Wednesday Hodgepodge

Wednesday Hodgepodge 17th Jan

I am joining Joyce again this week for her Wednesday Hodgepodge. If you want to have a go yourself, click on the graphic below and follow Joyce’s instructions. Here we go.

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. What keeps you blogging?

A couple of things. First, the contact with friends I have made through my site is a big draw. I love reading what they write and I love hearing from them when they comment on my posts. Second, the discipline of writing something each day. Third, I like a challenge…!

2. Some people like to travel in the winter months. Do you enjoy the beach in winter? According to Southern Living the best U.S. beach towns to visit this winter are-

St Simons Island (Georgia), Hilton Head (South Carolina), Bald Head Island (North Carolina), Seaside (Florida), Bay St. Louis (Mississippi), Cape San Blas (Florida), South Padre Island (Texas), Folly Beach (South Carolina), Chincoteague (Virginia), Duck Key (Florida), Nags Head (North Carolina), and Fairhope (Alabama) 

Have you been to any of the towns listed (in any season)? Which on the list appeals to you most this winter?

I have not visited any of these beaches but I have visited plenty in the UK which are definitely winter-worthy. There is something primal about being beside a body of water, and the ferocity of that body of water in winter is a humbling and invigorating experience to be enjoyed.

3. What’s a song you’re embarrassed to know all the lyrics to? Are you really embarrassed or do just think you should be?

I’m not embarrassed to know the lyrics to any song, but I am highly embarrassed to sing them in public!

4. When you were a kid what’s something you thought would be fantastic as an adult, but now that you’re an adult you realise it’s not all that fantastic?

Being “in charge” of my own life. Sometimes I hark back to those days where my bedtime was set according to my age, and being told to get up for school etc. The days when certain TV programmes or films were deemed too grown up for me seem a long time ago, and I’ll never forget watching “Carrie” after being told not to because it was too old for me. It was.

5. Share a quote you hope will inspire you in 2018.

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” –Albert Einstein

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I experienced my first “thunder snow” last night. Wow! Purple lightning and massive crashes of thunder accompanying a substantial fall of snow and hail. For all the power of its arrival, the snow didn’t stay around for long and it had largely melted overnight. But that thunder and lightning was something awesome to behold.


Wednesday Hodgepodge

Wednesday Hodgepodge

From This Side of the Pond
Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. January is National Mentoring Month. Have you ever had a mentor? Been a mentor? How would you rate the experience?

I have never had a mentor in the official sense, but I have received wisdom and guidance from several people at different stages of my life which I would consider a form of mentoring. My music teacher in secondary school was a big influence and I credit him with arming me with the sense to keep asking “why?”. I was lucky enough to tell him that a couple of years ago and to thank him for his mentoring in those turbulent teenage years. Since then I have received musical mentoring as well as life skills and personal development mentoring from a couple of different people. I would like to think that I have served in a mentoring role in my life in return for that guidance I have had so far. I think it’s vital for everyone to have someone they can look to for it.

2. What current trend makes no sense to you?

I don’t understand making a circle with your finger and thumb to people. I have seen a couple of memes online where people fall about laughing, but to me, it makes no sense whatsoever. Maybe it’s an age thing…? Here’s an example:

thumb finger circle

3. I saw a cartoon on facebook highlighting a few ‘weird’ things that make you happy as an adult. The list included-writing with a nice pen, having plans cancelled, freshly cleaned sheets, eating the corner brownie, cleaning the dryer lint screen, and sipping coffee in that brief time before anyone else wakes up. (Credit for the cartoon goes here) Of the ‘weird’ things listed which one makes you happiest? What is one more ‘weird’ thing you’d add to the list?

I like to think of them as “simple pleasures”, and for me, there’s not much that beats a clean body, clean pyjamas and clean bedding. Next to that is writing with a nice pen (on nice paper).

I would add waking up feeling like you’ve had a full night’s sleep, checking the clock, and realising that it is still the middle of the night and you can still enjoy a full 4 hours cycle of sleep. Heaven!

4. What’s the last good thing you ate?

Corned beef shepherd’s pie this evening for our tea. So tasty!

5. Describe life in your 20’s in one sentence.

As a new/young married mother, life was turbulent but character building.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I am not one for exercise, but I really do fancy having a go at this. It looks incredibly good fun!

Bounce Fitness



Wednesday Hodgepodge – 3rd Jan 18

I’m making a return to the Hodgepodge this week and it is so lovely to rejoin Joyce on her weekly blog. Here’s my entry this week.

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. It’s that time of year again…time for Lake Superior University to present a list of words (or phrases) they’d like to see banished (for over-use, mis-use, or genera uselessness) in 2018. You can read more about the decision making process and word meaning here,but this year’s top vote getter-s are

unpack, dish (as in dish out the latest rumour), pre-owned, onboarding/offboarding, nothingburger, let that sink in, let me ask you this, impactful, Cofefe, drill down, fake news, hot water heater (hot water doesn’t need to be heated), and gig economy

Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why? Is there a word not on the list you’d like to add?

I don’t find any of these words particularly annoying, except perhaps “unpack”. I don’t find it annoying, but I do get irritated when I hear that “we will unpack that later” but then never return to it. It has happened in different places recently and I don’t mind the promise of “unpacking” something, but when we don’t get to do it, I get slightly annoyed.

Words or phrases that aren’t on the list? Lush is pretty irritating for its overuse and meaninglessness.

2. What’s something you need to get rid of in the new year?

We have made a promise to ourselves this year that we will empty all the junk from the loft (attic) and get rid of as much of it as we can. We have lived here for around 20 years now, and over that time all we seem to have done is accumulate rubbish!

3. Where do you feel stuck?

I feel a little stuck in my writing at the moment. I am busy studying for my masters which involves writing, and now and again when it’s my turn on the rota I get busy writing sermons and liturgy for church, but I feel a bit stuck as to what to do with it all. I seem to lack the final oomph to get something submitted either for competition or for consideration and I feel a bit stuck with lots of notes and outlines of plots and characters etc, and struggling with turning them into something worthwhile. One of the ways I am trying to combat that is by restarting my regular blogging habit as a way of disciplining myself.

4. January is National Soup Month. When did you last have a bowl of soup? Was it made from scratch or from a can? Your favourite canned soup? Your favourite soup to make from scratch on a cold winter’s day?

I made a broth/soup yesterday out of vegetables, grains and leftover lamb which was delicious. I like to make soups from scratch, but when I feel unwell, there is nothing quite like Heinz tomato soup to cheer me up.

5. Tell us one thing you’re looking forward to in 2018.

I am looking forward to starting my ordination training in September.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I have to share this with you! I nearly cried laughing at this when I first saw it a couple of years ago and it came to my attention again a couple of days ago when I saw this same warder on duty at a New Year’s Honours presentation in Westminster and I recognised him. He is called Bill Callaghan and is a Yeoman Warder at the Tower of London. This video is part 2 of 4, and if you wish to see the others there are links to them on YouTube too. This is how history ought to be taught in schools!


If you wish to take part in Joyce’s weekly hodgepodge, please click on the picture above and you will be taken to the host site.

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Peaceful Hodgpodge


It’s another week on the Hodgepodge and thanks to Joyce for these great questions again this week.  If you want to have a go too, please click the graphic below and follow the instructions. Dive in!


1. If you could sit beside and/or jump in any lake in the whole wide world today, which lake would you choose and why?

I would love to be beside Wast Water in the Lake District. It is one of the most beautiful and spiritual places I have visited – not that I’ve travelled much – but this place is breathtaking.

Wast Water, Cumbria

2. What’s your favourite ‘fruity’ drink?

Vimto. Not too strong and made up with fresh cold water it is my favourite pick-me-up at the minute.

3. I read a list here of thirteen things to do right now to simplify your life. They were-

clean as you go, re-evaluate your relationships (cut toxic ties), unsubscribe (too many blogs and websites), de-clutter, write down your daily goals, reply to emails right away, forget multitasking, create a morning routine, re-evaluate your commitments (which hobbies and responsibilities are most important to you), say no, clean up your computer, and plan your day ahead

Which of the tasks listed do you currently find most helpful in keeping life simple? Which item on the list should you adopt in order to simplify your life this month?

There are quite a few of this list that I could do right now to simplify my life! In no particular order – re-evaluate my relationships, clean as I go, reply to emails straight away, learn to say ‘no’ and stick to it, change my morning routine and having had a commitment re-evaluation forced upon me by ill health I don’t really want to do that again voluntarily but there’s no harm in being careful and having a long hard look at the things I fill my time with.

4. What did you do the summer after you graduated from high school?

As a Brit, we don’t do high school the same as you do in the US and our equivalent is Sixth Form, or College, which is the stage before university study. I did a year at college but failed my exams miserably and left to get a clerical job with ICI at the age of 17. I’ve tried hard all my life to make sure my kids don’t repeat my mistake.

5. Are you a fan of podcasts? If so what’s a favourite?

No, not really. I prefer to read content than listen to it and struggle to even listen to audio books so podcasts are definitely not for me thank you.

6. Do you think today’s fathers have it harder, easier, or just different than fathers in the past?

I think they have some things easier (communication and openness about emotions and relationships for example) but they have other things harder (working to provide for a family’s needs is beyond even the most basic wage and so fathers are stretched to earn enough). I think expectations of fatherhood have changed over the years from both children and fathers themselves and some of it is for the better and some of it is not. The responsibilities of fatherhood are the same as ever, but being able to fulfil them are very different I think.

7. Tell us one way you’re like your father? Or not at all like your father if that’s easier?

Physically I have my Dad’s moles and freckles – even down to the mole on our right cheeks that are in exactly the same spot – and whereas my brothers and my mum have hazel coloured eyes, my dad and I have got dark brown eyes. In other ways were are very alike in that we have the same sense of humour (daft and crackpot!), we both love reading and have a large cross-over of interest in the stuff we read, we are both ambidextrous (Dad more than me, but operating tools and paintbrushes we are both the same) and we both love learning – history mainly. Apart from that, we’re not very alike at all haha!



pam and dad iow
Me and my Dad on the Isle of Wight about 1984/5
My Dad last Christmas playing the "who am I" game
My Dad last Christmas playing the “who am I” game, appropriate character – would you believe he’s 68?


8. Insert your own random thought here.

Why does the world have to be so violent? And not just cruel and hurtful on a small scale, between individuals, but wholescale hatred and barbarity resulting in mass death and injury. I don’t get it. Obviously I’m referring to the shooting in Orlando, but also at the Euro 2016 football tournament in France. Why can’t folk just get along with each other without resorting to rioting, or shooting, or letting off flares at one another? Why can’t people live and let live? So what if you don’t approve of someone’s lifestyle, or sexual orientation, or football team they support, or religion they follow, or even what country they were born in. Get over it and let them be. It saddens me that in our so-called ‘advanced’ society, people can still be killed for something that is none of anybody else’s business and where they are doing no harm to anyone.

But it’s not just human to human is it? It saddens me to know there are people who hunt ‘game’ in Africa for fun – elephants, tigers, lions, giraffes and so on – just because they can. Not to gain food, not in self-defence, not to put it out of its misery if it is ill or injured, but simply because they see it as sport, for fun.

Needless and wanton violence for the sake of it and it really upsets me. We pray for peace all the time, and you might agree with me that we are the agents of our own prayers being answered. If that’s true then it is up to us to start doing what we can to bring peace to our world.

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Wednesday Hodgepodge – 8th June

Welcome to the Hodgepodge! Thanks to Joyce for the questions again this week. If you want to play along, please click the graphic and follow the instructions. Here we go:

1. I read here a list of 13 things you should do in June. I’m paraphrasing a little but basically…

Go on a road trip with your best friend, pick fresh strawberries, host a garden party, take a morning run, treat yourself to a flower bouquet, spend a whole day hiking, discover a new coffee shop, try a new ice cream flavour, read at least one book, visit a Farmer’s Market, make a swing for your home, and visit a new city. 

Which thing on the list do you most want to do? Of the activities mentioned, which one holds the least appeal? How many on the list will you attempt in June? What’s one thing you’d add to the list? 

Having looked at the list there are a couple of things I do anyway (reading books, eating in the garden) but if I were to try something new I would go for a different ice cream flavour

Something new on the list? I would say have a haircut. Spring/early summer is the perfect time for a good cut that will make you feel brighter and lighter to match the weather and the season.

2. What’s something you could do today to feel more peaceful?

I have had a fairly peaceful day today, which was lovely. I cut my Mum’s hair this morning, sorted a huge pile of laundry out, hung some on the line to dry, did a baptism preparation session in church for a family and have been generally pottering about cleaning and tidying up today. It has been a very nice day.

If I’m feeling anxious or stressed I like to try to do something creative such as crochet, writing or painting to help me, but generally speaking, prayer is my go-to activity to find peace.

3. June 7th is National Chocolate Ice Cream Day. Are you a fan? Swiss mocha, rocky road, chocolate chocolate chip, peanut butter and chocolate, or a dish of plain chocolate…what’s your pleasure?

I’m not a huge fan of ice cream, but perhaps that’s because I only really have vanilla. Chocolate ice cream always gives me a migraine so I’ve developed an aversion to it in any form. My favourite ‘different’ flavour was one I tried once that I have not been able to find anywhere else which was absolutely gorgeous – ginger and honeycomb – oh wow, what a flavour sensation that was!

4. you came with a warning what would it say?

At the moment it would be “Warning: Walking Heat Source Ahead”.

5. What’s the most interesting website you’ve visited in the last week?

I did a bit of research on WebMD, which was fascinating. My son has been diagnosed with a Vitamin D deficiency, probably due to mal-absorption rather than poor diet or lack of sunlight and I was doing some reading into it. A very enlightening article that was to the point and didn’t go over the top with the “you’re going to die” messages that online health websites tend to do.

6. Spring, summer, autumn, winter…which season are you? Why?

Spring. I feel that I’m only just getting going with my life and I have the rest of my life to look forward to.

7. “You lose sight of things…and when you travel, everything balances out.” ~Daranna Gidel

Would you agree with that sentiment? Explain why or why not.

Not sure I agree with this, but I agree with the reason for making it. It is easy to become prejudiced to your own point of view if you don’t take a break away from it and look at things from someone else’s perspective. It can be dangerous to think that the rest of the world sees things the way you do, because they don’t, and you have to challenge yourself all the time not to become so entrenched that you think your view is the only view. However, I don’t think travel is the only answer or the only way to challenge your perspective. Reading books, watching films, meeting people, asking questions about your beliefs etc can all helpfully challenge the way you think.

8. Insert your own random thought here.


This is the view out of my back door into the garden this afternoon. It was lovely and sunny, hot etc and my washing dried in next to no time, which was a good because shortly after this photograph was taken the heavens opened and it was like Armageddon out there! Thunder, torrential rain, black skies… it was almost like the end of the world, honestly. The whole area suffered – flash floods have closed roads and submerged vehicles, drains have collapsed with the force and sheer amount of water that appeared in about 30 minutes this afternoon.

Welcome to the English early summer!


Wednesday Hodgepodge

Wednesday Hodgepodge – 27th April 2016

I haven’t posted for a little while because of things going on at home and in my studies, but I thought I would break my “fast” so to speak with a dip into the Wednesday Hodgepodge this week. Thank you Joyce for enticing me out of the shadows again!


1. This is the last Hodgepodge in April. Share something you learned this month. 

I have learned how to crochet teddy bears for babies; I may have a talent for scriptwriting after all; and, my spontaneous joke-telling skills can be useful in a crowded room in front of a breathless brass band.

2. It’s National Poetry Month, and we all know you can’t escape an April Hodgepodge without a little poetry. Keeping the first line as is, change the rest of the wording in this familiar rhyme to make it your own – ‘Hickory Dickory Dock…


Hickory Dickory Dock

My dryer has eaten a sock;

A black one today,

A pink yesterday,

The filter now needs an unblock


3. What were one or two rules in the home you grew up in? Growing up, did you feel your parents were strict? Looking back do you still see it that way? 

We didn’t have rules as such, but my brothers and I all knew when we’d stepped over the line. My Dad never had to raise his voice to us and we knew we’d disappointed him by the look on his face which was punishment enough. They weren’t very strict but then again they didn’t really need to be. We weren’t naughty kids or anything, just that we never seemed to have any clashes with them and didn’t really push the boundaries very much. I’m sure my brothers might have a different view!

4. Tell us about a kitchen or cooking disaster or mishap you’ve experienced. Do you have many from which to choose? 

The funniest one was when we tried to cook beetroot in a pressure cooker when we lived at my Gran’s house. If you don’t know what a pressure cooker is, it’s a special heavy pan that has a lockable lid so that when you boil it there is no steam escape route and the added pressure inside helps cook the food quicker. Very useful for beetroot because it takes hours to boil properly in a regular pan. This one time, for some reason, my Mum either had the pressure set too high, or she’d left it to boil for too long, but the result was that it exploded and embedded shreds of beetroot in the kitchen ceiling and all over the walls. You may realise that beetroot stains bright red, and the result was the kitchen looked like a serial killer had gone to work in there. We cleaned it all up, but my Dad had to redecorate the kitchen. The stains are that deeply embedded the ceiling has to be repainted every couple of years now because it keeps bleeding through. And it has been nearly 30 years – oops!

5. Plant a kiss, plant doubt, plant a tree, plant yourself somewhere…which on the list have you most recently planted?

Planting a kiss – my friend played in a concert with my band on Saturday night and I went to kiss him goodnight as we were leaving but he moved his head just as I leant over and I ended up head-butting him in the face instead. We laughed, and ended up with a very tentative peck instead!

6. What’s your most worn item of clothing this time of year? Are you tired of it? 

I don’t really have a seasonal wardrobe and I tend to wear the same clothes all year round. However, I have a favourite hoodie at the moment and I am wearing that one more than the others at the minute. And no, I’m not tired of it yet.

7. I’m wrapping up the A-Z Blog Challengethis month and our Hodgepodge lands on letter W. What’s one word beginning with W that describes you in some way? How about a word to describe your home, also beginning with W? 

Myself – “weary”. I’m nearing the end of my degree and got three big pieces of work to finish off in the next couple of weeks and I have been ill again recently. My husband’s wages have been reduced from this month and the financial struggle we have been having for the past six years has just been made a whole lot worse. I’m weary and tired of being tired and weary.

My house – “welcoming”. It’s where we as a family can simply be, and where anybody coming in can feel at home too. If you’re in my house, you’re one of us and you get treated like one of the family.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

In an effort to try and get myself a bit fitter I have started the “Couch to 5k” running challenge recently. And boy is it a challenge! At my age, with my health problems and at my weight, running is NOT easy. The app I have is one where you walk for a bit, run for a bit, walk for a bit etc. I have been stuck on day 1 for more than a week because I can’t do the 6 reps of running for a minute and a half each time….yet. I will get there eventually but it is going to be a lot less than the 7 weeks this app is telling me it will take. Watch this space!


Wednesday Hodgepodge

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Thanks to Joyce for hosting the Wednesday Hodgepodge again this week. Here are my answers but if you want to join in, please click the hodgepodge logo below and follow the instructions on the host site. Here we go!


1. February 17th is National Random Acts of Kindness Day. It lands on the calendar one day after National Do Something for a Grouch Day (February 16) which somehow feels related. Perhaps the 16th inspired the 17th? 

Tell about a time you performed a random act of kindness or were the recipient of one. Will you make an effort to perform a random act of kindness on the 17th? Share details if you’re so inclined, and if you have something specific in mind.  

We have had a prolonged spell of difficulty with our finances since I lost my job through illness and I have been continually surprised by the random acts of kindness people have shown me and my family through this time. There have been countless things happen to us and for us, but the two that stick out in my mind was one day I went get the post from behind the front door and a card had been put through containing a gift voucher for Tesco for a significant amount of money. The message read “from your friend at church”, and I was totally overwhelmed and still to this day don’t know who was so generous to us. The second was last Christmas when we received a food hamper from Marks and Spencer delivered to our house, again anonymously, but ever so thoughtful and kind at a time when we were feeling the pinch particularly keenly. Both those gestures have stuck out in my mind because of the timing when they were given. The Tesco one meant we were able to buy a good two weeks worth of shopping and we didn’t have to penny pinch to do so, and the M&S one was at Christmas time, which speaks for itself.

Personally, I do try to be kind to people at all times but I know I’m human and must often miss chances that perhaps I ought to be awake to. Nevertheless, I don’t like trumpeting the fact when I do ‘do’ kindness. It’s between me, the person involved and God.

2. What’s the most uplifting or encouraging thing you see happening in the world right now? You may have to dig deep for this one.

I have just read a news article about a man who instead of buying a yacht donated the money he would have spent to a kindergarten class for them to go college later on. How wonderful is that! It’s nice to see in this day and age someone who is thinking of the longer game when it comes to spending money.

3. Black olives, black currants, black grapes, black beans, blackberries, Oreos…your favourite food the colour of night? Your least favourite on the list? 

Blackcurrant cordial was one of the staples of my childhood but I’m not so keen now I’m an adult. I don’t mind black olives (I’m a recent convert), black grapes are delicious, not so keen on black beans (two powdery inside). Blackberries are nice with icecream and syrup and thank you very much, but you can keep your Oreos. Not nice for me I’m afraid.

4. A while back I read (here) a list of twelve things  you should do before you turn 50. They were – travel when you have the chance, take care of your skin, learn a foreign language, make exercise a habit, leave a toxic situation, stop caring what others think about you, stop worrying, volunteer, spend time with your grandparents, pledge to work less, learn to cook an amazing dish, and seize an opportunity as it arises

What do you think of the list? What would you add or remove and why? If you’re over 50, have you done all 12? If you’re not yet 50, have you done any at all? What’s on the list that you haven’t done, but would like to do?

I have another 5 years to go before I hit that marker, and there are a couple of things I have already done and things I still have to conquer. The conquering things are “seize an opportunity as it arises” (I analyse far too much and quite often end up missing out), “make exercise a habit”, “travel when you have the chance” (yeah, chance would be a fine thing!) and “leave a toxic situation” (easier said than done). Ones on the already conquered list are “learn a foreign language” (French), “take care of your skin” (having eczema most of my adult life kinda means I do that already), “volunteer” and “pledge to work less” (again, chance to work at all would be a fine thing). The ones on the nearly-conquered-but-need-more-work list are “spend more time with grandparents”, “stop worrying” and “stop caring what others think”. There’s a way to go on all of those still.

5. Besides the classic Christmas flicks, what’s your favourite film where winter plays a part in the setting? 

I love “Bridget Jones”, both films, especially the bit where she and Mark Darcy are on a skiing holiday and she thinks she might be pregnant.

6. When did you last feel helpless, and what did you do about it?

I currently feel helpless in a situation with a very close friend who is experiencing some really difficult life choices and facing big changes ahead. All the love and advice in the world from me isn’t going to help that situation, and I don’t have the right words (or a magic wand) to solve it for him.

7. Share a favourite proverb.
“Necessity is the mother of invention”

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I am taking part in a 5 minute Lent challenge from my church this Lent and there have already been some great Bible verses to meditate on and pray over so far. Here is today’s verse:

joshua 1 9 I have found it to be a comforting verse throughout my illness. It does help to know that no matter what, God will be with us wherever we are and whatever we are experiencing.

If you would like to see the 5 minute Lent challenge, you can follow us on Facebook here, or you can click onto our website to see the whole challenge in one go here.



Wednesday Hodgepodge

Love-ly Hodgepodge

Welcome to this week’s love-filled Hodgepodge. If you want to play along, please click on the badge below and you will be taken to the host site where you can get all the instructions and info on how to join in. Thank you Joyce for another great set of questions.

Here we go:

1. Create an acrostic using the word LOVE. If you’re unsure what an acrostic is click here.

Love is….

Lying together quietly listening to the weather outside and simply being.
Opening your heart without fear of criticism or judgement.
Viewing the future through someone else’s eyes.
Empowering someone else to be the best they can be.

2. Does love really conquer all? Why or why not?

I’m with Joyce on this one. Human love, no matter how well meaning or well intended, cannot conquer all. We try to, but some circumstances and situations are just too big/deep/wide/difficult for love to conquer them. But God’s love is entirely different and yes, without a shadow of a doubt, his love will bring us through everything.

3. Tell us about a time recently, where you really put your heart into something.

I am currently putting my heart into a piece of writing I am doing explaining how I feel called to ordained ministry. The trouble is that it’s a very emotional process and not at all easy.

4. What’s your favourite fictional love story?

Niles and Daphne in ‘Frasier’. Theirs was a slow-burn love story for years and years, and when they finally confessed their feelings for each other…wow…those episodes are still my favourites even though I’ve seen them dozens of times!

5. Do you generally wear your heart on your sleeve, or keep your cards close to the vest?

I try very hard to keep my cards close to my chest, but my emotions and thoughts are generally written all over my face. I can’t hide anything.

6. What food says love to you? Why?

Tater Ash – or in posh parlance, ‘potato hash’. It’s a regional poor-man’s dinner of minced beef, onions, carrots and potatoes in a rich gravy which we have when it’s cold outside, when there’s not much food in the house, when we want to fill ourselves up on yummy goodness, when there are too many mouths to feed for the amount food we have available and so on. It’s one of those dishes that most people I know have grown up with and each family will have their own variation – some will put brown sauce in, some will add other vegetables, some will use Oxo stock cubes rather than Knorr etc. It is always the tastiest when a big panful goes around lots of people and we all fill up on bread and butter, pickled red cabbage and beetroot, and it speaks of love to me because it just reminds me so much of family, tough times and a drawing together to have a tasty but cheap meal.

7.When were you last ‘tickled pink’ over something? Explain.

I did an unexpected and unplanned Spoonerism when we were waiting for the Super Bowl to start the other night, and I asked Kevin ‘are we waiting up for this Bowler Soup?’ (bowl of soup). For some reason it tickled me pink and I nearly fell off my chair with laughter.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Have you seen ‘The Jump’ on Channel 4? It has been billed as a bit of a “fun” show, where celebrities take part in winter sports against each other and those at the bottom of the leader board each week have to do an ‘air jump’ to stay in or get kicked out. I hadn’t seen it before this year but was aware of its reputation for being a bit brutal, but even so, I am shocked that this year – and only two weeks in – five, that’s FIVE celebrities have had to quit due to quite serious injuries. Linford Christie has torn a hamstring (fair enough, could happen to anyone doing an active, physical competition – think Strictly Come Dancing and the injuries people can get there), but Rebecca Adlington has a dislocated shoulder, Mark Francis Vandelli has broken his ankle, Tina Hobley has broken her arm in two places and dislocated her elbow, and poor old Beth Tweddle has broken a vertebrae in her neck (or back – the news reports conflict) and has had to have surgery to fuse the broken pieces together. Now this is a girl who has competed at several Olympics and is Britain’s top gymnast who has only just retired from competition, so for her to have an injury like that shows you just how dangerous this programme is.

There has been a viewer backlash, especially after Beth Tweddle’s injury, and the production team have allegedly been hauled over the coals by Channel 4 bosses to review their safety procedures, but it begs the question, how much is too much when it comes to ‘edgy’ and ‘dangerous’ activity in the name of entertainment?

I quite enjoy watching winter sports, but even I know that they are highly dangerous and those who take part have to have rigorous training before they compete, risking life and limb (literally) each time they hurl themselves down a snowy or icy slope wearing only a thin bodysuit and a helmet. If the professionals have accidents and hurt themselves badly (for example Lindsey Vonn – video below) then how can we expect mere mortal celebrities to get away with it in the name of Sunday night TV?

I don’t know what the future holds for ‘The Jump’ but I would be surprised if it is allowed to stay on our screens for this year, and I will be very surprised if it ever makes a return.



Wednesday Hodgepodge

Wednesday Hodgepodge – 3rd February

I have been very remiss and not taken part in the Wednesday Hodgepodge for some time, and I am very glad to join in today. Thank you Joyce for your questions this week and I hope you feel better soon!


1. Describe love using all five senses-

Sight – my daughter’s face inches from my own when she deals with my chin. She must love me to do that.

Sound – a Christmas carol played in four part harmony by my husband, my children and me,  together.

Smell – my putting up with…well, let’s just leave it there!

Taste – a cup of tea made for me by my children or my husband without me asking for it.

Touch – a spontaneous hug (both giving and receiving)

2. February is Canned Food Month. What’s your favourite food that comes straight from a can?

Heinz tomato soup. It reminds me of childhood and it is my go-to food when I feel down or ill, and it is a must have accompaniment to my mum’s cheese and onion pie. Seriously good soup.

3. A principal in a UK school recently sent home a letter to parents requesting they (the parents!) dress appropriately when escorting their children to/from school (basically saying please don’t wear your pajamas). You can read the letter here. It’s gotten a lot of publicity, both positive and negative. Your thoughts? And do/did you ever make the school run (or hit Starbucks, Walmart, etc) in your pjs?

Ohhhh this story made me so mad when it dropped! There are a couple of layers and subtext to this story so I’ll try and be brief with my rant. I understand that mornings are rushed for parents with primary school aged children, but it is no different now that it ever has been, and if mums of yesteryear (myself included) could manage to get ourselves and our kids up, dressed, breakfasted and out to school I really can’t see why modern mums can’t do the same.

But that isn’t the argument here. What has been happening for a couple of years now has been this creeping assumption that it’s ok to “dress down” in public. The parents of this school have not just been dropping their kids off in a morning while dressed in their pyjamas, but they have been turning up to parent-teacher meetings, school concerts, reward assemblies etc like that too. To me, it smacks of a total lack of respect for the authority of the staff at the school and if the parents have a lack of respect, how can they expect the kids to respect them either?

I am all for dressing comfortably – I have stomach problems and after several operations I can’t wear tight bands around my waist any more – but there are other, smarter, options than pyjamas. To wear pyjamas to school is pure laziness and there is no excuse I’m afraid.

4. Crew neck, V-neck, turtleneck, scoop neck…which is most prevalent in your wardrobe?

I can’t stand to wear turtlenecks AT ALL, and I have a mixture of crew neck and v-necked tops throughout my wardrobe.

5. I read here recently a list of four things to avoid so you wake up happier. They were late night snacks, hitting the snooze button, social media just before bed/upon waking, checking emails. 

Are you guilty of any of these behaviours? Which on that list do you need to work harder at avoiding?

I don’t snack late at night (I’m not really a snacker to be honest), I only use the snooze button at the weekends when I have to be out of the house at a certain time and it only usually gets pushed once or twice, I am guilt of the social media thing (both at night and in the morning) and I don’t bother with emails until I’m at my desk. I don’t think I’m any less happy waking up in the morning because of social media topping and tailing my day but if there is anything to improve in my routine it would be that I think.

6. Share something you remember about a house you lived in as a child? Of all the homes you lived in as a child, which did you love best?

I grew up in a house that saw all three of me and my brothers were born in, and the best thing about it for me was when my youngest brother was born. It meant that I could have the boxroom to myself while my two brothers had to share, and the best BEST best bit was that my dad built me my own bed in it.

7. Your favourite movie based on a true story?

“The Great Escape”. I know it was only loosely based on a true story, but it is of my favourites of all time.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Today is the feast day of St Blaise, a 1st century Turkish physician who is the patron saint of wool combers. When he was alive and practising, he healed both humans and animals before moving on to take care of spiritual healing as a priest. It is unclear why he was tortured to death, apart from his connections with Emperor Licinius, and he was beheaded after being beaten with hammers and hot metal combs. Sounds a horrible death and a bit extreme for someone who appears to be so gentle and to whom animals were drawn for healing and comfort.

As a crafter who uses wool regularly I will say a prayer of thanks today for his life and for his faith in the days around the time the Bible was being compiled by the first council of Nicea.

st blaise



Wednesday Hodgepodge

Wednesday Hodgepodge – 28th October

I’m taking part in the Wednesday Hodgepodge this week and urge you to have a go too if you enjoy my answers. Click the picture below and follow Joyce’s instructions if you want to join in.

1. Are you comfortable with silence? If you’re home alone, do you like silence or do you need regular background noise? Do you seek out times and places to be silent? What’s your favourite place to find silence/be silent?

I am comfortable with silence and sometimes I actively seek it out, but most of the time such as when I’m studying during the day, I like to have the radio on low beside me so that I have some background sounds going on. I like to tune to a classical music station mostly, but I like having Radio 4 sometimes too because it is all voices. I don’t necessarily listen to what they are saying, but the low murmur of voices is soothing. I am extremely lucky to have a little room which I like to call my “Pam Cave” where I study and work through the day and the silence there is different to the silence of my bedroom.

My favourite time for silence is late at night, so the hours between end of TV/laptop screen and sleep. There is a certain quality to the sounds of late night silence which I am extremely comfortable with, and it is not the same as daytime silence somehow.

2. October 28th is National Chocolate Day. Can’t let that go by without a mention now, can we? Will you celebrate? How? Let’s say you can have one of the following right this very minute…a cup of hot chocolate, a strawberry dipped in chocolate, a bowl of plain chocolate ice cream, or a slice of chocolate pie…what’s  your pleasure?

Oooh, now then. Chocolate and I are not the bestest of best friends usually and I can’t see me ever celebrating a whole day of it. We get on in very small doses, so a cup of hot chocolate now and then in winter is ok but anything like a slice of chocolate cake or chocolate ice cream would leave us bitter enemies.

3. How do you feel about blue jeans? Favourite thing in the world to wear or nope, don’t own a single pair? How often do you wear blue jeans in a typical week? Do you own a blue jean jacket?

I have two pairs of jeans which I regularly wear when I’m out doing church and band stuff but they’re too restrictive to wear when I’m studying or working at home. I have one pair that are slightly “tidier” than the other, and one which are less so and look more like denim-coloured cloth than actual jeans. Other than that I have jeans that come out of the wardrobe now and again but by and large, whenever I am out, I’m usually in some jeans or another. Very rare I wear anything else to be honest!

4. Are you superstitious? If so, in what way?

No, not really. I have nothing against people who are superstitious, but to live life thinking that any outcome depends on whether you’ve crossed a pair of knives on the table, or put new shoes on the bed, or whether a black cat has crossed your path or whatever just seems like too much hard work! I do tend to say “good luck” to people a lot, and I do end some emails with “best wishes”, which I think are a form of superstition are they not?

5. If you had to come up with a costume using only things you have on hand right now, what could you come up with?

I could throw clothes together and make a cowgirl costume I guess. I have a couple of check shirts and coupled with my several pairs of jeans I could pass as a sort of cowgirl? Short of a hat, but I could get away with that in the right company.

6. What scares you a little? What do you do when you feel scared?

Good question! The thing that is making me think closely is the “little”. I have big fears – dying a painful death, my children being hurt etc – but small ones? Crikey! I guess something that scares me a little, is being successful.

Let me explain.

Failure and disappointment are so much part of our everyday life that we learn from an early age how to cope with them. I don’t mean big things necessarily, but let’s be honest, life is not easy and we learn how to deal with things going wrong or going against us from the off. We learn to share with siblings (if we have them) – we can’t have things all to ourselves; we learn in the classroom that not all of us can come top in tests and exams – in a class of 28 children, 27 of us are going to be disappointed, and so on. But success is a different thing and if you look at it, it comes along in such short bursts or so infrequently that when we do earn a win, or a gain, that we don’t always know how to respond to it. And I’m no exception! I can cope when things go wrong because that’s the way my life has always played out, but things going well? Being successful? Having something go totally my way? Seriously, that scares me a little.

I think subconsciously when it looks like things are going to go all my way and that I might be in danger of triumph, I tend to scupper myself just so I don’t have to cope with winning. As I am getting older I am learning to get over that and I am learning how to go after things that will be good or nice for me, such as pursuing the chance to play at the Royal Albert Hall last month. A couple of years ago I might have found a way of making sure that didn’t happen. Strange eh?!

On a slightly different line, when I get scared I cope in different ways depending on what it is that’s affecting me. My go-to response is prayer.

7. Perhaps today will be the day I _____________________cook my first dish using pumpkin.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

It was my Mum and Dad’s 47th wedding anniversary the day before yesterday. I don’t know how they have managed to stay together so long, especially through the bad times and the lean times. I think one of their secrets of their long marriage is that they don’t let the odd argument spoil things. They are constantly bickering with each other (few out and out rows!) but underneath there must be a core of steel in both of them. It’s definitely and example to us all, especially in these days of throwaway materialism where if something isn’t to our exacting standards we just walk away, or get rid of it, or plaster it all over Facebook and let the world see our problems. Happy anniversary Mum and Dad!