter is miles better than Red Dragon IMO)

Today we nipped down to Blythe to have lunch with Philip (formerly Philip-in-Brighton), his partner Jaq and their lovely little girl Isobella. Philip is a vegetarian so we had a veggie goulash with rice and served with “potato pancakes”. After all that roughage I’ve been making some interesting smells in my trousers this evening. But no matter. It was a delightful repast.