Sunday 12 September 2010

Marie's Sunday Six

I thought I would do a somewhat different thing with my Sunday Six post this week and share with you six things about the UK that make me smile! I happen to believe that I live in one of the best countries in the world and I am not afraid to say so!

Loathe it or Love it, the British weather makes me smile! Brits love to make conversation about the weather because it is so widely changeable and variable!! I think it was Bob Hope who once said . . . "Hate the weather? Wait five minutes!" Here each day brings unpredictability and change. You have to be prepared for just about anything, coz most days bring you just that! Anything!

Another loathe them or love them moment . . . yes, it's the Royal Family and I am from the school of love them! I have always been a great Royalist, even before I moved over here. I just love the Royal Family. They work really hard for this country, contrary to what a lot of people may believe. As a foreigner I can honestly say that the Royalty is one of the beautiful differences in this country that foreigner's love and enjoy. Most countries nowadays don't have the tradition or presence of a Royal family. The Royal family is one of the UK's beautiful distinctions! I think that the Queen is one of the classiest ladies around and it is very obvious to me that the Royal's love this country. The Royal family makes me smile.

The Last Night of the Proms makes me smile. Every summer the BBC holds a series of special, very "High Brow" musical concerts, known as The Proms, an eight-week summer season of orchestral daily concerts and other events, held predominantly in the Royal Albert Hall, culminating in a final concert, usually held on the second Saturday in September. This concert is lovingly known as The Last Night of the Proms! The concert is traditionally in a lighter, 'winding-down' vein, with popular classics being followed by a series of British patriotic pieces in the second half of the concert.

There is nothing more stirring than listening to Jerusalem, The Pomp and Circumstance March, Rule Britannia and other beautiful British Patriotic Classics whilst crowds of people sing along and wave the Union Jack! I just love it!

Speaking of flags, the Union Jack makes me smile. I just LOVE the Union Jack. This is a love that goes back to my childhood when the Union Jack was also the flag of Canada, before they changed it to the Maple Leaf. It's colourful and it's steeped in tradition and history. It makes me smile and I love seeing it being waved, which you will often see happening on important occasions such as the last night of the proms and football matches where the England Team is playing on foreign soil.

Historical Britain makes me smile. It doesn't matter where you go you will find that this country is steeped in history and tradition. I just love it. The castles, the great Homes, the gardens . . . The UK is bulging at the seams with it! As a history buff I find it intriguing and fascinating! I am always learning something new. It dates back thousands of years and we are constantly surrounded by remembrances of our vast and colourful past. I just love it!

Of course the thing that I love most about the UK and the one thing that brings the deepest smile to my face is my Todd! I just adore him and he makes me very happy. My partner, my lover, my friend, he is everything to me and probably the best thing that this country has to offer me! We will celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary this November, and they have been the ten happiest years of my life. I cannot imagine life without him in it. He is my biggest smile maker of all!

And there you have it, six things about the UK that make me smile! Oh sure there are a lot of others . . . like the television programs, the food, the people, the beauty of the countryside, double decker buses, pubs, Sunday lunch etc. I could go on and on forever. I just love this country so. We are truly blessed.

I managed to get another painting created yesterday. If you would like to see the whole thing, you can see her here, or of course in my Etsy Shop. I just love her! Red shoes, daisy trimmed dress and blue bow in her black hair.

My little furry bundle of love. I am so smitten with her. She is such a dear sweet baby and it is like having a baby in the house really. She is going through the biting stage now and we are working hard to train her to only chew and bite the things that she is allowed to chew and bite! People and furniture are verboten!!

I just love leeks and potatoes. The two together are heavenly bliss. Can you believe I had never tasted a leek before I moved over here??? I know! What a sheltered life I have led!

*Jacket Potatoes with Leek, Mustard and Parsley*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

All the flavours of potato and leek soup, except encased in the lovely crisp jacket of a baked potato!

4 large floury baking potatoes
3 TBS olive oil
1 large leek, finely chopped
2 TBS grainy mustard
4 ounces mature Cheddar Cheese, grated
4 TBS double cream
1 ounce butter
3 TBS chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. Scrub the potatoes and dry them very well. Prick a few times with the tines of a fork and place them into the pre-heated oven, directly on the oven rack. Bake until tender, about 1 ¼ hours or so. Remove from the oven and set aside until they have cooled down enough that you can handle them comfortably.

Carefully slice a lid from off the length of each one. Scoop out the inside flesh, leaving a thin shell. Try very hard not to tear the skin. Put the insides into a bowl, and keep warm.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet and add the leek. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until very soft and tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the cooked leek to the potato flesh along with the mustard, cheddar and cream. Mix in well. Finally mix in the parsley and the butter. Season to taste and then stuff the mixture back into the potato shells.

Rub the outside of the potato shells with butter if desired and place the stuffed shells into a baking dish. Place back into the heated oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the filling is hot and bubbly, the cheese is well melted and they are beginning to get all crusty and brown on the top. Remove from the oven and serve hot.

And over in The English Kitchen today you will find a delicious Berry and White Chocolate Pudding that you can have on the table in about 15 minutes, I kid you not!


  1. Good morning Marie! I love England too, even the unpredictable weather!! I must admit I don't watch an awful lot of television and it was only when my nephew posted on Facebook that he was watching it (he's VERY patriotic!) that I flew into the lounge to watch the last few minutes...wonderful! Land of Hope and Glory give me goose-bumps every time!

  2. What a lovely list Marie. Your Todd sounds so wonderful. Congratulations on 10 years!!! Jeff and my son Nick are flying out to London in a couple of weeks and Nick is so excited. I agree, you do live in a wonderful country!


  3. Having never lived anywhere but England I thought my view of the place was maybe a little blinkered but - well - if mine is, yours is! I am glued to the telly when we have a Royal event going on, whether it's Royal Ascot, Chelsea flower show, a wedding or even a funeral. Our Royal Family is the greatest blessing we have, our backbone.

    The LNOTP has me riveted too. I can't say as I would want to go to the whole series of concerts but the Last Night is magical, especially now they are including other venues across the country by live video link-up.

  4. Even though I've never been to England I've see a lot through your eyes and many others too...I love hearing about and seeing the many places of history there. Our country is very new comparatively speaking. Thank you for sharing so much. The potatoes in your entry today do look yummy! And your little dog is just adorable. I hope your Sunday is a wonderful one.

  5. oh i would love to visit there someday!!

  6. Loved your 6 things today...they made me smile too! Love the new creation and these good recipes! :D

  7. Well I am smiling because I finally got to see this post. I've tried off and on to get to your blog today and my computer wouldn't let me come and visit..... I could get your header but that was all.????
    Well better late than never they say.
    What lovely things you have posted about the UK. We must come and have another visit one day. I loved the week we spent in London years ago. I would love being there far more now that I'd have my dear friend and her husband as our guides.

    I'm sending love as always. Lura


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