Just being ME


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24/12/2009


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Christmas wishes just for you ...

and a Happy New Year too!

See you again in 2010!

Louise x

07/12/2009



a Christmas sing-a-long song ...

Which is/are your favourite Christmas tune(s)?



Every year I find myself singing along to the video of Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy when it makes an annual appearance on the music channels.

It's from Bing Crosby's Merrie Olde Christmas, a 1977 television special.

If you want to join in with this classic Bing and Bowie mash-up, click on the song title above.
o

30/11/2009


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the Ring, a weekend walk ...

Chanctonbury Ring (known as Chanklebury in Sussex dialect) dates back to the Bronze Age, and later in history a small Iron Age hillfort was built on the site. Romans came and built a temple, and in the reign of Elizabeth 1st, a beacon was placed on the crest to warn of the approach of the Spanish Armada.
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Beech trees planted on the site by Charles Goring in 1760 are a prominent landmark. The Great Storm of 1987 brought much damage, and now stands a shadow of its former self.



After many weeks of torrential rain, on the first stage of our walk we had a great time slip-sliding along a very boggy track, ankle deep in mud. There's terrific views of the surrounding countryside from here, and you can see Rock Mill from through these trees. You then enter into dense woodland ascending as you go, still slippery with piles of leaf litter, and damp moss underfoot.



Much folklore surrounds. Sleep under the trees for one night to increase fertility.



Run around the clump of trees seven times anti-clockwise, and the devil will appear offering a bowl of soup in exchange for your soul.



Recite a Midsummers Nights Dream at Summer Solstice, and magic little people will appear.



At this stage, 783ft above sea level with no protection from the elements, we were uplifted by the force of the wind. Exhilerating it was to blow away the cobwebs spun after yet another manic week at work. Apart from a few spits and spots we escaped the worse of the weather, and could see rain over many parts of West Sussex, and if you look closely you can see the end of a rainbow too.



Working up a gentle canter, it's now downhill all the way, with great views of the sea below.

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The South Downs Way is an area of outstanding natural beauty and is soon to become a National Park.
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It's important to have time to yourself, peace and quiet, and only towards the end of our walk did we start to meet with cyclists and dog walkers.
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Being chalk downland, it's slippery when wet, like an ice rink. A few years back this was the very spot were I came down to earth with a great bump!
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A moonlight walk sounds interesting. With much rumour of the supernatural frequenting this area, go at your peril!
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27/11/2009




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the comfort of strangers ...

There are many definitions for the word stranger, one being 'any person whom one does not know'.
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I hope you don't mind me calling you a stranger, but I sort of know you and I sort of don't.

I like the fact I have virtual friends.
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Part of the fun is to build up a picture of just how you might look. Skinny, well built, short, tall, young, old ... not once have I ever got it right.
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Part of the fun is to discover the personality you have, by the style in which you write and in what you write about ... finding we can be very much alike.


After reading about my postcard collection, and knowing I was feeling a bit down in the dumps, Sarah from The World of Twiggypeasticks e-mailed me these sweet Mabel Lucie Attwell compilations, accompanied by a smile and friendship.

Sarah's thoughtfulness made my day.


A big thank you to those who left kind words on my Mum post. I lost count of how many howls I had during the day, but there were many.
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Your thoughtfulness made my day.
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These are just a few of the reasons why I won't give up on my blog ... not just yet anyway.
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22/11/2009


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seventy ...

I love this photo of my Mum, recently rediscovered whilst sorting through a box of old photos.

She looks happy.

My Mum lost her battle with cancer at the age of 62, today would have been her 70th birthday.

I try to imagine how she'd look?
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18/11/2009




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the generosity of blog friends ...

I have been so lucky to win another giveaway! This time from Ginny who has a lovely blog called Sweet Myrtle.

After discovering the art of making Morsbags, Ginny so kindly decided to make five to give away, each one using a different material.

Look at the one Ginny chose for me, and how did she know I have a lot of blue and cream going on in my kitchen? Intended for bringing shopping home, or taking books back to the library, mine will be used for storing bits 'n bobs in.

Thanks Ginny. I am so pleased with my Morsbag!



The card Ginny sent along with the package tied up with string, goes very well with my kitchen decor too!
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17/11/2009


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an eco garden ...

A squally weather front has been moving east.



On Sunday we took a walk along the promenade in Worthing.



Where the promenade comes to an end on the western side of the pier, is an eco-garden set up to encourage the conservation of water.

An area on shingle beach, with wooden sculptures and seashore plants. Plants which thrive on water from rainfall alone.



A waxy coating to the leaves of plants will help to reduce water loss.



The sculptures would look really good in our garden, in any garden.



Like me, you may have an area in your garden which in summer turns to desert. It makes ecological sense to enhance the naturally dry, sun-baked conditions instead of constantly trying to alter it.

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There is still colour to be seen amongst the pebbles, even in November.
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Many plants in a seashore garden will naturally self-seed which adds to an uncontrived effect.
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A useful idea or two can be taken away of how to create a water-saving garden of your own.
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05/11/2009


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there will be fireworks ...

A display of rage.

We missed our local, around abouts the 5th of November, firework display down on the beach front. It was last night, and it completely slipped our minds. By the time we heard the explosions and bangs, it was too late. I showed not a display of rage, but did feel a bit miffed.

It's organised by our local Lions club, and they put on a mega-display with the expectation of a jaw dropping grand finale! It is all paid for with proceeds from their charity shop and donations from us ever generous general public.

A visiting funfair always stops by too.

Always being too busy watching the fireworks, my photoshopped Allium will have to make do as my spectacular firework burst for the 5th of November. Taken back in June, it's a right little firecracker!

Keep safe, and remember a sparkler is five times hotter than cooking oil, when lit.

o

04/11/2009


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sea escapes ...

When your feeling low, take the doctor's orders and pay the beach a visit, or give the closest to you a hug. I love the postcard above, it's my favourite from the little collection of Mabel Lucie Attwell postcards I've put together over the years. Posted in Eastbourne in 1925 from Lil to Nellie, the message reads Everybody's Loved by Someone.



I'd love to see that cute mermaid sitting on our local rocks, and the golly!



Another one from the collection, the message being The Song of the Sea. When your feeling low, drag your best ragdoll through the sand! This card is really lovely, with lots of fairies floating through the air. Posted in Cambridge in 1921, from Mother to Jean.



This photo has all the elements of why we love our coast. Blue sky, blue sea, a sailboat, seagulls, sand, seaweed, groynes and rocks. I just wish I could have got a stick of rock and a donkey in the photo too!



The message reads SOS!

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31/10/2009


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granny's seed cake for Halloween ...

I have lots of memories of my Granny, one of them being her Seed Cake. Why I've waited so long to make one I don't know. I waited in anticipation, and once cool enough to slice, it tasted just as I remembered. It uses Caraway seeds, and Caraway seeds to me are an acquired taste, and not particularly a taste a kid would like. Did I eat it out of kindness, or did I screw my face up with the first bite? I don't remember.



I don't know what became of Granny's cookbook. The recipe I used for my Seed Cake came out of The Best of Good Housekeeping, 1973 edition. This book belonged to my Mum, and I remember this being the only cookery book she would ever use.

Recipe

40z butter or hard margarine
8oz SR flour
a pinch of salt
4oz caster sugar
2 beaten large eggs
approx 4 tbsps milk
1oz of caraway seeds - once weighed, 1oz seemed a lot, I decided on 2 tsps

Rub the fat into the flour to resemble fine breadcrumbs, add salt. Stir in sugar and caraway seeds. Mix the egg into the dry ingredients and gradually add enough milk to make a dropping consistency.

My Granny used a round tin, I used a 2lb loaf tin, setting the oven temperature at 160c and baking until golden brown and springy to the touch.

With money I had for my birthday, I treated myself to the lovely green mixing bowl in Cargo Homeshop in Chichester. It's big and heavy, and only cost £10! I was so annoyed with myself recently as I allowed my trusty, vintage, worth a pretty penny, TG Green Easimix mixing bowl, with a pale blue inside, to fall out the cupboard and smash to pieces!



Whilst piling through recipes on the internet, I discovered that in one small corner of the Midlands region of the UK, Seed Cake was the traditional food to be eaten on October 31st.

The article also states varying recipes, something I discovered too. Hannah Glasse, in The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy, published in 1805, uses yeast. Mrs Beeton, in the Book of Household Management, published in 1861, uses eggs and butter. The recipe I used has the quality of a Madeira cake. Somes recipes include ground almonds, this would have made my cake more moist. Candied peel can be added too.

Caraway Seeds are often partnered with rich foods that are not easy to digest. My cake, turning out a little dry around the edges, was a tad difficult to digest, with the caraway seeds getting stuck between my teeth!



I remember my Mum was always baking. Her, The Best of Good Housekeeping compiled by the Good Housekeeping Institute, shows all the signs. Grease marks and cake mix on The Family Cakes/Biscuits and Cookies pages!

o

24/10/2009


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colours of the moment ...

I know that indoor Pot Mums aren't everyones cup of tea, but they do last for ages, and the one above comes in just the colour for any up and coming Halloween celebrations.



You could grow some of these lovely little fat dumpling squashes for next year.

You can find varieties in most seed catalogues, for the price of under or just over £2 a packet.



Depending on where you live, don't forget to set your clocks an hour back before you go to bed!

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22/10/2009


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... our post has arrived!

For those of you non-UK residents, today is day one of a two-day national postal strike. Looks like I just might get my birthday cards on time, after all!

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17/10/2009


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... is that chocolate cake doesn't last five minutes!

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12/10/2009