Upwardly mobile

So I’m putting the Huawei to another test, out and about in the middle of Ipswich. On the agenda today: senior movie at

Empire, spot of shopping last minute bits and pieces before my trip, indulge in Christmas tray at the favourite coffee and muffin place whilst enjoying the use of their WiFi as my home service is down. If I stay long enough it will be dusk on the way home so the drear weather will be made brighter by the Christmas lights.

I wonder how many houses will already be festive?

Now to this post worth your reading, here are the reviews

Senior movie time gets another thumbs up this week. Not so much for the movie but the service I noticed for other people. Everyone who arrived on time received a great cup of tea or coffee and a biscuit, nice to drink the tea still hot in the movie, just like home. I had taken my seat when a member of staff assisted someone to find her seat, which happened to be the one next to me. The lady then apologised for “being a nuisance” which of I assured her she was not at all a nuisance. Although a further explanation was not necessary, she went on to say that she had recently been diagnosed with early dementia and sometimes struggled with finding her way and forgetting things. We had a few minutes before the film started to chat, and she told me bits about her amazing life and travels throughout the world. I thanked her for sharing these memories with me and hoped that it would be these memories that she could treasure as she struggled to make sense of a world that sometimes would seem to be unfamiliar and difficult.

The film A Simple Favour, was probably not one I would have chosen to see at prime rate; however I did find it enjoyable, even though it did seem to trip into the ridiculous towards the end.

Directed by Paul Feig, it was the acting of stars Anna Kendrick as Stephanie and especially, Blake Lively as Emily that undoubtedly saved this from being a dark failure. Oh and the kids were cute too.

Well I think I have out stayed my legitimate time here without buying another tea. Too be continued…

Although the weather was still typical November grey and damp the lit up streets and store fronts gave the approaching twilight a sense of wonder and delight. A feeling I will always associate with the anticipation of seasonal festivity. There should be carol singers and music and market sellers barking their last of the day sales. Walking on past the newly developed town hall centre complete with Christmas tree, I paused to enjoy a quiet moment and capture the moment before heading to my next shop. It was then I heard the music; a capable violin playing Christmas carols. I was captivated and stood to enjoy the sound. Others too were standing and listening and many more dropped coins into the buckets as she was playing for cancer research. Perhaps you would like to share this experience?




An old family recipe

For as long as I can remember, and I’m told as long as my mother knew, Christmas cakes, wedding cakes, special birthday cakes and other celebration cakes in our family  were made using an old recipe we knew as Cuddleston Cake.  I have tried to look it up but not had much success, a typical return is “coddleston pie” but this of course relates to Pooh’s song. (Chapter 10 Winnie-the-Pooh)

As this was a good fruit cake, it would last, in fact would improve with age, and so it was a perfect cake to take with us on our long summer holidays spent at a caravan in Ingoldmells 

Family holiday at Ingoldmells
Dad, your’s truly, my brother, Robert, Mum and baby brother Rowan
Best holidays ever!

In keeping with this tradition, I made it for my wedding cake, and have made it for most Christmases.   This year, it seemed timely for me to pass the recipe on should you feel like making a good old fashioned fruit cake.  As a side note, for any Yorkshire readers, it also goes well with cheese.

Cuddleston Cake

24 ounces plain flour

12 ounces brown sugar

12 ounces butter

4 ounces of glace cherries ( chopped)

4 ounces of citron peel (mixed peel if you can’t get citron)

4 ounces of almonds (chopped) plus 2 ounces for the top if the cake is not going to be iced

6 eggs

48 ounces of mixed fruit

1 tbsp golden syrup

1 tbsp treacle

1/2 tsp bicarb soda

1 tsp citric acid (or fresh lemon juice added to milk)

1/2 pt milk (approx)

Method

Cream  butter and sugar

Add syrup and treacle and the eggs

Mix together and gradually beat in the flour and bicarb.

Add all the fruit and nuts and stir in the milk.

Place mix into a lined 10 in square or 11 in round cake tin

If the cake is not going to be iced use 2 ounces of whole almonds placed evenly on the top of the cake

Bake at 180 for about an hour.  Test with knife or cake tester.

Cool on wire rack.  This cake will last and does improve with some age.  

I traditionally kept the top layer of my wedding cake for 1st anniversary, and it was fine.  

Unfortunately I don’t have any photographs of the cake.  If you want use this recipe and would like to post I would enjoy seeing your cake.  

Happy baking and happy Christmas.




Better late than never

With apologies for the lateness, however you may have fun catching up.

Wishing everyone blessings, hope and love during this festive season.

Advent Calendar




Normal service will resume

Firstly,  a most humble apology for being ‘quiet’ for about a week, now.  I have been having trouble with my internet connection.  I am now, rapidly trying to get something completed here so that I can post a quick item before the line ‘drops’ again.  Most annoying.

So here we are, December 2nd and the first Sunday of Advent.  A time of waiting and preparation.  Traditionally for my household, it’s the time when the first set of decorations appear, Christmas china is lovingly brought out of the cabinets, washed and put to use, and this year’s advent wreath is set up and lit.   We have now progressed from the commercially made calendars to homemade calendars, which often have taken at least 3 months to plan and start preparing.  It may include carefully chosen little gifts or items, along with a card, or a verse or other surprise and presented in a unique way.  This year, I have produced a calendar of advent promises for my daughter, a card to open everyday with a promise she can exchange on a future date.  But of course, there is a chocolate surprise everyday also, because it is Christmas, after all.

This evening we are off to an advent service, which will complete our week-end of doing fun things for the start of the Christmas build up.  The apartment is beginning to look quite festive, Christmas lights shine in the window, and we have the cutest baby Christmas tree ever.

For you, dear readers, there should have been an advent calendar, but with lack of internet, it has been delayed, but I will post as soon as possible.

In the meantime enjoy this festive surprise courtesy of you tube

 

Which one do you think?




Thanksgiving

I am thankful for my health that I feel as if I could climb mountains, run marathons and fight dragons even if I can’t.

I am thankful for my freedom.  Free to worship, free to write, free to persue my diverse interests and free to be me.

I am thankful for my family.  Brothers, children, grandchildren, cousins, nephews and nieces scattered far across the world but are close in the way it counts, that of love and companionship. 

I am thankful for the beauty that surrounds me every day. Sunrise, sunsets. Warm wintry skies, bright frosty mornings, the memory of hot summers, the delight of refreshing rain and the excitement of thunder storms. 

I am thankful that the seasons and varied climate provides food to eat season by season. Grains for a fresh baked breads and nutritious cereals; vegetables for soups, stews and colourful salads; fruit for delicious desserts and chocolate

I am thankful that my life is made easier by the innovation of man and the resources of the earth:  transport, clean water, warm clothes and housing, technology for communication and entertainment and to make every day chores less tedious and time consuming.

I am thankful for animals of all shapes and sizes.  The loyalty of pets, the beauty of colour and form, the lessons they teach us and the goodness they provide. 

I am thankful for the ability to learn and keep on growing and developing. Although perhaps not functioning perfectly I have use of all: sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell. These ensure I can, and should, savour each moment, apply meaning and purpose to my actions and enrich the life of others. 

I am thankful for friends, colleagues and acquaintances who help me be who I am.  Who support me and guide me when necessary but have the wisdom and forethought to stand back and let me make mistakes.  I am thankful that they then listen to my complaining, let me cry on their shoulders and never say, ” I told you so”!

I am thankful for you. 

And because I am thankful for all the above I am not going to make unnecessary purchases tomorrow. 

Happy Thanksgiving America.  Have a blessed holiday season.




Huawei

I am writing this entry on my new Huawei Media pad T3. I am very impressed with the ease of set up and things are going well so far. I actually bought a keyboard stand to go with it but I am actually finding the device keyboard quite easy to use.

As I already have a Huawei phone I was able to link accounts which made installing my necessary apps easy and apart from tweaking settings and fine tuning I am good to go, less than 2 hours from delivery. Which should also include a 🙌 to

Amazon for speedy delivery.

Thought I had better include a photo just to practice. Not particularly happy with that quality compared with my phone but I can live with it.

So, a pleasing beginning and whilst I am not going to relinquish my laptop for most posts at least I know I can be “upwardly mobile”.

Busy at home Crafting for tabletop sale on Saturday.

https://youtu.be/Q3bbsDJWlXQ




Pages of the Sea

Sunday: 11.11.2018

Present: Rain obscured my vision as I edged my journey onward.  It was only the occasional glimpses of blue sky and the hint of a rainbow that kept me on the road to my destination.  I listened to the daily service as they, too, sought to understand and know how best to remember.  The red of the newly purchased poppy acted as a beacon against the gathering raindrops, it was the “wound of time”.

 

Past: “I honestly wish I could believe that things will end perfectly with one big bright happy ending. But these last few days have taught me that life isn’t made up of shiny moments. Life is hard; it’s gritty. One day you are filled with joy and the next, you are crawling through the muddy trenches with no inkling of when you might be able to climb your way back up again. ~Willow Mosby (Exposing ELE)” 

 Rebecca Gober, Exposing ELE

Present:  I approach the beach where flags, billowing in the breeze, signpost the relevance and importance of this day.  People are already gathered and working together in a ritual of life and death.  Stencils borne  like stretchers are placed in line along the sand.  Each one regimented in order, “brave as belief” becoming “death’s birthing place.”

Past:   All the men in the picture are bound, trying to keep themselves together. That is how considerate they are, for the love of God and country and women and the other men–for the love of all that is good and true–they keep themselves together because they have to. They are afraid but they are not cowards.” 
― Elena Mauli Shapiro, 13, rue Thérèse
Present:  I turn towards the sea, drawn by the sunlight now turning the dark depths into captivating motion.  The horizon beckons, but the waves whisper the secrets, “But how could you know, brave as belief as you boarded the boats, singing?”

pots15

The horizon beckons, but the waves whisper the secrets

Past:  There was an old woman in the farmhouse there and she was looking at us and she spoke in English and she said to the Sergeant-Major, ‘What have you got there?’ He said, ‘Men, soldiers come to fight for their country.’ She said, ‘No them’s pickaninnies, they should get home with their mother.’ He said, ‘They got to fight.’ She said, ‘Ah! It’s not right’. Private H.J. Haynes, Royal Warwickshire Regmt.

pots17

“The last resting-place of the soldier” is our act of Remembrance

Past:   In the newspapers you read: “Peacefully they rest on the spot where they have bled and suffered, while the guns roar over their graves, taking vengeance for their heroic death”. And it doesn’t occur to anybody that the enemy is also firing; that the shells plunge into the hero’s grave; that his bones are mingled with the filth which they scatter to the four winds – and that, after a few weeks, the morass closes over the last resting-place of the soldier. ”  Kanonier Gerhard Gürtler, 111 Bavarian Corps, Artillerie

Present: From the closeness of the ‘graves’ I needed to see the bigger picture, to be given the futility, discomfort and disquiet of it all.  To see the widows grieving a husband, a mother mourning the loss of a young life, children searching for the father they hardly knew and the grandchildren wanting to know more of grandparents they knew only in name.  I wanted answers for the “what happened next”.

pots16

I needed the ‘bigger picture’.

Past:  “I am just writing you a short note which you will receive only if anything has happened to me during the next few days.

I am absolutely certain that I shall get through all right, but in case the unexpected does happen I shall rest content with the knowledge that I have done my duty – and one can’t do more. Goodbye and with the best of love to all.”

Written by Percy Boswell, the night before his death at the Battle of the Somme 1916

Present: Service of Remembrance

At 10:15 a.m. already many had gathered at the cenotaph to add their respects to those fallen.  Already many heads were bowed, silent tears shed and words spoken in respect. Then, heads were lifted as the first drums of the procession were heard; the regimental display adding not only dignity but a touch of familiarity and British wholesomeness.  It deemed right and correct that they should march past, take their places and stand to attention, followed by the younger generation of scouts and guides.   Big Ben chimed the hour, silence descended, a silence that even birds and dogs in attendance respected.  A silence filled with memories, prayer and a unity that no-one invented but which comes from the spirit of mankind.  The wreaths which were laid during the roll call of  names became our memories offered in thanksgiving and prayer and raw emotions were tendered then  ministered to as the service called on God to bless us, pardon our mistakes and give us the hope of the future. A future we promised  to preserve in the words of the National Anthem ringing out.  We were not just a small community in a small seaside town in East Anglia; we are a country, a United Kingdom, a Commonwealth and this day brings us together across the world.

Present:  Padre Tim Cole. “The thought of what WW1 soldiers did bears heavily upon us today as we seek to serve in our own time.”

Present: By now the tide had already started to wash away the “front line” of our beach soldiers.  The names of those who served written on shells, drifted away from us, but the memories are forever present.  “We just have to look forward and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”  One voice sounded out bravely, and the touch on the shoulder with a smile strengthened my belief in the spirit of humanity and the hope of a better future.

 

 

Present:  ” History might as well be water, chastising the shore; 

                   for we learn nothing from your endless sacrifice.

                   your faces drowning in the pages of the sea.”  Carol Ann Duffy 2018

Which outlook do you prefer?

 

 

 

 

 




Sacred places

On Sunday families, singles, young, elders, male, female, imprisoned, free, employed, retired, service, civilian will all attend services, take part in activities and gather together in a unified act of remembrance.  As we do, the place we gather becomes a sanctuary and a sacred place.

At many key points in our lives, we all need a sacred place or a special place of retreat.  Perhaps a place of significance from our past, or a quiet place to reflect.  It might be the draw of breathtaking scenery, open expanse, a ‘thin place’, or historic site.  A place where we can connect with our inner being and become grounded.

Some of my sacred places

As I was thinking about this today, I progressed into an awareness of there also being within us areas of our spirit, or consciousness of mind that might also be labelled as ‘sacred places’.  Perhaps a memory, a feeling or emotion conjured up by sight, smell or taste.  A place of escape or healing when we feel overwhelmed.

There is a place of quiet rest,
Near to the heart of God;
A place where sin cannot molest,
Near to the heart of God

As we all take on the responsibility of remembrance this week-end, I pray that we will all find a sacred place in which to reflect and in the unity of humanity create a sacred commitment to peace and forgiveness and draw us nearer to the heart of God

 

 




The Wound in Time: discuss

2018-11-02_sonnet

In this poem by Carol Ann Duffy, especially commissioned by Danny Boyle  for the “Pages of the Sea” celebration for Centennial Armistice Day, the author suggests that there was no lessons learned by the “War to end all wars”.

Year after year as we solemnly gather round the cenotaphs to remember those who”gave up their world” do we leave our convictions as poppies on the wreaths we lay?  Do we even value the our right to stand together, bow our heads and pray for peace when we are arguing with our neighbours, fighting within our families and conducting petty squabbles in the work place?  Where does ‘peace’ begin?  In the chambers of commerce, the halls of government, the heads of state? In the churches, synagogues, temples, mosques or other places of worship?  In our county councils, community groups and our own back yards?  Or, actually, does peace begin within our hearts and attitudes to others?

What will you do with your poppy?  Wear it proudly from now until  the last post and then discard it, or stow it away for another year?   Or will we use it as a promise that this year, peace will begin with me?

live-on




Remember, remember

Remember, remember the 5th of November

Gunpowder, treason and plot

I know no reason, why Gunpowder Treason

Should ever be forgot…

so says the rhyme, and all throughout Britain over this past week-end, many firework displays have been enjoyed, especially during the nice weather which has favoured us.

Forgive a nostalgia session: I remember when ‘Bonfire night’ meant just that.  Families, friends and neighbours, gathering together around a modest fire of old furniture, bits of gathered wood and other things (not old tires… they smell dreadful!) topped by a ‘straw’ figure of Guy Fawkes created with a mixture of Dad’s old trousers, a too small, overly worn school jacket and perhaps a cap, a head made of newspaper stuffed into an old pillowcase, and miscellaneous other items hobbled together.  In my day it was beginning to be frowned upon to actually use Guy to beg for coins, but sometimes he would be proudly displayed a couple of days before the event, just for fun.  Fireworks would be chosen carefully, rockets, bangers, catherine wheels, roman candles and other tantalising names of surprise packages all guaranteed to delight and entertain in lights, whizzes and bangs and explosions against the back drop of the chill November sky.

The party would be made complete, of course, by food.  Jacket potatoes baked in the fire, sausages, cups of steaming hot chocolate, gingerbread and of course the special, bonfire toffee, a hard, sugary, treacly, jaw breaking, tooth rotting confection that should be made illegal, but thankfully wasn’t in my day.

Memories of the glorious evening would linger in the air the next morning in that peculiar smell of smoke laced with gunpowder and charred vegetation.  If you were lucky there were a couple of empty firework shells and rockets lying around; ones to open up, empty out the remaining explosive into one final pile of  colour and fizz when lit.  If not, then perhaps a stray unlit sparkler could be enjoyed as a finale to this grandest of all nights.

In our health and safety conscious modern times bonfires are rare, and families tend to attend community events providing firework displays.  Whilst understanding the benefit of these, I cannot let go of that joy of holding a firework in your hand and letting its magic delight for a second or two.  Sparklers ready, here I go.

But what, exactly, are we remembering?  Simply put, the gunpowder plot was devised by a group of Catholics in defiance of James 1 of England, realising that his succession to the throne did not make life for Catholics any easier.  However their plan to blow up the House of Lords, cause a Catholic revolt and place Princess Elizabeth on the throne, fizzled out due to leaked information and all the instigators were caught and hanged for treason.

Such was the importance of this event that on the first anniversary of the plot, a holiday was declared and bonfires were made and church bells rang out to declare the day festive.  It is no longer an actual bank holiday (repealed 1859) but we Brits do love a gory story, a sense of fun, and any excuse to party.

Many years on, of course, November is now linked with Remembrance Day.  A more serious reflection of past horrors and a fight for rights.  My posts this week will lead up to November 11th with this as a theme.  So, I close with a more thoughtful tone.

This work was included on my spotify list this week, and I am amazed that I had not ‘discovered’ it before; I think it serves as a good introduction to a global call to peace and understanding.

Follow the link to read some excellent research concerning this text and its history, and enjoy the reflective music.

I believe in the sun even when it is not shining;
I believe in love even when feeling it not;
I believe in God even when he is silent.

Go in peace and love and connect with your inner quiet thoughts.