Monthly Archives: November 2013

Rolling Back the Years…

…to the roller disco 😉rollerskates

My dad used to take my sister and I to the local leisure centre every Sunday when we were little to their ‘family roller-skating sessions’, which I loved – it sure beat rolling up and down the street to the lamp-post and back!

You had the latest top 40 hits playing (A-Ha still brings it all back for me), could go round in comparative safety (if you avoided the speed session), and if you were really lucky, your own pair of roller-boots.

Oh, how I longed for a pair of those, instead of the awful skates you strapped to your shoes….

Thankfully, my dad had to go to the States on business and he managed to find and bring back a pair of roller boots each for my sister and I – I can clearly remember them now, they were white, with red edging and red laces – I loved them. I was so sad when I grew out of them, my next pair were not nearly as great – they were blue with coloured stripes.

But enough of my reminiscing – why am I harking on about roller-skates?

Well, today, SC and I went roller-skating at the local rink with one of his friends.

How much fun is it still?

HEAPS!

So much more fun than ice-skating -which we tried a couple of years ago – not successfully – I hadn’t been for over 20 years and it most definitely is not like getting on a bicycle – we managed one lap of the rink in an hour!

I had told SC that roller-skating was easier then ice-skating as you had four wheels and therefore slightly steadier – I hoped 😉

Anyway, we got there and changed into the hire boots – yes, proper boots, not over-shoe-skates these days – next we had to venture on to the rink.

For me, this was most definitely like riding a bicycle – I had not forgotten, and thankfully was much more steadier on my own feet so I could help SC – not that he needed much, he whipped round the rink, and by the end of the session had perfected the art of going round using the rail to push himself along – he actually managed to go quite quickly.

There was music – not so much A-Ha, Wham! or Rick Astley – more One Direction, Daft Punk and slightly more up-to-date tunes.

There were lights.

The floor was still hard when you backside met it at force – oh, yes, I did come a cropper on my bum, only once though, at the beginning (which after 25 years is not bad) – saved myself by landing on my hands – they look a tad bruised, but no lasting damage 😉

But best of all SC had a blast and I had the best time I have had for a long time – it was so much fun, I felt like a teenager again 😉

Still can’t skate backwards though!

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Recipe – Cinnamon and Carrot Cake

I got this lovely recipe out of “Sarah Brown’s Vegetarian Kitchen”, a book I bought seriously years ago. It has been languishing in the drawer in the kitchen for a while (most of my recipe books, are actually taking up a cupboard’s floor space (and some) in my bedroom…) and I decided last week to try something a little bit different instead of coffee & walnut cake, and this was one of them.

Ingredients

  • ½lb (225g) Plain Flour (this can be normal, wheatmeal or wholemeal)
  • 1 tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • ½ tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 4oz (110g) Butter (or Margarine)
  • 4oz (110g) Honey
  • 4oz (110g) Sugar
  • ½lb (225g) Carrots, peeled and finely grated

Method

  • Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 3 (325°F, 170°C, 150° (Fan));
  • Grease a 1lb (450g) Loaf Tin;
  • Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl (flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking powder);
  • Put the butter, honey and sugar in a saucepan and melt over a low heat;
  • Pour this mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix well until everything is combined;
  • Stir in the finely grated carrots;
  • Pour the mixture into the tin and pop in the oven;
  • Cook for 60-80 minutes until the mixture feels firm to the touch and a skewer, when inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean;
  • Leave the cake in the tin for 10 minutes, the turn out onto a cooling rack;
  • Enjoy!

What happened when I did it!

  • Well, the first thing, is I clearly didn’t read the recipe clearly enough (must use my glasses more often) as I only added ½ teaspoon of baking powder, not ½ tablespoon – that could be the reason it felt very ‘heavy’!
  • I also always use light brown sugar instead of caster sugar. I also think that if you want to use fruit sugar, it would work just as well just remember to only use 2/3 of the amount).
  • I didn’t have any nutmeg in the cupboard – or rather I did but it was seriously out-of-date, so it got binned – so I replaced this with 1 teaspoon of ginger.
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon does make for a very heavily spiced cake – so if cinnamon is not a particular favourite, you could always use half the cinnamon and replace the remainder with mixed spice, or ginger! Cinnamon does have an enormous range of health benefits, so this could be said to be a ‘healthy cake’ – would one of those really exist?
  • An alternative – which is the route I took – was to top the cake with an orange buttercream frosting (recipe below). This actually helped to cool down the spiciness of the cinnamon, and it tasted great 😉

Orange Buttercream Frosting

  • 35g Butter (or margarine)
  • 20ml Milk
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract (or orange juice)
  • 166g Icing Sugar

These are approximate guidelines, as I reduced a recipe by a third!

Chuck everything into a bowl and mix with an electric beater – or a spoon, until smooth and creamy 😉

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Friday Poem – A Cradle Song

A beautiful poem by the English poet William Blake (1757 – 1827) about a mother’s love for her child and the awareness of the inability to be able to stop the march of timemother-and-child or stop the child growing up and losing all its innocence.

A Cradle Song

Sweet dreams form a shade,
O’er my lovely infants head.
Sweet dreams of pleasant streams,
By happy silent moony beams

Sweet sleep with soft down.
Weave thy brows an infant crown.
Sweet sleep Angel mild,
Hover o’er my happy child.

Sweet smiles in the night,
Hover over my delight.
Sweet smiles Mothers smiles,
All the livelong night beguiles.

Sweet moans, dovelike sighs,
Chase not slumber from thy eyes,
Sweet moans, sweeter smiles,
All the dovelike moans beguiles.

Sleep sleep happy child,
All creation slept and smil’d.
Sleep sleep, happy sleep.
While o’er thee thy mother weep

Sweet babe in thy face,
Holy image I can trace.
Sweet babe once like thee.
Thy maker lay and wept for me

Wept for me for thee for all,
When he was an infant small.
Thou his image ever see.
Heavenly face that smiles on thee,

Smiles on thee on me on all,
Who became an infant small,
Infant smiles are His own smiles,
Heaven & earth to peace beguiles

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Out of the Mouthes of Babes – Rewards

I got asked to see SC’s teacher after school the other day.

GULP!

“Oh, what’s happened now?” thought I.

His teacher explained that SC had done something he (the teacher) never thought he would.

Cue for more internal screams and panic about what he had done…

Apparently SC took it upon himself to add a few extra house-points to his name, as he thought he deserved more than he had 😉

When I was told, I must confess, I laughed! To be fair, the teacher wasn’t cross either and saw the funny side (thank God he has a teacher with a sense of humour!).

On this little venture I believe SC has a great future as a creative accountant!

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The humble sprout!

It’s a bit like Marmite.brussels

You either love ’em, or hate ’em.

They are forever associated with Christmas, frequently ridiculed (after all you need to start cooking them in April so they are ready in time for Christmas) and despised.

But why?

What is it about the humble little sprout, that makes people gag at the mere thought of them?

Personally, I LOVE them.

You?

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Love is … like rowing a boat

rowing boatTo work effectively it needs two people rowing together., in order to keep moving along.

If just one person is doing the rowing, whilst the other person leans back admiring the view, then you end up just going round in circles.

And if you stop rowing and the other person doesn’t pick up the slack, throw them overboard 😉

 

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Friday Poem – Farewell Love and All Thy Laws Together

This poem is by Sir Thomas Wyatt, a poet from the times of Henry VIII, for whom he was a diplomat. On his travels he developed a taste for continental poetry and was the first English poet to use Italian forms of the sonnet and terza rima, and the French rondeau.

This poem is about those who have been burnt by love in the past and have decided to renounce it and save their hearts from further pain.

Farewell Love and All Thy Laws Together

Farewell love and all thy laws forever;
Thy baited hooks shall tangle me no more.
Senec and Plato call me from thy lore
To perfect wealth, my wit for to endeavour.
In blind error when I did persever,
Thy sharp repulse, that pricketh aye so sore,
Hath taught me to set in trifles no store
And scape forth, since liberty is lever.
Therefore farewell; go trouble younger hearts
And in me claim no more authority.
With idle youth go use thy property
And thereon spend thy many brittle darts,
For hitherto though I have lost all my time,
Me lusteth no lenger rotten boughs to climb.

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What would you say?

If you were on your death-bed, you have one minute to live and your grandchild asks you “Grand ma/pa* what should I do with my life?”

Give yourself a minute to think, then write it down.

And every day after, look at it and live the words!

[* delete as appropriate]

I got this out of an amazing book I am reading at the moment, and it is a very profound question.

You tell me yours and I’ll tell you mine 😉

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Out of the Mouthes of Babes – “I Don’t Want to Grow Up!”

SC’s had a pretty rotten couple of weeks. He has been having a little trouble at school – some of it of his own making I admit.peter pan

Anyway, he was in the car the other night after a particularly horrendous day and he blurted out, “Mummy, I don’t like life!”

What, it transpired, he actually meant was that he didn’t like school – so obviously I had to tell him that all schools would be the same and that there would be nice children and not-so-nice children, just like where he is at the moment, but they would just have different names and faces. (Whilst I was saying it I was having a memory flash of my mum saying exactly the same to me, when I wanted to move house and change schools!)

And because he is just like me, in pretty much every aspect, it has obviously been playing on his mind. He woke up very early this morning (and when I say very, I actually mean stupidly early, like 3am!) complaining of tummy ache.

He said the tummy ache came and went, and “it feels like I’m going to vomit, but I’m not!” (translate to mean “I feel nauseous”). By 6am he was doubled in pain, so I called the doctor and made an appointment (very panicky mum thinking it was appendicitis – it wasn’t, it was just stress – he did exactly the same as I do, sore tummy, throw up bile, feel better!)

As he lay in bed cuddled up to me with a hot water bottle on his tummy he suddenly, out of the blue said “Mummy, I don’t want to grow up!”

“It’s OK darling,” I said, “I didn’t either. I always wanted to be 4 for ever. We can’t do anything to stop it unfortunately, but we can always be young in our hearts and minds!”

Growing up is tough, being a grown up is tough, but at the end of the day it’s all a journey!

It would be nice to live in Neverland though 😉

 

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Friday Poem – O Captain! My Captain!

Beautiful poem by Walt Whitman, written to honour Abraham Lincoln, after his assassination, but the phrase “O Captain! My Captain!” is probably most famously dead poet's societyassociated with the amazing film “Dead Poet’s Society”, where Robin Williams’ character suggests:

“O Captain, my Captain. Who knows where that comes from? Anybody? Not a clue? It’s from a poem by Walt Whitman about Mr. Abraham Lincoln. Now in this class you can either call me Mr. Keating, or if you’re slightly more daring, O Captain! My Captain.”

… and then at the end of the film when they all climb on to the desks calling “O Captain! My Captain!” (love that film, and yes I cried!)

But anyway, here is the poem:

O Captain! My Captain!

O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up–for you the flag is flung–for you the bugle trills;      10
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths–for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;      20
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

 

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