Saturday 30 March 2024

All Things Nice . . .


Old things abide -- the good and true
Things that are born and bred in you,
The love of children, faithful men
Spring in the warm sweet fields again,
Old people puttering 'round the place
Peace like a light on someone's face.

Bright lamps that shine above the snow,
And send out such a heartsome glow,
Across the lonely country night,
The glint of wings that catch the light,
A prickly thorn . . . a rambling brier,
Golden rod setting the world on fire.

A blue print apron and a shawl,
An old cow sleeping in a stall,
The odor of new hay and sheaves,
Rain dripping softly from the eaves,
A little girl with rosy cheeks,
A dog so smart he almost speaks.

Old things abide -- a garden patch,
An old shed with a rusty latch,
A supper table warm and bright,
Windows shining against the night,
A mother gentle and serene --
These are the sort of things I mean.
~Edna Jacques, Old Things Abide
Roses in December, 1944

It is funny the way our brains work.  How as we get older, our thoughts and memories turn to the small and simple things of the past.  Little things that we caught a glimpse of through the years and which embedded themselves in our memories. Like little gifts waiting for us to unwrap them again.  Hopefully happy things, things which made us smile, or tugged on our heart strings in a certain way.  Special moments spent by ourselves or shared with others. I have many such moments filed in the archives of my brain and I do so love to take them out every now and then and revisit them.  Joy that keeps on giving, that never gets old. Special thoughts and memories . . . little treasures that are ours to remember, but yet again, shared with others in the context of their own experiences. A sort of commonality shared between us all.  Who hasn't enjoyed the smell of a freshly cut lawn, or the sight of a red barn with the backdrop of a field of undulating gold . . . a supper table warm and bright  . . . 

God gave us memories . . . that we might
have roses in December . . . 

 Someone had asked if they could see some photos of Cindy's kittens before they grow up.  I was there yesterday for supper and I took a few shots.  This is one of Sully sitting on my mother's chair.

This is Gus standing just inside the kitchen doorway.  

They are such sweet little things  . . .  so engaging  . . .  very affectionate . . .  

You wish that they could stay this small forever, but alas, they don't.

I think God makes baby animals cute on purpose, baby anything really  . . .  so we won't mind taking care of them.  There is a special sweetness to such living things that tugs on the tender spots of our hearts.


I am a lover of cuteness.  Remembering the bunny that I knitted for Maryn a number of years back. I should have knit one for myself also. Maybe one day I will.  As I am fond of saying,  "Hope springs eternal".  I don't think I have enough hours left in my time here on earth to do all the things that I really want to do, but maybe I can make a few of them happen.


I have a huge fondness for patchwork quilts.  I always have done. I did put together one once upon a time.  A mauve and white one. My children were all quite young.  I yarn tufted it as I did not have the facilities or means, or knowhow for that matter, to be able to quilt it.  My first mother-in-law used to make quilts all the time.  She designed them using liquid embroidery. She gave us one for a wedding gift, which I gave back to him when we separated. I wish I had kept it now to give to my son. I know he would have really appreciated having it.

I have a confession to make.  I have been looking at this quilt on Etsy for many months now.  At least six. I popped it into my favorites and have been going back and looking at it almost on a weekly basis, sometimes on a daily basis.  On Thursday I put it into my cart and I bought it.  I thought to myself if I am going to keep looking at something for such a long time and yearning for it  . . .  and I have the means to purchase it, then  . . . maybe it is time I get it for myself.  It reminds me of my mother's quilt that she had that her mother had made.  Cindy has a quilt that my grandmama made for my mom and dad that is beautiful.  Dad has one too, that his sister finished for him that his mother had made.  I wanted a quilt too  . . . longed for it.  I have wanted one my whole life. Now I will have one. I felt a bit guilty buying it, but I know I will love and treasure it. It will have a good home with me.


This is so true and something which I need to remind myself of from time to time. I think I am growing a thick skin, but then someone will say something, or comment on something and my "want to be thick" skin splits.  We will never be everyone's favorite cup of tea, and that's okay.  We just need want to be our loved ones' cup of tea, and we won't even always be theirs either. That's fine.  If we always do our best, be our best, try our best  . . .  nobody can complain, and if they do, we can know that it is not justified, and says more about them than it does about us. 


Three things in human life are important. The first is to
be kind; the second is to be kind; and
the third is to be kind.
~Henry James

On the surface we do not live in a very kind world.  At least that is what one would suppose if you listen to the news with any frequency.  I do  not. That constant bombardment of what is wrong in our world is not good for the mind or the heart. It is good to be informed, but there is a limit to what is actually real news and what is garbage for the soul.

If we take the time to look, however, we can find a multitude of stories of kindness, usually perpetrated by small and simple folk like you and like me.

" A thirteen year old girl in Louisville, Kentucky, saw a young boy being teased and bullied by other boys over his tattered shoes. She grabbed a pair of brand new Nikes from her closet and gave them to him."

Kind people pay for the person behind them in the coffee shop line up's morning coffee, or buy up meals ahead at the local restaurant to be given free to the local homeless. They see that a neighbor's walkway needs sweeping off and they sweep it.  They see a need and fill it. They ask a question and they listen to the answer with interest, not glazed over eyes.  They give up their place in the grocery store line up to the person behind them who only has two items.  They go above and beyond what is expected of them, simply because . . . Beyond the easy response, without any expectation of receiving anything in return.  Because they see a need, and fulfil it wherever possible, whenever possible, however possible.  It is not just being nice.  There are plenty of nice people out there. Kindness draws from a much deeper well. It is my goal to always be kind.  Not just nice.  Nice is on the surface. Kind draws from the well within. It is not an easy thing to do sometimes, but I keep trying.  I DO believe that if more people were truly kind, our world could be, would be . . .  transformed.


Oh what a simple way to elevate something which is quite common.  The cuff of a shirtsleeve.  Why did I not ever think of that  . . . Now I am thinking about anything I  might have in my wardrobe that I might be able to apply this simply idea to  . . . 


Nothing is so beautiful as spring - 
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush,
Thrush's eggs look like little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightning to hear him sing.
~Gerard Manley Hopkins

Remembering when living in Oak Cottage a thrush used to park on the chimney of the cottage next door to us in the dawn and the twilight hours and sing its heart out.  Oh what a beautiful song that was to hear.  What a blessing that was that I got to hear it. 

Oh if I were to gather all these special remembrances together in one place I have not a cup nor a book large enough to hold them all.  What joy it is to have a tender heart that takes note of special gifts such as these  . . . 

And with that a thought to carry with you  . . . 

° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

 *.˛.Give me a moment
because I like to cry for joy.
It is so delicious, to cry for joy.
~Charles Dickens° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •

In The English Kitchen today  . . .  Sheet Pan Au Gratin Potatoes.  Simple.  Easy to make. Delicious.  Sized perfectly for two. 

I hope that you have a lovely Saturday. We are going up country to Swiss Chalet with my father for a special supper today, and then tomorrow I am hosting Easter Dinner at my place. I am really looking forward to both occasions.  Whatever you get up to on this holiday weekend, be safe, be happy and be blessed. Don't forget!

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And I do too!    


Friday 29 March 2024

Friday thoughts . . .



The other day I was sitting in contemplation and I started to think about Mary, the mother of Jesus, standing at the foot of the cross watching what was happening to her son, and my heart was there with her in the mess.  I know that she knew from the very beginning that hers was the son of God, and that he was destined for greatness, but I am not sure that she could ever have known . . . had even an inkling . . . that it would end in this way.

This was her son, who she had carried within her, near to her heart, for nine months, and near to her heart for all of his life. She had been there from the beginning, felt him quicken inside her, his movements only small flutters are first, and then much stronger. She had gone through the pangs of childbirth to bring him into the world, this son who was not really destined to be hers forever, but only given into her care-giving.

She nurtured him through all of his childhood. Protected him.  Healed his cuts and hurts, and bumps and scrapes. Watched his first tentative steps grow into walking and then running. I am sure there were moments when she forgot just who he was.  There would have been moments when he wrapped his little boy arms around her neck and nestled his little head into her shoulder. He was simply her little boy, as she watched him grow and wax strong.

And then, when he began his ministry, and it became clear to all just who he was, I am sure she was proud of this little boy who had grown into such a strong man, with such a beautiful message, who was the promise of delivery for them all.  Who spoke with such wisdom and who performed miracles.  Her request at the wedding in Cana was his first public  miracle, and I am sure her heart glowed with pride, knowing that he was much more than just a man.  Her son, and yet not  just her son . . . as his miracles and his message grew, along with his many followers, and his enemies too . . .

And then she finds herself at the foot of the cross, and her heart must have been breaking.  As a mother myself, I know her heart had to have been breaking, and she may have even been questioning if she had been mistaken about his destiny for all these years.  There had to have been moments of doubt in her heart, there at the foot of the cross.


Or maybe I have got it all wrong.  Maybe she knew all along that this was how it would end, but still . . . her heart had to be breaking.  For sure those who had known and walked with him were swept away in feelings of  disbelief and despair at what was happening, but for her  . . .  a mother  . . .  it must have been so much more.  It must have been simply horrendous.  Heart breaking  . . . 

And tears came to my eyes, rolling down my cheeks as I pondered these things.

And whether you believe in the Divinity of Christ or not . . .  you must surely believe in the depth and the power of a mother's love . . . and you must know how it felt to be there in this moment.

Is it any wonder that the earth trembled and broke in two . . . 

Those feelings could only have been matched by perfect joy when only  a few days later the stone was rolled away, and his ministry became clear to all of those who loved and followed Him.  The despair of her mother's heart must have been replaced with the joy of hope and promise, any doubt being swept away in the miracle that simply was.

Anyways, those were my thoughts and I wanted to share them on this Good Friday.  Sometimes I wonder what is so "good" about it, but then I remember Sunday and the promise it holds for us all.


I managed to get a Doctor's appointment yesterday for next Tuesday morning.  I am not sure what can be done.  The ibuprofen just barely takes the edge off the pain.  It is still there, but just a bit duller for a time, until the ibuprofen wears off.  Last night in bed, it kept waking me up all night, but you can only take so many of those things a day and I try to save them for when it is really bad.

I hope that all it is is arthritis.  Anyways, I am going to the Doctors and maybe they will do an x-ray or something, or offer me a cortisone shot. I have had those before and they have helped immensely.

It was so busy in the shops yesterday.  I had thought that it would be.  Much of what we wanted to get really was shopped out, but I did get some really nice looking Brussel's Sprouts.  So we will have those on Sunday with our ham.  Cindy has got the ham and will cook it at hers and bring it over. I think she is making her special sweet potatoes as well. I will do a potato scallop, cook some veg, make some rolls and dessert. It will be a nice Easter Dinner.  I think dad is taking us all out to Swiss Chalet on Saturday.  Yummy!

Its my youngest grandson's 4th birthday today. My son posted a video of him on Facebook, eating a donut I think.  He is really cute. I left Birthday greetings.  I didn't know if I should.  I was really torn as to if I should or not, but I did in the end anyways. I sent him a gift and a card. I always do. It was a car eating dinosaur. I have no idea what he likes to play with, so I just guessed it was something a four year old boy would like.  I live in hope that maybe some day I will be able to meet him in person. You know what they say, hope springs eternal!  Our God is a God of miracles.

And with that I will leave you with a thought for today  . . . 

° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

 *.˛.Nature gives to  every time and season
some beauties of its own.° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
~Charles Dickens° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •

In The English Kitchen today  . . .  Classic English Bread and Butter Pudding.  Wibbly and creamy rich on the bottom, toasted buttery crunchy on top.  Delicious.

I hope that you have a beautiful day, no matter what you get up to.  it is 10*C already so promises to be warm and mild.  Be blessed and don't forget!

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And I do too!    


Thursday 28 March 2024

My Favorite Things . . . 

These are some of the things in life that I enjoy and which make me happy, inspire me, or put a smile on my face. Maybe some of them are yours too.  Lets share!  

Vera Mouse by Marjolein Bastin.  I just adore the art of Marjolein anyways, but Vera Mouse is my favourite.  I need to get myself some of her notecards. They are a wonderful way to let someone know you are thinking of them in a special way!


Old clay jugs.  My mother used to have a Ginger beer bottle made of clay. My Uncle Harold had a whole bottle room in his house.  He collected bottles or years and years.  There is something about old clay bottles and jugs that is very unique and pretty.  

Roasted Cashew Nuts.  They are my favourite roasted nut followed by Pistachio nuts.  My parents used to get a tin of mixed nuts every Christmas and the Cashews in them were everyone's favourites. They used to disappear first. I think my mom used to fish them all out when we were not looking! 

Chocolate Coated Almonds. Especially the ones my children used to sell through the fund raisers at school.  Oh I simply adored them. I think I was always their best customer.  I do love them still, but for some reason they don't taste the same as they did back then.

Wire Crowns. To me, much more beautiful than a bejeweled crown. There is an air of mystery about them. 

Oh how I love Kites!  I have always wanted to fly one.  You need wide open spaces to do that, and wind, and energy. I could watch them for hours.   

Hot Air Balloons.  I have not seen one in a long time now. When I lived in Kent, most sunny days at the weekend brought hot air balloons floating over our house and the Orchards surrounding where we lived.  I could watch them forever as well.  They seem to be so mystical.  I have never been up in a Hot Air Balloon, but I have always wanted to go on a Hot Air Balloon ride.  Maybe one day.  They are very expensive. Maybe if I win the lottery. 

Carousels/Merry-go-rounds.  I love them.  They are so whimsical and seem to be so safe.  Love the music that plays, etc.  I do get sick on them, however, so I have not been on one very often.  When my oldest son turned 3 I made him a Carousel Birthday Cake.  I was up all night decorating it. It was so much fun and I think he really liked it.  I never made another one because it was a lot of work. I'm not really good at cake decorating. You might think I would be because I can draw, but it takes a different kind of skill to be able to draw with an icing bag. 

Aprons. Any kind, but especially vintage. When I have one on I feel just like June Cleaver or Aunt Bea.


Red geraniums.  I love them.  I could fill my garden with tubs of red geraniums, and window boxes too.  They just make me smile. 

Holly Hocks.  They are a cottage garden flower.  When I lived in Suffield Alberta, the whole side of our house was planted with pink holly hocks. They were so beautiful. 

Cows in the fields . . . the sound of cow bells . . .  the sound of their moo's.  The first house I lived in when I moved to the U.K. backed onto a farmer's fields and they were filled with cows. Occasionally they would get out and we would end up with them at our back gate which wasn't so much fun, but for the most part we really enjoyed them.  Cows are very gentle animals.  

Granny Square Afghans.  They are my favourite out of all the afghans.   Amanda of Eightbysix makes the most beautiful afghans in the loveliest colors.   

 Window shelves and cornices.  I love them.  They are so wholesome looking . . . 


Evening in Paris . . .  it seemed to be so sophisticated  . . . at the time.

Nivea Cream.  The smell. The feel. I love everything about it.

Tomatoes.   I adore tomatoes.  Especially in season. My sister grows the nicest cherry tomatoes.

The voice of Sam Elliot. It makes me want to melt.  He just has this amazing voice. 

Jane Austin anything . . .  love it all. 

Cinnamon . . .  anything  . . . love, love, love  . . . 

And those are my favourite things for this week.  What are some of yours?

A thought to carry with you  . . .  

° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

There is no better test of a man's
integrity than his behavior when
he is wrong. 
~Marvin Williams •。★★ 。* 。

IN The English Kitchen today  . . .  Seared Cube Steak.  A really economical way to enjoy a tasty steak supper.      The cost of Beef is astronomical at the moment. Every little helps.

Cindy and I are off out and about this morning to pick up a few Easter bits.  Yesterday she came over and helped me clean the fridge and my deep freeze.  She is such a help to me. I do not know what I would do without her.  We both went out to supper with Dad and Hazel last night as well. The Ibuprofen is really helping with my knee.  I am still going to call this morning to make an appointment.  Whatever you get up to today, don't forget!

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And I do too!    


Wednesday 27 March 2024

Wednesday Witterings . . .


 How did it happen?  Did I blink too fast?  Wasn't I just 17 yesterday,  and filled with hopes and dreams?  Or 25, with all of my chicks beneath my wings?  That is how it seems . . .  your days seem to pass as if in a blur and then all of a sudden you are on the precipice of something that once seemed to be eons away. You are older than you ever thought you could be.  Loved ones are missing and gone  . . .  and it all happened far too fast. In. The. Blink. Of. An. Eye.

Ahhh  . . .  but think of the wisdom gained.  And the growth in spirit. You were but a child and now . . . you are almost full grown.  Hopefully there is still quite a ways to go before you are done.  There are still hopes and dreams, and your chicks, they have chicks of their own. Such is the way of life. Its all as it should be, and quite rightly so.


Oh the little faces, with scrunched up noses as if something foul just passed by. Grumpy Gus's.  When I was a child I thought they danced in the garden beds.  Green toes prancing over the dirt, leafy arms held aloft . . . to music only the fairies could hear. Elfin drums beating  . . . alongside the tinkle of canterbury bells  . . . 

Yes, I did read too many Enid Blyton books and watch too much Disney.  For me fairy worlds were real and tangible, and I longed to catch a glimpse.  Too much imagination. That was me. My head always in the clouds.


I ventured out yesterday for a short.  Cindy and I went up to the Super Store. I wanted some fruits and some vegetables. I got what I thought a fresh salad, but it ended up being mostly stems of romaine without  a lot of leaf.  I should have looked closer. Was a person putting together salads, I fear my pride in a job well done would not allow me to do such a thing . . . fill a salad container with just stems, and then hide them beneath a tray of tomatoes, carrots, etc.  

I did get some lovely looking apples at Goucher's Farm Market though.  I plan on making  myself a bowl of applesauce. I am not one much for eating apples in the raw.  A piece here and there, but cook them and I am all in. I think it is a texture thing. I do not like the feel of the skin against my teeth. In these later years I find myself being super sensitive to textures and smells, tastes even.  Lately pepper seems to smell like smoke to me and I am not overly fond of it . . .  the smell.

I did get to the Drugstore and spoke to the Chemist and asked if I could take some Ibuprofen to help ease the inflammation in my knees for a few days.  I got some and had seen a little improvement by the time I had gone to bed last night.  I was a bit more comfortable at any rate.  The pain is still there this morning. I expect it will take a few days to ease to tolerable. I will be calling tomorrow to try to get an appointment next week to see a Doctor.


I watched a video by Hannah Ricketts yesterday as she ventured into Panzers (her local store) and into Chelsea to see what Easter goodies were on offer.  I was amazed at all of the different things that were for sale for Easter in just those few shops in London.  I expect it is the same in most large urban cities.  We don't get a lot here where I live.  The usual Cadbury's eggs and Lindt bunnies.     I have never seen anything so luxurious here, but then I don't think that people around here would have the dosh to spend on such things. It was very interesting however and I really enjoyed seeing everything.


Speaking of Easter, I posted this on my English Kitchen Facebook page the other day along with the relevant link to where I had posted how to make them.  Garden Tomb Cookies.  Anyways it was meant only to be a bit of fun and something that a person could enjoy putting together with their children or grandchildren whilst teaching them a bit about the religious traditions of Easter if so inclined.  Someone took offence.  How dare I post something so sacrilegious  and disrespectful.  The thought of inviting children to eat something as morbid as a burial place with a pagan Easter egg on the lawn. 

I mean, really?

I notice that there is becoming  more and more a level of intolerance amongst people for anything that they don't see eye to eye with, and a general lack of grace.   Almost every day I get people shouting the odds at me because I am "The ENGLISH kitchen" and how I shouldn't be posting anything that is remotely un-English. (Never mind that there are oodles of truly British recipes posted.)  Have they never eaten a pizza, a Chinese meal,  or a curry?  Not English by any definition, but appearing at dinner tables regularly all over the U.K.  Ham on a pizza?  Call Scotland Yard!  

There are only so many truly authentically traditional British recipes and I have posted most of them at one time or another.  But most of the critics never bother to take the time to look, judging solely on the recipe they are looking at.   People are really becoming rude and ignorant and not reluctant in the least at shouting the odds or being super critical of others.  Everyone is an "expert."

But then again . . . they can think what they think, it is only the odd person, and by and large most people are quite happy with what I post. I try not to let myself get drawn into the "trolling" activity, but sometimes it is hard, and one feels the need to defend oneself.


Its actually +6* out there this morning, and it says mostly sunny.  Is March going to go out like a lamb?  I can't remember if it came in like a lamb or a lion?   Ahh, my aging brain.  Whatever will be will be. Later today I will hopefully be meeting my dad and Hazel for dinner out.  We will see how the knee is feeling, or if my sister is going also. I prefer it if she is.  Is that selfish of me?  Probably so  . . . I just enjoy her company so much.  Oh, her kittens are adorable.  I could spend hours playing with them. So sweet.

And now, I will leave you with a thought for the day  . . . 

° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

 *.˛.If, of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,
and from thy slender store two loaves 
alone to thee are left, sell one and from 
the dole, buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.
Sa'di, The Gulistan, 1258° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •

In The English Kitchen today  . . . Quick & Easy Cheesy Chicken & Potatoes.  This is a simple dish to throw together in a skillet for a quick and delicious mid-week supper for two.

I hope that you have a lovely day. I hope the sun shines and that the temperatures are warm and that you are treated to a truly spring-like beautiful day!  Be happy and don't forget!

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And I do too!