Monthly Archives: March 2013

Lucas and Rufus

Lucas and Rufus were twins
That is where our story begins,
They lived in the dark
At the side of the park,
Waiting for Spring to begin.

Their feet were cosy and covered
Four inches of soil had them cloistered,
As the wind howled overhead
And rain fell on the bed
No hurry for Spring to begin.

One day the sun shone for an hour
The roots pushed with great effort and power,
One by one, Lucas and Rufus appeared
“Rhubarb rhubarb” they cheered,
“It looks like we’re heading for Spring”!

Lucas and Rufus worked fast
Nothing they did was third class
Their leaves did expand
Twice the size of a hand
And their stalks were stretching for Spring.

Lucas and Rufus blushed red
More stalks were filling the bed
Time to make tart
For the house keeper’s sweetheart
Rhubarb is best in the Spring.

Lucas and Rufus were twins
Now scrubbed and cubed
In a tart they were stewed
Lucas knew the Spring had sprung
and Rufus knew Spring had begun!

The In Just Spring Contest gave me the inspiration for this little effort.

I didn’t think it was quite right as a children’s poem, it might turn the little’uns off eating rhubarb, so did not enter the tight deadline.

It must be true!

While out shopping with Elly last week, I was browsing while she gathered some foodie items she wanted. Being away from home, and hoping she & George would feed me, 😉 I was content to browse.

My eye landed on a display of some interestingly looking preserves. Colours ranged from orange, through reds to dark blueberry and a light green.

The blueberry jam looked tempting and not one I often come across in my neck of the woods. Playing the “Will I? Won’t I?” game, I overheard a gentleman ask his female companion about the contents of the green jars.

“Gooseberry!”  I offered, always open to begin a conversation with strangers.

“Oh good! I love gooseberry jam” He replied. “But you don’t often see it these days”.

“I can tell you why”, I said judging him to be about five or six years my junior.

At this stage his companion drew closer to listen to our chat.

“When I was a young child, our parents told us we were all found under a gooseberry bush. We did have a couple of gooseberry bushes at the end of the Garden. Funnily enough, they were removed after my sister, our baby was born!”

“SO WERE WE”! The couple chorused and laughed.

“Yes, ours were removed after my brother was born”.  He said.

They agreed with me that you seldom see gooseberry bushes these days. With that he picked a jar of gooseberry jam from the shelf and added it to his basket.

Food Monday ~ Braised Fennel and Tomato

Braised Fennel and Tomato

1 fennel bulb
small clove of garlic, finely chopped
small onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon smoked streaky bacon, chopped
3 tomatoes halved
125 mls white wine or stock
salt and pepper
olive oil to drizzle.

Cut the fennel into quarters leaving the core intact.

Sauté the onion and garlic until translucent. Add bacon and fry for another few minutes. Add tomatoes, fennel, white wine or stock, salt and pepper. Stir and cook at a simmer for 30-45 minutes or until fennel is soft and can be pierced with a knife. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil.
To serve: Crusty bread.

A tip I learned a few years ago from a good friend:

If the outer layer of the fennel bulb is tough and fibrous, use a vegetable peeler to peel off the outer layer- just like peeling a cucumber.

Green Day

Slemish in the distance

Slemish, historically called Slieve Mish, in the townland of Carnstroan a few miles east of Ballymena, in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It is the remains of the plug of an extinct volcano. Tradition holds that Saint Patrick was enslaved as a youth and brought to this area to tend sheep herds on Slemish, and that during this time he found God.

A view from the other side

A circular walk starts from the car park at the base of Slemish, up a steep rocky track to the summit some 1437 feet above sea level. The track down is much gentler and leads back to the car park. On a clear day, as the song goes,it is possible to see as far as the Sperrins.

On this our National Holiday…. May your life abound with blessings:

A soft breeze when summer comes, a warm fireside in winter

And always: The warm, soft smile of a friend.

Grant us a sense of humour, Lord, the saving grace to see a joke,

To win some happiness from life, and pass it on to other folks.

♣ ♣ ♣

Photographing the Alphabet ~ F

F for Forgotten Footwear

Boots, left behind by a performer at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast. We were there as part of a ‘Photo walk’ group and had a pre-arranged tour of the building that included areas above, below and around the auditorium. The only place out of bounds to us was the stage as a group were rehearsing for an evening show.

Music that changed my life

Music and songs have featured in my life from as far back as memory takes me. They act as reminders of times past or of loved ones who sang the lyrics round our fireside.

I must honestly admit that none of them changed my life.

HARRY BELAFONTE – ‘Scarlet Ribbons (For Her Hair)’

I had plenty of ribbons for my hair, tied in large chocolate box bows. There was one to match each outfit, but none of them were scarlet. I was never allowed to wear red of any tone, shade or hue, because back all those years ago, ‘red hair’ and ‘red clothes’ were thought to clash.

There were times when the house was filled with noise, gangly legs everywhere and boys pretending they were airplanes, trains or playing buses on the stairs, that I thought it would be great to be an only child…

But I could never imagine being nobody’s child. This one always brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye.

Foster and Allen – Nobody’s Child

I’m nobody’s child I’m nobody’s child I’m like a flower just growing wild
There’s no mommy’s kisses and no daddy’s smiles
Nobody wants me I’m nobody’s child

As I was slowly passin’ an orphan’s home one day
I stopped there for a moment just to watch the children play
Alone a boy was standin’ and when I asked him why
He turned with eyes that couldn’t see and he began to cry
I’m nobody’s child….

Some people come for children and take them for their own
But they all seem to pass me by and leave me all alone
I know they’d like to take me but when they see I’m blind
They always take some other child and I’m left behind
I’m nobody’s child…

No mother’s arms to hold me or soothe me when I cry
Sometimes it gets so lonely here I wish I could die
I’ll walk the streets of heaven where all the blinds can see
And just like for the other kids there’d be a home for me
No mommy’s kisses and no daddy’s smiles nobody wants me I’m nobody’s child

I hope it taught me to have respect for all children.

Music that changed my life was chosen for us by Maria the Silver Fox. I suggest you have a little gargle, then step on the scale to see what high notes she reaches before chorusing your way around our other active members: Delirious, Maxi, Maria/Gaelikaa, Maria SilverFox, Padmum, Ramana, Shackman speaks, The Old Fossil, Will Knott.

Thursday Special ~ On Being Irish

You think you sing very well.
You may not know the words, but that doesn’t stop you from singing.

You’re strangely poetic after a few beers.
You’re, therefore, poetic a lot.

You’re not nearly as funny as you think you are, but what you lack in talent, you make up for in frequency.
You have no idea how to make a long story short.

You spent a good portion of your childhood kneeling.
You wonder how you learned swear so very well?

Your sister will punch you because your brother punched her.
Some punches directed at you are legacies from past generations.

When you were young, much of your food was boiled.
“Irish Stew” is the euphemism for “boiled leftovers from the fridge.”

At least one of your cousins holds political office.
You are very good at playing a lot of very bad golf.

You are genetically incapable of keeping a secret. “By the way, did I tell you…..!”
Being Irish means… your attention span is so short that … oh, forget it.

You are, or know someone, named “Murphy”.



Thank you to Murph for this timely little number.

Food Monday ~ Slow Peppers

Slow Peppers

3 bell peppers – 1 each, red, yellow & green, washed, de-seeded & finely sliced.
15 ml olive oil
15 ml honey
15 ml Vermouth
dash Worcestershire sauce
5 ml coriander
5 ml cumin
5 ml smoked paprika
1 star anise
Pepper & salt

Mix liquids & spices an pour into slow cooker. Add chopped peppers & toss to coat in liquid, cook on high for two hours, turn to low and go off and forget all about them for several hours.

When the aroma tantalises not alone you, but the dog and all the neighbours along the street, the peppers are ready.

Put warm peppers into a hot sterilised screw-top jar and seal immediately. Allow to cool before storing in the fridge.

Yield: 454g jar.

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy mothers day to all the Mothers out there!
It’s definitely not always the easiest job,
but it is the most rewarding!

I am looking forward to multiple hugs on my day of double celebration!

When you are dissatisfied
and would like to go back to your youth…
think of Algebra.


One of the many things
no one tells you about ageing
is that it is such a nice change
from being young.


Ah, being young is beautiful,
but being old is comfortable.