Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Spooky Door

How spooky is this cellar door ?

Cellar door in the old Waterfall cotton mill

Sadly the old cotton mill in Blackburn Lancashire is no longer standing as it was demolished two years ago but we managed to get some nice photos of the inside before the heavy machinery rolled in. Most of the building was recycled including the slate roof tiles, Canadian maple wood floors and cast iron support columns. Appropriate for Halloween don't you think but just missing a few raggedy zombies. 

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Seeds Of Change

Picture in a barley field near Sandsend Whitby
The road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can.
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And wither then? I cannot say.

Poem by Bilbo p.g 48 The Lord Of The Rings (The Fellowship Of The Ring)

My first post for a long time...and this picture and poem sort of reflects how I feel at the moment.
Where to start. Well I was made redundant on the 29th of June after working for Crown Eyeglass (an optical company) for over 27 years.

Started a new job at Asda as a seasonal worker, nice people but a big cut in wages, looking to be taken on permanently but who knows. Turned down interview at private opticians, don't want to travel to far for a job.

Gave up sharing an allotment with my friends dad but got a new full sized plot to myself. It's still a work in progress but have had success with an abundance of crops this year. Plot still needs lots of work. Don't seem to have the time.

Dad in hospital... Prostate operation and suffering more from memory problems.
Mum still battling a long term illness, over 5 and a half years now.

 My partners aunty (Barbara) 63 recently died from cancer at the age of 63. A lovely kind hearted lady who loved animals especially horses.

Hard, strange and challenging times but life all the same...

Monday, 7 January 2013

Cheeky Hazel Nut Gobbler


Well I never learn do I. We get quite a few squirrels in the garden from time to time, usually they are on my mums peanut bird feeders causing havoc. As it was the Christmas period I'd treated myself to some hazel nuts intending to make some nut toffee. Alas I spied Mr squirrel on the lawn and decided to open the top window and throw him a nut, to my surprise he did not run off but looked me in the eye. When the nut was thrown he picked it up and scampered off, but not for long. After a few minutes he was back, looking expectantly at the little window. I guess squirrels are not blessed with patience, they get what they want when they want it. Not content with waiting for his nutty nosh he's taken to climbing on the window sill to alert us to his presence.  Needless to say the bag of hazel nuts is empty, buried no doubt in the damp earth. Phil sent me to the pet shop for some supplies of monkey nuts and peanuts...not that they will last last long.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Find Brook

I came across this distressing article in a local magazine recently, called Lancashire Life and was saddened to think that people could inflict such heartbreak upon others for a quick buck. The magazine was already over a year old  by the time  I read the article so I was eager to see if the couple had managed to find their chocolate labrador called Brook, sadly it was not to be.  Despite ongoing searches and a hefty reward which is currently set at 5 grand Brook is still missing they believe he was quickly sold on and could be anywhere in the country with unsuspecting new owners. Caroline and Aubrey Hoyles to this day have not given up hope of being reunited with their beloved friend. View Brooks appeal from his family below

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Live Life Love A Labrador

September  20th 1999- May 31st  2011

If only could make a deal with god
I'd get him to swap our places
Be running up that road
Be running up that hill
With no problem...
Lyrics by K Bush.

My partner's favorite picture of our kind and faithful boy Harry.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Gardening Bits & Bobs

Thank you to Sarina at Sarina's Allsorts blog for sending me this lovely gardening book. The book gives you a month by month guide when best to sow seeds,  how to cultivate and then harvest. Just what I need really because I'm unorganized and messy. The gift inspired me to sort myself out so I decided to treat myself to a few garden products. Well that's my excuse:-)

My seeds were in an old chocolate tin but I think this is much smarter. I don't usually spend money on stuff I don't really need but I've not spent owt for ages now so it's time for a treat. It's also my plan to be less of a scruff bag at home too but no doubt the tidying up bug  won't last long. You can't change nature can you.

My tomatoes did ok this year but I sowed too many again and the beefsteak too late in the year. I've just got one red beef tomato on my windowsill at the moment but all the rest are green.
Golden Sunrise and possibly Gardeners delight

This is a pic of my greenhouse down on the allotment, it's earlier in the year when it was still relatively tidy. The comfrey is a bit of rogue it keeps coming up but I haven't the heart to dig it out completely.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Sesame Seed Bread

Has anyone been watching the new series of the great British Bake Off with Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry? Several series have been made now and I'm still not tired of watching it. I've made a couple of loaves of bread over the years, not all with positive results.  One of the best was a Delia special Goats cheese, onion and potato bread with thyme, very quick and easy. After listening to  the famous Frugal Queen on her local radio station she set me thinking what I could do next, so I dusted off my 1000 Classic Recipe book and picked out a bread which had few ingredients and breaks off into individual rolls

Sesame Seed Bread....

It came out ok but should have let it prove more, really it should have reached at least to the top of the tin.
Here's the recipe as requested by Allotment Lady Lives Again

Makes 1 23cm/9in loaf
2tsp active dried yeast
300ml/Half a pint of luke warm water
200g plain flour
200g wholemeal flour
2 tsp salt
5tbsp toasted sesame seeds
milk to glaze
2tbsp sesame seeds, for sprinkling.

Combine the yeast and 75 ml/5tbsp of the water and leave to dissolve. Mix the flours and salt in a bowl. Make a well and pour in the yeasty water. Stir from centre to get a rough dough.
Transfer to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Return to bowl and cover with a plastic bag. Leave in a warm spot till it has doubled in size. 2 hours
Grease a 23cm/9in round cake tin. Punch down the dough and knead in the toasted sesame seeds. Divide into 16 balls and place in the tin.Cover with a plastic bag and leave in a warm place until risen above the rim.

I didn't and the dough was just under the rim when I made it, I think it best to leave the dough until it has got above the rim for a better sized loaf.
Preheat oven to 220/425f/ gas7. Brush the loaf with milk. (I think this made the top crunchy so perhaps leave it off if you don't like a crunchy top). Sprinkle with the extra sesame seeds. Bake for 15 minutes. Lower the heat to 190c/375/gas 5 and bake until the base sounds hollow when tapped, about 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.