Daybook Entry – 28th July

021114_2314_DaybookEntr1.jpgFOR TODAY

Outside my window… it is cool and dark

I am thinking… it will be easier to sleep tonight!

I am thankful… that my daughter didn’t have to have an operation today

In the kitchen… are random piles of laundry waiting to be done tomorrow

I am wearing… green t-shirt, grey shorts

I am creating… a wish-list for my future

I am going… to the doctor’s in the morning for a follow up on a scan I had a couple of weeks ago

I am wondering… what he’s going to say

I am reading… I’ve just started reading “Torch” by Lin Anderson. It’s the second in a series about a Scottish forensic scientist and I really enjoyed the first one so I’m looking forward to getting into this one

I am hoping… for a couple of clear nights when we are on holiday so we can do some night-time beach photography. Having just booked our second stop about 100 yards from the beach in Fife I am sooooo excited!

I am praying for… a quick recovery for my daughter; my gran’s health; the horrific violence against children in Gaza and Syria

I am looking forward to… my holiday next week

I am learning… how to deliver a sermon. Yes, that’s right! I gave my maiden sermon yesterday at St Peter’s Church, our sister church in Blackley. It felt amazing to do it and the feedback from people who heard me has been very encouraging.

Around the house… are signs that a camping trip is imminent

I am pondering… an early night

A favourite quote for today

One of my favourite things… is brie on crusty bread

A few plans for the rest of the week: church meeting tomorrow, visit to the GP, clothes shopping for holiday for Ethan (I’m sure he sleeps on a stretching machine each night), band rehearsal Friday night, special band rehearsal on Saturday morning for a WWI Commemoration service on Sunday

A peek into my day…


Homegrown cucumber from my Dad’s greenhouse. Very tasty!!











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Man Talks To Goats

Probably the most pointless blog post you’ll read today, but this video clip really made me laugh and I thought you’d like to see it too.

A man talks to some goats…and they answer him!!

Daft, but harmless I guess. Hope you enjoyed those 25 seconds of silliness *hits replay…



Wednesday Hodgepodge – 23rd July


1. When I look at the sky I feel ______________________________________.

…infinitesimally small. And I like that feeling.

Sometimes we need to reminded that we are just a tiny speck in this world, and though we might believe ourselves to be important, and vital, and necessary etc, we really are not those things at all. Looking up at a huge sky reminds me that there is so much more going on in this world than we can ever imagine, and I like that feeling of being small.

2. If you had to run for political office, which one would you run for? Do you have any real desire to actually do this?

British politics are different to the American system, so our terms of reference might be a little different too, but I would like to be a local councillor rather than an MP or cabinet minister. My concerns are for my local community and the people I see and work alongside every day and if I were to run for any sort of political position that’s where my heart would lie.

I don’t have any real desire to do this though, my church life and my community work is too valuable to me to put aside to become mixed up in the world of politics. I’d find it too negative and combative and I would hate that.

3. What scent makes you think of home?

Might sound a little bit gross, but the smell of my husband’s work clothes. His scent after a day at work reminds me of the security and acceptable and love that lives in our home.

4. How often do you take a step back to think about where you’re headed in life? Do you need more or less self-reflection?

I used to me manic about self-reflection, and wondering where I’m headed in life etc, but over the last four or five years my outlook has changed. As I have come to faith more and have found myself immersed in community work and outreach from my church I feel I have found my place in this world (at last!) and have never felt more contented in my life. I have got a lot of things still going wrong in my life, but they don’t seem to be as important just now. I am happy to let my path be guided by God and I have complete faith and trust that wherever I’m headed it will be for the best. It might not feel like it at the time, but I’m certain that whatever happens in the long run it will all work out fine. I don’t need to step back and think about it, I am happy to just let it happen (or not, as the case may be).

5. July is National Ice Cream Month…besides a cone, what’s your favourite food item to top with ice cream?

You can’t beat a slice of hot apple pie topped with vanilla ice-cream. Unless you present me with a bowl of hot apple crumble instead then it would definitely be a toss up as to which I would go for first!

6. What might your autobiography be called?

I would go with something like “Drifting, drifting”. All my life I seem to have been drifting from one thing to the next and as I said earlier, it has only been in the last few years that I have stopped panicking about it and learned to embrace it, trusting God to get me where I ought to be.

7. Your least favourite mode of transportation? Why?

I love most modes of transport – I love journeys full stop!! I love travelling by car, by train, by bike, by boat, by ferry (sorry Joyce!), by coach…I love them all.

However, if I had to choose my least favourite it would have to be walking. Urgh. If I can bike it rather than walk it I do! Walking is too slow and for us ladies of the larger variety it is not as pleasurable as it probably is for others. Having said that, I do enjoy it once I can get over the initial “awww do I have to?!”, and I do like getting out and about in the hills and canal tow-paths locally for walks.

8. My random thought for today:

It’s that time of year again folks! It won’t be long before we hear of the first teen drowning in a reservoir or flooded quarry “because it was hot and they needed to cool off”.

Stay out of the water chaps.



Pork and Peppers

Got to share this with you! We had this for tea tonight and it was gorgeous.

Literally. I could have gorged myself on it! Apologies for the messy plate but I was too keen to get stuck in.DSC_0583


2 x pork loin steaks (£4 for 6 at Asda, cost for this meal approx £1.33)

1 each of red, yellow and greenpeppers (99p for 3 at Tesco and Asda)

200g mushrooms (£1.37 for 650g from Asda, cost for this meal approx 45p)

1 onion, sliced (approx 20p)

2 portions of fine egg noodles (Sharwoods used tonight, cost for this meal approx 50p)

1 chicken stockcube (I use Knorr stock pots, cost around 25p each)

Smoked paprika, olive oil, garlic powder and lemon juice (combined cost no more than approx 50p)

(TOTAL COST = £4.25 approx, giving 2 generous portions)


1. Slice peppers, onions, pork steaks and mushrooms into strips.

2. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and add a teaspoon of smoked paprika and about half a teaspoon of garlic powder (use fresh if you prefer).

3. Add the pork and after a couple of minutes add the onions, peppers and mushrooms. Stir it all round until all the paprika juices coat everything.

4. Make half a pint of chicken stock (I just put a stockpot into a mug and topped it up with boiling water). Add to the frying pan and give it a good stir.

5. It will need to simmer for about 15 minutes or so to give the stock chance to reduce slightly and for all the pork and peppers to soften and cook properly.

6. While that’s doing put a large pan of salted, boiling water on and cook the noodles according to the pack instructions. I used dried fine egg noodles and they only took 3 minutes to cook.

7. Taste the gravy round the pork and the peppers and add lemon juice, salt and pepper as required.

8. Drain the noodles and divide between two dishes. Add the pepper and pork mixture on top (share it if you must!) and dig in.

I was thinking as I cooked this one tonight that if I did it up to the adding the stock stage, this would do very nicely as a filling for tortilla wraps. Just add a bit of sour cream to the wrap and Bob’s your uncle, as they say. Nice!



Wednesday Hodgepodge – 16th July

1. The month of July was named for Roman Emperor Julius Caesar.  He’s quoted as saying, ‘Experience is the teacher of all things.’ So, what has experience taught you lately?

I think the most significant thing that experience has taught me is the old adage that “this too shall pass”. Whether you are ecstatic or in agony, it will pass and things will move on. I have learned to enjoy the moment rather than rue the past or dread the future.

2. Where did you last ‘roam’?

I don’t tend to do roaming, but I did have a nice little wander round Tesco this morning looking for bits and bobs for tea tonight. Managed to bag myself a couple of bargains and had a lovely dinner of roasted vegetables and chicken.

3. Speaking of ‘Rome’…pizza, pasta, gelato…you can only pick one, which would you choose?

Pasta, hands down. I could eat pasta with any kind of sauce, hot or cold, spicy or savoury any day of the week. Not entirely sure what gelato is – is it like ice-cream? If so, then that would be for dessert!

4. ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’, ‘All roads lead to Rome’, ‘When in Rome…’ which ‘Roman’ idiom have you most recently encountered? Explain.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day”: I suppose this one is linked to the first question and it is something else I’ve learned with experience, that for anything to be worthwhile it can’t be rushed at and should be taken great care with.

5. What’s a movie you’ve seen or book you’ve read, that makes you want to book a trip to Italy?

Dan Brown’s “Inferno”. The way that the story takes us through ancient art-works and architecture is inspiring.

6. Walt’s original Disneyland opened almost sixty years ago this week, on July 17, 1955.  Have you ever been to the California park? How about any of the other Disney parks around the world? What’s your favourite amusement park ride or attraction?

I haven’t been to any Disney park anywhere in the world. There was a time when my kids were growing up that I was desperate to go but finances would never allow. I guess that the time to take them has passed now, and if I ever get there it would be with my grandchildren (if they come along at all!).

My all-time favourite ride has got to be the Grand National ride at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. It is an old, wooden ride with cars that are rickety and uncomfortable to say the least, but it is thrilling and I LOVE it.

7. It’s that time of year…when were you last bitten or stung?

Last Saturday night in Todmorden’s Centre Vale Park where the midges were like swarms of needles. Urgh!!! Have you ever tried to conduct a brass band concert whilst waving away clouds of mini vampires? Let me tell you, it’s a challenge!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I had a very strange incident today where in nearly causing a road accident, I actually saved a pedestrian from being run over. I didn’t mean to nearly cause it, but I can’t get over how my carelessness actually saved someone’s life.

Let me illustrate. I was parked up on a main road earlier today, on a bend in the road about 150 yards away from a main junction and just in front of a pedestrian crossing. I wanted to do a U-turn to head the other way, and there was no traffic coming behind me but there was a line of traffic coming against me. I edged out bit by bit so I could turn into the gap that was coming towards me and just as I took my last look over my shoulder to pull right round, a speeding Range Rover appeared coming from behind me. I slammed on my brakes and I thought he had too to give way to me because there was a woman crossing the road in front of me, but in that split second when I hit the accelerator again I realised he was still coming…FAST. I hit the brakes again and he sped round me on the wrong side of the road and the wrong side of the bollards, and was going so fast that he lost control and swerved wildly, rocking up onto two wheels before disappearing away into the distance. The trajectory of his swerve took him within inches of the pedestrian and as I pulled away I realised that he was only on the wrong side of the road because of ME and my error in pulling out in front of him.

I had to pull over because I was so shaken and as I sat I thought about it and went through it over and over in my mind, and I realised that if I HADN’T have pulled out in front of the speeding driver, he would have headed straight for the pedestrian and he would have wiped her out. By the time I had got myself together she had disappeared so I didn’t speak to her, but I can honestly say that something special happened this morning. It feels so strange to realise that by almost causing an accident may have saved someone’s life.

One could almost imagine a force greater than us being right there in the heart of that situation couldn’t one….

Daybook Entry 15th July

021114_2314_DaybookEntr1.jpgFOR TODAY

Outside my window… there are two lovely lavender bushes in pots by the door out onto my deck and their scent is wafting inside beautifully in the evening sunshine.

I am thinking… about how different I feel from this time last week.

I am thankful… that my bout of pancreatitis has finally subsided and I am starting to feel better.

In the kitchen… I made up a pasta sauce tonight from some smoked ham scraps and mushrooms in a creamy sauce. It was delicious!

I am wearing… as my tummy is still very sore I’m wearing my comfy tracksuit bottoms and a wafty t-shirt. For the record, my tracksuit bottoms have never been trackside, and the nearest they have ever come to seeing any exercise is when I amble round the house as I have been doing these past few days.

I am creating… a holiday plan.

I am going… to the northeast of England in a couple of weeks. CANNOT WAIT.

I am wondering… if I can contain my nerves until I see the dentist in six weeks time. Apparently that’s the earliest I can see a dentist as a new patient, but I have a dodgy filling that needs attention and I am not just nervous of dentists but terrified. Actually, make that petrified.

I am reading… “The Darkest Hour” by Barbara Erskine.

I am hoping… that Emma is doing well in Portsmouth this week. She is on a bit of a break with her boyfriend but she has no phone at the moment so I am out of contact with her and it feels weird. We received a postcard from her this morning which was lovely but it’s not the same as having a text or a phone chat is it?!

I am praying for… God’s healing touch in a number of places that are close to my heart.

I am looking forward to… going on holiday in my little caravan with my family and enjoying some time at the seaside with my camera.

I am learning… How to use the camera properly so I can do some proper timelapse photography and some astrophotography. I am also learning how to do some post-production so I can maximise the colours and finish of any decent pictures I might take whilst I’m away.

Around the house… the tide of housework is lapping at the shore. Having been out of action for a little while last week it is taking me some time to catch up on things again and to be honest things are a bit messy. Sigh…I wish I was Canute sometimes!

I am pondering… going out on my bike tomorrow sometime.

A favourite quote for today: “Enjoy life today; yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come”

One of my favourite things… is singing nursery rhymes with children at Stay and Play.

A few plans for the rest of the week: I have some music to arrange for a special service of commemoration that is coming up on 3rd August so I will get down to that tomorrow; I have some campsites to ring tomorrow to finalise bookings; I am going to a healing service at my church on Thursday morning and a Eucharist in the evening in another local church; I will be going to band on Friday night and Saturday morning is Messy Church.

A peek into my day

These were taken yesterday morning at our last Stay and Play before the summer break. We sang outside again because the day was so lovely, and then we went back inside to have our Teddy Bear’s Picnic and to give out our farewell certificates to those who are leaving for Big School. It was a bit emotional!!

DSC_0505That’s me on the right in the grey t-shirt. I love my little friends I do!!


Looking forward to seeing them all again in September, but it will be different without all our 3yr old graduates!



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Fare Share


This is me earlier today at our local Tesco helping out with their “Fare Share” appeal. It’s an appeal for foods to be redistributed to local charities, such as homeless shelters, food banks etc and I was very proud to do a two-hour shift with my mum and another lady from my church in publicising it and encouraging shoppers to help out.

What humbled me was the fact that it was sometimes the least likely people who were the most generous and who donated 5 trolleys worth of food while we were there this afternoon. One woman summed it up for me as she handed over half a dozen bags of shopping and said “I’d hate to be in a position where I couldn’t feed my kids “.
I know what she means, and I think there are more people than we realise who are treading that very fine line separating the “haves” and the “haven’t enoughs” in our community.

If you’re going shopping this weekend why not bib along to Tesco and see if you can donate to their cause?