Wednesday, 27 March 2013

One of my favourite recipes

I discovered this recipe in a women's institute book my sister in law gave me as an engagement gift. The recipes are quick and easy and also economical, which of course was a big plus for a newly wed bride;) This recipe has been a firm favourite with hubby and my children.  It is a recipe they will both take with them when they leave home.
The basic recipe can be modiied for any left overs, but we like the sweetcorn as the best. I like to add fresh asparagus when it is in season, however it is as delicious without.

1 tin creamed sweetcorn* 
punnet of fresh asparagus(optional)
1.5 cups flour
3teaspoons Baking powder
pinch of salt
4Tablespoons margarine( I find butter makes the pastry heavier)
7Tablespoons of boiling water
3 eggs
1 cup of grated cheese(or more to suit your preferences)
1. Set oven at 190deg. C
2.Grate cheese and lightly grease pie dish
3. Sift dry ingredients
4.Melt marg in water, mix in with dry ingredients and press into pie dish
5. Mix eggs, sweetcorn and a handful of grated cheese.
6.Place mixture into pie shell and place asparagus on top like the spokes of a wheel.
7. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
8. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes
9. My oven needs to be turned down to 180 deg.C after 20 minutes
*  To cream a tin of sweetcorn, just blitz in a liquidiser and add a little milk so that  the mixture is not too thick
I have substituted the sweet corn with mushrooms and left over savoury mince.
I would imagine anything that takes your fancy would work :) 

Friday, 22 March 2013

You know it's spring in England when..........

a new crochet project with a hint of easter
 Credit must go to my friend Jody at who gave me this idea today
So when do we know it's spring in England?
"The daffy-down-dilly is come to town", still a bit shy but showing promise,
The crocus peeping up through the ground on the roundabouts in town,
Animals sunning themselves in corners of sunlight,
Thoughts of venturing out on the deck
or walking through fields that are dry.
White fluffy lambs in the green fields,
Lighter mornings and evenings too -
Birds singing louder-
Gardeners busier-
Soon I'll be out there ; cleaning and planting.
- Not just yet, as this is the month of March
 And a stormy March has come to stay- 
I'm thinking William Bryant's poem is very apt at the moment:
The stormy March has come at last
with wind, and cloud, and changing skies;
I hear the rushing of the blast
That through the snowy valley flies
I know climate change is a reality but it is interesting to read in Edith Holden's nature notes from 1906 ~
"Mar 25. Showers of snow and sleet.  Quite a heavy snow storm in the afternoon"
Very similar conditions with snowfalls and weather warnings for the Midlands tonight.  Not much has changed in 113 years!
Hopefully as March moves into April we won't get too many of those April showers, but will see more sunshine.
By then the pretty crocus will be long gone, but there pleasant appearance will get me through the days of gray and wet and mud ;) 
 Crocus of yellow, new and gay;
Mauve and purple, in brave array;
Crocus white Like a cup of light, -
Hundreds of them are smiling up,
Each with a flame in its shining cup,
By the touch of the warm and welcome sun
Opened suddenly Spring's begun!
Dance then, fairies, for joy, and sing
The song of the coming of Spring

Sunday, 17 March 2013

The Cotswolds...what more can I say

If you know and love the Cotswolds you sigh as you think of the idyllic villages.  For those of you who do not know the Cotsworld of England , they are a prominent range of limestone hills running over 50 miles.
Cotswold stone is warm and pearly and seems to glow with absorbed sunlight.

We are only just over an hour away by car and have decided to do some of the circular walks on the Cotswold Way.
"The Cotswold Way is not just a long distance path for long distance walkers. A short walk anywhere along its length will lead you right to the heart of the country's most beautiful and varied landscapes and introduce you to just what the Cotswolds have to offer. From bustling market towns to sleepy villages, from windswept hill tops to sheltered woodlands, from the wildflower-rich grasslands of summer to the unhindered views of winter, a walk one day will never be the same as the next." ~ Cotswold Way Circular walks.

 The village of Stanton was our first choice.  It is a beautifully untouched village with a very good walk; not too strenuous but some good inclines, lovely crassy hills and bautiful views.

The village Stanton is untouched by the tourist industry and sits nestled in a time frame of it's own.  No shops, although a bit of retail therapy is always welcome, keeps this village tranquil for walkers to do what they do best.
The honey-coloured stone houses are a delight and I noticed a dog friendly BnB which we will have to try out one day.
The weather was dry which was a big bonus as rain and muddy walks are quite common for this time of year.
It was still cold enough though for a welcoming fire (and of course a plate of steaming chips) at the end of the walk.
How pleasant to find a dog friendly pub in the village. The atmosphere was warm and inviting, and the doggie patrons were well behaved. There is a lovely deck overlooking the village which will be very good in the warmer months.  I think we will definitely be walking in these parts again.

A Mother's Day

We have never made much of the specific day set aside for mother's or father's day and have rather promoted ongoing appreciation for one another.  I am not against it, I just feel it is not needed for me.

However, whatever day it is I enjoy knowing how much my children think of me.  I never doubt their love and appreciation, but the small mementos and gifts that come my way as a token of their love are always treasured.

My daughter wrote the most beautiful tribute to me for mother's day this year:
To my dearest Mother
Happy Mother's day. You are the best.
You,ve taught me so much -
about life, love and being myself.
You've supported me in every wildida I've ever had.
You've picked me up when I've fallen down.
You've always been my sounding board, and my number ! fan.
Thank you for every sacrifice you've made.
Love you!

 The card my son chose for them to give me, was just right and his message was heart warming.

"Sincerely, I do not know where I would be without you.
        To you my mommy, with all my love"

Prince Charles apparently still calls the Queen Mommy. I love it when a man can do that.

Although we have long past the days of homeschooling and caring for young children, I have recently picked up Seasons of a Mother's Heart, by Sally Clarkson.

"A mother's life is a whirlwind of seasons,
changing from one to another without much warning,
and then to another the next day."

It is bittersweet to see the relationship with my own dear mother change.  She is in a season of depending on me.  Sometimes the days are very hard and I want to run away, but there is a love a mother has, so strong it sometimes has to be transferred to the one who first did the mothering.

This is definitely a new season for me as I continue to support my adult children as they find the path God has chosen for them, and care for my mother whose life has now slowed down  requires support and encouragement to keep up the good fight.

This precious lady has lived her life serving her family and now it is our turn to serve her.
She has built her home on love and commitment, I cherish the lessons she has taught me being a mother

Tuesday, 12 March 2013


An unexpected weekend away took us to the north of Wales and a very pleasant visit reminding us of the Victorians' pleasure in visiting the seaside. This seaside town has maintained its Victorian and Edwardian elegance and splendour. 

Llandudno is uniquely situated between the Great and Little Ormes, which is a limestone headland.
What a surprise to arrive on the one side and almost be blown away by the fierce and blustery wind. A short walk over to the main promenade greeted us with very genteel weather conditions; No wind, warm sunshine, wide promenade and the elegant architecture.
 I could just picture elegant ladies and gents standing viewing the same scene we now viewed. They would amble along the promenade and take in the sites and sounds and the fun of Punch and Judy. 
There is a melody and words of a song in my head, I remember it well when I was a child.  
Although it was very popular in the 20th century, it was written in the late 19th century.
Oh! I do like to be beside the seaside
I do like to be beside the sea!
I do like to stroll upon the Prom, Prom, Prom!
Where the brass bands play:
So just let me be beside the seaside
I'll be beside myself with glee
I think another visit will have to take place to this seaside town.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Song of the weather.....

It all seems rather dull and gray when the snow has melted. It is that time of year when England is very dull and it often creeps its way into our own moods. This is a time of year when I struggle living in England.  South African winters have blue skies and sunshine!  Who am I kidding; the east coast of South Africa does not have winter, it just has cooler weather during the months from June to August!
However, this is my home and has been now for a decade, so it is over to theWinter's of England: I tend to want to hibernate at this time, but somehow we get through it. A lot of complaining will be heard, but afterall this is England. The English talk about the weather!
           January brings the snow
           Makes your feet and fingers glow

On those rare occasions when the snow settles and transforms everywhere into a little Narnia, then we can enjoy the outdoors again.  This year we had a bonus with snow staying around for more than a week. I mean lovely white snow that you could enjoy walking, or playing in.

Our dog enjoys racing around in the snow,
then cuddles up swaddled in warmth
February's Ice and sleet
                                          Freeze the toes right off your feet
Of course, eventually the rain came and now the cold.
Yes for England it is cold! 
But it is not for long, already the forced daffodils are in the shops, the snowdrops in our village have appeared and there are a couple of glimpses of primrose.

The snowdrops have appeared.

We have now moved into March.  I would like to think it will be getting better, after all there is the promise of spring all around us.  Even the birds seem to have increased their singing in the mornings.

However, I think the poet speaks from experience; when checking my Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady, nothing seems to have changed. However I hope we don't have as much rain as Edith Holden had back in March of the 19th Century.
                                   Welcome March with wintry wind
                                     Would thou wer't not so unkind
There will be sunshine this month but still many mornings of hard frost and a wind that can chill the bones.

Pausing a while.................

..... remembering the very special moments we had in 2012 ~
It was a very full year here in England with the Queen's Jubilee, The Summer Olympics, the arts olympiad and the Canix European Championships.
We sometimes wonder, "what we will do in the summer of 2013 as nothing could be as exciting."
The Queen's Jubilee was full of the pomp and ceremony that only the English could do for their monarch. And why not! Elizabeth II is the second monarch to reign for 6o years, the first of course being another woman: Victoria.
A pagaent of quite a size was planned for the Thames river with all sorts of vessels of numerous sizes and shapes sailing past our Queen to honour her.

What an amazing lady, she stood all day out in the open under shelter of the rain receiving the honour.  England came out in true style braving the rain and lining the river to be a part of the celebration. 

We watched from the warm comfort of our home anad travelled down to London on the 2nd day to be a part of the festivities.
It was a fun day but disappointing that we did not get close enough to see the royal procession.
However, this did not deter my dear daughter, who then searched to see if the Queen would be visiting our town as a part of the Jubilee celebrations.  She was!
We arrived bright and early on the day, determined to have a front row position.
Starbucks coffees were bought and we all settled in to wait.
It was such an exciting moment to see the Queen up close with prince Philip; but even more to actually meet them.  What a gracious lady she is and he such a charming man.
I never dreamed they would actually stop and chat to us, but they made an effort to say a few words, ask a few questions and make eye contact with almost everyone in the front row.
What an exciting day for the two of us; an excitement that flowed over to the next day as we discovered our photograph in the local newspaper when the Queen was greeting us.
Next we had the 2012 Oympics to look forward to. The highlight for me was being in London for the triathlon. To be amoungst all the supporters lining the streets and cheering our own boys on is something I will always remember.

 My son and daughter were able to visit the Olympic park and see some races there, but I will have my turn this year, but that is another story for the summer of 2013.

Note to self.......

Focusing on Christ puts everything into perspective