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Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Eating the cake.

Not always but much of the time I make a cake to pop into the cake tin, especially when the grandchildren are visiting but also just for us. Knowing we have some damson jam I decided to make a Victoria sponge, usual imperial measurement of  6+6+6 for butter, sugar and flour. I had a blank for which gas mark to use, daft really I’ve been making these sponges since I was about 11 years old, have used gas, Fahrenheit and centigrade and gas again since then.  Of course I consulted ‘Aunty’ Delia as she’s known at Pixie Towers, whilst doing so noticed her recipe for a sponge using the all-in-one method. In the heat the  butter was very soft, she recommends soft margarine but we don’t buy margarine, also the new fancy pants kitchen scales meant I could weigh the ingredients straight into the mixing bowl, I so love the revert to zero button for this. The extra magic ingredient was baking powder added to the self raising flour, wow, what a difference it made, the cake is so light and rose so much more. No more creaming method, this was so much lighter. Delia’s recipe was 4+4+4 so I upped it to usual 6 ounces to fit the tins.

Now can anyone tell me why the media is using the word “decades” instead of say 10 years or 20 years? ITN uses imperial measurement still, BBC has reports in metric, most annoying I can visualise  miles but am confused by kilometres. I accept in Europe distances are metric, here it was my understanding that miles and pints were to be retained. The milkman delivers still in glass pint bottles.

Now a coincidence that amused me, today I was working at our Local Studies, the photographs I was indexing were from the Richmond & Twickenham Times for Friday 13th August 1971. I’m blogging this exactly 48 years later yet so many of the reports were topical, including one on environmental issues from The Ecology journal. The quality of the microfilm for the issue was too poor to photograph this.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

It is just a little thing but .....

Yes, it is a little thing but I’m feeling very jolly and happy this evening, it was a good day, Pilates class at 7.30 am, both of us had our hair cut, we took decluttering stuff to the Kingston British Heart Foundation Shop, it occupies the ground floor of what was British Home Stores.  Very humid and muggy in Kingston, it was good to come home, sit in the garden from about 6.30, complete the Metro easy and moderate sudoku and then, joy upon joys succeed with the “Difficult rating challenging” sudoku. What was unusual though was Ian had been defeated by the challenging, first time this has happened so this pupil has beaten her teacher.

Time spent puzzling out the pattern means less time for knitting, the toe up sock is well up the leg and not too far off the cuff and rib. Picture will be posted at end of blog.

Just a thought, nothing to do with anything else I’ve posted, out and about I’ve noticed lots of summer dresses this year, shirt styles and pretty floaty dresses yet many are worn with trainers, heavy clunky lace ups or ankle boots. Perhaps I’m contrasting them with the Dior dresses in the V & A exhibition with such elegant footwear and today’s practical yet clumsy looking shoes.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

In a jam.

We are fortunate at Pixie Towers, our garden was an orchard before the land was developed in the early 1930s, so we have damson trees in the garden, apple trees, we did plant more apples when we came here. This year the damson tree has produced and is producing a good crop.  A couple of days ago Ian picked nearly five pounds, upon looking at them this morning it was realised that some were already destined for the compost bin, damsons need to be used almost as they are picked.

So, on what is apparently going to be the warmest day ever here we are making jam! One batch done, another simmering in the preserving pan, more fruit is ripening.
 Photos added at the end, once that’s done can’t amend the text.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Front garden.

Life has been busy at Pixie Towers, especially for PixieDad for it is the week of judgement for both our front garden and for the grounds of the church in the Borough in Bloom competition.  Judging started last Monday, we know not when it takes place, we know it is RHS criteria. Much time has been spent manicuring, watering, deadheading, the car has been taken off the drive so the garden in all its glory can be viewed from the footpath.

The church grounds have suffered some vandalism, stakes supporting roses have been broken, plants damaged, broken bottles left, seats upturned, notice board cover destroyed last Tuesday, then this Tuesday a window was broken, the perpetrators removed the protective wire covers before breaking the painted glass. The grounds are part  ministry providing an oasis of calm in an area of heavy traffic on both the roads and in the air.

On a happier note I will attempt to post photographs of the front garden, mostly taken from the pathway, once these are uploaded it is impossible for me to add further text.

Sunday, 30 June 2019


It has been a busy weekend, now sitting down to review it once Son had driven away with his two children safely in the back. Daughter-in-law was singing with Military Wives Choir, so she couldn’t be with us. It was too hot yesterday -Saturday - to go far so apart from a trip to the High Street for newspaper rest of day in shade in the garden or in the house with curtains closed on the sunny side, front in the morning and back afternoon and evening.

Today we went to church, grandson went with his grandfather to junior church, charmed the ladies over the coffee, discussed having his hair cut and the problem of his curls with an eighty something parishioner. I was criticised by grandson as he considered his mother’s Moorland blanket hadn’t grown much since he saw it last, he noticed we’d changed the furniture around in our sitting room and remembered he and his sister had chosen the colours of these glass watering globes over a year ago.  I so underestimate this child who isn’t yet four. 

His sister is very different from him, she’d refused to eat any lunch, suspect she shouldn’t have been given her a drink with food, was put upstairs for a nap, shortly after we heard a thump, Son rushed upstairs to find his daughter had climbed out of the travel cot, onto an adjoining bed and then had fallen from that. Any attempt for a nap was abandoned, next time she stays she’ll be sleeping in the bed.  Yesterday she had walloped her brother with a stickle brick, he protested without retaliation, she immediately went to sit on the bottom stair before Son could send her there.  

Have tried to annotate photos, didn’t work, all deleted, so will upload them without comment. Should be a picture taken by Son of his children together, a picture of the globes I mentioned and the children  indoors with stickle bricks to avoid the 34 degrees outside. 

The globes chosen early last year by children, Grandson remembered

Playing nicely in t

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Ruby, Ruby, Ruby.

Yes! Forty years and one week ago Ian and I were married by Archbishop’s Special licence five and a half months after we met at an IVC New Year’s Eve Party in snowy Twickenham. (IVC is Inter-Varsity Club, established many years ago to provide social, intellectual  and sporting activities after university or college, there was an interview before one could join).

We are no longer party animals, I wrote about the May Norwegian cruise, for the actual anniversary we went to Bath for a long weekend, train from London via Reading to Bath Spa Station, then taxi to Roseate Villa,  On arrival, tea and cake and news that we had a double upgrade so instead of overlooking the garden at the back we viewed the large trees bordering Henrietta Park. Amazing breakfast menu too, all bread and cakes are made overnight on the premises, there’s a breakfast chef so every was freshly cooked

Apart from pottering around, we took two bus trips, one around the city with a great live commentary from a would be comedian, yet still informative whilst providing amusement. The second bus tour involved plugging in ear pieces for prerecorded spiel that didn’t quite coordinate with the bus timings.

On Trinity Sunday as it was our actual anniversary we went to Bath Abbey for 11.15 Sung Eucharist, held in the newly reordered East End, apparently the first day using the space in a different way. It was successful, Bath Abbey is technically an ordinary parish church, but wow, not many ordinary parish church has a choir of such magnitude, the Abbey Choir of Girls and Lay-Clerks, nor do they have singing in Latin. Felt quite emotional, a mixture of the the service, reminiscences and thanks that we still delight in each other’s company, laugh together, read each other’s minds.

We were much taken by the comfortable chairs that have replaced pews, the pews were damaging the sinking floor, chairs allow for modern worship we are and can be moved easily to allow space for wheelchairs, this had happened at a previous service, something that would have been impossible with fixed pews.

Our journey back was uneventful, it did occur to me how narrow and cramped the train seats were, on Great Western Railways luggage space has been removed to make space for more seats, if I were travelling alone I wouldn’t have been able to lift my case onto the luggage rack. It was my insistence that we travelled by train rather than drive, hopefully far less stressful, I had it in my mind that one could get up and walk around or even stand so not sitting for too long. Not possible, however, we had a walk around at Reading as we changed from South Western Railways to Great Western Railways. South Western gains were very old, if a tad more seat room but with no air conditioning, the carriages are used usually on the Kingston Wimbledon loop line, not on a ninety minute journey from Waterloo.

Will add photos, if Blogger lets me I will attempt to add a caption.

Photographs from Roseate Villa showing the building, our twice upgraded room, the sweets, the view.

Monday, 10 June 2019

British Banter.

British Banter is a Ravelry forum, last Saturday a group of around 30 knitters & crocheters met on 4th floor of the Royal Festival Hall, close by the singing lift. It takes courage to join a crowd of ladies, some of whom you have met before, but cannot remember where, when, their Ravelry or real name!

In the event, I didn’t even have a chance before I was recognised by Joy, after a while it was suggested that I may like to take my coat off! So for about 5+ hours people moved around to chat with others, laugh, eat, some goodies were bought to share. Time went very quickly, the stories knitters bring about their lives and interests seem to be so individualistic and varied that it was delightful to listen and learn about people who had been just a non-de-plume online.

I came away on a high that has lasted, even the broken down train at Mortlake station that delayed my journey home, hasn’t altered that, annoying as it was at the time. It was good for me to cope with a large number of people, didn’t feel overwhelmed but then the chairs and sofas were spread out.