Sunday 28 December 2008


Tell me why is it that we buy so much food at Christmas? As we were expecting 18 for lunch on Christmas Day I went into panic mode a couple of days before Christmas and hit the food shops with a vengeance. Consequently I have had to throw away enough food to feed a nation. I suppose that I should have been inventive and done artistic things with leftovers but quite honestly after catering for 18 I was knackered and have thoroughly enjoyed the “down time” OG and I have had since they all left.

Two of my darling grandsons slept over on Christmas Eve and left Boxing Day. It was such a joy to have them in the house again. My grandchildren and great grandchildren are my greatest pleasure.

On the run up to Christmas Vinnie, the chef grandson, had decided to shake himself out of “comfort mode” and duly handed in his notice with a plan to work in the French Alps for the season. Up until Boxing Day he had the plane ticket for 29th December but no job and no accommodation. I was more than a little perturbed, imagining him having to sleep rough in the snow.

On Boxing Day he received a call from a lady whose chef had just broken his ankle and was in need of a replacement chef urgently. She asked him to send a restaurant quality menu plan and this is what he sent,

Menu 1

Amuse Buche of French onion soup with parmesan crisp

Handmade chicken liver ravioli with lemon & thyme butter and pecorino

Whole roast leg of lamb with castelluccio lentils, cavolo nero and salsa verde

Individual chocolate fondant with homemade zabaglione ice cream and peanut brittles

Selection of local cheeses, fruit and homemade chutneys

Fresh coffee and a variety of teas

Menu 2

Seared tuna carpaccio with wasabe and pickled ginger

Risotto of red wine taleggio and parmesan

Braised then roasted pork belly with cod smoked under chillies,
cannellini bean puree and sautéed spinach

Caramelised Lemon tart with crème fraiche and purple figs with honey

Selection of local cheeses, fruit and homemade chutneys

Fresh coffee and a variety of teas

When I saw the menu I was even tempted to ask him to come and work for me! Wow!! I said “don’t you think these menus are a little fancy? I would have offered beef stew followed by rice pudding”. He looked at me, raised one eyebrow and smiled “I don’t think so Nan, take a look at what they offer their guests”.

He got the job! It’s a different world isn’t it? Good luck Vinnie. The world could now be your oyster.

And finally …. ham and eggs.....a day's work for a chicken, a lifetimes commitment for a pig

Thursday 18 December 2008


This conundrum was sent to me by my good friend DogLover. He adds :-

"The curious thing is that if you add up all the areas of the four parts they come to 0.5 less than the whole.

I.e. The whole covers 5 x 13 squares divided by 2 = 32.5, but the individual parts add up to 32.

I don't understand why. Is this something that leads to an explanation of the puzzle? If so, I can't see it!"

Is that weird or what?

Monday 15 December 2008


The machines decided that they had had enough and demanded to be bought in out of the cold. – so in they came courtesy of OG (who nearly sustained a hernia in the process) and John . They are now happily ensconced in their rightful home in the newly refurbished laundry room, again courtesy of OG and John. I only hope that they appreciate them.

And our French family came home too, but their journey was far more troublesome than the machines’ journey (those machines have a charmed life).

The trauma started on a Paris motorway. They broke down and because entrapped in a typically French bureaucratic cock up. The garage sent to rescue them had not been informed they were on a motorway, which, apparently, is the jurisdiction of the Police. The Police did not arrive and the rescue service said that they were not authorised to ring them direct. After a long wait and another call to the original garage that WAS authorised to ring the Police they were finally rescued some four hours after first breaking down. The Police had responded to the original SOS but couldn’t find them so went back to their depot no doubt muttering “Stupid English”.

As the fault could not be immediately rectified they stayed in a hotel overnight and set off for Calais in a hire car the next morning, got caught in a traffic jam, dropped off the hire car and missed one sailing by 5 minutes. Next sailing was par for the course, a two-hour wait. The car hire companies in Dover had no suitable car available for the onward journey so, toting masses of luggage, they staggered onto a train, crossed London by taxi, staggered on to another train and OG met them at Peterborough some 40 hours after they had first set off.

One day to recover and, dropping the children off with us, they set off again in a hire van to collect all their personal possessions from Toulouse and (hopefully) car from Paris. What was that Labour Party slogan? “Things can only get better”?. Huhh!

It will be good to have them back in the bosom of the family again, safe and well and ready for Christmas.

In the meantime, following a CT scan, the oncologist said that one of OG's lymph glands could be slightly enlarged, but as it is within the “normal” range, albeit that it is at the top of the range, it need not necessarily be sinister. Another scan in March will enable him to look at the gland again and determine whether or not further treatment is called for. Fingers crossed.

And finally ….. Earth is the insane asylum for the universe

Thursday 11 December 2008


My 15-year old grandson came across this poem on internet and said it’s me. I am extremely flattered and love him so much for recognising the rebel within. Rock on Ali, the rest of the world may not understand us, but at least we understand one another!


When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other peoples' gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickles for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear Jenny Joseph

Tuesday 9 December 2008


This weekend we had FOUR little ones for a sleepover. They are great fun, but I had to put an end to fun when I heard

"Let's drag the matress onto the floor".

I peeked through the door there were two of the little darlings on the top bunk trying to haul the matress on the two rascals on the floor. A step too far!

"What are you doing?"


"Well stop doing nothing".

All this at the top of my voice. OG wandered in to investigate and told me off.

"They're only playing"

"Playing! They are a tribe of vandels!

"OK, calm down, you just go and have a cup of coffee, I'll sort them out".

Are these the two most irritating phrases in the English language or what? Being told to calm down really sends me into hyperspace and the thought of OG "sorting them out" makes me hyperventilate.

Our "French" family come home this week. Their plans relied on selling their house here, not good timing in todays economic climate and now they have to return and regroup. I would like a £ for everytime OG and I had to do this. Every downturn led to more challenges and heartaches to overcome. There is no glory in struggle. But in hindsight it has all been fun, we have had great times both together and as a family and many, many more to come. The upside for me is to have them back again albeit for a short while until the house does sell.

And finally ......... when Madonna first moved to England she said she wanted to feel more English. She is now an unmarried, single mother with three children from different fathers, one of them black. Job done!

Monday 1 December 2008


Our great granddaughters slept over on Saturday night so I used them as an excuse to watch Mamma Mia on DVD. The girls and I have been to see it twice in the cinema so we pretty much know all the songs of pat. OG pulled faces when I suggested we put it on but he actually loved it (as I knew he would) and the girls and I sang and danced all the way through it. That's about as good as it gets isn't it?

Sunday was not such a good day. I fell and spent most of the afternoon at A&E. Luckily my ribs were not broken but they are very, very painful. It was so silly. On my way back from loading the washing machine in its temporary 17 month old home in the garage I twisted my foot on a small piece of gravel in the drive and over I went.

The charming doctor was very sympathetic and asked if we lived in a bungalow because so many old people are prone to falling down stairs. The bastard obviously hadn't realised that I’m only a 19 year old cowgirl inside, but as I have been reading a new self improvement book and was on my best behaviour I refrained from pointing this out to him. He then drivelled on that maybe I should consider getting a stair lift and I should, at least, take more care. Me! With my new Hollywood bedroom! How romantic is to go upstairs on a Stannah Stairlift. I think not!

Then, came the ultimate insult. Pointing to OG he said “whereas your husband, being a very fit, agile man with no spare weight, would not have hurt himself if he had fallen”. Full-marks to me for not decking the self-righteous misguided smug SOB.

Here is s photograph of my fit husband preparing the new home for the laundry machines and, I might add, not a day too soon!

And finally …… I'm not a complete idiot -- Some parts are just missing