Saturday 28 February 2009

Psalm 90:12

radio4 Radio 4 is such a useful station for learning trivia! They were discussing the recession and millionaires and billions of pounds being lost by the banks and stuff and the chap gave this wonderfully useful way of understanding the magnitude of such numbers. He suggested we think about time, and seconds. Measuring approximately...

A MILLION seconds is eleven days

A BILLION seconds is thirty two years

A TRILLION seconds is thirty two thousand years

So now you know. A letter in the Times earlier this week asked

Who is the odd one out of this lot?

Lord Stevenson, former chairman, HBOS
Andy Hornby, former chief executive, HBOS
Sir Fred Goodwin, former chief executive, RBS
Sir Tom McKillop, former chairman, RBS
John McFall MP, chairman of Treasury select committee
Alistair Darling, Chancellor of the Exchequer
Sir Terry Wogan, presenter of Radio 2 breakfast show.

Answer: Sir Terry Wogan. He is the only one with a banking qualification.

It is a shame that some of these financial whizzkids didn't listen to the Psalmist...

"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom"

Satisfying Saturday - Soap, Soup, Sewing

Following yesterday's rather bizarre day, when school was again closed, today has been much more satisfying and productive. The closure this time was because of a gas fault - no heating, no school dinners, so no education either! As I left the building on Thursday, I noticed one of the 4+ children had written a sign saying "Scurl Is Clost" - do you think he has the gift of prophecy!!

IM003249 First thing, I went to the library to return our books and get another bagful. More on them when I've read them!

I have done loads of laundry, and dealt with the remains of this week's chicken. Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall would be proud of me! It started life as a small, but happy Freedom Food Fowl from Sainsbury's, and we had a proper roast dinner on Thursday evening, then more meat last night with mashed potatoes, peas and carrots. Today I stripped the carcase and made a chicken and mushroom pot pie for tomorrow, and some stock. I froze some, and made a tureen of carrot soup for lunch - with enough left over for Bob to eat on Monday when I am in Norfolk at a funeral.

Using the pie funnel is a definite improvement, I have decided.

IM003250 After lunch, I have done some sewing - taking in a favourite black skirt because it is much too loose now I have lost weight [yippee!] and also making a bib for a new baby. Here is the bib, pictured on top of the black skirt!

Chloe means 'blooming and verdant' and it appears in the Bible in the book of Corinthians.

I also made another gift but I cannot post a picture of that yet as it is a surprise for someone who may read this!

Now I can delay the ironing no longer...

Wednesday 25 February 2009

Another Spell in the Classroom.

Another long hard day at the chalkface [actually it is a dry-wipe whiteboard...but that doesn't sound so good] followed by a great time at Sewing Club at Church. Two more new members tonight, and they are all so enthusiastic.

I shall only post briefly tonight, as it's late and I'm tired. My apologies to anyone who has had difficulties posting comments recently - apparently this has been a widespread problem, not just with my blog - I hope that the glitch has been ironed out now.

Part of my day was spent marking the work done with yesterday's Supply Teacher. An assessment of their knowledge of 2d and 3d shapes. So there were such gems as


this is an


and the one which I felt showed the most creative spelling I had seen for a long, long time










the rectangle was labelled CWOJWIACHUL

...which is how an eight year old spells QUADRILATERAL!!

The herbal sleep tablets worked well last night - so well that I fell asleep halfway through CSI. Feeling so tired tonight I don't think I need them.

Tuesday 24 February 2009

Pancakes for Playgrounds

Last summer, our young friends Tom and Alex Gill went out and built a playground in East Africa. This evening, their Mum, Sue, hosted a fundraiser Pancake Party, in aid of this year's effort. Great pancakes, Sue!

Here's the video they made last year, showing Christian love translated into practical action.

To sleep, perchance to dream...

js sleep aid Having had a run of nights when, for some reason, I didn't sleep too well, I decided that when I went to the supermarket this morning I would get some Nytol [or the equivalent Sainsbury's own brand, which is half the price] I expected it to be in that section of their pharmacy where they have all the vitamins etc - I noticed a fortnight or so ago that everything has been repackaged - and I firmly expected that along with the ones labelled "Ooomph!" and "Revive!" they would have one called "Zzzzz...."

Unable to find what I wanted, I asked an assistant- who confidently led me to the shelf labelled 'FAMILY PLANNING'!!  I kid you not - there among the products, were all the 'sleep aids'. This is a method of limiting the family I hadn't thought of before - you obviously slip a couple of Nytol into your husband's cocoa, and that's that problem dealt with!

I drove home, still chuckling to myself about this, and came up behind a van stopped at the lights. I admit I was not quite 100% on form, but for the remainder of my journey, I was trying to work out what "tomation" was, and how it applied to cakes. Painted across the back doors of the vehicle, it proclaimed "GATEAU  TOMATION" 

What is tomation? cupcakeIs it related to tomatoes? Is this some new fancy term for presentation of fairy cakes in a pyramid? [...At the reception, the bridal party enjoyed a gateau tomation which was three feet high and festooned with sugar roses...]

The van went straight on, and I turned right to the village, and the light suddenly dawned! This van belonged to a firm providing security stuff for outbuildings etc. The other words painted across the back [split neatly down the middle where the two doors met] said "GARAGE  - SECURITY" and "UP&OVER  - DOORS" and the first line should have read "GATE  - AUTOMATION" but it had been spaced badly!

Monday 23 February 2009

Going Bananas for Fairtrade

fairtrade logo Today marks the start of Fairtrade Fortnight - lots more information about this on their website, and also Dulce Domum makes some good points on her blog

If you can, why not join in the great Banana Challenge at the end of the fortnight? Bananas are terribly good for you!

fairtrade bananas

Sainsbury's sells around 1000 bananas a minute and they are ALL fairtrade [if they indigo valleycan do it, why can't all the other supermarkets?]

For some time now, we have made a point of serving Fairtrade Tea and Coffee at church events - and the coffee is excellent. We get it from Indigo Valley, and they supply the ground coffee and very efficient coffee making equipment. I am sure I have mentioned them before.

I find it excruciatingly embarrassing when Christian groups serve tepid instant coffee [from the cash'n'carry budget tin, which was first opened last year sometime] along with some stale crumbly biscuits. What does that say to our visitors? It is so much better to provide a decent hot drink, ethically sourced, which actually tastes good. Jesus made sure his friends had decent stuff to drink [John2:10] so should we!

I heartily recommend IV coffee. [That's Indigo Valley, NOT intra-venous, although there are some Sunday mornings...]

Sunday 22 February 2009

Praise Him!

Angels holy, high and lowly,
Sing the praises of the Lord!
Earth and sky, all living nature,
Man the stamp of thy Creator,
Praise ye, praise ye, God the Lord!

Sun and moon bright, night and moonlight,
Starry temples azure-floored,
Cloud and rain, and wild winds’ madness,
Sons of God that shout for gladness,
Praise ye, praise ye, God the Lord!

 night sky
Ocean hoary, tell His glory,
Cliffs, where tumbling seas have roared,
Pulse of waters, blithely beating,
Wave advancing, wave retreating,
Praise ye, praise ye, God the Lord!

cliffs skye
Rock and highland, wood and island,
Crag where eagle’s pride hath soared;
Mighty mountains, purple breasted,
Peaks cloud-cleaving, snowy crested,
Praise ye, praise ye, God the Lord!

 eagle mountain
Rolling river, praise Him ever,
From the mountain’s deep vein poured;
Silver fountain, clearly gushing,
Troubled torrent, madly rushing,
Praise ye, praise ye, God the Lord!

Praise Him ever, bounteous Giver!
Praise Him, Father, Friend and Lord!
Each glad soul its free course winging,
Each blithe voice its free song singing,
Praise the great and mighty Lord!


This hymn was translated by John Blackie and included in 1845 in Horatius Bonar's Hymnal. We sang it this morning - I just love the imagery - and the way the words fit the tune - Windermere - so well [especially the wave advancing, wave can almost hear the water rushing across the shingle!]

As it is half term, many of our musicians are away, so it's all trad hymns with the organ today. I'm not complaining - there are some real gems lurking between the green covers of the Baptist Hymn Book!

Steph rang earlier to say she was safely Back In Blighty - having spent the week at a friend's wedding in Dubai. When I was her age, a trip to Bexhill-on-Sea was exciting.

Thank you Lord, for keeping my little girl safe.

Rice Is Nice!

christopher robin A A Milne wrote a little poem called "Rice Pudding" which my grandmother used to recite to me when I was a child. I always felt Mary Jane was a particularly silly little girl - sweet, creamy rice pudding is a delight and a joy. My mother believed pudding was the only way to serve rice - savoury rice dishes like risotto, curries, and Chinese food were anathema to her!

      What is the matter with Mary Jane?
She's crying with all her might and main,
And she won't eat her dinner - rice pudding again -
What is the matter with Mary Jane?
      What is the matter with Mary Jane?
I've promised her dolls and a daisy-chain,
And a book about animals - all in vain -
What is the matter with Mary Jane?
      What is the matter with Mary Jane?
She's perfectly well, and she hasn't a pain;
But, look at her, now she's beginning again! -
What is the matter with Mary Jane?
      What is the matter with Mary Jane?
I've promised her sweets and a ride in the train,
And I've begged her to stop for a bit and explain -
What is the matter with Mary Jane?
      What is the matter with Mary Jane?
She's perfectly well and she hasn't a pain,
And it's lovely rice pudding for dinner again!
What is the matter with Mary Jane?

However the usual advice [from the Blessed St Delia and co] is that to get a thick creamy rice pudding, you have to cook it long and slow - or buy one of those overpriced clotted cream ones from M&S. On Sundays when I am feeling thrifty [always] and a little pressed for time before church [most- but especially when it is my turn to do Sunday School] I am happy to announce there is another way! 

hidome pressure cooker I've been throwing this recipe together since 1981, when my friend Valerie lent me her copy of a "Sainsbury's Pressure Cooker Cookbook". I use a Prestige HiDome PC, which I got for my birthday in 1974 when I was a student. That makes it nearly 35years old, and apart from 2 new rubber gaskets, it is still going strong. The great thing about this recipe is that you can start preparing it just before you begin boiling the potatoes & cooking the other parts of the main course- and 25 minutes or so later, you have a pud that tastes like it was simmering away for ages! It works equally well with fresh milk, reconstituted dried milk powder, evap & water, or a carton of UHT. After a couple of early disasters, I discovered it was essential to cover the surface of the liquid with a circle of greaseproof or silicon paper. [The pre-cut 'cake-tin liners' which Lakeland sell in packs of 100 are ideal for this] If you do not do this, the pud may bubble up and seep alarmingly through the bottom of the weights! [or worse]


  • knob of butter
  • 2 pints milk
  • 6oz pudding rice
  • 2oz sugar
  • generous grating of fresh nutmeg

Melt the butter in the base of the pan. Add all the other ingredients, stir well. Bring to the boil. Turn heat right down. Cover surface with paper. Put lid on pan with all weights. The cooker should be hissing GENTLY! Leave to hiss away for about 12minutes, then turn off the heat. Leave pan alone till you are ready to serve pud. Carefully remove weights then lid [pressure will have gone down by now] Serve into warmed bowls with dollop of jam [optional] and gasps of delight from assembled company [obligatory].

IM003248Here is my pudding - with a spoonful of Deb's gorgeous home-made blackberry and apple jelly. Bob prefers his without jam. I am childish enough to enjoy stirring it in to make a gorgeous bowlful of pink ecstasy.

The above quantity will make 6 generous servings. Today I modified quantities slightly as I had a 1 litre carton of UHT in the cupboard. Technically that is 4+ portions I suppose - In practice, it is 2 bowls for pud, and the possibility of 2 more for Sunday Supper. As far as I can tell, the only downside is the lack of skin - but not everyone likes the skin anyway!

Mary Janes of this world, please reconsider, rice is nice!

Saturday 21 February 2009

Thankyou, Dulce Domum!

Great excitement when the postlady came today - a parcel!! I have just won my first ever blog giveaway, and received a lovely gift from my blogfriend DD. I read her blog with great enjoyment, and she is full of nuggets of information about homekeeping in previous generations. Anyway, here are the contents of my parcel


  • A copy of "Home Chat" - a Ladies' Magazine from 1908 - lots in there to read and have fun considering women's lives a century ago.
  • A crochet pattern [with helpful instructions on 'how to crochet'] for making bags out of old plastic carriers. I have yet to master crochet, so this is a bit of an incentive.
  • A handknitted dishcloth - which almost feels too good to use!
  • A copy of Edith Schaeffer's "The Hidden Art of Homemaking". I read this back in about 1978, when it was relatively new, and I was newly engaged [and surprised to find a Christian book in my local library!] I shall really appreciate reading it again. Back in the 60's and 70's it was the thing in some circles to read the books by Edith's husband Francis. I even managed to get one as a school prize.

I remember that I greatly enjoyed the book first time round and it gave me lots of ideas - but also I recall deciding Edith must be an absolute saint if her husband really did preach sermons which usually lasted an hour or more [like me, she is a sermon-note-taker]. It will be good to see how my ideas have altered over the years [I still think that is too long for a sermon though. Bob's average time is twenty three minutes! And I have plenty of timed/dated notes to prove this]

What a lovely gift, and how generous of DD to celebrate her First Anniversary of Blogging like this.I shall have to give some thought to what I can do in March!

Friday 20 February 2009

Proverbs 10:7

 dbc_ I just had an email from my good friend Christine, current Church Secretary at Dereham, telling me of the death of someone from Norfolk. Ivan Stroulger was a wonderful man,in his late 80s, who had served his Saviour for many, many years. He'd also been involved in church life in Manchester - in my friend Rachel's home church. [It is odd how the cogs of Christian Fellowship turn together like this, and we can find links between Norfolk, Manchester and Leicester!]

During my Dad's ministry, Ivan was Church Secretary, and always a positive support and encouragement. His sons too have gone on to serve God - Alan, his oldest, being a Baptist Minister.

But the other thing about Ivan was hisHobbies-logo lifetime of working for "Hobbies". This amazing little company started in 1895 producing fretwork machines and kits for the 'home hobbyist' to produce all sorts of useful things.

In the 1930's, as a boy, my Dad took the magazine each week - and my grandfather bound them into books [which I still have!] Until Dad went there as Pastor in 1965, all we knew about Dereham was "It is the place where Hobbies is" - and Dad was thrilled to discover that his Church Secretary was a key man in the company! Then the company had problems - and Ivan brought them out, and ran the company as a family business till his retirement. The company is still going - although the weekly magazine has been replaced by an annual catalogue and online website.

ducks Ivan supplied Dad with the plans for building Liz & Steph's Dolls' House, and for a wonderful set of waddling ducks, and a toy Land Rover towing a caravan

land rover





You can still get these, and other fabulous plans and kits from the company. I hope that more people will start building their own lasting wooden toys instead of buying plastic tat!

Ivan was a great man, over six foot tall, with a strong faith in Jesus, and a diligent and conscientious attitude towards his work and his witness. Would that there were more saints like him, to be Church Secretaries today! [actually, at the moment, the post is still vacant here, and I'd settle for a Church Sec even half as good!!]

Thursday 19 February 2009

And So To Bed...

lesleys quilt

Isn't this absolutely beautiful ? It is Lesley's finished Red Quilt [see this post for more details] It is now on her daughter Emily's bed, and E & L kindly said I could publish a photo on the blog.

This has really inspired me, so as I have been undergoing The Great Loft Sort this week, I have thrown all the bits of BLUE fabric into a separate bag. Not exactly sure when I shall get the quilt blocks pressed and cut and sorted and sewn - but hey-ho, well begun is half done and all that!

Here is a picture of MY bed yesterday evening...


I think I have adequate raw materials for this project anyway.

It was Lesley's Birthday yesterday - many happy returns, dear friend!

I should point out that L's quilt is HAND-SEWN - even more impressive! It has taken her a year to complete [during which time she has also produced angel costumes, teddy bears, a nativity set, cardigans and more] Mine is definitely going to be done with the assistance of a machine. Target completion date will be Valentine's Day 2010 [there, I have published a date, so I must get it done now]

Wednesday 18 February 2009

Atheists and Buses

atheist bus 

I was amused by this picture

christianity today bus

and also by this cartoon from Christianity Today

Chrissy's Cat

chrissy's sweater cat

I just had to post a picture of the cute Kitty knitted by my mate Chrissy from the Borders Knitting Group. It is a test knit for Elizabeth Jarvis, [otherwise known as BettyKnitter on Ravelry]

Chrissy is at College studying knitting and textiles stuff, and produces some lovely tomte pieces. She brought Kitty to our group last week to show. Veronica had an amazing gnome she had made from the Alan Dart book [forgot my camera on Monday, so this is a picture of a similar one from the Internet] I do have some remarkably talented friends!

Unfortunately, due to the Credit Crunch, Borders is shutting at 9pm on Mondays now - so unless you get to the group promptly, you don't have much knitting&nattering time! Morag, whose Mum is Swedish, said these gnomes are called Tomte. Tomte were believed to take care of a farmer's home and children and protect them from misfortune, in particular at night, when the family were asleep.So now we know!

Tuesday 17 February 2009

Positive Equity!

tom graham Bob was a little put out to read a bit in the paper today about "The Archers" which referred to tonight's episode featuring 'good-looking Tom Archer' "How do we KNOW he is good looking? It is a RADIO programme" expostulated Bob.

So here is a picture of Tom Graham, the actor who plays TA. You can decide if he is good looking or not! He is a clever chap, he has a degree in Psychology from Manchester - and his father is a gifted photographer, and friend of Jon's family in Nottinghamshire. Mr G took some splendid pictures of Liz & Jon at a family wedding.

Last night we watched the final part of 'Whitechapel' - it was a little disappointing. The Jack the Ripper story is intriguing. Who was he?

It starred Rupert Penry Jones [as in 'Spooks' and '39 steps']rupert penry jones

He is the brother of Laurence Penry Jones, who was in the Bill, and Midsomer Murders




laurence penry jones


And L&P are the sons of Edward P-J [Colditz, Poirot and other stuff]


angela thorne EPJ is their father, and their mother is Angela Thorne [To The Manor Born, Anyone for Denis etc]

And of course RPJ is married to Dervla Kirwan - and she is not just an actress [Ballykissangel et al] she is also the voice of those M&S adervla kirwandverts.

Whilst she was filming Ballykissangel, DK was briefly engaged to another actor, Stephen Tompkinson.

Perhaps actors work such peculiar hours that the only people they meet up with are other astephen tompkinsonctors!

I don't think we have any actors in our family - just an alarming number of preachers and teachers.

Just What I Knead!

Tell me where is Fancy bred, brioche flour

Or in the heart or in the head!

How begot, how nourished?

Thus sings Portia in the Merchant of Venice. I decided we needed to be nourished by some fancy bread, so I made a brioche loaf this afternoon. I'd bought a bag of brioche flour in a French Supermarket last year, and thought it really should be used up.


I don't think I got the proportions of dough quite right, to get the traditional ball shape on the top, but it doesn't look too bad.

Brioche dough is enriched with egg - and this flour has dried egg in it. It took me a while to translate the instructions on the back of the bag though!

I needed a break from other housework - it's been a busy half-term thus far. I have started on Tidying The Loft. This is a task I have been avoiding for months [no, years!!] and because lots of other blogs I read recently have had people's tales of organising their cupboards etc, I thought I ought to get on and do it. Photos will follow later!

Five bin bags of rubbish in the wheelie bin, a whole suitcase of stuff for the charity shop, and a trip to the Council Tip - and it still doesn't look much clearer up there! I've also taken the dog for his annual injections. The Vet is pleased with Charlie- he says his heart and lungs are sound, and it is only the arthritis in his hips which is causing problems. I also managed to fit in a haircut, and I went to knitting group last night. Two more newcomers!


As they say on the adverts...        Du pain, du vin, du Boursin!

[well, actually, it is Sainsbury's Soft Cheese, but never mind]

One thing in India Knight's Thrift book, with which I DO agree, is that many [not all]of the supermarket 'basic' ranges are as good as their more expensive counterparts. What she did NOT say is that you have to be very careful when you grab a can from the shelf. If you are not concentrating, you can easily empty a can of TOMATO SOUP into your casserole, instead of a can of CHOPPED TOMATOES!!  I know this, because I have just done it...  soup basic  tomatoes basic








It could have been worse 

basic peaches

basic rice pud

I have peach slices and rice pudding on the shelf too! Those labels may look like different shades of orange here - but they all look the same on the shelf.  Fortunately I do keep savoury stuff on side, and sweet on the other, but the potential for disaster is there nonetheless!

Anyway the casserole is simmering away, Bob is in [yet another] meeting, and I need to go and prepare Housegroup.

Sunday 15 February 2009

Weekend Woman's Hour [or Two]

"If you can fill the unforgiving minute with 6o seconds worth of distance run..." wrote Kipling*** - and I am coming to the conclusion that in our family just lately we do seem to be cramming as much as we can into every waking minute [and dreams seem equally busy too!] So when I sit down to watch a TV programme, I spend the ad breaks reading my library book or doing the crossword - and if Bob does something in his 'spare time' he manages to find a use for that activity as a sermon illustration or something.

theremin Bob's been repairing a theremin for Jon [full techie details on Bob's blog of course] That's the weird instrument used to produce the theme for Midsomer Murders. It is the only instrument which you play without touching it in any way. You just wave your hands near the aerial. On MM it has an ethereal quality - Jon's device now makes noises, but as yet the fine tuning isn't quite sorted out. So this morning it went off to church with us, and Bob managed to get TWO points from it for the children's slot. The first was that the Bible story today was about the Gadarene Swine - and he had volunteers trying to make the Theremin sound like a pig [well done Ian!] and the second was that the hands get closer, so the sound changes. As Jesus is closer to us, so He changes us.

The worship group led the rest of the service up to, and after the sermon, and for the last hymn chose a favourite of mine

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand

Yesterday, first thing, I returned my library books - including the one down river john hart Steph recommended - Down River, by John Hart. It was OK - but I am not sure that it was quite in the John Grisham league. At first I was really enjoying it - then I sort of ceased to care whodunnit and why!

I did look in case the library had any more by him, but they didn't. The librarian said that the book I ordered weeks ago had finally come in - The Thrift Book by India Knthriftight [subtitled 'Live well and spend less'] I think it was Tina in Scotland who first mentioned this on her blog last year.

It is full of lots of useful website addresses, and I think if you were new to the whole idea of thriftiness would prove a handy resource. It's a bit London-centric though. I got a bit frustrated when she kept on about popping into Selfridges or the local woolshop/deli/butcher/baker/

whatever. And I know they have an online store now, but unless you have been in person to MacCulloch and Wallis in Dering Street, you have no idea what a wonderful haberdashery it is! I found the instructions for growing cress on a flannel just a teensy bit patronising!

I think it is aimed at younger women. Sentences frequently seemed to start with "If you are under 30" - and I kept muttering "I am over 50" I shall encourage Liz and Steph [living in London and under 30] to get it from their libraries, and see what they make of it. When I have time, I shall check out a few of the recommended websites.

The other non-fictiontrinny & susanna clothes I picked up was Trinny and Susannah's "What your clothes say about you"

I haven't really watched many of their programmes, and was not sure what I would get out of this one. They had various categories [working girl, young mum, menopausal woman, can't be bothered with clothes etc] I decided I was in the "50+, don't want to spend time/money on clothes" groups. Apparently many women my age make the mistake of letting their wardrobe go grey and shapeless! We should aim at Statements - so if wearing beads, do not wear one necklace, wear three or four.

So this morning, put on typical 'going-to-church' gear - shirt, waistcoat, skirt - and then FOUR long strings of beads! [white, blues, ambers, multi-coloured - all colours in the brocade waistcoat, vintage charity shop] "Is this OK, Bob?" I checked [he seemed to think so] So off I went. It was quite surprising - I had at least seven people comment on my appearance, and say how attractive the beads were etc. I've worn that combination [without all the beads] before but this obviously made the necessary Statement!

However I am not sure that multi-beadedness is going to be a regular feature of my style - I was alarmed to find myself fingering them in a rosary -like way at one point, and I had to take them off when I got home, they got in the way of lunch preparation! T&S also advocate fishnet tights, killer heels and showing off your cleavage. I do not feel these are quite in keeping with my image!!

I am reminded of a poem by Ogden Nash


He tells you when you've got on too much lipstick

And helps you with your girdle when your hips stick

queens I made a Queen's Pudding today, using breadcrumbs from the heel of Friday's loaf. It is so satisfying to turn leftovers into such a scrumptious pud. Served it with plain yogurt in the interests of health and calorie cutting!

Here's Delia's recipe

300ml milk

5g butter

60g breadcrumbs

25g caster sugar + 1 tsp

2 medium eggs

2 tbsp jam

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C

You will also need a 500ml pie dish, generously buttered.

First, pour the milk into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, breadcrumbs, 10g of the sugar, and leave for 20 minutes to allow the breadcrumbs to swell.

Now separate the eggs, lightly beat the yolks and add them to the cooled breadcrumb mixture. Pour it all into the pie dish and spread it out evenly. Bake in the centre of the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until set. Meantime, in a small saucepan melt the raspberry jam over a low heat and, when the pudding is ready, remove it from the oven and spread the jam carefully and evenly all over the top.

Next, using an electric hand whisk, lightly beat the egg whites in a large scrupulously clean bowl until stiff, then whisk in 15g of the caster sugar and spoon this meringue mixture over the pudding. Finally, sprinkle the teaspoon of caster sugar over it all and bake for a further 10-15 minutes until the topping is golden brown.

Note - I put the meringue topping on before baking the base- and stuck it in the oven [on auto-timer] so it all cooked whilst we were at church. Not quite as good- but still enjoyable.

***Do you like Kipling? I don't know, I've never Kippled!

Saturday 14 February 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

fingernail lady

According to the BBC News Website "An American woman listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the world's longest fingernails has had them broken off in a car crash.Lee Redmond ... had not cut her nails since 1979. Their combined length was more than 28ft , the longest nail - on her right thumb - measuring 2ft 11in. Ms Redmond suffered serious injuries in the crash, but is expected to make a full recovery. Her nails were "damaged beyond repair" The GWR company said she had been a "fantastic ambassador" for them, and that her nails had been "a fundamental part of her life and unique character". "

What I want to know is

  1. Why would you want to grow your nails that long?
  2. How do you zip your jeans and knot your top with those nails?
  3. Is she able to feed herself?
  4. What do you do all day - you probably cannot type, hold a pen, prepare food, drive a car, do laundry...all I can think of is sleeping, talking and praying!
  5. More importantly - how do you give a hug to those you love?

jammie dodger

Also noticed a piece in the paper today about Jammie Dodgers, those lovely dunkable biscuits from Burton's.

There is, apparently an urban myth circulating that they were first made by French villagers after a time of conflict, and passed round with the words "Jamais De Guerre"

How I wish I had read this last week, and then I could have fed them to my class as part of the French Breakfast!! On second thoughts, perhaps not - they would probably have believed me, and not understood that it was a myth.


If you are a tea&biscuit sort of person, you should check out A Nice Cup Of Tea And A Sit Down which is a website dedicated to this pursuit!




This being half term week, I plan on having lots of 'NCOTAAS' moments - although I shall endeavour to avoid too many biscuits!!


I found this lovely graphic on the Marie Claire Idees website and turned it into a Valentine's Day Card for Bob. A suitably romantic [and thrifty] ending to my French Week, I think!