Monday, November 30, 2009

Bloggy marvellous

My blog rank has gone up to 60! People must be giving up blogging in
their droves

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Some time ago I blogged about finding some of the children's old school notebooks and being amused by things they had written.

Like these three prayers, one his two hers:

Thankyou God for makeing the world, farmers, stars, moon and brown potatoes. PS I frogot to say Amen

You've got to especially thankful for those brown potatoes! And

Dear God, thankyou for the earth you made and for sending your son to earth to take away our sins, In school we learn about you witch is the moast exciting part about school. Thankyou for all the techers in school, TV and church. Amen

I think this one could be subtitled 'sucking up to God'. Interestingly, the teacher, or techer, had put a pen through 'TV and church', but I thought you'd like to read the unedited version. Finally:

Dear God, thank you for making us have so much food and thankyou for macking us so lucky hear in this country. Sorry that I am taking food for granted and that I sometimes wast some of my food. Please help others who have no food or clean water and please send rain where there is drought. Amen


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Dear Santa

Nerf gun
Lego 7686 city helicopter transporter
Vicar of Dibley DVD
Lego rockband (wii)
Place in Methody
Do well in my test

From M

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ruane's guinea pigs

Tomorrow, my son is one of Catriona Ruane's guinea pigs. What? I hear you ask.

In her infinite knowledge, Ms Ruane (Minister for Education) did away with our selection exam used to determine whether children were more suited to grammar or secondary education. That in itself is not really the big issue as it was, perhaps, a flawed system.

No, no no. Ms Ruane's big mistake was that she did away with the exam, known as the 11+, but remarkably put nothing, absolutely no system, in it's place.

So tomorrow my son starts a series of tests introduced independantly by local grammar schools in an attempt to gain a place at one of them. However, these tests are not recognised by the Department of Education and could (to cut a very, very long story short) all add up to nothing anyway.

So basically, the lovely Ms Ruane, or that woman as she is affectionately known round this house, is playing hardball and holding kids, and their futures, to ransom to make her petty political points.

If the system was flawed before, it's totally fecked now.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

An amazing Remembrance Sunday story

My son (currently) wants to be a pilot in the RAF. It says so in an Ulster Rugby match programme, so it must be true.

We were out visiting this afternoon when we bumped into and elderly lady and man. A few moments later we saw the lady on her own and she commented on my sons 'lovely blond hair'. I asked her where her companion was and she explained that he was her brother and he had gone home.

You might know him, she said, his name is Alfie Martin. Well, considering my success the night before with people spotting I was a little hesitant to agree or disagree that I knew Alfie Martin!

She went on to say that he had be shot down and had had to bale out over Belgium during the second world war. At this point she had completely got our interest, so she sat down and told us the story of her brother, Alfie.

When Alfie's plane was shot it went on fire and the pilot couldn't save it so the crew had to bale out. Alfie found himself in the countryside in Belgium where he hid in a lane way until he was ready to make his move. Unfortunately, a young lad with a herd of cows came along and in order not to be trampled to death by the cows, Alfie had to come out of his hiding place.

When he emerged, the young lad took one look at his uniform and saluted. Alfie made his way to a nearby farmhouse where he was hidden by the family for six weeks. In that time he did not cross the door for fear of being found and being killed, and having the family killed for harbouring him.

With the help of the resistance, he then started to make his journey back home, travelling through France and crossing the Pyrenees at night, wearing only espadrilles on his feet to get into Spain and eventually Gibraltar.

At one point on his journey, he saw the pilot of his plane on the same platform at a train station, but couldn't even make eye contact for fear of being found and captured.

The lady then went on to tell us that Alfie still gets a birthday card every year from the family who harboured him in Belgium, and that she herself went as a guest to meet them after the war.

Alfie had been laying a wreath, on behalf of the RAF, at the cenotaph in Belfast yesterday morning. She then told us he had also written a book about his experiences called Bale Out!: Escaping Occupied France with the Resistance. My sons's eyes lit up, and we have a copy home to read.

Today my son and I had a living lesson in History, it's so much more real when you hear it first hand from those who experienced it than when you read it in a school textbook.

On this Remembrance Day we want to say thankyou, and great respect to all the 'Alfies' out there who gave, and are still giving, so much for our freedom.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

I watch too many 'Come Dine with Me' repeats

In Manchester airport tonight checking for gate numbers when a figure
appears at my elbow. I glance over, and then glanced again,
recognising the face. The man smiles at me and starts to make small
talk. Then someone comes over and asks for his autograph and suddenly
I had it.

'Oh, I'm sorry' I say, 'I know who you are now, you were on come dine
with me!'

Man in earshot's head spins round and he starts to laugh. 'That's
Rodney Marsh, ex Manchester United footballer you're talking to love!!'

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

You'll never make me do it!

I'm singing with SingLive again this year. Sing Big Band: Feeling Good, Mack the Knife, Sway, Moondance, Beyond the Sea, For Once in my Life and ...

Eye of the Tiger. Sorry, but once a rock chick (now self confessed rock hen) I just cannot bring myself to sing Eye of the Tiger in four part harmony with a swing beat.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Especially for Cosmo

Avoca sultana and cranberry sugar crusted scones

  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 400g plain white flour
  • 100g wholemeal flour
  • 1 rounded tsp baking powder
  • 65g demerara sugar plus extra for finishing
  • 50g jumbo sultanas
  • 50g dried cranberries
  • 2 large eggs, 1 beaten for egg wash
  • approx 250ml milk
  1. preheat oven to 170oC/gas3
  2. rub butter into flours and baking powder until it resembles breadcrumbs
  3. mix in sugar anad fruit, making well in the middle
  4. add 1 egg and milk and bring together to make a ball
  5. roll out 4-5cm thickness
  6. cut, wash with egg wash and sprinkle with extra sugar
  7. bake for 15-20 mins until golden

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Easy as ... muffins

From the kitchen of the Avoca cafe (Avoca is a little village in Co. Wicklow, best known for being the home of BBC show Ballykissangel) comes this recipe for very easy, excellent tasting muffins:
  • 450g self raising flour
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 1 level tsp baking powder
  • 225ml milk
  • 225g butter
  • 2 medium sized eggs
  1. heat oven to 180oC/gas4 and have 15 muffin tins ready.
  2. mix flour, caster sugar and baking powder in large bowl.
  3. heat butter and milk together until butter melts, then cool.
  4. add to dry mixture with beaten eggs.
  5. spoon into muffin tins and bake for 20 mins
Add whatever you fancy for flavouring; Avoca suggest raspberries and nectarine, or diced pear, or chocolate buttons and slivered almonds, but we tried banana and chocolate chunks and cranberries and cinnamon and they were both good too.


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