Sunday, January 10, 2010
Friday, January 08, 2010
The day brought some good news: our cricket team held on desperately for a draw in the Test match against South Africa. We are now in a position where England cannot lose the series. If we win or draw the third match, then we win the series. South Africa cannot win the series; they need to win the third match in order to draw the series. Simple really, like all the rules of cricket!
Another piece of good news - Jonathan Ross is to leave the BBC. Perhaps the Beeb will have enough money to show some cricket next year.
The country might have had a third reason to celebrate today had the challenge to Gordon Brown's leadership succeeded but he survived to lead Labour to what will probably be an ignominious defeat in the general election. (That is almost a non-partisan view as this area is a safe Liberal Democrat seat.)
Well, at least we can keep on building snowmen for a few more days. Keep safe and warm.
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Then, a stroll around the garden showed some glimmers of hope that Spring will come soon. The thermometer was reading 10 degrees, tiny leaf shoots are sprouting on the wisteria ....
the hellebores have survived the snow and severe frosts ....
and the camellias have dozens of beautiful buds.
I have booked my train ticket to go to London for Millie's first birthday party and when I took a jacket into the dry cleaners this afternoon, I was given a £1 discount for being over 60. Life is looking better by the minute!
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Taking my cue from Margaretha, I decided to concentrate on teatime treats. Among the recipes on my Must Try This One Day pile is a recipe for carrot bread, so I decided that this should be the day to try it.
Here is the recipe as given for conventional ovens. I had to make my own guess for the Aga, putting the shelf on the floor of the roasting oven, with the cold shelf on the second set of runners.
2½ cups flour
2 cups finely grated carrots
1½ cups sugar
1¼ cups corn oil
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350ºF, 175ºC
Cream corn oil and sugar.
Add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each is added.
Blend in the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Fold in the shredded carrot.
Bake in a greased loaf pan or approx 90 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack.It was very easy to make and has a very light, open texture. Next time I will use a little less sugar and raising agent. You will notice that I intended to have the tiniest taste but I confess that I ate the whole slice with my cup of tea.
Monday, February 02, 2009
Every year, I watch and wait for the snowdrops to flower. I have clumps of several varieties but I haven't yet seen them because some nocturnal visitors nibble them before I get there. I usually find the remnants of the chewed leaves. But yesterday I got to one tiny clump before the little munchers. Here are the sole survivors of this year's crop....
..... and here are a few words from William Wordsworth .......
But hardier far, once more I see thee bend
Thy forehead, as if fearful to offend,
Like an unbidden guest. Though day by day,
Storms, sallying from the mountain-tops, waylay
The rising sun, and on the plains descend;
Yet art thou welcome, welcome as a friend
Whose zeal outruns his promise! Blue-eyed May
Shall soon behold this border thickly set
With bright jonquils, their odours lavishing
On the soft west-wind and his frolic peers;
Nor will I then thy modest grace forget,
Chaste Snowdrop, venturous harbinger of Spring,
And pensive monitor of fleeting years!
Please excuse me now, I need to go out to play in the snow; tomorrow it will be just a memory.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
My conference turned out to be far more interesting than I had anticipated and,if I thought anyone concerned with it might ever read RD, I would apologise profusely for suggesting I might be reading about Mma Ramotswe instead of listening. I met lots of old friends, made many new ones, heard some brilliant speakers, attended seminars and discussions and generally had an interesting and informative weekend. It was good to have the little grey cells stimulated after more than a year in retirement.
Of course the high point of such gatherings is THE FOOD. My good cyberfriend, erp, has asked me for details so, just to make you all envious, I must say that the food was excellent. We ate in the beautiful, candlelit Edwardian dining room to the accompaniment of a selection of popular classics played on the grand piano. I did have a little dilemna because I have bought lots of new clothes for the wedding party we will all be attending a couple of weeks from now and I had to work my way round the menu very carefully so as not to pile on the pounds. Even so, I had two fantastic evening meals: on Friday I chose melon, followed by sorbet and then a beautiful steak with vegetables. I skipped the bread, soup and potatoes but no-one would expect me to miss out on the dessert trolley now would they? I did choose the smallest confection with no added cream! On Saturday I kept to the same wardrobe-conscious routine but with sea bass as my main course. It was all cooked and presented superbly. I hope you are impressed, e!
Sunday, September 30, 2007
I really like to watch the stragglers coming in. A weak or injured bird will be escorted by a small number of geese. The bird at the rear honks fiercely, is it encouragement for the weakling or to let the main flock know they have arrived, I wonder? The rest fly in a tight formation to provide a strong slipstream for their exhausted member; as each of them tires, they fall to the back of the guard party and others come forward to take their place.
When I worked for the County, I had to attend the dreaded annual 'corporate team-building' days. We endured 'inspiring' talks from psycho-babblers, silly games, hand-holding, foot-massaging and other similar ways of wasting the taxpayers' money and our time. I found the following among my papers from those days, it isn't a bad description of the behaviour of geese, I'll let you judge whether you need to have its lessons spelt out so clearly:
Not such silly geese!
By flying in formation, each bird flies in the slip-stream of the bird in front, and the whole flock can increase its flying range by 71% over a single bird flying alone.
People who share a common direction and a sense of community can get where they are going quicker and more easily because they are travelling in trust with each other.
When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into the formation and another goose takes up the lead position.
It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks, and sharing leadership interdependently with each other.
Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it quickly gets back into line in order to take advantage of the ‘lifting power’ of the bird immediately in front.
If we have as much sense as a goose, we will step in formation with those who are heading where we want to go.
The geese in formation honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
We need to make sure that our honking from behind is encouraging and not something less helpful.
When a goose gets sick or wounded or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow to help and protect. They stay until the goose is either able to fly again or dies.
If we have as much sense as geese, we’ll stand by each other and give our life and support to those in need.