Thursday, September 14, 2006

My final week begins

Third week Ticklemore.

My last week.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Busy today, seems to be normal for a Monday. Lots of cheese to salt and spike. I enjoy working with Ben and Nick. We are getting a good work rhythm together. Ben is upbeat and pretty quiet, and Nick is cynical and entertaining. They both know their tasks and perform them without even thinking. I admire Nick's ability to teach. He clearly communicates what is needed and what to expect. He understands that I am here to learn, and calls me over to make sure I'm in the right place at the right time to observe or participate in the cheesemaking process. He's got a good hands on approach to the learning process.

Nick's been cheesemaking for over nine years. Ben thinks he's a better cheesemaker than Robin, now. He's an accomplished chef, having worked with two notable chefs, Keith Floyd and Jean Christophe Novelli. Nick, in addition to being a cheesemaker, also dreams of having a bed and breakfast. His wife Sally is a former pastry chef. I think they'd do very well if he decides to follow his dream. Since he's a natural teacher, I suggested that he might do something like a posh, destination B & B and cooking school. Something similar to the Philo Apple Farm in Mendocino County. Devon has lots of farms and local food products. Nick is well connected in the area, so it would be an easy transition. He's a gifted cook, having sampled some of his dishes. I'm good at supporting the dreams of others, it's hard for me to see all of my own possibilities. I'm still working on that.

After work I went to the Dartington Cider Press to look for gifts. It is a complex of shops, each one with a different focus. Bookstore, kitchen wares, restaurants, garden center, toy store, local art glass, ceramics, and woodturning were all featured. The buildings are located on a corner of the Dartington Estate. I didn't buy much, but it's a good place to browse. Ben says it's a great place to shop for Christmas presents. I wish the dollar was stronger. I was tempted by lots of fancy teapots, mugs, local ciders, and tea towels. One Pound Sterling is currently trading for $1.89. I really feel the impact of the weak dollar right now. Things appear to be priced the same as back home but when I work out the exchange rate, it costs twice the price than in the states. For instance, a £35.00 teapot is $67.00!!! It keeps my shopping to a minimum. A modest sBLT, my sandwich of choice cost £4.15, US translation: $8.00!! Ugh.

I look at shopping as a challenge. I must find things that I can afford and can carry easily. Things I like to bring home: local jams, English plum preserves like Damson or Green Gage are two of my favorites. Hard to find CD's by English artists, books, magazines, tea, Crunchie candy bars, tea cozies, cheese knives, a cheese cage, and of course, cheese.

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