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.