Friday, January 29

Total Inspiration!

I am a fan of the many cookery programmes on TV. Currently we are enjoying Delia through the Decades, Nigel Slater's Simple Suppers and The Hairy Bikers "Mum Knows Best!" With the internet and various websites it is possible to download the many recipes out there but I treated myself to the one above because the programme is such a source of inspiration. Although the price in the bookshop was £20 I got mine much cheaper here

I love this recipe book because the ingredients are not obscure as if often the case and can be found in our local shops! The methods are simple and the sense of humour which runs through the recipes is a hoot!

I will be sharing some of the results so watch this space!

Tuesday, January 26

B is for...Biscuits and Baking!

Continuing with my cooking activities I have invented my very own recipe today which I thought would be good to share here!
I really hate food waste and wanted to find a use for left over biscuits.
We had quite a large selection of various biscuits, mostly chocolate digestives!
I blitzed them all in my food processor, difficult to say exact quantity, but if you imagine an average food processor jug I used 2 full ones (When blitzed)
I then used 2 jelly mixtures. I used the sugar-free types, Raspberry flavour! I melted the crystals with about half a cup of boiling water then added a 14oz can of condensed milk.
I spread the mixture onto a lined baking sheet and chilled. Once cool I cut into pieces.
My friend Maria called this afternoon so I gave her a scotch egg and the desert was the new invention! She polished off 4 and took a tray full home, so I think the recipe is a success!

Friday, January 22

Amazing Lisa Askew!

This is our friend Lisa doing a bungy jump last year from Teesporter Bridge in Middlesbrough, to raise funds for Cancer Treatment!

Lisa will travel to Downing Street on Monday in a bid to have the cervical cancer screening age lowered. She will join campaigners from all over the UK to present a petition at the heart of Government.

Currently, women can only go for smear tests from the age of 25, after the Government raised the screening call-up age from 20.

But administration officer Lisa says this is too late. “In Scotland, the test can take place from the age of 20, and that should be an option for girls in England,” she said.

Lisa, who was diagnosed herself with cervical cancer in 2007 and is now in remission, began campaigning for early access to screening after becoming friends with another sufferer on the social networking site Facebook.

Sadly, friend and young mum Claire Walker-Everett, from Sunderland, lost her fight for life in September 2008 when she was just 23.

Now Lisa has teamed up with Laura Atkinson from Gateshead, and the pair will travel to London together on Monday.

“She is 24 and had to fight to get a test, which showed abnormal cells,” said Lisa. “How many young women will have to die or become ill?”

Lisa, who recently renewed her wedding vows with husband Andrew - and was caught up in a terror scare in New York - dedicates much of her time to raising cash and awareness for the disease.

“I want as many people from Teesside as possible to sign this petition so the Government sits up and takes notice,” she said.

“We won’t stop campaigning until they have made this simple test available for younger women.”

Sign the petition at

Tuesday, January 19


I started ABC Wednesday over 3 years ago and it is amazing to think we are still going!

Basically each Tuesday evening/Wednesday morning a group of us spanning the globe, post either a photograph, image, poem or anything really which has something to do with the appropriate letter of the alphabet.

So here we are at A again!

In the past I have had themes but I much prefer to see what the week throws at me for sources of inspiration! This week was easy,

A is for Advice Needed!
Yesterday my friend Steph cooked a wonderful meal for Maria and myself prior to her jetting off to California for 4 months. We are all so excited for her and will be following her adventures as she is setting up a blog, so I will be able to share it here! If anybody from the US has any Advice for Steph, she will be so grateful! The bread situation is causing concern as she doesn't seem to be able to source basic ingrediants for breadmaking! Steph and her family will be based in Irving with a zipcode 92614.

Any neighbours here?

A is also for Appetite.......some of the lovely food we have shared with family and friends over the weekend! It was our godson Andrew's birthday too!

Anybody wanting to join in, just visit the location in my sidebar!

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Friday, January 15

For Chris

Yesterday we had to attend the funeral of a very dear friend, Christine who died last week as a result of a traffic accident whilst out on her motorbike. It was a freak accident really and could have happened to anybody, but sadly for us and all of Christine's family her number was up!

The service was to be held at our local church, All Saints in Easington. We knew there would be a lot of people attending the service as Chris was so popular. The church was absolutely full with a huge crowd of people standing as there wasn't any seats left. The service was to begin at 1.15pm and by 1pm the place was packed with many standing outside.

During the service we learned lots of facts about Christine, facts which we wouldn't have known. After the many years I have known Chris I did not know she not only loved poetry but wrote some herself. Her favourite poem was Wordsworth's Daffodils which we are all familiar with.

The poem 'Daffodils' is also known by the title 'I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud', a lyrical poem written by William Wordsworth in 1804. It was published in 1815 in 'Collected Poems' with four stanzas. William Wordsworth is a well-known romantic poet who believed in conveying simple and creative expressions through his poems. He had quoted, "Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility". Thus, Daffodils is one of the most popular poems of the Romantic Age, unfolding the poet's excitement, love and praise for a field blossoming with daffodils.

William Wordsworth wrote Daffodils on a stormy day in spring, while walking along with his sister Dorothy near Ullswater Lake, in England. He imagined that the daffodils were dancing and invoking him to join and enjoy the breezy nature of the fields. Dorothy Wordsworth, the younger sister of William Wordsworth, found the poem so interesting that she took 'Daffodils' as the subject for her journal.

"Daffodils" (1804)
I WANDER'D lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch'd in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

By William Wordsworth (1770-1850).

It is such a shame that often we only discover things about people when it is too late to talk. I asked Jon if he had a favourite poem and he said whilst he wasn't a great lover of poetry he did like "If" by Rudyard Kipling. He went on to say that he didn't think it was appropriate for a funeral but I think it would be OK.

My favourite poem is by EE Cummings. I particularly like it for the words in the final line sum up the great feeling of walking on the beach and being so near to the sea. When I was teaching in Nottingham, in the East Midlands I often read this to my pupils and described the coastline I was brought up with which is now an important part of our walks and indeed we can see the North Sea from our house, so it is fitting!

maggie and milly and molly and may
by E. E. Cummings

maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach (to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea

Do you have a favourite poem?

Thursday, January 14

Scotch Eggs

One of my favourite food programmes is The Hairy Bikers
I love programmes which inspire me to try something different.
Yesterday I made scotch eggs,

Here are the scotch eggs ready for frying.

And here is the complete meal!
Too much really. I left the chips and sweetcorn, but the scotch egg was awesome.
Jon said it was the best scotch egg he had ever had! Bless!

8 free-range eggs
500g/17½oz pork sausage meat
1 tsp dried sage
½ tsp dried thyme
pinch cayenne pepper
½tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp plain flour
125g/4½oz fresh white breadcrumbs
vegetable oil, for deep frying

1. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook six of the eggs for 4-5 minutes until they are medium- to hard-boiled. Drain and run under cold water until cooled (this will prevent the yolks from discolouring). Peel and set aside. Beat the remaining two eggs together in a bowl and set aside.
2. In a bowl, mix together the sausage meat, sage, thyme, cayenne pepper and freshly ground black pepper until well combined.
3. Divide the sausage mixture evenly into six portions. Roll each portion into a ball, then flatten out to form a thin patty. Wrap each patty around the peeled boiled eggs, smoothing out the join and making sure there is no egg left exposed.
4. Roll the scotch eggs in the flour, then dip in the beaten egg and roll in the fresh breadcrumbs. Dip the coated eggs once more in the egg, then again in the breadcrumbs.
5. Half-fill a deep, heavy-based pan with the vegetable oil and heat Fry the scotch eggs in small batches for 4-5 minutes, turning the eggs occasionally, or until golden-brown all over and cooked through. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
6. Serve the scotch eggs immediately, sliced in half to reveal the soft yolk.

Tuesday, January 12

Z is for Zest!

Another fresh new year is here . . .
Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
To love and laugh and give!

This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest . . .
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!

I have the opportunity
Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs!”

William Arthur Ward

Friday, January 8

On it's way from the North Sea!





We are situated on the North East Coastline, indeed we can see the Sea from our house. On Wednesday as we were driving we could see the terrible weather coming in from the North Sea. last night we had the coldest night so far and the dreadful weather is set in for another week.
I have not been out of the house for a few days now, making do with a visit to the shop in the 4x4 (Jon driving) for day to day stuff!

We had to make a journey to the local A&E department on Wednesday as Jon has a problem with his hand. During the Christmas break he was working on the work's van when there was an incident with a spanner which he managed to bash his hand with. Initially this just seemed to be superficial, but as the days went on a swelling started to develop which was causing him pain and discomfort. A routine visit to the surgery on Wednesday found us on our way to the hospital. Jon was seen quite quickly and whilst I waited in the waiting room he was whisked off for treatment.........all of nearly 3 hours!

Imagine my surprise and horror when Jon emerged with a plaster cast on his arm, supported in a sling!

It would seem a metal turning has been trapped near to his wrist and although not threatening initially, when Jon bashed his hand the turning was pushed near to the joint, hence the pain! As I write this, Jon is back at the hospital having it dealt with. Our neighbour John, kindly took him in his landrover!

I must say the time I spent in the waiting room was interesting to say the least!

I'll keep you posted re Jon's progress and rmind me to tell you about the lady who came in with a flapjack injury!
I tell you, you certainly hear it all in A&E!
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Tuesday, January 5

Y.....Forever Young!

In November a very close friend of ours had an horrendous motorbike accident due to a raised manhole/pothole? cover. last night we had the phone call to say Chris had died at 4pm.

Chris was a lovely lovely person and we were proud to be her friends.
Details of what happens next will trickle through our vast network of friends over the next few days, but right now, this is for Chris.

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

Monday, January 4

It's Cold!

Up the lane, yesterday (Sunday)

With so much going on over Christmas and New Year we were fortunate that the family managed to get together for Christmas Dinner at our house. At one point we were worried about the snow but all was okay and we had a great day together. We thought, like many others that the splattering of snow we had would be the last of the bad weather, how wrong we were!

Fortunately we have a 4x4 and manage where we can, Jon does the driving because he has done off-roading in the past and enjoys the challenge, I on the other hand lack such confidence and am quite happy to be a passenger. I did have a road accident many years ago when travelling to school. I hit a patch of black ice on what is a notoriously sharp bend in the village and my car ended up through a fence in a field. Every time we have snow the same thing happens to many motorists, only yesterday we spotted a car in the same position. We went for a drive up to Danby Beacon, the highest spot on the North York Moors, it is only a short drive away.

We saw a few grouse surfacing from the shelter of the grounds. It was very bleak and we were one of the few 4x4 vehicles we saw.

The roads were barely visible and we returned home to keep warm and safe. We have had many garden visitors including some thrushes. I think they are mistlethrushes...any thoughts?

So back to normal now but more snow is forecast so we will be just keeping an eye on the sky. I am quite happy to stay at home!