Sunday, January 31, 2010

An Unexpected Gift

My DH  presented me with a gift last week.

A very welcome gift.

We had idly discussed buying an electric steamer several weeks ago, but the one DH liked was no longer on special offer, so the matter died a death, or so I thought.

Until on Weds night, the love of my life arrived home staggering with a large parcel - he was bearing a brand new steamer/rice cooker which he had bought for me.

It had its first run tonight; cooking basmati rice, which it did to absolute perfection. To say we are pleased is an understatement :-)   It also gives me a perfect excuse to go buy another cookery book with lots of steamer recipes, LOL !
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Robin Redbreast

Our resident robin has been much in evidence today, sitting on the table just outside my window and looking at me as I look at him.
The weather is bitterly cold and I have put food out for him, but I worry intensely about next door's young and very predatory cats, who regard my garden as an extension of their own.

I would hate to put my precious robin at extra risk of ending up as kitty chow if he is distracted by food I put out instead of being vigilant for his safety. :-(
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Britain In The Snow

This was Britain on 7th Jnauary, covered in snow. Image from the BBC  Weather page .
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Over the last few days, I have shocked both myself and my family by voluntarily experimenting with spreadsheets.
I am renowned in my family for both fearing and loathing Maths in any shape or form, but part of my job involves using basic spreadsheets, so I decided to go buy a good book - or two- to experiment and learn how to use them properly.

I have to say, I am thoroughly enjoying it !

The delight of starting with a totally blank sheet and after a few minutes work, be able to calculate daily, weekly and monthly totals for three seperate groups utilising a facility is just so much fun. I am beginning to think I have been brain-washed. or abducted and replaced by aliens.
Or possibly hallucinating and I will wake up, a la Pamela Ewing, to find this has all been a dream  :-)
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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Resources For Great Lent

It is well worth checking out the Goarch site; there is a superb  Sunday by Sunday section for Great Lent which is particularly useful as a starting-point for family discussion.

 I like being able to listen to the hymns of each Sunday :-)
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The Die Is Cast....

.........I have submitted my job application online.
We shall wait and see what transpires........
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World Chocolate Wonderland Theme Park

There is now a Willy Wonka style chocolate theme park in Beijing, China.

The Daily Telegraph has a whole picture gallery devoted to it, and it looks wonderful, especially the Terracotta Army in chocolate :-)
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Sunday, January 24, 2010


...for the sporadic posting.

My currently contracted hours are 32 hours per week, but the reality is that I have been working on-site for 40 hours per week plus a few extra hours at home.
Added to that, looking after my children, the dog, the house and DH working away most of the week, and I am finding my time for reading or blogging very restricted indeed.

I have enjoyed the the new job, things are settling down nicely, the number of extra hours I am working is diminishing on a daily basis, and after discussion with DH, I have decided that I *will * be applying for the permanent position. 

Prayers coveted that God's Will be done in this matter.
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The Smallest Altar Boy

Unbelievable Cuteness Alert !

PLEASE go here
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010


This is just one of many wonderful pictures at the Daily Telegraph website's feature on Russian Orthodox Epiphany celebrations.  Enjoy !
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Sunday, January 17, 2010


This is my new Elonex E-Reader :-)
My delight at being able to carry around a complete Psalter, as well as loads of novels and documents in a gadget which is just smaller than the height and width of a standard paperback book but is  less than 1cm thick, can only be imagined !

I am experimenting with different formats; it does not support RTF files but does support Plain text, although the formatting tends to get lost. It reads PDF formats wonderfully well, and the font size can be easily adjusted.
I love it :-)
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Angels In The Snow.......

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More Photos From The Snow !

Anastasia, yes, it was a palm tree in the previous set of posts ! !
Palm trees grow exceptionally well here, for some reason........
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Narnia For A Day !

Our street at 07.30 this morning !

The dog of doom making doggie snow angels

Last night's snowfall was magical.
 It was heavy enough to give us all a day off work and school :-)
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Jack Daniel's Spirit Of Tennessee Cookbook

Jack Daniel's Spirit Of Tennessee Cookbook
By Lynne Tolley and Pat Mitchamore

 Published by Thomas Nelson

I am a passionate devotee of cookbooks. I have a whole bookcase devoted to them, in fact !

There was no doubt in my mind that I simply had to review a copy of Jack Daniel’s Spirit of Tennessee Cookbook. This 192 page cookbook has superb black and white and colour photographs scattered throughout, but most of the book is - as it should be – devoted to wonderful recipes from Tennessee.

The recipes cover a vast range from Drinks (these include non-alcoholic drinks) to Appetisers, Soups & Salads, Vegetables, Breads, Outdoor Cooking, Desserts, Cakes & Pies, and Accompaniments. They do NOT all include a shot of Jack Daniel’s !

Outdoor Cooking is a true delight, covering how to set up a Pit Barbecue and some stunning recipes to make. I was a little surprised to find that the main chapter including meat recipes has been entitled Entrees; I would love to know whether this was deliberate and done to reflect a specific Southern tradition ?

The recipes are all clear, concise and easy to follow, and only a few would be difficult to make here in the UK due to the ingredients. I’ve not seen Hominy grits or Marshmallow crème in any local shops here, though I am sure it would be possible to get them via the Internet.

I am so glad I requested this book, and would certainly recommend it to anyone looking for really unusual recipes for a special occasion. Happy Cooking !

NB:   the cover of the edition I received is different from the one advertised on the Thomas Nelson website, presumably due to copyright/edition differences between USA and International editions.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

I review for BookSneeze
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Monday, January 11, 2010

Birthday Gift

Thursday saw another milestone, another birthday closer to 50.

DD 1&2 and their husband/boyfriend clubbed together to buy me an E-reader ! I am now the proud possessor of an Elonex, which is wonderful.

I will do my best to upload photos tonight, but at the moment, I really need to get ready for work. It is going to be a long day today, as the To Do list is reaching monumental proportions, LOL.
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Snow Joke

Our schools were closed on Wednesday last week due to the bad weather.  Although only about half an inch of snow fell, it fell onto icy roads and it was very dangerous.

Needless to say, the girls had a great time and made a micro mini snowman whilst being looked after by Dad.

We have no photo to display because.....I was in work. I was able to walk to work, so I went.

I was glad I did, because I had a productive day with few interruptions  - but I missed all the fun :-)
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Tuesday, January 05, 2010


The horrendous problems thrown up yesterday have eventually been fully identified and resolved today, after much hard work by myself and another person.

I am so relieved.

Today was still a hard day, but manageable. I have now regained some of my equilibrium and most of my sense of humour :-)

DH had to finish work early and drive home to Wales this afternoon as the weather at his place of work deteriorated significantly with  heavy snow and much more forecast in the next 24 hours. He was worried that he might not be able to get home at all if he didn't leave when he did. He got home safely, for which I offer up heartfelt thanks.

Of course, we have no snow on the ground at all here, though light snow is forecast for the middle of the night :-)
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Monday, January 04, 2010

The Day From Hell


It was an absolute nightmare; the type of day you dream about and then wake up in a cold sweat, gibbering and shaking.

But this was real.

I  cannot provide details; suffice it to say that all family members are alive and well. Everything else was a total disaster :-(

Much of the anxiety will by necessity be carried over to tomorrow, till today's problems eventually get ironed out - please God.
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Sunday, January 03, 2010

First Snow 2010

After rain on New Year's Day, there was a brief flurry of snow during the night, and we woke to this sight on January 2nd !
The roads were like skating rinks though, with plummeting temperatures  overnight turning the damp roads into ice slicks.....
but very pretty !
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Friday, January 01, 2010

Listening Susan Boyle's new album. 

Her voice is lovely.  I am so glad her album has done well; I hope the pressures of fame will not be too much for her.
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Father, A Profitable Word......

Our life depends on the kind of thoughts we nurture. Everything, both good and evil, comes from them. They become reality. If our thoughts are kind, peaceful, and quiet, turned only toward good, then we also influence ourselves and radiate peace all around us - in our family, in the whole country, everywhere. However, when we breed negative thoughts, that is a great evil. If our attention is turned to the circumstances in which we live, we are drawn into a whirlpool of thoughts and can have neither peace nor tranquility. When there is evil in us, we radiate it among our family members and wherever we go. So you see, we can be very good or very evil. It that’s the way it is, it is certainly better to choose good! Destructive thoughts destroy the stillness within, and then we have no peace.

~ Blessed Elder Thaddaeus of Serbia ~


This was sent to me by Fr Luke Hartnung, whose mailing list of spiritual excerpts I thoroughly enjoy and commend to you all.
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Happy 2010 ..

Wishing all of us on the New Calendar a Happy and Blessed 2010 !

To my dear friends still in the midst of the Nativity Fast, may the rest of the Fast be blessed and profitable to you.

Today, whilst hemming three pairs of trousers,  I have enjoyed listening to :

 Bach's "Wachet Auf" & "Toccata & Fugue in D minor"
Mozart's "Laudate Dominim" and "Lacrimosa".

I did also indulge in some nostalgia, with Ultravox, Mari Wilson, Adam & the Ants and Jamiroquai. 

I have a bizarrely broadranging taste in music :-)
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