Most of my photos look better enlarged - just click on the photo to do this

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Peas in a pod.

Bigger, easier, more, faster, cheaper ... why are we seduced by these words? Does size matter or the speed with which we reach a goal?

I was podding some peas for dinner last night and whilst I did my mind turned to thoughts on the above subject.  It would have been so much quicker and easier to open a packet of frozen peas but would that necessarily have been better?  Whilst podding the peas I was transported back to sunny childhood days when I would sit with my mother on the step and "help" her to prepare peas for a meal.  I am not sure quite how many peas I actually contributed to the colander back then as many went straight into my mouth but the sound of the pods popping ( who remembers that jingle "Sweet as the moment when the pod went pop"?) last night took me right back to those happy days.  Though it took longer to produce the required amount of peas I had time to think something I would not have done had I opened a packet.
Image from Google

Then my mind wandered off to other things such as why is bigger often presumed to be better?  Bigger houses, cars, bigger carrots, bank balances and bigger portions of food.  Maybe you saw that programme on TV last week "The men who made you Fat"?  In which the thinking was that the man who introduced bigger portions of popcorn at the cinema in the USA and who was followed by others who provided "extra value" by offering super sized portions for less than double the price were tapping into the psychology which says that we will always enjoy getting a bargain, even though the smaller size was sufficient, and having bought it we will eat it.  This is apparently one of the reasons there are so many obese people in the world so obviously not a good thing unless you happen to be the executives at the top of the enterprises offering these huge portions.  Are larger vegetables better than small ones?  What about taste?  Is a bigger car better than a small one?  What about fuel consumption? As I was researching for images for this paragraph I came across this article  on why container ships may need to downsize which I found interesting - click on the link if you want to read it too.  Bigger is obviously not always better.

Cow parsley at the Chalice Gardens

Similarly is there more to life than increasing its speed?  Is the fastest way to get somewhere necessarily the best?  I am lucky enough to have a choice when travelling to some place I wish to visit.  I can use the car or I can use my bus pass for local trips and I can use the train instead of flying if I want to go to Europe (long haul might be difficult but that is a whole other story which I won't go into here!).  Now it isn't always possible to go by public transport and without the bus pass it would be expensive but for me a bus ride is so much more enjoyable than taking the car.

Chalice Gardens - spring
  I recently went to visit the Chalice Gardens at Gastonbury - a 35 minute drive in the car or over an hour on the bus.  I took the bus.  I was able to see over the hedgetops and to notice the countryside as we passed, the banks were clothed with cow parsley and the fields gilded with yellow buttercups.  The horse chestnut trees were decorated with blossom like so many pink or cream coloured candles.  The route went through villages I had never seen before where cottages with thatched roofs hugged close to the road their gardens filled with flowers - thatchers were working on one house (not often one sees that on the main road). Then again on my bus ride to London last week I was aware of sheets of moon daisies spread on the wide verges like washing laid out to dry, hedges clotted with creamy elder blossom and plenty of pale pink dog roses, the soft greenery of spring giving way to the darker, denser green of summer and somewhere along the route we passed a field of poppies looking like a great Oriental carpet spread over the field - an amazing sight I would not have seen had I been speeding along the A303 in a car.

Steps at Chalice Gardens

It is easy for me to say these things - I am not a working mother with a family to feed and only 24 hours in each day but I do wonder whether we are not missing the point sometimes?

Now for something completely different:  In our garden we have a seat just outside the back door where we sit with our cups of tea - weather permitting - or sometimes I just sit whilst waiting for the potatoes to boil or whatever.  Our garden is on a slope and there is a retaining wall, alongside some steps next to the seat, which has a couple of pipes inserted at the bottom presumably for drainage.  Sitting with my cup of tea I have noticed bees (I got my binoculars out to check what they looked like and they seem to be the furry kind - see how little I know about bees?!) going in and out of the right hand pipe (if you click on the photo to enlarge it you can clearly see the hole).  Indeed during the course of drinking one cup of tea there must have been dozens of them coming and going reminding me of planes circling above Heathrow and coming in to land (another blog post there perhaps?!).  I wonder what they are doing in there.  The pipe can't be that long and I am guessing it goes into the damp earth at the back of the brickwork so why would they be attracted to it especially this summer when it has been so wet - it must be horribly damp in there.  Any ideas?

Yesterday there was an Air Day at nearby Yeovilton and we saw these planes over our garden - the previous evening they had been practising and the sky was clearer but I didn't have my camera to hand! You will see them more clearly if you click on the photo.I am not sure if they are the Red Arrows perhaps.

If you are still with me - thanks for listening to me going on and on - it seems that I either have too much to say or can't think of anything at all - sorry!  Thank you too for all your lovely comments on my previous posts and to those of you who have decided to follow my blog - welcome.


  1. I didn't see the programme - too much happening here! But feel incensed at the way in which we are manipulated . I KNOW we can say no, but as you say, when families have lots of children, not much money and no time, they go for the cheaper/easier/larger otion - of course they do! There is so much social engineering going on these days.
    I use a very small car and drive at reasonable speeds - save s petrol, and cook mostly from scratch. But I'm no saint. And I'm finding already with all the extra family here at the moment some 'junk' is creeping in! Fortunately the children eat mostly ehat is put in front of them so we will also be having the 'good stuff' and normal portions!

  2. Jane your descriptions of the view on your bus journey are delightful, you can certainly paint a picture with words.
    I did not watch the programme you talk about, but I agree that however hard we try to resist, we are controlled in our consumerism by some very clever people. Being retired gives me the luxury of time to take things slower and to ponder over the special offers and bargain deals that we are bombarded with. As you say, not so easy for busy people working with a tight budget.
    How pleasant to sit in the Chalice Garden, I spent a lovely hour or two there on a holiday some years ago now. Thanks for your photos.

  3. Thanks for an interesting and thought provoking post.I don't know anything about bees but I shall be seeing a friend(at my Welsh class) tomorrow who has kept bees.I shall ask her.We have two cars but the larger one is only used when we go on motorway journeys or to France.Most of the time we use my little Toyota Aygo which has £20 road tax and runs on fresh air!

  4. I hear you Jane. Can't remember when I last removed peas from their pods. They are rarely seen in shops like that these days but certainly remember them from my childhood. I had never heard that about the popcorn but can easily see the progression from there. Clever marketing but unless we wake up it will lead to our downfall - in the health stakes anyway!
    I'll be interested to hear about the bees.
    PS Those bus trips sound fantastic. Your description puts me right there in the seat beside you. Thanks !!

  5. Hi, Jane! The Chalice Gardens are lovely.
    We have one car in our Family Toyota Corolla(1998) and our Family is big with not much money and no time :o) but we trying to be "Eco-friendly". But we use our car very offen to transporte our kids at school or to the hospital, and every time when we go to the farm for fresh milk & ect. I know, it would be more better live in the small town and have all those things closer to me, but sometimes we have no choice. Or may be I`m too urbanist? :o) Thank you, Jane for your post :o)
    Have a nice rest of the weekend

  6. I love podding peas too for the very same reason as you - it takes me back to childhood and eating most of them too! :)
    I don't think bigger is better when it comes to veg they certainly don't taste as good.
    What a lovely picture you paint of your bus journeys and what you see!
    Vivienne x
    P.S. They look like the Red Arrows!

  7. Yes- you are right - it is too easy these days to get sucked into the 'big is better' mindset. I watched the 'Fat' programme too.

    Let's hear it for smaller and slower!!

    A LOVELY post

    weekend blessings xx

  8. Lovely photos and interesting thoughts. The bees are most probably nesting in the hole - remember how the bumble bee tried to move in with Mrs. Tittlemouse? B. Potter knew her insects - bees will often take over a mouse-hole.

  9. I got broad beans in my veg box this week, how lovely to shell them whilst sitting in the garden in the sun.

  10. Ha! Podding peas took me back to childhood too, at my Grandmothers where I used to get to stay without my brothers and she would spoil me rotten..... teaching me to knit and letting me cook etc.

  11. Lovely post Jane and I so agree with you. The popcorn analogy is one I often get cross about when our kids go to the cinema. Makes me wince to see the size of those buckets.

    Beautiful pictures xx

  12. Hi, I just found your blog and I love it !! Well, I've become a follower and am off to read some more now ; )
    Greetings from The Netherlands.

  13. Smaller and slower. That's the way to go! We have bees inside a gap in a concrete step. I have just left them to it, whatever that is!!!

  14. I asked my friend about your bees and she said they will be bumble bees,not honey bees.They will be nesting in your pipe.Come the autumn there will just be the queen bee left.Next year she will find a new home.So make the most of them.They are only paying a visit!

  15. I can't pod peas without that TV advert coming into my head! Peas really are a seasonal delight to be enjoyed along with broad beans.

    I thought the TV programme "The Men who made you fat" was very interesting. It is a pity they can't work out a way of tapping into people's psychology to reduce the portion sizes now. Thinking of larger vegetables, it is always the really fat pea pods that mean the peas are old and the taste is just not right. However, I have to say that my husband has a large car, courtesy of his company, and irritatingly he gets far better fuel consumption that I do with my little one! Some things just don't add up.

  16. Jane, you have a way or writing what you're thinking and taking us along for the mental exercise. I love your posts! You are such an observer of the smaller things others might just not see, such as the thatcher, the view from the bus and the bees. I suspect there is a nest there and how privileged to be able to see the comings and goings. As ever, you always manage to trigger a long forgotten memory.... yes, I remember when the peas went pop!

  17. I like how the Slow Food and the Slow Travel movements celebrate taking your time, And your comments on peas were a slight trip down memory lane for me too, as it is something I used to "help" with also. And - yes, I do remember the "Sweet as the moment" jingle, at least I think I do. Or maybe I'm mixing it up with a record I had.

    I am not sure that super sized veg etc. necessarily taste worse than small ones. Most supermarkets buy veg that keep well and don't bruise and don't go off. Also they irradiate them, which I can't think improves the flavour. Ugh!

  18. I also remember shucking peas for Mum whilst sitting on the step down into our kitchen then. also I used to eat the bacon rinds and dig the marrow out of the bone from the joint of lamb. lol

  19. Your long and lovely post was so enjoyable to leisurely read through and think about. Love your descriptions of what you saw from the know how to paint pictures with words, and you didn't even need one thousand of them!

  20. Living in London with young children and lots of traffic makes for a very fast life, as you say. But when we get out into the country it is a complete contrast. I agree with you about going on buses and seeing much more. Our kids are SO excited about going on the bus (top deck) and the views really do make a difference.

    Freshly podded peas .. nothing better. And thank you so much for your kind comments, much appreciated x

  21. Jane, I simply must come back and leave more comment... this post has me to thinking about so many things and has energized me--ha! I remember as a child poping peas with an Aunt, I remember that sound! thank you for stopping by my blog--I would LOVE to come over there and enjoy the greenery and beauty! Later, Joy

  22. You are entirely correct.

    I also like to sometimes sit with tea or something, and just "be". Something in me tells me that's what I should do. Your bus trip sounds heavenly!

  23. ❤•.¸¸✿⊱╮
    Passei para uma visitinha.
    Amei o seu blog.
    Bom fim de semana!


Thank you for visiting and I hope you have found what you read of interest. Do please leave a comment as I love to hear what you think.