Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Planning a trip

Image Copyrighted by Historylink101.com & found at China Picture Gallery.

I was out all day today so didn't really have time to write a post. I met up with the three friends I'm going with on my trip to China next month. Another friend who went there many years ago brought all her photos for us to see and I think we are going to see some spectacular sights, but also a lot of poverty. I think you have to barter when buying things-now this is where my brother would be good he always tries to get discount on everything (and often succeeds).

We planned what we need to take with us- it's important to be sure we have hairdryers and a kettle and toilet paper! It's difficult to imagine that in many places that it may not be provided. Oh and I gather that facilities are, often, very basic! Marian advised us not to use the toilet s at the Great Wall-I somehow don't think I can walk and keep my legs crossed for that long so I've got a clothes peg for my nose! :)

I'm on countdown until April 27th....

2008: Fun Monday-60 Inspirational Quotes
2007: I'm barely half normal

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Fun Monday # 109 Easter Baskets

Easter will soon be here and so this week jMo has asked us to think about filling our Easter Baskets she wants us to:

Share a story, is it better to give or to receive, what would you like in yours?

For many this religious festival has has just become another commercial enterprise.
Others celebrate according to their beliefs and religious denominations.
Christians consider eggs to be "the seed of life" and so they are symbolic of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Don't worry I'm not about to preach to you but this topic made me think a lot about what I would really like in my basket. I enjoy receiving gifts, who doesn't, but I get so much more pleasure from giving.

I don't really have a particular story to tell but I do remember one year when my daughters were young and Embee managed to get a £5 note inside their eggs so they had a lovely surprise.

Now in my basket there would be.....

Everlasting world peace (it would be wonderful)

Amelioration of poverty (sadly I think this is getting worse not better)

Sunshine (we haven't had much for the last few months and everyone feels better when it's warm and sunny)

Ticket to travel (I have the travel bug)

Extra pension (will help with the travel)

Recession to end sooner rather than later.

Wishing everyone an Easter basket brimming with happiness and good health.

I'm looking forward to peeping in your baskets!

2008: Awards and Shoes
2007: Spain continued

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Get lost I don't do poses!

Try as might I cannot take a good bird photo and even the Magpie turned his back on me in disgust!

2008: Had to know
2007: Gonna be a Bear-what about you

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Topsy is home from the vets.

Some of you may remember this post when I showed you pictures of the tortoises just after they had come out of hibernation. At that time I was worried about Topsy's mouth infection. I tried to get her mouth clean and get her eating but it became evident that although she wanted to eat her mouth hurt so Embee took her into the vet on Tuesday last and she had a dose of antibiotics, some heat treatment and they allowed her home yesterday. Although her mouth is not completely healed we could not afford to run up a huge vet bill this year, just those few days set us back over £80, so I'm going to continue with twice daily warm baths, cleaning out her mouth and force feeding by hand.

Imagine my delight just now when I got her to eat about 7 peas (may not seem much but it is enough to keep her going). I put her back in the pen with the other two, and gave them some fresh lettuce, dandelions and apple and Topsy immediately started eating some of the lettuce so that is really good.
The trouble is the other two wouldn't leave her alone to feed in peace.
Fingers crossed she will keep improving from now on.

2008: Rhubarb
2007: My Dilemma

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Not worth reading........

......as I have nothing of any real interest to talk about today.

Yesterday I made a new protective cover for my dining room table. I managed to buy this piece of material, that is actually meant for re-upholstering, very cheaply (£6) and I really only had to hem it. The thick material should give the table some protection and prevent it being scratched when it is not in use.

In getting my sewing machine out of the cupboard I also managed to clean out a couple of the shelves. I was amazed at some of the things that I had stored and forgotten about. For example lots of craft items from when my grandchildren were younger (even some templates from when I ran my pre-school in the 70's) I can't quite bring myself to part with these!
Below are several little bears and a hippo that I bought recently for shoe box gifts for Romanian children. They are very cute and were reduced in price.

Well that's it for today. Hope everyone has a good weekend.

2008: Tortoises Feeding
2007: Fun Mon-10 sign up

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

A ride into Bristol

All of my photos this last week seem to have been quickly shot out of the window of a travelling car so are not the best. We drove into Bristol on Sunday afternoon to find the venue for the concert that my grandson is coming for next month and I did a little snapping on the way.
Driving into Bristol along the Portway you would see the River Avon on one side and a steep rock face on the other (I know some of you will recall seeing a very similar picture in the past).
this area is very popular with the rock climbing enthusiasts. You probably won't be able to see them in the first picture but can pick them out below in the cropped shot.
The ship below is the SS Great Britain this famous ship is back in the dry dock where she was originally built. You can just get a glimpse of the replica of the Matthew which is also in Bristol's Floating Harbour.
Below we were travelling up Park Street and the building at the top is the Wills Memorial Building part of Bristol University. Another impressive building at the top of Park Street is Bristol Museum A little further on you pass the Victoria Rooms which now houses the university's music department. This is where the dance school, that my girls attended, used to put on a display every other year. It was lot of hard work (we had to make the costumes) but good fun.
The show 'Crazy for You' is running this week. I remember seeing that show in London with Sam, I wonder if she will remember it!

This is only a glimpse of some of the places of interest that you can find in Bristol.
Oh and I did take a picture of the O2 Academy (the real purpose of this ride into town) but the road was closed so it was impossible to get close. Dillon will be seeing a band called Deathstars perform. I've never heard of them and if I've found the right link I'm not sure they would be my cup of tea!

2008: Witty Wednesady-42
2007: Road to Morocco or Tetouan via Ceuta to be precise

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Witty Wednesday # 91 Easy Quiz and a Chicken Surprise

My friend, Carol, sent me this easy quiz...

(Passing requires 4 correct answers)

1) How long did the Hundred Years' War last?

2) Which country makes Panama hats?

3) From which animal do we get cat gut?

4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?

5) What is a camel's hair brush made of?

6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?

7) What was King George VI's first name?

8) What color is a purple finch?

9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?

10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?

Remember, you need 4 correct answers to pass.

Check your answers below.


1) How long did the Hundred Years War last? 116 years

2) Which country makes Panama hats? Ecuador

3) From which animal do we get catgut? Sheep and Horses

4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution? November

5) What is a camel's hair brush made of? Squirrel fur

6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal? Dogs

7) What was King George VI's first name? Albert

8) What color is a purple finch? Crimson

9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from? New Zealand

10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane? Orange (of course)

What do you mean, you failed?

Me, too. I knew there would be a catch LOL!!!!

And here's a groaner from John

Chicken Surprise

A couple go for a meal at a Chinese restaurant and order the 'Chicken Surprise'. The waiter brings the meal, served in a lidded cast iron pot.

Just as the wife is about to serve herself, the lid of the pot rises slightly and she briefly sees two beady little eyes looking around before the lid slams back down.

'Good grief, did you see that?' she asks her husband. He hasn't, so she asks him to look in the pot. He reaches for it and again the lid rises, and he sees two little eyes looking around before it slams down..

Rather perturbed, he calls the waiter over, explains what is happening, and demands an explanation.

'Please sir,' says the waiter, 'what you order?'

The husband replies, 'Chicken Surprise.'

(Now for the groan)

'Ah! So sorry,' says the waiter, 'I bring you Peeking Duck!'

Have a Happy Day and keep smiling. Oh I forgot to mention yesterday, that I was publishing my 900th post since starting this blog.

2008: Flowers from a Friend
2007: Doggy Sitting

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Scissorman comes calling

Yesterday the 'scissorman' came calling. As you can see he set up his machine outside. It took him quite a long time to sharpen the 10 knives and it cost me £20 which I thought was a reasonable price.
Seeing this guy arrive by car with his grinder powered by electricity reminded me how knife sharpening was done when I was a child (late 40's early 50's).

We had an old guy arrive on a bike and the pedals were used to turn the wheel which rotated the stone to sharpen the knife (well something like that). I found this old photo of a grinder's bike. My mother cannot remember what it cost but it would only have been a few pence.

I wonder if anyone else has similar memories to mine and I also wonder how you get your knives sharpened these days??
2008: Fun Monday-59 My Alphabet
2007: Super Natural Cooking + You are what you eat

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Fun Monday # 108 + The answer is......!

Margaret over at Mama Drama is the hostess this week.
Sorry but I'm not coming out to play today. I can never get my brain into creative writing mode, but I do admire those who can weave a good story about why someone would ditch their underwear in the parking garage at work! So I will be coming to read some good stories.

There is a hostess for March 30th it's jMo and I can even tell you the topic: Easter Baskets: Share a story, is it better to give or to receive, what would you like in yours?
So hop over and sign up.
Yesterday I asked you to guess what Beccy had given me as a Mothering Sunday gift and a lot of you were very quick to answer correctly. I used it immediately as you can see below

2008: happy Easter
2007: Granada-the Alhambra

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

It's time to celebrate!

Today we celebrate Mothering Sunday here in the UK.


Most Sundays in the year churchgoers would worship at their nearest parish or "daughter church".

In olden times it was considered important for people to return to their home or "mother" church at least once a year. So each year in the middle of Lent, everyone would visit their "mother" church.

As the return to the "mother" church became an occasion for family reunions when children who were working away from home returned. (It was quite common in those days for children to leave home to work in service from ten years of age.)

The majority of historians think that it was this return to the "Mother" church which led to the tradition of children, particularly those working as domestic servants, or as apprentices, being given the day off to visit their mother and family.

This special day has now become a time when people give thanks to their mothers and offers an opportunity to express both love and thanks for the work that they do.

I thought I would show you the lovely gift that Beccy sent me. You might like to guess what it is?
Thank you Beccy xx

Another important event to celebrate today:

Remember this well another year has galloped by.
As a reward for me putting up with you all these years I'll let you take me out to lunch. As you can see, he's actually in the garden as I type this, taking a little rest from weeding the borders.

Whatever you happen to be doing today have a wonderful time.

2008: What is Today + Mission Accomplished
2007: Happy Anniversary Embee

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sight Seeing Saturday

A few more photos taken as we drove through Bath on our way home last ThursdayAt the top of this little street you find a park Some of the roads are quite steep, which might not be evident from the photosIn the previous picture you can see this house in the distanceKeep going and eventually this imposing Church comes into view. Some of the avenues had carpets of flowers lining the roads. It really was very pretty

I hope everyone is enjoying the weekend.

2008: This and That
2007: Sunny Spain
as very pretty

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy 16th Birthday

Today my grandson will be celebrating his 16th Birthday. He promised that he would send me a photo but you know what teenage lads are like! So I've had to use what I had. The one above I took when I stayed with them last month and as you can see he found it difficult to take his eyes away from this laptop to look up and smile for the camera. I did find a few pictures from our holiday in Portugal last summer so Dillon happy memories.

We hope you have a lovely Birthday Dillon and we are looking forward to seeing you and Roisin when you come to visit us in April. Lots of love

2008: Happy 15th Birthday
2007: Someone needs your help +Happy Birthday Dillon

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Attractive Buildings in Bath

This is a very short post today because I have been out visiting the lovely City of Bath. I wasn't actually there for sight seeing, it was more a shopping trip and I only took a few photos from the car going home. There are lots of attractive buildings and this is one of the pubs that we passed.

2008: Witty Wednesday-41
2007: Fun Mon-9 A Day in My Life or My Life in a Day

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Witty Wednesday # 90

Thank you Daffy this had me spluttering-love it.


Man driving down road.
Woman driving up same road.
They pass each other.

The woman yells out the window, PIG!
Man yells out window, BITCH!

Man rounds next curve.
Man crashes into a HUGE PIG in middle of road and

Thought For the Day:
If men would just listen!!
This is supposed to be a true story that Daffy sent me:

BEST LAWYER STORY OF THE YEAR, Charlotte, North Carolina :

A lawyer purchased a box of very rare and expensive cigars, then insured! them against, among other things, fire.

Within a month, having smoked his entire stockpile of these great cigars and without yet having made even his first premium payment on the policy, the lawyer filed a claim against the insurance company.

In his claim, the lawyer stated the cigars were lost "in a series of small fires."

The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason, that the man had consumed the cigars in the normal fashion.

The lawyer sued...and WON!

(Stay with me.)

Delivering the ruling, the judge agreed with the insurance company that the claim was frivolous. The judge stated, nevertheless, that the lawyer held a policy from the company which it had warranted that the cigars were insurable and also guaranteed that it would insure them against fire, without defining what is considered to be "unacceptable fire," and was obligated to pay the claim.

Rather than endure lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the ruling and paid $15,000 to the lawyer for his loss of the cigars lost in the "fires".


After the lawyer cashed the check, the insurance company had him arrested on 24 counts of ARSON!!! With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case being used against him, the lawyer was convicted of intentionally burning his insured property and was sentenced to 24 months in jail and a $24,000 fine.

I think we all know the insurance companies are always the winners!
Have a great Wednesday it's all downhill to the weekend :)

2008: Mount Usher Gardens
2007: Mothering Sunday

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Walking in Comfort and Happy St Patrick's Day.

Happy St Partick's Day to Beccy Joules, my grandchildren and all my Irish friends.

Back 2002 when I was staying with Sam she bought me these lovely Merrell walking boots. I can honestly say they are the most comfortable boots I've ever had. I was able to put them on and do a 6 mile hike without any ill effects. Well OK, as you can see, I did need a couple of little rests on the way.
At the end of next month I am going on a holiday where I will be doing quite a lot of walking. I decided I could do with a walking shoe rather than take my boots. On the spur of the moment I went into our local Snow + Rock to see if they had any bargains. I was lucky they had the Q Form Merrell's Sports shoe and they were in the sale because they were last year's model. I have no problem with this, I quite like the colour especially as I saved nearly £20! In any case I'm not a great lover of green which is the colour for this year.
The sales assistant told me to wear them around the house for a while and if I didn't like them to take them back. What could be fairer than that. They are apparently designed especially for the way women walk with cushioning. I don't really understand the technical jargon but I have them on as I type and I think they are going to be very comfortable and perfect for walking. The only snag is that they are not waterproof so fingers crossed we don't get too much rain.

2008: Beach Bums

2007: Happy St Patrick's Day

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Fun Monday # 107 Kids Say the Darndest Things

Mariposa has given us a good topic this week, and in the past,I have read some very amusing things said by blogger's children so I know we will be having some really good fun today. She says:

Kids Say the Darnedest Things!

Yes, they can be your children...your nephew...niece....siblings...just any experience which makes you say...indeed, Kids Say the Darnedest Things! They need not be a lot...but no limit to how many you can share...more means more fun!

This was not the easiest post for me because I'm not in close contact with many young children these days. So if you want to leave now that's OK by me.

When my own children were young many moons ago now I do recall Beccy couldn't pronounce all her words and she would say to everyone 'wipe your peet' and and it was always an elipant!
I also recall my children were very good at showing me up. It was sometimes necessary to tell a white lie so as not to hurt someone's feelings- my two always liked to earwig and several times I remember that uncomfortable feeling when they butted in "that's not right mummy you said....." they got one of my special looks!

My eldest grandson (Dillon) must have caught the earwiging from his mum. When he was a tot and he used to sit in the back of our people carrier and clearly listen to the conversation. One day his little voice piped in to say "speak louder I can't hear the news" (gossip more like which is why we had dropped our voices!)

Embee reminded me of the time when we were on the beach in Cornwall in the rain and we wondering what to do and again Dillon said "can we go somewhere with a roof"-very sensible.

There was also the time when Embee rang Dillon a day late to wish him a Happy Birthday and his response was "It already was my Birthday" so cute!

Another time Embee asked him what he had done with the sun and he replied "I put it in the drawer and it wasn't there when I got up". He's now a strapping teenager and is very good at the quick retorts if only I could remember some recent ones!

That's me done for today, looking forward to having a laugh when I visit you :)

2007: Fancy Cakes

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest!

Embee decided that today was the day he would mend the fence panel that broke in the heavy winds a week ago. He gave me warning that I would need to be there to help. Fair enough, however I have learned from bitter experience that I am expected to know exactly what is needed without clear instructions. When I get it wrong which, of course, I invariably do, I then get shouted at. Today I managed quite well and only did two things wrong. Now if you were told to take two bricks down to the fence would you think about measuring them to have them the exact same size!Once in place I can see why this was important. That's the other thing I failed to do properly first time. Silly me for placing the bricks the wrong way under the fence. Holes drilled and screws in place so far so good. Oh and in case you think all I was doing is taking pictures -you would be wrong! I was the poor soul with a bent back holding the batten in place while all the holes were drilled.My mother decided she would come out and watch the proceedings.Before taking away the brick I pointed the camera under the fence for an I-spy photo!It was then time to take a well earned rest while 'someone' brought out the coffee.
Then himself decided to do a bit of pruning at the front of the house, and I did some border weeding at the back. So a good day all round. Hope whatever you are doing, that you are having a pleasant day.

2007: Sh** Saturday

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Leek,Potato,Bacon Bake

I have been making a lot of comfort food this winter and when I saw a recipe for this bake I knew it was one that we would enjoy. It is a cross between creamy dauphinoise and pommes boulangères (potatoes cooked in stock). I used it as a supper dish but equally it would make a good side dish for chicken, or other meat.

This recipe comes from the BBC Good Food Magazine.
600ml/1 pint vegetable (or chicken stock)
6 Leeks (thinly sliced into rounds)
1 kilo/2lbs 4oz Potatoes (thin sliced)
3-4 rashers streaky bacon (I used back bacon and 6 rashers as it was a main meal)
25g/1 oz butter
salt and fresh ground pepper
3 tblsp double cream (optional- I used Crème fraîche)

1. Heat oven to 200c/fan 180c/gas6 (400f)

Put stock in large pan, bring stock to boil add leeks and potatoes.
Bring back to boil for 5 mins, drain well reserving stock in a jug

2. Meanwhile butter baking dish

Layer leeks and potatoes, higgledy-piggledy (season layers to suit tastes)
Scatter bacon over the top.
Pour over 200ml of reserved stock, then spread over the cream and cover with foil (can be made a day ahead and chilled).

3. Bake for 40 mins, uncovering halway through so that the bacon crisps (remember thin slices of potato or they will not cook evenly).
Serve with a salad and enjoy.

Just to make it clear; the light in my kitchen is not good for photos and the bacon was not overdone as it looks here.

2008: Recuperating

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