Saturday, 30 May 2015

Saturday this and that . . .

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I've been thinking a lot about my blogging this week.  I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to rethink things sometimes. I've been blogging more or less for at least 13 years now, in one form or another.  That's a long time in the life of a blogger.

I started out on MSN, with a page on their journaling platform.   I don't even know if it still exists.  I thought it would be a great way to communicate with my children after I moved over here and it could be a type of journal that I could share my adventures, thoughts, etc. with them through.  I was only on MSN for a few weeks, and I moved over to AOL Journals, which was better and much easier to use.

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At first nobody read me, but little by little people began to discover me.   I thought this was pretty amazing.  I can still remember how excited I was when I got my first comment from someone who wasn't exactly related to me!  I was over the moon.   I couldn't believe that anyone would want to read anything written by little ol' me.   The reality was that my children never were very interested in much that I had to say or what was going on in my life.  They were far too busy with their own lives, but then again . . .  when you are young and raising families, etc.  you don't have a lot of spare time and I totally understand that.    I had this whole group of other people however that were interested and I began to make friends online and discovered a whole community of like minded people.   It was pretty wonderful!

And from them I made some really good friends, people that I am still communicating with today.  People like Lyn, and Sybil, Gaz, Lura, Val, Bonnie, Valerie,  Jeannie, Ma and Angie (May she rest in peace.)and quite a few others.

I was working at the Manor then, and I noticed after a while, that if I posted a recipe . . . . everyone seemed to enjoy those posts most of all, and so then I began posting a recipe every day along with a photo of it.  I think I must have probably been one of the original food bloggers.  That has been going on now for at least eleven years or so.

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My food pictures were not that great back then.  I didn't know a lot about taking photos of food.  They gradually got better and whilst I am still not a fantastic photographer I do think I am also not the worst!

AOL journals decided to shut down in 2007,  and so I made the move over to Blogger with my blog A Year From Oak Cottage and I have been on Blogger ever since.  This was my very first post on that blog.   It seems so long ago now . . .

Oak Cottage was where I really earned my blogging wings.  It wasn't long before I wanted to separate my spiritual thoughts from my cooking thoughts and The English Kitchen was born.  I then started writing two blogs every day.

But as with everything I do,  I don't ever really do anything halfway and there came an Art blog, etc.  The Art Blog is sadly neglected these days, but  . . .  I still do two this one and the food blog every day.

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When I stopped working at the Manor and no longer lived at Oak Cottage, the Oak Cottage Blog began to feel a bit odd to me.  My last two years working at the Manor (and I worked there for almost seven years) were not very happy ones.   Being made redundant, whilst at first had been a bit of a shock, ended up being one of the best things that could have ever happened to me.   There came a time when I didn't really want to be reminded of the unhappiness I had experienced over those last few years and so then I decided to start this newer blog.   And Then We All Had Tea.  And I have been living here ever since.

I am not a sophisticated blogger.  You would think with all of the years experience I have in this medium I would be a lot more sophisticated than I am, but that's just not so.   Anything I know, I have learned the hard way.   I still have problems figuring out some things, but I work at it and eventually they come.

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I've seen other food bloggers come up trumps, with cookbook deals, trips around the world,  new stoves and ranges, etc. even cooking shows!   I do get a lot of nice little things and I am grateful for those.   I  love trying new things out and sharing my experiences with my readers.  I used to think that maybe one day I would be offered a cookbook deal, but that has just never happened.   That's okay though because I don't know when I would ever find the time to write one.

Because I could never abandon this blog . . .  and if I was to try to commit myself to writing an actual cookbook . . .  I just wouldn't have the time to keep two blogs going.

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And now . . .  we are looking at serving a full time service mission for the church  . . .  I am afraid I won't have the time to keep two blogs up full time either.   I will probably have to cut back on one, if not both, to a degree and I think the food blog will be the one which suffers most from that . . . because, lets face it . . .  I just won't be cooking new things all the time, because I won't have the time in all honesty!

And that's okay.  I'll have bigger fish to fry.

I love blogging.  I love having this creative outlet for my feelings and my thoughts and yes  . . .  my goings on.   I have always only ever met the nicest people via this medium.  It brings me great joy and I can see me doing, this page at least . . . until I am old and grey and can't put two words together anymore.  Hopefully that time will not come . . . .  but, you just never really know.

In the meantime I plan to blog on in one way or the other!

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I had good news from my Opthamology appointments at the hospital yesterday.   I had a field test done and then those nasty drops put in and then another thorough examination.  Nothing has changed in my eye, except the blocked artery at the back of it seems to have unblocked and not caused any problems.   I have gotten used to the floaters and the flickering which is what they would expect to happen.   I was told that it may very well happen in the other eye as well, and to just go to A&E if it does and have it checked out.  In the meantime I have been discharged as an outpatient and unless I start to actually lose sight in that eye, just carry on as per normal.  So that was great news.

Bad news when we arrived home however  . . .  there was an envelope laying on the inside door mat, which was hand addressed to both of us.

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Our Landlord, or at least his sister (we haven't been able to get in touch with him as of yet.  He lives in Ireland.) has informed us that our rent is going up by a whole £95 per month (that's $145) as of the first of July, and we just don't know where we are going to get it.    We're quite upset by that.   In the present day economy we have already had to really cut back on our expenditures drastically.    We are already paying the bedroom tax, which means we have to find an extra hundred pounds out of our living expenses for that.  Now it will be £200 ($305)that we have to squeeze out of our ordinary living expenses.  They say it is because of the new front door and the new windows.   I don't know what we will have to do if we need to find another place to live.   We can't get a council house because we are considered to be already adequately housed.  I received a council grant to have the shower room put into this house, that I cannot get again in another place.   That was a £7,000 ($10,706) investment in this property.   (They didn't mind us investing that money in this property at the time . . .  well, they wouldn't would they.)  We live hand to mouth.  We have no savings.  We live on a basic state pension and pension credit.  We don't have money to make up deposits on other rental properties, agency fees, etc. 

I just don't know what we are going to do.   But I do know that God is faithful and something will come up.  This is just a bump in the road, however large.   Things always work out and this will too.  A few prayers would be very much appreciated.

Oh, and I e-mailed the art liscensing company to see what had happened with Blue Mountain  . . .  and they haven't even looked at that yet.   So I would imagine that is an opportunity which has passed me by.   I am starting to question my signing on with them . . .  but I have a five year contract so . . .

Enough of the bad news.   Let's not worry about things we can't control.

I will leave you with a thought to carry with you through today  . . .

The more difficulties one has to encounter,
within and without,
the more significant and the higher
in  inspiration his life will be.
~Horace Bushnell

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today  . . .  Todd's favourite . . .  Vanilla Sauced Bread Pudding!

I hope you have a lovely Saturday.   The sun is shining brilliantly here, although it was raining when I first woke up.    Don't forget!

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And I do too!


  1. Oh Marie, hwt a fright you gave me this morning when I started to read...I had an awful feeling you were about t o tell us you were not going to keep up your blogging...what a relief to read on and see that you promise you will keep on evert morning least on here...FEW !!! don;t do that again LOL!!! It is such a long time to be blogging..I can hardly believe you have been at it so long..I am so very very thankful to have met you you are a wonderful friend and my life would be very much teh poorer without you Tod a\nd Mitzie being in it. Thank kyou for keeping going xx A lovely sunny warmish morning down far...Mary and i will be away Mon. to torquay for 4 nights the weather forecast is not good so I am keeping everything crossed and praying hard that they are wrong..whatever will we do if it's wet I do not like to think..imagine going all that way and sitting in our hotel room watching TV !!! ah wellit will be what it will be.. That is an awful large increas in yur rent MArie. I am so sorry. I will send a PM once I have finished on here... Peter Mary and I will be popping alng to Chippenham in about another hourm our usual Saturday trip mainly for Peter to have his beloved bacon bagette !!! even if he is unemployed he wants hi bacon baggete LOL... Not much news frm down here. Masy had Maggie here yesterday to wash and trim her sh eis looking very smart and so soft and silky today...she is gorgeous
    Have a lovely day hope the sun keep shining for you xxxx

  2. Marie I have to agree with Sybil. I did have a fright. Yours is my only routine,have to read every day blog. I love coming here and visiting with you.

    I am sad about the rent rise. I don't know the system you live under but it seems so unfair that the council paid for the very expensive modifications and now you are being hit with a rental hike. Some of the recent jobs are routine maintainence. I am so worried I will be homeless and I guess that fear is real for you too. Some are so dismissive have how a rise in costs affects the little person. I wish I had a way to help you I truly do.

    The last few afternoons we have been blessed with wonderful sunsets and skies filled with interesting cloud formations. After the train trip this sort of things will be my indulgences for a while. I thank the Lord for the beauty we see and while I am at it am pleased about your eye. God can be so good.

    I am about to finish the jobs I have done today so I pray that God blesses you, yours and your bloggy friends.

  3. Oh dear Sybil and Suzan, I am so sorry I gave you a fright. As long as it is within my control I will surely keep at least this blog going. How could I ever live without my dear online friends. You are all such a big part of my life and I love you all dearly! I do hope you have some lovely weather in Torquay. I hear it is a lovely place. I hope Peter enjoys his bacon baguette! I would love one of those, but the salt and calories I don't think I can afford! tee hee! I am sure Masy is looking lovely. I know that Mitzie always looks gorgeous after her grooming sessions as well! xoxo

    We are trying to deal with the rent as best we can Suzan. If we have to move, I don't know how we are going to do it. But we will just have to manage. The problem in this country is that our Government has vilified anyone who is on any form of benefit at all and seems to be punishing those who are most at need, which is really sad and very difficult for those who are suffering at their hands. Sad but true. God bless you too. xoxo

  4. I've many times thought I'd change my blogs around but haven't come up with any better ideas so they stay the same. Like you I love to blog and hope to continue on. Life is full of changes and we never know what may happen day to day. One thing stays constant though and that is the fact that the good Lord will always be there for us and see us through whatever may come. I will be praying you find an answer to this new change in your life. Where there is a will there is a way !

  5. Thank you so much Pam! I do believe in the power of prayer and that change is always for the best, even if we don't always like it at the time. God's Will will prevail and we will live with that. Have a great Saturday! xoxo

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  7. I just watched a movie last night..LOve Is Srange..Alfred Molina..John Lithgow..quite touching ..Alfred loses his job in a catholic school because he marries his partner of 40 years..
    They always knew..the parish..etc..but a photo of the wedding was on he lost his job and they had to sell their appartment.
    In NYC there are rent controlled appts..there should be some everywhere..
    it's as if people think money is easy to come by for everyone..
    they should not have accepted your remodel if they had this in mind..
    not right IMHO and I hope they rethink their letter.
    AS far as the licensing co. goes..

    wake up guys..wake up..look what you have..don't keep talent dangling on a string..

    there I said it.

    Marie I don't know how you post on 2 blogs every day!

    Do what feels right for you..

  8. Awe dear I was worry at first!!
    But then I was reading!
    13 years ! Is amazing dear!
    I have 8 years and sometimes I think what I making here!
    Im how you Im really tha ksful with my friends around tHe world!
    BTW Not travels to me:)
    I work with little things, and lot of books and blogs I love!
    hope all yours problems can fix dear.
    I will pray.
    all my love to you and Todd!

  9. I was holding my breath through this blog post Marie. My how things can turn on a dime at times. I am sooo sorry about the raised rent charge. Can you and Todd possibly move state side or somewhere else (Canada) besides England? Or do you need to stay in England? Or would it even be more expensive to live elsewhere? I don't know. Keep prayerful and I will keep praying too...something will open up for you both. As for your blog...I have been feeling like you will be limiting your food blog posts. Everyday is A LOT! Change is okay Marie. Do what you have to do! Maybe even if you post one recipe a week or month, we would all look forward to that recipe post. You go above and beyond with all you do now so it's okay to slow down a bit. I give my permission...hee! ;-) Seriously, I've loved everything you posted and have benefited from it all. Thank you for giving your time and talent for all of us to enjoy each and every day! You are so special and I love you very much! I'm glad to hear that your sight is fine at this time. Hang in there sweet Marie! Heavenly Father is mindful of you and Todd and the situation you're in. Love and extra hugs! xoxoxox

  10. I haven't seen that film Monique! I will look for it. I, for the life of me, cannot see what is wrong with two loving adults who are comitted to each other wanting to take the step to make it a permanent union. Who am I to judge. We live in a crazy world. People who can get married won't and people who can't desperately want to! It's nuts! They do have council owned places here in the UK, but they are very thin on the ground and very much in demand as you can imagine. We would have gone into one right off the bat when I lost my job if we could have, but private rent was our only option available. If we become homeless they will have to house us, but I hope that doesn't happen. xoxo

    Thanks Gloria. Your prayers are always appreciated! Things do work out. I know they will. 8 Years is a long time blogging as well! We are both dedicated! xoxo

    I wish we had those options Valerie, but with a husband who is almost 77 and me almost 60, the health care system in Canada doesn't want us. We have no skills to offer either. It's very difficult to immigrate to Canada and I am not sure what we would live on. Jobs are even harder to find there. Things will work out in time. I am sure of it. We are going to serve a mission and we won't be able to if we have to spend all of our extra money on rent! We will be needing it for petrol! Thanks for the love and hugs! xoxo

  11. Keep your chin up Marie! Did you hear that L. Tom Perry passed on? So sad about that! xoxo

  12. I knew he was very ill and not expected to pass on, but had not heard that he had passed. So sad to read this. He was a great man and will be very much missed. xoxo

  13. Morning Marie,,hope all is ok. It is a bit later than usual for today's ( Sunday) edition...Hope it just means you have had a lie in and that all i ok with teh from a very wet Box c

  14. Oh my dear friend you will be in my prayers that you will not have to move and that they will not charge you more rent. I hate things like that. We have been there and it isn't fun. However, I feel you will be blessed; especially as you serve on your mission. I know that we were blessed as we were serving.
    I enjoyed reading about your blogging experiences and how it all came about. You are a master at blogging and I love all that you say and do. I think you are a wonderful writer. I still wouldn't give up on your drawings; I think you will get your work out there. You are a gifted artist and I love your work.
    I am happy that your eye is doing well.
    Again, you will be in my prayers; I love you much dear friend. I hope someday we will meet. Sending hugs for now!

  15. Sybil, I don't know why but I never get notification that you have commented! This blogger thing is crazy sometimes. I never put word verification on things, and yet it is there also. Wierd. xoxoxo

    Thanks LeAnn! I will always do this blog probably as it doesn't cost me anything but my time to do it! The food blog costs me money in food. Time I can share! xoxo

  16. I have gotten down on myself and my blog for not getting thousands of readers and sponsorships and cookbook deals and such as well. I started looking for ways to develop those opportunities for myself and my little blog, and have realized it takes a LOT of work. People are networking and paying developers and basically turn their blog into their job to get those opportunities. Only once in a very VERY blue moon does a blog just spontaneously become popular and have those things handed to them, and I have realized that I am not willing to devote that much time, energy, and money to making my blog popular. I can be happy with my little corner of the internet. :) I just wanted to let you know these things I discovered so that you never think your blog is undeserving! I, among many, would pay good money for a cookbook from you!! We think you're just about the greatest! :)

  17. Oh, and lots of prayers that your housing situation works out!! Fingers crossed and good luck!!

  18. April, I have come to realize in life that it's luck more than anything that creates success for a person. Being seen by the right people at the right time. Being in the right place at the right time. It often has very little to do with talent. Love you and thanks for the prayers! xoxo


Your comments mean the world to me, and while I may not be able to address each one individually, each one is important to me and each one counts. Thanks so much!