Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Day 273 - September 30th

I was reminiscing the other day to a friend about how when I was child my grandparents lived next door to us and every day, no matter what they were doing, at 11 o clock in the morning my grandparents would stop for elevenses. My Nan would always produce two tins of home baked goodies - one tin of cakes and one of pastries (jam tarts, mince pies, almond slices....). When ever it was the school holidays I too would join in this daily ritual and turn up on their door step at 11 o clock. It got me thinking about how whenever I decide to bake, I only ever bake cakes. Seldom do I make pastries so today I put that to right and made some Apricot Jam Slices. I had intended to make Mincemeat Slices but the jar of mincemeat in the cupboard left over form last Christmas went out of date in February and our local shop only stocks mincemeat at Christmas! So I used apricot jam instead.

Anyone whose interested here's the recipe:

225 g (8 oz) Self Raising Flour
pinch salt
50 g (2 oz) lard
50 g (2 oz) margarine
50 g (2 oz) caster sugar
1 medium egg, beaten
3 x 15 ml spoon (3 tbsp) milk
jam or mincemeat
caster sugar for dredging

1 Heat oven to 180ºC, 350ºF, Gas Mark 4. Grease a baking tray.
2 Mix flour and salt together. Rub in the fats and stir in the sugar.
3 Mix to a stiff dough with the beaten egg, add a little milk if necessary.
4 Divide the dough in half and roll both out thinly to the same size rectangle.
5 Place one piece on a baking tray, spread over jam or mincemeat
6 Place the other piece on top and pinch the edges together. Brush with milk and dredge with sugar.
7 Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
8 When cool, cut into squares or triangles.

The pastry isn't the easiest to work with but is quite forgiving.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Day 272 - September 29th

Euonymus plant in the garden adds a real splash of colour.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Day 271 - September 28th

Whilst we were out yesterday afternoon we collected some fallen leaves. Today I took some photos of them. The first one will be my photo of the day.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Day 270 - September 27th

This afternoon we went to Wrest Park. It will probably be our last visit this year because Wrest Park closes at the end of October until next April. Today I tried to concentrate on taking photos of signs of autumn.

My photo of the day is my final 'Seasonal Feet' photo - 'Autumn Feet'.

I now have photos of all the seasons and a scrapbook layout using them would, I think, be quite good.

There were lots of chestnuts lying on the ground in their spikey coats.

Some pretty impressive mushrooms/toad stalls. I even got down to ground level to photograph them.

Some weird looking fungi.

And lots and lots of conkers still on the tree as well as on the ground.

These berries have intrigued me on previous visits so today I googled them and discovered the tree is a yew tree. They look just like beads that have been pinned on the tree - perhaps that's the crafter in me thinking that!

I also took the opportunity to try and take some photos of Lara. She wasn't in a particularly happy mood though having just lost one of several sticks she had been carrying around the park with her! Although they aren't the happiest photos I do like the colours in them though.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Day 269 - September 26th

This is an angel feather,
sent from God above,
to serve as a reminder,
of his gracious love.

It's from your guardian angel,
that God himself assigned to you,
And fell out in his struggles,
as he protected you.

Each time you almost stumble,
Each time you nearly fall,
Remember to,
Thank God and his angels,
for answering your call.

Wandering around the garden I spied this feather lying in a bush so the feather is my photo for today.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Day 268 - September 25th

Hypericum soaking up the autumn afternoon sunshine.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Day 267 - September 24th

Although we haven't really been affected by the credit crunch, this year I have subconsciously found myself trying to 'Reduce, Reuse and Recycle' more and to 'Make Do and Mend' and generally be more frugal. This has particularly been the case with food. I hate wasting food! This morning I notice a few bananas in the fruit bowl that were really past their best and unlikely to be touched by the children with a barge pole. So, instead of throwing them away I decided to make some Banana Muffins. I found a recipe on the internet and hey presto 30 mins later I had a lovely batch of 12 yummy muffins. I later discovered just how yummy they were and now there are only 9 left!

For anyone whose interested, here's the fool proof recipe:

200g (7 oz) plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large bananas, mashed
150g (5 oz) caster sugar
1 egg
75g (2 1/2 oz) butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C /gas mark 4. Place 12 paper baking cases in muffin tin.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt; set aside.
3. Combine mashed bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter in a large bowl. Fold in flour mixture, and mix until smooth.
4. Spoon evenly into baking cases in muffin tin.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until muffins spring back when lightly tapped.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Day 266 - September 23rd

Popped into Hitchin this morning so took my camera with me. I choose to photograph this rather impressive looking building which is home to Clement Jocelyne, a shop specialising in home furnishings, gifts and interior design. I think the building has something to do with Frederic Seebohm who was a banker, an economic historian and a benefactor of Hitchin.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Day 265 - September 22nd

Day 265 - only 100 days of the year left - where did it go?????

On my way back from the post office this morning I passed a house with a horse chestnut tree in the front garden. There were conkers all over the pavement so I discretely picked a few up and squirreled them away in my pockets. Thought I'd better take my photo before the children got home from school because no doubt when they see them they will be wanting them pierced with a skewer and threading onto a shoe lace!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Day 264 - September 21st

Today my car passed its MOT! My car is 12 years old so it's always a 'fingers crossed' moment. Living in a village with a virtually non-existent bus service and with the few buses that do run not going to the places I would want to go, having a car is vital. Its so good when the car gets through its MOT first time with no expense - well apart from the £4.90 for a new windscreen wiper blade. LOL. I took this photo of the car this afternoon - look at the fluffy white clouds reflecting in the bonnet.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Day 263 - September 20th

We spent an hour or so in the garden this afternoon emptying the hanging baskets and tubs of the well-past-their-best bedding plants and generally tidying up ready for winter. But, the geraniums in the front garden are still gorgeous and look beautiful.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Day 262 - September 19th

On Thursday my uncle and aunt celebrated their 60th (Diamond) Wedding Anniversary. Today they had a get together to celebrate with family and friends. My photo of the day is likely to be a photo I took of my aunt and uncle together with my other aunt and uncle and my mum and dad. Its not often that all three couples get together so it was a rare opportunity to photograph them all together. But, as I've not asked them if I can put the photo on the web I'm not going to post it here.

Instead, I'll post a photo of the telegram my aunt and uncle received from the Queen. There name is at the bottom of the original but again I wouldn't want to post that without them agreeing.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Day 261 - September 18th

Todays photo is of some of the sycamore keys (helicopters) that Lara and I picked up on the way home from school this afternoon. On our daily walks to and from school we pass a couple of sycamore trees and at this time of year we always pick up some of the winged seeds, throw them into the air and then watch them spiral down.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Day 260 - September 17th

"Come into my parlor", said the spider to the fly

Struggled to find anything to photograph today but I managed to find this spider in the greenhouse. There were actually quite few spiders in there but I wasn't going to hang around too long to photograph them. I hate spiders so it was a quick 'snap and go'!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Day 259 - September 16th

I've done a lot of running around so far this week so when I found myself with an hour or so on my hands this afternoon I decided to relax by doing some baking. I enjoy baking but rarely get time to do much. I didn't do anything adventurous. Just made some fairy cakes. But it was good to slow down for a bit and of course the children when they came in from school were pleased with the results!

Day 258 - September 15th

Today I took Lara to the library to be presented with her certificate and medal for completing the 'Quest Seekers' Summer Reading Challenge.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Day 257 - September 14th

Lara's been making robots - lots and lots of robots!

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Day 256 - September 13th

Today was an important date in our villages annual calendar. Today was the day that the teddy bears fly!

Each year to raise money for the Church, teddies are taken to the top of the church tower and then launched - the big ones on parachutes and the little one on a zip line. Lara took two of her teddies and proudly came away with two flight certificates.

First, the teddies are checked in and asked to sit in the 'departure lounge' (wooden seat). Lara's two bears are the little brown ones on the left.

Then they are transported in style (in a bucket) to the 'departure gate' (top of the church tower).

The teddies then, one by one, 'fly' from the top of the tower to the ground where they are greeted by their owners.

The children love to see their teddies flying through the air and it raises money for the Church too.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Day 255 - September 12th

The last few days have been unusually warm for the this time of year and so today we took advantage of it and had what could possibly be our last BBQ this summer.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Day 254 - September 11th

I'm afraid my photos this week have all been a bit samey. Plants, plants and more plants. At least today you get the added bonus of an insect too. LOL Even in autumn the bees are still busy.

I think I've hit a photography wall! I haven't felt at all inspired this week and taking the photos has felt like a chore. :( I must make more of an effort next week and venture further than the garden to take my photos.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Day 253 - September 10th

Alstroemeria in the bouquet DH gave me at the weekend.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Day 251 - September 8th

The cox's apples are nearly ready for picking.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Day 250 - September 7th

Over the weekend we started to replace the daffodil bulbs that were in the raised flower beds that seperate the patio from the lawn. It was a job that we had been meaning to do from 4-5 years because for quite a few years a lot of the daffodils have been blind. The bulbs were set nearly 20 years ago and were past their best. Unfortunately it turned out to be a major job which meant emptying the raised beds of all the soil and removing by hand all the bulbs as well as a lot of bind weed root too, but as the weather was warm and dry we felt we needed to get on and get the job done once and for all. Two thirds of the beds have now been done and new bulbs planted. We bought a few too many new bulbs (OK, far too many bulbs!) so some are being popped into the borders round the edge of the garden. Hopefully in the spring when these bulbs flower we will have a better show - we had better after all the effort.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Day 249 - September 6th

Today Lara joined several thousand Guides, Brownies and Rainbows from our area to celebrate the Centenary of girl guiding. She came home with a balloon and a goodie bag of commemorative bits and pieces.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Day 248 - September 5th (Our Wedding Anniversary)

Today is our 22nd Wedding Anniversary. DH bought me a gorgeous bouquet which included three of these beautiful gerberas.

Despite it being 22 years ago I can remember our wedding day so well. How the youngest pageboy, Mark, who admittedly was only about 18mths old, threw a tantrum on the morning of the wedding and refused to wear his outfit and ended up going to Church in the black velvet suit trousers and a T-shirt. How the photographer turned up half an hour early and I wasn't dressed. How the sun streamed in through the church windows when we were saying our vows and the sweat was pouring off Wayne's forehead. How it poured with rain when we were having the group photos taken and everyone had to make a mad dash back into the church to shelter until it stopped. How my childhood best fried Mar was there all the was from Oz. How my Nan despite not being in the best of health did all the flowers in the Church and at the reception and even grew some flowers from seed especially for the day (Sadly she passed away 3 months later). How we had our first dance at the reception to Hughie Lewis & the News' 'Happy to be Stuck with you'! LOL. How we got to the hotel on our wedding night trying desperately not to look like newly weds and as I lent over to sign the book a shower of confetti fell from my head onto the open pages!

It was definitely the best day of my life.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Day 247 - September 4th


I love books! I have tonnes of books! But, over the years my taste in books has changed so I have loads of books that in the past I have read once or maybe twice but am unlikely to read again and so just sit in cupboards, in boxes under beds and even in the loft. I hate the thought of just throwing them away and there's only so many books you can give to charity shops, etc. I've tried selling some on Ebay before but to be honest for how little you get for books on Ebay its not worth the effort.

So, last week I registered with Read It Swap It - the UKs free book swap site that allows you to swap the books you don't want for the second-hand books that you do. I listed 55 of my books and so far in just a week I have arranged 4 swaps for books that I'm more likely to read. I've managed to get hold of 'Angels and Demons' by Dan Brown that I've been meaning to buy for some time. For just the cost of posting my book to the other Read It Swap It member I will get a used, but perfectly readable copy and in the process have got rid of one of the books that is cluttering up the house. I think I could get addicted to the site!

My photo for today is of just a few of the books that have been listed.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Day 246 - September 3rd

Back to school today for my two youngest and so the obligatory first day photos were taken.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Day 245 - September 2nd

Chris got new glasses today.