27 April 2009

ray of sunshine

Busy doing other things at the moment, but I had to post this …

Happy Monday, everyone !

12 April 2009

happy easter

Click to play this Smilebox greeting: Easter Greetings
Create your own greeting - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox greeting

01 April 2009

sad seeds

I now soak all my seeds in warm water overnight to see if they are still viable – those that sink should be good, those that float probably have nothing living left in them.

I am very sad to see that some Salvia candelabrum seeds – 14 in all – are all floating on the surface, even 24 hours later. A dissection of two of them shows that the inside of one has totally shrivelled up whilst the other looks like a fuzzy sunflower seed.

I am upset because they are unusual (and I can find very few pictures of them on the web – the one from the Telegraph article seems to have disappeared since the last time I saw it). I gathered them from a garden of salvias in October last year. Perhaps I should have sown them straight away instead of storing them. Perhaps I should have stored them in an airtight container instead of a seed packet with the others.

31 March 2009

sweet violet guilt

Here I am feeling guilty again …

I had a quick google to see how to preserve flowers, which I thought I’d do for Easter and the simnel cake that’s in the planning. This year we have had a lot of viola odorata – I have a few in my garden, but there are very many along the banks of the canal, not carpets of them but far more than I remember from last year and they have lasted for much longer. That’s because of all the rain we’ve had.

So following through on candied flowers, someone suggested freezing individual flowers into icecubes. Hmmm. ? Then I noticed something that suggested making sweet violet syrup – and I visualised a delicate violet syrup being topped up with something sparkling. The recipe suggested two cups of violets. So I set off with LB, bag in hand and knife in my pocket and denuded every violet I could see for two kilometres. I then felt extremely guilty that I was robbing others of the lovely sight of these harbingers of Spring. However, I reasoned that at least it was towards the end of the season and now they were being replaced by the muscari popping up like little blue traffic lights, so I picked and then the next day the few I had missed.

I had more than two cups so put them into one and a half cups of filtered water and boiled for 15 minutes before straining through the built-in filter of my coffee machine. I then decided not to add quite the equivalent weight in sugar to make the syrup – it seemed like an awful lot of sugar – and boiled again until it looked syrupy. By this time it was also a rather unappetising greeny colour. The only food colouring I have is blue, so having filled an empty vinegar bottle with my syrup, I put the remaining drops into a glass of water to take to bed with me. It looks like an intergalactic drink from the Starship Enterprise and you have to really use your imagination to get the taste of violets.

I suppose, though, with a touch of red colouring and the story of picking the violets to make the syrup, the romance of it will will be charming enough when served to friends at Easter !

[ As a post sriptum : I use Reader’s Digest Word Power Dictionary which also gives the origins of words. It says : “The word harbinger came into English via Old French from a Germanic root.
The Old German word heriberga meant ‘shelter or lodging for an army’. In Old French herberge – ‘lodging’ – gave rise to the verb herbergier – ‘to provide lodgings’ – and the noun herbergere – ‘one who provides lodgings’. This entered Middle English as herberger or herbenger with the meanings ‘one who provides lodgings’ and ‘a host or entertainer’.
Later it came to denote a person sent ahead to find lodgings for troops or more generally, a pioneer who prepares the way for others. By the end of the 16th century the modern sense, with its broad figurative use, had become established.” ]

11 March 2009

wellworths ! well done !!

I hate that I’m not posting at the minute, but there’s other stuff going on that I’m not going to record here.

I had to post this though – well done Claire Robertson, manager of the Woolworths shop in Dorchester that was closed in December when they went into administration. She is renting the premises, employing many of the original staff and re-opened it today as == Wellworths == She got Chris Evans (not a fan personally, but good publicity) to open it and I gather Dorchester was heaving. This is the BBC’s reporting of it.

I hope that everyone continues to support their independent traders, wherever you live – their livelihoods depend on it. If you’re visiting Dorchester and Wellworths, do stop and have some of possibly the best coffee in Dorset, served in the coffeeshop in Tudor Arcade, next to Waitrose – we’d appreciate your custom ! (Below is a local person’s view – NisbetMedia – on YouTube. Check out the Snowman’s Dance.)

11 February 2009

australian bushfires

We’ve been watching the horrific news of the Australian bushfires in
Victoria with such devastating loss of life and reflecting on the kind
of person who becomes an arsonist. There’s a headline currently on
Google news from Reuters saying that the arsonists are likely to be young males. Oh really ? !! I’m sure that most people would not be surprised by that !

We too suffer from fires that sweep through the hillsides, many started deliberately when the mistral is blowing, to spread the flames and destruction further and faster. I’ve just noticed on my Feedjit that someone who has visited my blog is north-west of Melbourne, in Healesville, which is currently encircled by fire. I do hope you are alright …

This is a link to BBC News eye-witness accounts.

This video was sent to us by a friend whose daughter lives in Australia. It’s a small story with a happy ending and our hearts go out to all those who have lost loved ones, property and pets and to all firefighters everywhere – you are so brave …

21 January 2009

a day in history …

I just wanted to record on my blog, for me, myself, I : what an amazing day in history to see a black American become President yesterday and just one day after Martin Luther King day !

I missed the live inauguration speech but watched the procession to the White House and the Obama family going into the viewing area. On French radio today I caught the end of an interview of people’s reaction here and a young (sounding) girl sobbing into the microphone, saying how happy she was and what changes it was going to make in the world.

He has such a tough job ahead of him but there’s so much hope now for a brighter future with this young president. I hope he is advised well and he keeps to the courage of his convictions, but I can’t help thinking about a caller on BBC Radio 4’s Any Answers who said that history would truly be made when a native Red Indian becomes President. (Actually, taken out of context).

If you have the time and you’re not sick to death of all the media hype. I can’t copy the link to the iplayer, but it is the 16 January show which will be available to listen to until 23 January, when the new program is aired. Listen to Any Questions first – about 50 minutes and then the listeners’ views in Any Answers – about 30 minutes. There is also a transcript of the show.

Whilst in the middle of this post my friend Claire rang from London and said that she had heard another viewpoint by Nick Abbot of LBC (20 Jan). He wonders what all the euphoria is about : nobody knows very much about Obama … Sadly, LBC feel that they need to charge to listen to their podcasts.

Claire also pointed out that Obama is not Black he is Mixed Race. He happens to have darkish skin and brown eyes. Would you call a Mixed Race person who has a fair skin and blue eyes, White or Black and
why ?

Not wanting to get controversial and seeing that this could turn into quite another debate, I will leave it at that for now …
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...