Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Food Monday – Grannymar’s Onion Jam/Marmalade.

As I have told you, I had a busy few weeks cooking and preparing food for my freezer prior to my eye surgery. This recipe is a variation of my original one and prepared in typical mammy fashion: Have an idea of what you want to cook, select ingredients you have in the fridge or pantry and go for it!

Grannymar’s Onion Jam/Marmalade.

1 kilo peeled, quartered and finely sliced onions*
3 tablespoons olive oil.
4 tablespoons runny honey
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons Vermouth or white wine

* I had three red (Spanish) onions, one brown and a bag of shallots. Next time, I will bung the peeled onions in a blender a pulse a few times – it will save time slicing & chopping!

Heat oil in a deep pan over moderate heat, add onions and stir well. I also place a disc of greaseproof paper over the onions in the saucepan lightly pressed down as it helps them sweat and soften. Replace lid and cook gently for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and greaseproof paper, if the onions are not all soft, give them a stir and replace the greaseproof and the lid and cook for another few minutes. DO Not allow to burn.
Add the remaining ingredients, stir, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for another 30 minutes. Stir from time to time to prevent sticking.

Remove the lid and cook for a further 20 minutes, stirring regularly.

While the onions are working their magic, wash the jars and lids and place them on their sides in a preheated oven 150°C for at least 10 minutes.

Carefully remove the jars and fill with the warm onions, cover & seal. Allow to cool before storing.

Elly loved it and a jar was almost emptied before she went home. Now don’t eat all of it before next week, as we need some for my next Food Monday recipe!

Silent solace

‘Silence difficult to create’ was a statement or question I came across a few months back, for the life of me I cannot remember where, but having lived totally alone for seventeen years with neither kith nor kin within 125 miles, I am an expert on silence:

Silence in joy and silence of sorrow
Silence to help through the cares of tomorrow.
Silence in pain and in frustration
Silence in coping with a new limitation.

Silence as I watch each new day dawn
Silence of long evenings when the blinds are drawn.
Silence when tucked up all cosy and warm
Silence before a violent winter storm.

Silence for when someone refuses to listen
Silence when engrossed in a project or mission.
Silence of persistence to learn something new
Silence when struggling with a rusty old screw.

Silence of a day when the phone has not rung
Silence of satisfaction when the beads are strung.
Silence returning home from a day of fun
Silence sipping coffee just made for one.

Silence of aging ears needing turned up sound
Silence when you find yourself lying on the ground.
Silence when the washer stops before the work is done.
Silence as you wait for workmen to come.

Silence of my world with a first fall of snow
Silence as I mix a new batch of dough.
Silence of expectation at each new destination
Silence watching a child in deep concentration.

Silence of special hugs when loved ones arrive,
hoping they don’t say “We are leaving by five”!
Silence, long silence when the foot-falls fade.
Silence of thanks for the love they conveyed.

April Firsts

I know. I know!

It has been a full week since all those pranksters played their pesky practical jokes!

We in Northern Ireland have far more serious issues to concentrate on right now.

Our Easter Holidays finished last night. The remainder of the western world who mark this Chocolate Egg Eating marathon Christian festival, celebrate from Good Friday through Easter Monday.

Not Northern Ireland. We do things differently! Our official days of celebration are Easter Monday and Tuesday. So this morning many a weary worker is trudging back to sit behind their desks until next month when we will begin and end the month with Bank Holiday weekends!

Over the past few years. changes have been planned, sorted and finally set in motion. On 1st April 2015, a total of 26 different district councils have been reduced to 11. So time and MONEY has been spent in each of these areas, providing all forms of information to ease the path for all the residents. We have new council names, logos, colour schemes and up to the minute online Websites, Facebook and Twitter accounts.

There is absolutely no excuse to miss out on any dates for upcoming events.

For example when we begin the week with a holiday, the bin collection due, often happens one day later than normal. This chart below makes this change very clear!

Alteration to Bin collection dates

Alteration to Bin collection dates

Thanks to my friend Emily for pointing me in this direction.

Morning chat.


GM: “Hello”.

Man: “Hello”.

GM: “Hello”. I am beginning to wonder about this voice, it was a little early in the morning for one of theose heavy breathers!

Man: “Is that XX & X Engineering?”

GM: “Well not unless they took over my house during the night. Maybe I should go look under the beds!”

Man: “Half-hearted mumbling apology”, then he hung up.

I was returning to the chore I was working at, when the phone began to dance and sing once more. I looked at the little screen and the number was the same shape as last time I recognised the last two digits, but could not swear about the others. The shape of the numbers was enough for me.

Putting the phone to my ear, I clicked into the call.

GM: “They are not under the bed!”

Man: “Mumbled apology” without a hint of humour.

GM: “I think you need to go look up the number, before you waste more money interrupting me again.”

He hung up.

I do like phone calls, but not from dead wood first thing in the morning!


View from my window

View from my window

This was the view from my bedroom window yesterday morning, Can anyone spot the sky?

I was tempted…. really tempted, to slide back down under the duvet for the duration, but thankfully hunger got the better of me. The house was cosy and warm, so I had a quick shower, donned the layers and headed for the kitchen.

Our snow was more a nuisance than anything else.  Pretty for an hour but that was all. It made several attempts throughout Wednesday to fall, but the ground was wet and the snow had nothing to stick to. Once the sun disappeared the ground froze so overnight snow had a base to stick to. Trying to drive downhill with the road camber not helping, add the ice and I can tell you it is no G&T!

I had no need to go outside the door

A day of indoor sports was called for, and I had a choice: a bundle of sewing repairs and alterations, some crochet, baking and a jigsaw.

Sewing repairs are complete and the ironing is now up to date. The scones are eaten or in the freezer and I lit the fire early and pulled up the table with the jigsaw. The crochet is in progress and should keep me busy for a week or so.

Warm persuits

Warm persuits

With the jigsaw I travelled the world. It was fun.

What is on my mind?

Goodness there is so much rattling around in there that I would not know where to start.

I do know that a priority for me is NOT TO GET COLD – Doctor’s orders!

The last time I bought heating oil was April 2014. and it cost me £468.91/US$703.84 for 900 litres. Some people might think I was silly to top up my tank so late in the season, but this is Ireland, and the seasons have a habit of being confused. There are days when we have all four seasons in one day! Thankfully we had a fairly good summer but I do use the oil to heat water.

At the beginning of November I set the thermostat to 15° and left the heat on 24/7, I probably could keep going for another month, but in case the weather gods are feeling cruel, I am not taking chances.

With the threat of colder weather from Thursday with winds coming from the Arctic and risk of heavy falls of snow overnight into Friday, I want to cover all contingencies, We got away lightly so far this winter, but our poor relations and friends across the pond are due to disappear under a mountain of snow and we all know what that means…

When they get fed up with the white  stuff they ship over to us! Thanks very much!

Well I am ready. Today I ordered another 900 litres of heating oil. Boy, what a shock I got. The 900 litres of heating oil was £143.93 GBP/215.996 US$ CHEAPER than nine months ago. News like that is enough to warm the cockles of my heart!

I feel like dancing, but not before I open the lock on my tank.

Warm blessings to all.




A caller.


I decided to be lazy and brought my breakfast back to bed about four hours ago. Okay, so the temperature has now risen from 1°C to 2°C and it is still snowing outside.

Just as I was thinking of getting up, the door bell rang.

“Who was it?” I hear you ask.

A gentleman wanting to give me a bible tract leaflet. Holy Hallelujahs, in this weather? He could have put it through the letterbox.

I did not even wait to find out which of the twelve varieties of churches/gospel hall/meeting houses that we have within walking distance down in the town. Not counting those from surrounding villages or occasional visits from Jehovah witnesses or Mormons.

For the first time in my life, I told him to keep his leaflet. I said that I had my own views on religion and preferred to keep them to myself. Adding that in these troubled times if everyone kept their religious views to themselves, we would not have half the trouble in the world.

His answer: “I’ll not keep you standing in the cold!”

Link in or out

LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking service. Founded in December 2002 and launched on May 5, 2003, it is mainly used for professional networking. In 2006, LinkedIn increased to 20 million viewers. Wikipedia

Supposedly, it is the most useful social media site for business. An online source to manage your professional identity and build and engage with your professional network. A way to access knowledge, insights and opportunities. The first entry on my search results tells me that LinkedIn has 300 million+ members!

Why am I a retired old lady writing about this topic?

Last week I received yet another email with the following invitation:

I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

This came from someone long retired and even older than I am. So I emailed back:

Sorry XXXX
a) I am not a professional anything these days and..
b) I do not use LinkedIn.

The correspondence continued:

Sorry about that Marie. The request to link has gone automatically to all my contacts once I became an unwilling member to oblige someone. I am really sorry that I have troubled you.


I smiled at that one. Had this person joined because of a spammy invitation like the one above that I received?

I replied:

XXXX, from past experience, LinkedIn seems to send several invitations from the same person over a number of weeks. I find it humorous that a website supposed to be for professionals, seems to enjoy spamming non users. Maybe you should point that out to the powers that be! 

I also found it rather ironic, since you have cut contact with me, from almost all other channels. Stay well,

Do you use this social media site?

Does it help manage your professional identity and aid you to engage with your professional network?

Or, like me, find LinkedIn a nuisance?