Saturday, December 30, 2017

Once I Was

Hi Dear Folk,

I had plans for this morning but they were cancelled because of the snow which is still coming down. So I decided to hunker down have a cup of tea and light the fire.

The Boys are working on installing a new kitchen tap.  As we have not had water in the kitchen for two days.  Something about the water converter to the spray thing jamming shut.  Needless to say no water in the kitchen is a major problem.  Not quite sure how this is all going to go and whether at the end of it all we will still need to get a plumber in, "oh yea of little faith" but I'm hoping for the best.

The best was achieved and I have new working kitchen taps.  The joint project between dad and son went well, even having to come up with a tool they made to take a ring out of the plastic tubing, which they couldn't get unscrewed.

Second time in two weeks I have cleaned out this under sink cupboard.  I thought I was doing so well to get it cleaned out and then of course it had to be done all over again.

Yesterday we did make our trip to Lambertville and New Hope.  It was a very cold day and the Delaware River has ice floating down.  We parked the car looked around a shop and then an antique collective emporium.  Tierney fell in love with a designer Parisian black wool felt hat which she bought, we had fun looking around.

We were able to find the restaurant that I wanted to eat at quite easily Marhaba we had a Tabbouleh appetizer and I had a Pita Sabich and Tierney had the Gyro, all with cold mint tea.  The food is delicious, lovely and fresh.  The inside has north African rugs on the wall and lamps.  Will definitely eat there again.  I heard the waitress say they were having a belly dancer that night.

After that we drove across the bridge back into Pennsylvania, New Hope, and I took Tierney to the little French Patisserie, owned by a French Chef, so the real deal.  I had a Pistachio Horn, the shell was like a thin brickle with pistachio cream and a chai latte Tierney had a coffee latte and a chocolate, raspberry and white mouse confection, all delicious.

We took a little walk up the street, but by then it was 4:00PM the sun was setting and it was getting quite cold, so decided to call it a day and drive home.

We had picked my old Mandarin dress from the cleaners and Tierney loves it.  I cannot believe I was actually that thin, many a moon ago.

Yes once upon a time a girl visited China Town, San Francisco and bought a dress.  I was thrilled to see it worn again and to relive my youth. I always loved the fabric and colours of this dress, not garish but subtle.


Thursday, December 28, 2017

Eating Israeli Food

Hi Dear Folk,

It’s freezing over here 15 Fahrenheit, cold and with a wind. I’m wearing a Peruvian jumper I bought at the thrift, just to keep warm.  Crazy with the train this morning almost missed it because first they weren’t running because of over head wire problems and then they decided to run it.  So because I was a bit later this morning I made it on the train, all the ones who arrived earlier had left thinking the train was not running.

I parked the car and then a guy walking past said the train is not running, so I thought let me drive up to the platform area and see what’s going on, did not park the car properly or pay for my parking space, then the train conductor says we are going to run the train then they shut the door, where I am standing and I said hold on, which he did, he's standing further down the platform. I had to run down get my bag out of the car and then phone Bob to come and park it properly and pay for parking, totally crazy.  Fortunately I made the train. You feel like you’ve done a days work before you even get to work.

Tierney, Rob's GF, is down for the week as she has this week off work, and is flying back on first of January.  Yesterday we cooked some Israeli recipes out of my cook book.  A meat pie and a variation on a tabbouleh salad, both good.  Also some rugula small pastries, which have sour cream, butter and cream cheese in the dough and the filling is hazelnut and date.  I could not find any hazelnuts, only ones with powdered cocoa on so I bought those and we used them.  The meat pie was very good with cinnamon and parsley in.  We went for the easy way out using ready made puff pastry and I had to substitute flax seeds for sesame seeds on top, was delicious.  In the salad we were able to use fresh parsley cut out of the garden that day, unbelievable that it is OK, after all these freezing temperatures, unfortunately no mint, it’s all dead for the season.  Was fun cooking together in my small kitchen.

Tomorrow we plan to go to New Hope and across the river into NJ, Lambertville and eat out at a Middle Eastern Restaurant.  At least that's the plan but can always change.

I have a silver plated Victorian pickle stand, tongs and lid, but no cranberry glass insert, so I am going to look for one in some of the antique shops in Lambertville, or maybe thrifts.  I originally bought it in a thrift for $1.00 and with the glass is worth well over $100.  If I found a painted cranberry glass even more.  It took me a while to figure out what it was used for, is quite ornate.  It actually came with two matching tongs, so there must have been another one, but the tongs landed up in this package at the thrift.

I am so getting used to short work weeks and will be hard put to go back to a four day week.

Two more shops have bit the dust in my area, they moved my small Aldi's one of the original ones to the USA down the road to what I would call a yuppy location, and a much larger store so now it's a bit of a trek for the little goodies I liked to pick up.  Also my local family owned produce and plant store closed, I will certainly miss them come springtime.  Now where to go for garden plants?

Bye for now.  Hope you are keeping warm up north.


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Panamanian Potato Salad

Hi Dear Folk,

I was talking with my friend who is originally from Puerto Rico, and came to the States as a child.  Her family were recently on a cruise, but while stopping off in Florida, they visited grandma and she said one of the items on the menu was Panamanian Potato Salad, I had never heard of it, and asked what was different and Maria said beetroots, so looked a recipe up.  I love beets so will definitely try this.

Panamanian Pink Potato Salad (Ensalada de Papas)

4 potatoes
1 carrot, finely diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 onion
1 cup fresh chopped parsley
1 clove garlic
1 beet
1 egg
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Start by boiling the potatoes in a large pot. When they are close to half cooked add the beet and carrot. Then add the egg to the pot for the last 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, chop and dice the celery, parsley, onion, and garlic.
  3. Drain the potato pot. You should now have tender potatoes, a tender beet, carrot and a hard boiled egg.
  4. Peel, dice the beet and carrot. Chop the egg. It is a little counter intuitive to us Americans, to boil and then do the chopping and peeling. However, that is the custom in Panama.
  5. Mix the egg, celery, parsley, onion, garlic, mayonnaise and mustard in a deep bowl.
  6. Then add everything else and mix just enough to coat the vegetables with the mayonnaise.
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Pink potato salad can be served warm or cold. 

I would probably triple or quadruple this recipe.


Sunday, December 24, 2017

Summer's Day Dream By J. B. Priestley

Summer's Day Dream By J. B. Priestly

I stumbled across a few of J. B. Priestley's plays on You Tube.  An Inspector Calls, Time and The Conways, and this play Summer's Day Dream.

Summer's Day Dream was written in the 1940's but is set on the Sussex Downs in mid nineteen seventies.  After a third world war, England is now deindustrialized and an agrarian society, with farming families, living off the land and bartering goods, helping each other.  Technology is not easily accessible and ones entertainment goes back to times past, where one read, created your own entertainment, wrote poetry and were creative.  The mode of transportation is by horse and not even a phone is easily available, in fact they have come to feel no need for them.

The Dawlishes live in an old house that the grandfather an industrialist bought before the third war,  now it has receded back to nature with an overgrown garden and wildlife all around.  They are invaded by an American industrialist, a Soviet bureaucrat and an Indian scientist, who want to exploit the chalk downs for synthetics.  Totally destroying the land and what they have built up.

What is worth more cultural values or militaristic posturing?  England has receded, America, Russia and India are now advancing on the industrial front.  Mr. Heimer the American has a boss G. J. Copplestone, who cannot sleep, has high blood pressure and cannot keep a wife, but is a multi millionaire and owns many television stations through which he tells American families how they should live their lives.

It seems that J. B. Priestley's plays have been having somewhat of a comeback.  In view of world events I am not surprised that many of his plays are being revisited.


Man Was Made for Joy and Woe, William Blake

“Man was made for joy and woe

Then when this we rightly know
Through the world we safely go.
Joy and woe are woven fine
A clothing for the soul to bind.”

By William Blake

Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Clattering Train by Edwin James Milliken

Who is in charge of the clattering train?
The axles creak, and the couplings strain.
For the pace is hot, and the points are near,
And Sleep hath deadened the driver’s ear:
And signals flash through the night in vain.
Death is in charge of the clattering train!

By Edwin James Milliken

Saturday, December 16, 2017

It's Saturday Blue Skies and Snow

Hi Dear Folk,

The sun is shining, skies are blue, snow is sparkling and I am drinking coffee in the Simla room from my red Yellowstone Park mug, what could be better?  Breakfast of English scrambled egg on toast and marmalade.

Today is Woof, Woof day for The Boys, that's what I call it, the day they have long awaited of setting up their new sub woofers in their stereo room.  At least six months ago they bought a kit to make two cube shaped cases to house their sub woofers, don't ask me names of anything I don't know that.  One turned out to have a pin prick of a hole, therefore needed to be sent back and a new one sent out, that has taken all this time.  I cannot tell you what a heck of a job it was to get it out of the cabinet cube, we wondered if it was even going to happen.  They had to assemble the cubes, gluing them together, painting them, and I can say they've done a nice job.

The hermetically sealed closet has now been broken into and revealed some treasures and some very mummified and moth eaten doomed articles.  The two disasters that upset me most was my French leather briefcase bought in Cambridge in the early years of our marriage has so cracked as to be not restorable.  The other casualty was a French navy blue wool hat with a veil that the moths destroyed.

My Canadian Indian deer skin bag and wallet is still good, and even had a $20 bill inside, will give that some TLC and an old navy blue leather bag from Paris does not look too worse for wear and will work on that.  Also found my lovely woven backpack from Guatemala and a basket bag from Jamaica that I always liked.

Revealed was my old silk Chinese Mandarin dress bought in China Town San Francisco in the late seventies.  I adored that dress, lovely subtle shade of sage green with bamboo and flowers.  Rob saw it and said he thought Tierney would love it, so is going to get it dry cleaned for her, I hope she does. I have no pictures of me wearing it and I wish I did, I wore it to several friends weddings and some parties.  Maybe if she likes it will get some pics of her wearing it.  Also a fur coat, which I think still fits, couple of jackets and some dresses which I will wash up.

My repertoire of restaurants in Philadelphia is expanding as vendors we do a lot of business with take us out to dinner, this was one we visited more recently Ocean Prime.  Let me say this is way out of my price range at $125 per head, for a three course dinner and wine.  I had Chilean sea bass, with mashed potatoes and a champagne truffle sauce.  The sea bass was sweet and melted in your mouth.  Before we had a number of h'ordeuvres, one being tempura calamari very tasty.  I finished of my dinner with a creme brûlée with fresh berries and of course wine.

I knew it would happen, I had to ban some of the plants to the basement.  I couldn't take the calla lilies in the hallway anymore.  With limited space and the fact that they drip water off the end of their leaves.  One had dangled over my oak wood dresser and has now left a terrible water mark, that Mr. B. will have to try and restore for me.

I'm reading the biography of John LeCarre and National Provincial by Lettice Cooper.  Both are good reads.  Just finished watching a Month In The Country made in 1987 staring a young Colin Firth, Kenneth Branagh, Natasha Richardson and Patrick Malahide.  Set after WWI in Yorkshire.  Mr. Birkin has been hired to reveal a painting hidden by paint in an old church, Mr. Moon has been hired for an archeological dig.  Both are veterans of WWI with shell shock.  Is peaceful and it restores them.  Lovely scenery.

Well must go more to do.


Friday, December 15, 2017

PINK - Victoria Secrets

Hi Dear Folk,

View from my office.  The PINK Victoria Secrets bus is in town.  Target market ages 15 to 22 years old, so I read.  Seemed our FEDEX guy knew all about it.  We thought the singer Pink was in town.


A Little Denby and A Lot Of Royal Albert

Hi Dear Folk,

It is snowing again for the third time this week and it is really coming down, hope the commute home is OK, and trains are running on time.

As I mentioned the other day I visited my friend for lunch and this is what she gave me.  Do love my china.

A Denby Albert College Spring Design, just a few pieces.  I like to have a pot of tea and try out all my odd cups.  I love the shape of the milk jug and sugar bowl in this design.  In fact I like Denby as a whole, some designs are so reminiscent of the sixties.

The other big gift was the Royal Albert County Rose.  The china of my childhood.  This had to be their most popular design ever.  Almost everyone had this when I was a child and I still love it just as much.

I had a few wedding pieces, never a whole set.  A pedestal cake plate from auntie Gladys a family friend.  Six mugs from Barbara and a set of small desert dishes with a larger serving bowl from my mum, and a few odd pieces I had picked up.  I would intersperse this with a cheaper white dinner service I bought with a gold edge.

With this I positively do have a complete set.  Even have a matching rose tablecloth.

Now I'm going to clean out my hutch to hold this.  Fun, fun.

Quite a gift.


Thursday, December 14, 2017

A Thrifted Outfit

Hi Dear Folk,

This morning we woke up to snow and I had a doctor's appointment down in the city, a follow up appointment with the surgeon.  I drove because Mr. B. is suffering with a bad back, and it was a most nerve racking drive.  I had to take Mr. B. with me as wasn't sure if would need him to drive home.  He would rather have stayed at home, I understand that.  Then another doctor's appointment in the afternoon in a totally different direction and I get there and the doctor had a family emergency so appointment was cancelled.  They had left a message on my work number.

Rather than waste the trip I stopped off at Trader Joe's and bought my favorite bread, crumpets, soy crackers and a dark chocolate, caramel and black sea salt bar, now hidden from The Boy.

I realized the other day that the outfit I wore to visit my friend for lunch, was totally thrifted.  Green wool skirt, such a pretty shade of green, tweedy cardigan, polo, brown leather shoes from Germany.  Radley London, leather bag, with a pretty pink flower lining.  On the leather inside it says "A penny for your thoughts" including a penny and a little Scottie dog, made in England.  Amber broach with silver surround and an old amber necklace, my most recent acquisition.

It's amazing what you can find.


Sunday, December 10, 2017

Did it Snow On You Over The Weekend?

Hi Dear Folk,

I popped into a few blogs over the weekend and everyone was posting snow shots.  Yes it snowed here too on Saturday, starting at about 9:00 am and continuing for the rest of the day.  I was out in the morning by 8:00 AM all dressed for the weather, with my old down coat, very warm and including boots which had their first airing of the winter.  Home by 11:00 AM and lit the fire.  Made a pot of taco soup for Sunday, Mr. B. had made chocolate chip cookies and snuggled down to crochet.

Sunday morning we had a family breakfast as we were all in, home fries, scrambled egg and bacon, with orange juice and coffee.  A lovely quiet day well except for the boys.

The boys were up in their stereo lair, vacuuming away as new sound equipment was being installed and wires relaid and any number of goings on.  Furniture pulled out etc and I thought go for it, all that cleaning is great.  Followed by all the sound testing, not so great.  I'm sure I'm developing larger cracks in my sitting room ceiling.

I am assured that the fridge size sub woofer is soon to go after at least four years, of being not able to get into one of my closets and it's not as if we have hardly any.  It will be an adventure just pulling out what is in there, I hardly remember.  Couple of furs, old bags etc.

A pot of tea and raisin scones, a little candlelight, a cozy fire and hygge is achieved.


Thursday, November 30, 2017

Great Expectations - Castle Hill, MA

Hi Dear Folk,

I'm thinking The Boy may have Great Expectations, Tierney and Rob visited Castle Hill, MA over the holiday weekend.

Now this would match any stately home in the UK.

I think Rob says there are rolling hills down to a vista of the sea.

If I lived in this area I would definitively belong to the Historical Society there are so many lovely houses to visit in a small area.


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Murder On The Orient Express A Comparison of Three Movies 1974, 2010, 2017

Hi Dear Folk,

We are having a binge watching of Murder On The Orient Express.  From Agatha Christie's 1934 novel.  Obviously she very much set the premise of the book on the Baby Lindbergh kidnapping and killing.

Mr. B. and I went to see the latest movie at the cinema, staring Kenneth Branagh .  Mr. B. has never really followed David Suchet as Poirot, so I said lets go home and watch that movie, but Mr. B. pulled up the wrong movie, the old one from 1974 with Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot.  That 1974 version certainly had a star studded cast.  We decided to watch that.

David Suchet is hands down my favorite Hercule Poirot, Kenneth Branagh comes no where close he is too tall, Poirot was only five foot four and we could not get past his terrible mustache.  Albert Finney falls somewhere in the middle, but doesn't capture Poirot.

It's interesting to compare the cast of each three, you start wanting to swap different actors in and out.  What about the train inside and the shots outside?  Now this is a hard choice.  The 1974 film has some lovely train shots, obviously a real train and the 2017 has some very spectacular shots, but they are so stylized as to have been done on a computer.  With the train stuck on a high trestle bridge, stopped by an avalanche.  The 1974 train inside was lovely with inlaid wood panels. I also liked the 2017 train, with the lovely Deco lamps, so that was on the downside in the 2010 version.  Also of interest is how they shoot the train station in Istanbul, the 1974 version being the most diverse and coloruful.

Hercule Poirot running around with a gun, tackling people and everybody sitting outside at tables in the snow does not in any way seem at all probable and Poirot is not even wearing an overcoat.  Liberties were taken rolling the doctor and Collonel Arbuthnot into one character, calling him Doctor Arbuthnot, which I did not like.  So the 2017 version is at #3, the 1974 at #2 and 2010 is my #1, with a couple of things they did in the other films that I would add to the 2010 version, mostly more cinematic the inside and outside of the train, the station at Istanbul.

"A man like your friend always has a choice, he does not have to lie."  Says Poirot, one of the lines at the beginning of the 2010 movie.  In the 2010 version at the end I especially like how David Suchet played Poirot, how torn he was with letting them go, it cost him, his conscience to do that.  It was a lie that he went along with.  No longer were things black and white, what is justice?

Would love to hear your comments.


Friday, November 24, 2017

Cape Ann Crochet Shawl

Hi Dear Folk,

I know I said I would call the burgundy shawl my Cape Ann shawl, but I fell out of love with it.  I did so well with the increase side, but for some reason do you think I could get the decrease side to match, not on your life, after many attempts, I gave up and did my own adaptation, which was to keep on increasing and make it a long triangular shawl, then to add the same flowers across the widest end only as dangles.  So here we are.

The way the flowers were crocheted in at the end of the rows took some learning, but is nice, so wouldn't mind adapting that on another pattern.

Now this is my Cape Ann shawl, I love this pattern.  I made a couple changes, deleting the last row of  crochet around the bottom outer edge, I just thought that less was more.  Possibly in a finer yarn it would have looked OK.  I also added a row of Picot edging on the inner edge.  I thought it looked so much neater after doing this and picot stitch edging is one of my favorites, it just adds a little something.

This shawl is a gift for a friend, but I am going to make another one for myself, that is longer, wraps around and I can tie in the back, well at least that's the plan.  It truly will be a Cape Ann Shawl, because it will remind me of all those fishermen's wifes with their shawls from times long gone.


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Today With Mr. B.

Hi Dear Folk,

The Boy is up in Cape Ann for the Holiday weekend, while Mr. B. and I enjoyed a quiet day at home together.  These seem to be so few and far between, that it is nice to have a whole day for nothing too much at all, just be together.

As you see it's a lovely sunny day here, only brisk.  We decided to take a walk in our local park.

Here I am some trees still have their leaves, others are totally bare.  I am wearing a long waistcoat that my sister crocheted for me many years ago.

They have put in a Ba chi Ball court, we also have one in a little park near the zoo in town.  Very popular among the older Italians.  Just nice to sit and watch them playing on a summer evening.

As many times as I have seen this pergola, I never realized that it had been moved here from the old Jefferson House restaurant, I had several friends over the years who had held their receptions there and had their photos taken under this very same edifice.

The Jefferson House was sold off in about 2004 and the land used to build town houses.

While we sat here I thought how lovely it would be to have afternoon tea here.  I wonder if the park authorities would allow it.  Bring in a tea table and set it up under the pergola, you could use the seats round about to sit on and they would seat twelve.  You could serve afternoon tea buffet style.

It would be especially nice in spring as it is surrounded with ornamental cherry trees.

Doing my Samson impression.

Some more transplants from the old golf course that was sold off to build a hospital, which rises on the horizon outside the park.

Quite an old graveyard dating back to early 1800's.

Mr. B's toy.

Ended the afternoon with a nice pot of tea and a piece of Mexican cake.  Like a sponge cake with cream cheese and pineapple filling, very good.  This Mexican Bakery just opened up within a very large produce and food store, with a strong Hispanic influence, but lots of international foods.  He is independent from the store with his bakery.  Mr. B. has also bought home for me a slab of what I would call bread pudding.  Not sure what his was made from but it's super heavy and filling, just like mum's old bread pudding.

Hope you enjoyed time with family.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Visualize a Trillion Dollars

Hi Dear Folk,

I like visuals don't you?

1 Million stack of $1,000 dollar bills is 4 inches high

1 Billion stack of $1,000 dollar bills is 364 feet high

1 Trillion stack of $1,000 dollar bills is 65 miles high

That kind of puts the deficit into prospective.

Did you know that in the USA the middle class earn $450,000 per year according to some in Washington?

Even though the Tax Policy Center puts its "middle quintile" between $48,300 and $85,600

Some people are so far removed that they haven't got a clue, how the other 99% live.

Richest 1% own half the world's wealth.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Pink Roses and Amber Necklace

Hi Dear Folk,

A friend KK surprised me with pink roses, how lovely are these.

It's been a rough week, not sure my eyes are up to all day work on the computer, but such is life.

Today was fun, a dear friend over for lunch,  and used some of my English pottery.  Forgot to take photos.  Quiche, salad and baked apple for desert.  C spoilt me with NZ cheese, the cheese of my childhood, crackers and truffles along with pumpkin scones which we shared over tea, out of my Canadian pottery tea set.

I bought that many years ago when my sister and family came over, Rob was about four and we took a trip up to Niagara Falls and into Canada.  Just fun memories of walking around the studio and picking out some special pieces.

Then we popped over to my local thrift and look what little gem I found, a vintage amber necklace.  It is very long well past my waist $3.99,  just love it.

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