Monday 19 December 2011

Angel or Fairy?

I've been saving this up  for Christmas week, but I leave you to choose the correct word for this vision in pink!

You can see my great niece chose her ensemble with great care, as is her wont, and you will understand the seriousness of the occasion if you pop over here to read the back story of the doll and scissors... But perhaps I should give you a clue...

I can see her as a doyen of the fashion scene for years to come - if she isn't too busy writing books...Go for it, girl!

I'm going to link this to I saw Sunday and Monday Toads, simple because this little madam is a poem in her own right.

Friday 16 December 2011

Two Times Fifty Five Is Twice As Nice

Having been talking about cards and Round Robins, I shall continue with a Bah Humbug slant on the Festive Season, especially for Mr Know-it-all's Friday 55 challenge. Except that I have written two co-joined 55's,  hence my post title!

Decorations, trees and cards
greet us on every hand.
I think it’s time we all rebelled
and let sense take a stand.

In olden days, a card was made
by one, to give another.
A special thing, a work of love
to give a dad or mother,
sibling, friend or relative
or possibly a lover.

Now cards are often ‘tit-for-tat’
dispatched with little thought,
‘cept moaning about postage
which costs more than it aught!
And presents? Well, a nightmare!
for costs get out of hand;
children want the ‘latest thing’
to hit the adverts stand.

Here’s to a different Christmas,
where love, not money rules.

Do Have  A  Happy Yule!

Wednesday 14 December 2011


At this time of year, many of the Christmas cards being trundled around the world, contain, inside their glitter sprinkled fold, an epistle. For what better name is there to describe the annual letter which regales us with the sender's highs and lows since this time last year?

Don't get me wrong, a real letter with a card enclosed, is welcome at any time, for the letter is the main attraction, and the card and additional extra. But once the letter takes second place to the card - it's time to beware. I'm sure you'll know the kind I mean - more like a mail shot than a letter written to an individual! Informative, maybe, but soulless...

However, the Wednesday challenge  on Imaginary Garden today is to write an epistle. They ask us to choose a character or characters from literary history: a fictional character or the person of a poet, author or artist, and to write a poem in letter form (or a letter in poem form), either to, or from the character of your choice.

The Jinksy sense of humour took over at this point!  LOL ♥

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Not What It Looks Like

Not a night sky, not a pseudo Christmas tree with candles, not a Jinksy graphic - merely a collection of crochet snowflakes I took to my classmates this morning, to thank them for the fun we've had this term at our creative writing class. I let them cho0se one each.

And over on Fridge Soup, I offered to send one or two to the Blogger who left the cleverest, or funniest caption for the snowman cartoon I'd found on Google.  As ever, you have to be in it to win it, so why not put your thinking caps on? See if you can captivate me with your offering, and I promise to post you a non-melting, everlasting snow flake to say thanks!

Saturday 3 December 2011

Cream Anyone?
Stephen Hayes asked for a recipe for Clotted Cream to go with the scones I showed in the previous post.  So here's one that I'm sure will work, as I once watched, and sampled, cream being made in the same way.

Cornish Clotted Cream Recipe:

To make this you need full cream jersey or a similar milk. The quantity can vary to suit the size basin one uses, with a minimum of 1 litre or 2 pints to make it worthwhile. Pour milk into a basin and leave in a cool place (not freezer) for at least 8 hours until the cream has risen to the top. Then put the basin carefully over a saucepan of boiling water - not letting any water get into the milk. A pudding basin will rest on the rim of the right sized saucepan. Let the water simmer on a slow boil until the cream begins to show a raised ring around the edge and the surface begins to bubble. When sufficiently cooked in about 3/4 - 1 hour take off heat - lift basin carefully and place in a cool place. Skim cream gently off the surface into a dish and enjoy it!

This cream recipe was found here and I've added a recap photo of the scones that rhyme with 'gone ' as Doctor FTSE so kindly explained with this verse:-
"I asked the maid in friendly tone
to order me a buttered scone.
The foolish girl has been and gone
and ordered me a buttered scone."  

 I'll email the scone recipe to anyone who asks...and that's still 'scone' as per 'gone', if you're wondering...

And for some glorious sights that were to be found outdoors this week, I suggest you pop HERE  for a Susannah's eye view of her world!

Thursday 1 December 2011

Done To a 'T' (for tea)

This afternoon I suddenly got the urge to make some scones to go with my afternoon cuppa. They are the first ones I've made for years, literally, and I wondered whether I'd have lost the touch!

I think they could have done with a smidgen more kneading, as in retrospect the tops appear a little rougher than usual, but the taste and inner texture were exactly right. From start to finish they took about twenty five minutes - and that can't be bad!

The aerial view doesn't do justice to the luscious depth of these quick-fix scones. By dividing the dough in this way, rather than cutting into rounds, there are no oddments to reshape, as these 'seconds' tend to end up tougher, because of the extra handling.
Every portion is ready to go into the oven at once.

All that's missing is some jam and cream and seven Blogpals to join me in eating them!

I'll email the recipe to anyone who asks...

Monday 28 November 2011

Ever Hopeful

My garden comes to kiss my feet, when it thinks I am going to set it to rights! LOL

Imaginary Garden  with real toads called us to its aid, this Open Link Monday. You can tell my garden is begging me to work in it, too!

Saturday 26 November 2011

Should This Go On Fridge Soup?!

Maybe as the one that got away? Hehehe! This post is coming hot off the presses- or even, hot off my gas stove. How many of you have never been faced with a similar ghostly image on the bottom of a saucepan which has burnt dry, but whose contents  have not gone beyond the edible point? If you can honestly say 'No' to my question, I salute you.

However, here's how today's picture post came about...

I diced six ounces of vegetables - marrow, leek, onion and tomato, to be precise - covered them in water and popped in a 1/4 of a stock cube, before setting my ringer for a time when I judged the veg would be cooked, and I would be able to adjust flavour/seasoning etc before consuming my lunchtime soup du jour.

However, before the ringer alerted my ears, my nose alerted my brain. All was not well.  I hurried towards the kitchen. With a muttered "Oh, No!", my hand reached for the steam-emitting saucepan lid even as the ringer rang...

With great presence of mind, I scooped the vegetables (which now resembled pulpy ratatouille) into a dish (after I'd tasted a sample to make sure they had no lingering burnt twang) only to discover this wonderful image on the base of my pan. With hot saucepan in the sink, instead of  turning the tap on it, I dashed for my camera to record its beauty! LOL

Perhaps I should think about writing a 'How NOT To Cook Book'...

Due to the amazing colours I achieved, I'm going to link this to Sepia Saturday! Hehehe! And now, to I Saw Sunday,  as well...
To make the most from the least , I've just written a Sunday160 for Monkey Man, as he chose cooking for his subject today, too, but of the successful variety!

Cooking is an ancient art with plenty of scope for accidental mistakes. The saving grace is laughter. Its spice can rescue any recipe with the magic of humour!

Saturday 19 November 2011

Still Our Dad

Only much younger! Following on from last week's Sepia Saturday, where, in a comment, Nancy asked for more of a background story, I've found something I wrote shortly before I started blogging, and give it here now, with apologies for its great length! I called it Nautical Notes.

                   My Dad was in the Royal Navy for 22 years, so I think the sea was in my blood from birth.   He was born in Birmingham, and because he was a very gifted  artist, he wanted to go to art college, but his Mum said 'No', so into the Navy he went, at the tender age of 16…

I remember the lovely, tarry smell of his naval uniforms, but I didn't like the attendant cigarette and smoke smell.  Sailors used to get cheap cigarettes, and he used to have one hanging out of the corner of his mouth nearly all day long, when I was little, with resultant hacking cough first thing in the morning, that I listened to in horror whenever he was home.

For years after the war, the annual trip round the Dockyard during Navy Days was a regular family outing, until one year, when there was a submarine in dock that was open to the public. We queued up for ages for the privilege of getting escorted on a tour through this amazing vessel. I remember it being somewhat claustrophobic because of the limited space inside, but my Bro was even more affected than me, and caused a great commotion when he got panic-stricken and Mum insisted on getting him off, or out, rather,  half way through the trip. It caused havoc with the one way flow of traffic the submariners had so carefully planned. You try going up against a crowd of  moving people in the confines of a submarine's tiny passageways!

We used to enjoy the Searchlight Tattoos at the Marine Barracks in Eastney, though, as well as demonstrations of the Gun Run on Whale Island. Several teams from local barracks would compete against one another, with the victors going on to compete at the Royal Tournament in London.

Dad actually  used to be a member of  a Field Gun Crew, and I still have a medal awarded to him the year his team won. Over a measured distance, sailors have to race with a huge gun mounted in a gun carriage, dismantle it and take it across a 'chasm' with the help of slings and pulleys, then reassemble the whole thing and race on the outer side of the course, dragging everything back to the start, when the gun has to be fired to prove it still works. Very exciting to watch, and quite dangerous to take part in. Other nautical sports, like tug of war and rowing, were also activities he enjoyed as respites from the more arduous duties of the engine room, where he was a Chief Stoker PO.

He served on destroyers or minesweepers in the war, and when the ship had to stop engines to keep silent, whenever there was a threat of hovering submarines, if he was off duty, he'd sit and draw, and I still have some amazing sketches he did under those trying conditions.
Apparently, he used to be the wardroom barber, too, and I can still feel the pinch of his clippers running up the back of my neck to trim wispy bits of hair when I was about eleven, and had suffered a disastrous hair cut at Treloggan's, a hair dressers in one of the side roads off North End.

Sometimes the men in the mess took turns with the cooking,  and 'Brum', as he was known, was always welcomed, when it was his turn, as he was a great cook. His suety-duff or spotted dick became the stuff of legends. He did try to join the Navy as a cook, but they didn't need any more at the time he enrolled, so he ended up in the engine room.

He must have retained a lingering soft spot for enormous engines, for he always took me to see the engine rooms of the Isle of Wight or Gosport ferries whenever we travelled on them. Best of all, many years later, was the trip on the old paddle steamer, The Waverley. I peered at its gleaming pistons and breathed in the hot, oily fumes, and remembered childhood. 
 N.B. Dad never went to sea in a submarine!! Some comment(at)ors seem to have got the wrong end of the stick!

Saturday 12 November 2011

Our Dad

I'm still finding gems among the pictures my brother took way back when. Many of them need painstaking touching up, due to various hazzards of travelling to the other side of the world at some point in their existence. So when I found this portrait today, I sorted its annoying, white dots and now here's Dad, unspotted! It's a wonderful character study, and I couldn't resist offering it up for Sepia Saturday, without more ado, as the 'hundreds' (?) of tiny blemishes I removed make it a fitting tribute to their 100th post!

Tuesday 8 November 2011


Thanks to an email from the lovely Marian this evening, I discovered this happy clip, just in time for the Wednesday mid-point-doldrums of this rather grey-gloom week. Enjoy!

Late Edition Extra ! Now it's Sunday, I had to have another look/listen to this, as I suddenly realised it should go well on Susannah's I Saw Sunday, as a tongue in cheek addition to the day! LOL Sorry, folks...

Monday 7 November 2011

Another Number Seven Today

Over on Alias Jinksy, yesterday's post brought into focus  the number seven, so it seems fitting this Monday morning, the seventh of November, to carry on the same train of thought. It is a significant date for me, for I married my Mr Smith on that day in 1964.

As is the way with many things in life, it didn't exactly turn out the way we imagined, and it ended in divorce, but not until after twenty seven and a half years - we didn't give up lightly!  From this point, until his death in 2000, we were better friends, if you can understand that?

This morning, while reading a poem by Lawrence Durrell entitled 'Bitter Lemons', four lines in particular set me thinking. The major factor which ended our marriage, was lack of communication, and, as often happens when you least expect it, my muse prodded me to write a poem on the subject, which I share with you now.


Your silence echoes in my head,
circles round the words, like lead
encircling stained glass shapes
of thoughts unspoken. What makes
depression's dark descend,
brings conversations to an end
in anger's fizzing, flurried flame
that douses my soul, damns my name?

Better leave the rest unsaid
keep its calms like tears unshed
where the moon's cool fevers burn
in an island of bitter lemons.

These last four lines, although shuffled, are credited to Lawrence Durrell, with my thanks, and may be found in their right order in 'Bitter Lemons.' Sorry I can't find the poem on the internet, to give you a link... 

Late Edition, Friday... Doctor FTSE has kindly written it out as a comment, which I now copy for you here.

 "In an island of bitter lemons
where the moon's cool fevers burn
from the dark globes of the fruit,
and the dry grass underfoot
tortures memory and revises
habits half a lifetime dead.
Better leave the rest unsaid.
Beauty. Darkness. Vehemence -
Let the old sea-nurses keep
their memorials of sleep
and the Greek sea's curly head
keeps its calms like tears unshed,
keeps its calms like tears unshed."

Sunday 6 November 2011

Poppies In Winter?

They will be blooming in advance of Remembrance Sunday next week, though I've  only seen ones on television so far this year. November has many associations with death - think of Halloween and the Day of The Dead, as All Saint's Day is known in some countries.

So it is no surprise to see that Tess at Magpie Tales has chosen a photograph of a tombstone for her prompt today, nor will it be a surprise that I've chosen to play with its colours before  writing the following tanka, in suitably lugubrious vein. Even a Jinksy clown has serious moments.

And we remember
at the dying of the year
those dead in battles
long since past, in far off lands -
but closer to home, this day.

Friday 4 November 2011

Kissin' Cousins

Thanks to my brother for this picture!

Okay, even the best photographer has an off day! I forgive my Bro for cutting off our children's feet in this one, taken aboard a Hoseason's cabin cruiser on the Norfolk Broads in 1973. 

The girls look happy, but it seems my son was not quite as cheerful. It could be because his yellow life jacket was slightly different from those of the girls, and it had been a struggle to get it over his ears. It had turned them bright red in the process, and caused a few tears.

I'm glad to say they soon recovered their normal colour, and remain firmly attached to his head to this very day.

Once again, it's a colourful offering from me for Sepia Saturday this week.

Sunday 30 October 2011

Clock This!

It's an appropriate title in more ways than one on this day when the  clocks get turned back by an hour.

Instead of half six this morning, I was up and about when the clock faces were telling me it was five thirty. 

Now here's a less than perfect snap, taken  at 5.30 this afternoon, and what happened to the twelve hours in between?! Not a lot, as a good portion of it was taken up by my sneezing and blowing my nose, accompanied by sporadic swallowing of mugs of hot, fruit tea to ease the tickle of my tonsils.

This week's creative writing class came with a free gift of a cold, I think, as the tutor complained of feeling one degree under as we clustered round the tables, wielding our latest magnu(s)m* opus. Or opusses, or opi...What is the Latin plural? Tell me somebody, do.  * thanks RWP.

Anyhow, several of the time pieces scattered about the house are clever enough to  adjust themselves. But not this one. It came as a free gift with some catalogue purchase, years ago. It sits atop a wooden, six drawer storage unit, full of Useful Things, which live beside my computer. It objected to my disturbing it, as usual; I have got used to its complaints. 

After adjusting the hands, I popped its plastic dome back on, but could tell it wasn't happy, as the second hand went on a go slow, before shuddering to a grinding halt. 

"New battery needed!", says I, hopefully but unconvinced. Then I noticed the short hand had no control at all - it fell from the fifteen to the twenty five mark in a flurry of movement. So what did Jinksy do? Why, unpicked as much of it as possible, and reassembled it in reverse order. End result? Success! Its happy quartz tick is tocking merrily, and its 'arms' have now found enough strength to keep its hands under control!

I think this will have to link to Susannah's 'I Saw Sunday', don't you?

Friday 28 October 2011


Today, I wanted to drop a coat into the cleaners, but was told they were not taking any more incoming goods, in readiness for the whole business to be shipped right across to the other side of Havant, close to the enormous, revamped Tesco supermarket.

Havant itself is a dying town. Every time I wander around, there seems to be another shop that’s closed, its windows plastered with glossy photographs of what a shop could look like, if there was one still there!   It makes the place appear attractive by disguising the empty premises, but it makes shopping  a bit of a nightmare.

Everything is being geared to the needs of car owners. Little old ladies like me have to like it or lump it – or perhaps that should read ‘learn to yomp it’, for I can see hiking boots becoming compulsory footwear for shopping…Unless you want to go to Tesco's, when you can take one of these...

...which happens to fit with today's Sepia Saturday subject!

Sunday 23 October 2011

Productive Procrastination?

I guess by now, nobody is ever surprised at what peculiar subjects I choose to blog about from time to time. Here's one such. Having begun tipping out the cupboard under my stairs on Friday with a view to a massive recyle-or-bin-it project this weekend, I'm now going to confess. A large portion of my Saturday was involved in - ready for this? Shortening a scarf. There... if you were in doubt as to my sanity, this is probably a clincher in the thumbs down department.
This crochet creation I manufactured a year or two back had  s t r e t c h e d to an unprecedented length - enough to be a danger to life and limb if it unwound itself  to hang down on either side of my neck, instead of remaining neatly wrapped around it.

So, despite having a hall floor dotted with heaps of 'stuff', I decided action was needed. I laboriously unknotted the  hand tied fringe, carefully sliced about eight inches worth of stitchery from the remaining length and re-attached the now wonky looking tassels. Anything, in fact, to avoid dealing with the 'stuff'.

Today, I have not only avoided it again by constructing this blogpost, but for good measure, have also opted out of ironing, cooking and cutting my hair... Wonder what else I will manage to ignore before bedtime? Procrastination is an art I believe I have perfected...

I've decided to belatedly link this to Susannah's I saw Sunday, for it will certainly make all the other contributors think themselves so industrious, by comparison! Well done, Blog Pals!

Thursday 20 October 2011

Well, Well, Well!

Some of you may remember my earlier post about a free newspaper that lost the fight with my letterbox a couple of weeks back? The saga continued last Thursday, for I caught the paperboy in the act of cramming the next edition through.

I quickly opened the door, and called to him "Cooee! Can I have a word please?" as I beckoned him back to my pathway. Calmly, and pleasantly, in the circumstances, I gave a swift demonstration of how his life would be easier if he followed my simple method of folding the paper widthwise to make a short, stiff bundle , easy to push through the toughest letterbox flap.

He was a fairly good looking youngster - but spoilt by the scowl on his face, and his grumpy "So what?"attitude. "It's only a free paper, what does it matter?"
"True, but you are getting paid to deliver it, and the people who advertise in it are paying for those ads. Besides, you'll find it far more satisfying if you always try to do your best, no matter how ordinary you think the task is that you're given." He went off muttering.
But this evening, this picture shows he may have been listening despite himself. Of course, I shall have to look out next Thursday, to see if it is the same lad - I hope it will be...Then I can thank him.

Saturday 15 October 2011

Old And Battle Scarred?

I'm talking about the photo, although probably I would now fit into that category, if I'm honest. However, this is another of my Bro's 'Candid Camera' shots which has survived the rigours of its trip to New Zealand, and its immersion in his flooded basement at some point. It's badly discoloured and spotted, but I've gently touched up the faces, so that my daughter and I don't look as though we have some kind of white measles.

I was searching for a suitable picture for Sepia Saturday this morning, and happened upon this relic before looking at the subject they'd chosen. Imagine my surprise when I discovered I'd actually chosen a compatible theme - sort of. 'Wars, cooking, chairs or fires', were the subjects on offer.

Fires I can discount totally - the one in Mum and Dad's sitting room would be behind you, as you look at the screen! But how's this for the rest?
  • I was born in the war.
  • There's a high chair  and a piano stool in view.
  • What looks like remains of a Christmas Pudding sit on a dish in the foreground, in the shambolic aftermath of some large family gathering.
The cards and presents on the top of the piano suggest the Festive Season.The year has to have been 1968, when daughter was just one year old (bless!) and still tiny enough to wear a matinée jacket she'd had since birth!

On the tray of the highchair, that striped, fluffy thing was Wol, without whom we never went anywhere. He was made from strips of sheepskin glued onto a roll of corrugated cardboard, and had a dear little owl face with two large beady glass eyes and a cheeky expression, if only you could have seen it in this photo.

You will understand the colours are totally false when I tell you, at that age, daughter's hair was the brightest of bright copper - like a new penny- while mine was never more than mouse...

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Tall Story Time

She peered out towards the clothesline, where the washing hung limp and soggy above the lawn. "Blast! Those clothes will take ages to dry - not a breath of wind, and the sun’s got no real warmth, this time of year.”

There were multi-coloured post-it notes stuck round the frame, and they fluttered in the draft coming through her kitchen window with  more enthusiasm than the clothes on the line. But as she stood muttering to herself,  shimmering golden shapes suddenly bloomed in the middle of the garden. 
“Good lord! Is that several skinny men playing ring-a-roses, or one fellow rushing round so fast he blurs and looks like a group?" She rubbed her eyes, and squinted to see better. Yes – at least three! “Whheeew! Angels or Aliens?” The words squeaked out in a breathy whisper from a voice she didn’t recognise as her own. The hairs on her arms and neck felt as though they were on the move, and the word ‘horripilation’ that had been in last week’s crossword, flashed into her mind. “Even my bloody goose bumps are so scared, they’re huddling, and my heart rate must be off the scale.” 

Despite this initial panic, the longer she watched the light beings, the calmer she felt, for there was no sense of threat about them. In fact, she began to see beauty in their twisting and turning, and almost before she realised, she was stepping out of the back door and moving on hesitant feet towards them. Telling herself “Come on girl you can do this!” she determined to somehow make ‘them’ or ‘it’ understand she meant no harm, hoping to goodness, they’d feel the same. 

Her “Hello!” was as much a thought form as a spoken word, but it seemed to have the desired effect. Their whirling slowed, and two fine gold strands  stretched towards her hands, while a third touched her forehead, making her feel light headed for a moment, before she became aware of rippling musical tones which cascaded over her skin as though they were living creatures. “Come, join us!”they seemed to say, and her body responded to their music, until she too was part of the graceful ballet being danced on her lawn in the sunshine. She felt as though lemonade bubbles had replaced her blood, making her fizz and sparkle from the soles of her feet to the top of her head – and beyond. All sense of time had disappeared.

Eventually the bubbles settled, the dancing slowed, the music faded and the golden entity of which she’d been a part lifted itself skywards, leaving her standing on her lawn, somewhat bemused. The world had returned to normal, and the day had moved on. The sunlight no longer touched the washing. 

Already she was thinking she'd imagined the whole thing.“How could I have wasted so much time daydreaming? Now I’ve got all that damn, damp washing to manhandle indoors and drape around the kitchen.”

But as she lifted her hands to remove her red skirt and her husband’s green shirt from the line, she felt a slight tingling in her fingertips, as they touched not only dry, but perfectly smooth, uncreased clothes, ready to wear… She looked up at the sky, and said ‘Thank you!”

This is my post for the In Tandem #14 prompt.

Monday 10 October 2011

How could I resist?

What? A poetic form called a 'Mirrored Oddquain', which Imaginary Garden brought to my attention. Although it was posted Sunday, I only got to see it this morning, which kind of gave me the subject for my attempt at writing one. Apparently  it needs 32 syllables all told, in the sequence  1/3/5/7/1  1/7/5/3/1, so here goes.

a Monday, 
the week is coloured
according to the weekend

the next Sunday, we can paint
over the picture,
make it all

Sunday 9 October 2011

Sleepy Time Gal?

A nightmare dilemma - duvets are too hot, or too cold. Betwixt-and-between bedcovers need adaptability to cope with the see-saw temperatures of an Autumn night.
160 characters for Monkey Man, brought to mind by my trials and tribulations with finding a comfortable temperature for sleeping - should I be lucky enough to sleep, of course! Hehehe!