Friday, 24 November 2017

One For The Road

Being breathalyzed the other week was completely new [and unexpected] experience for me. I very rarely drink alcohol - but at our Ferndown Fete last summer, a member of the Dorset Police was handing out little cards from the Morning After organisation. I tucked it behind the clock when I got home - and it resurfaced last week when I was moving stuff for the floor fitting. It was quite interesting to read, and I was surprised about how long alcohol takes to pass through the system [and therefore cease to affect one's driving]
For instance, it asks this simple question -
After drinking, when will you be safe to drive?
1 Bottle of wine 13 hrs [after 1pm if you are drinking till midnight]
2 Pints of strong lager 7 hrs
3 Double Gins 9 hrs
4 Pints of bitter 11 hrs
5 Pints of cider 14 hrs

It takes a lot longer than most people think for alcohol to be properly processed by the body. On average it takes around one hour per unit of alcohol, though this can vary depending on a number of factors. In the past I have been to school staff Christmas parties, where colleagues have certainly drunk that much, and then driven in to work the next morning! [I'm not sure some of them were fit to be in the classroom, let alone get behind the steering wheel]
The‘Morning After’ app can help you check when you’ll be safe to drive after a night out - it’s free to download from Google Play and the App Store. @morningafter

The card says that 2 alcopops, or 250ml glass of 15% wine, or 1½ pints of beer, or a can of 7.5% lager, or 3 single gin shots - any of these can take up to 4 hours to pass through your body - and before that, you are not legally safe to drive again. I think I shall stick to tea, coffee and my alco-free cocktails! Wherever you are celebrating this Christmas, do enjoy yourself, but please be careful - and for your own safety, and that of others, please don't drink and drive.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

My First Christmas Card Of 2017

This is the week of our WWDP Residential Meeting, when we plan for the day of prayer in 16 month's time. As usual we all take one Christmas card, and then exchange them. I have made a double sided cross stitch Christmas tree ornament, and suspended it inside a card. The hanging loop goes over a button. The design on one side is our WWDP logo - four women kneeling in prayer, facing north, south, east and west. On the other side, I modified the female figure to represent Mary kneeling before the manger.
I no longer make [or send] many cards each year, so I always put more thought and time into this one. Do you make your own cards? And how many do you send? Has email and Facebook and the cost of stamps altered your habits? 
This year the Royal Mail have brought out a mixed set of sacred and secular stamps. I've bought a few 2nd Class Madonna [that sounds a bit daft] 

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Ice, Ice, Baby!

I cannot believe that it's nine years since I went with Liz to the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland . I was interested to read a few days ago about this years WW, and the Ice Sculptures there. It is an amazing craft - these people produce stunning works of art, in subzero temperatures, which will last for a few weeks- and then it all melts away ....
Watch this brief video about the London Display
And another, by the same company, which is currently on display up in Edinburgh.
I have the greatest admiration for these craftspeople [their company, Hamilton, is based in Wimbledon - check out their website for examples of their other work] 
It seems sad that their work can only be enjoyed for a short time, when you consider the hours put into the creation. I suppose it's the same for people who ice wedding cakes, or arrange flower festivals.
Image result for ikea ice cube fishImage result for ikea ice cube fish
The nearest I get to ice sculpture is my IKEA fish ice tray!!

Tuesday, 21 November 2017


For reasons which will be explained later, I realised on Saturday afternoon that I needed some Playdough. I didn't want to go and buy some - firstly because I'm mean and didn't want to spend money, secondly I figured the shops would be quite busy.
So I made some. This recipe is really easy, relatively inexpensive, and uses stuff you've probably got in the cupboard already. I needed to make an assortment of colours to make model food. I decided green, red, orange and yellow would be good. I'd got green and red colouring left over from Christmas, but no yellow. I improvised with some turmeric, and I am very pleased with the results. I diluted the turmeric in a little water, and stirred it into the mix. 
There was a time when I seemed to be making Playdough every other week, it's reassuring to know I haven't lost the knack! 

Monday, 20 November 2017

Bowled Over

I caught up with the recent Rick Stein cookery programmes last week - I had some knitting to do, and I could kill two birds with one stone that way. He's travelling to Mexico and reliving his youth.
One of the things he tasted was chowder in a bread bowl.
I looked up his recipe online - and was extremely disappointed to find that he suggested buying the rolls and hollowing them out.
You need fair sized crusty rolls [around 4½"-5" across] and they don't sell any that big round here. So I checked out the recipe I used a few years back-  we had enjoyed soup in bread bowls when we were in Boston on our Silver Wedding Trip [13 years ago] My recipe is still pretty good - I cannot recall where online I originally found it. Last time, I made the dough in my breadmaker. This time I kneaded it in my big Kenwood. I made 4 good sized rolls.
My soup was "Fridge Scrape" - using lots of leftovers- some onions and other leftover veg bitsfrom the fridge, 2 pots of frozen stock, plus two small portions of beef and veg casserole from the freezer [defrosted and blitzed in the liquidiser] I put in a generous spoonful of tamarind paste, to give some umami savouriness- then left it "blippin away" in the slow cooker all day. Once it was all cooked, I liquidised it again - served some in my breadbowls, and froze the rest [plus the 2 remaining bowls] A 5" bowl holds around half a pint of thick soup. I love the way that once the soup s all gone, the crusty shell is soft and chewable. Delicious!
Very satisfying on a cold November evening. Rick's programme is interesting from a 'travel' point of view - but I was a little disappointed when one recipe was for basic salad dressing. Come on Rick, give us something a little more exotic than that, please!
On the subject of current TV Cookshows, have you watched Nigella's latest?
Much fuss has been made about the fact that she cooks in her dressing gown.
In case you want to buy a similar gown for yourself or a loved one, it is from Maude and Tommy. It is called the One Hundred Stars Venice Map gown, costing £65. It is hand wash only - and sorry, but it is out of stock right now [the 'Nigella Effect' they tell me]
I frequently wear my dressing gown when working in the kitchen - particularly Sunday mornings. I have long since discovered that even with an apron, I can splash my Sunday best as I prepare lunch before dashing off to church. My dressing gown [ancient, £20 from Cotton Traders] is a much safer garment - and I can sling it in the washing machine whenever it gets dirty.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

The Bottom Line

A short video, worth watching to introduce the Toilet Twinning Charity, because today is World Toilet Day.

And here is a link to a BBC story about a creative way of solving the problem of sanitation in India, organised by SHRI [Sanitation and Health Rights India]
Finally, another charity concerned about people's basic needs, and the needs of the environment.
I know that it's Sunday, and usually on a Sunday I post about something connected with my faith - an old hymn, or a Bible passage, or a story about someone who has done a good deed which has challenged me. 
I make no apologies for posting about this topic today. 
If we got up this morning, and used a clean, flushing loo, and were able to wash our hands afterwards in a pleasant bathroom - with privacy and decent loo paper, then it is a good thing for us to be reminded of the millions throughout the world who are denied this basic human right. James 1:27 says
This is what God the Father wants. It is clean and right. Go and help those who have no father and mother. Go and help widow women whose husbands are dead. These people have troubles. And keep yourself clean from the wrong things in the world.
So go and spend a penny or two, in support of the organisations that make decent sanitation possible for the people who have troubles.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Are You Listening?

I am really dense sometimes - there I was looking at the 'Christmas Shop' section of John Lewis, and at the end of one display unit I saw these...I thought they were some sort of ecclesiastical themed Christmas pillar candles
But on closer inspection, I discovered they are bluetooth speakers.
I presume the design I took to be a cross is actually +- and refers to the volume control?
They are called Ultimate Ears, and that Alexa woman is hiding inside them! She was inspired by the conversational computer system used in Star Trek, and named after the ancient library at Alexandria. 
There are many models in the UE series- collectively called the Ultimate Family. That just reminded me of the importance of my own ecclesiastical church family, and the need to be listening carefully, and responding thoughtfully, whenever I am spoken to.