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Since watching the Rembrance Day service from the memorial in Ottawa I have been playing the hymn O Valiant Hearts over and over on YouTube.  The Ottawa Children's choir sang it and it was hauntingly beautiful.  The whole service was solemn and sad and please God that we don't ever have conflicts like those again where so many died.

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On 11/11/2017 at 16:08, Viccie said:

Meg, that's so adorable! And your stitches are so even too! I'm deeply jealous of your skill.

 

So kind of you to say so. I always feel that my stocking stitch is quite uneven, especially now as, with my hands getting more arthritic, I have trouble holding the yarn in tension.

It's good to know that other eyes don't notice the faults that seem so glaring to me :)

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On 11/12/2017 at 15:45, megustaleer said:

So kind of you to say so. I always feel that my stocking stitch is quite uneven, especially now as, with my hands getting more arthritic, I have trouble holding the yarn in tension.

It's good to know that other eyes don't notice the faults that seem so glaring to me :)

Not at all!  The sweater is wonderful.

 

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Grandbaby's parents liked it too :).

We had a lovely visit at the w/e (in spite of grandbaby crying on & off for an hour at 03:30, coinciding with urban foxes holding a noisy conversation in neighbouring gardens). The little chap has cut 5 teeth since we saw them last month - one of them over the w/e, which probably explains the crying in the small hours.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi everyone, sorry for my long absence but we have had rather a lot going on recently.  The last five weeks of our daughter's pregnancy proved to be a little bit of a worrying time and so we were needed to help with hospital appointments.  However little Elinor Anne arrived safely on 10th of November following a pretty straightforward labour.  She was three days early and weighed a healthy 7 pound 5!  She is beautiful and as you can imagine both RG and I are totally besotted.  We have spent a fair amount of time at our daughter's over the last two weeks helping out with washing, ironing, meals, shopping etc. etc..  our son in law goes back to work this week so I guess we will be needed a bit in the week to come too.  At least it gives us plenty of time for cuddles. 

 

I hope to try to catch up on BGO news a bit over the next week.  I will also try to post a few pictures on the group FB page!  Neither RG or I have had much chance for reading recently so we hope to catch up a bit on that over the next few weeks.  Hope all is good with everyone else.

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Nice to hear from you CP - your daughter is lucky to have two such (or more) devoted grandparents although you probably enjoy being there to visit with your wee grandchild.  After a while when your daughter gets into a routine I'm sure she won't need quite as much help and you will have some free time to get back to reading again.  I was thinking back to when we had our first child - I didn't have my mother around too much as she didn't drive and and my father required the car for work - I can imagine that having parents who help often must be a real boon.  She is a little beauty and it's good that you get to see her often.

 

 

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Congratulations CP, to you & RG,  and to your daughter and son-in-law.

I saw the photos of little Elinor Anne (lovely names) on Facebook   a bit earlier - she looks a little darling. Enjoy every minute you get to spend with her (I'm sure you will)

 

We have taken advantage of a few sunny days to get some tidying up done in the garden. Somewhat behind schedule, but we have had a very mild autumn here and I have been somewhat shocked to realise that it will be December before next weekend! 

The weather was glorious, cold, but cloudless sky and sunshine - and one lone light aircraft doing aerobatics right above us - our own little air display!

I picked the last three outdoor tomatoes yesterday (now ripening, I hope, in the boiler cupboard), and discovered why this particular plant has done so magnificently. When i emptied the pot I found that it had pushed a root out of a drainage hole, which had found its way between the flagstones of the path under the kitchen window. and rooted down into the soil beneath. As that spot is very close to the soak-away that takes the water from the roof it has done very well for itself!!

 

This afternoon I took a rest from the actual garden clearing, and emptied the shed, sorting out various containers of mixed 'stuff' that have accumulated since we moved here.

It hasn't all been put away yet, but it is all ready to go back on the shelves - probably Tuesday, as there's rain forecast for tomorrow. I still need to take out all the spades, forks and other cultivating tools, and make proper places to keep them where they will not fall over. 

It will be good if we can end the year knowing that we will be ready to get going on the garden as soon as spring arrives!

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Cripes, I'm a Grandpa!!!!!

And totally smitten with little Elinor Anne.  I know that CP and I are SUPPOSED to be biased, but she is such a little beaut.  Had the inestimable pleasure of feeding her this afternoon, followed by the even more inestimable pleasure of a nappy change (Number 1 only thankfully!) followed by the EVEN MORE inestimable pleasure of a lengthy cuddle.  Reckon it has been a good 29 years since I last did any of that, for our own lovely daughter, the new mum.  How things roll around.  Have a feeling this wee mite is going to have me wrapped around her little finger.

 

Don't get onto BGO quite as much as I used to or as frequently as CP, although I think she keeps things relatively up-to-date.  HAVE actually been doing some reading over the last few months and may actually get some posts done if I put my  newly-acquired grandparental mind to it :)

 

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It's lovely to hear how enchanted CP and RG are with little Elinor Anne.  You have your Christmas enjoyment starting early.  She is gorgeous, wishing you both and both sets of grandparents all the joy of a new member of the family!

 

Meg, you are such an organized gardener, I envy your energy.  Just think now satisfying being all snug in your house knowing that all the yard work is finished until the Spring.  What are winters usually like in that part of England?  Lots of high winds?

 

Our bulb planter was here and planted many bulbs then covered them with netting to keep the squirrels out.  Hoping for an explosion of colour in the Spring.  Some sparrows have taken up winter residence in the bird houses, conveniently located near the feeders.

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Lots of high winds in all seasons - just a lot colder at the moment, as we have a northerly blowing down the length of the country.

Apart from the winds, I have found the winters fairly mild. Lots of rain, but very little snow in the two we have lived through, and not much hard frost as the sea keeps the temperature up a degree or two this close to the coast.

I regret that a bit, as I have blackcurrants, blackberries and raspberries which like a decent amount of frosting in their dormant period. I am hoping the frost forecast for the next morning ir two will at least convince them that it is not yet spring, and stop their present inclination to put out new buds

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A beautiful Currier & Ives sunset tonight, pink sky with a few wispy clouds, big tree silhouettes, very little breeze, a really feel good scene for happy thoughts.

 

Meg, read your post, hope your fruit plants winter o.k. without frost, maybe you'll have a couple of cold spells which will convince them to stay asleep.

 

Was posting on Facebook that I am now a Wolf Mum, have adopted a grey wolf (on paper) through the Canadian Wildlife Federation, donations are used to protect Canadian wildlife and I've 'adopted' a grey wolf.  The adoption comes with a signed adoption certificate and a plush toy wolf cub plus information about the program.  I always have a CWF calendar each year as it is one of our charities.  It's sad to read about some animals becoming extinct and I just hate to see pictures on Facebook of big game hunters with their trophies, smiling as if they had done something to be congratulated about.  Fortunately there haven't been many pictures like that lately as there is always a storm of protest from animal lovers.

 

Hope babies in both families, Meg and CP & RG, are doing well.  Wonderful to have little ones again to cuddle.

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Have had a lovely weekend so far.  Yesterday RG and I attended an Advent study day at our church entitled Backwards from Christmas. There were about a dozen of us.  We started with morning prayer then got stuck into the study session.  We covered a fair amount of ground in three hours then came home and studied some more!  We are lucky to have each other to discuss our study with. As well as being informative these sessions are always good fun too!

 

Today was our Christingle service and our daughter, son-in-law and our new granddaughter joined us at church.  Ellie's first time at church.  Seeing her being taken up to be blessed bought tears to our eyes. It does not seem five minutes ago that we used to take our daughter up with her toy dog.  The dog was always blessed too!  At coffee after the service Ellie was introduced to everyone with her proud grandparents looking on.  We still can't stop smiling!

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Having failed miserably at all attempts to grow florence fennel in my old garden, I have finally had some moderate success in the sandy soil here. Of the nine seedlings I planted, seven have made moderately sized 'bulbs', and yesterday i made roasted onion and fennel with feta using three of them. It was quite delicious. I will certainly grow mire next year.

 

Today I made a goat tagine, which will go in the freezer for when Younger Son & family come down at the end of the year. DiL keeps saying how they enjoyed the one I made during their last visit, and would like it again. For their sake I hope she wasn't just being polite!

 

I keep looking at the mince pies in the supermarket and debating whether to buy or bake. I'm probably the only one who would notice the difference.

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Meg, please tell me what goat tagine is, have never heard of it but then I rarely venture into anything other than the basics.

 

We really like Dundee cake and the stores here used to sell it around Christmas time but we haven't seen any lately.  I was very daring and went on the Internet and found the British Corner Shop and ordered Dundee cake from there, hopefully it will arrive before Christmas.  We used to buy Marks and Spencer's mincemeat tarts each Christmas when the store was here in Canada but then they closed up and went away, still miss looking around there.  I haven't tasted any other mincemeat tarts which are as good.  I used to make them when I was younger and energetic but I used to say I'd rather vacuum and clean floors rather than bake, now I'm not enthusiastic about either.:hmm:

 

We have the outside lights up and they look really festive, Mike, our neighbour, is always helpful and put them up for us as Dave isn't as spry these days. We are really fortunate to have such a good neighbour although most of the people in the surrounding houses are quite helpful if they see the need.  Dave was sort of complaining the other day when he went to the grocery store and someone offered to help him with his bag - he said they must think I'm old!  He does walk really slowly and if I'm with him I have to slow down and I'm not a quick walker either.  Oh to be young and limber again!

Edited by momac
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A tagine is actually the name of the conical pot in which this middle eastern/north African stew is made, and the dish itself is a highly spiced  stew of meat, dried fruit and vegetables left to cook for hours on a slow heat. I don't have a proper tagine pot, and cook mine in a slow cooker.

I think lamb is the meat mostly cooked in a tagine, but as Younger Son doesn't eat lamb I made one using goat when they were here last and it was very successful.

 

 

I hope your Dundee cake is delicious, and that it arrives in good time.

Once, many years ago, I won a Dundee cake at a school Autumn Fair and knew it would be a good one, as it was made by my friend's mother, a winner, and judge of WI culinary competitions. I put it away, well wrapped  in a safe place, to save for Christmas - but when Christmas came I could not find it!

Now you may have gathered that our old house was old, rambling, and full of 'stuff' so it wasn't easy to find anything that didn't have its proper allocated space, and there were corners that didn't get cleared out very often.

That cake turned up about five years later! Well wrapped and in a sealed tin, pushed behind a collection of rarely-used kitchen gadgets in  the far corner of one of those cupboards in a corner where two runs if units meet, and the back area of which can only be accessed by completely emptying the front half (I have lovely 'carousel' shelving in the corner cupboards in my new kitchen:))

 

I opened it with trepidation, and sadly the foil wrapping had corroded and been absorbed into the surface of the cake:(.

However, I cut off about half an inch from all surfaces, and we ate the middle :scared: Fortunately with no ill effects.

It was delicious.:naughty:

 

 

 

 

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Just had the gas man in to fix the boiler.  Made an appointment online this morning at 8am and he arrived at 10am.  Central heating restored as is hot water.  Phew what a relief!  We are both very impressed, too.

 

I'm far to lazy to bake so admire everybody else that does.  I'm also far too lazy to cook (I eat microwave meals, amd it shows) and also admire everybody that does.

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RG and I have been making soup today for the soup lunch at our church tomorrow.  I had made the stock in advance by boiling the carcasses of two chickens so that at least was in the freezer.  I had also frozen veg left over from previous meals, still finding cooking for only two a bit difficult!!  All I needed to do was add more veg and boil in two very large pans for a couple of hours.  Sounds easy but by the time it had all been put through the blender, cream added, put into containers, taken round to the church kitchen and the clearing up done a large chunk of the day had gone.  I had intended doing a few jobs afterwards but my back ached a fair bit after all the standing so I watched La La Land instead!  More fun then housework and I felt that I deserved it!

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Meg, thanks for telling me about the goat tagine, would never have guessed it was a container rather than part of the recipe.  

 

I liked your Dundee cake story, don't know that I would have been brave enough to sample it but neighbours of ours served some cake from someone's wedding which had taken place many years before and they and other English guests had no qualms about sampling it.  There must be a way to preserve fruit cakes for years - I know that people make their Christmas cakes well before Christmas and like to leave it to 'ripen'.  If they are iced with hard icing that seems to help too.

 

I made a sultana cake today, hopefully it will turn out like the one my Mum used to make.  I just hope I copied all the ingredients down correctly from the Internet.  I had to check the Internet for conversion of 150 C to our F reading.  

 

RG and CP are amazing with their soup making - lots of work but satisfying I'm sure.  I did a lot of my cake making today sitting down which worked out alright as I can't stand for long.

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On 12/5/2017 at 23:05, momac said:

There must be a way to preserve fruit cakes for years

 

It's all in the sugar content, and the proportion of dried fruit to other ingredients.

A rich fruit cake, such as a traditional Christmas or wedding cake - or my friend's mother's Dundee cake - can keep for ages, especially if air is excluded (although I would now recommend a layer of greaseproof paper between the cake and any foil wrapping).

The addition of copious amounts of alcohol to the cake is also helpful :naughty:

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Yesterday evening Mr meg & I went to our first Christmas event of 2017,  a Carol Concert at the Brighton Pavilion. Didn't enjoy it quite as much as lasy year, as the first half was performed by a choir  singing early carols from  Spain and Portugal (and colonies). 

The second choir did, at least, sing mainly in English, although not always to my taste - and this year there were no non-musical items such as poems or humeous readings.

Happily, as last year,  mulled cider and copius numbers of hot mince pies were served in the interval  :yumyum:

 

We arrived a bit early, so rather than stand around in the cold we wandered round to the back of the pavilion, where a whole complex has been erected comprising two ice-rinks, and a bar/restaurant and spectator area. We sent a pleasant 20mins or so, in the warm, watching skaters of all abilities, enjoying them selves on the ice.

There was a video on how to skate, which Mr meg watched intently, and he expressed an interest in going back to have a go himself. If he does he will have to find someone else to go with - I can fall on perfectly dry, flat ground, in walking boots!

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Sorry that your concert was not as enjoyable as last year Meg.  It does sound as if you still had a lovely time though.  I don't blame you for not wanting to try your hand at the skating I must admit.  RG will tell you that I have no rhythm or balance whatsoever so would never manage to stay on my feet!

 

Our soup lunch on Wednesday went off very well.  Although there were probably less people there this month than last many people are coming back each month.  If nothing else it gives some of the more isolated members of our community a chance to get together and have a good natter.  On Thursday a group of us from our church visited a residential home for the elderly in our town to sing carols to the residents. We sang for about an hour managing to fit in most of the really traditional carols.  Many of the residents sang along even without the song sheets.  It seems that no matter what age we reach many of the things we learn in childhood stay with us.

 

Apart from the soup lunch and the singing I have spent the last two days writing cards and wrapping presents.  The only presents not wrapped now are those from myself to RG.  He had a good finish at work today and so arrived home early just as I got to the stage of wrapping his presents!  He is now off for the next eleven days using up owed leave so his presents may not be wrapped until the last minute. As I think it unlikely that he has even bought me a present so far I still not think that I am doing too badly!!

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