It has been a while… Blog #8

I haven’t blogged since the end of January – I am ashamed to say.  However, I have been busy, so maybe a review of the last 3 months and a few photos will suffice – and I have a new follower – welcome Vanessa!

A quick look at the diary should remind me of what has been going on, but there is virtually nothing there for February – perhaps that is why I didn’t blog? Moving on to March, a lot of events have disappeared. Hmmm.  I use an electronic diary on my mini iPad so I suspect that updates are to blame, because I know that I did things in March.

OK so one of the main events was entering the WI Reading Aloud competition.  We had a team of four, three to perform and one to manage us.  We had never done this kind of thing before, although one of our number, Sarah, had done recitals at Uni.  Sarah agreed to do the sight reading which turned out to be a passage from an historical novel about Catherine Howard, and she did very well.  Maddy performed the set poem – “Abra Cadabra” by Grace Nichols, and I performed “Going, going” by Philip Larkin.  Out of six teams in our particular heat, we thought we had done well; we were more animated and passionate than the other teams and the feedback featured the word “excellent” at least three times.  We were, however, very disappointed by our numerical score that placed us fifth out of six.  We all felt that it didn’t really matter that we wouldn’t be in the final because the Finals would be held on our WI meeting night, and we have a jolly interesting speaker coming that night.  Imagine our surprise when we were informed that we were through to the finals.  The other heats had four teams, and there can only be six teams in the final, so either this is a fluke or the other teams were “not as good as us”, if you take my drift.  Anyway, there you have it, we will miss a talk on the Kindertransport, but have a second opportunity to shine.  We are aiming to win, we know what to expect now.  And we will be on a proper stage and inf front of a big audience all this on 19 May, watch this space! L to R that is me, Maddy, Sue and Sarah.

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Another exciting happening was being voted to be our Delegate to attend the Royal Albert Hall for the WI’s Centenary Annual Meeting.  In the presence of the Queen and the Princess Royal (I won’t be meeting them so no curtseying to practice).  I am expecting this to be an awesome experience, expenses paid, too.  This takes place on 4 June, but there is more, dear readers.  On 2 June, there is a WI Centenary Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, and I get to go to that too!  I am not sure if Buck Palace quite knows what it is doing by allowing 6,000 WI members in to the gardens, and I am convinced Newcastle Central Station will be in shock when the Northumberland contingent converges there at 10am on 2 June.  Maybe we should warn them…Photos will follow, with more details, early in June.  What to wear is the big question!

At long last we have some decent weather so garden work is taking off; in previous years, I have been in a panic about keeping up with Spring, but not this year.  Rest assured, it has started now, we have sunshine at last.  And how lovely to be able to dry the washing on the line instead of indoors.

We had a great week in Hawkshead at the end of March. The weather was fine and cool, except for one day when we woke up to two inches of snow. The first photo is Wednesday, the second is Thursday.
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The baking has been going reasonably well.  I seem to have the day to day granary bread cracked.  I practiced wholemeal bread yesterday and I thought it was fine – it certainly looked good, but deep inside it is a bit doughey.  It just needed five minutes more in the oven. 
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Expecting company…

Hi All,

As a couple of the girls are coming over tomorrow, I thought it would be a good opportunity to practice for another class in the Federation Day competition:

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Shortbread!  Yummy if I may say so myself.  But I couldn’t leave it at that, when I had first made Bakewell slices, someone had suggested that it was good with apricots instead of raspberry jam. So, I already had apricot jam in the house and all I needed was dried apricots:image

As yet untasted.

Hoorah! Sewing Bee is back, with delicious eye candy Patrick Grant and the lovely May Martin.  I hope the sewers are as diverse as last year.  Eat your hearts out, Mary and Paul, I am over you for the time being – however any followers who think they are going to be seeing sewn creations here can think again unless they are interested in tea cosies.  You need go go little red’s blog if your want stitching.

Rosie x

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Blog#5 Tea cakes and a hopping dog

So, what’s been happening? A bit of frost, a bit of snow, lots of sleet and gales; apart from the vile weather, which is to be expected, snowdrops and daffodils are showing promise, and the hellebores that all came from my mother’s garden will bloom soon.   

 I have been practicing baking tea cakes for the big show in June, I think I have it cracked – all due to the mixer of course – so I can concentrate on the wholemeal loaf category in future.  Once that is under my belt I will be starting on Chelsea Buns.  For the time being I hope you like the look of the tea cakes:

Whew! – Broadchurch is going to be a roller coaster this time – the new series is not wasting any time in getting going, notwithstanding the failure to get court proceedings right – I won’t let that spoil it for me.  The outdoor scenes of the Dorset coast are fabulous and the main characters are great actors.  Can’t believe it is part 3 tonight, the month is flying by.  

Molly had a trauma late last week – pulled a muscle in a back leg, as far away from home as she could be on that particular walk.  Her little face implored me to do something to help…  But I must say that once she had worked out how to walk on three legs I had difficulty keeping up with her, she seemed to know that we had to get home quickly.  She is a ton weight to carry at 8 kilos so she got home mostly under her own steam.  The verdict at the vets was for anti-imflamatories and 5 days of rest.  And a bill for me of £40…  

Fuel prices are still coming down and it always helps when Sainsbury’s give out vouchers that entitle you to 8p off each litre of fuel if you spend £20 on Tu clothing.  The rules say nothing about losing the discount if you take the purchase back, so this is what I call a good deal.  Can’t think why they do it!

I have sold my exercise bike on Gumtree – yay! I got a good price, it was in very good condition.  I suppose it is nearly time to get the real bike out and get pedal pushing again – when the weather dries up and the wind drops.  Next I hope to sell a camera, and there are lots of other things up in the loft that can go, too.  A train set and various camera bags for starters.   

I have entered a writing competition that was inspired by public benches and their dedication plaques.  The rubric asks writers to say what a bench plaque would say about them as they are now, where the bench would be located and why that spot was selected.  I located my bench on the banks of the Fowey estuary looking at this house:

It is Ferryside, the du Maurier family home where Daphne du Maurier wrote many of her early works, but as I was writing I realised that as far as I am aware, she did not set any stories at Ferryside although she often used the local area and other homes in her writing.  So my short piece reflects on this opportunity left open to me.  Watch this space for news of the delivery of first prize to Harden Towers – a lovely hardwood high quality garden bench hahahahahahaha!

R x

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Blog #4 Molly speaks…

Phew, I’m breathing a big sigh of relief ‘cos Ma seems to be back on track with the bread making, take a look at today’s effort at the end of first proving in the banneton:

And just look at the finished article – it is tooooooo big for the posey mousey board!

Heh heh heh and while Ma was out I checked out the table top.  There was a little perturbation when she came home, she took a photo to prove that I had been up there:

I didn’t find anything though, it is always Da who leaves treats up there…

Hi All, sorry about that, Mol thinks that as she poses as my gravatar she can butt in and take over. PAH!

So today I didn’t like getting drenched in milk in Sainsbury’s by a damaged bottle of milk…

And I liked being compensated with £20 for the inconvenience and dry cleaning (everything is washable), and having a yet cleaner house – just the kitchen and utility to do – and then most normal women would start over again; if you know me you will know that I am not that kind of normal…

Have a great weekend

R x

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Blog#3 First bake…

Hi All,

Well I must admit that my eyes did smart somewhat on our return from the glorious Lakes when I walked Little Mol round the block and I was confronted by tarmac and brick but I got over it.  Good news, we are going back at the end of March, a combined birthday celebration, but especially for ‘is nibs because he will be 65, beating me to the state pension by 12 months – as a result of government meddling, I should have got mine 2 years ago…

I made my first loaf of 2015 today.  I am experimenting with the recipe; I have already added a slug of olive oil to aid shelf life, and I dissolve the salt in the water before I add it to the flour and yeast.  Salt needs to be kept away from the yeast before it is mixed in to the dough.  If I ever I get my hands on Paul Hollywood I will pin him down on this one, surely they will come into contact anyway?  I have read that using milk instead of water makes the loaf much softer in texture, so I gave it a go today.  This is the result:Don’t you think it looks sooooo yummy and rustic?  Well let me tell you it tastes bally awful.  Doughey and pasty, yuck.  I’ll toast a slice tomorrow and if it is as disgusting then, it will be consigned to the bin.  And I’ll revert to water instead of milk.  Like the mouse?  Oh and if I do get my hands on Paul Hollywood, I promise you I won’t waste the opportunity.

Today I like: fuel prices (on the way down, yay!), walking in the sunshine, working in my own garden for the first time in months and that parts of the house are clean for a change.  Ooooo and I’ve had messages from followers, woo hoo!

Today I don’t like: Ched Evans. I speeeet on heeeem. Rank swine. That’s enough now!

All for now, putting my feet up and having a nice cup of tea…

R x

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