Archive for August, 2013

Search terms 10

I do love visiting the search terms sections on my stats page. There is always something hilariously puzzling to be found which sets my mind to wondering how disappointed certain people must have been when they arrived at my site. The person who wanted Che Guevara Everton t-shirts for example, would have found nothing of the sort here. The only clothing I can remember writing about was a Christmas jumper with polar bears and penguins on it. A poor second when you want a Che Guevara Everton t-shirt, whatever one of those is. I’m also not sure Danda lemongrass is but I know there’s none on sale here, unfortunately. Sorry, members of the public. I know I’m usually the first port of call for this stuff but I’ve got nothing of the lemongrass variety today.

history of woolton shops
armless with empty sleeves
london eye chairoplanes
swim gods
benjamin spence sculpture highland mary archives
wells and walsingham light railway dogs
pink champagne when having barbecue
the weather is hot
pub quiz lottery
kingston university shit
still house ham house
waltham place garden
goats cheese carlisle shop
st. winifred’s well to basingwerk walk
william vavasour
was joni mitchell anorexic
vaughn ross, #999429
impossible paintings water flowing
charles dickens life in highgat
kingston university is crap
walking over the millenium dome
having a cup of tea in garden
tissue paper jumpers
stephan langton pub waterfall
silent pool king john
grahmn lockey
woolton murder
muslin cloth piping bag
boobs captions
biege droppings on my car
"went to see the rocky horror show" wordpress
backstreet boys wrapping paper
danda hero gold cycle rate
best swimming stroke for bingo wings
danda lemongrass on sale
owenavorragh river flooding
why is the peddars way called peddars
tooting war meorial
anglesey abbey pirate ship
polpo white truffle cream recipe
smithdown lane roy rogers
freddled gruntbuggly meaning
ham house bathroom lauderdale
tesco money off vouchers can’t they just take off the bill
che guevara everton t shirts
roger bannister who wants to be a millionaire
transvestite boob caption
pierced travelling
"deconstructed beef wellington recipe"
what does it mean if i always half read books
algarve red light district
granny in rubber wellies
best cake for a neighbour
jim caviezel en namibia
hunting lodge on skyfall
george michael highgate bicycle


I have an announcement to make. Yaya is leaving for greener pastures… He’s off to Australia with his little sister on Sunday (and mother, of course) so yesterday, Danda and I headed over to spend the afternoon and evening with them, which looked like this….


Most important thing first. Let’s unpack the Lego set and get building.


Isla grabs the stickers and she’s happy.


Yaya and I with our serious faces on, trying to figure out the 43-stage instructions for the Batmobile.


In the meantime, Danda keeps Isla happy by drawing Winnie the Pooh.


After a good hour or so and a lot of intense concentration, Yaya completes the Batmobile! I didn’t help putting it together. I was more like on-hand Lego-peice-finder and instruction-book-page-turner.


Yaya playing with the Lego he made.


Close up of Isla watching a ‘nake’ on TV (snake)


Out for dinner and Isla is proudly wearing the Supergirl hat that Dad drew for her.


My warm goats cheese and roast veg salad with chicken. Those little bread thingies round the edge were so good.


Yaya’s version of a smile.


Isla mixing her babyccino and icecream together then spooning some of it into her icecream cone, which then drips out of the bottom.


Room On The Broom with Danda. They were told to lie in bed to listen to the story but there was too much to see in the book so they slowly crept over and were all huddled together listening.

When we had decided it was sleep time, Isla and Yaya and I had a little chat about how I wouldn’t see them again before they go on the  ‘big ellaflane’ to ‘Stralia’ so I’ll see them in a little while when I come over for a holiday.

“Are you coming on the ellaflane with us?” Isla asked.

“No. You’re going on the aeroplane first, on Sunday,” I replied. “I’m coming later.”

“On Monday?” Yaya asked.

“I’ve got to go to work on Monday,” I said, doing a sad face. “It will have to be after Monday. Maybe in a few more weeks.”

I know,” said Yaya, his eyes lighting up. “Come on Tuesday! You should come on Tuesday, Lauwa.”

“Ok, Yaya. Tuesday sounds good. I think I’ve got a day off so that will be fine.”

They both puckered up, ready for a kiss goodnight and Yaya assured me that they would telephone me on the computer from ‘Stralia’. After a brief chat with Isla about how she loves ‘nakes’ and that there are loads of massive ‘nakes’ in ‘Stralia’, it was goodnight time.

Fine literature

Now, this is something I enjoy very much, fine literature. I love a Fitzgerald novel or something from the Bronte sisters. I’m all over it. Which is why I’m enjoying Scandalous Innocent so much. I just wanted to give you all a flavour of the high standard of writing that we are dealing with here. Enjoy! And don’t blame me if you’re all rushing to the shops afterward to buy a copy.

“Smiling, he recalled the haughty, heavy-lidded dismissive blink of her amazingly dark eyes, refusing even to please him with an answer to his invitation, as if he’d invited her to an orgy instead of a drive in Hyde Park.”

“The rain gusted wearily against the black windows, and from behind a bank of angry clouds a full moon began sailing through the tattered remnants of the storm like a disc of white enamel edged with watery pearls.”

“She watched him as carefully as a cat watches a bird too large for her to catch unawares.”

“By morning, her decisions were veering like a weather-vane in a windy gale between staying in the same house as a man she had made a point of hating for the past three years, and galloping off home on an excuse that was as transparent as the June sky.”

“Loving him one moment and hating him the next, wanting his happiness yet wishing to punish him for being unattainable, Elizabeth saw this as a chance to put herself in Mistress Laker’s shoes and to fight him, physically, to feel the emotion of being conquered and won, as she never would be.”

“No sooner had he shouldered the door closed and tipped her on to her feet, than his supporting arm pulled her close into the hard bend of his body and, even before she could begin to guess what he was about, began a kiss that for sheer skill excelled the previous one.”

“Claudette, who had never met a real Viscount before, half-expected him to be wearing a red velvet ermine-edged robe with a coronet on his head rather than the double-breasted tailcoat with high stand-fall collar and a grey striped waistcoat showing below.”

It’s just fabulous, isn’t it? Well written. Eloquent. The sentences are not at all long and rambly and nonsensical. Talking of nonsensical, what’s all that nonsense about a cat watching a bird too large to catch unawares? What. On. Earth. What does that mean? And the kiss having ‘sheer skill.’ Skill? I just. I don’t. I’m really not sure where to start with this whole wordy mess.  

The Windmill

Happy Wednesday all. It’s time for Rambler5319 to take over again. Enjoy! 


Thought I’d start with a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem called The Windmill. Hopefully it gets you in the mood for my trip to the windmill.

Behold! a giant am I!
  Aloft here in my tower,
  With my granite jaws I devour
The maize, and the wheat, and the rye,
  And grind them into flour. 

I look down over the farms;
  In the fields of grain I see
  The harvest that is to be,
And I fling to the air my arms,
  For I know it is all for me. 

I hear the sound of flails
  Far off, from the threshing-floors
  In barns, with their open doors,
And the wind, the wind in my sails,
  Louder and louder roars. 

I stand here in my place,
  With my foot on the rock below,
  And whichever way it may blow,
I meet it face to face,
  As a brave man meets his foe. 

And while we wrestle and strive,
  My master, the miller, stands
  And feeds me with his hands;
For he knows who makes him thrive,
  Who makes him lord of lands. 

On Sundays I take my rest;
  Church-going bells begin
  Their low, melodious din;
I cross my arms on my breast,
  And all is peace within.

Today’s trip is to the windmill just outside the village of Great Bircham (Norfolk) about 13 miles NE of King’s Lynn. I’ve only ever visited a few windmills and apart from just 1 which was working which I was only able to see the ground floor inside, all the rest had to be viewed from outside; they were either derelict, not working or had been converted into living accommodation. However the one at Bircham is fully working and you are allowed inside and up the steep stairs to each of the floors. It’s really interesting to see all the different levels: the Ground Floor, the Meal Floor, the Stone Floor, the Bin Floor, the Dust Floor, the Cap Floor & finally the Cap.

Here it is.


This next one is a close up showing a rope coming down from the white cap on top to the verandah like walkway round the middle of the mill. This was built so that the miller could pull on it to apply the brake to the wind-driven sack hoist instead of having to go to the top to do it. (Hope you can see the light-coloured rope coming down from the wooden floor just left of centre at the top. The black line on the side of the mill is the shadow from it.)


Then the stairs inside up to the first floor.


Next is a pic of some of the workings on that floor. The gentleman in the cloth cap wasn’t very talkative and was still in the same position when I came down. He didn’t answer any questions.


You might notice to the right of him and down slightly is a sack with a round shaped cloth and a dark lump on it near the sheet of paper.

Here’s a close up.


I stroked him and he never made a sound.

As has become usual in anywhere the public can go there were the obligatory warning notices which the owners have to put up. Here are just a few:






I carried on climbing up through the various floors until finally I got to the top – the cap. If you remember the first pic there was a white cap to the windmill with a wind driven wheel. Here’s my view from the fan deck at the top by that wheel.


And a close up of the white wheel.

This is right at the top.


Reaching the top of the windmill is something of an achievement and I proudly took a sticker off the roll and here it is.


I climbed down and wandered round the rest of the site starting with the bakery on the ground floor.

First thing to notice outside the mill was the date stone – 1846.


The initials G.H. refer to George Humphrey who was the first owner of the mill as it now is. However it has a long history prior to him and the first mill on the site is believed to date from 1769. Robert Miller & his wife Temperance worked the mill until 1784 when Mr Miller died & Temperance took over. (Interesting name – Temperance; in my family ancestors I have someone called Prudence and another called Constance.) There then followed a number of owners leading up to 1845 when 19 year old GH took over just prior to its demolition & replacement by the current building; the original building was a post mill (in which the whole body of the mill revolves around a central post in order to move the sails into the wind) and the latter a tower mill (where the structure is fixed and the sails can be moved, via the cap on the top, independently to make the best use of the wind).

George Humphrey married a lady called Elizabeth and between 1851 & 1864 they had six children and Elizabeth was expecting their seventh. (Interestingly right around this time our poem writer, Longfellow, had become a major figure in America’s literary circle.) A census check for 1851 reveals GH as a miller & baker employing 3 men. His wife & 55 year old Mum were also living with him at the site. On Tuesday night (15.3.1864) GH and his wife Elizabeth were travelling back from King’s Lynn market on a horse and cart but it appears to have been very late. It was a journey of over 15 miles the way they went. The local newspaper at the time reports that the accident occurred around midnight. Apparently Mr Humphrey had had a bit too much to drink during the day and lost control of the cart at a crossroads in the village of Snettisham. It ran up a grass bank and turned over but as it did so it trapped Mrs Humphrey underneath. Mr Humphrey was either knocked out by the impact or just fell asleep perhaps due to having consumed too much alcohol. It resulted in him not being able to help his wife at all. When he did wake up and sound the alarm it was too late – she was dead along with the unborn child. (Looking at modern map it is not immediately obvious why he took this route. King’s Lynn to Great Bircham is almost like a straight line in a roughly NE direction – imagine it as the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle but going via Snettisham is like going along the other two sides and is therefore noticeably further. Perhaps some of precursors of the modern roads were not there in the 1860s; perhaps there was another reason for going through Snettisham. One for Sherlock perhaps?)

The effect on the family was immediate & even more heartbreaking: the mill was sold just two months later and by November of the same year Humphrey was declared bankrupt!

The mill closed in 1937 but the bakery continued until 1961. The story from then on is one of those restoration “labours of love”. In 1975 the derelict mill was bought by Roger Wragg and his wife. After many years of painstaking work and attention to detail the mill was fully restored to a working condition. In 2000 Roger handed the running of the mill over to his daughter and her husband and the business today continues to improve and expand: kids can play in their own area (slides, swings, ladybird trail etc), you can hire a bike, rent accommodation for a break (short or week long) and the mill hosts a number of special events such as craft demos, sheep shearing, wool spinning and many others during the season.

Near where they do the cheese making was this info sheet of “Cheesey Jokes”. You might not be rolling in the aisles exactly but I liked them.


Then it was into the gift shop followed by the café. A quick snack of some of the gorgeous food in there and it was time for home. Really enjoyed the day. If you’re ever in the area go and check it out. Great site to visit!


My gluten free failure

There was a disaster, people. A disaster! Yesterday morning, in work, the customers kept asking about gluten free options and I kept on saying, earnestly, “I’m going to make some this afternoon, just a few hours!”

As part of my Apple Challenge, I had made an almond cake with apples and gooseberries and it only had 40g of flour in it. So I figured it wasn’t that far off being gluten free. All I had to do was replace the plain flour with rice flour and I’d have a decent gluten free cake that was actually nice, as opposed to gluten free nice.

The afternoon came, I got my chef’s whites on and I approached the kitchen with gusto. I made shortbread biscuits and flapjacks and got some bread dough ready to start proving. Then I let my imagination run wild. Well, not really. I just got started on the gluten free recipe I’ve mentioned above. I was doing it from memory so I knew it might not be perfect.

I put in butter, sugar, ground almonds, rice flour, almond essence, plums, bicarb. It all seemed to be going ok. I put it in a cake tin and stuck it in the oven to bake then got back to my bread.

I looked in the oven at the half way point and it had risen a lot. I worried that it might spill out of the tin. When I checked ten minutes later, it had sunk and looked ridiculously flat. I took it out after it had finished baking and drizzled white chocolate on it and decided to rename it an ‘almond slice.’ It seems like it’s supposed to be flat then…. Doesn’t it?

As I walked home, I wrangled with myself about how to get on top of the gluten free challenge, about whether the rice flour ruined it or something else. Did I not put enough ground almonds in? Did I use too much bicarb? Why was it so flat?

I got home and went straight to the cookbook to figure out the mystery….

EGGS! I forgot the eggs. Dang it. What a schoolboy error. The bloody eggs.

So today, I will try again. Wish me luck!

Scandal and innocence at Ham House

Now, I know you all been on tenderhooks (what are tenderhooks, by the way?) waiting for me to give you some more of Scandalous Innocent. Let’s do a quick recap.

It started here with Phoebe and Leo. They hated each other and had a duel to sort things out. It didn’t really sort anything out. She was supposed to marry him if she lost. Instead he carried her upstairs, kissed her then he was like, “Whatevs. I’m not even going to marry you.” She’s like horrified and embarrassed cause she was totally getting into it when he was kissing her but pretending not to.

Then she realised she quite liked him and had quite wanted to marry him. So she goes to Ham House to find him. When she sees him, she starts flirting with someone else. He’s like, “What a div, get over yourself.” She harumphs about a bit then flounces off.

On her way home, he kidnaps her. Kind of. Says she’s staying until she agrees to marry him. She goes, “Never!” And he goes (paraphrased), “O please!” So she goes, “Ok.”

Then she’s like, “I hope you are not going to dishonour me before marriage, Sir Leo!” And he goes, “Nooo! No, of course not, my lady! Would I? Would I ever?”

They spend a few days faffing around making changes to the house and getting builders to do the garden up, etc. Then he snogs her in the little summer house gazebo thing and feels her boob and she’s all like, “….O, go on then!”

So they go upstairs and get friendly and then he’s like, “So I guess you’re going to marry me then?” And she’s like, “Totes!” So all that nonsense about him not dishonouring her before marriage, that was nonsense. Whenever she says something to him, he just goes, “Yeh but what about doing my idea instead?” And she’s like, “Sure thing.”

Next, they go to a jewellery shop in London that her parents used to run before they died and then her brother ran it for a bit but died in the Great Fire Of London.

Someone else is running the shop so she goes in and says who she is and the new owner is like, “Maybe you can help me figure out the mystery.” He brings a wooden chest thing out and hands her a parcel. She unwraps it and inside is a little gold heart with pearls set around the edge and the name “Phoebe” engraved on the back. She’s like, “That’s me. My brother must have made it for me.” He’s like, “Ah! The mystery is solved!”

Now, come on. If we’re going to call it a “mystery”, there’s got to be more going on than a gold heart with “Phoebe” written on it. It wouldn’t have even been that hard to solve. The shopkeeper only needed to check out the people who owned the shop before him and their children. One would have been called Phoebe. Mystery solved. (They do talk about the records and the shopkeeper says they survived the fire.)

When the shopkeeper said there was a mystery to solve, I really thought the book might get going. Maybe there’d be a suicide note. Or a small dirty child found living under the floorboards. It maybe the king was hiding in the chest. Or a skeleton in the wall. Or a diary from an Anne Frank-esque character.

Instead he goes, “There’s a pendant with Phoebe written on it.” She went, “Yeh, that’s me.” He went, “Fab. Here you go. Have it.” She went, “Thanks.”

Now, if THAT is the big mystery of the book, I’m going to be really gutted. Cause we’ll be back to Phoebe and Leo and their silly nonsense before long and I really need more story than that if I’m to keep reading.

The Apple Challenge

One of my neighbours has fruit trees in his garden. A little while ago, he gave me some cherries, which I put into a cake. Since then, he has given me bits of fruit and I have caked them.

About ten days ago, he knocked on the door in the morning and delivered a plastic bag full of apples for me to cake. And so, the Apple Challenge began.

Day one was an apple bread, a kind of cidery, honey-sweetened brown bread with grated apples that was crying out for some cheese. Day two was an apple crumble cake, which consisted of a sponge cake with apple chunks and slivers of apricot, with a light buttery crumble mixture on the top. Day three was apple scones, which let me down the first day but I attempted them again on day four and hit the nail on the head. Day five was an apple tray bake which had jostaberries and a mashed banana in it. Day six was a nutty appley raisiny loaf, spiced with cinnamon, which filled the whole house with lovely rich aromas. Day seven was an almond tart with apples and gooseberries.




And so it goes on, the apple cakes. Every morning. I get up, bake a cake, leave some on my neighbour’s doorstep then head for Ham House, where I leave the cakes in the mess room for the volunteers to eat.

I have enough apples left for about four more days and I’m running low on ideas. Does anybody have any apple cake ideas? Apple pie and apple crumble are out as they are hard to portion out without getting runny. Tomorrow is an almond cake with apples and blueberries.

But what next, people? What next?! Help me in my Apple Challenge or I shall be ideas-less and I refuse, refuse, to repeat a recipe.