Margarine? No thanks!

Margarine, or as it is now called, Spread, is highly artificial.

In recent years, there has been plenty of new scientific evidence showing this artificial butter to be extremely harmful to health. It is a major cause of heart disease the very condition that it is supposed to prevent. It has also been linked with several types of cancers and various other diseases. Don’t be fooled when it is described as a “spread”.

Ever since Roman times, and possibly even before that, people have eaten butter. It was only in the 1920’s that it was introduced into Britain and the makers claimed it was better for you than butter.

In spite of this, fake, artificial butter continues to be widely promoted as a healthy product. This urgently needs to be stopped!

What we have today is entirely different from the original oleomargarine invented by a French scientist in 1870. That was done quite naturally. Today, we get a highly unnatural process called hydrogenation in which liquid vegetable oil is converted into a solid or semi-solid grease.

In the jargon of the chemicals industry, this process of turning a liquid oil into a solid or semi-solid is called plasticisation.

The manufacturing process begins with cheap vegetable oils, which probably have already been rendered harmful by the extraction process involving high temperature and petrochemical solvents such as benzene. Some of these oils, such as cotton seed oil, are not even suitable for human (nor animal) consumption.

The oil is then subjected again to extreme high temperature (about 500ºF) and pressure, and hydrogen is forced into the molecular structure to harden it. This process requires toxic substances, such as nickel oxide, which act as catalysts that enable the chemical change.

The end result is a smelly, greasy substance. So it is deodorised, again using high heat and chemical additives.

And do you know what is the colour in its original, “natural” form? Grey!

Obviously, nobody would spread grey globs of grease over their bread. So the grease is bleached white and then dyed yellow. Finally, artificial flavours are mixed in to make it taste like butter.

The fact that learned doctors, nutritionists, dieticians and other health experts can proclaim such a product to be healthy only goes to show how warped modern-day thinking has become, all in the pursuit of profits!

Julia Child always said “use lashings of butter in your cooking” and I always do just that! She also said “If you’re afraid of butter, use cream.”


Posted in 'Elf and Safety, Cookery | 5 Comments

Some people!

Cafe_girlWhen in town today I called into a local cafe for a sticky bun and a cup of coffee. As I entered I noticed that it was completely empty of people, except for one young girl sitting at a table busy tapping away on a laptop and texting on her phone. I sat down and picked up a menu to make it obvious I was waiting to order.

Five minutes later the girl looked at me, smiled, and carried on typing. A man in an apron appeared from the kitchen area, glanced around and said something to the girl before returning from whence he came.

The girl carried on typing so I thought I would ask if she was supposed to be serving. I walked over and asked “Excuse me, are you the serving wench around here?”. It was like I had shot her! She jumped up, slammed the computer shut, and picking it up she stormed off into the kitchen.

I sat down again, expecting someone to come and take my order, but nothing happened. After another five minutes I decided to leave and seek sustenance elsewhere.

I thought how rude was that? It couldn’t have been anything I said, and my armpits didn’t smell. I just don’t understand the present generation, too moody for me.

Posted in Anti-Social Behaviour, Unbelievable | 5 Comments

As I’ve aged. . . . .

Old-manAs I’ve aged, I’ve become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I’ve become my own best friend. I don’t chide myself for eating that extra cake or biscuit, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement garden statue that I didn’t need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.

Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 1am and sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 50’s & 60’s, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love ….. I will.

I will walk along the beach in shorts that are stretched over a beer-belly, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the young ones. They, too, will get old one day if they don’t drug and smoke themselves to death.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten, and I eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when your beloved pet gets hit by a car? Broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray and eventually fall out, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face.

I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging. So many of them have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

As I get older, it is easier to be positive. I care less about what other people think about me. I don’t question myself anymore. I’ve even earned the right to be wrong when it suits me.

I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. I shall eat crisps, chocolate and cakes every single day (if I feel like it).


I read this on the Internet many years ago and laughed at it, thinking what silly old fool wrote that. Now reading it again (I did save it at the time, source unknown) I realise that it applies to ME now! It could have been written for me, because everything is true!

Posted in The truth | 5 Comments

God is missing!

Why is it now that we have developed rational inquiry we hear only a deafening silence from a God who once supposedly engaged regularly in human affairs? Why does God not simply speak to us or appear before us as he supposedly used to? Why are we the losers in the dice roll of time? If God places such a high value on us worshipping and believing then why not simply make his existence obvious to us?

If one accepts the prevailing scientific understanding of the development of the universe, yet also believes in one of the major religions, then presumably God sat idle for 13.7 billion years – waiting as the stars, galaxies and planets formed. Then he watched with complete and utter indifference as modern Homo Sapians evolved, struggled and died for a further 150,000 years.

Finally, a few thousand years ago, God suddenly decided to reveal himself to several people in the most primitive, illiterate and remote portions of the world in a completely unverifiable way – and then just simply disappeared.

This Thursday marks the 24th anniversary of my son’s death. He suffered for two years from bone cancer before he finally succumbed to it at the young age of 28. Where was God?

My partner of 11 years died of lung cancer in 2004. Where was God?

I knew for sure then that praying is like a game of chess, except that the board is made of running water and the pieces are made of smoke. Whatever move you make, it makes no difference to the outcome..

“If God had wanted us to believe in him, he would have existed.” – Linda Smith

“Thank God I’m a Pantheist!” or am I a Pagan?- Keith Smith

Posted in Puzzling, Religion, The truth | 17 Comments

Just thoughts. . .

The reason that we can’t have the Ten Commandments posted in a courthouse or Parliament, is this –
You cannot post ‘Thou Shalt Not Steal‘, ‘Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery‘ and ‘Thou Shall Not Bear False Witness‘ in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians. . . . . . It creates a hostile work environment.


They keep talking about drafting a new constitution for Iraq … Why don’t we just give them ours?
It was drawn up by a lot of really smart people, and it has worked for centuries but we’re not using it anymore.

Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that during the mad cow epidemic our government could track a single cow, born in Appleby almost three years ago, right to the stall where she slept in the county of Cumbria?
They even tracked her calves to their stalls. But they are unable to locate 125,000 illegal immigrants wandering around our country. Maybe we should give each of them a cow.


The secret to happiness is a good sense of humour and a bad memory.

I was invited to go to the annual Christmas Day Party this year of the ‘Earl Shilton Dementia Society‘ but I can’t remember what day they said.


Posted in Politically incorrect, The truth | 9 Comments

Old Age Pensioners

1Let’s put the pensioners in jail and the criminals in a nursing home. This way the pensioners would have access to showers, hobbies and walks. They’d receive unlimited free prescriptions, dental and medical treatment, wheel chairs etc and they’d receive money instead of paying it out. Free heating in the winter. No gas, electric bills or Council Tax to pay.

They would have constant video monitoring, so they could be helped instantly if they fell, or needed assistance. Bedding would be washed every week, and all clothing would be ironed and returned to them.

A guard would check on them every 20 minutes and bring their meals and snacks to their cell if they wanted it. They would have family visits in a suite built for that purpose. They would have access to a library, gym, spiritual counselling, pool and education.

Simple clothing, shoes, slippers, PJ’s and legal aid would be free, on request. Private, secure rooms for all, with an exercise outdoor yard, with gardens.

Each senior could have a PC a TV radio and daily phone calls. There would be a board of directors to hear complaints, and the guards would have a code of conduct that would be strictly adhered to.

The criminals would get cold food, be left all alone and unsupervised. Lights off at 8pm, and showers once a week. Live in a tiny room and pay £600.00 per week for the privilege, and have no hope of ever getting out.

What do I have to do to be thrown into prison? Think about this. . . . .

Just saying.

Posted in Just kidding, Only partly true! | 6 Comments

Pompeii bread

During the “Winter of Discontent”, 1978 – 1979, there were a lot of strikes throughout the land. Electricity workers, Gas workers, Bus drivers, et al, were all coming out for higher wages and better working conditions.

In those days I was 40 with a family and sick mother to look out for. I reasoned that after the small token national strike of bread bakers in September 1977, sooner or later they would join the national trend and call an all out strike.

Bread of Life
Lets not forget that bread is an essential food, especially when you have young children. So I made friends with the local baker (who would also come out on strike if there was one) where I always bought our bread, to get the know-how on making decent bread. He showed me how to make standard white bread and how to keep a supply of fresh yeast going.

You must realise that at that time there were no bread machines, no personal computers or the Internet to consult. If you wanted to make bread you would have to do it the hard way; by hand.

Everybody out!
Sure enough in November, just as the weather was turning nasty, there was a National Breadmakers Strike. There was an immediate spate of panic buying of bread, flour, and yeast of any sort. People were queuing and fighting for the last crust of bread in the shops.

I must admit the suddenness of it all caught me out. I didn’t even try to buy flour from the shops knowing that it had probably all gone. I drove to the flour mill (that was the one “The Mill on the Floss” by George Eliot was based on. It was still a working mill in 1978) a few miles away and the miller was only too glad to supply me with two sacks of white flour, he said he was left with it on his hands because all the local bakeries had temporarily cancelled their orders for the duration.

Do-it-yourself time
So started making bread for the family and two elderly neighbours. Every other evening when I came home after work I was in the kitchen making loaves, the oven on full and me sweating it out! Of course my bread making didn’t go unnoticed by passersby, the smell of baking bread filled the street and I had numerous requests from people I didn’t even know asking if I could make them some. I had to refuse, shame really, because I didn’t know how long my supply of flour would last.

I was surprised how nice home made bread tasted, so even after the strike was over (which caused the closure of our local bakery) I continued to make my own bread, and still do so to this very day, but now I use an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment. I can’t even remember when I last bought some bread.


I was surfing the net a while back when I “StumbledUpon” this video from the British Museum about how the Romans made their bread. So I thought I would try it out.

I did have some spelt flour and some wholemeal flour in stock, butI didn’t have any sourdough prepared so I mixed up some dried yeast (not the fast acting sort!) with some honey, a tablespoonful of T65 flour, and warm milk and used that. Well, it looked like the stuff that chef mixed in with the dried ingredients in the video.

Here is my version of a “Pompeii Loaf” (no string attached!)

Pompeii-loaf-01 (1)
I think the cuts were made to divide the loaf up. If you were a rich Roman you would buy a whole loaf. If you were middle class you could probably only afford to buy half a loaf, If poor you could just buy a quarter, and a slave would buy just one segment of the loaf? Just saying. . . .

Posted in Bread, Cookery, DIY, Romani | 8 Comments

Book of Shadows


frontspieceFive years ago I was approached by the “High Priestess” (eh?) of a nearby coven because someone had told her of my prowess with the quill and my unique illustrating abilities. She forced a vast quantity of money into my hand and asked me to make her a Book of Shadows in “nice” lettering from a big heap of dog-eared papers with all her magick spells on them, otherwise she would turn me into a frog! (Not really, I’m just being silly).

After I had finished it, it took me about six months to complete, she was so pleased with it that she turned me back into a human again!

If you don’t know what a Book of Shadows is then search on the Internet, because I cant be ars… bothered to explain here.

I enjoyed making it so much I decided to make my own version of a Book of Shadows, but without the spells and other chants in it. Who believes all that tosh anyway? *ribbit, ribbit* I decided to include all my favourite quotes, poems and sayings that have inspired me over the years.

proverbsA friend who is very good at leatherwork made the cover for me, a tad too big really but no matter, I didn’t pay him for it anyway!

Next I painted a dragons head on the front to scare away any evil spirits who might try to steal it. I bought an artists sketchbook with nice paper that resembles handmade paper. Pity about the spiral binding, but that seems to be the trend now. I set to work copying all my dog-eared notes into the book, in between other jobs of course and I only finished it last December before I was stricken down with the deadly arthritis. Do you think it was some sort of curse on me from Him upstairs for writing that book?

solitudeThere’s a few random pages for you to admire.

Posted in Calligraphy & Lettering, Handwriting, Wiccan & Pagan | 8 Comments

The Vetting and Barring Scheme 2

CRB-logoBefore you read this post you should go to The Vetting and Barring Scheme 1 posted on 20 March 2011 in this blog. I know it was a long time ago, but go and read it first to refresh your memory, or if you didn’t see it initially it will provide you with the background for this post.

The links in that post don’t work anymore because the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) have merged to become the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). CRB checks are now called DBS checks.

To quote a line from that post,

“I flatly refused to be checked by the faceless wonders in Whitehall who probably have murky past histories themselves.”

I realise that there was an element of truth in it now. Recently the media have exposed the fact that there could be a few members of Parliament who are not as squeaky clean as we thought. Then it was announced that someone had compiled a folder on their dubious activities, but somehow it had been “mislaid” or “lost”. How convenient. Now the matter seems to have been forgotten by the media.

Jimmy Savile and Rolf Harris were not so lucky. I wonder if they were checked out by the CRB and ISA when they worked with children? I very much doubt it, because being famous it was taken as read they would ‘play the white man’ when with children, and could be trusted.

“If a person is scrutinised and found to be as white as the driven snow, and then allowed to work with children, what’s to stop him/her from going off the rails and molesting a child in the future? The Vetting and Barring Scheme is flawed from the start. Anyone with money, influence and a dubious past can probably get round it anyway”.

I posted the first part of the article in March 2011 and the poo hit the fan just after J Savile’s funeral, just 8 months later, when the doubts about his activities began to surface.

Now another body of do-gooders has entered the arena, namely Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education) who now decides who can be near to children and when.

Every Tuesday morning we had a coffee morning in the back room of the local church hall, attended mainly by Senior Citizens, made up mostly of ladies, with two or three elderly men.

In the main hall of the building there is a child care or pre-school group called ‘The Pelican’, which is in session every day in school hours during term time. This group has been there ever since I started going to the coffee morning and as far as I know there has never been the slightest hint of anything improper going on.

Now the Ofsted inspector has decreed that in order for The Pelican to continue, there must strict security at all times. The only reference to that situation in the report was “The inspector found that you have taken steps to improve the safety of the children and ensure their ongoing well-being” Apparently we “posed a danger to the children” because sometimes strangers call in of the street for a drink.

The children are protected by a locked gate into the main hall and there is a passageway between the two rooms. They also have several adult supervisors with them at all times, and I’m not sure, but I think the fire door is kept locked (I hope not!). Admittedly they share the toilets with us, but when they have to go one of the teachers accompanies them.

I think that the banning of anyone else being in the building is a decision taken by the head of the Play Group, because I have read the Ofsted Reports, both of them, about their recent inspection and recommendations to ensure the safety of the children and I cannot find anything about the banning of the coffee mornings. I have been assured it was nothing to do with the Church Committee.

A link to the reports EY362428_3.PDF. if you are interested, which I doubt. A boring report written by boring people trying to justify their existence.

It’s true. We are now living in a Nanny State. I’m positive that the old people who go to the coffee morning to meet and socialise with their friends would not dream of interfering with the kids. We live in a large village and everybody knows everybody else (and their business as well!)

Well, I’ll just have to go to the pub to socialise from now on. At least children are barred from the bar (pun intended) so there’s no chance of them interfering with the pensioners !

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

The Front Room

pianoI read on a friends blog about people who collect items and just put them on display and never use them for their intended purpose. In this instance it was tea-pots, she said she bought some at an auction and was pleased to find that they all had stains and tea leaves in them, proving that the previous owner, who had died, did actually use them, and didn’t just put them on a shelf to look at.

When I was married my wife bought loads of commemorative plates, the type with fairies, flowers and animals on them and I had to put up shelving all round the room to accommodate them.

This in turn reminded me of my mother who was a house-proud freak; there’s no other way to describe her. In the 1940’s we had a small house in Hinckley (My father moved us there to get away from the bombing of Southampton) She put that little house before everything else. It was her pride and joy and she turned it from a family home into a show house, full of things that were never meant to be used for what they were intended for.

We had chipped second hand mugs to drink out off, and cracked plates to eat off, knives with broken handles etc., whilst in the “Front Room” the was an immaculate Willow pattern dinner set, a beautiful floral tea set and lots of cut-glass wine glasses and tumblers in a massive china cabinet with glass doors just to show off all this stuff that was never used, ever!

The “Front Room” was out of bounds to me and my friends, we were never allowed to step onto the highly polished floor or to actually sit on the sofa and easy chairs, they were as immaculate in 1988, when she died, as when she bought them.

Her pride and joy was a beautiful upright piano that she love to show off to family and the neighbours. It was her status symbol, and every body admired it. Every Saturday morning she unlocked the door to the front room and spent hours polishing that piano, washing the keyboard and polishing the candle sticks and pedals with “Brasso” while my sister and I looked on through the open door. Not allowed to step inside you understand.

She would then lock the lid over the keyboard “just in case”, and come out with one last admiring look at the piano, and locked the door. (I never did find out where the key was hidden, but Dad knew and he wouldn’t tell!)

As regular as clockwork every year the piano tuner came and retuned it.

The amazing thing about all this is that neither my mother or father could play the piano, and my sister and I never had the chance to learn on it. If we had been given lessons and practised on this show piece who knows, I could be playing at the Royal Albert Hall by now! [For our friends in the Colonies, that's like Carnegie Hall. . .only better. (joke!)]

There is some justice in the world though, when the removal men came to clear the parents house they found the piano was riddled with woodworm underneath and at the back. It was so bad that even the floor was infested, and on the verge of collapsing.

This is what a real piano sounds like!

Makes you want to get up and dance doesn’t it? No? Oh well, please yourself. . . .

Posted in Childhood days, During the war, When I was a lad | 11 Comments