Thursday 5 January 2012

The love of reading . . .

Oh how very much I love books! I would feel most deprived if I woke up one morning and all of my books had disappeared and I was left with nothing fresh to read . . . and I have the greatest sympathy for the man who I heard of whom was reduced to reading the cornflakes packet at the breakfast table. Further . . . I just cannot imagine what it must be like not to be able to read . . .

I think of all the things I was taught at school, how to read has been the most valuable and I have been a voracious reader since day one. My father is a reader . . . he was always reading me stories when I was a young child . . . my mother is not a reader. Oh, she will read the newspaper, do crossword puzzles, read short articles . . . but don't ask her to read a book. They just don't interest her. I get my love of reading from my father and it is not unusual for me to be reading two or even three books at once. (Not at exactly the same time mind you . . . but . . . individually!)

Books have long been seen as a form of instruction, recreation and relaxation. In one of his essays, Sir Francis Bacon wrote: "Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly and with diligence and attention."

In "The Tatler", Sir Richard Steele wrote: "Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." Sure you can get along without it . . . but your mind will most likely end up flabby and quite out of shape!

I like most the witty words of Hilaire Belloc, who penned:
"When I am dead, I hope it may be said:
His sins were scarlet, but his books were read."

Raising a glass today to our favourite books . . . and all the pleasure that they give to us. Reading opens up new worlds, and takes us on adventures we could never hope to take without having first learned how to read. Taking the time today also to thank those early teachers of mine who worked hard to teach me now to read, and to my dad who set the example and instilled in me my love of reading!

Todd's news from the hospital was good news. He has Blepharitis, which apparently can sometimes mock the symptoms of a detached retina. Many thanks for all the happy thoughts and prayers sent his way, they were very much appreciated! It was a great relief to find out it was nothing serious and an important lesson has been learnt . . . I must start driving again, no matter what!

I did another little picture yesterday afternoon. This is my second one of the year. I quite like how it turned out. As usual it is available as a print or a card.

We were talking to a friend last evening who lost his job last year. He's been trying to get a photography business started and has gone to great expense to buy the proper equipment, take some courses, have a web page developed, etc. It is such a difficult time for anyone trying to get a new business off the ground. People just aren't spending and if they are it is with a lot more thought and on different types of things. For instance did you know that one company which enjoyed a great increase in business over the past year is a company who manufactures and sells false eyelashes??? Who could figure that one out! They are selling them around the world and apparently they can't make enough of them! John Lewis, a very expensive store over here, has also made record profits, which is really strange as well. This economy thing is a great mystery to me! Todd thinks I shouldn't be painting more paintings until I sell the ones I've already painted . . . but I explained to him it doesn't work that way. I don't paint because I want to sell . . . I paint because I can't not paint. It is something which brings me great joy and I just have these things inside my head that need to get out. I can't explain it really. It just fulfils a need in me that can't be fulfilled in any other way.

Well, I have prattled on long enough this morning. If you have made it this far, good on you! I'll leave you now with a recipe from my Marie Muse's Archives for a delicious Breakfast Cookie. Yes . . . cookies for breakfast are not a bad thing! What is a cereal bar after all . . . but a cookie in a different shape. These are stogged full of healthy goodies such as oats, nuts and raisins!

*Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies*
Makes 4 dozen
Printable Recipe

Moist and chewy and chock full of raisins and nuts these are just plain wonderful! The recipe makes a lot but they freeze really well and are just perfect for a breakfast on the go!

3/4 cup butter softened
1 cup soft light brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3 TBS molasses
1/2 cup skim milk
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup bran
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cup quick cooking oats
1-2 cups raisins

1 cup chopped pecan nuts

Preheat oven to 180*C/375*F. Lightly grease several baking sheets and set aside.

Cream together the butter and the sugar. Stir in the eggs, molasses and milk. Add the flour, bran, baking soda and salt and mix well. Blend in oats, nuts and raisins. Drop by large tablespoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Repeat as necessary until all the cookies have been baked. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Over in The English Kitchen today a belly warming recipe for Ham and Split Pea Soup!

“You can't go through life on "Borrowed light.”
― Dieter F. Uchtdorf

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