Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Rain Rain go away

Oh there is never any time to blog these days- BUT - today is just another day of rain; I can not get out to the overgrown garden; I am forced to iron! There's boring.
I have been lent a steam iron thing-

pros-
it irons very well

cons-
 it steams up your glasses
it is bulky to store
it is hard to balance on the ironing board as it is big
I will need to buy a new ironing board with no metallic bit on the end on which to put the steam bit and iron.
I will consider.......

Things must be bad if H1 cannot golf and is forced to clean bathrooms.

Teaming down, stotting, pouring, deluge,
depressing.

overcast, indoors darkness, grey, cloudy,

Good job we had fine dry weather on Sunday for the Castles Triathlon at Bamburgh.

Rain is getting heavier, depression getting heavier!



Monday, 4 May 2015

Triathlon- me?

Bank Holiday and we were up at the crack of dawn; Ashington by 8.45a.m. What were all these folk doing running round in Lycra? Are there really so many people mad on sport in Northumberland? and so many willing to marshal the course? I cannot believe it but our 'Team' were up there supporting P.
Go lad Go! 16 lengths in the pool/Bothal circuit 3 times on the bike (not a problem to this boy) then 5K- 3 times round the park wherein he realised that in spite of all that training he felt as though death was close! But he did it!

We all celebrated- at a table booked at the Running Fox.

I look at these sporty folk and remember when I was in a running club for years- I wish I could do the Great North Run- but I just am not fit enough these days; I am disappointed in myself. I don't like this getting older.

Yet I am fitter than many of my friends; digging the garden for hours on end does not phase me at all. sawing branches off trees/shrubs doesn't bother me/ walking 8 miles is not a problem.

Now what to do to get fitter?

Monday, 17 November 2014

Kielder Observatory

Oh my gosh! I have not been on my blog for ages; today I have the lurgy cough, cold and sore throat that is going around so I had time for a peep----- 10,000 hits! That is something that has stirred my thoughts- so maybe I will start again if people are interested enough to come on to read old writings?

For H1's birthday D3 and P bought us (what it is to get included on someone else's gift) a delicious meal at the Hollybush Inn in Greenhaugh then a midnight ticket each for the Kielder Observatory; Kielder has the recognition of being the 3rd most 'dark sky' in the world and the darkest 'dark sky' in Europe. Through 3 different sized telescopes and guided by expert staff and volunteers, we looked at details on the Moon (2 days after a full moon that night so bleached some colour out of the planets), Jupiter, Milky Way, Andromeda galaxy etc. exciting! So was the eco loo- sawdust and all! We saw moons and rings around Jupiter. You have to book- and early. Imagine being able to see the Northern Lights from here; I have seen them swirling like dayglow curtains across the night sky years ago when we were at a B&B with friends up in the Borders- magnificent is the only word to describe what I saw.

Today's rain and cold has replaced yesterday's fog; I am going downstairs to snuggle up on the settee and watch some television while clutching a box of aloe vera tissues;

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Should I?



I am wondering whether or not to continue my blog....



One puts so much stuff down that just anyone can read- I look in the statistics at the 'audience' (that is the countries) where some one is reading my blog- and I worry.


Admittedly my blog is pretty boring- my garden and the area- but I am wary.....


I am busy too so


all these summer flowers I snapped & did not get them into my blog when they were in full bloom are now well and truly over and gone


Meanwhile we have gone into Autumn with a vengeance; to be truthful by mid August the trees had lost their Summer sparkle and the leaves were dry and already curling; the county died early. The heavily berried shrubs and trees suggest a hard winter is coming.


Crisp leaves lie deep on pavements and cardigans are being replaced by coats. Children are throwing stones up into chestnut trees to bring down conkers and dinners are being cooked in the slow cooker.


The Equinox has been and the nights are definitely drawing in with the days getting shorter, darker and colder.



Winter is coming.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Celebrations

The sun is peeping over the horizon and the sky is streaked as if lit by a night fire. Time moves on....
Now the soft glow becomes a harsh demanding eye.

A few nights ago I spent hours slicing up a christening cake; that and the arrival on our screens of the Great British Bake Off made me think.
Celebrations are a minefield and the choice of type of cake is a small but significant part of the celebration. I remember my dad talking about his mother baking fruit cakes then putting them in a biscuit tin with fruit like apples and burying them in the garden to store them only lifting them and opening them over the months in order to swop the wizened apples for fresh ones and reburying the tin until the celebration day arrives.

I am such a Northerner- I love moist fruit cake preferably with a chunk of cheese.

We went to a wedding recently where the layers consisted of different cheeses surrounded by mountains of butter and piles of savoury biscuits, providing yet another course after dessert.
Our latest wedding presented a (colour coordinated) mauve shaded 7 layer confection of which the mother of the bride confided the bottom 3 layers were polystyrene!

At weddings now it is popular to have layers made up of different types of cake; eg lower layer of fruit then above this balances a plain cake like a Madeira (which I dislike) and a chocolate cake. The difficulties are that nothing keeps as well as a fruit cake- so chocolate and plain cakes tend to be dry. The cakes' compiler also has to have a sturdy enough lower cake to support the upper layers so nonfruit cakes (even with columns inserted) can be dryer in order to be firm enough to hold up the weight above.
I wonder how they do it in the USA where I believe they often have cakes composed of ice cream?

It is traditional in England to keep the top layer of the stacked cake, to be used in years to come as the christening cake of the first baby! Certainly we followed tradition but I baked another celebration fruit cake as back up- just in case!

I invariably had marzipan stored in my cupboards for a forthcoming celebration cake eg Christmas- only to find my youngest sister had raided the cupboards while babysitting and the cupboard was bare of marzipan. I brush apricot jam on to the cake before covering it in rolled out almond paste; the timing is crucial as it has to be left long enough for the marzipan to dry out so as not to discolour the white icing. After undertaking a 3 year icing course, my mother's creations in Royal icing were spectacular. My Christmas cakes' snow scenes leave a lot to be desired!
These days one has to be so careful- I suppose because of the age of our offspring we have had the pleasure of a lot of weddings and christenings and all the cakes have been different and cautious! It is traditional to put nuts in celebration fruit cakes but we don't because so many guests these days have nut allergies- and because H1 doesn't like nuts in food! Similarly due to egg allergies and pregnant guests' , we have not iced with royal icing which contains raw egg white. Royal icing goes rock hard too. Sometimes we have left off the layer of marzipan due to the nut content- but at least that can be peeled off not ingested. Rolled out icing is the way to do it!


Thursday, 28 August 2014

Finished at last


A Peace rose we inherited with the house; so old and gnarled, folk say we should cut it down- but it is too beautiful and flowers abundantly year after year so why would I get rid of it?
 
I am pleased to announce that at last I have finished 'Bring up the bodies' by Hilary Mantel after 8? months of attempting to read it- or rather after months of attempting to find the time to read it or anything else. I will Bookcross it if no one among friends and relatives wants it; get in touch if you want possession of this novel about the life of Thomas Cromwell at the time of Anne Boleyn; this book sequels Mantel's first Thomas Cromwell tale called 'Wolf Hall'; I had not realised Wolf Hall was the home of the Seymours; when I was advised to read her next book I did wonder where the title 'Bring up the Bodies' had come from not realising it was the call from the Tower when...... but I will leave you to discover that for yourself.



I am moving on to 'Philomena'; I saw the film quite a while since but weeks ago a friend offered the novel to me as the last reader among The Ladies, suggesting that the book was very different to the film so here we go!

hydrangea head

Sunday, 20 July 2014

You wouldn't believe me

Not a lot of people sit in their garden in July sipping a cup of broth then a Christmas pudding with ice cream- but we did today! We are clearing out the ancient freezer as we do regularly in case it breaks down or will not restart when I defrost it next. I make 3 Christmas puds and though we have the big one on Christmas Day the two smaller ones we eat at some point later in the year- but time was pushing on and it would be a waste to have the last of our festive fare go mouldy- it was beautiful if I say so myself.


We have run around so much this week- in fact for the last few weeks- so the garden was thigh high in grass, weeds etc in the borders.


Going to visit the Aln Valley Railway was interesting- all these men slogging away to create something from nothing- boys and their toys.


We have been to the Theatre Royal to see 'Black Coffee',  Agatha Christie's first play and Hercule , Jap, Hastings were all in there. We thought it was much better than 'The Mousetrap'.



We were fortunate to miss the rain when we went to see Heartbreak productions do Shakespeare's 'Macbeth' in Jesmond Dene; the evening got cooler after a hot day but it was a smashing night.



We also watched friends get married in Las Vegas- via Livestream; it was as though we were there!

Yesterday we spent several hours at a barbecue; the joys of British weather meant one of the guests brought a gazebo/marquee so if rain threatened the roof appeared overhead to stop our Pimms from being diluted- however the rain was fleeting and light and the fire meant we could stay out & enjoy good food and great company till almost midnight..

Right now I can hardly move as I have gardened since 2p.m. and have just showered as gardening in your shorts gives you hacky filthy knees!

Outside the clouds are pink and lit by an evening sun; folks forget that up North we have summer light in June/July pretty well right through the night.