September 14th, 2006.
Liz and I work together today. The guys have the day off. The first part of the day involves the usual morning routine. One of us dry salts Monday's cheese and moves them into the Salting Room. The other gets to spike 6 day old cheese. I volunteered to spike! I count the number of cheeses to spike and prepare the shelves for the cave. Each shelf is composed of two aluminum bars and must be sprayed with Quadec (sp?) a long lasting sanitizer, then the shelves are wrapped with cling film and placed in the cave (aging fridge.) Each shelf holds seven blue cheeses, and they are stored three deep, so each shelf will hold a total of 21 cheeses. I wrap twelve aluminum bars and place them in the cave. I grab the trolley of goat cheese dated the 7th of September and begin spiking them. Each cheese takes about 10 seconds to spike. I then stack them on another trolley and wheel them into the cave when I have about 12 of them spiked.
Entering the cave is always exciting for me. I open the door to the walk in fridge and see a long, narrow room lined with cheese along both walls. When you first enter, you find the young Ticklemore Goats maturing. The new ones look naked sittin on their white plastic bakery trays. They have no mold. On other trays I see cheese that growing a light dusting of white p. candidum mold. I see others that are almost ready for sale. They are enrobed in a healthy layer of white mold, mixed with a dusting of blue/grey mold from the ambient blue cheese mold in the cave. The blue is only on the outside and doesn't hurt the cheese.
In an ideal situation, they would have two separate aging caves; one for the blue cheese, and another for everything else. No space, unfortunately. Above the Ticklemore Goats, wire racks of Goat cheese buttons are aging for about 10 days. They also will grow a light coat of white mold. These are made and sold exclusively at Ticklemore Cheese Shop. Moving farther into the cave, the walls are lined with cylinders of cheese. They resemble small tom-tom drums sitting on their sides. Some have grown a nice dusting of blue mold and are ready for scraping. Others are just showing signs of change, with patches of mold forming on the surface.
Towards the back wall are a few more racks of white bakery trays. These are filled with the rarest of Ticklemore's cheeses: Boyton and Ticorino. Both are aged ewe's milk cheese. Boyton, as I mentioned before reminds me of Basque sheep cheese like Abbaye de Belloc with tiny eyes and a smooth texture, and nutty, slightly toasty flavor. I haven't tried the Ticorino, Robin's version of an Italian pecorino. Not sure what he based it on. It has a natural rind, sort of dove brown in color. Nick and Ben keep telling me what a pain it is to make. They put a lot of effort into it, and don't have a lot of cheese to show for it in the end. They only sell Boyton and Ticorino at Ticklemore Cheese Shop and Country Cheeses in Tavistock. If you're ever in Devon, I suggest spending an afternoon in Totnes and pay the cheeseshop a visit.
HOW I SPEND MY EVENINGS.
I am here by myself. I don't go out often because I am alone and the dollar is weak and doesn't buy much. I've been listening to the radio a lot. I flip between BBC Devon and BBC2. The local BBC stations really emphasize community. The DJ's encourage calls, text messages and emails. They announce birthdays, anniversaries, lost dogs, and other things relevant to the community. Often the DJ say something like, "Well, I just heard from Mrs. Beasley from Newton Abbot, who says she's in the garden and her dog, Avery, just loves it when we play Rod Stewart. Well, Mrs. Beasley and Avery, this one's for you." Cue Rod Stewart singing "Mac the Knife." The music they play is all over the map. I often hear the current #3 single from the Scissor Sisters, followed by Frank Sinatra, then The Beatles, into Elton John. BBC2 is even more eclectic. They'll play the Arctic Monkeys, The Feeling, The Beach Boys, The Kinks, and REM. Then there will be an hour long country music show that features Waylon Jennings, Amy Grant, and Confederate Railroad. Next up will be a funk show on Thursday nights. A lot of the DJ's are only on once a week, and then only for an hour or 90 minutes. You can't play that many songs in an hour. Strange formats.
TV: No cable or satellite. I have four channels to amuse me. BBC 1 and BBC 2. Fine if I want to see shows about the great gardens of Britain. ITV 1 and Channel 4. Quiz Shows rule the airwaves. I'd be really happy if I liked Sharon Osbourne. It looks like Ozzy's wife has moved the family back to England an is taking over ITV. She's got her own chat show where she takes her gothic inspired stage and tries to be matchmaker and gift giver. She also has a dog or two wandering around the set. Then if you haven't had enough, she on the U.K.'s version of American Idol, The X Factor. She's the nice one, sitting next to Simon Cowell. Click! TV sucks.
Since I am not distracted by the garbage being broadcast on English TV, I have been spending my evenings collecting my thoughts and writing. Being alone with my thoughts can be dangerous. Watch out, I'm armed with a computer!
Now Playing: Richard Thompson "1952 Vincent Black Lightening"