|(C) David Tubb|
Let's just clear a few things up here, (other than my forthcoming pedantry) because Pies can get rather confusing. Fish Pie is also called "Fisherman's Pie" which I like because then it makes a trilogy out of our friends Shepard's Pie (Lamb) and Cottage Pie (Beef). However, further complications are that "Shepard's Pie" is a more modern term used to cover the Mutton aspect of the pie and, until this usage, "Cottage Pie" was used for both Lamby and Beefy pies.
As far as I'm concerned, Fish Pie should not contain Prawns, that's just weird. That, in my view, classes it as a "Seafood Pie" or an "Admiral's Pie". Despite that, I'm not actually sure what an Admiral's Pie is, and I often think of it as just a marketing name for a more "luxury" Fish Pie. Seafood Pie, then, is also something to be avoided and its term should not be used in conjunction with Fish Pie, otherwise I'm going to end up with a prawn and I don't like them even if everyone and their dog say they're lovely. Seafood Pie is edging its way over to Paella, which I call "The Emesis Of Cthulhu" (sequel to "The Call of Cthulhu", that is.)
The further more mind-boggling thing to clear up is, just exactly what defines "Pie"? Originally I thought pies were pastry-topped, whereas tarts are pastry-cased with an exposed top. Although, then I thought, what if the Pie has a lattice top? That's essentially half covered and half exposed; where does it stand on the Pie-Tart scale? And then, of course, the pies from the Pie Trilogy are all topped with Mashed Potato, which eliminates pastry from the definition. I have later come to think that Pies are slope-sided and must contain a top of some kind, whereas Tarts are shallow-sided and do not contain a top. Goodness knows what to do with a slope-sided bare-topped (or, alternatively, shallow-sided covered-topped) dish.
Anyway, what I was meant to say was, I made a Fish Pie. It was very nice indeed, and included eggs, which is often traditional. Although, I realise that admitting to the inclusion of eggs may cause some people to have a similar reaction to that of my, "It can't have prawns in it, madman!" I also very much enjoy making mashed potato which, luckily, kept this within regions of Piedom.
For further explanatory and illustrative purposes, here is a picture of some fish on a plate:
Note the lack of prawns.
A Long Barrow is an ancient burial mound dating from New Stone Age times, also known as the Neolithic Period*. This was quite a job to find, I must say. The Long Barrow is situated between two small towns: Stoney Littleton (not surprisingly) and Wellow (which, surprisingly, is where the "car park" is.)
"Car Park" in inverted commas because it was, essentially a field with, oddly, no exit onto the public footpath beyond. English Heritage's "Parking is limited" was a little way off the mark and should probably have read, "Just park in the middle of nowhere nearby and hope for the best." In the end, this is what I did because I would never have been able to walk all the way from Wellow down Littleton lane. Instead, parking right next to the entrance bridge† was right and, oddly, I think was the intended place anyway, but it was certainly not clear.
It is a nice walk though because the land traversed to get here was probably being farmed by the Neolithic people, and is still being farmed to this very day. The signposts are sparse but not unclear, each situated over a stile. There were a few stiles to cross, each one dry so I sat and took a rest on them, noting that no one else had been through this way that morning. Today was also the first day I took out the new walking stick to support me as I amble; I think it certainly helped as the place was rather hilly.
Outside was a single purple tealight crushed just before the entrance. Probably left there by some Pagan/Heathen person's recent trip to IKEA for coloured candles. Can't say much about the subject, but I was told by a Historian that the Paganism known today is an extremely modern mutation of the original (and different) Paganism - really, I don't know anything about it, but I found it amusing that the only so-said Pagan in the audience of this Historian was shaking his head with solemn dismay. I suppose that slow head shaking often rises in my mind at situations like these because, in the same way he felt to dismiss a learned Historian with the shake of the head, someone decided to leave a purple tealight outside a site that is (for me and many others) a place of historical interest not standing to be covered by littering, worshipful footfall.
There is also an ammonite fossil set into the entrance which must have been found by the builders of this place and selected as something special - click the above picture to enlarge it and see clearly. Inside, it was very dark. It is recommended that you bring a torch, so I brought Ol' Beamy, as I call him: a disc studded with 20 white LEDs, which are very, blindingly bright. But not even Ol' Beamy could penetrate deep into the Long Barrow's blackness.
The biggest problem was that the ceiling is extremely low and crouching is therefore the only possible form of motion besides crawling - which has the drawback of not being able to see where you are going. After a short while my legs became extremely weak, and reminded me of those old days when I used to go Filming with Phil and work non-stop with the tripod until I was utterly exhausted. It was dark and I thought the ceiling might fall in somehow, but it was fun and interesting too. Back off down Littleton Lane in the car! This lane, as it turned out, was aptly named because its size was, well, little-ton.
Worth the visit, but plan the journey up there, certainly.
* "Neo" means "New", and "Lithic" means "Stone" in Latin.
† For those interested, the coordinates of this place are: +51° 18' 37.02", -2° 22' 57.89"
Some time ago in 2004 we had our presumably once-yearly family outing to Burger King. Got to get a toy a Burger King now, haven't you? My sister and I were disappointed however: not only did we receive the same toy, but it was a terrible one. Personally, I wouldn't even call it a toy. It's a lump of squashy plastic that, although supposedly looks like a character from a film, looks more like a poor inhabitant of Lovecraft's Innsmouth. It is also supposed to be a hand puppet, but the mouth is so immoveable that this is only a hand puppet in the same way that a loaf of bread sellotaped to a pig is a ham sandwich.
My sister and I were wholly bored with this toy, until we realised its face can be amusingly contorted by squashing it. Now it became a puppet with a humorous, moveable mouth! We laughed very much that day and have found it amusing ever since. I enjoy this story because it is an example of how humans are very good at making improvements to things that just aren't quite right - like a rubber duck being a pointless, yet somehow entirely pleasing addition to a bath.
I keep the puppet in a box in case of emergencies; an outbreak of upset is soon cleared up by this weird fish. She and I even had trouble taking the photographs for this entry, because we were choking a crying with laughter at it. It is much funnier in person because then it can be animated, but I include the pictures concealed below, view at your own risk.
David Tubb is a writer with an interest in cryptography, psychology and magic.