Smile

 

I came across this beautiful picture but unfortunately could find no refernce to the artist. So if anyone can direct me it would be great.

 

I also came across a quote ” when others rain upon your parade open an umbrella and carry on”..unknown

What a powerful uplifting message.

Have a good day and follow your dreams.

 

Umbrella

 

Today is National Umbrella Day.

When I read this I was delighted.  I really enjoy using an umbrella.  I own a number of them.  Why I hear you ask?  Surely I only need one?

Rain Umbrellas

No not really.  I have a silver one which I purchased in Oxford while on holiday and the inside depicts the constellations of the northern night skies. I would never have chosen it myself but my husband found it and re introduced me to the night sky.

I have a red polka dot umbrella given to me as a birthday present and whenever I use it, which is often if you are living in Ireland, I always find myself twirling the umbrella and singing to myself.  On any grey wet windy day beside the sea it is a splash of colour.  The only draw back to this umbrella is that it doesn’t fold up.

So that meant that I had to keep an eye out for a fold up umbrella for my bag.  There are the basic ones which will do the job but…..A few years ago while on a visit to the National Art Gallery in Dublin, I came out to a down power.  The Gallery shop had umbrellas, books, more books so many items that by the time I had chosen and purchased the umbrella the sun was shinning when I came out.

The umbrella is based on a Monet design and I have to tell you that nine times out of ten when I have that umbrella in my bag it does not rain, but then again there is that one time when it is invaluable.

It was the Chinese who developed the waxed leather umbrella for use by the nobility to protect from the rain in the 11th century B.C.   While parasols were used in Egyptian and Roman empires the custom fell into disuse after the fall of the Roman Empire.  I was amazed to find out that the umbrella dated so far back.

 

25 de octubre de 2014

 

This painting by Des Brophy is one of my favourite paintings.

 

No Interruptions

Did you know that today was No Interruptions Day? Nor did I til my internal alarm clock went off at 3.00am. Bored with the usual sites I decided to see if December 29th held special significance.

I found that today was the day for sorting out your workspace without any interruptions. This involves clearing out unwanted items. Sorting out those “must do” lists and doing or discarding the items on them. Perhaps they are no longer “must do”.

Perhaps moving the work station to have a different view of the world? Turning off phones, internet connections and have no interruptions.

I have to admit that I found myself laughing out loud. My imagination just ran riot imagining work places being totally overhauled. Work stations being turned around. Perhaps desks being painted? People totally reorganising and in the process creating total chaos.

What about those who work from home on this ” interruptions day”? Perhaps they have a family and with school out can they really have a”no interruption” day?

This idea is similar to “Tick Tock Day”. Yes, there is such a day. Again, it’s the idea of finishing tasks which have not been completed. Or perhaps a goal which has not been achieved.

So, if you have nothing to do today……

New Year Resolutions

via Daily Prompt: Confess

 

I confess that I am not a fan of making resolutions at a particular time of the year. I do like to set challenges for myself which are achievable. Life may intervene and these challenges can sometimes be deferred. However I prefer to set these challenges at a time which has been determined by me and not foisted on me.

In the northern hemisphere generally academic years begin in September and October so for me starting something new in Autumn feels right. Starting something new or setting new targets at Easter for some reason also sits well with me.

I like winter but starting something new just seems to jibe with me. Starting something new in January just seems a little forced or is it perhaps that I am not ready for these resolutions?

No I just don’t like all the hype about new year resolutions. So no I won’t be making any new year resolutions. I will not be looking back on 2017 to see what I have not accomplished. I will remember and toast family and friends and be exceedingly thankful to have them in my life. However New Year Resolutions will not be part of the start of 2018 for me.

Traditions

 

Have you found Christmas Traditions have changed over the years?

 

If you have been fortunate like me to have become a parent then those traditions most certainly have changed.  A few years ago, I would have been sad about those changes but now at this stage I am glad that those changes have occurred.  It shows that life is being lived and for that I am very thankful.

 

However, there are still somethings which still herald Christmas.  Preparing and making the Christmas puddings, Christmas cake and the Christmas mincemeat are signals that Christmas is coming.  The first indication I have that Christmas is very near is when I post those first Christmas cards.  The next indication is when I arrive home with Christmas purchases.  These are small items which are either made or bought then wrapped and put under the Christmas tree for distributing among friends and family.

I met someone recently who told me that she detests January and February as the weather is usually awful, people are grumpy as they have little to look forward to and she has named them the BLAH months.  Last year she changed things and started making Christmas items which could be given to various friends and charities.  For her it extended the feeling of Christmas giving.  And in a very practical way it relieved the Christmas stress that she was normally under.  Next year as Easter is early, April 1st 2018, she intends to use her three least favourite months of the year to make Easter gifts.  A new tradition for her.

 

I like the idea of new traditions and I have to agree with her that very often people seems to be rather glum in January so perhaps extending the gift of giving to Easter is a good idea.  Those charities which we may support at Christmas I am sure need support during the rest of the year. Perhaps its a tradition which more of us could embrace?

 

Stir Up Sunday

Over many years we have been fortunate to have celebrated “making the Christmas Pudding” with our son and various nieces and nephews.  Whether they enjoyed it I will leave up to them but these are memories which I cherish.

This year we celebrated “making the puds” with the next generation.  I can’t believe that around the table were three of my grand nieces and one of my grand nephews.

Coming into the seomra suite and seeing them engrossed in their tasks was just such a precious sight to behold.  Each and every “mixing memory” came rushing back.  Luke with “Delia Smiths Christmas” propped open to keep us on the right track; Jack and Katie with their incredible laughs; Sarah and Jessica with the phone images; Zoe Adam, Kaela and Clara (keeping watch with Luke) ready with the wooden spoons.

However I don’t think I am going to live it down that the only job I had with Jessica and Sarah was to put the flour into it the puds before steaming…..Yes you guessed it I left out the flour and on Christmas Day when the pudding was turned out it was pure liquid.

Another year with Jack and Katie, I totally forgot about the puds in the steamer and I ended up having to make them again as they the first ones were totally inedible.

The one thing which is common to all these memories is mixing all the ingredients once the stout has been added.  The enthusiasm, the laughter, the mess and last but definitely not least, making that important Christmas wish is the highlight of the occasion.  Eyes scrunched up while saying “I wish, I wish I wish” and silently making that wish.  It still gives me goose bumps.

Christmas PudWhen I was growing up the puds were made immediately after Halloween.  The latest date for making them was the Sunday before Advent in the Christian church.  The Collect for that day starts “Stir up we beseech thee O’ Lord”.  Hence the name “Stir up Sunday”.

I love the traditions of Christmas but sometimes traditions need to be adapted.  Perhaps with the use of Skype or similar, Stir up Sunday next year could include the grand nieces and nephews from farther afield around the world.

I am privileged to have been given so many Christmas Pud memories and to those who gave them to me, thank you.

Christmas puds

Cherished Recipes

Early morning and yet again no sleep so think it is time for root among my cookery books. I really enjoy reading cookery books. I especially enjoy learning where the ideas for recipes have come from.

The most delicious recipes are very often those recipes which have been handed down through generations, with every generation adding a slight tweak.

I started to flick through some of the cookery books and immediately I was transported back to when I had bought them.  Wow I had totally forgotten I had the Food Aid Book.

Do you remember Band Aid in 1984? It was founded by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise money for the fight against famine in Ethiopia.   On November 20th the single “Do They Know It’s Christmas” was recorded and five days later it was released.

In 1985, while watching Live Aid Delia Smith got the idea that the food industry including chefs could also give or donate to the fight against famine.  The seed of an idea for a cookery book grew.   Together with Sir Terry Wogan and within two months the book was selling off the shelves in 1986, having been published by the BBC. The book  however, was different form the norm in that it is made up of cherished recipes donated by the people both famous and not so famous.   Some recipes were sponsored by food industry with the recipes themselves being wide and varied.

The first recipe was provided by Dian Princess of Wales.   However, the majority of recipes are from ordinary individuals willing to share a cherished recipe.

My favourite recipe is a recipe for a ham sandwich devised by the comic Ronnie Barker and which finishes

 

“Place £5 in envelope and whisk off to Food Aid .   Enjoy sandwich knowing that someone will eat with that £5 note.”

My recipe for soda bread was given to me by my Aunty Mary Dan and hasn’t changed. Our Christmas Pudding Recipe has changed from the heavy dark pudding of childhood to a lighter pudding which at this stage cannot be altered or it is no longer “our” Christmas pudding. Of course we have “drinky” biscuits, so-called because our son would have half the batter drunk before the flour had been added to make it into biscuits.

Do you have any cherished family recipes or new ones which you have devised and are now part of the family repertoire?