A little while ago I shared with you a project I had begun for a friend of mine. It’s a crocheted blanket in Autumn colours – a palette chosen by my friend because they are his favourites.
I wanted to make it 42 rounds big in “granny square” stitch (blocks of 3 trebled (UK terms) separated by a chain) using five lighter colours for the central block, and four darker colours in thick bands round the edge.
The colours don’t show up well in artificial light so I’ll try to get a photo in daylight soon, but this its how it’s looking after some mighty fine hooking this afternoon and evening. I an using the tv remote to give you adv idea of scale, as per my last update so you can see how much the blanket has grown today. I’m thrilled with it so far!
On this day in history, 17th January 1746 to be precise, Bonnie Prince Charlie led his troops into battle in Falkirk against government troops, in which would be the last victory in his campaign to restore his father, King James back to the throne (the Jacobite rebellion begun in August1745).
Three months after this battle (April 1746) was the battle of Culloden, where famously, the Jacobites were comprehensively defeated and the lives of thousands of Scottish Highlanders were changed forever.
I have not done a “Wednesday” blog for a while and I was disappointed to find that Joyce has discontinued her Wednesday Hodgepodge hosted on “This Side of the Pond” when I came to do it today. However, I was delighted that CiCi has taken the reins and relaunched it as “Wednesday Medley” on her side. So here it is, my first Wednesday this year, with grateful thanks to CiCi for holding the torch.
Wednesday, January 16th, is National Do Nothing Day!! National Nothing Day was proposed in 1972 by columnist Harold Pullman Coffin. This day has been observed annually since 1973. Of course, the way to celebrate it is to do nothing!
1. To commemorate Do Nothing Day in SOME way, tell us something about your life (or the life of someone close to you) in 1973!!
I was two years old in 1973, so
the answer would be not very much! In fact, my birthday is July so technically,
16th January 1973 I would have been eighteen months old and just
getting over my first Christmas.
This is a photo of me with my Aunty Sonia and my Aunty Pat visiting Santa for the first time. Me, that is, not my Aunties… Sonia is on the left and Pat is on the right. I don’t know who we were looking at but it seems only Santa had eyes for the camera!
2. Now that we are thinking back, please tell us what your favourite past time was as a child.
I had two – one was playing my cornet in the band and the other was riding my bike. I would go for miles on it and could spend all day riding round the streets and in Heaton Park, the big municipal park in North Manchester. This photo was taken when I would have been about 8 or 9 years old.
3. What is the best way to cheer you up on a bad day?
Make me a really good cup of tea
and then retreat to give me space to wallow for a bit. I don’t get that many bad
days at the minute so they are few and far between, but if there’s a bad one
then it’s probably for a reason and I will need to just have some time and
space to go through what it is made it bad.
4. How old were you when you first started dating? Do you remember your first date?
I didn’t really do the “dating” thing, and I have been with my husband since the age of 14. I do remember the first time we got together though. It was at a band contest at Nostell Priory in 1985 and I was a guest player for his band who were a cornet player short for the day.
5. Today is also National Fig Newton day. Do you like figs/Fig Newtons?
Here in the UK we have Fig Rolls
which I am guessing are the same as Fig Newtons. I didn’t used to like them,
then I did like them for a while (during pregnancy) and now I don’t again. The
texture is a bit weird!
6. Tell us something random about your week.
I am running out of wall space at my desk and have resorted to hanging things from string now. The long piece of paper is the main people and important events in the Bible listed in chronological order with references and this is the only way I could display it all in one go! And yes, the red and white stripy legs sticking out from in front of the radio belong to an Elf. And yes, he’s on the shelf.
…Henry VIII assumed the title “Supreme Head of the Church” in England.
This was after a long and turbulent process of splitting from the church in Rome, and was the foundation of the Church of England that we know today.
Lots has been written about that period of history, so I thought today I would give you ten facts about Henry that you might be interested in:
1. He wasn’t supposed to be King. He was born the second son
– the “spare” to his older brother Arthur. As the second son he enjoyed a
relatively carefree childhood and was a bit of a playboy prince as a young man.
Tragically Arthur died aged 15 in 1502, and Henry took the throne aged 17 a few
years later in 1509
2. That obese image that we’re all used to was Henry at the
end of his life. For most of the time he was very fit, agile, muscular and strong,
and he enjoyed physical lots of physical pursuits in line with his status –
hawking, hunting, jousting and sword play.
3. Henry was married six times. His first wife, Catherine of
Aragon, was the widow of his older brother Arthur, and he argued later that
their marriage could not have been valid. He put her aside to marry his second
wife Anne Boleyn. He became suspicious of her behaviour and accused her of
adultery, which resulted in her execution – after she bore him a child,
Elizabeth. He went on to marry Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard
and finally Catherine Parr, who outlived him.
4. Henry was also reportedly a serial womaniser, entertaining
a string of mistresses, including Anne Boleyn’s sister Mary.
5. Henry was extremely talented in the arts as well as being
a great sportsman. He was fluent in several languages, could paint and draw
well, played a number of musical instruments and was famous for having a good
6. He is the only English monarch to also be monarch in
Belgium. He was King there between 1513 and 1518 until he handed supremacy over
7. He was obsessed with producing a male heir, possibly
explaining the long line of wives. He fathered numerous children, including three
children who went on to be monarchs themselves: Edward, Elizabeth, and Mary. He
also had a son, William, but as he was born out of wedlock to one of Henry’s
mistresses he was not legitimate and so could not be acknowledged as Henry’s
heir. However, he was given the surname Fitzroy, which means “son of the king”.
8. For all his athletic prowess, Henry was a bit of a
hypochondriac. It meant that he was hyper vigilant about illness and disease,
and at the first signs of the sweating sickness or the plague, he would vacate
London and leave it for the fresher air of the countryside to avoid catching
9. He had a nickname – “Coppernose”. During his reign, the
English currency was devalued and there was a large number of counterfeit coins
in circulation. People got into the habit of rubbing their coins to test the
quality of the metal because so many were made of copper and coated in a more
precious metal. The name “Coppernose” came from people rubbing the coins so
much that they wore away the inferior metal on top, exposing the copper
10. Possibly as a consequence of the devaluation in
currency, Henry died in debt. More probably however was the fact that Henry
loved spending money and during his lifetime, he had amassed huge collections
of goods and treasures, including 50 palaces which was the most any monarch has
owned in history. He also spent a fortune on wars with France and Scotland, and
was also fond of gambling.
View from the PamCam this afternoon. Yes that’s the last of the Elizabeth Shaw after dinner mints from Christmas… Sorry not sorry 😁
Writing about writing is exciting and frustrating. Exciting because I am learning and being challenged to read better and write better, and frustrating because of the same things. When I’m studying I want to be writing, but when I’m writing I’m aware of the studying that’s piling up as well. Such is the life of an ordinand/masters student!
Cooking in this house has been a bit meh… lately. And I do mean “meh” in all it’s meanings – enthusiasm, taste, variety, nutritional value etc. There are a few reasons for that, but I want to concentrate on how I have planned to get my way out of the rut we are in.
First off, I have given myself a big shake and got myself a meal plan for the next week. Now that sounds easy but trust me, it has taken me since the week between Christmas and New Year to actually do it. I have been steeling myself to do it from then and finally got round to it yesterday afternoon.
Knowing that once I am back in the swing of cooking again it will be easier to think up variety in the range of dishes we will eat, I thought I would start off slow and easy this week. Today was the first on the menu and I made meatloaf for the first time. We already had the mincemeat in the freezer and the “flavourings” in the cupboard, so it was just a simple thing to get organised and get it in the oven.
Here’s what I did:
Took 500g of lean mince and mixed it together with half a box of Ritz crackers (crushed), about 4oz of grated cheese, a couple of small onions chopped up, 2 beaten eggs in about half a pint of milk, salt and pepper.
I have to admit, this bit was not pleasant, but when I pressed it down into the baking dish it looked kind of what I expected.
I covered it in foil and put it in the oven at 170 C for 30 minutes (or thereabouts. I actually forgot it was there and realised I hadn’t set a timer neither. Oops) and then put a topping on it.
I put about 200ml of ketchup in a jug and added a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar and about 2 teaspoons of dry mustard powder. Now, the recipe called for 1/2 cup of ketchup and 1/2 cup of brown sugar, but firstly I don’t have a “cup” and secondly, I thought that equal amounts of ketchup and brown sugar seemed a bit excessive on the sugar front. So, I made that bit up. It tasted ok though, so all good. I spread about 2/3rds of this on top of the mostly-cooked meatloaf.
Not bad eh? You can see through the glass sides that it is mostly cooked and I didn’t quite get all the brown sugar dissolved before I spread it out. To be fair, it had been in the back of the cupboard since last winter when I had a bit of a baking splurge and it had set like a brick. But hey, it was better than icing sugar so I went with it.
This went back in for 15 minutes without the foil on, and this time I remembered to time it. I put the rest of the glaze on top and put it back again for another 10 minutes. Yeah, I don’t know why either. The recipe said to do it that way so I did what I was told, but next time I perhaps won’t do it that way. Let’s see.
Anyway, after roughly an hour’s cooking in total, the slimy, squidgy mess that I had my hands in earlier on came out of the oven looking like this.
Not bad for a first attempt! And what a good judgement on the size of dish required. Phew, managed to get that right too.
We had it with a bit of salad and some olive and sun-dried tomato bread with it and to be fair, it wasn’t half bad.
A couple of things though – next time, I won’t use quite so much milk and egg and I will definitely leave it for about 45 minutes before I put the first glaze coating on. It was just cooked and though it tasted nice, it felt a bit wet as we ate it so definitely less liquid and more oven time and this will be a winner in future.
As a Brit I am excited to have made an iconic American staple like this and to be totally honest, having made this which is totally new to me has helped spark a bit of an interest in cooking something different from my usual stuff.
So…. if you saw my post yesterday you will have seen a stack of yarn that was going to be made into a blanket for my friend.
I am making up the pattern as I go along, and I began last night. I had to work out the central block first which took some head-scratching but I got there eventually. I have got an overall picture in my head of what I want to achieve with the arrangement of colours and this is the start (remote control there to show the scale).
I did a bit over my lunch break…
And then some more tonight watching TV.
What do you think? It’s difficult to show the colours properly when it’s not in daylight, but I hope to get a better shot of the colour scheme as it grows during the daytime.
I fell in love with crocheting when I first became ill about nine years ago. It was a love-hate relationship to begin with, but ultimately it has been a life saver. Literally. Especially in the early dark days when I was in and out of hospital.
I taught myself from books that my Mum had in her craft library and by using videos on YouTube, and I quickly picked up some basic design techniques and now I am equally happy designing my own stuff as well as following patterns. My favourites are the things that don’t take so long to do – children’s hats, baby’s blankets, small teddy bears etc – but every now and again I like to get my teeth stuck into a bigger project like this blanket I’m doing for my friend.
The Snooker starts tomorrow, so after I’ve done some studying tomorrow morning I am going to indulge myself with a couple more rounds whilst watching/listening to that on the TV.
I am conducting a poll on my Facebook page to see what people would do in a particular moral dilemma – namely, if your bank gave you an amount of money in error, what would you do?
Would you keep it, or would you tell them there had been a mistake?
Would it matter how much it was? Maybe a small amount that can easily be paid back if they asked for it, would that affect your decision?
How about if it was a life-changing sum? Would that make you think again?
Please let me know in the comments below what you think.
The reason I ask is that I am researching what the “average” person would do faced with a moral dilemma that involved money. I am writing a piece of fiction where the protagonist is an anti-hero, which is a character that has flaws or behaves against the accepted moral code yet still attracts the readers affection and care. It is partially sparked by the story recently about a homeless man who exploited a glitch in the banking and/or supermarket system and defrauded Tesco out of £60k worth of goods. You can read the whole story here, but basically, he realised there was an error in the system somewhere and so he bought food and electrical goods for his mates.
Part of me wants to say what a good job the police and the CPS did in prosecuting him – £60k is a lot of money and at the end of the day it’s theft. But part of me wants to say – well done that man. He is homeless and he didn’t use the goods and cash to furnish just his own needs, but he shared it about and looked after his mates too. The big multi-million pound company Tesco can withstand a small loss like that and it’s their own fault anyway, so good luck to him. I know where my head tells me to think but I also know where my heart is too. I wonder what you make of it and what would you do if it happened to you?
Drop me a line and let me know. I won’t use your direct comments in my work, but it will help me form a proper character in it. Thank you!