Sunday, 31 January 2010


Thanks for all those comments!

In fact we were both wrong re blue moons, Marshmarlow! I too thought we had seen a full moon as we headed back from frivolities on New Year's Eve/Hogmanay but presumed it hadn't really been a full moon as H1 told me they were every 28 days and I had googled for the full moon date in January and was told Saturday 30th January and counted back; however I looked up 'blue moon' again and apparently it is the third of 4 full moons in a season (seasons determined by solstices and equinoxes not by months). I prefer the erroneous version of the 2nd full moon in a calendar month even if it is wrong!

Also wrong was the depth of the snow on Friday's overnight fall- it was at least 5 inches not 2!!

Saturday, 30 January 2010

More of the same!

Last night I looked up at the moon and Mars glinting red beside it in such a clear winter sky; looking at the rings of wonderful haloes around the moon I announced it was going to snow; H1 smiled at such an old wives tale and woke this morning to a good 2 inches of snow! Tonight is a full moon and I suspect ,a blue moon; a blue moon is a full moon that is the second full moon in a calendar month- and there was a full moon 28 days ago in the beginning of January.

'The Woman in Black ' at the Theatre Royal was a scream! Two excellent actors carried the whole play- except of course for glimpses of 'The Woman in Black'.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Bury my heart at Wounded Knee

I went to the SAGE to see Buffy Sainte Marie; I loved Buffy in my 6th form days of being into folk-and geography days at uni; of course I am with anyone who is into indigenous, badly treated people- and the environment. I think some of my friends think I am daft as I plug away at environmental issues & find a way of recycling any thing which comes near me! Beware H1!!! who was not impressed by the concert. I like the way Buffy (a Cree Indian from Canada) has done so much for her people, never forgets her roots (in fact uses them throughout her concert and her songwriting) and works for PEACE.

Some of my family don't speak to me cos I am into acknowledgement of minority groups- but I ain't ever goin to apologise for having, for example, Irish and Jewish friends- their origin/religion happens to be incidental to our relationship.

I remember not being able to get hold of 'Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee' when it was first published so I asked an American friend L. to send me it; it is definitely & still a book worth reading just as 'Soldier Blue' and 'Dancing with Wolves' are films worth seeing; I remember taking my 6th form to see the latter.

I have decided in the interests of security that I won't blog regularly- Sorry but I am sure you understand why.

I am going to walk the bounds as M says her snowdrops are flowering- already? and after all that snow? of which we have had more flurries today.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Burns, blackbird bath, broth and BabyBio

I love the techniques of English language which are employed in English literature, like alliteration, metaphors, onomatopoeia etc. I admit I find metaphors and personification difficult to use when I am writing..... but I think kids must like the Horrible Histories with the Slimey Stuarts and the Groovey Greeks etc. So exciting!

Monday was one of those days when I did loads of jobs yet looking back I couldn't think of what I'd done. I made a huge pressure cooker full of broth; while dicing vegetables I noticed (heard!) a male blackbird who appeared to be sitting on the edge of the birdbath- was there any water in it I wondered- Yes! water showered over the lavender as he began bathing obviously with great gusto. I composted flowers received for Christmas gifts- lasted well. You don't want to hear about washing, drying etc......... and I don't really want to do it but needs must when the devil drives and you run out of socks.

What have BabyBio done to their new bottle tops which I had to wrestle with for 10minutes? My plants will go increasingly hungry (though such a fight might burn off some Christmas calories!!!) Having said that, my Kew orchid is radiant with flowers for the fifth? time.

I was rescued from chores by walking 3 miles with friends to a fab lunch provided by a fourth friend; we had a great catch up.

Monday was Burns Night so we had tatties and neeps (H1 calls it swede but we all call it turnips) but we forewent the haggis and had mince; why don't WeightWatchers encourage eaters to have dumplings? Presumably cos we'd turn into dumplings but if you are one already, then we should be encouraged to eat them (especially crusty ones done in the oven on the top of the mince.)

After that I went to a really interesting talk at Trinity on the Newcastle-Gateshead Initiative and to see a late showing of 'It's complicated'; lots of people recommended this as funny..... Hmm?

Saturday, 23 January 2010

The Pudding Club

Yes Ciao, I agree -eating American chocolate is like eating candle wax.

I have just finished reading Julie Walters's 'That's another Story' which D2 bought me for Christmas- quite interesting because I reckon she is the same era as me so there are lots of childhood memories Julie recorded which are familiar to me; she is very honest and open about things though!!!

Last weekend we had a lovely few days away with the Pudding Club- it was an absolute delight to catch up with this group of friends; the North York Moors were still surprisingly deep in snow and we travelled there in brown-stained, icy fog; the hotel was lovely and we all thought the food was delicious- I particularly liked the small ,modern, well lit chapel which is used for short services three times a week; it is unusual (but appreciated) for a hotel to put a room aside for a chapel. Four brave souls walked in sleet,driving snow and fog to Robin Hood's Bay (the village in which Robin may have had an 'escape' boat ready) on Saturday morning but 4 of us chose the hardship of sitting beside the fire, reading papers and books, before going to meet the others in the pub. Sunday saw us wake to sun and glorious views so we walked all over Whitby on M's memory trail which was really interesting.If I could import photos to this blog (I will learn soon) I would put on S's beautiful picture of the view on Sunday morning right across Robin Hood's Bay from the dining room.

I walked with friends on Wednesday in the shire; over lunch in the woods we talked about a bad accident on the dreaded A69 and the black ice on the Military Road the day before; it was only on Thursday that I discovered that one of my very good friends had been involved in the crash; methinks someone was looking after L.

We have gone through boxes, box by box, all week; it has taken ages because there are so many memories attached to each photo,newspaper cutting etc. but gradually boxes are going back into the wardrobe.

Today a group of us painted backdrops and props for the next drama production; how do I manage to get wet and paint splattered yet I was wearing a white kind of boiler suit over my clothes?

Question- re punctuation and computers- when I type something like a semicolon at the end of a sentence -or a full stop- do I leave a space before the symbol or the space after? (I bet F1,000,000,000 will know.) I have illustrated both in that sentence and the layout after 'stop' looks better but is it? Also do I put the full stop inside or outside the bracket?

Tuesday, 19 January 2010


Oh no! H1 has just shouted upstairs that Kraft has managed to buy Cadbury's- NNNOOO! I am a chocoholic- especially for Cadbury's Dairy Milk (in any shape or form eg the perk when clearing the Christmas decorations is being able to eat the Cadbury's decorations on the Christmas tree!or ending Lent with Cadbury's Easter eggs). I even signed a newspaper 'petition' requesting Cadbury's to stay Cadbury's- not Hersheys or Kraft.

For a big birthday D's 1,2,and 3 sent us off to Cadbury's World; a brilliant visit: I am so into fair trade yet hadn't realised Cadbury's have always been ethical in production so fairly traded long before every other company jumped on the bandwagon.

I am upset; why did the shareholders sell up what is so good and so English?- money and profit probably. What will happen to Bournville 'village' now? and the workers , many of whom have worked for Cadbury's for 5 generations?

Monday, 18 January 2010

Time passes....

Yes- I know! Its ages since I have blogged; I am not certain writing a blog isn't a bit self indulgent and arrogant so should I continue?

Wednesday saw me walking in the shire in the snow with friends; it was lovely to see everyone again; we set off from J's house after a lovely breakfast-Northumberland is magnificent at any time but Northumberland in the snow is beautiful.We came back to marshmallow toasting in the fire then a traditional English afternoon tea- egg and cress sandwiches, potato scones,raisin pancakes , sweet mince pies (homemade) and passion cake- mmm!;J spoiled us- where does she get the time to prepare so well?

Tuesday, 12 January 2010


Gosh! Life must be boring & one wonders if H1 has made a New Year Resolution to do some DIY (not really his forte).... H1 is wielding a paintbrush! Our built in wardrobes were fast coming off the wall & would have come down on us in bed- so we spent yesterday emptying them; I can see why they were coming off the wall. H1 has re rawlplugged them ,painted the wall within them & now to reload them- BUT we are going to go through all the boxes; I am not looking forward to this.

Footpaths all over are treacherous- except for mine down the Court which is magnificently walkable.

Yesterday I realised the porch light was on & it was still light outside -YAY! Spring is coming ; with great cheer I put the time of the outside light back.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Footprints in the snow

We are currently using H1's car as it is heavier than mine so better in snow- and anyway I have sat and frozen twice over Christmas while awaiting rescue by the AA; then my car has been in the garage for repair- and subsequently it was snowed into our garage. Apparently Ford cars have a common fault according to the AA man; clutch pedal is not clipped and 'snaps' when it decides not to go through its proper route to the master cylinder(?); this has been modified on more recent Fords acc to AA man........

We made it out on Friday for more provisions & a coffee shop trip- whereupon my fellow escapee fell in the snow & ice- worrying. Neighbourhood friends made it over to ours that night (& even brought supper!)- you probably heard us playing table football then them leaving at 2 a.m. I managed to 'tidy up' the mulled wine.

On Saturday we managed to get to D1's to play Articulate and 221B Baker Street (never partner H1 in the former- he thinks his partner shares his random brain)-as Holmes, D1 trounced the rest of us - She was back with all the answers while the rest of us hardly knew the game was afoot. We also walked for drinks at friends' then a gang of us walked to the local Indian restaurant for the second neighbourhood Christmas night out as some hadn't made the first celebration. Apologies to all those residents awoken by singing while waiting for A's bus!!! We had a really good night.

Over the last few days we have had mystery footprints through the drift of snow in the porch- possibly a fox (I prefer that idea to all the local cats visiting us) and we have definitely had deer in several of the streets.

Today's thaw saw me out clearing paths so we can get out of our corner of the street.

I can't believe I can be prosecuted for clearing paths (if someone slips ) and I can be prosecuted for NOT clearing paths (if someone slips)- whatever happened to the England where we all cleared paths (& those of our elderly neighbours) with no fear of litigation or accusation. I am very fed up with England's political correctness and the 'Health and Safety ' laws apparently imposed on us by European legislation- are we the only people who observe European law? I heard that in France one is legally bound to clear your footpath- is this true?

I found tinsel which I missed in the post-Christmas clear up; H1 is not amused at having to clamber back up to the boxes in the loft.

Friday, 8 January 2010

the 2010 Wall has started

The Christmas tree is down (on January 7th, D1) and everything has been put away in the loft for another year; I tore the backs off the Christmas cards (Thank you all for sending us greetings) and they will go for recycling in a supermarket somewhere; the fronts are great for shopping lists- and we keep some in the car so when we call in on you & you aren't in, we can leave you a note. Gives the charities a second plug too as they are often written on the fronts.

D3 and I went shopping locally for some clothes last night- we did well. Apparently on E-Bay I could name my price for my pink flowered wellingtons as wellies are in such demand. It snowed again a little during the night.

H1 punctuates each day with announcements of temperature (outside- not his) so yesterday his car registered -5 externally. The goldfinches are back desperate for food- announcements on how many spuggies are on the feeder precede H1's temperature declarations.

The first picture went up on the 2010 wall.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Christmas is over so where are the snowdrops?

Another two overnights which have crept snow on us silently. Only D3's footprints leave the court in the morning....... that must be difficult for her when everyone else is asleep or at least still snug in bed reading.

I am reading Julie Walter's autobiography- a bit like my young life & obviously set in the same time slot so she must be approximately the same age as me- but has more money! It is ok and I will finish it before going on to Dan Brown's latest which H1 has now finished (shows what he has done for days now when he WASN'T clearing snow).Now I know what is meant by 'in the deep midwinter'. However H1 has taken over from me & started to clear the path up to the front door now he has finally managed to get hold of a straight edged shovel (I was using & probably ruining the garden spade).

Oh heck the skype thingy on the bottom bar of this screen keeps flashing but the name is one of the names of folks D3 met in Oz- so he knows I am online but I darent answer even if I could.

Ooh I got so excited yesterday when I discovered I had a comment & my blog had some visitors- 'red squirrels' meant it had to be someone in the north- could it be Wife in the North who blogs from Northumberland & who has written a book? Have the Google spiders found my blog & brought it up on the google list? Then I discovered D3 had sent a link out to my friends! But it was lovely to get a response so I hope F1,000,000,000 does it again.

The national news is full of snow now the South have got some snow-Huh! we have had it in the North for weeks- well 10 days before Christmas; H1 says he thinks it will be worse than 1947- of course H1 is MUCH older than me!!and he is pipped cause he has had to cancel his drama ' club' with a production coming up.

How can I have a mouth ulcer for the first time in years? I couldn't possibly be run down after all those sprouts; or could it be that I have eaten too many acidy satsumas?

Ingredients- Olive oil (or butter)
1 med onion skinned & diced
1.5 lbs parsnips (peeled &diced)
1 level teasp curry powder
1/2 level teasp ground cumin
21/2 pints chicken stock
salt & pepper
5 fl oz single cream (I use no-fat yoghurt)
paprika to garnish

Fry onion & parsnip in oil for 3 mins; stir in cumin & curry powder for 2 mins;add stock & bring to boil then reduce heat to simmer for approx 45mins till veg tender. Cool slightly, mash or puree then add seasoning & beat in yoghurt(do not reboil).

I confess I make batches of soup including the inevitable post Christmas turkey broth & decant them into clean margarine containers & stack them in the freezer to be pulled out for lunches whenever- a brilliant standby. But you probably do all this too.

Yesterday was the Epiphany; it is considered unlucky here to have your Christmas decorations still up after this date(January 6th and the 12th of the 12 Days of Christmas?) but on the continent this is one big party day when the magi came bearing gifts for the ChristChild representing the Gentile bit of mankind. I'm not into superstition (did my mother just make that up anyway to get stuff put away & the house back to normal?)- I will however take the tree etc down today being stuck in the house yet again.

White rooftops, stark trees, bright sunshine and blue sky- just glorious- and the snowdrops will come in their own time............

Monday, 4 January 2010

cabin fever!

I should have been out with the Ladies walking- will this snow never go away? I have had enough now. Walking was out of the question so we would go see 'Christmas Carol' (though I dislike Jim Carrey);however now it is Christmas Past the film isn't on at any of the local cinemas; so we stayed home & I found myself tidying up by eating the remains of boxes of chocolates- but think of how much cardboard has gone into the recycling bin!

Tidying the mucky fridge out means I have made two pans of soup- curried parsnip & leek & potato- the 'kids' love the parsnip soup tho not lovers of parsnip as veg unless they are roasted- mmmm!
Anyone want the recipe for my soup?

Have you got a composting bin going? We gather eggshells,teabags, flower remains & veg peelings etc which we gather up daily in a (sob!) bowl on the kitchen bench-then tip this 'rubbish' into a (£6 from the council) composting bin; we only got the plastic green bins when the original metal ones- with holes drilled in them, rusted & fell apart.Yesterday when asked to take out the composting stuff H1 broke my china bowl (a wedding present which lost its lid 30+years ago). Both the bowl & maybe the husband need replacing....

I really must get round to finding places for the pile of gifts under the Christmas tree- what does one do with bottles of wine and tins of biscuits?! Yes... I know what is coming- but I have already put on the 4-6 pounds most people put on with festive fare. BUT the other thing you put inside your outdoor compost bin is wee- especially the morning after a night of wine! So I would be being a good steward of the environment wouldn't I?

Retirement seems to be all about keeping the waistline from thickening(and the breast cancer from getting me). I never did that much exercise when I was working so where is this fat coming from?

Sunday, 3 January 2010

New Year 2010 & lots of snow

Why is it that I have my best ideas & create a brilliant blog mentally at 5 a.m.? Then I fall asleep & can't remember a word of it when I wake up (& can't get access to my computer cos D3 is on it!)

However I am determined to write a blog- why should the young have everything in cyberspace? So regardless of diminishing (was it ever there in the first place?)technological brainpower I am goin to give it a crack!

On New Years Eve we saw him...... the man with as many noses as there are days in the year!That evening a mixed group of us dined out in a local pizzeria then wended our way down the hostelries towards the football table & Singstar fun of home- we stopped off at the Queen Vic to be pleasantly surprised by friendly staff & a bottle of fizz with which to bring in the New Year & decade- we will go back there, we decided.

On New years Day H1(I shall scare the husband by adding a 1 as though he could be replaced if he blots his copybook) & I went to the Sage to hear a Strauss concert- by a brilliant Northern Sinfonia!

We have gone to bed & woken up to blizzards two days running- there was absolutely no point to my clearing the path just before Christmas, if anything I have endangered life & limb by exposing ice. It ain't just Malfoy in Slitherin house.....