Just being ME

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Happy New Year ...

We've picked up the tickets for New Year's Eve.

We're seeing out the old year at The Fountain Inn, with drinks in one hand and a hog roast in the other!

Celebrated for its connections with Sir Laurence Olivier and Hilaire Belloc

click on pic to play

... and for its part in the Paul McCartney video Wonderful Christmastime!

Here's hoping 2012 is a great year for everyone!



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Boxing Day Dippers 2011 ...

Just sharing some pics I took at the traditional Boxing Day dip on Worthing Beach.

The tide was in, and the sea was choppy, but many braved the elements!

It's a great annual charity event ...

... guaranteed to put a smile on your face!

More pics are on my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.300822456625939.67000.100000945627664&type=1



Just this afternoon I put flowers on Mum's plot for her birthday - she loved lilies.



They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.


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two go down to the New Forest ...

... travelling back in time into another world. Strange, but that's exactly how it feels. Things are so different here, and yet the forest is only a short car journey away from us in West Sussex.

Now if horses were loose on our local B roads, the police would have the road cordoned off with diversions in place!

We stayed at the Forest Park Hotel in Brockenhurst, and we got a room upgrade 'cos we didn't want to be over the bar. It's a comfortable hotel with no fancy trimmings ... you get what you pay for.

The room was lovely and bright facing south, and very floral, but although clean the bathroom was in need of an update. Can't complain, 'cos we got a good deal in three nights for the price of two, £68 pounds for the room per night which included a good choice of breakfast.

Our bikes came with us, note my new white Specialized one. I'm definitely liking it, as it helps me keep up the pace with John on his Gary Fisher! We were relatively lucky with the weather, and only got rained on the once.

I couldn't resist taking a photo of this very puffed-out Robin on one of our rides. I felt a right clown though 'cos I was talking to it in a silly voice, not aware of a chap sitting in his van with his driver-side window down!

To be honest I expected to see more wildlife down here, and apart from the usual suspect birds, saw just one squirrel and a deer, which was unfortunately roadkill along the side of a verge.

One thing you're in no danger of missing in the New Forest is trees. The first photo is of a giant sequoia, one of the largest specimens in Great Britain. It's situated in Rhinefield Ornamental Drive and is part of the Tall Trees Trail, which is a pleasant walk for adults and kids alike.

Can you see what I see in this trunk of another old tree?

Brockenhurst is a great place to stay if you want to be at the starting point of many cycle routes. The whole of the National Park is well kitted out for keen cyclists, and being out of school holidays we practically had it all to ourselves.

I really wasn't expecting to see these cows stopping traffic on the road into Burley. They were hilarious, and in no hurry to budge!

We stopped here for a much needed drink, and waited a good half an hour for our coffee. Such a leisurely pace of life, and a stark reminder of just how manic our everyday lives can sometimes be.

Of course there are many beautiful New Forest ponies to be seen roaming around too. They don't need a wide berth, but not a good idea to pet or feed them, and keep to a 40-mph limit on all unfenced roads.

Remember, it's their forest so look after them!


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August 7th ...

Don't forget the Big Butterfly Count and my garden blog giveaway, both end on Sunday.

Look right, over there, up the top! The links are on my sidebar.

I'll be picking out a giveaway winner at 6 pm, so good luck!


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Oh, I wish I'd looked after me teeth ...

I'm feeling just a tad worn down with this tooth of mine.

Just to say it's been an ongoing saga, which has so far lasted months 'n months 'n months.

... oh, I wish I'd looked after me teeth!

Anyway I'm now on antibiotics, so they just better do the trick?

For now anyway.

I'm not thick skinned, and was sad to notice I lost a follower today.


Crocodile, as seen a few years back on our maiden voyage to Australia.

Don't forget remaining followers - you're more than welcome to join in with the book giveaway on my garden blog.

The more entries there are, the more fun I will have picking out a winner!


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exclamation ...

I've developed excrutiating toothache! It's in the tooth I'm in the middle of having root treatment on.

My next appointment is in five weeks time ...s
he's on holiday!

I'm very tempted to yank the tooth out myself!

Thank goodness for Ibuprofen ... I
t's the only cure I got.

One 400mg tablet gives me adequate relief for 6 hours.
Thank you Stewart Adams.

Can you believe this man never saw an extra penny for this breakthrough cure!

Edited to add:

Thanks everyone for your compassion and advice. Juggling around work hours, I've managed to get an appointment for this Thursday afternoon.

Since writing this post, I am now getting spammed with adverts for new dentures!


... blue sky and a much anticipated day outside in the garden.

Have a great weekend!


... everyone loves a GIVEAWAY!

The one on my
garden blog is open to everyone.


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another baking day ...

As rain has mainly stopped play outside today, I've been doing a spot of baking.

Sticky Lemon and Lime Cake

equal 5oz amounts of soft margarine or butter, caster sugar and SR flour
3 eggs
half a teaspoon of baking powder and 2oz ground almonds
zest and juice from one lemon and one lime

This is a recipe for cupcakes, but works equally well as one big single cake, baked in a 16.5 cm fluted cake tin liner.

Using proper eggs, from proper hens, bought from a proper stall along the roadside.

I really like how they are all different shades, and of a good size too.

I can't get over the size of some supermarket eggs these days - even the Size 1s seem small to me?

I do like citrus fruits.

In fact I sometimes find myself buying them when I really don't need them?

Anyway, these two came from a large bag of mixed lemons and limes from Sainsburys for just £2.00, which I thought was a bit of a bargain.

It is, if you don't end up throwing them away!

The zest needs to go in the cake mix ...

and the juice needs to be heated with 2oz caster sugar until syrupy, for the drizzle.

I do like quick and easy, not always having the time to faff with complicated recipes ...

and good time management leaves more time to scrape the whisk, and lick the bowl!


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just the day for ducks ...

Today is the last day of the RHS Flower Show at Hampton Court Palace.

I went up on Thursday, which is traditionally the opening day for the general public ...

and for ducks!

An Alice in Wonderland theme was running through the Floral Marquee.

Not that you could get to see the exhibits, with the world and his wife plodding through taking shelter from the rain.

Only ducks and Mad Hatters would have been happy to frolic in such a deluge ...

and geese!

This curvy looking bench caught my eye ...

as did these stained-glass panels.

How about this wonderful creeping Thyme paving ...

and this highly desirable residence for bugs!

With an idea for a three-tiered garden ...

and what to do with an abandoned shopping trolley!

The show is filled with so many wonderful ideas, and like what to buy?

I went with a modest shopping list, with the intention of buying varieties of Lavender and Mint.

No garlic!

I've learned the lesson from previous years not to buy anything too big or heavy, as pretty much impossible to cart back on a busy London Train.

... so what did I end up buying?

Two sun-loving varieties of Lavender (Kew Red and Whero Ito), and two shade-loving varieties of Mint (Ginger and Chocolate).

I'd say that was a day well spent, wouldn't you?



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motoGP Silverstone 2011 ...

Please humour me everyone, I love motoGP!

Here's some facts from the weekend.

We had three day roving grandstand tickets, and this year we added on an extra day for Day of Champions, a charity event with mega proceeds going to Riders for Health.

Total sum raised through DOC ticket sales and auction was £194,577.00.

We also had tickets for pit and paddock access.

It was really interesting to see inside the riders' garages, although frustrating for me Hayden's mechanics kept the door to his tightly shut.

Alvaro Bautista, Loris Capirossi, Cal Crutchlow, and Hiroshi Aoyama obliged to sign my programme, along with Scott Redding from moto2.

Stoner was outside his motor-home signing autographs, but there being such a stampede, he made a hasty retreat back inside.

We got to meet vintage rider Randy Mamola, who was cruising around the paddock on his bike.

Hey Vee from The Bearister Bookcase, I know you like motoGP too.

Are you looking through my pics!

We watched free practice periods from the New International Pits Straight, sitting opposite the Repsol and Grisini Honda team garages.

I was highly suspicious of J sitting away as far as we could from Hayden's garage?

Little did he know I'd spied a hole through the fence, and could see him through the binoculars!

Lone Brit rookie Cal Crutchlow broke his collarbone in free practice, ending his race weekend.

He thinks he coming back for Assen?

The weather over the first three days stayed mainly dry, but on race-day the heavens opened, and stayed open for the duration!

We had the best vantage point from Becketts on race-day, but were very, very cold and wet.

It was an exciting wet race!

With three riders not finishing (Spies, Lorenzo and Simoncelli) Casey Stoner from factory Repsol Honda finished on top, with Andrea Dovizioso and Colin Edwards second and third respectively.

My man Hayden just missed the podium by coming in fourth.

There was a fence between me and #69 on the only occasion I spotted him in the paddock.

I'm finding this fact a bit hard to swallow!



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bakin' ...

Not only have I been bakin' in the sun today, I've been bakin' cakes too.

Not unusual cakes, just common ones which you can make without a recipe - like this coffee/walnut cake, using equal ingredients for a 7oz sponge.

I also added a good handful of walnuts to the mix - I think the nuts I cracked had been in the bowl since Christmas, but they tasted fine!

I've made these choc/cranberry muffins before - you can knock up the batter in no time, and so healthy too.