Friday, September 26, 2008

Take me to your leader Part 2

I promised that I would give you the answer to the mini puzzle!
Do you remember the picture that I posted for Wordless Wednesday?
Do you see the helmet on the left?
Can you see the ear piece?
Turn it 180 degrees
And there he is.......
Take me to your leader ....................

Friday Food

Are you feeling hungry?  Do you like pancakes/crepes?  This recipe is delicious, quick and easy.  Make sure you read the instructions to the end - it would be a shame to miss out on the last ingredient!

Make enough pancakes in advance so that there are two (or more) for each person.  Leave them to cool in a stack until you need them.  They can even be frozen and defrosted.

When you are ready to serve them make half a pint of STRONG coffee.  Sweeten it with approx 2 teaspoons of sugar, you can add more if you have a sweet tooth and add one measure of brandy.

Find a large sturdy frying pan or skillet.

Take the pancakes and fold each one in half, then in half again.  Lie them in the pan as evenly spaced as you can and pour the coffee mix over the top.  Gently poach until they are hot, you can always do them in two batches if you are quick.

Place a serving of pancakes on each plate.  (Allow the sauce to continue bubbling while you do this, it will intensify the flavour). 

As quickly as possible, and while the pancakes are still hot, gently open the fold to make a small pocket.  Into this insert a scoop of cold, creamy icecream....

Spoon the hot sauce on top and enjoy!

(Can you leave it at only two?)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Take me to your leader....

Reading this online article I realised that I had the ideal photograph.

Any guesses?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Thursday Theme: Large

This week's Thursday Theme is 'Large'.

This side view of Urchfont Manor was taken last weekend.  We are back this weekend to sell our stock to another group of students.

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tuesday - Time to Learn a New Skill?

Fancy doing some crafting? Here are some instructions. I can't wait to see your interpretations.

Instructions for ease

1 Imagine and execute original design ideal. Suitability for finished article must be mindful throughout. Time taken is immaterial as enjoyment is of the utmost.

2 Prepare finished design for inlay. Regard suitable size and rough edges. Too much must be removed.

3 Glue must be applied being careful of excess stickiness resulting in over-indulgence. Be mindful of back flap which must be free and front flap which must not.

IMPORTANT: Front flap will be middle flap when design ideal inserted to space. Ensure no confusion occurs.

4 Paper insert should be inserted ensuring that inset is inserted inset.

5 If all else is failing, original design ideal may be out-taken space from glossy magazine. Using scissors proceed as of 2

For obstructions in other languages please send addressed stamp.

Monday Memory

As you read down this post you will find a long gap. Before you scroll further to read my memory for this Monday I would like you to search into your own. Do you have children? If not, consider a memory from your own past that fits into this scenario...

Think about an occasion - maybe long ago - when your child (or you) was very naughty.....

You don't have to make any admissions here, these thoughts are private, just bring something to mind before you read on.

Here begins the gap.

And here it ends....

In the following narrative the names have been changed to protect the innocent! The story, however, is true.

Several years ago we lived in a small community. Our children were very small, in fact our youngest was barely walking. There were few local playmates, but there was one little boy who lived across the road. We will call him John. He led a very protected and sheltered life, and it was unusual for him to be allowed to play with other children, however, our daughter had obviously passed whatever test was set, and she was often invited over to play by his mother whom we will call Susan.

One morning, after only about half an hour there was a knock on the door. Susan was standing at the door holding our DD's hand, and clutching John firmly to her bosom. I could see that something was wrong, but couldn't imagine what it could be. The story unfolded....

DD had found a pair of scissors and had cut John's hair. She had never done anything like it before, and has not done anything like it since. To be honest, as I looked, I couldn't see anything wrong with the hair, but I was appalled that she had done such a thing. She was suitably chastised, and I presumed that the relationship with the family had been severed for ever. Certainly relationships were cool for the rest of the month. One morning, however, at coffee time the doorbell rang. Susan was standing on the step, John firmly in tow. I invited them in. DD was delighted to see him, and before long they were playing happily together.

On the afternoon of the incident Susan had taken John to a child's birthday party. All the mothers had oohed and aahed over the haircut and requested the name and address of the barber! Family members had also expressed delight at how good his hair looked when they attended a wedding the next day, in fact, although she had never admitted that it had been cut by a four year old, the general concensus was that John had never looked so smart or like a boy. We ended up laughing about the whole incident, and we still chuckle over it to this day.

The moral? Well, all children are naughty, and maybe your child has just done something you would rather forget. However, I'm fairly certain that sometime in the future you too will be able to regard it with a certain amount of amusement, without condoning the action either at the time or now. Memory is a wonderful thing....

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday Summary

Another Sunday, another week has passed, and as usual it has been busy. However, it was busy in a different way. As mentioned in last week's summary the central heating engineers arrived on Wednesday, so the early part of the week was spent in preparation.

It was important to move as much furniture and stock so that access was available to all radiators. The boiler is actually situated in the kitchen, so that also meant that this room was out of bounds during the days we had a 'visitation'. Preparation in this area was obviously rather important! We had to eat, albeit without any fancy trimmings, and we needed access to tea and coffee AND biscuits. Oh yes, biscuits - chocolate biscuits, but to find out more - read on! If the weather obliged it would be salads for us!

So, on Tuesday the essentials of central heating were duly delivered and deposited in the garage. The easy part was now done! More boxes were moved, stacked and left accessible for any orders that might materialise during the proceedings. Furniture was also moved and by late on Tuesday evening all was prepared. Wednesday came, promptly at 8am so too did the plumber, a hose was attached to the system and 'drain down' began. By Wednesday evening all was going according to plan......
Thursday dawned and work progressed. It became apparent that all was not well. We had one hot radiator, a couple of lukewarm ones, and the rest were decidedly cold. Now was the time for chocolate biscuits, not for us, but for the workmen. They scratched their heads, they pulled, they pushed, ate more biscuits, drained the system and refilled. Nothing worked, and that is still the situation, and we await to see what happens. Once again we have 'foxed' the heating engineers, something, somewhere is wrong, but no-one can find it. The central heating is currently running, but not properly, and we are in the middle of a 'cleanse' to see if that will help.

Friday was a bit of an anticlimax I admit. We spent the day hauling bits and pieces back into position, well, not quite because it will have to be moved again at some point. I babysat in the evening, I enjoyed it but Jack was too good and didn't wake, so I didn't get a cuddle! I did take a sneaky peak, though, and he's still gorgeous! Saturday involved more moving and also loading the car because today we had a return visit to Urchfont Manor. Lynn Horniblow and Janet Crowther were the tutors, but the place was also overrun with motorcyclists there for their annual training session. It was quite surreal, but we have seen it before and no doubt they well be back next year!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The colours of Custard

Weekend posts are rare around here.  We normally work at weekends, so blogging takes a very back seat.  However, it just so happens that we are at home today, and I thought I would just show something that I worked on recently.  To say that I 'worked' on it is a little misleading!  It took longer to find the bits and pieces than it did to actually stitch. 
Study in Paper 1
It is just a simple colour study with paper, and I have a feeling you are all asking 'so, what's this got to do with custard?' 
The answer is - nothing!
Journal pages can be created for so many different reasons.  I don't do many, but there is always something that sparks the initial inspiration.  My poor long-suffering DH was browsing the local paper, when I caught sight of this headline over his shoulder.  I have no idea what was in the article, and it was snipped out before he could say 'Jack Robinson'.
'The colours of Custard'!  What does it say to you?  I'd be interested to know.  (For those of you that have never heard of custard HERE is some information)
Custard conjures up visions of hot delicately coloured creamy sauce for puddings, cold toppings for some trifles, cool and set under crispy caramel topping (creme caramel), baked egg custard, still warm from the oven and flavoured with freshly grated nutmeg ... etc, but always a gentle colour, the colour of egg yolks mixed with cream.....
Waaaay back in the last century (I'm not really that old, but it just seems like another life now) I worked for a solicitor.  He had many clients, but his most grateful was the owner of a Chinese Restaurant.  Their history went way back to before I was born, so I have no idea how they first met, but his way of saying 'thanks' for services rendered was to serve the entire office (it was only a small office) lunch on a Friday.  This tradition continued for many years after I left, and the other tradition that continued was the  serving of a traditional Chinese meal followed by a traditional 'English' dessert.  During the time that I worked there we ate our way through a variety of interpretations of apple crumble, spotted dick and rice pudding, all of which were served with custard.  I have never, before or since, seen custard made in a similar colour.  It was the consistency of acrylic paint, and frankly could have been squeezed from such a tube.  It was the most vivid yellow imaginable.   This is what inspired the journal pages.
Custard Blog 4
Custard Blog 3
They were just for fun. 

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Food

I thought I would share an easy supper dish with you today.  We were first introduced to it during a visit to France some time ago and while this recipe may not be traditional (I couldn't find one) the flavour is good.  It is made using Reblochon cheese.  This is a 'smelly' cheese, so don't leave it lying around in your refrigerator for too long!  It takes about 45 minutes from start to finish. 

375g/12 ozs potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled.

25g/1 oz butter

1 small onion, chopped

250g/ 8 ozs bacon or ham, chopped

1 miniature Reblochon cheese, or half a large one

5 tbsp single cream or milk

salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 220 deg C/ Gas Mark 7. 

Thickly slice then boil the potatoes for 5 - 10 minutes until tender. 

While the potato is cooking, heat the butter in a frying pan and fry the onion and bacon until lightly browned - about 5 mins.  Remove from the pan and set aside.  Add a little more butter, if necessary, and then add the potato slices and brown for about 2 minutes each side until golden.

Cut the cheese in half through the middle, then cube it, leaving the crust on.  Make layers of the potato, bacon and cheese in a buttered gratin dish.  Season as you go, but take it easy with the salt.  Pour the milk or cream over the top and then bake it for 20 minutes until the top is brown and slightly crisp.

Serve with a crisp green salad.  Enjoy!

If you can't find Reblochon cheese you can substitute a mix of Cheddar and Emmental, but it won't be quite so good! 

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thursday Theme: Flowers

My Thursday Theme this week is 'Flowers'.  An original photograph, taken in the garden earlier this month, has been digitally altered using the minimum of  effects.  Both would lend themselves to various stitching techniques.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday - too busy to blog!

Those of you that have been following the blog for a while will know that we have had virtually no heating for the last two years.  We have managed to get through two quite cold winters with little or no effect, but this was not intentional, and it would have been good to have been warm.  We have discovered that an extra jumper on top of that extra jumper really does work, although getting out of bed on a couple of mornings certainly took some will power!

However, tomorrow is the start of a new era!  All being well, by the end of the week we will have a fully operational central heating system.  The gubbins is being delivered today and we have already had a telephone call to say it is on its way.  Today will be spent moving bits and pieces to make access a little easier.

Notice I said 'a little'!

Have a good day, I'll let you know how it goes, but not tomorrow, because that will be  'Wordless'

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Monday Memory

It is the time of year when our garden is full of raspberries.  We have several varieties producing both red and yellow fruit.  I have to admit that the yellow ones are sharper and less tasty than the red, but they make wonderful jam, and I can use them to make enough to last the entire year.  The red ones, though, are best eaten fresh or frozen to make desserts and sometimes we just have so many our freezer is still bursting with them as the new crop nears readiness for picking.   Family and friends always know that they can expect a supply and this year again we are inundated with berries.

Yesterday, as I picked another bowlful, I was reminded of a time long ago.  It was the days before 24 hour television, when TV's still had a white dot that faded to nothing and the commercial channel in the UK was still in its infancy.  We had to find other ways to entertain ourselves.  Reading was a passion, the radio evoked visions of characters rather than personalities, Sunday afternoons usually involved a walk after lunch, and so on.  Brought up in the south-east of England my memories are mainly of sunny summer days with cold winters, yes, it rained, but those memories have faded into insignificance.

My late Father, was a lovely man.  He was unusual in that he could tell us from an early age that he loved us (almost frowned upon in those days) and he loved giving us treats and surprises.  These were usually family based, something we could all enjoy.  In those days he worked for the BBC.  He worked long hours on shift work, leaving home at 6am and not returning until well after midnight, his shift pattern followed a two week cycle which meant that one weekend he would work from Saturday morning until the early hours of Monday morning.  However, that also meant that he would be home the next weekend, and that usually meant a treat.  Sometimes they were really simple.  For example I remember one weekend when my Mother went to the local Church to help with a fundraiser.  Unbeknown to her (and to us) my Father packed a picnic and when it was time for the sale to end he bundled my brother and me into the car and we went to collect her.  We then drove into the nearby country and had a lovely time.  It was the surprise element that made it so exciting.  Often he would suddenly announce part way through Saturday that tonight he was doing the cooking.  It was very unusual for a man to help in the kitchen, let alone take on a full meal, so this was different too.  His meals were always unconventional, using ingredients that went together in an unexpected way.

About four times a year we would have a trip to the theatre.  Our nearest was a repertory theatre in Guildford.  This was long before the days of the Yvonne Arnaud, and the evenings we spent there were full of magic and delight.  The evening culminated with a meal at the Corona Cafe.  Like the repertory theatre the Corona has long gone, but the food was good, and a meal in a restaurant was a real treat.  It was to these meals that I found my thoughts turning as I picked the raspberries.  My favourite dessert was the Raspberry Meringue Glace.  Icecream, raspberries, meringues and cream.  It was only available during the summer months, for the raspberries were fresh, and this was long before the days of food being carried by airlines.  In fact, I thought about our trip so much that I even made an Etsy treasury in their honour.  You will have to be quick if you want to see it, it will expire in a couple of days, but here is the link.  Just for fun!

My Father?  He died in 1992, and tomorrow would have been his birthday.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday Summary

This is just a quick look at the past week.  It has passed so quickly I can't believe that it is Sunday already.

Firstly we shouldn't have been here !  It was the second of the two weeks we had put to one side for our annual holiday.  However, we were so tired that neither of us could face going away, and we had the knowledge that this coming week is the week when our central heating will finally be fixed.  So we stayed here!  Nothing got done, not even a lot of sleeping.  The phone didn't stop ringing and we ended up working as normal :(

Anyway, apart from that it was a good week.  Mum has been getting more and more frail, but this week she has seemed a little stronger, and I even managed to visit on one day at the same time as my brother.  We had a good reminisce, and that seemed to do her good and stand her in good stead for several days afterwards.  I'll be off to visit her again tomorrow, and I wait to see what that visit has in store. 

It was a week of rain for many parts of the country, but we have escaped very lightly.  Yes, we had rain, but we also had sun and managed to dry some washing on the line on more than one day.  Other areas have had a dreadful time, though, and my heart went out to my 85 year old uncle who made a pilgrimage back to the north-east to meet up with old colleagues and visit relations, probably for the last time.  He travelled to the part of the country that seemed to be almost totally underwater, and although he is now safely home, he was unable to see some of the sights he wanted to visit.  It is a shame as his sight is almost gone, and he will probably be unable to make the trip again.

We had fun and games with our plumbing.  Although we had no problems with the rain we woke one morning to find the kitchen floor under water.  Fortunately a plumber arrived poste haste and the leak was fixed.  It was a very strange washer in a pipe joint.  Dealt with he departed and we began the mopping up.  The next day he was back.  The same thing had happened overnight and we had to start again.  Not funny.  I suppose it serves us right for living in a Victorian property.  Who knows what the heating engineers will find this week, but I'm not even going to think about that until it happens.

I spent a delightful morning with my little grandson while his mother had an appointment.   He is now nearly walking, and his vocabulary is growing so we can have 'conversations'.  He has also discovered the word 'No', and shakes his head furiously, laughing all the time, when asked to do something.  It was a really fun morning, and I look forward to the next time.

Our 'holiday time' came to an end on Saturday when we made our first visit of the autumn to Urchfont Manor.  It was a busy weekend with students of Yoga, Trees and prospective Head Teachers all mingling with C&G Diploma students with Sian Martin.  We felt as though we had never been away ......  I was able to show them some vegetarian silk and explain how to manipulate it.  Watch out for it soon on Etsy:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Brilliante Blog Award

I feel such a fraud. I have been nominated for the above award, and the reason I feel a fraud is because this particular blog has been conspicuous by its absence. Of course, it's a while since I posted the blogging without obligation, motif, but I still feel a fraud! Secondly, I have to admit that I have been nominated twice, and, although I have searched and searched for the original mail, I just can't find it. If it was you, please don't be offended, please email or convo me so I can set the record straight. This is what happens when you finally get around to sorting out internet post.
I can, however, say a very big thankyou to MaryB. If you follow the link you will find details of the award of the nomination, but have a look around, because it's a lovely blog that I dip into often.
So. What happens now? Well, I have to nominate seven blogs and that is certainly not as easy as it sounds. Please don't be offended if I miss you out, I may just have to invent an award of my own for some of you.....
and just for good measure - here is number
Yes, I know it says 7, but I can't count ;)

Here are the rules for the nominees:
1) Add the logo of the award to your blog
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you
3) Nominate 7 other blogs
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs
Check them out. They are worth following.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Joey and Aleethea

Despite giving birth to a beautiful bouncing baby girl in early August support and encouragement continued to be given to the Etsybloggers Street Team.  By whom?  By Joey and Aleethea, of course. 

The intro to their shop says: Giggle with us as you enjoy our unique handmade designs. I am a mama to an amazing 2yo boy and a beautiful newborn baby girl / a momtrepreneur / a professional programmer and website developer / wife to a super husband, super geek, and U.S. Air Force veteran, and I design and handmake each super cool and luxurious item...all by myself!

Theirs is  the most delightful shop on Etsy.  Here are some of the items you might find there:

MONSTERLICIOUS SWIRL - Space Monster - Super Plush and Deluxe - Blanket or Throw



ONESIE - Penelope the Monster - Short Sleeve Monster Onesie



5 PIECE SET - Hot Pink Safari



BABY CUFF - Skater Boy 360 - Reversible Fabric Cuff




Thanks Joey and Aleethea

Today .....

Is our wedding anniversary.  Yes, 38 years.  I would say that it just seems like yesterday, but that is too much of a cliche to be true.  Instead of  posting a photograph to celebrate I thought I would post something a little silly as my very last memory as a single girl. 

It was actually something that happened almost at the last moment.  The car had collected my father and me, and having been driven the mile to the church we were taking those final steps towards the pretty church. 


Being very shy and retiring (of course, I still am ;) ) my head was lowered, the path was lined with friends and well wishers, and I didn't want to meet their eyes.  I clung to my father's arm as we walked along, no real thoughts going through my head, and then I saw them.

White plimsolls.  They were absolutely brilliant white, and I realised that they had just been whitened.  They were brighter than any bleached tooth in a night club.  I raised my eyes to see that they were being worn by an elderly lady, somewhat large, wearing a brown tweed suit, brown homburg style hat and sporting a camera.  Having achieved the picture she wanted she turned and scuttled down the path in front of us and disappeared into the church.

It was a slightly bizarre moment.  However, it didn't end there.  Later I saw the same shoes at the reception.  It was an elderly aunt on the groom's side, but of course I had still to meet her.  And meet her I did, as a new Mrs, and the first thing I learnt about her was that she suffered from bad feet.  I know because she told me.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008