Friday, 31 October 2008


Yes, I know that it is Halloween today and therefore I should expect a proliferation of pumpkins. But, good grief, I have never seen so many carved pumpkins or associated recipes on the interwebs!

I never knew that pumpkin could be used in all sorts of ways, cakes, soups, biscuits, roasted, etc, etc, you name it - whatever can be made, it can be made using pumpkin!

How about Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes from Baking and Books?

Or Pumpkin Spice Fudge Cookies as cooked by Baking Bites?

Would you consider a Pumpkin Spice Party Cake as shown by The Art and Soul of Baking?

Perhaps you fancy a Pumpkin cupcake recipe described by Cupcakes Take The Cake?

Hmmm, I can't seem to find any savoury recipes in amongst the bajillion blogs that I have on my reader, so how about something that isn't even edible from Scribbit A Blog About Motherhood in Alaska - Cute As a Pumpkin Homemade Earrings

I told you there was a surfeit of pumpkins didn't I!? So, how about some carvings to finish off and get us in the mood for Halloween?

Carvings from the Hairy Farmer Family, Brody Harper, or Scribbit! There are plenty more out there, but I got bloggy/pumpkin fatigue this evening!! ;-)

Wednesday, 29 October 2008


It was actually cold enough for the car to be all frosty this morning, which was the first time this autumn, but it certainly wont be the last time this year!

Still, it was a good opportunity to try out my new fingerless gloves. I haven't a pair of those since I was a teenager, or possibly even before then and yet they are quite perfect for keeping hands warm while still having the ability to grip keys properly!

In addition to which, it prevents my hand from sticking to the metal gear stick. Oh, of course, it isn't actually cold enough for my hand to stick to metal, but it certainly feels that way and makes it quite uncomfortable to drive until the car warms up. So, these gloves are just perfect for me.

I'm sure you want a photo don't you? Here you are - lovely green fingerless gloves!


What's keeping you warm today? P.S. The cat does a very good job of keeping the lap warm, and I think that she's feeling the cold too because she is extra cuddly at the moment!

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Surprise in the woods

Sometimes you can find works of art in amongst the trees where someone has carved a tree or placed a metal sculpture in the woods so that you are enchanted when you come across it.

What I found today wasn't a sculpture or a carving, but it was still a surprise as it was quite unexpected and I do think that if Mum hadn't pointed it out to me (she'd seen it before) then it is quite likely that I would have walked right past it and not even noticed.

I mean, it looks like this...


But if you look closely, you can see that this log is rather special.


And if you look even closer you can see what those strange looking things are!


Yes. they are coins!! They've been hammered in by some unknown person (or persons!) and left for those people walking down the Lydford Gorge to find. The Lydford Gorge itself is worthy of a Show and Tell all of it's own, so I think that I will leave that one for another time.

Friday, 24 October 2008


...and I'm not talking about tender as in tender chicken, but tender as in tender arm!! ow.

No, I've not had an accident or anything, in fact, I've inflicted this on myself! You see, I work in a hospital and every year the Occupational Health nurse comes around looking for victims to practise her injection skills on.

Well, actually that's not strictly true. It's merely that time of year when we can get a 'flu jab. Although I know that the vaccine cannot possibly protect against every kind of 'flu as it is a particular virus that can and does mutate, but if I am given the opportunity then I thought that I would take advantage of it.

Only now I have a sore arm and thank goodness I sleep on my tummy as otherwise I think that I'd be wincing everytime I moved if I slept on my side. I just hope that it was worth doing, but who knows! (of course, it doesn't help when I grab the iron in the wrong way too, so now I have a nice little burn on my hand! D'oh!)

Thursday, 23 October 2008

My Favourite Things

I found this meme at the Reluctant Blogger, who didn't actually tag me for it, but suggested that if anyone fancied doing it they could just run with it!!

So here I am with my favourite things under the following headings....

1. Clothes Shops
This is where I admit that I am not much of a clothes shopper as I can never seem to find the things I like, or if I do, they don't actually suit me once I put them on!! However, I have discovered that there are quite a few things that I like in the Per Una range of Marks and Spencers, and my jeans usually come from Debenhams - not such a great label shopper am I?!

2. Furniture Shops
Furniture? This is an odd question to ask when it comes to favourite things I must say!! I don't think that anyone has ever asked me before what my favourite furniture shop is!! The last time I was even in a furniture shop it was actually to pick up a tin of ginger snaps (yes it was Ikea!!). I do have a bit of a crush on the furniture floor of John Lewis, but I can't afford that!

3. Sweet
I have a bigger sweet tooth than I should!! I like all kinds of chocolate although I prefer the milk chocolate varieties as dark chocolate is too strong and white chocolate not chocolatey enough! My favourite chocolate comes from places like Hotel Chocolat or Montezumas, but I don't get to have chocolate from there very often.

4. City
I tend to change favourite cities every now and then, particularly after I have just visited them, so at the moment Sydney and Melbourne are strong favourites, but I will always have fond memories of Copenhagen as I lived there for a few months about 14 years ago.

5. Drink
Drink? Do you mean the alcohol flavoured ones or any kind of drink? My drink of choice is always tea - I am quite firmly British in that way! I used to have sugar in it, but went cold turkey when I was about 22 and at first it was just horrible, but now I simply cannot drink tea with sugar in it.

6. Music
I don't have a large music collection, but the biggest part of it is Christmas music!! I am still holding off the urge to listen to Christmas music - it can wait until December. I do love the Welsh Male Voice choirs though - those deep voices all singing together is just magic.

7. TV Series
When Ally McBeal was on I was very addicted to it!! More recently it's been the West Wing, but all those new series like Lost, Heroes, or Desperate Housewives? I just can't get into them and am quite simply not interested, and neither do I watch any of the soaps - why watch something in order to depress myself!! ;-)

8. Movies
While I love to read my books over and over, there are very few films that I will watch again and again. It certainly has to be a while since I last saw a particular film before I watch it again. However, if you're talking about films that you might watch at the cinema then I will say the Harry Potter films because I so rarely go the cinema due to the lack of subtitles, but because I know the HP books quite well I look forward to going to the cinema to a HP film!

9. Workout
Workout? What's a workout?! Ha ha. I am not very good at this exercise thingie, but given the choice I would rather use my collection of DVDs to work out to rather than go the gym. I did enjoy the tiny bit of running that I did a few months ago, so perhaps I should try that one again!

10. Pastries
Oooh, usually anything with cinnamon in it, I love those cinnamon whirls. But then again I also love those doughnut twists called yum-yums - the name was certainly no accident! Of course, any pastry with chocolate in it gets a look in too - I told you I had a sweet tooth!

11. Coffee
I am not a big coffee drinker, I like it milky and so I usually have a latte if I have any coffee at all and usually only once a day (if that) and I will treat myself to a Starbucks latte every now and then although I didn't like the eggnog flavoured one that I had last Christmas!

So, there you go - my eleven favourite things. I do have others of course, but these were the only categories I got given!! If you want to do this too, just steal away and let me know what you say so that I can be usual nosy self!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

The Great Television Experiment

If you didn't already know, earlier this month I decided to cut my television consumption. So far the experiment has seen quite a mix of successful and, shall we say, not-so-successful evenings!

I have discovered that I can indeed live without the goggle box on all evening, but that I do like to have some amusement while I am eating and reading a book just doesn't quite cut it, especially as I only have one pair of hands which are already occupied by holding a knife and fork!!

Also, I have to admit that the success of the experiment didn't do very well for a couple of days last week but that was more to do with the fact that I had a cold and just didn't want to to anything except watch television. So, I thought that you'd let me get away with that one.

The main thing that I have discovered is that I do not need to have the television on and that I do have plenty to do otherwise, in fact I am more bored with sitting in front of the television than I am with actively doing things. Of course, the exception to that is when there is something on that I genuinely want to watch, as opposed to channel hopping for the sheer sake of it! The other exception is that I don't mind just having the telly on when I am doing my patchwork for my quilting as then that's company and I am not actively watching any old rubbish!

So....I will continue to leave the television switched off from Mondays to Thursdays, but will have it on when I am having dinner as long as I do turn it off afterwards. And that, I think, is the point - the knowledge that it is possible to turn it off and go and do something else. I know that sounds odd, but it is so easy to get stuck in a cycle of just turning it on and leaving it on and sitting there with nothing else to do, when in fact there's plenty to go and do!!

Tuesday, 21 October 2008


This little widget is currently making the rounds and as I only ever drink lattes (well, perhaps the occasional cappuccino too, but lattes are my main coffee drink) I thought that this was appropriate, not to mention a fun thing to do when I can't actually think of anything to blog about today!

You Are a Cinnamon Latte

Deep down, you are a sensitive soul. You just want to be loved and appreciated.

You may have a spicy attitude, but you're all sweetness on the inside.

You are dependable and loyal. You have you life together, and you're able to be there for other people.

You like nothing more than a warm, cozy house filled with friends and loved ones.

Of course, it turned out to be even more appropriate because I love cinnamon, although I don't think that I have ever had a cinnamon latte. I wonder whether sprinkling cinnamon on top of a latte counts?

Monday, 20 October 2008


I got introduced to a new way of blogging the other day. The Northwest Ladybug mentioned Windows Live Writer and it caught my attention sufficiently enough for me to want to play with it.

So far so good. As the Northwest Ladybug says, it is WYSIWYG blogging, which I find more useful than the compose box of Blogger, particularly as sometimes Blogger publishes posts with extra line breaks or, more annoyingly, no line breaks when I KNOW that I hit return!

Anyway, at the moment, I quite like this, it can be used while offline and can store drafts differently to the way blogger does. I mean, I have yet to figure out whether I am simply missing something, but I have to manage my drafts in Blogger by giving them publish dates ahead of everything else otherwise I loose them and then forget that I even had a draft in progress. WLW looks as though I will be able to keep a folder of drafts and manage them that way.

So far so good, on the basis of a few minutes usage, I would recommend this, but I need rather more experimentation in order to be totally confident that I like this and will continue to use it.

Uh-Oh. It looks as though you can't publish a post-dated post directly from WLW, but I can upload it as a draft and then edit it further online - it just takes a bit of playing around to discover what I can and can't do. Hmmmm, today clearly isn't Monday, so I don't quite know what happened there. Like I said, I need to play with this a bit more, but I do think that once I've gotten the hang of it, I will be using WLW more, particularly for drafts.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

A military thank you

Last Sunday the main road through the village was closed to traffic. It wasn't an accident or roadworks or anything annoying like that. Instead it was a "thank you" from the three branches of the military to our village.

Why are they saying "thank you"? Well, all the bodies of the soldiers killed overseas are repatriated through the base that is nearby and they have to be driven through my little village on their way to the coroners and when that happens people line the streets and honour the soldiers as they come through. (I am usually at work when this happens and so I have not stood there myself, although I have made mention of this on my blog.)

So, we were treated to a couple of flypasts and lots of marching bands with rousing music! The High Street was packed with people from the surrounding area and there were local dignitaries attending, so it really was quite an event.

Anyway, enough chatter, here are the photos! The whole thing kicked off with a Hercules aeroplane - the Hercules is the most common plane that flies over the village on the way to the airbase, so we are quite used to them!
Then before we had three bands march up and down, a contingent of soldiers from all the regiments that had had fallen comrades repatriated through the village marched up and formed a line on either side of the road.
They were then inspected by this character, who made sure that they were in line!
Only then did we get the marching bands....
Followed by one more flypast, this time by a Globemaster C17. If you have never seen one of these before you wont know just how big this beast is. The photograph does not do it justice, but believe you me, it was massive! It even waggled it's wings as it flew over - wow - it really was quite a sight!
Finally, I want to show you my favourite photograph of the day!

And don't forget...if you want to see more Show and Tell's - go and visit the regular Show and Tell page!!

Saturday, 18 October 2008


It's quite surprising what gets left behind in the library. We've had the usual jumpers, coats, pens and all the usual detritus that people carry around with them. We've had watches, Ipods, wallets, phones, travel cards and all sorts.

The other day was funny though, someone had obviously been scribbling on some scrap paper whilst attending a seminar, lecture, or some such educationally interesting session and left it in the library for me to find and giggle over.

It said...."this topic is drier than a cream cracker (with no cheese)" still makes me laugh now and makes me wonder who wrote it and just what they were listening to (or reading) to make them feel this way!!

Whoever it was, they obviously felt strongly enough to qualify the dryness of the cracker by explicitly stating that it had no cheese - actually, I must have had Wallace of Wallace and Gromit fame in the library and I missed the opportunity to get an autograph! ;-)

Friday, 17 October 2008

It's too soon!

As much as I am a fan of all things Christmas, I do get irritated when mince pies start appearing in the shops round about the end of August, so you might be able to imagine what I thought when I discovered that there is a town in the UK that has put up their Christmas decorations already!!

The BBC website has a nice little clip to watch, and it would appear that the reason is less to do with attracting shoppers to the town and more to do with the fact that the decorations are put up by volunteers who work during the week and can only give their time on Sundays, which means that they actually have less time to install the decorations before the big switch on at the end of November.

Which means that I am a bit torn here as I am pleased to see that there are people willing to give their time for the local community, but how long does it take to put some decorations up!? Surely they had more time than the they thought they had, I mean does it really take two month's worth of Sundays to test and put up all the lights?

I do think that October 15th is far too early for decorations to go up, even if they are not actually turned on until the end of November. Don't you think that the pleasure of seeing the lights will have dimmed (ha ha - pun unintended!) by the time it comes to turn them on as people will have become thoroughly used to seeing them?

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Crafty things

If you make greeting cards then you will know that you can never have too much in the way of stash. By this I mean the bits and pieces that could make up a greeting card - stamps, ribbons, pens, paper, punches, even the bits of paper that are left over from other projects 'cos you just know that they will come in handy one day!

So, when someone is hosting a giveaway that contains a whole bunch of eyelets that would be the perfect way to add a bit of detail to a card you know that I am going to go and see what's going on. If you head over to the Retro Cafe Art Gallery you will see that Kristin is giving away a whole bunch of eyelets...your ordinary ones and your more interesting ones!

I'm not all that adventurous when it comes to making cards and am hoping that this fab set of eyelets will get me thinking a bit more, will get me experimenting with my cards and making them a bit more dynamic. So, I have entered and of course I am hoping that you wont go and enter cos then that gives me a better chance of winning, ha ha!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Chocolate Alert!!

How many of you know that it is Chocolate Week here in the UK!? I only happened to find out because I spotted that the Guardian newspaper had some great looking chocolate cake recipes and I want to try the chestnut and chocolate recipe one day.

So, in honour of Chocolate Week, I have hunted down a few blogs that are chocolate flavoured!

Chocolate Bytes - basically any website that has a recipe for two minute microwaveable chocolate fudge gets my approval!!

Jim's Chocolate Mission - one man's voyage to find the best chocolate bar in the world.

Chocablog - a London based blog that has chocolate reviews written by chocoholics from around the world

My Chocolate Blog - has various bits and pieces, but more!

Chocolate in Context - a rather interesting blog about chocolate.

The Chocolate Obsession - we're all rather obsessed about chocolate aren't we?!

So, this week you need no excuse whatsoever - go eat some chocolate!! ;-)

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Secret Ornament Swap!

Some people come up with the best ideas!! And this one is perfect for a Christmas-aholic like me! MsCellania had a post all about an idea that Julie had over at Abbilyeverafter.

To wit - last year Julie had this idea of getting people involved in a secret Christmas ornament swap and she had thirtyeight swappers involved. Of course, it would have been thirtynine if I'd known about last year, but that's beside the point!

She's brave enough to offer up her time to arrange the same event this year and this time I know all about it!! So, I have signed up to send a newly-purchased ornament to someone that doesn't know what she'll (let's face it, I doubt that any men would sign up to this!) be getting in the way of Christmas ornaments.

The ornaments have to be in the post by the 1st December so it gives me a perfect excuse to do a bit of early shopping for Christmas decorations. (one can never have too many!!). The deadline for signing up to get a mystery ornament is the 31st October, so if you fancy having a new ornament this year, go visit Abbilyeverafter and read the instructions!

Monday, 13 October 2008


I have to admit that I am feeling a little bit guilty this evening! Mum had been visiting for a lovely weekend and I had to rush out to work this morning leaving Mum with the washing up to do!!

So, how bad did you think I felt when I got home to find some gorgeous flowers in the sink along with a note saying "swapped the washing for some flowers"!!

It is such a pleasure to get flowers that you didn't pay for yourself, and as you can see from the photo above, they are taking pride of place on the coffee table in the lounge. The colours are lovely and they make me smile when I look at them - Thanks Mum!

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Bridge of uselessness!

It almost a year to the day since I wrote a post about the Bridge to Nowhere!

A year later, you'd think that the bridge would have been finished wouldn't you? Well, the photograph in the local paper clearly shows that this is not the case. (said photo has been hijacked for my blog! Thanks to the photographer - if you want to know where it has come from do drop me an email)

Apparently there isn't any money in the kitty to finish the job just yet and the local council claims that it would cost £100,000 to fit temporary steps and they don't want to do that either. So, the bridge will remain half a bridge until work restarts next February. Of course, whether they actually start again in February is another matter!

The local walking association are getting quite annoyed that a public right of way has been blocked for over a year and looks set to be blocked for at least another five months. I don't blame them either as the whole thing is so very pointless. What's the point of doing work that you can't afford to finish!? I can understand removing the old bridge if it was dangerous (and I don't actually know if that was the case), but if you knew that the job would only be half done because of lack of cash, why even tempt people with a lovely looking bridge!!!?

It really does boggle the mind! (still, I hope the money for the bridge isn't in some Icelandic bank!!!)

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Inappropriate music!!?

Exactly when is it possible to start listening to Christmas music? I had a craving to put some Christmas music on in the car this morning, probably due to the Christmas jigsaw puzzle I am currently working one, not to mention the Christmas quilt that I have started.

I caved in and put a CD in, except that I didn't play it as loud as I might have wished. After all, someone might hear me and think that I am barmy for playing Christmas music over two months early. I think that I will have to let that one little indiscretion go and keep a lid on this particular craving, if only because it is very likely that by the time December does roll around I will be so fed up with Christmas music that I wont want to hear a single note!

So, no more! I will wait until December unless I crack again!! As it is I think that is crazy to see Christmas items like mince pies in the stores, quite frankly it is no wonder we all get rather fed up with it when December 25th finally dawns. Clearly there is a plan to build and build all that excitement (and then ramp it up again!) so that the children are hyper-frenetic and the teachers can't wait to get rid of them at the end of term.

I will just quietly anticipate Christmas, mind you - I say that now...goodness knows what I will be like on the 1st December! Interestingly, last December was when I had the highest number of blog posts ever and I am betting that this year will be the same. ;-)

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Filling time

Now that I am not watching telly in the evenings four days a week, I have decided to take up a new hobby and and am now going to Show and Tell all about it!

You might think that I already have enough to do in the evenings, but I do like variety and the option of being able to pick and choose what I want to do in an evening and let me tell you now....there is absolutely no way that I will ever study four or five hours in an evening after a day at work, I am just not going to do that as I wasn't built that way! (is anybody!?!)

For a while now, I have been wanting to learn about this particular craft and to attempt it for myself, but every book about it that I have looked at has just freaked me out because there are pictures of so many beautiful and creative versions of the finished products related to this craft and I just haven't known how to begin.

Anyway, I went looking for a card-craft shop the other weekend as it had recently moved premises. Having bought some nice paper I then walked back to the car and spotted that there was another craft shop in the same shopping area. It perked my interest, so I wandered in and had a look at the materials and chatted to Yvonne, the shop owner and asked if she held classes.

Of course, she said yes and so yesterday I went back and began learning all about this new-to-me craft and I had two hours of fun choosing materials and deciding how to lay them out. Yvonne was great too, very patient and explaining things clearly, not to mention suggesting that I only buy one or two bits of equipment until I decide that I will lay out the money to have a few more bits at home as I can use the cutters and irons at her shop.

So....what is it? Perhaps a picture will help?

The picture may not necessarily make sense to you unless you have done or seen this before, but this is very very beginning of a Christmas Quilt. Yes, I am learning how to make a quilt using the usual technique of patchwork (although I always thought that patchwork WAS quilting - to me the two are the same thing!), and what I have to do is create a pattern that has three squares in a row and three rows in a block, so you can see that the above picture really is the very early stages of this quilt!

I have got to make several more squares and blocks and then put them all together to make a quilt. Quite how big this quilt will be I do not know, perhaps it will just be a lap-quilt that I can snuggle under in my armchair when it is cold and blowy outside. I don't think that I am up to making a double bed-sized quilt just yet!! That may take a few years, but in the meantime I am having great fun making this one. Perhaps in a few "show and tells" later I will show you where I have gotten to.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Houston Calling!!

An update on the Black Hole situation - today was the first day of my attempt to beat the Black Hole into submission!

The most difficult bit was when I first got home, I'd fed the cat, gotten changed into comfy jeans and made a cup of tea. The impulse to turn the television on was surprisingly strong, I didn't think that I would feel as though I'd almost have to physically restrain myself from turning the telly on!

Instead, I picked up a book to read (Nicholas Evans - The Divide) and read for about an hour, then I decided to go and work on some of my portfolio of reflection for the course that I am doing, which I have been working on for nearly two hours in between bits of online reading.

And right now, the television's siren call has been muted to quite the whisper! My main issue is not starting with the telly in the first place - if I get started with other things then I am more like to get on with non-telly stuff.

Mind you, I am well aware that this is only the first day and it could either get easier or harder, I just don't know yet! Fortunately I have a nice (?!) stack of reading to do - none of the books DON'T have the word Leadership in them!! Let me list a few - Servant Leadership; Dilemmas of Leadership; Three Faces of Leadership; and Leadership Unplugged. Ho hum! Still, that should be half the battle in keeping me off the telly unless the books are so dry and dense that they drive me to it!!