• The Tenuous Purpose

    This Blog is built - not, as some might expect, on a flimsy whim but on a strong and single minded principle.

    That principle concerns Biscuits and their position in the world.

    We are really very keen on biscuits.
    As are many of you out there.
    We think.

    We wish to create an archive of Arrowroot, a backlog of Bourbons and a catalogue of Chocolate Fingers. Anybody can contribute an entry - or dispute somebody else's - provided they are not dull.
    Even Americans who perhaps don't really have the heritage of biscuitry that we are fortunate to have here.

    Or maybe they do and we are unaware of the full glory of the cookie.

    We realise that this whole subject is admirably and concisely dealt with by that excellent and unbeatable website A Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down. Our feeble efforts will be as the kicking of a gadfly in the face of their wisdom and experience but we hope that we may have a small contribution to make.

  • Biscuit Encounters on Twitter

  • The Synod of Biscuitry

    James Alexander-Sinclair of Blackpitts
    Gardener, Blogger, Journalist, Lecturer etc, etc. Much of his life is spent loafing around other people’s gardens issuing directives and generally cluttering up the place. However, like the great Mr Kipling, he does (occasionally) make exceptionally good gardens. (Although even Mr Kipling messed up a bit with the Carrot and Walnut Mini Classics.)

    Mark Diacono of Otter Farm
    He does sterling work growing many inappropriate plants in Devon. He dedicates a great deal of time and effort nurturing a plethora of plants that are (mostly) totally unsuited to our climate. His is a life of such extreme eccentric dedication that to start a Blog about Biscuits seems perfectly normal. He treads gently in the footsteps of people like the great William Buckland,a professor of Geology who claimed that he could tell location by tasting the local topsoil.

Easter Bunnies (and Biscuits)

Soon after I met my (now) husband in the early 1980s, he learnt to windsurf at the National Sailing Centre in Nottingham with his elder brother. He took to the sport like the proverbial duck to water and it soon became clear to the both of us that if our relationship was to prosper, I would have to learn to windsurf too.

So, one bleak October weekend I was initiated into the sport at QEII Lake near Ashington, Northumberland. This lake was formed after the local pit had closed and was no longer drained, with a view over to the old colliery pithead. This area (i.e. lake and old slag heap) was included in the area’s revival plan, and became a country park rising out of the ashes of the local coal seam. An active windsurfing club soon sprang up and my then-boyfriend attended regularly.

Late October is not the best of times to learn to windsurf. Yes, there was plenty of wind for us to sail with, but it was what my dad would call a lazy wind (blows through you, not round you), was bitterly cold and not the steady breeze needed for beginners. Consequently I fell in rather a lot, much more than my thick wetsuit was able to cope with. By lunchtime I was close to hypothermic and sat shivering despite wearing the two Everest expedition standard jackets lent to me by both instructors. I reckon the real lifesaver though was the packet of chocolate digestive biscuits given to me a bit later 🙂

And so it went on. Weekends became devoted to windsurfing and I learnt to keep on top of my board and sail it rather more than flailing underneath. After a 18 months or so of this, we were married and moved to the south-west. Here we took advantage of my husband’s aunt living in Poole and spent many weekends and holidays windsurfing from Sandbanks, Evening Hill or Hamworthy Park. Poole is a mecca for windsurfers owing to its strong, usually constant breezes, double tides and relatively shallow waters of the massive Poole Harbour area.

My husband’s aunt always looked after us well. Breakfast and tea were vast and matched by a massive packed lunch. She’d also come over to wherever we were sailing at around 4pm with flasks of tea and coffee and something calorific to recharge our flagging batteries. Cake was our usual feast, but Easter was different because she’d arrive with a large tin of freshly baked Easter biscuits, a special kind of shortbread with raisins and sprinkled with sugar. Alongside chocolate eggs, hot cross buns and simnel cake, Easter biscuits form part of our traditional holiday fayre. Shop bought ones are impressive in size, but hers were the size of sideplates. A couple of those munched whilst held by salty hands would stoke us up for another couple of hours sailing before returning home for tea.

Sadly we no longer go windsurfing in this country, having become fair weather sailors and preferring the warm waters of the Mediterranean. We still often visit Poole and will be doing so this Easter with my brother-in-law and family. Windsurfing may no longer be on the agenda, but that tin of Easter biscuits will still be produced for us all to share.

The Orange. Michelle Chapman

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3 Responses

  1. Coincidentally I looked up the recipe for Easter biscuits a couple of days ago. Being a lazy trollop I didn’t make any!

  2. BTW that’s NAH’s debut on the interweb 🙂

    And he paid for me to go on that windsurfing course because I was so broke from buying my own house I couldn’t afford it. It was the first sign I had from him (after dating for 2 months) that our relationship might just be going somewhere.

    I’d decided he was the one for me before we’d even started dating – it was the classic coup de foudre on my part.

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