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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Y stands for Yorkshire and Yorkshire Pudding.

When we have our traditional Sunday Roast Beef it is always served with Yorkshire Pudding.

You will see the slice of Yorkshire Pudding nestling on the back of the plate with a good lashing of rich brown beef gravy drizzled over it.

The Yorkshire Pudding is a mixture of at least three large free range eggs , plain flour, milk and water and ground black pepper. I whizz all this together in my food processer then pour it into a hot baking dish which has a good chunk of sizzling hot beef dripping lining it.

 It is then placed in a hot oven for twenty minutes, then another twenty to twenty five minutes on a medium heat.

Individual Yorkshire Puddings.

Individual  Yorkshire Puddings are very popular too but I prefer to make one large one and cut it into portions as it has more flavour. I'm pretty certain our dear Denise Nesbitt will agree with me, being a Yorkshire lass, through and through !

Yorkshire is known as 'God's Own County', not without good reason too!
We have had many wonderful holidays in the UK  and amongst our favourite places is The North Yorkshire Moors. 

This is why we love The North Yorkshire Moors.....'God's Own County', indeed! 

Yorkshire also has some lovely seaside towns, another favourite place to visit is Whitby and it's pretty harbour and it's famous fish and chip shops and cafes.



This is the famous Magpie CafĂ© that boasts the finest fish and chips in the UK. I can endorse that, we had a memorable supper there.

Would you believe that we had a traditional first course of  a traditional Yorkshire Pudding, smothered in a scrummy onion gravy?

Fortunately we were allowed a suitable break before the next course arrived! What followed was a feast to behold!

 We were served the most delicious North Sea Cod, coated in a crunchy  golden batter, The cod was succulent and chunky with a fresh flavour of the sea, we were  looking at whilst we ate. The chips were crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy inside, just perfect...all washed down with a steaming hot pot of Yorkshire tea...... One of the many reasons why we love YORKSHIRE...

Denise is truly blessed to live in such a wonderful place...She does talk of going for a tootle over the moors to Whitby for fish and chips, I'm not sure where she gets hers from, probably a special place just for locals!

My sincere thanks to the ever Youthful Denise for devising ABCW and the  equally Youthful Roger for keeping us all on our toes !e moors



Tuesday, 23 December 2014

X stands for Xmas.

Xmas really stands for Christmas, howeverA lot of dedicated Christians object to the  most celebrated occasion in the Christian  calendar being called Xmas, the time when the dear saviour, baby Jesus was born.

I am a Christian but don't object to the celebration being referred to as Xmas. Many non Christians celebrate the festival and as they don't recognise Jesus Christ as the son of God I think that's how the X crept into the wording of such a significant festival in the Christian calendar.


Yesterday I watched yet another film about Christmas called Scrooge  based on my favourite story written by Charles Dickens.

As I have already written about Dickens in a previous post I shall say no more other than, Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without my favourite story.

Many cynics believe that the X substituted Christ in the word Christmas as a snub to Christians so they could still enjoy the festive season without recognising Christ.


I can remember going to church one Christmas with my brother Clive and the snow was falling heavily, we thought it was magical.

Our father was sent out to bring us home from church as about a foot of snow had fallen and it was still snowing  hard.

When we eventually got home to a very worried mother, we were greeted by a roaring fire and mugs of steaming hot chocolate.

It snowed relentlessly overnight, I believe we had  about three foot or more, to face the next day.

Out came the toboggan and off we went to the red hills to enjoy the XMAS wonderland!

Merry Xmas or

Merry Christmas 

and God Bless us one and all.

My thanks to the extraordinary Denise for devising ABCW and the axiomatic Roger for his diligence in administrating ABCW.  

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

W for Whirling Dervishes

The Whirling Dervishes of Konya.


Mevlana Museum in Konya .

Konya is the spiritual home of Meulevi, (Whirling Dervishes)  a Sufi order of holy men,  founded in this sacred city. Konya  was formerly the capital of ancient Anatolia a region in southern Turkey. 



This the smallest hand written Koran in the world which is housed in the museum.


The museum is also a mosque and mausoleum  There are several tombs of Sultans and important holy men, including Jalalad Din Muhammad Balki-Rumi a thirteen century Persian Sufi mystic. He was a poet, Islamic jurist and theologian.  He was also  known as  Meulana or Sifi.

His most devout followers were the Whirling Dervishes, known as such, due to their famous practice of whirling as a form of Dhikr  (Remembrance of God).


We have had many wonderful holidays in Turkey and I can't fault any of them.... Each one a different place and a new experience!

The Turkish people are a most welcoming nation known for their  and hospitality.  Their cuisine is divine, we've had so many memorable meals  it would take some time to tell you about them !

Here is one of my favourite dishes, it is called Iman Bayildi.


The yarn behind it is that a Sultan liked it so much that fainted in rapturous delight.

To see the Whirling Dervishes perform live in their spiritual home was a most wonderful, wholesome uplifting experience, something we shall never forget..... truly WONDROUS ! 

My sincere thanks to the winsome  Denise for devising ABCW and to the ever watchful Roger who works so hard in keeping us all on our toes!


Tuesday, 9 December 2014

V for Vox Populi

Vox Populi means 'voice of the people'

Another poem by one of my favourite writers H.W.Longfellow.

Vox Populi.

When Marzaran, the magician,

Journeyed Westward through  Cathay

Nothing heard he but the praises

Of Badoura on his way

But the lessening rumour ended

When he came to Khaledan;

There the folks were talking only

Of Prince  Camaralzaman.

So it happens with the poets,

Every province has it's own;

Camaralzaman is famous

Where Badoura is unknown.




Badoura eventually meets her Prince.

I'm not really familiar with this poem but feel it has some connection with The Tales from The Arabian Nights. I've searched Very hard to find out what was in Longfellow's mind when he wrote this? To no avail.
 Perhaps the message is in the final verse where he goes on to say.....

So it happens with the poets,

Every province has it's own;

Camaralzaman is famous

Where Badoura is unknown.

I can't believe I've  volunteered to host the letter Z, I'm still wracking my brain! 

My sincere thanks to the vivacious Denise for her vision in devising ABCW and also to the veritable Roger for his hard work as the administrator of ABCW.





Tuesday, 2 December 2014

U stands for Under,

The Village Blacksmith.     by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

UNDER the spreading chestnut tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands

His hair is crisp and black and long
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate'er he can
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man.

Week in week out, from morn till night,
You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge
With measured beat and slow
Like a sexton  ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school,
Look in at the open door,
They love to see the flaming forge,
And hear the bellows roar,
And watch the burning sparks that fly
Like chaff from a threshing floors.

He goes on Sunday to the church,
And sits among his boys;
He hears the parson pray and preach,
He hears his daughter's voice,
Singing in the village choir,
And it makes his heart rejoice,

It sounds to him like her mother's voice,
Singing in Paradise
He needs must think of her once more,
How in the grave she lies;
And with his hard, rough hands he wipes
A tear out of his eye.

On through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close;
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night's repose.

Thanks, thanks to me my worthy friend,
For the lessons thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought!

This is one of my favourite poems by H.W. Longfellow, a renown American poet, writer translator etc. He was  a man of many talents, and translated several of the classics from Latin into English including some of Dante`s works,
 He had a lot of sadness in his life including, losing his first wife after a miscarriage.
 He married again to Frances Appleton and was blissfully happy, they  had several children sadly, one of them died at an early age, this left him bereft.
 Then, even more tragedy struck, His wife Fanny accidentally set fire to her dress with a lit match, HWL tried to save her and was badly burned too.
She lived another day but just passed away in her bed.
You can read a lot of his sorrow in his poetry, it's almost as if he could foresee the future.
This, I feel,  reflects in the poem and song, known to me from childhood,' UNDERNEATH The Spreading Chestnut Tree' .
It has been rather difficult to use the letter U, just by reading the poem above I was amazed that there was only one word beginning with it, being UNDER!

My thanks to the UBIQUITOUS, dear, Mrs Nesbitt, Denise for devising ABCW and Roger for being a wise and fair UMPIRE of the series.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

T stands for Trees and Tall Ships.

I love trees and woodland. I live in a leafy part of Liverpool a large city in the UK.  We are lucky to be surrounded by landscaped Parks and beautiful woodlands,  The trees in the two photographs below are taken in the woods across the road from where we live. Although we live on a main road leading into the city, the avenue is resplendent in the springtime when the beautiful apple and cherry blossom trees burst into bloom. There are various forms of wild life including foxes, a snowy owl, woodpeckers, some beautifully marked thrush and kestrels, Two herons have been spotted recently.

A baby thrush looking a bit startled, so cute !

The Tall Ships Race.


In the summer of this year The Tall Ships came to Liverpool and what a spectacle it was, thousands of visitors lined the docks to see them, it was a wonderful regatta with sailors singing sea shanties and singers giving concerts on board the ships. The famous Albert Dock was overcome with tourist from all over the world to see the spectacle , There wasn't a spare hotel room in the city, So wonderful for the economy of the City.


The Liver buildings in the background, on the wonderful Liverpool waterfront,  with a Liver bird on each tower.
My thanks to the terrific Denise for devising ABCW and the tenacious Roger for his administrative skills..  


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

S stands for The Sea

                                      Sea Fever.

                                                          by John Masefield.

I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky
And al I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And the grey mist on the sea's face,
And a grey dawn breaking. 

I must go down to the sea again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume and the sea-gulls crying 

I must go down to the sea again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
to the gull's  way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
 And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow- rover,
And a quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.
I h
I have to say that John Masefield is one of my favourite poets, he often spoke longingly about the sea and as a young man lived his dream as an apprentice marine officer, aboard a sailing ship that crossed commercial sea lanes.
After becoming sick on one of his voyages Masefield quit his job as a sailor, he jumped ship and ended up working in a carpet factory in the US.
He returned to the UK in 1897 whereon he became a successful writer.

Through his writing  he imaginatively returned to his great love, The Sea.

My sincere thanks to the sensational Denise for devising  ABCW and to Roger for his administrative skills.  


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

R stands for Rabbits and Remembrance

I just love rabbits and have had several as pets. This is Rocket the naughtiest rabbit ever!

He was called Rocket because of the speed he could gallop around the garden.

When our first grandchild was born I went to stay with our daughter to help out, such a joyous occasion, only to be spoiled by my husband's frantic phone calls to tell me that 'The B..... Rabbit has escaped again'.  What he thought I could do to help when I was two hundred miles away, I don't know, just a shoulder to cry upon I guess.  Attempting to thwart the rascally Rabbit from any further rambles around the neighbourhood, said husband was on his knees fixing a gap in the hedge, from where he suspected Rambo Rocket was escaping, when he was  floored by a revved up rabbit, thundering down the garden, leaping onto his back and hurtling over his shoulders into a neighbouring garden.  This  knocked him over into some prickly shrubs that had been planted to deter the little 'sod's ( quote by exasperated husband) escape attempts! 

When I returned home from bonding with our new baby Molly, the Rabbit had been exiled to the pet shop, from whence he came, for B+B  until I rescued and  him and returned him to his normal habitat.  A quick visit to the vet for a minor procedure soon dampened his ardour..

A sad but wiser rabbit was he ! At least he didn't end up in a rabbit pie !


Sadly, Rocket died aged nine when, a hungry fox got him, This was to be his last tour of the local woods, I'm amazed he lived so long.  It is said a cat has nine lives but I reckon Rocket had twenty nine !

 RIP Rocket.


R for Rabbit by Edward Lear.

R was a Rabbit

who had a bad habit

of eating flowers

In gardens and bowers

Naughty fat Rabbit!


Who can forget Beatrix Potter's tale of Peter Rabbit?


Peter Rabbit was a mischievous Rabbit, reminds me of  Rocket.

His Mummy Rabbit warned him not to go into Mr Mcgregor's  garden and reminded him that his daddy was shot and put in a Rabbit Pie.

Peter couldn't resist all the tasty treats in the garden so off  he went.

"First he ate some lettuces and some French beans, and then he ate some radishes".

Fortunately Mr McGregor didn't shoot him but he went home with a very sore tummy, He was tucked up into bed and dosed on soothing camomile tea. Sadly for Peter, he missed his favorite supper with his three little sisters,



At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them.


I remember my mother's brother, Uncle Jack who lost his life in WW2, he was just 22 years of age.


My thanks to the radiant Denise for devising Abcw and the ever rational Roger for reading all our ramblings!  




 Rabbits and Remembrance

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Paul McCartney

I cannot let the opportunity pass without mentioning 'The day I met Sir Paul McCartney.....
This how he looked then....just so handsome !
We were in a stream 0f traffic driving along a congested street in Liverpool city.
It was 1964 I was a very happy teenager and had fallen in love with the guy I was to marry three years later.  We drew alongside a very smart, silver Aston Martin DB6 and who should be driving it but Sir Paul McCartney. I nearly passed out, he was so handsome. He wound the window down to speak to me, I spluttered to him, "I absolutely love your latest record, 'I want to hold your hand". He asked if I would like to hear it, then pressed a button on his 6 track tape recorder and played ' I want to hold your hand'. Then he proceeded to sing along with recording.
I bet there's not many girls can boast that they were personally serenaded by Paul McCartney. His father was sitting alongside him, smiling proudly.
Although, I'd seen The Beatles perform live at The Cavern  years before, they were just a talented, local band of boys and didn't have the pazzazz that  they'd achieved by 1964. 

During the heady days of the sixties they used to sing a song called Penny Lane.
Long before they recorded it, Paul  was sitting in a Bus depot waiting for John to arrive. Whilst he was looking around the environs, he started to write the lyrics for the song, which was recorded later.
 It is a song I very much relate to because it's a place I know well as it's not far from where I live now.
 Here are some of the lyrics that a very talented young Paul wrote whilst waiting for John Lennon, little knowing what lay in store for them.
I unashamedly say that, I am one proud person  to have been a part of Sir Paul McCartney and the Beatles phenomenal rise to fame!
Here a few lines from that touching little ditty......
In Penny Lane there is a barber showing photographs
of every head he's had the pleasure to know
And all the people that come and go
Stop and say hello
Behind the shelter in the middle of a roundabout
The pretty nurse is selling Poppies from a tray.......
Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
There beneath the blue suburban skies
I sit
Penny Lane,
Paul as he performs today.

My sincere thanks to the patient Denise for devising Abcw and Roger for his painstaking efforts in his administration of Abcw.

Trubes and Paul McCartney

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Octopus and an Odd Ode

In it's raw state I love Octopus, the first time I tasted it was on one of our many holidays in Turkey. I know, in it's raw state it is most unattractive, but when it's prepared and cooked, it is most delicious.  
  It takes on a pretty pink and creamy hue, the flavour of griddled Octopus surpasses most other seafood delicacies, (that is, in my humble opinion)!
 Altinkum in Turkey is where I  had my first experience of Griddled Octopus, we dined in a simple little Locanta on the edge of the beach, we saw the fishermen out in their brightly coloured boats in the morning, hauling in their catch which included our dinner!
The stunning beach at Altinkum.
Now an ODD ODE!
The Owl and the Pussy Cat.   By Edward Lear.
The OWL and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful Pea-green boat
They took some honey and plenty of money
Wrapped up in a five pound note
The OWL looked to the stars above
And sang to a small guitar
"O lovely Pussy O Pussy my love
What a beautiful Pussy you are
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are"!

Pussy said to the OWL "You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long have we tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?"
They sailed away for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-Tree grows.
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose
His nose
His nose
With a ring at the end of his nose
With a ring at the end of his nose.

Random Z's