Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Au Revoir, Wibsite!

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

I have, rather reluctantly, decided to end my relationship with the Wibsite… I’ve got fed up with not being able to post photos, and so on.

I’m now blogging at The View from the Teapot (same name!) so I hope that you will join me over there.

Same village; slightly different view!

Winner! Winner! Winner!

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Randomly chosen from all the comments was Number 22, who is Diane @OK Camp.

You have won some handmade cards and a few other bits ‘n’ bobs.

I’ll need your deails so I can send ’em to you.

Waxing Eloquent N°2 & 3

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

I’ve just had my “Opening Doors” get-together. Sadly I’m only there courtesy of Skype, so I missed out on the very delicious looking cake (probably a good thing for the healthy eating) and on seeing everyone properly, but it is still good to catch up. I think I need to make more of an effort to try to do the exercises/ thought-visualisations etc that we did at the weekend, as I’m starting to forget the “good things” I learned. But it takes effort – and I’ve never been one for effort!

Anyway, here is the second of Ruby Wax’s helpful tips for “How to have a really Happy New Year”, which I’m looking at over a period of a few weeks. You can find the first one here, and here’s the next:

Stave off the darkness:

Only eat what tastes good and fill your life with things you like (that would be cake, chocolate and wine then, Ms Wax?!) Surround yourself with true friends but if you find entertaining stressful, don’t invite them for dinner all the time. How can you talk to your friends properly if you’re busy panicking that you’re not a good enough cook? Go to a restaurant instead. And don’t force yourself to go to other people’s houses, it takes energy to adjust yourself to their way of living.

 

Quite frankly, this sounds like a load of bollocks. Sorry, Rubes, but it doesn’t really make much sense – if you’re seeing friends you don’t need to eat with them! Cups of tea, a packet of biscuits, a glass of wine, whatever…going to  restaurants isn’t the only viable alternative to cooking a meal. And what about the “it takes energy to adjust to their way of living”? You’re visiting, not moving in with them! My friend is a maniacal cleaner, her house is spotless and I couldn’t live llike that – but it doesn’t worry me when I go to see her. Or, for that matter, it doesn’t worry me if my house is less-than-spotless when she comes here. I assume she comes to see me, rather than to inspect the amount of dusting I do!!

 

I like the idea of “only eat what tastes good” – but I fear that includes the aforementioned cake, chocolate and wine, as well as steak, bacon sandwiches and Brillat Saverin cheese. Not necessarily what the Doctor ordered!!

 

The phrase that does resonate is “surround yourself with true friends” – friendship does take effort and it’s no use cultivating and nurturing a friendship with someone who uses and abuses your trust, time and energy. So “good friends” is the phrase I take from this tip. But, honestly, I think the rest of it is fairly nonsensical.

 

 

So I’ll move onto Tip 3, which is:

 

Find your happy place:

People used to find peace in gardening or in church but no-one has time for them anymore ( Speak for yourself, Ruby. I’d be much more involved in Church if I lived closer.It’s the expense, not the time for me!) You need to find a place or activity that makes you feel relaxed, be it a café or a park, dancing or cycling. But don’t mistake happiness for that tingly buzz you get when you’ve hooked or booked something. This kind of hit only lasts as long as a cigarette.

 

Okay, The first part of this hint again resonates with our Opening Doors, especially the “exercise” that Ange gave us after our first get-together. This is the 5:2:1 exercise  (Nothing to do with the 5:2 diet, I hasten to add. You can read about my effort with that beastie over at Fat Dormouse) 

This is about 5 times a day repeating a word/ action/phrase that inspires or motivates, or reminds you of who you are, and what you aspire to. It’s about making 2 appointments with yourself each day – one to do something towards you dream, or to use your gift, and the other for oneself,  to do something you enjoy – meditation, savouring a cup of tea, gardening (if you have time, eh,Ms Wax!) whatever makes you feel good! These need only be 5 minutes, or 30 minutes or whatever, but they are proper appointments and should be treated seriously. It’s about taking 1 time a day a time to “be”, to focus on the here and now – whatever you’re doing at that time. Be mindful of what you are doing.

 

These are all about relaxing, giving permission to yourself to “be”. Finding a place, an activity, that makes you happy. I don’t need to find time to do stuff – I’m often able to zone out, especially now I’ve discovered Zentangling, but I need to not feel bad about “not doing anything worthwhile with my time”

 

I’m not sure I quite grasp what Ruby Wax is talking about in the latter part of Tip N°3 – what does the term “hooked or booked” mean? I’m assuming that she is talking about trying to find a sense of contentment that spills over into the rest of your life rather than something which is a sudden burst of “ecstacy” which fades quickly and leaves you craving more.  The 5:2:1 moments would be the thing that leads to the deep seated contentment, as you learn to be satisfied with who you are  (though not in a here-I-am-and-here-I’m-staying kind of way, but rather in an acceptance that this-is-where-I’m-starting-from kind of way).

 

I think I need to work on that.

Zentangle cat

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

Here is a cat that I drew

IMG_1812I have to say, I am rather proud of him! I’m thinking of getting some cards printed and selling them in aid of Spanish Stray Cats, a charity that I have fallen into supporting…I send them badly knitted blankets to keep the kitties warm. Would any of my readers here be interested? Please comment if you would like to buy some – probably 2,50€ each, but that’s not fixed yet.

Wishing you…

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

… a 2014 full of love, laughter and blessings.

With thanks to God for work, for health and for enough to live on… for friends and family here and across the world… for dear Mr D and our lovely cats…for the beauty of this world…for forgiveness of past failings, and blessings to come…for the strength to see through the pain and sorrow…for love, for laughter…

 

It’s beginning to feel a bit like…

Monday, December 30th, 2013

…back to normal, again!

 

This is a funny time of year, between Christmas and 31st…It seems almost like a week of Sundays, and I get a bit confused about what day it is. All the hype and excitement about Christmas is over, and as we don’t really celebrate New Year, we are almost back to normal. There are a few bits and bobs to use up – some escargot vol-au-vents in the freezer, a packet of smoked salmon, the end of the Christmas cake, a small box of luxury biscuits, half a box of chockies – but mostly we’re done. I may buy something special for tomorrow night – maybe a nice piece of steak – but otherwise 31st will be like most other days/nights.

Perhaps I should do a retrospective of last year, as some bloggers do; perhaps I should look forward to 2014, as Ange from my Opening Doors weekend is encouraging us to do – choose a word ! make a promise to yourself! define your goals! I get a bit squirmy when asked to do things like this, but maybe I’ll try to do it tomorrow. Ange pointed us towards something developed by Susannah Conway, called “Unravelling the Year Ahead” which is a guided workbook-type-thing which focusses your thoughts on the year ahead…When considering doing it I felt rather apprehensive: all a bit touchy-feely, too “egotistic”, perhaps? I can’t really define how I feel about it, but I think “reluctant” is certainly one word I’d use. I wonder why?!

 

Anyhow, today I wrote a sermon – the first for a good few years! – and went for a walk. It was a good walk: I had to force myself a little, but once I was out in the fresh air it was good. I didn’t see much of the scenery around me as I always have to watch where I’m putting my feet, but when I paused to puff it was good. There were a lot of trees obviously uprooted by the wind, so I had to do quite a bit of scrambling over tree trunks, pushing my way through branches, or diverting myself around root balls. I’m glad I went.

 

For dinner I’m going to make a pie with the last few bits of wild boar, plus mushrooms and onions. Not much meat, I fear, but hopefully tasty all the same. I thought I had a pork steak in the freezer that I could add to the mix, but it appears I was mistaken. Never mind – a bit of meat and lots of veggies – nothing wrong with that!

 

 

A breath of Christmas air.

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas Day. Ours was very quiet, but enjoyable, spent together, enjoying good food, each others’ company and some radio listening and some TV watching. I meant to go for a walk but never quite managed it!!

 

My planned Christmas Eve post of an extra poem was published, but not here, as the Wibsite was being uncooperative. I posted it on my other blog, so if you didn’t find it, you might want to go over to Fat Dormouse to read Dorothy Parker’s beautiful poem “Praer for a New Mother”. I think it is so sad, and thought provoking, and catches the haunting beauty mingled with fear that I’m sure would have been in Mary’s heart throughout her life as the mother of the God-become-man who was Jesus.

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So, for a breath of Christmas air, here is a photo of the Santon collection of a friend of mine:

photo

Every year we send them a new Santon. As thery have all the main cast – Holy Family, Shepherds, Kings – I’ve been sending animals (you can see this year’s sheep and cat combo in the photo) but I think that next year I will start to add the more traditional Provencal figures to the mix. The photo was taken before Christmas Day, so the Christ child has not yet arrived.

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Our Festive cheer continues with a lunch with Monique & Michel across the square, and then evening drinks-and-nibbles with friends up the hill. I have a haunch of wild boar marinading for another festive lunch on Saturday…And I wonder why the doctor tells me I have to lose weight?! (Actually, I don’t wonder at all – but that’s to be considered another time!!)

 

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And finally, for a little bit of Christmas romance, you need to pop over to read Kezzie’s blog. 

Just married, her Honey is giving her 12 Christmas gifts…yesterday was a partridge and a pear tree (ready-to-cook & ready-to-plant). Today has been a Christmas decoration in the form of two turtle doves… I can’t wait to see how he interprets the rest of the song. I think it is just wonderful and romantic and lovely!

another quick one

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Mags was concerned that every day blogging was becoming a nuisance…it’s not exactly a pain, but days are busy, and in the evening I turn off the pc and chill. Actually “chill” is the right word at the moment. It’s been a cold day all day and it’s already down to -7 degrees at 8.30. Brrrrrr!! I am going to hunt out an extra pair of socks when I’ve finished this – and it’s definitely bedsocks on tonight! We know it’s cold as we’re getting more and more cats in bed  with us. Last night I think we had 3 out of 4 cats at one point!

I do intend to answer questions. posed in commentz, but I’m afraid it will have to wait till Fridays at the earliest, but probably Saturday

 

We have watched the last series of Doctor Who during this week – recorded – as we have no tv…the satellite dish is still up to its ears in snow and so is receiving no signals. We do have on demand, through the computer, and thanks to Mr D being techno brilliant, so we’ll be watching the Doctor Who anniversary special very soon, on the iPlayer.

Anyway, there’s not much else to say now. So, I  have managed to post but it’s not very interesting. I was in Roanne today, teaching face to face. I had time to pop to Decathlon and buy some snow boots. The ones I have have lost their grip and are very slippy.Not what you want on the snow. So now, with my lovely new boots I’m set for the next load of the white stuff…they’re prettier than my old  pair, too, with lovely furry lining. I like my new snow boots. Happy dance!

Lots of teaching tomorrow, too, but I will try to post something early in the morning, before lessons start. And I hope it might be a bit more inspiring than this woffle!! Sleep tight, dear friends. I’m off to find those socks ( bright pink, they are!)

 

 

 

Meet a dear friend

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

IMG_1301

Here’s my friend Gary, dressed as a pilot, standing by a plastic palm tree on his 50th birthday. As you do.

 

I have known him for ages, and while we don’t see each other often, we always have a scream when we get together. Whenever I go to Milton Keynes I love staying with him & his partner, C, as we always have a great time together. They are so generous and giving it is a delight to be with them.

 

We used to act in murder mysteries together, and do improvisation. he is a wonderful improvisor. I do hope he & C come to stay with us again soon.

 

Sorry it’s so short. Another busy hectic day!

Using up baking powder

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

I use quite a lot of baking powder as I don’t tend to buy Self Raising flour (it’s more difficult to find and more expensive in France) so I use baking powder in baking.

 

 

But sadly my biggest use of baking powder is to clean burned pans. Probably once every two months or so. Today’s was the most spectacular for a long while.

 

NOT my pan. I’ve never had one quite this bad.

I’m making banoffee pie to take to the Church Thanksgiving meal tomorrow. This requires boiling a tin of condensed milk for three hours in a pan of water to make a delicious toffee concoction. This pan does require topping up with water from time to time. That’s where I made my error! I put it on at about 9.30, and went about my Saturday morning…I was almost back from the shops (at 11.30) when I remembered the pan…Unfortunately Mr D had the door to his study firmly closed so the odour of smoking pan and burning paper from the label did not alert him to the small fire hazard that was beginning to smoulder down below. The kitchen door was closed too, so the nascent tendrils of smoke hadn’t woken the  alarm either.  I got back and poured lots of cold water onto it…Cue hellish hisses and billows of steam. The tin of condensed milk is bowed at both ends, but I don’t think it’s actually split; I’m debating whether it will explode if I try opening it, to see what has become of the contents. However, for my banoffee pie I have started a new boiling of a new tin. And this time, I’ve put the timer on beep alert.

This is what it SHOULD end up looking like.

Note: the last few days’ posts have been over at Fat Dormouse. Mostly preoccupied with snow. And food.

Also, I recommend you pop over to the Jacqui Lawson e-card site and preview their Thanksgiving card entitled “Pecking Order” I loved it so much that I had to send it to my American blogging friends. I only have two. Sigh.

 

 

 

There is a postscript to this post, which I’m rather embarrassed to admit but…we had another power cut this afternoon. I was working on my Less is More challenge cards, and when the power went off I just carried on. However, I think that the power going off meant that the timer was annulled. I had a feeling I had to remember to do something but…

 

BOOM

 

Oh bugger. That was it! I had to turn off the heat under the condensed milk. The second can had just exploded! Toffee sauce all over the kitchen: walls, floor, ceiling, work surface, cooker, pan. Oh yes…the pan. Does anyone have anymore baking powder?!

 

I’m not boiling up any more toffee sauce, so I’m hoping that the first can will have some usable toffee sauce in it (when I can open it) which I can mix with Greek yoghurt and creme fraiche to make a kind of banoffee-pie-that’-light-on-the-offee. Otherwise, I may have to sacrifice my half of the white chocolate bar, melt that and cobble together some kind of white chocolate cream and banana pie. What larks!

Just imagine it toffee coloured and sticky. And all over my kitchen!!

I’ve wiped everything up, but I still feel a bit sticky! And, to be perfectly honest, a bit of an idiot. Mr D will mock me unmercifully.