Friday, July 27, 2012

Beautiful Eton # 5 - Eton and The Olympics

Pretty much everyone around here knows the Olympic Rowing and Canoe Sprint and Paralympic Rowing will take place at the Eton-Dorney Rowing Lake. Many people will know the Olympic torch was carried down Eton High Street in 1948, but there is more...

Did you know Eton High Street has the only 1908 marathon route marker still in existence?

Just above head height on the building next to Baldwin's Bridge; between the Post Office and Eton College gift shop. The sign reads "Marathon Route, 25 miles, 40.2 kilos".

Apparently, Eton College would have been the starting point had the marathon been the standard 24.85 miles, but it was lengthened to just over 26 miles to start a bit further out at Windsor Castle, and then a bit more was added at the end to get the runners to the Royal Box at the Olympic stadium in White City. So for those running marathons who find the last mile the hardest - you can blame the first London Olympics!

If you want to come and see the marker for yourself, I'd suggest walking from the Windsor-Eton bridge. You can then wander the length of Eton High Street taking in its other sights, and of course the wonderful shops. Within a couple of minutes from the bridge you'll reach Tastes Deli, where if the weather is anywhere near as beautiful as today, you can pick up an ice cream. Continue along the High Street for a third of a mile and you'll find the marathon route marker. Google maps estimates the walk to be 5 minutes, but with all the wonderful browsing opportunities en-route, you should allow a bit longer!

For the sake of accuracy I should mention that I have read that this marker was from the 1924 Empire Games held at Wembley. But I've seen more citations referring to the 1908 Olympics and it is in the right place for the route of that marathon, so I am running with the Olympics theory (pun completely intentional - sorry!).

Thursday, July 26, 2012

New Range from Bim's Kitchen

This week we took delivery of a new range from Bim's Kitchen. James "Bim" and Nicola Adedeji produce a unique range of African-inspired products, including hot lemony piri piri sauce, baobab pepper jam, chilli coconut relish, bean and nut curry sauce, and spicy African ketchup.

Last night I sampled the Smoky Baobab BBQ Sauce which we used to marinade some chicken before grilling it. It was delicious! It was also getting dark by the time I took the photo so it is a little grainy!

This week's Beautiful Eton post is an Olympic Special! So will be delayed until the official start of the Olympics tomorrow.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Beautiful Eton # 4 - Turks Head

98 High Street, Eton is "The Turks Head". The original building dates from 1520. It was an alehouse from when records began in 1753. Graham, whose family have lived in Eton for centuries believes his ancestor (Mary Pickman) was landlady there 1800ish, possibly with her husband Richard.

According to the listed buildings register, the building you see today has an exposed 17th century timber framework with red brick nogging on the ground floor and plaster infilling on the first floor. The front ground floor wall and oriel windows are believed to be in the location of the original wall, and were built in the 1950s to replace an earlier addition which had stood in front of the original wall line. The recessed ground floor wall exposes the joists of the floor above. There are three pairs of carved figures under the overhanging jetty. These were apparently added in the 1950s.

The alehouse interior was the scene of an Edmund Bristow painting in 1845. Apparently Edmund Bristow lived in the house next door (number 97) in 1863. In 1878 the alehouse was turned into The Three Lilies, a coffee tavern with low-cost accommodation; aimed at a more respectable clientèle without the temptations of alcohol. I'm not sure what (if anything else) it was between 1912 and when it became Turks Head Antiques. Since 2009 it has been the studio of couturist Hardy & Hooper.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Scotch Eggs

Rita, the hands behind our hand-made Scotch Eggs, is back from her holidays (and has a surprising tan despite not leaving the UK). She has collected fresh eggs and is currently scotching* them. They'll be re-appearing in our deli counter this afternoon.

* I think that may be grammatically correct. The name "Scotch Egg" apparently comes from "Scotched" or "Minced" so there must be a verb "To Scotch" mustn't there? Maybe not.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Beautiful Eton # 3 - Stamp Vend

The stamp vending machine outside the old Post Office on the corner of Sun Close, 126 High Street Eton. The building now houses Shaw Gifts, the Post Office having relocated to much larger premises by Barnes Pool Bridge.

Steve from the Colne Valley Postal History Museum tells me the case is a Type K Mk 2. It could hold one or two machines. When these machines are built into the wall as the one in Eton was, the coin tubes usually ran down behind the machine and into the shop. The case is most probably by Carron Company in the period 1960-1970.

Steve tells me the machine on the left is a B4, 1d or 1p coil vending. On the right is a Not in Use closure plate (covering the hole where a second machine could be sited). The B4 mechanism was by Associated Automation and looking at the flap it could pre-date the case - possibly 1940/50s (all of the mechanisms were designed to fit in the same mounting plates and cases so could be swapped over). You can find out more about stamp vending machines on the Postal History Museum's web site.

I love how the "post box red" colour has aged to a beautiful matte terracotta.

A quick google search showed me this photograph of the post office (with vending machine) from the 1960s.

This shows another Type E mounting plate with another coil dispenser to the left of the case we can still see today. Thanks Steve!

And whilst I'm on the subject of Post Offices, before moving to 126 High Street, the Post Office was at 102 High Street from 1899, and before that at 113 High Street (from 1871). Now it is number 137.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

More Teas Please

I've added another new tea to our selection here at Tastes Delicatessen; a smooth, creamy blend of black tea leaves, coconut, cashews and vanilla. It is from Vitalife, the people who make our popular "Energising Tea"; a refreshing combination of green tea, guarana, lemon, and liquorice.

That brings the total number of teas available in the shop to more than fifty! It's a good job they sell so well! But I do need to add some more to our online tea shop.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Beautiful Eton # 2 - Victorian Post Box

Eton's iconic Victorian postbox is one of the oldest in England, designed just 15 years after the first postage stamps. The vertical slot 'pillar' box is apparently an 1856 design and one of only ten survivors. It is also less than 30 m from tastes deli, so if you come and see it, do pop in! (I am told the others are in Banbury, Birkenhead, Gravesend, Oxton, Milford on Sea, Warwick and three more places...)