365 Picture Project - May 25th - May 31st

Here are the photos I took during the last week. A bit of a mixed bunch and, to be honest, nothing terribly exciting - but they are under this cut...Collapse )

And right now I am sitting here, with the fire lit, and a gale blowing outside - no practicing tonight! I feel sorry for the bikers who are camping.

It doesn't take a lot to keep me happy...

It is carrot-cake season. In other words TT is upon us. I spent some time earlier in the week grating carrot using my food processor, weighing and bagging it up, complete with orange juice and zest, and putting it in the freezer ready to make carrot cake.

But today I decided rather than taking any of that out to make the first cake, I'd just do one from scratch, as I have the time. And I decided to just grate the carrot by hand as I have a new, six sided, box grater, bought only a couple of months ago. I've used it for slicing potatoes, and used the large side for cheese, but this is the first time I'd used the medium size grating face. And ... it grates on the upstroke as well as the down stroke! You can grate carrot twice as quickly!

Now this might be normal to other people, but I've never had a grater that does this before. How neat is that? And why don't they all do it?


A Walk on the Green Side...

As I promised yesterday, especially for those in places with very little green at all, especially shirebound and Lynda, here are some very green pictures taken when I went for a walk over the stile and along the lane in last week's 365 project pictures.

Remember? This one -

May 17th

Well - to see more, mainly green - Click here...Collapse )

That should be enough green to make you feel a little less parched!

365 Picture Project - May 18th - May 24th

So here are the pictures for last week. The island is very green at the moment - but I tried to resist just 7 pictures of greenery!

To see what did catch my eye this week click here...Collapse )

I've been out for my walk this morning - with camera - and have now begun to make fruit cake (as it keeps well) ready for the beginning of TT and the TT teas. Also going to spend the afternoon grating piles of carrots, zesting lots of oranges, and then weighing and bagging them to freeze, which will make the production of the usual industrial quantities of carrot cake we go through much easier.

Quote for the week....

I just read this quote from a letter written by a clergyman on the island in 1817 it made me smile so I thought it worth sharing;

To carry much drink is a commendation much fitter for a brewer's horse than for a gentleman

Dunkirk Remembrance

It is the 75th anniversary of the Dunkirk Evacuation. As part of the research I've been doing in the newspaper archives of Manx National Heritage for the 'human' side of life on-island during WW2 I have been looking at some of the relevant stories - and was fascinated to find this -

Uncle Eric from the IoM Times June 1940

Which is the story of my mother's brother, my Uncle Eric.

uncle Eric

For the island as a whole Dunkirk was tragic - 8 of our ships took part in the evacuation and 3 were lost - Mona's Queen was particularly sad as she went down so fast that 24 of her crew went down with her - as well as hundreds of soldiers.

Read more...Collapse )

Fenella's identical sister ship, SS Tynwald, survived 4 trips back and forward. She was the last ship to leave, and landed 3,000 French troops in England later that day. Her total in the operation is officially given as 8,953 troops. She was sunk in 1942.

New Recipe for May.

S2C really likes treacle. I like it in gingerbread at any rate. So when I saw this recipe for Black treacle cocoa brownies on the Guardian website I thought I would give it a go.

Here they are, as made by me, yesterday-

Treacle brownies

Recipe is under this cut...Collapse )

The recipe suggested serving with a dollop of clotted cream, but we just ate them as brownies, with coffee. I would have to say that, if giving them to friends, I would describe them as treacle brownies and not chocolate ones as the treacle is the main flavour. But S2C is very happy with them - and I am more than happy to eat them, too. D-d said, on the whole, she would prefer to stick to our usual chocolate brownie recipe, though as she is not a big treacle fan.

For Americans - treacle is like molasses.


365 Picture Project - May 11th - May 17th

This week's photos include pets, plants, and a pillow... oh, and a really good gateway/stile for just_ann_now and cmcmck who, I know, share my passion for such things!

See more...Collapse )

Also, today, I tried a new recipe - but I'll post it, with a picture, tomorrow.

Isengard? For that?

I saw This on Buzzfeed and had to share.

The start point is a broken door in a German university with a notice to say that the technician has been informed - but the longer he doesn't show up the more notes get added... What amused me most is the number of Tolkien references going on there!


It's not so quiet if I make a noise...


LJ is quite quiet at the moment, I have seen others saying this too - more and more people seem to post one or two line posts at Facebook and don't post them here. Which is a pity as FB is not an easy place to comment as you can't actually write in paragraphs.

But then I realise that I only posted my monthly diary day on May 12th on the community, and I posted my picture to photo_scavenger, but I hadn't actually posted to my journal since Sunday. Made lots of comments here and there, but not posted.

So - what am I doing with myself? Well I am doing some on-line research for the History in Heels project. Nothing big, but fun. The Living History group that D-d is part of are involved - they will be looking at life in the south of the island during WW2, as this year marks 75 years since the end, and they use stories from the local papers of the time to devise their script. My role is to search the newspaper archives of the iMuseum for suitable stories. I can get buried in there for hours! Fortunately I can do it from home, so I can just keep topping myself up with coffee.

I have a list of topics to research, provided by one of the Manx National Heritage staff, although I do stray off-topic sometimes.

One of my topics was to see if I could find confirmation of 'the frog story' - and I did! So, to amuse you, here is 'the frog story'.

On 19th September 1940 a German plane, probably on its way home after a raid on Belfast, dropped six incendiary bombs near a small village on the south of the island. This would probably be simply to get rid of them over the first land the pilot saw, as Cregneash wasn't exactly an important target.

However, the only casualty was... a frog 'burnt to death by the flames' making him 'the first living creature on the island to be killed by a German bomb'. His body was then put on display in 'a local museum' with a collection box beside it for people to make donations to the UK Air-raid Disasters Fund and his photo published in the local paper -


The 'local museum' would probably have been a house in the village as a couple of houses in Cregneash were the nucleus one of the first 'Folk Museums' in the British Isles.

(I posted more about Cregneash here when the Living History group were asked to look at island life during WW1.)

I imagine the story of the frog will turn up when the group are doing their bit in Cregneash this summer.

365 Picture Project - May 4th - May 10th

Sorry - forgot to post these yesterday.

This week is a bit more architectural and a bit less food orientated than last week - See more...Collapse )


Cushions Chapter Eleven. ...and Back Again.

Sorry it's been almost 2 months since the last chapter - I plead a holiday and laziness!

So -

Chapter Eleven
Rated PG. Éomer, Lothiriel, Éowyn, Faramir
Words 1,930

Beta'd, as usual, by the assiduous speakr2customrs

Previous chapters are HERE

...and Back Again.Collapse )

Please do point out any mistakes - and feedback is always greatly appreciated.

We Were Bought And Sold For English Gold...

250 years ago today the English Crown bought the Island's sovereignty from the fourth Duke of Athol, ensuring Britain's control of customs duties. The Duke of Athol's family were the last Kings of Man, following the little-lamented Stanleys.

The Crown bought us for £70,000.

The island's economy was almost totally destroyed - which was the main reason behind the purchase of course, as up until that time the Island's main source of income was the lucrative smuggling trade. Goods like tea and rum came into the island from points all over the world, paid our very low excise charges, and were then quietly shipped to the other British Isles in small vessels. Once the island was bought by the crown, the excise charges were lifted to match those of all our neighbours and trade ceased, leaving a lot of people without any means to make an income.

The title of this post comes from the Scottish Song 'Parcel of Rogues' based on a poem of Robert Burns, which was written about the Act of Union that amalgamated the parliaments of Scotland and England in 1707. At least the Duke of Athol was honest about selling us - the English gold Burns said bought the Scots alluded to rumours of bribery to members of the Scottish parliament to agree to being subsumed. And the Duke didn't sell our right to our own laws and law-making, although at one stage that had been on the table.

So not quite the same thing for us as for the Scots - but here are the Corries singing the song anyway because... why not?

UK Election

Oh dear... I am a fairly neutral observer in all this because, as someone commented to a question in FB about how we felt about the outcome "It doesn't make a lot of difference - either side try to screw us!" (For those who are surprised that I couldn't vote; the small island has it's own democracy and we have neither representation nor votes in British elections. And we are forced to be observers as it is the only subject covered in any news, in anything but very local media, for weeks before and after UK elections. I think we should get a rebate on the BBC licence fee that our government agrees we pay.)

But my natural inclination is to Lib Dem/Green politics - left of centre rather than right. I really do think the Lib Dems acted as a brake on right wing Tory policies and think a coalition of some sort actually improves government. So the overall Tory majority makes my heart sink. I don't trust them with caring for the vulnerable in society, I don't trust them with the education of ordinary children, and I don't trust them to not-privatise the NHS more than it already has been. I hope they prove me wrong.

Even more annoying when it comes to health and social care is the truth in something a colleague said a few years ago - "Our government never immediately, blindly, follow UK reforms in care; they give them a year or two, see that they are failing and don't work... and THEN copy them."

I have heard a couple of people say that in some way the Scots should not have voted for the values they believed in, but gone with their old traditions and some 'sense of responsibility'; that it is all the fault of the SNP doing so well in Scotland that means the Tories will form the next government.

But that doesn't make sense; Labour appear to have lost some seats in England and certainly not made many gains - so even if Scotland was to have voted in as many labour candidates as it did last time they still wouldn't have formed a government. And the cry that English people were frightened of the SNP having a say in the government of the UK? FFS people! It's a Union - remember? The Scots voted to stay part of a union - not to be ruled by the English. As they were exhorted by the pro-unionist group (which, remember, certainly was at least half Tory) - 'Lead Britain, not leave it!' And the SNP would still have 'led Britain' no more as part of an agreement, or a coalition, with Labour than the Lib Dems did the last government.

And this morning I heard a UKIP spokesperson say the electoral system was all wrong and there should be a review and some sort of proportional representation... and not one person said 'But we just had a referendum on it in the last parliament...' I wonder how many of the people who voted UKIP in this election voted against PR in that referendum? Somehow my gut feeling is most of them as it is 'not British'!

So, yeah - and as it isn't a hung parliament which would be a subject for hours of speculation of who might side with who, for what, to be discussed on TV I wonder what they are going to fill up the schedule with? Most of the main channels seem to have expected to be 'doing the election' all day today at the very least. What's the betting that the BBC give us a Hairy Bikers' Best of British, and a couple of episodes of Coast?

365 Picture Project - April 27th- May 3rd

Under the cut are this week's seven photos - plus a couple of bonus ones - a bit food heavy this week, I realise!

Read more...Collapse )
Just in under the wire for this month!

This is another Nigella Lawson recipe - One Pan Sage and Onion Chicken and Sausages. Which is exactly what it says it is! You marinate the chicken in pieces in a mixture including sage and onions (and mustard and lemon..) and then roast it with some good sausages tucked into the pan with it.

As usual on any of her recipes that also appear on-line the comments amuse me. People complaining there isn't enough sauce this time; come on - it is a roast chicken recipe, not a damned casserole! So if you want sauce, use the pan juices to make gravy.

We had ours with mashed potato and red cabbage; there are a couple of pictures Under the cut...Collapse )

I think, another time, I would slash each piece of chicken to let the marinade get even further into the meat, but other than that I wouldn't change anything - it made a real mid-week treat, and would work well for a proper Sunday lunch with guests if you did roasties with it, and used those nice sticky pan juices to make some gravy.


I am sure the name Myles Standish means something to many of my American friends as he was one of those aboard the Mayflower. If you are interested in these things you may well know that his family as a whole came from Lancashire, but there are close links to the Isle-of-Man, and it is possible that he was either born here, lived here for some time and/or married one or two Manx women.

His family certainly came to the island with other members of the Lancashire squirearchy, in the early fifteenth century, to provide the Island with a 'Civil Service' for the Lord of Man, Lord Stanley; all this group were from landowning families, and well educated, brought in because few of the locals spoke, or wrote, English, which was the language the Stanleys used in their records, taxes and so on.

These families usually had land both in Lancashire and on the island, and various members moved backwards and forwards. The Standish family had land in Lezayre parish in the north of the island, at Ellan Bane, and Myles clearly believed himself still a land-owner in the island when he wrote his will.

So - whilst researching something totally unrelated to any of the above I stumbled on some early written parish records for Lezayre. There were parts that I found fascinating, but other people probably wouldn't, and some that made me smile; for example when the old church was built each farm or major household was allocated one pew space - but not a pew - it was beholden on them to build their own pew by a certain date. (Allocation of pews was the norm - and it was your responsibility to maintain your pew - but building it in the first place seems to have been less usual!)

The result was pews of different wood, style and height so that by the mid nineteenth century the then bishop was instructing that the pews be altered so that they were of standard height at least. You can imagine people making their pew higher than their neighbours' so that they could easily see and be seen!

The Standishes? I'm coming to them...

The bishop or his representative, visited to check the fabric of each church every couple of years, but they also sent out a 'questionnaire' every so often, to be completed by the church wardens, to see that the rules and regulations of the chuch were being adhered to - and some of the answers from the one completed for Lezayre in 1634 survives.

We learn that;

The box for the poore we doe not use, for they doe come to or houses and receive their almes there.

...wee answear thus that wee have none in or pish that . . . talke or sleepe in the church . . .(
'or pish' = 'our parish' I realised after a couple of reads through!)

...wee doe Answeare thus that wee knowe none in or pish that have abused or drawn weppones in the church or church-yard, ether day or night, nether doe wee knowe any that dooth p'faine the Saboath . . .

and then we learn -

...that one William Caisment and Gennett ffoster by the common report of divers, that they have had carnal' dealinges the one with the other . . alsoe wee doe heare a common reporte of William Standish and Ellinor Woods that they are suspected to have dealinges the one with the other; whether it bee true or noe wee cannot well tell. The said William Standish and Ellin Woods have (put) themselves upon oath from the said scandalous imputacon before the right Reverend Father the Lord Bishopp of this Isle the xith of August 1634.

and also

Wee doe psent these follow(ing) because they have taken more room in the church than was allotted to them: Nicholas Carrain, Wm. Kissaige, Ewan Crow, Wm. Standish.

So whilst Myles' descendants were being good upstanding members of their community in America, their relations back home were not quite such perfect pillars of society, indulging in non-marital carnal dealings and taking up more space for the family pew than they were meant to!


Bath - we've reached the Baths!

This is the last post from my trip to Bath - and covers my visit to the actual, Roman, baths and their attached museum. Oh - and to get us started, another ceiling - this is the one in the entrance hall -


Isn't that wonderful for what is basically the ticket hall?

And here is a taster of the Baths themselves, showing how they relate to the Abbey -


Click here for more...Collapse )

So that really is the end of the posts from Bath. I am so pleased that I finally got there - it is a really beautiful little city.


Bath - Are We Nearly There Yet?

This is probably the penultimate post of pictures of Bath - this time of general bits of the city - streets, squares and so on. Also the place where I got the nicest piece of cake I've had all year!

Here is a taster....


And for some more, including a blue boar and some other shiny things - Click here...Collapse )

So - next post is the actual Roman Baths and the associated museum, and that will be the end of them1


365 Picture Project - April 20th - 26th

So - the pictures for each day this week are more my average output - all were taken on-island.

If you are interested Click here....Collapse )

More Bath tomorrow.

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