31 October 2008

A time for families

It is Hallow's Eve today, I don't like celebrating Halloween; something to do with being British and Halloween being a predominantly American celebration. So instead I remember some of the family history.

Hunting through the family photo's the other evening I came across what I thought were old (some very old) family photo's which Zeltus hasn't yet seen.

The picture on the left is the youngest of the old one's and is of my Uncles and Aunt's along with my Dad. The four children of Jesse who was our Grandfather and Dorothy Lovesey; from left to right are Dave, Eric (Dad), Lil and Sheila.

Lil, was able to give me a bit more informaiton about the other two photo's here. Picture 1 is of Jesse's wedding to Dorothy Lovesey. The Gentleman on the far left is William (Jesse's Dad). The two bridesmaid's in front are Dorothy's sisters.

They got married on the 19th May 1928 and Grandad served in the second world war, along with his brother Charlie who was killed and to this day we still haven't found out where.

The story doesn't quite end there as I had another picture in the file which shows, William with his father-in-law Joseph Lovesey.

A real character, Joseph who was married to Frances lived in Great Gransden; Cambridgeshire. Their house was near by the village pub and church and it was known on more than one occasion for Joseph to sneak off to the pub when he told Frances that he was off to the Church. However Frances knew where he was and used to come into the pub and tell him off.

The young girl in the middle of the photo standing up is Lil, my Aunt and the one who provided me with this information.

30 October 2008

Book Club - The Lollipop Shoes

We read Chocolat by Joanne Harris a while back, and the film was surprisingly good so I have high hopes of the book club choice which is a sequel to Chocolat call The Lollipop Shoes.

"Five years have passed since Chocolat, the story of a woman (or is she a witch?) who, with her six-year-old daughter, Anouk, blows into the stuffy little village of Lansquenet and opens her chocolate shop at just the wrong time – and in just the wrong place – incurring the wrath of the local priest and pitting Church against Chocolate.

Since then, things have changed. Vianne has another daughter, Rosette; Anouk has started secondary school; and the three of them are living in a rented chocolaterie in the Montmartre district of Paris. On the surface, life seems good; Anouk goes to school; Vianne has finally found a niche for herself. She is accepted within the community. She has learnt to conform; to blend in. The wind has stopped blowing – for a while"

I will admit that I didn't feel any qualms about not finishing A Suitable Boy, sometimes books aren't meant to be read at a certain point in life but left for another day.

29 October 2008

It's official

Winter arrived yesterday evening and overnight with a vengeance... the temperature dropped sharply and the rain turned to snow and the winds turned bitterly cold; we retreated to in front of the fire and watched the evening television with a bowl of soup for our supper.

SOH and I went to the Red Lion Inn, run by our friends Bob and Pauline, for lunch and we both had a massive steak with mushrooms so didn't really want anything heavy for an evening meal.

This morning, the rain clouds of yesterday had turned to a startling blue colour with wisps of cloud occasionally making the sky even bluer. This is the view from my desk and you can still see how much snow is around and that was taken only about 30 mins ago.

Apparently it is the first time that snow has fallen in this country, so far south, since 1934.. does this forebode worse weather to come this winter? I hope not.

ps - the tests proved fairly conclusively that the wheezing is down to Asthma and not the dreaded COPD which is good news, in addition they got me with the flu jab while I was there and I now will have regular check ups on lung functions though at the moment they don't want to start me on the steroid sprays so I can continue with the relievers.. Thanks for all your good wishes.

28 October 2008

Birthday Snow

It's been snowing here since just about 5.30pm, it started as sleet and has now turned to fine snow.. with ground coverage and temperatures just above freezing I guess we will still see it in the morning but I have taken some night shots with the camera. Will post them here later

SOH is delighted, he is like a big kid and keeps going outside to see if it is deep enough for snowmen...lol

Happy Birthday

SOH, who celebrates reaching the grand old age of 12 today (I take the two digits of his real age and add them together) and I have taken the day off work to be with him to celebrate.

Happy Birthday Honey, may your birthday be full of joy and happiness with lots of special memories to share in the years ahead of us.
Lots of Love


27 October 2008

Blogs and blogging

I have a fair number of blogs down on my reading list, and a lot more on my bookmarked list. I have an eclectic taste in reading (books) and this appears to translate into blogs as well.

So if you haven't made it through some of my links, here are some reasons to do so :

A Cowboy's Wife - Barb is a funny, intelligent woman and can make an awesome apple pie.

Old Age is a Bitch - Elaine's life in blog form, and gently humourous. I want to grow old as gracefully as she is.

Dickiebo - an ex-policeman with a wicked sense of humour

Jam and Clotted Cream - Beth from Cornwall - love her recipes (and so does SOH)

Somerset Seasons - Dorset Days - Leanne's daily blog of life with poetry and pictures to delight

Rev Ruth - Life in the Parish of Ruth

Get out of Jail Free - Annedroid a master of chaplaincy in today's prisons - makes you think of how prisons are not just for prisoners.

Random Acts of Reality - Tom's insight into the life and times of an EMT in London - well written and thought provoking.

Naturewitch - a gardener, and naturalist from Canberra Australia

32 Aker Wood - Janet's adventures with the Mountain Man, The Queen and DeBoy at the back of beyond; a soulmate

Zeltus - the big brother of mine, living the life in France with his wife and two Parson Jack Russell Terriers

I aspire to be like some of these brilliant blog writers I have linked above, and the many others I like to visit but are too numerous to mention. So what, and who inspires you to be something you are not at the moment?

Where do you go to when you travel the blogosphere? tell me and I will attempt to visit them all.

26 October 2008

Sunday Saints

This was part of SOH's birthday present, to go and see the Saints versus Chargers at Wembley; neither of us had been there before and were looking forward to it. We headed down to Wembley at 2pm, parking had been booked at Ruislip station which guaranteed us a place and the rail fares worked out to £4.60 each which meant that travel was a lot easier than going into the centre of London.

The crowd was amazing, many people stopped to take pictures of the stadium from the station as it is awesome but the police were quickly moving them on so as not to hold everyone up. People were wearing NFL shirts in a range of teams, it was the sport that was important not the teams playing on the day.

We were up in the gods, level 5 of Wembley and just behind the Chargers end zone, so we had great views down field. The opening ceremony had the Saintsations cheerleaders dancing along and dirigibles with the team names on being hauled around the stadium; this actually looked like hard work as they seemed hard to control at times.

Stereophonics played a short set, accompanied by the cheerleaders dancing, and then we had the National Anthems, first the American Star Spangled banner and then the United Kingdom God Save the Queen.

I was amazed at the fact that not only did many of the fans stand and sing along with the American Anthem, they did the UK national anthem proud by singing along with Joss Stone loud and clear and with gusto. I thought that many people these days didn't pay any attention to it and I was thrilled to see such participation.

The game was fast and furious, and both teams played their hearts out, but by half-time the Saints were starting to show dominance in the game and Chargers were left battling more than 10 points behind. However things changed in the second half, and the Chargers started to claw back some of the lead and in the final quarter nearly, very nearly scored another touchdown which would have put them in the lead but the Saints held them off and finally won 37 to 32 points; having given the Chargers 2 points when running a safety.

Travelling home was congested with happy fans, and we had a chance to see the Metropolitan police mounted unit guiding the fans back to the rail stations and their onward travel. I don't do crowds very well, and found this the hardest part of the journey, but we managed to get back to the car in good time and we were home by just after 11pm.

25 October 2008

Saturday Satire - The Pillsbury Doughboy

There has been a sad passing. The Pillsbury Doughboy died yesterday of a yeast infection and trauma complications from repeated pokes in the belly. He was 71.

Doughboy was buried in a lightly greased coffin. Dozens of celebrities turned out to pay their respects, including Mrs. Butterworth, Hungry Jack, the California Raisins, Betty Crocker, the Hostess Twinkies, and Captain Crunch. The grave site was piled high with flours.

Aunt Jemima delivered the eulogy and lovingly described Doughboy as a man who never knew how much he was kneaded. Doughboy rose quickly in show business, but his later life was filled with turnovers. He was not considered a very smart cookie, wasting much of his dough on half-baked schemes. Despite being a little flaky at times, he still was a crusty old man and was considered a positive roll model for millions.

Doughboy is survived by his wife Play Dough, two children, John Dough and Jane Dough, plus they had one in the oven. He is also survived by his elderly father, Pop Tart.

The funeral was held at 350 for about 20 minutes.

If this made you smile for even a brief second, please rise to the occasion and take time to pass it on and share that smile with someone else who may be having a crumby day and kneads it.

Courtesy of A Year in Bread

24 October 2008

It's Friday again

The weather is set to be fair for the game on Sunday, though not very warm at only 12 degrees.. trying to think of what to wear to ensure that we stay toastie warm during the game which lasts for about 4 hours. Kick-off is at 5pm so we should be leaving at 9pm (give or take a bit).

SOH and I are both looking forward to it, his because it is part of his birthday present (birthday is on Tuesday) and we will take some photo's of the match with a bit of luck we might have something to post on our return.

It is only 68 days until the end of this year, time has flown by this year like no other.. is this something that is more noticeable when you get older or do you not notice it at all when you are younger?

In the same way, I always seem to remember long sunny days that stretched out for endless hazy school holidays; this year seems to have been a bit of a mix and match only cold and rain, not sunny and hot with a few minor exceptions.

In the not too distant future, we will get the first sharp nights providing the silver frosting on the invisible spiders webs leaving them exposed; it can be very beautiful even if you are not a fan of spiders.

23 October 2008

A bittersweet day

I can't believe 12 months have passed so quickly, since Sam had to be put to sleep. He had stayed with me longer than I had thought he might, his sister Teg lost her battle for life nearly two years previously and he then became an only dog. Holly and Toby had to be put to sleep in 2001. And then I became a no-dog household.

Always there for me when I got home, happy just to see me and give me a hug and a warm welcome; never bothered about what I needed, they would bounce around and urge me to drop everything and take them for a walk and we would head out up the road as soon as I had got my shoes on.

Even at the end, Sam always insisted on his walks; though they got shorter of course as his eyes were going but we meandered down the lane and back again so he could meet his doggie friends and have a good sniff.

God bless you all.

Testing commencing

Am having to undergo tests at the moment to establish whether the wheezing I have developed over the past 3 years has fledged into Asthma, I have good lung functions as has been proved with the test this morning; above what they predicted. On Monday afternoon I have to attend a clinic for a test where I have to breathe out steadily for a period of 6 seconds; doesn't seem that difficult but I have to do it 3 times to see if ventolin will help during the second part of the test.

If it proves conclusively that I have developed asthma then I get to get regular checks on it, and get a free flu jab - just to ensure that I don't develop the same problems I did earlier this year when I had four course of antibiotics to try and clear the chesty cough I had after getting flu just after Christmas.

SOH is always having to nag me to use my inhaler, something I find incredibly difficult to do in front of other people. Something to do with having to do multiple things in quick sequence; not my strong point, never could get the actions together for rubbing stomach and patting head right so perhaps with more practice..

22 October 2008

Autumnal Mutterings

Here I am surrounded by technology, looking out of my window to blue skies and sunshine, wishing I was not at work but able to enjoy the Autumnal morning.

It is cold, but bright, sunny but chilly and yet I love this time of year. The crispness of the air hints at frosts still to arrive and means coats have to be worn when outside for any length of time, yet the sunshine engenders a warmth to the soul that grey skies and rain never do (even for the hardened gardeners).

Autumn brings the colours on the trees to life, like butterflies they are short-lived and fall like broken wings to the floor to catch the unwary walker.

It is a the seasons for hearty stews, of buttered potatoes and sweet vegetables; for mulled wine and hot puddings to warm the inner soul.

So far we have resisted the lure of putting on the heating at home, but it is drawing ever closer. The evening temperatures fall dramatically and by 8pm last night it was 3 degrees outside; the temperature, not the singers.

This weekend the clocks will be wound back, and the days will appear a lot shorter, due to getting home in the dark and by the middle of winter it will be dark in the mornings. Do we really need to keep messing around with the clocks these days, are there any tangible benefits in doing so? I don't know, when children used to walk to school, maybe, but so many of them don't these days though perhaps the increases in the cost of living might make a difference this winter.

21 October 2008

Horns of a dilemma

My laptop is dying... no more will I hear the gentle whirrings as his soul stirs and he presents me with my hard worked on data.. the Doctor (technician) has stated his hard drive (soul) is mortally ill and is soon to shuffle off this mortal coil.

Decision time draws nearer, whether to invest in a new laptop or to try and find replacement parts to keep the old one going for that little longer as I find it hard to let them go to the graveyards of old computers (I still have my first DOS laptop, which was going to be thrown away by my Uni) it is never used anymore but still I have a need to cling on to it for no other reason than I cannot bring myself to dispose of it.

Isn't technology terrible?

The glorious game - simply this

With sincere apologies to the non-rugby/sports readers, I present the basic rules for the glorious game that is Rugby.

A game of rugby consists of two halves of 40 minutes with injury time added on at the end of each half. Each side consists of 15 players, (eight forwards and seven backs). There is one referee assisted by two touch judges; the latter mark where the ball goes out of play, adjudge kicks at goal and inform the referee of foul play. All passes in rugby must travel backwards.

Kicking forms a major part of rugby and is used to start and restart the game, score points, win territory, launch an attack or get a team out of trouble (known as a clearance kick). If the ball is kicked directly into touch by a player from behind his own 22m line, the resulting lineout is taken where the ball crossed the touchline. But if he is outside his 22, the lineout is taken level with the place from where the ball was kicked (except in the case of penalties). Players must be behind the kicker for all set-piece kicks, such as kick-offs. But if a kick is made in loose play, then players can be in front of the kicker, although they must not advance towards the ball until the kicker has put them onside by moving in front of them.

Start of the game: A coin is tossed and the winning captain elects to take or receive the kick. Both halves of the match are started with a place kick from the centrepoint of the halfway line. The kick must cross the opposition's 10-metre line, which the opposition are not allowed to encroach beyond until the ball is kicked. If the ball does not travel 10 metres, goes straight into touch, or goes over the dead ball line at the end of the pitch, the receiving team can opt for a scrum (see Scrum) or a kick again. After a score, the game is restarted from the same place under the same restrictions, with the conceding team drop-kicking the ball to the scoring team.

22 drop-out: A drop kick is taken from the 22m line if a team touches down in its own in-goal area but did not carry the ball over the try line, or if the ball is kicked over the dead ball line from any other play other than the kick-off. The ball only needs to cross the line, but if it goes directly into touch a scrum is awarded to the receiving team at the centrepoint of the 22m line.

Scrum: The eight forwards from each team bind together and push against each other. The scrum-half from the team that has been awarded possession feeds the ball into the centre of the scrum from the side most advantageous for his hooker. The ball must be fed straight down the middle of the tunnel and the hookers must not contest for the ball until it is put in. If they do, a free-kick is awarded for "foot up". The scrum is taken again if the ball comes straight out of the tunnel or if it collapses. If the scrum wheels more than 90 degrees the scrum is reformed and awarded to the other side.

Lineout: A maximum of seven and a minimum of three forwards line up parallel with each other between the five-metre and 15-metre lines. The hooker of the team in possession throws the ball in while his opposite number stands in the "tramlines" - between the touchline and the five-yard line. All players not involved in the lineout, except the scrum-half, must retire 10 metres. The ball must be thrown in straight down the middle of the lineout and the hooker must not cross into the field of play while throwing in. Jumpers can be lifted by their team-mates below the waist, but the opposition's jumpers must not be obstructed, barged or pulled down.

Hopefully this will give some of the US visitors an understanding of the glorious game

20 October 2008

Another week... another dollar

A good weekend, sadly not a great weekend for various reasons. Mostly feeling under the weather on Saturday and then not really feeling up to very much yesterday. So sat and watched the rugby on Saturday evening. We did plan on watching the NFL games last night but Sky tv was playing up and the Buffalo vs Chargers game was hit by what seemed to be a power outage so we resorted to channel hopping before Frost came on.

I like David Jason as an actor, but especially Frost as he portrays a tired police inspector trying to cope with all the red tape and therefore this first monday motto is for Frost.

19 October 2008

Noah's Blog

Have you ever thought if Noah wrote a blog what it might look like, check this post out; sadly not my work but an excellent viewpoint on life.

I love the sense of humour in this post, and may work on something similar to this for something else..

Watch this space.

18 October 2008

Saturday Satire - It's all hot air!

A man in a hot air balloon realised he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman tending to the flowers in her garden. He descended a bit more and shouted, "Excuse me, can you help me, please? I promised a friend that I would meet him an hour ago but I don't know where I am."
The woman below replied, "You're in a hot air balloon, hovering approximately 10 metres above the ground. You're between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude."

"You must be an accountant," said the balloonist.
"I am," replied the woman, "How did you know?"
"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct but I have no idea what to make of your information and the fact is I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help at all. If anything you've delayed my journey."

"You must be in management," said the woman.
"I am," replied the balloonist, "but how did you know?"

"Well," said the woman, "you don't know where you are, or where you are going. You have risen to where you are, due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise, which you have no idea how to keep and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met - but somehow it's now become my fault!"

17 October 2008


The weather is set to be fair in the South of the country, sorry to those Northern folk on here but no doubt you will get some warm sunshine soon.

No meetings this week, just catching up on some of the admin tasks and gardening tasks.. unluckily for us SOH is working today, tomorrow and Sunday then he has a training course on Monday before work again on Tues, Wed, Thurs. So little chance of enjoying the late autumn sunshine on the bikes.

Saturday evening Northampton Saints are playing Montpellier at home in franklin's gardens though we will probably watch the match on Sky. Saracens are away to Viadana while Bedford are playing at home to Sedgley Park and the Pirates are in Doncaster for their match. SOH won't get home in time to watch Bedford and in any case we are due to see Bedford vs Cornish Pirates on the 1st November in Bedford.

Instead on Sunday I am planning to be a driver's mate... well actually passenger as I won't be doing anything useful except to keep him company.

King Harold

I finished the book Harold, see Hmm I am reading now post, on Tuesday.. and it wasn't really significant to me until I reach the final page and realised that Harold fought, and lost against William the Conqueror on 14th October 1066 at Senlac Hill (though more commonly known as the Battle of Hastings).

The book left me with lots of questions, about some of the characters such as Harold's wife Aldyth and his long time over 20 years, handfasted wife, Edith Swannheils and what happened to them after William's invasion and the death of Harold.

Reportedly, Edith asked William for her 'husbands' body, to bury but he refused and told his men to bury him where no man may find him; though a grave is supposed to be at Battle Abbey.

Aldyth, Harold's queen, was sent to York to her brother Morcar but little seems to be known of her other than she was reputed to have fled abroad with Harold's mother.

However, the blood line didn't die with Harold, his sister Gytha married into the Russian dynasty and also the French royal of Isabella of France who married Edward II lead back to him. So the Norman invasion was re-invaded.

Isn't history fascinating sometimes..

ps the book is definitely worth a read if you have time and I will certainly take a look at some of her other books

16 October 2008

Village Church

Though I was born in Dorset, formerly known originally as Wessex, it was by happenchance. This was because my Dad was in the Army and when they left Libya, where Zeltus was born two years previously, it was all a bit of a rush; something to do with the British being asked to leave - ergo we ended up in Blandford Forum.

Dad though, was born in Bunyan's county (Bedfordshire), and when he left the army in 1974 my parents decided to settle in his home village.

Home it was until Dad died in 2002 - while on holiday in Cornwall. So it is a co-incidence that Zeltus's wife hails from Falmouth in Cornwall, and SOH is a Redruth boy.

The village church is a pretty, as well as being a functional church, still has the old wooden pews inside and the christmas midnight service is well attended; though the idea of carols by candlelight had to be scrapped when one year someone managed to set light to their hymn sheet when trying to read the words.

According to the official documents :

The earliest mention of the village is found in 969, when among the boundaries of Aspley mention is made of the village. The Chartulary of Ramsey Abbey records that Alwyn the Black, who died in 998, gave the manor to the Abbot and convent of Ramsey.

This grant was confirmed by Edward the Confessor in 1060, by William I in 1078, and by Pope Alexander III in 1178. The latter grant speaks of the church, which is not mentioned in the two earlier. Abbot Alfwin, the last Saxon abbot, granted a life estate in Cranfield to Ralph Earl of Hereford. The Domesday Survey states that the Abbot of Ramsey held the manor; that it was assessed at 10 hides worth £9.

The church of ST. PETER AND ST. PAUL consists of a chancel 36ft. 4 in. by 20 ft. 8 in., with a north vestry, nave 57 ft. 6 in. by 16 ft. 6 in., north aisle 11 ft. wide, south aisle 12 ft. 9 in. wide, and west tower about 10 ft. square.

The chancel arch, nave arcades and lower part of the tower date from about the middle of the 13th century, and the chancel, though now entirely modernized, must have reached its present plan early in the 14th century at least. Part of the two-story northeast vestry is of that date. The aisle walls are perhaps also of late 13th-century date, though remodelled in the 15th.

The chancel is plastered and overgrown with ivy, and the windows, which have perpendicular tracery in four-centred heads, are modern; on each side of the east window is a modern canopied niche, and the piscina and sedilia, in 15th-century style, are also modern.

The vestry, which has modern doors and windows, is 14th-century work, and has a priest's chamber above it, approached by a staircase in the south-west angle; it has an embattled parapet, chamfered plinth and diagonal angle buttresses of little projection. The upper room is lighted by two narrow square-headed lights, but shows no traces of arrangements like those at Marston Moretaine.

The chancel arch is of two chamfered orders with a deeply undercut label; there are half-round shafts in the jambs, having well-moulded capitals, of which that on the south is ornamented with nail-head. The arcades of the nave, each in four bays, are of the same character as the chancel arch, with similar arches resting on shafts, a quatrefoil on plan, and with moulded capitals varying slightly in section; the chamfers of the arches in the south arcade are stopped over the capitals by a scroll. The clearstory windows, of which there are four on each side, are of three cinquefoiled lights under a four-centred head. The nave roof is good 15th-century work in four bays; the secondary rafters have angels supporting them, with wings outspread and holding shields bearing emblems of the Passion, the angels and carved bosses being disfigured by modern colouring. The tower arch is 13th-century work, and consists of chamfered orders springing from the jambs, and having a restored label and mask stops.

The north aisle has a late 13th-century piscina in the north wall with a trefoiled head, above it is an image corbel. The east window is also of the end of the 13th century, consisting of three uncusped pointed lights under a pointed head and a label with modern stops. In the north wall, which is plastered and has an embattled parapet, are three restored 15th-century windows, each of three cinquefoiled lights under a four-centred head; between these windows are 13th-century buttresses in two stages. The round-headed north doorway, now blocked, is re-used work of the latter part of the 12th century, but almost entirely made up in Roman cement; it is in two orders, the outer moulded with a pointed bowtel between two hollows, and the inner slightly chamfered; it rests on jambs in which are shafts having scallop and simple leaf capitals. The west end of the aisle is not plastered, and the walling is of roughly coursed rubble, the window being like those in the north wall. The roof is of the 15th century, with painted bosses and half-figures of angels carrying shields.

The south aisle has a squint in the north-east angle looking into the chancel; there is a 13th-century square piscina in the south wall, moulded like that of the north aisle, and adjoining it is an unmoulded aumbry. The windows are like those of the north aisle, but much more restored, and the doorway and the inclosing stonework are quite modern; The roof is 15th-century work and like that of the north aisle.

The tower is built of wide-jointed coursed rubble, with an embattled parapet and diagonal buttresses; about half-way up it widens on all sides, the projection being carried on three-centred arches.

Roman coins have been found in the churchyard.

15 October 2008

Who I am?

I borrowed this from Janet, and hers is a lot better than mine I think, but then again it was supposed to be personal.

I am from the land of Wessex, from Bunyan’s county, home grown honey and English wine
I am from the family home with a large garden, full of large snails, golden fish and the smell of new cut grass
I am from the purple Lavender. The tall yellow Sunflowers, the giant Scots Pine standing proud.
I am from the Lovesey/Newman and Moore/Lee, from J and E. Pops who could be stubborn and funny, proud and a Hero.
I am from the family who can laugh at themselves in the worst of situations and make do and mend or bodge it.
From the land where spaghetti grows in trees and the tooth fairy comes when you lose a tooth.
I am from Church of England. From an ancient and mystical church in the village that has stood for over 900 years.
I'm from Thomas Hardy Country, a land of contrast. From coffee cake and raspberry jam, from old recipes handed down to new ones still to be sought.
From the man who could tackle most things and fix them, the wanderer, and the cook who instilled me a love and talent for cooking.
I am from tins, reels and the history box. Of walks in the woods with memories of the familiar past, of pastures old and new, of choices still to be made of the paths still to be explored.

14 October 2008

For those squeamish ... don't look

SOH and I are progressively, and actively, checking the contents of the freezer to ensure that 'forgotten' items don't disappear into the frozen mass.

Last night we started eating our way through the contents of the aforementioned freezer and for dinner we had Bambi steaks together with garlic mushrooms and chips. I did debate on turning it into a stew as I haven't had deer very often and wasn't certain if SOH would like it at all. But surprisingly, it was very tender and very tasty (kind of like the texture of beef fillet steak but denser in texture).

Still not certain SOH would want a lot of bambi, but give him his due he finished the plateful I gave him and that was a start.

Wait until he finds I have a slab of thumper in the freezer :-)

13 October 2008

The tickets have arrived

SOH's birthday present this year was tickets to the NFL game on 26th October 2008 at Wembley, between San Diego Chargers and New Orleans Saints. The tickets arrived by special delivery on Saturday morning, courtesy of our friendly postman.

Unlike many other sports, this ticketing purchase is done by a lottery, you enter the lottery to get a chance to buy tickets early before they get sold out. Now last year I entered, but no luck at all. This year I got the first draft of tickets so we will be heading to Wembley to watch the game; keep your fingers crossed that the weather stays kind to us as it is an evening game.

Not too worried about being with either group of supporters, quite happy to cheer on both sides but I will admit to a warmth for New Orleans.

12 October 2008

Christmas comes but once a year?

Does it really? Well in this day and age, we have Christmas forced down our unwilling throats for about 3 1/2 months, no sooner than the little darlings have gone back to school than the shops are full of Christmas festivities; but never the christian message that it purports to celebrate.

I can remember as a child, that we never saw a mention of christmas until well after Bonfire night, when fireworks were only sold up to 5th November and then put away until next year and replaced with the Christmas stocks and grottos.

It was a magical time, because it was short and transient. Now we have months of it, the magic has gone with pressures on families to spend more, save less. With children seeing months of advertising and putting their demands into to 'Santa' simply adds to the pressures of wanting to give them lots of presents.

Well enough, I say.. I demand a return to traditional values of respecting the seasons and the celebrations.. no more shopping early for Christmas, Easter etc.. no more fireworks all throughout the year.

I hereby tender my resignation from the shopping out of season club

11 October 2008

The Meaning of Life

On the first day, God created the dog and said:

'Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. For this, I will give you a life span of twenty years.'

The dog said: 'That's a long time to be barking. How about only ten years and I'll give you back the other ten?'

So God agreed.

On the second day, God created the monkey and said:

'Entertain people, do tricks, and make them laugh. For this, I'll give you a twenty-year life span.'

The monkey said: 'Monkey tricks for twenty years? That's a pretty long time to perform. How about I give you back ten like the Dog did?

And God agreed.

On the third day, God created the cow and said:

'You must go into the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the farmer's family. For this, I will give you a life span of sixty years.'

The cow said: 'That's kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years. How about twenty and I'll give back the other forty?'

And God agreed again.

On the fourth day, God created man and said:

'Eat, sleep, play, marry and enjoy your life. For this, I'll give you twenty years.'

But man said: 'Only twenty years? Could you possibly give me my twenty, the forty the cow gave back, the ten the monkey gave back, and the ten the dog gave back; that makes eighty, okay?'

'Okay,' said God, 'You asked for it.'

So that is why for our first twenty years we eat, sleep, play and enjoy ourselves. For the next forty years we slave in the sun to support our family. For the next ten years we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren. And for the last ten years we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone.

Life has now been explained to you.

10 October 2008

Thank Crunchie**, it's Friday

It's Friday, it's been a long week.. the new students are just as bad as the old one's .. give them a simple instruction and they manage to do it incorrectly. We only have another 11 1/2 months before we trade this bunch of students for the next group.. the joys of postgraduate students ... we no sooner get them trained to do things properly and they then graduate... lol

It can only get better I suppose but the weather is good, set fair for us for the weekend, and we can get some jobs done in the garden, and spend some quality time together before the BMW Club Section AGM on Sunday when we will go up towards Rutland water; may or may not be on the bikes.

** For those not aware this refers to the Crunchie chocolate bar, cinder toffee covered in thick milk chocolate... lovely..

For your enjoyment.... a joke

Minimum Wage

A man owned a small farm in Aberdeenshire. The Department of wages claimed he was not paying proper wages to his staff and sent an representative out to interview him.

'I need a list of your employees and how much you pay them,' demanded the rep.

'Well,' replied the farmer, 'there's my farm hand who's been with me for 3 years. I pay him £200 a week plus free room and board. The cook/housekeeper has been here for 18 months, and I pay her £150 per week plus free room and board.

Then there's the half-wit. He works about 18 hours every day and does about 90% of all the work around here. He makes about £10 per week, pays his own room and board, and I buy him a bottle of whisky every Saturday night. He also sleeps with my wife occasionally.'

'That's the guy I want to talk to...the half-wit,' says the agent.

'That would be me,' replied the farmer.

09 October 2008

In times of need....

With the current financial climate, the instability of the major banks/financial institutions, the time has come to cinch the money belt a little tighter.

With the cost of fuel being so high, the resultant increases in costs have hit across the board with food prices increasing.

I do try to shop for bargains, but can easily be lured by the promise of bogof (buy one get one free) and love the supermarket's finest products.. and farm produce but no more.. time to look to cheaper brands and reduce the bill to a more manageable level.

However, and it is a big however, I really don't want to buy into the mass marketed meat where the animals haven't had much of a life but those are generally the cheaper options. So how do I balance my cash and conscience?

08 October 2008

Hmmm I have been reading

A fascinating account of the period of history with William the Conqueror, Harold, Cnut and the roles they played up to and including the Norman invasion.

I picked up this book at a swap club run by the University on fridays, and it has gripped me as I have turned the pages.

Not overly soppy, nor dry history facts it has enlightened me as to this period of history which I best remembered for the Bayeux tapestry and the (incorrect) story of Harold the king being shot in the eye by an arrow.

The bad news is that it has taken me all my time to read this, and the book club meet next week to discuss 'A Suitable Boy' and I haven't picked it up since I read 20 pages after we had selected it back in July; the meeting is on the 13th October and I don't think I will have managed to get much further into it.

Yet another failure... still it can return to the shelves waiting for the right time for me to read it.

07 October 2008

Seasonal Murmurings

Why did it look so cold this morning, when I looked out of the window, and yet was so mild outside when I went to work?

After yesterday's frost in the morning, and having to scrape ice off the car before I could drive to work, it seems bizarre that today looked just as cold, but you could walk outside without a coat (well only if it isn't raining your way).

I like the changes in the weather, like the leaves turning red in the low Autumn sun, I even like the chill in the morning air to remind me that soon it will be winter and the trees will soon shed their leaves which will silence the feet walking across them; unless we have ice and frosts which will make them like crisp papers being rustled.

The sleepfulness of winter will then take over, sending nature into hibernation. Other than us and the birds, everything is still and serene until it is time to waken once more with Spring's joyful notes.

06 October 2008

Sunday Meeting

We had the first of our Winter meets at Towcester yesterday, a gathering of like minded souls of the BMW club who meet for soup and a roll and slices of home made cake from the kitchen of the Goddess Janet who turns out moist sponges you can only dream of making.

Due to the poor weather, we didn't have a great turnout but enough of us to raise neary £40 for the Air Ambulance with a raffle. SOH and I won a pen and a CD containing the vintage bike journals that one member put together which will be useful as we both like to look through the old journals.

One prize in particular seemed to be most unpopular, being ignored until the end when it was won by our neighbours at lunch; but they kindly gave it to us as an engagement present when they heard our news.

Haven't had many unusual presents like that, but I am sure we will find a way of preserving it for posterity.

Update :

What was it?

A tin of Meatballs in Gravy


05 October 2008

What to do with a bumper harvest of apples?

Well other than stewing them and freezing them for use later, I hunted around on on the blogsite Jam and Clotted Cream (who got it from Sweet and Simple Bakes) I found a recipe for Vanilla Apple Cake.

After getting the essential ingredients in a shop from our nearest supermarket, actually I went for a baking dish rather than cake ingredients, I warmed up the oven and set to.

This really was a very simple recipe :

250g/9oz unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
250g/9oz golden caster sugar (or normal caster sugar)
4 eggs, beaten
250g/9oz self-raising flour
1 vanilla pod, split, seeds removed and reserved (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
3 small Bramley apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges (or any other type of cooking apple, if not apple of your choice)
2 tbsp Demerera sugar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon

Step 1: Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Butter a 20cm/8inch springform tin, then line the base with baking paper.
Step 2: Beat the caster sugar and butter together until the mixture turns pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, flour and vanilla seeds, then beat together quickly to make a smooth batter.
Step 3: Tip into the prepared tin, then lay the apple wedges on top, poking them halfway into the mix. Don’t worry if the apples appear crowded – they’ll shrink as they cook. Sprinkle with the Demerera and cinnamon, then bake for 1 hour 5 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean and the sponge is risen and golden.
Step 4: Leave to cool for a few mins, then release the tin and cool the cake completely on a wire rack.

(c) Sweet and Simple Bakes

I used a silicone cake dish, so left the cake to cool in that on top of a cake rack and it seemed to work well.

SOH had been working hard all day Saturday and after chicken pie, we had the cake warm, with clotted cream for dessert and then tomorrow will have it cold with vanilla ice-cream.

Definitely a success and will make it to the recipe blog.

04 October 2008

Saturday Satire

A Blonde was sent on her way to Heaven. Upon arrival, a concerned St Peter met her at the Pearly Gates.

'I'm sorry,' St Peter said; 'But Heaven is suffering from an overload of goodly souls and we have been forced to put up an Entrance Exam for new arrivals to ease the burden of Heavenly Arrivals.'

'That's cool' said the blonde, 'What does the Entrance Exam consist of?'

'Just three questions' said St Peter.

'Which are?' asked the blonde.

'The first,' said St Peter, 'is, which two days of the week start with the letter 'T' '?

'The second is 'How many seconds are there in a year?'

'The third is 'What was the name of the swagman in Waltzing Matilda?'

'Now,' said St Peter, 'Go away and think about those questions and when I call upon you, I shall expect you to have those answers for me.'

So the blonde went away and gave those three questions some considerable thought. (I expect you will do the same).

The following morning, St Peter called upon the blonde and asked if she had considered the questions, to which she replied, 'I have.'

'Well then,' said St Peter, 'Which two days of the week start with the letter T?'

The blonde said, 'Today and Tomorrow.'

St Peter pondered this answer and decided that indeed the answer can be applied to the question.

'Well then, could I have your answer to the second of the three questions?'

St Peter went on, 'how many seconds in a year?'

The Blonde replied, 'Twelve!'

'Only twelve?' exclaimed St Peter, 'How did you arrive at that figure?' 'Easy,' said the blonde, 'there's the second of January, the second of February, right through to the second of December, giving a total of twelve seconds.'

St Peter looked at the blonde and said, 'I'll allow the answer to stand, but you need to get the third and final question absolutely correct to be allowed into Heaven. Now, can you tell me the answer to the name of the swagman in Waltzing Matilda?'

The blonde replied: 'Of the three questions, I found this the easiest to answer.'

'Really!' exclaimed St Peter, 'And what is the answer?'

'It's Andy.'


'Yes, Andy,' said the blonde.

This totally floored St Peter, and he paced this way and that, deliberating the answer. Finally, he could stand the suspense no longer and turning to the blonde, asked 'How in God's name did you arrive at THAT answer?'

'Easy' said the blonde, 'Andy sat, Andy watched, Andy waited 'til his billy boiled.'

.....and the blonde entered into Heaven .

03 October 2008

The Daily (Meditation) Thought!

There are times when you have to obey a call which is the highest of all, i.e. the voice of conscience even though such obedience may cost many a bitter tear, and even more, separation from friends, from family, from the state to which you may belong, from all that you have held as dear as life itself. For this obedience is the law of our being. - MK Gandhi

I got this from here and because Naturewitch had a link to it on a recent post, I followed it to find the above.

I agree with Ghandi's words, sometimes we do have to do things that are right for us, even though other people may believe it completely wrong and challenge us to make a choice.

My path is joining that of SOH, and we are looking forward to the days ahead of us and the changes we are making. So many unknowns, so many challenges but together we will face them.

Some of our friends have been really supportive, Zeltus was full of congratulations (or was it surprise bro?) while others haven't accepted the changes at all and reluctantly have withdrawn from the closeness that we had previously shared, but I cannot change my decisions to please everyone nor would I expect them to change their minds either.

02 October 2008

Can you help?

Sky are doing an advert for their channels, showing clips of high quality shots all played to a background of True Colours... but can we think of the name of the singer?

No, we don't think it is Cyndi Lauper, SOH doesn't think is Dolly Parton (but I am not so sure) and a web search this morning has revealed that other people are as bugged as I am for finding out the answers..

Can anyone help enlighten us?

Autumnal Mornings

This morning there was a chill in the air, the promise of the crispness of Autumn has finally arrived and I stood out in the garden at 8am picking the harvest of apples from my trees feeling the cold nipping at my fingertips.

This year the main tree has produced over and above a normal harvest of apples, and as a result I am giving away bags to friends and colleagues as I will still have too many for myself. The tree is a family one (with three different varieties), and can be used for both eating and cooking with (I just use less sugar) so we will have some crumbles, pies, fruit purees and compotes to eat throughout the rest of the year. I will also use some of the apples to create next year's batch of mincemeat which I will make at christmastime as it makes it lighter than the more stodgy apple-less versions. I will add the recipe to my recipe blog for those interested.

I also have a Howgate wonder apple tree, providing cooking apples. It has only been growing since 2002, Dad having planted it in the year before he died and this year it has just started to produce fruit worth using. I know I will probably struggle leaving here when we move 300+ miles to Cornwall (we don't have a date yet, but we hope it will happen in around 5 years) but I have my memories and in any case it is better not to transfer trees; I will leave them for the next family to live here and enjoy on their autumnal mornings.

01 October 2008

1st October - What today is famous for (or infamous) : updated

October 1 is the 274th day of the year (275th leap year) in the Gregorian Calendar. There are 91 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day :
959 - Edgar the Peaceable becomes king of all England.
1189 - Gerard de Ridefort, grandmaster of the Knights Templar died
1880 - John Philip Sousa becomes leader of the United States Marine Corps Band.
1880 - First electric lamp factory opened by Thomas Edison.
1908 - Ford puts the Model T car on the market at a price of US$825.
1982 - Sony launches the first consumer compact disc player (model CDP-101).

The point of this post :

2008 - SOH has made me a very happy lady :-) by asking me to marry him - and of course I said yes. Love you very much Boss xx xx

ps - to answer some of your questions, no we haven't set a wedding date yet. I think SOH ought to choose a date as I would like to get married in Cornwall as the majority of family would be able to come; when we have a date we will let you know.