Sunday 20 April

Bits and Pieces.


Mon 21 Apr – Bruschetta for lunch today! [click] for recipe.



Yes, there really is a village called “Twatt”, and believe it or not, Finstown and Kirkwall too! Twatt is a small settlement on the mainland of the Orkney Islands, Scotland. It was previously the location of a RNAS airfield, HMS Tern. Not a lot of people know that!
Actually twatt, with one T, is an old Anglo-Saxon word meaning someone who was a bit simple, stupid if you like, i.e., the village idiot. Like the word “gay” the word “twatt” has a new meaning these days, but we wont go into that. We have a few idiots running the country. That old word describes them very well.


Why do shops, magazines, newspapers,leaflets and all the rubbish that drops through the letterbox (‘mailbox’ in the Colonies) always state something like “Buy one NOW, and get your FREE gift”? I thought that all gifts were free anyway, that’s the general idea. Thinking about it, most of these so-called ‘free gifts’ are not. If you have to spend over £40 or something to get your ‘free gift’ then it’s not free is it? Especially when the vendor has increased the price of the product to cover the cost of the ‘free gift’.
It’s like being arrested for carrying or using ‘an offensive weapon’. Let’s face it, ALL weapons are offensive, that’s what they are made for.


A friend went into a hardware store recently and asked the foreign looking owner if he had any large grommets. The shopkeeper looked puzzled and said “I’m sorry, but I am not understanding what you mean”. So my friend explained that they are round thingys made of rubber, or even plastic, that you insert into a hole to protect whatever you push through to make sure that it doesn’t get chaffed or cut.
He came out with a packet of condoms. You knew that was coming didn’t you?



Due to the current outbreak of Man Flu it is more important than ever to wash your hands at least once a week – it won’t hurt you.
Buy some Dettol sheets and wipe down the doorknobs, phones, toilet and light switches each night.

Just saying . . . . . .


Tuesday 15 Apr

That time of year again.

vegetable_gardenWell, the wheel of the year has turned yet again, Ostara has come and gone,(20 March) and it will soon be Beltane. (1st May, MY BIRTHDAY, hint!).

Everything in the garden needs a severe looking at since the recent wet spell. Not my garden, mine has reverted back to the jungle, but my sisters and her partners (see pic) seems to be well on the way to producing some goodies. They have gone to their little house near Brive for two months to open up and re-decorate their dump of a little French cottage. OK, so I’m jealous.

This time of year I shall have to spend more time in the garden and clear away the brambles and bindweed. The lawn has turned into a meadow that any farmer would be proud of. All this coupled with my household chores here doesn’t leave me much time to play around with the computer.

What I really need is a domestic goddess to live with me, then she can do the little jobs like cooking, cleaning, washing, decorating, ironing, gardening, etc., while I get on with the important tasks like computing, watching TV, going out with the lads to the pub and generally socialising.

Is there a nice young lady out there in Bloggyland who fancys the job? Free board and lodging? No?

The last woman who lived with me was unbelievably lazy. Most mornings I had to shout several times for her to come upstairs to wash and dress me! Tut!

Saturday 12 Apr


pie-butter-breadLast night I had a “ploughmans lunch” for supper. Boring I know, but let me tell you about the meal.

The bread, the pie, and the butter are homemade, by me surprisingly (I bet you don’t believe a grumpy old git like me could cook did you?).

I have just bought a blender/mixer thingy so to try it out I made a veggie smoothie. Then I made some butter. It took a long time, longer that I expected, but the result was worth it; it’s really yummy! I kept the left-over buttermilk to make some Irish soda bread today. Some of the resulting butter is in the dish, which I duly spread on the bread. I added a tomato (grown at a nursery in heated tunnels just 4 miles away), some coleslaw, Leicester cheese, pickled onions and pickled gherkins.

The bread I made to a recipe from Betsy’s blog, but strangely it turned out nothing like her version. Maybe the flour in England is different to the all-purpose flour in the USA. Normally I make my bread to my own secret recipe that I have used for years. I NEVER buy supermarket bread, I don’t know how it’s made but I do know it’s not proper bread like my Grandma used to make.

The pie was made using the first lovage of the year, together with finely chopped onion and chunks of chicken. I won’t give the details here, but if you go to my previous post about the virtues of lovage just here you will find a recipe and a description of the plant.

If you are one of the unfortunate people who have never tasted lovage then you are missing out on on of the most fabulous tastes ever! The taste of it is nothing like you have experienced before, it’s a whole new taste sensation, there is nothing else on this earth that tastes like it. I have introduced it a lot of my friends and neighbours over the years, and the look on their faces when they had their first taste of it was a picture! Last year I grew about 60 plants from the seed of my mother plant and everybody had one, plus I divided my mother plant into several pieces (it is a prolific grower) and gave those to people.

lovage-biscuitsEvery body loves it in pies, putting it on the Sunday roast instead of the usual rosemary, and one local lady makes savoury biscuits with finely chopped lovage in them and sells them every week at the Women’s Institute fairs in the local church during the summer months. She can’t make enough of them, they all go straight away! Even I buy some from her, they are lovely with a bit of Leicester cheese. If you are interested in making some of these little bits of heaven then go ye to this site, from whence cometh the recipe she useth. (She’s a Quaker). Just here, or click on the picture.

The downside of lovage is that:
a) It dies back in the late Autumn and does show again until April,
b) It doesn’t dry very well and it tends to lose a lot of it’s flavour, and
c) Not being a well known herb it is difficult to source. You might find it under it’s popular name of Sea Parsley.


Monday 7 Apr

Making a stained glass window.

hunterMy current project is to make a panel to fit into a stained glass screen in a pub called “The Hunter” in a nearby village.

I keep telling potential customers that I’m retired, but they just force money into my hands to do “one last job”. The picture on the left shows the glass having been painted, fired and is now ready to be leaded together with the the surrounding coloured glass,not shown. (click the images to make big). The border is made up of four separate pieces, also hand painted and fired.

paintingThe photo on the right shows the painting in progress. I always use light boxes to paint on, makes it so much easier. Traditional glass painting has always involved kiln firing in order to fix pigments and stains.

The term stained glass is a confusing one and can refer to any glass, either coloured during its manufacture or glass which has been decorated by special paints

Oxide pigments range from reddish brown to black and are used to paint opaque lines or, when diluted, to give tone and shading. These pigments are kiln fired at around 620 degrees Centigrade to fuse onto the glass surface and become permanent.

Silver stain is made from salts of silver and when applied to glass and fired at a lower temperature produces a spectrum of yellows from deep amber to pale lemon. The colour is not fused onto the glass surface, but is created by a molecular change in the glass surface which is permanent. Silver stain is often used to create details or patterns on larger pieces of glass.

I will post a picture of the completed panel when it’s finished.

Sunday 6 Apr

A re-Post

This morning I came back home after three days away to find a big pile of junk mail behind the door. It was all enticing me to spend money on insurance deals, buying a new car, and pizza, Indian, Chinese takeaways, join this lottery and that lottery, and set up a funeral plan with the Co-op Funeral Services. (I’ve already got a funeral plan; it’s called DEATH) etc.
There wasn’t as much junk mail as the time I was away in France for six weeks, but there was enough to make opening the door difficult. I have re-posted the article from June 2010 when I found an unbelievable amount of junk!.
What can we do to stop all this waste dropping through the letter box?

June 2, 2010 |^| Junk Mail

junkmailThis morning I found an official looking letter in a plain white evelope with no gaudily printed words like “Open NOW!“, or “Special Offer!” amongst the usual pile of junk mail in the hallway.

In fact it looked more like the the usual local Council’s “. . pay your council tax IMMEDIATELY or you will be sent to prison!”  type of letter that I usually get, but I have aready paid this month so it could be a rebate? I thought “Wow, the powers that be have finally decided to help me out of my poverty”. I tore it open only to find a brightly coloured letter with loads of print and pictures, showing Old Age Pensioners smiling happily and posing by their new central heating boilers, cookers and the like.

I won’t bore you with the all the details but it all boiled down to “You MAY be entitled to a Gov Grant, you COULD get as much as £3,000. Send us all your personal details together with loads of money and we will investigate your case to see which grants you MAY qualify for”.  I’ve bolded the important words.

Now isn’t that nice of them? Along comes some complete strangers who are so concerned about my financial postion that they feel compelled to go out of their way to help a poor old age pensioner. I find that very touching, but they are not touching my wallet, that’s for sure.

I’m reading “My Life, it’s Ups and Downs” by ex-President Clinton at the moment. It’s interesting that he states in the book he actually asked Monica Lewinsky to ‘sack his cook’ and she misheard what he said because her hearing-aid was switched off at the time.