In response to the WordPress Photo challenge. This week: Transmogrify
In response to the WordPress Photo challenge. This week: Transmogrify
In response to this weeks WordPress Photo Challenge: Quest
I am a yellow sticker shopper. I haven’t always been. I have been almost rich; I have been almost poor. When I am on a limited budget, I become a strict Budgetarian, surviving on very little money, but eating quite well on a mixture of in-season vegetables and supermarket brand basics, coupled with reduced-price meal packs with yellow stickers because they are at the sell-by or best-before date.
When I was a student, I worked as a waitress for Southampton’s Top Rank Bannister Ballroom in the evenings which included a free burger each shift and weekly cinema tickets.
My College provided cheap lunches during the week; On Saturdays, I would take it turns with five other students to cook a meal for all six of us. I would always look for these yellow-stickerred food packs on the day to decide what we were having and shop late at the vegetable market (Kingsland Square), buying bruised fruit and veg. The menu each weekend was interesting.
One pot stews and curries were common because they were easy, and anything could be put it them. There was an Italian student who cooked delicious pasta sauces, and once someone made a pie using a tin of dog food (Pedigree Chum) as the filling – which was awful – but I could taste the beneficial added vitamins!
Those were very happy, memorable times and very different to today whereby students seem to live on expensive take-aways delivered to the door.
I hope that with these days of student loans, I can offer this article as advice – “Throw away those pizza delivery leaflets, that bombard your letter-boxes, immediately”.
Once I had a full-time job, I ate whatever I wanted and ate out at restaurants quite often, sometimes three times a week.
A year after my chemo I went back to work, but after a year or two, chemo brain (which is slang for a cognitive problem following certain types of Cancer and its treatment) came knocking and I was forced to give up working. So I currently have no income. My husband is paying off a £12,000 debt due to a mistake made by the DWP (pensions department) in 2007. So we are currently back to living a thrifty lifestyle.
We are back to yellow stickers, shopping coupons and free entertainments other than television. By free entertainments, I mean free festivals and walks – local seniors were allowed in free to Southampton Boat Show. So we went to that last week.
Because we are careful, we are able to treat ourselves to little luxuries, such one pint of beer in a pub or perhaps a discount meal at a restaurant once a month.
My husband was brought up on war rationing, which was really difficult, so he learned many budget cooking skills and how to grow our own vegetables.
Do you have any food shopping confessions?
Like being on a giant film set
The first ever car-race took place at Goodwood race track 75 years ago. For the last 20 years there has also been a Revival, where vintage cars or bikes, race (and sometimes crash). There is a strict dress code for spectators; They must dress in vintage or authentic-looking retro clothing from the 40s, 50s or 60s. Goodwood also employs a number of actors and entertainers who take on characters from those eras.
For a few hours work each morning, I was able to enjoy myself for the rest of the day and take snaps. More people belong to drama groups in Britain than they do football clubs, so it is not surprising that so many make an effort to look the part. But visitors come from all over Europe and the Commonwealth.
The Sixties (Click on photos to enlarge and read captions)
Each year there is a highlighted theme. This year because it was the 50th anniversary of the England football team winning the World Cup, it was England verses Germany 1966.
Part of the grounds had a reconstructed football pitch where spectators could join the likes of ‘Bobby Moore’ in a knock-about. There was a parade around the track of traffic on their way to Wembley Stadium, which showed off owners cars that would have been around in 1966. The vehicles included vintage: police cars, milk carts, motorbikes, Mini and Bubble cars, Bentleys, Daffodils, Fords, Hillmans, Jaguars, Rolls, Sunbeams, Triumphs, Vauxhalls, plenty of public transport buses and coaches as well as Germans in Volkswagens.
Beer tents are a must at British festivals – especially when it rains
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In response to this weeks WordPress Photo Challenge: Mirror
This time of year, my friend invites us to visit her garden and collect the excess of Bramley Apples (they tend remain green in the North) from her grand tree. Bees adore its blooms. When I lived abroad this was the ingredient from home that I missed the most. An exceptionally large, tart cooking apple that has a wonderful texture when hot.
The original Bramley Apple Tree was planted in Southwell, Nottinghamshire by a girl called Mary Ann Brailsford in 1809. It was a fluke of nature. The Bramley Apple cannot be cultivated from its pips. All strains of the tree throughout the United Kingdom, come from the mother tree.
That very tree today, over two centuries later, with its own blue plaque and visitors’ book of dedications from all over the globe, is dying from a fungal infection. It is very sad.
Fortunately the University of Nottingham has enough of its offspring to continue the culture. Attempts have been made to grow them in other continents, but unfortunately they do not last long and fruit tends to be more sparse and small.
There are many websites dedicated to the English Bramley Apple, complete with recipes: puddings, pies, crumbles, dumplings, tarts, sauces and stews. It is often mixed with another English apple – the Cox’s Orange Pippin – in equal parts to make the perfect accompaniment to roast pork.
One dish that has been handed down to me (which our family referred to as Dorset Dumplings) was to core, but not peel, an apple for each person. Dry and butter the skins. Sit each apple on its own disc of pastry (puff or short-crust). Cram as many chopped or small mixed dried fruits into the cored centre. Then pour honey or golden-syrup into any spaces of the dried fruits. Wrap the apple in the pastry by either folding it over the top and sticking it down with a brush of water, or rolled quickly with the hands so that it resembles a ball.
Place the apple balls onto a greased and floured metal tray, then sprinkle with plenty of sugar before baking them in a hot oven for 15-25 minutes or until brown.
Serve with thick cream, vanilla ice cream or English custard.
They look like they are going to be too big to eat, but are surprisingly light (it is mainly apple after all) and are popular with children, who love the shape and the sweet-and-sour taste, without them realising they are getting essential vitamins.
When I saw that the weekly WordPress Photo Challenge this week was Frame (click to take part or see others), I realised that framing a photo was a natural past-time for me taking my routine snaps. So here are 15 from my media library (click on to enlarge or see captions) …
About an hour drive from Southampton towards London on the M3 is the giant funfair Thorpe Park, making it the nearest one to London.
My husband, sporting a blue cardigan, will be 80 this year (much older than me). He spent a joyous day on location at this attraction last week, shooting its latest commercial with Emily Barker – a character who visits on a regular basis.
Seniors have campaigned against age-discrimination with regard to special offers at funfairs. So in an effort to correct this, Thorpe Park have just launched an Old Age Coasters (OAC) Pass which provides multiple discounts for the over-65s.
My husband is a retired helicopter pilot and loves the rush. He is a bit of a dare-devil – last year he went paragliding with my daughter – she takes after him.
Are you an adrenaline junkie? (No I am not getting paid for this)
Click on the links:
The actual TV commercial on YouTube
Regular readers will know that I am going to live on a sailing boat with my husband as we have to move soon. We are selling or giving away worldly goods and doing up an old Maxi 95 sloop.
As it has been 15 years or so since I did any sailing, and pre-cancer/chemo, I thought it best to go on a refresher sailing course with a Royal Yachting Association (RYA) instructor.
Last weekend I got on a run as a team of five of like-minded individuals also honing their skills. We sailed from Shamrock Quay in Southampton to the Isle of Wight, where Cowes Week brought sailing boats from all over the world.
The severe treatment for my Hodgkin Lymphoma left my body and brain somewhat disorientated. I describe my brain as living in a town where a bomb has hit and roads have been blocked off. I have had to find detours and rebuild. I had been having terrible balance problems since the treatment, but following a number of NHS exercises I have not had any accidents for about a year now.
Although I was used to sailing I had been extremely nervous about going out, especially onto the Solent, which requires strength, skill and alertness due to its tides, geographical structure and the many number of different vessels using its channel.
This weekend course really helped me to regain my confidence and sort out what I could remember and what I needed to practice.
I feel brilliant!