Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Ghost House

I dwell in a lonely house I know
That vanished many a summer ago,
And left no trace but the cellar walls,
And a cellar in which the daylight falls,
And the purple-stemmed wild raspberries grow.
O'er ruined fences the grape-vines shield
The woods come back to the mowing field;
The orchard tree has grown one copse
Of new wood and old where the woodpecker chops;
The footpath down to the well is healed.
I dwell with a strangely aching heart
In that vanished abode there far apart
On that disused and forgotten road
That has no dust-bath now for the toad.
Night comes; the black bats tumble and dart;
The whippoorwill is coming to shout
And hush and cluck and flutter about:
I hear him begin far enough away
Full many a time to say his say
Before he arrives to say it out.
It is under the small, dim, summer star.
I know not who these mute folk are
Who share the unlit place with me
Those stones out under the low-limbed tree
Doubtless bear names that the mosses mar.
They are tireless folk, but slow and sad,
Though two, close-keeping, are lass and lad,
With none among them that ever sings,
And yet, in view of how many things,
As sweet companions as might be had.

by Robert Lee Frost
Art https://obereg.deviantart.com/


Pixie, kobold, elf, and sprite 
All are on their rounds to-night,-
In the wan moon's silver ray
Thrives their helter-skelter play.
Fond of cellar, barn,or stack,
True unto the almanac,
They present to credulous eyes
Strange hobgoblin mysteries.
Cabbage-stomps-straws wet with dew-
Apple-skins, and chestnuts too,
And a mirror for some lass,
Show what wonders come to pass.
Doors they move, and gates they hide,
Mischiefs that on moon-beams ride
Are their deeds, and, by their spells,
Love records its oracles.
Don't we all, of long ago,
By the ruddy fireplace glow,
In the kitchen and the hall,
Those queer, cooflike pranks recall?
Eery shadows were they then-
But to-night they come again;
Were we once more but sixteen,
Precious would be Halloween.

Monday, 30 October 2017



A white- chocolate cranberry blondies recipe that is very reminiscent of Starbuck's Cranberry Bliss Bars.



  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 6 ounces white baking chocolate, coarsely chopped


  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 6 ounces white baking chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13x9-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
    2. Prepare the blondie layer: In a medium bowl, melt butter for one minute in the microwave; stir in brown sugar. Scrape the butter & sugar into a large bowl and let cool to room temperature. Use an electric mixer to beat in the eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; gradually add the dry mixture to the butter mixture. Stir in the cranberries and chopped chocolate (the batter will be thick).
    3. Spread the blondie batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (do not overbake). Cool completely on a wire rack.
    4. Prepare the frosting: In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar until well-blended. Gradually add half of the melted white chocolate; beat until blended. Frost brownies. Sprinkle with cranberries. Drizzle with remaining melted white chocolate. Cut into bars- square or triangle-shaped. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


    • If you'd like to add an orange flavor to these bars, add 1 tablespoon grated orange zest to the frosting.


The cold north wind begins to blow 
Lady Winter pulls up her blanket of snow
She tucks the land in nice and tight 
The land then sleeps through winter’s plight
For several months the land will sleep
But hush my darling don’t you weep
Soon…the land again will wake
Lovely flowers Mother Spring doth make
She sends her warm, nurshing showers
That are full of her growing powers
The snow crocus is the first to wake
From it’s head, winter’s plight it doth shake
At this time the faeries begin their work
and their chores they never sherk
They wake the land and paint it bright
So open your eyes and enjoy the sight!
The days begin to grow longer As summers sun grows stronger
Children play in the sprinklers stream
As summer birds sit and preen.
The fall colours will soon be here Autumn comes with it’s colourful arrays
And the night begins to overtake the days
For this is Mother Nature's rule
The leaves turn red, yellow, brown and gold
As summers days begin to grow old
Jack Frost prepares his paints and brush
The animals begin their harvest rush
Lady Winter again will soon be here
But don’t you cry my little dear.
For the circle of seasons you see
Are meant for the enjoyment of you and me
For Mother Nature is fair and wise
And she always creates a new surprise!!!
Art By Nadezhda Strelkina, who paints Fedoskino Russian Lacquer boxes - Four Seasons

Queen of puddings

Queen of puddings
I wasn’t brought up on nursery food, so this sort of old-fashioned English pudding holds a certain exotic charm for me. Traditionally, a Queen of Puddings is made with breadcrumbs, but this is the Marie Antoinette version, using brioche instead. 

Equipment: You will need a 1.5 litres/2¾ pints oval pie dish, approx. 28x20x5cm/11x8x2in


  • 150g/5½oz brioche, cut into slices and left to go stale (see recipe tip)
  • 50g/1¾oz unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
  • 500ml/18fl oz full-fat milk
  • lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 25g/1oz caster sugar
  • pinch fine sea salt
  • 4 large free-range egg yolks (whites reserved for meringue topping)
  • 175g/6oz plum (or other) jam

For the topping


  1. Grease your pie dish with butter and preheat the oven to 170C/150C Fan/Gas 3½.
  2. Put the brioche slices into a food processor and blend into crumbs then place in a mixing bowl.
  3. Gently warm the milk in a saucepan with the butter, lemon zest, vanilla extract, sugar and a pinch salt, until the butter’s melted.
  4. Whisk the yolks in a large bowl or jug, pour the warm milk mixture on top and whisk to combine, then pour this over the crumbs in their bowl and leave for 10 minutes, before transferring to the greased dish. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the top is just set, although the crumb-custard will still be wobbly underneath. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  5. Whisk 2 teaspoons lemon juice into the jam in a small bowl: you want a soft, pourable consistency. If the jam’s too thick, warm it in a small pan. Set aside while you get on with the topping.
  6. Whisk the egg whites in a grease-free bowl until they form firm peaks, then gradually whisk in the sugar, until you have a thick and shiny meringue.
  7. Pour the lemon-spritzed jam over the crumb-custard, gently smoothing it over the top. Cover the jam-topped custard with the meringue, making sure it comes right to the edges to seal it well. Use a fork to pull the meringue topping into little peaks, and sprinkle with a ½ teaspoon or so of caster sugar.
  8. Put the dish back in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes until the meringue is bronzed and crisp on top. Let it stand for about 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe Tips

Of course, in the normal run of things, I don’t have stale brioche lying about, but you can quite easily stale it by leaving the slices on a wire rack for a good few hours or overnight. If time is pressing, put the slices on a wire rack sitting in a roasting tin, and heat in an oven preheated to 100C/80C Fan for 10–15 minutes. I tend to stale and crumb a whole brioche loaf at a time. American cup measures help here, as 2½ cups provide enough for each pudding (or fill a measuring jug up to the 600ml/21fl oz mark). I then freeze the crumbs, so measured, in tightly sealed bags in eager readiness to make this.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

So you want an English bull terrier?

There are some things you need to know!
Some say training a bullie is hard work because you have to do it all again the following day as they forget. Myself I believe they are very clever and act thick so we don’t bother training them. I wonder who is training who?
They are not very tall but are pretty wide, they have a dense muscle mass and know how to use it. No amount of pulling, pushing or coaxing is going to make a bullie do something it does not want to do. The amount of times I have seen this breed being carried home from somewhere is silly and they ain’t lightweights either.
Active/non active states.
They have two, one being fast asleep and dead to the world. You have to spend your time trying to manoeuvre around where they have dropped. Earthquakes can’t move them. The other is like being possessed by a poltergeist and being hurled all around your house at breakneck speed. Your furniture is simply something to bounce off to change direction. The only way to change either of these states is by opening a packet of crisps within earshot!
They will eat anything and everything 24/7 if given the chance. They have the stomach and construction of a cast iron ox and will eat things that will make you barf. They relish the most disgusting things you can imagine and wolf it down while you throw up in the corner. Yes, if you don’t clean that up fast they will have it 🤢
What’s yours.
Is theirs, everything, until they have tried to see if it’s edible it’s fair game, they will either eat it or try to eat it. If you don’t want that you need to lock it in a safe. In a storage room. In a secure facility. In another country!
Not theirs but cow poo, horse poo, fox poo, badger poo, goose poo. No mater where they are they will find some and do two things, eat it or roll in it. Eating it is bad as both their breath and behinds will stink. Rolling in it means they get to share the joy of the stink. You will smell of it, your car will smell of it, your house will smell of it and will do so until you have had the battle royal of bathing them. Once clean they will go do it again.
Herding pigs.
Get used to it, it’s like being haunted, they follow you everywhere, the shower, the toilet, your bed, everywhere. When you need to do something and want them out of the way you have to herd them away. As soon as you turn around they are behind you, you consider getting a collie to move them around.
So you still want an English bull terrier?
My advice?
Hell yeah, it will be the best thing you ever do 😊

Saturday, 28 October 2017

I Opened A Book

I opened a book and in I strode
Now nobody can find me.
I’ve left my chair, my house, my road,
My town and my world behind me.
I’m wearing the cloak, I’ve slipped on the ring,
I’ve swallowed the magic potion.
I’ve fought with a dragon, dined with a king
And dived in a bottomless ocean.
I opened a book and made some friends.
I shared their tears and laughter
And followed their road with its bumps and bends
To the happily ever after.
I finished my book and out I came.
The cloak can no longer hide me.
My chair and my house are just the same,
But I have a book inside me.

According to legend, the Glastonbury Tor is the The Isle of Avalon, burial site of King Arthur

Glastonbury Tor is a conical hill in Glastonbury, England, which is topped by a 14th-century roofless St Michael’s Tower. One of the most famous landmarks in Somerset, it is known as one of the most spiritual sites in the country.
It's not just famous because it can be seen for miles and miles around, but also because it has huge spiritual significance for many people. Photo Credit
It’s not just famous because it can be seen for miles and miles around, but also because it has huge spiritual significance for many people. Photo Credit
Excavations on the Tor have revealed some Neolithic flint tools and Roman artifacts, indicating use since ancient times. The terracing on the side of the hill, if man-made, may also date from the Neolithic era.
There is no evidence of permanent occupation of the Tor, but finds, including Roman pottery, do suggest that it was visited on a regular basis. Photo Credit
There is no evidence of permanent occupation of the Tor, but finds, including Roman pottery, do suggest that it was visited on a regular basis. Photo Credit
The first monastic Church of St. Michael that stood on Glastonbury Tor was probably destroyed in the major earthquake of 1275. The church was rebuilt in the 14th century, and only the tower still stands today.
The Tor is topped by the tower of a ruined 15th-century church (St Michael's). Photo Credit
The Tor is topped by the tower of a ruined 15th-century church (St Michael’s). Photo Credit
Interior of St Michael's Tower. Photo Credit
Interior of St Michael’s Tower. Photo Credit

A stone carving depicting St Brigid milking a cow. The carving is alongside the west arch of St Michaels Tower. Photo Credit
A stone carving depicting St Brigid milking a cow. The carving is alongside the west arch of St Michaels Tower. Photo Credit
Its pagan beliefs are still very much celebrated. Rich in legend and mythological associations, Glastonbury Tor may have been a place of ancient ritual, and it was certainly a place of pilgrimage for Catholics in medieval times. Since at least the 12th century the Glastonbury area was frequently associated with the legend of King Arthur, a connection promoted by medieval monks who asserted that Glastonbury was Avalon.
The factual history of Glastonbury sits alongside the myths of Avalon with its links to King Arthur. Photo Credit
The factual history of Glastonbury sits alongside the myths of Avalon with its links to King Arthur. Photo Credit
Detail. Photo Credit
Detail. Photo Credit
The Tor seems to have been called Ynys yr Afalon (meaning “The Isle of Avalon”), and identified with King Arthur since the alleged discovery of his and Queen Guinevere’s neatly labeled coffins in 1191, recounted by Gerald of Wales. The remains were later moved and lost during the Reformation. Many scholars suspect that this discovery was a pious forgery to substantiate the antiquity of Glastonbury’s foundation and increase its renown. The Isle of Avalon was considered the meeting place of the dead, and the point where they passed to another level of existence.
It is this complex mix of Christian and Pagan myths that provide the town with its unique character. Photo Credit
It is this complex mix of Christian and Pagan myths that provide the town with its unique character. Photo Credit
The sides of the Tor have seven deep, roughly symmetrical terraces. Their formation remains a mystery with many possible explanations. One explanation is that they may have been formed as a result of natural differentiation between the layers of lias stone and clay used by farmers during the Middle Ages as terraced hills to make ploughing for crops easier. Other explanations suggested construction of defensive ramparts. Iron Age hill forts including the nearby Cadbury Castle in Somerset show evidence of extensive fortification of their slopes. Another suggestion, proposed by Geoffrey Russell in 1968, is that the terraces are the remains of a three-dimensional labyrinth that guided pilgrims up the sacred hill.
The slopes of the hill are terraced, but the method by which they were formed remains unexplained. Photo Credit
The slopes of the hill are terraced, but the method by which they were formed remains unexplained. Photo Credit

The ruins and associated buildings are open today as a visitor attraction. Photo Credit
The ruins and associated buildings are open today as a visitor attraction. Photo Credit
Archaeological excavations during the 20th century sought to clarify the background of the monument and church, but some aspects of their history remain unexplained.