Paella, Innocent Railway Path and night lights

On Sunday, to celebrate my sister Elaine’s  and great nephew Dylan’s  birthdays, my niece Kerrie made a special meal, the highlight of which was an impressive dish of paella. The question was asked – what does the word paella mean – none of us knew. Looking up the word paella, I discovered that the origin is from the Spanish La Paella, meaning a pan i.e. the dish not the meal, and originally from the Latin for pan  – patella. Before the main dish, the table was filled with a variety of starters which would have had the food gods salivating. There was breaded calamari with garlic mayonnaise, a wheel of cos lettuce leaves filled with Stilton and yogurt mix on a plate, Parma ham and salami, a chorizo salad, and some crispy bread. The paella itself (see photo 1 – taken with mobile phone, so not as clear as it might be) was served in the paella dish in which it had been cooked and was aesthetically pleasing as well as smelling wonderful. The dish was adapted from a BBC recipe and certainly lived up to the aim of to “Transport the quintessential flavours of the Mediterranean into your kitchen”. In the best paellas – and this was one – the flavour of the rice is a tasty (and tasteful) combination of the juices from the different elements – onion, peppers, garlic, paprika, chicken, mussels and prawns. In all, a great demonstration of culinary expertise.

I’ve been increasing my cycling mileage steadily and last weekend, I set a new record of 66 miles (107K), with my mate John and I cycling from Dunbar to Edinburgh.The route we took followed minor roads and including going along the Innocent Railway Path. Part of the route is a tunnel which has the distinction of being the first railway tunnel in the UK. The origin of the title Innocent appears to be obscure and may either have been related to safety or the slow pace of the trains. You might think that the origins may  have lain in the prison system, with one track for those found innocent and another e.g. The Guilty Railway Path for those convicted. There is, of course, no evidence for this, but it’s an intriguing thought.

Night time photography is notoriously difficult, especially for amateur photographers like me, who won’t sit down and read the detailed instructions provided with our cameras, but as I found out at the weekend, it can have some surreal consequences. I was taking some photos at the back of our house and trying to capture the lanterns which we brought back from Dubai. The result – see photo 2 – is an image which might be multi-coloured lightning hitting the lanterns or might be molten gold and white genies escaping from the lanterns – or it might just be the effect of not using the right setting on my camera – choose your own explanation.

Paella in la paella

Paella in la paella

Night lights

Night lights



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