Monday, 24 February 2014

People Come and Go. Nothing Ever Happens.

I don't know about you dear reader, but I'm absolutely chomping at the bit to see the latest Wes Anderson film, The Grand Budapest Hotel.

The trailer makes it look a bit like Poirot on acid. So over the top but beautifully styled and funny with it.

It reminds me of an old black and white film made in 1932, Grand Hotel. I remember seeing this when I was a child, not in the 30s I hasten to add I'm not that ancient.

I suspect the Anderson film will have a similar format and plot with an incredibly different look and feel. Can't wait.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Bluebell Railway Fun

image lee stephens Flikr.

Just a hop and a skip from my home is the delightfully vintage Bluebell Railway. Keen and passionate volunteers operate preserved and refurbished period steam trains, that chuff and smoke their way through the local countryside.
An absolute must every Spring or Summer, is their afternoon tea service. It is a little pricey, but for me well worth the money.

The railway is a popular tv location and some of my most favourite shows have been filmed there. Poirot several times. David Suchet was very taken with the railway and became a patron.

Last year some scenes for The Invisible Woman were filmed there. I thought you might like to take a look at how it's done. Being a film extra looks so much fun, but I wonder?

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Comforting Crochet

I'm feeling very inspired this week with all the gorgeous crochet work that abounds in Blogworld. As you may remember dear reader I have delved in the crafty crochet ways before and did manage to make two ripple blankets, both presents for friends. But in truth I'm more of a knitter then a crocheter, something that I have to put right. I need to learn the language of the hooker, so to speak.

I've been hankering for a while to start a granny square blanket of my very own. Perfect for those rare days when I can snuggle up on the knole sofa and watch a black and white film with my welcome companions - tea and cake.

This is the object of my desire. The pattern can be found here. I really love the cool freshness and brightness of these colours but because of my contrary ways I'm going for a more muted palette. 

I chose my first three colours, cappuccino, pistachio green and the palest pink from the James C Brett range 'Cotton on'. A lovely yarn, machine washable, 50% cotton and 50% acrylic double knit weight. I bought the yarn online from Texere Yarns and very reasonable it was too at £1.95 for 50g.

Then I had a good ole rootle around in my yarn stash to see what I had to compliment these balls of scrumptiousness. After all it wouldn't do to have to buy lots of new yarn to make this homespun beauty. Luckily I came up trumps.

Some of these are extra fine merino and some a wool and acrylic mix, but they are all double knit weight and most importantly machine washable. So I'm thinking they should all work together just dandy.

It will be a long process to make this up because I have just taken on a part-time job and I also start Italian lessons this week. Not to mention the workshops I'm organising and my regular visits to the gym to stave off the flobbage. But you see that is the beauty of the granny square. You can pick it up and put it down and pretty much take it anywhere to work on it.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Shirley Temple Has Died

I know she had a long life but I still feel very sad little Miss Temple has died. I read today that her mom put 56 curls in her hair for every screen appearance. Very touching.                              

Sunday, 9 February 2014

A Manchester Visit

The mister and I have just returned from a few days visiting our boy Jack in Manchester. It was my first time there. My it's a busy place. Even through the night the traffic noise was intense. Too offensive for my 'country' ears.

We had a great time though, catching up with Jack who we hadn't seen for about six months. We chatted, we ate, we drank and looked at a lot of art. The Manchester Art gallery was wonderful in it's diversity. They were just installing a new exhibition so a lot of the building was closed off but we still found plenty to amuse us.

Back home now and I need to crack on with my plans for world domination hosting craft workshops. I'm hoping to launch them at the beginning of April. If the demand is there I will grow and expand the range of events on offer.

My head is full of ideas and possibilities for the future. Now is the time to apply myself and set the wheels in motion to make these things happen. Luckily I know a good deal of talented people who will work with me to deliver these workshops.

I'm so looking forward to getting this new phase of my life off the ground. I think it will be a fun and satisfying time for everyone involved.

If you live within travelling distance of East Sussex and you think you might be interested in learning or improving your creative range please email me your contact details and I will keep you up to date with event news.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Another Easy Bread Recipe

Dense and tasty, what springs to mind? Yes, Norwegian Mountain Loaf. Who were you thinking of?

This bread is super speedy in the making and eating. Great with soups and perfect for open sandwiches. I especially like prawns with rocket or Lidl's Gravadlax and ultra low fat cream cheese on mine.


250ml semi-skimmed milk (I used skimmed)
250ml water
350g wholemeal bread flour
50g rye flour
7g (1 sachet) easy-blend yeast or 15g fresh yeast
50g porridge oats (not instant)
25g wheatgerm
3 tbsps sunflower seeds
3 tbsps linseeds
1 tbsp salt

So I just used plain strong white bread flour and I added chopped walnuts and caraway seeds. Didn't put all the salt in either, but that's up to you. Put in what you like.


Mix the milk and water together in a measuring jug, and combine all the other ingredients in a large bowl. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients, stirring all the time, to make a sticky, porridge-like mixture.

Scrape into an incredibly well-buttered loaf tin and here's the funny part, put it into a cold oven. 
Turn it on to 110 C/ gas mark 1/4  (quarter) and after 30 minutes turn it up to 180 C/ gas mark 4.
Bake for about an hour but check it just before as it can burn quickly.
Use the knocking method to see if it's cooked or as it's a heavy loaf you could use a fine skewer to make sure. If it comes out clean it's cooked.

That's all there is to it.

This slightly abridged recipe from my ole favourite, always reliable cook book. How To Be A Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Bring Back the Beaver

The Narnia Beavers alias Dawn French and Ray Winstone

Rain, rain, go away come again another day, like maybe in the Summer when you're needed.

It's been relentless hasn't it? We haven't suffered too much but a lot of folk have had a very bad time of it. What's worse is that nobody seems to have the answer to the current bout of flooding or a solution to prevent it happening again. The prognosis is looking grim.

But there is a glimmer of hope, I'm very pleased to say, in the shape of the Beaver. The UK mammal society believes that if the Beaver is re-introduced to our waterways he could help fix the problem. They are known as master river engineers, they nibble and fell trees to create large lodges which restrict river flows, store water and reduce flash flooding and erosion.

He is native to Britain and perhaps if the hunters and landowners had not tried to wipe his species out we wouldn't now be seeing this terrible level of flooding.

Wales is already forging ahead with plans to re-introduce this noble rodent. I think the rest of us should get onto it quick sticks.

I love the idea of this, a wildlife answer to a natural problem. If only they could speak like Dawn and Ray too.