Monthly Archives: July 2012

Food Monday ~ Juicy Summer Salad

Summertime and the living is easy, so why not make an easy lunch at home or put the  ingredients in a lunch box to eat while sitting in the local park and soaking up a free helping of Vitamin D.

Juicy Summer Salad

A handful of  rocket,
cherry tomatoes
couple of scallions/salad onions
few slices of yellow pepper
red/black grapes
Melon chunks
pineapple chunks,
pinch of curry powder, and mayonnaise, mixed together or dressing of your choice.

Wash and dry the rocket leaves, cherry tomatoes, yellow pepper and grapes and place in a bowl. Clean and slice the salad onions and add to the bowl. Add the melon & pineapple chunks and toss lightly.
Mix the curry powder with the mayonnaise together and stir through the salad.
Serve with crusty French, ciabatta or sour dough bread.

What do you add to make a summer salad special?

The Flying Angel

The Flying Angel ~ Bronze and Stainless Steel
~ Maurice Harron

The Flying Angel, outside modern Seafarers’ Centre at Prince’s Dock Street in Belfast.

The Flying Angel is a worldwide symbol of the Seafarers Mission set up in the 19th century by Anglican clergy to provide shelter for sailors coming off long sea journeys. The Angel, as a protective force, is in the act of calming the waves.

“Then I saw another angel flying high in the air,
With an eternal message of good news to announce
To the peoples of the earth, to every race, tribe,
Language and nation”
~ Revelation 14 v16

The Mission to Seafarers in Belfast, is one of many centres based in over 250 seaports across the world. They are there to provide help, support and advice for the world’s 1.2 million seafarers of all ranks, nationalities and beliefs.

Flying Angel centres offer food and drink, television, books and a place to relax away from your ship. They also provide free wifi internet for Skype calls, as well as phone connections. If one of the seafarers just needs someone to talk to about worries or problems, then chaplains or staff will be happy to sit and listen.

In many ports transport can be arranged to take seafarers to the nearest town for shopping and sightseeing, so that you can make the most of your time ashore.

The original The Mission to Seafarers church, now derelict.

A close up of that plaque.

Maurice Harron was born in 1946 in Derry and studied sculpture at the Ulster College of Art and Design in Belfast.

Much of his work is in the public realm; two of his most acclaimed commissions are Reconciliation/Hands Across the Divide in Carlisle Square, Derry, overlooking the Craigavon Bridge crossing the River Foyle, and the Gaelic Chieftain sited in the Curlew Mountains, County Roscommon.

Openings ~ 45

One of the many arched openings at Dublin’s Botanical gardens, leading to a glasshouse.

The opened doorway to the same greenhouse

The central display with another view through the open doors at the other end of the building.

Colourful display of Alpines/Rockery plants

Dead Lines

When my mother died, my sister decided to wake her.

Don’t be daft, she didn’t shout and shake her arm. No. She decided to have a modern version of an Irish Wake. It is a little different to the old traditional Irish Wake where the proceedings resembled a big party, and the only one without a hangover a week later, was the deceased. The modern day drink and drive laws put paid to much of that.

Often on such occasions, the family will find that friends & neighbours appear as if by magic, the house is cleaned from top to bottom and every surface of the kitchen and beyond is weighed down with more food and drink than you would find in a 3* Michelin restaurant.

People gather to offer condolences to the bereaved and remember the life of the deceased. There may be tears, but there’s plenty of laughter as well, as all the funny stories, happy times, and triumphs of the dearly departed are shared and recorded in the memories of the living.

Sometimes the words spoken with sombre sincerity, can provide the best laughs for the bereaved.

My siblings and I took our turn to answer the call of the door bell, and welcome the latest batch of condolence carriers. There were handshakes and hugs with the usual automatic mutterings of “Sorry for your troubles”. On one such occasion it fell to me to welcome an elderly couple who lived nearby. We addressed each other by name and since some Irish people are squeamish about seeing a dead body, I needed to warn them that mammy was laid out inside in the bed. Yes. That Bed.
“Mammy is in here”,  I said. “Would you like to see her”?

“Oh yes!” came a speedy reply. Well come on now, who wants to miss the star attraction of the show! 😉

So there they were standing at the side of the bed with reverently bowed heads and shuffling of beads, before crossing themselves and reaching out in unison to touch mammy’s forehead and hand.  With another nod of the head the lady looked up at me and quietly said:

“She looks like herself!”

Sixteen years later, I still wonder how I managed to keep a straight face.

Then there was the usual remark that came from another caller: “You look just like your mother.” This one was hard to take, although I had heard it all my life and still do even to this day.  The problem on that occasion was that the waxen figure with the sunken face, no more resembled Mammy, for me or for any of my siblings. Even though we had all increased our stock of grey hair and lines etched into our faces, over the ten weeks since mammy had a stroke, I hope that I didn’t resemble the death mask in the bed.

Serious utterances I have heard down the years at other funerals include:

“He makes a lovely corpse.”

“If she was only here, sure she could tell the story better herself.”

“I like a black car, it looks good at a funeral.”

Overheard in Easons this week and shared by @paddyanglican:

“Will we get the Irish Times or the Independent?”  “Get the Indo; More people die in it!”

Quick as a whippet, @primal sneeze came back with:

‘Catholics die in the Independent. Church of Ireland die in the Irish Times. Safer to read the Farmers Journal – no one dies in it!

So go on now, tell me, have you been to any good funerals lately?  Do you have an interesting anecdote to share?

I’m hoping that Padmini won’t kill me for massacring her topic of Deadlines… sure you know me…. I like short wurds! 😉 Now it is time to tip toe along quietly to see if the other active members have reached their deadlines. Anu, Delirious, Maxi, Maria/Gaelikaa, Maria SilverFox, OCD writer, Padmum, Paul, Ramana, Shackman speaks, The Old Fossil, Will Knott..

No noise back there, or you’ll waken the dead! 😉

Thursday Special ~ Church Squirrels

There were five houses of religion in a small town:

The Presbyterian Church,
The Baptist Church,
The Methodist Church ,
The Catholic Church and
The Jewish Synagogue.

Each church and Synagogue was overrun with pesky squirrels.

One day, the Presbyterian Church called a meeting to decide what to do about the squirrels. After much prayer and consideration they determined that the squirrels were predestined to be there and they shouldn’t interfere with God’s divine will.

In the Baptist Church the squirrels had taken up habitation in the baptistery. The deacons met and decided to put a cover on the baptistery and drown the squirrels in it. The squirrels escaped somehow and there were twice as many there the next week

The Methodist Church got together and decided that they were not in a position to harm any of God’s creation. So, they humanely trapped the Squirrels and set them free a few miles outside of town. Three days later, the squirrels were back.

But — The Catholic Church came up with the best and most effective solution. They baptised the squirrels and registered them as members of the church. Now they only see them on Christmas, Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday and Easter.

Not much was heard about the Jewish Synagogue, but they took one squirrel and had a short service with him called circumcision and they haven’t seen a squirrel on the property since.




With thanks to Brighid for the story today.

Raspberry Purls

I have not covered any crafts for some time.  Sorting through my photos I came across this one.

This is exactly like the very first sewing machine I ever used. I was a young school girl at the time and staying with my aunt, daddies eldest sister. I was still quite short in stature then and found it difficult to get my feet going into a steady rhythm while concentrating on the actual sewing and keeping my fingers from going under the needle.

I saw this particular machine in the window of a dry cleaners and menders, at Royal Avenue in Belfast. Typical me I had to go in and ask for permission to take a photo.  The lady in charge offered to take a photo of me sitting at the machine, and sure why not make the most of the opportunity.  I didn’t have an unused handkerchief in my pocket so my ever present gloves had to come to the rescue to make it look like I was actually sewing! 😉

You have seen the blue jumper before, both in the making and again when it was completed.  The waist band, cuffs and collar were knit in single rib the remainder was crocheted in shell stitch. Please don’t ask for a pattern as I didn’t actually have one and would need to go back and count the stitches. Did I mention last time that I crocheted the pieces together when it was finished instead of the usual needle and thread method?  It gave a neat finish and you can see I worked the seam on the outside across the shoulders. I will use that method again!

Since then the experiment in pink above, again without a proper pattern, this time knitted mostly in the round, is completed.

A long tunic to wear in the winter over trousers. I call it the tea cosy stitch, since it was the stitch my mother favoured for knitting a tea cosy when I was young and about the only item I enjoyed knitting back then. I think the correct name for the stitch is fisherman’s rib.  The pattern is worked over multiples of four stitches plus one.  The tea cosy had 39 stitches for each side.  Each row is the same and as mammy would chant it – One right. Two wrong, two right – to the end of the row. In other words it was knit one, (purl 2, knit 2)* for the remainder of the row.  By the time you have four rows completed you can see the pattern and stop chanting! 😉 It is an easy pattern to work and builds up well.

So what am I at now?

You saw the pink scarf made from ruffle yarn when I finished it. A quick project that I managed to complete in a day.  It was worked over eight stitches. As you can see I made one in green but this time I worked it over fourteen stitches.  It is shorter, but has more body. The navy/grey/white ruffle yarn was made up over eight stitches, but I disliked it and ripped it back, washed, pressed  and rolled the yarn over card, I hope the pressing will make the job of re-knitting with more stitches much quicker and easier.

Finally we come to the green raspberries.

It is my next project. Something I saw on the internet, but was unable to find the pattern so I am making it up as I go along.  I am almost half way there at the moment. The Raspberry stitch is worked over four rows in multiple of four stitches plus one.

I am hoping to have it and at least one other cardigan finished before the winter. So the fingers will be busy… either clicking the keys or clicking the knitting needles!

Blogging the alphabet ~ R

R – Relationships

I’ve always thought with relationships, that it’s more about what you bring to the table than what you’re going to get from it. It’s very nice if you sit down and the cake appears. But if you go to the table expecting cake, then it’s not so good.  ~ Angelica Huston


We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly. ~ Anon


Control by any other name is still Control. ~ Anon


For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the universe. ~ Anon

Food Monday ~ Peanut Potato Salad

Peanut Potato Salad
4 Servings

500g new potatoes, scrubbed
50g thickly sliced cooked ham, diced
60 ml mayonnaise
15 ml peanut butter
Lettuce leaves

To garnish: 50g salted peanuts

Boil or steam the new potatoes until tender. Drain well and place in a bowl.  Add the chopped ham and toss lightly. Mix the mayonnaise & peanut butter together in a small bowl, add to the potato mixture and stir through.

Arrange the lettuce leaves on a serving plate and spoon the potato mixture on top. Sprinkle with the salted peanuts.