Monday, 30 July 2012

Cookery challenge for July

This month's challenge :
A dish from your current favourite recipe book.

This in itself was a challenge for me on two counts, as I love looking at and buying cookery books. My dilemma was which book and recipe do I choose! As I am trying to de-clutter and reduce the items in the house I now borrow a cookery book each month from the local library.

This month I borrowed the Great British Bake Off - How to Bake. It is based on the BBC TV series where 12 homebakers compete against each other to win the title of "Great British Bake off, Best Amateur Baker". The book contains lots of fail safe recipes and many hints on how to improve your baking. On Fridays, ever since the children were small I generally bake a teatime treat for the weekend. This time I chose Easy chocolate fudge cake and have used it for this months cookery challenge!

I always prefer simple and easy recipes because although I enjoy cooking I am quite busy, and have many things to do. The recipe is easy and quick to make as most of the ingredients for the sponge go into the food processor and are quickly mixed together.


Even at this stage it looks good, if you like chocolate as I do. As I was making it I suddenly noticed that someone else was interested in what I was baking. I just had to take this photo and share it with you! Daisy is not allowed any chocolate, but I suppose she can always  hope and dream....

The icing is very easy to make too as everything is put in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water to melt and with all the ingredients melted together I didn't have the problem of overcooking the chocolate.
The final result didn't look quite as good as the illustration in the book but it was tasty and the glass stand and the tin were soon empty! The recipe can be found here.

The aim of the cookery club is all about fun, nurturing ourselves and loved ones and trying new things in our kitchens. It's not about being expert chefs, perfect or competitive. Just supporting and inspiring each other. Thank you to Lucent Imaginery for organising the cookery club challenges. I do enjoy trying new recipes and this one I will be making again as it was so popular.

This months participants are :-

Lucent Imagery (cooking club host)
Bakery Bookery
Down by the Sea
Anything Squirrel Squirrel
Chi Garden
Under Lock & Key

Sarah x

Friday, 27 July 2012

Cultural Olympiad by the sea

The Cultural Olympiad is a cultural celebration of the history of the modern and paralympic movement and is running alongside the Olympic games.The cultural celebrations involve art projects, music and dance performances, mass choirs and film presentations. With Weymouth and Portland being the second largest venue outside London many of the events are taking place here. 

My favourite art project is the Olympic deckchairs, 500 deckchairs have been designed by local residents and  the new deckchairs can be found all along the promenade in Weymouth. I love the colours and designs - aren't they special and fun!

We have also had the Big Red Ball visiting the town, This is a large scale art project on squashing a big red ball into a familiar place. Everyone was having fun capturing it on camera and reaching out to touch it!

An island has suddenly appeared out in the sea in Weymouth bay it is ""Nowhere Island", another art project that celebrates our island nation and tries to make people think about if they found a new island, how would they like to live there and what laws would govern their lives. It will be visiting other places in the South West over the next month.

The island was still be being put in position when we saw it.

Weymouth has had a new relief road and a new sculpture called " Jurassic Stones" was created as part of the Olympiad celebration.  The stones were unearthed while the relief road was being constructed. There was an outcry locally when it was revealed that the price of the installation was £332,291. It was paid for by the Arts Council.

And finally the "Battle of the Winds" is a story of how the winds from all over the South West are bought to Weymouth to help the Olympic Sailors have good sailing conditions over the forthcoming weeks. This is told by song, dance, street theatre and aerial acrobatics. It is an amazing spectatular. 

I hope everyone enjoys the Olympics. For the competitors it must be the highlight of their career.  Part of the Olympics is to encourage and celebrate the friendship of nations.  I think we do that so well in the blogging world and I would like to say a big thank you to my oversea followers and others who read my blog from other nations. I never anticipated when I originally set up my blog 9 months ago that I would have so many overseas visitors and I love communicating with you with assistance of google translate (!). This for me has been one of the highlights of writing a blog.

Hello and welcome to new followers Nina, Tales from my craft room and Stone Hedge Farm, it's wonderful to have you on board!
Sarah x

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

A village lost but not forgotten.

Imagine ......

It is November and as your thoughts turn towards Christmas the postman delivers a letter informing you that you must leave your home and your village. This is what happened to 200 people living in a village called Tyneham in Dorset in 1943.  The villagers never realised as they left their homes that winter that they would never live in them again.

The land was taken over by the Army for wartime training but in 1948 they decided they would  keep the land and use it for a firing range and training ground. It was bought under a compulsory purchase order and the villagers had no say in what happened. A campaign lasting 30 years tried to reverse the decision and the Army eventually agreed to give the public access to this area when Army training was not taking place.

The church and school house and farm buildings have been restored but the other buildings stand as empty shells with just a few features left to remind one that they were once homes.

The school house

Below is the old  rectory it used to look magnificent but now it just an empty shell and the walls by the entrance are all covered in bullet holes. 

The telephone box was installed in the early part of 1943 and oddly it remains the only thing that was undamaged during the preceding years.

Thanks to volunteers, every time we visit more restoration has taken place. Over the past few years they have restored the mill bridge and created a wild flower meadow and garden. They were creating dry stone walls when we visited.

The one advantage is that this valley is now a haven for wildlife. The trees that have grown in the valley can not be cut down because they are full of shrapnel. If you visit early or late in the day it is such a peaceful place to be.

A 15 minute walk takes you down to the sea where wonderful views await you. Well some of us admired the view! Daisy was too interested in a family walking on the coast path!

This land was also taken over by the Army.

In my youth my parents were friendly with one of the villagers who had to leave. I wish I had asked her about her life in this special place.

 Sarah x

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Evening boat trip in search of wildlife

We have been members of our local wildlife Trust for many years and they arranged an evening boat trip on 8th June, to look at the wildlife of the seas and celebrate " World Oceans Day."  We thought this sounded fun and booked the trip. The trip was cancelled at the last minute due to rain (not surprising!) and winds of over 50 mph. The rearranged trip took place on Friday evening.

Jurassic Scene

I am pleased to say the weather was much better and before boarding the boat we managed to enjoy a take away of fish and chips and a spot of people watching by Poole quay.

Spiny seahorse
 Image taken from  the BBC

Once on the boat we saw common and sandwich terns in the lagoon at Brownsea Island. Then we passed over the seagrass beds where there is the largest population of sea horses in the British Isles.  A no anchor protection zone has recently been lifted from Studland Bay. However the Wildlife Trust feel that more research needs to take place as the habitiat has been damaged . (I had to borrow a picture from Emma Rance, as I  obviously couldn't take a photo!)

Then something happened to make the evening unforgettable, a pod of 10 dolphins appeared. They swam under and around the boat for about 5- 10 minutes. They were amazing and a memory I shall cherish for a long time to come. The captain told us that that afternoon he had seen them for the first time since the Spring. How lucky we were! They moved so fast and it was such a spectatular sight that it was almost impossible to capture in a photo !

This link will give a feel of what we experienced.  I wished we had taken a video of it, but we were just so memorised by enjoying the moment! Sorry my photo is not the best, you can just see the outline of the dolphin if you look carefully!

If we had visited in June the cliffs would have been full of breeding birds, unfortunately they had all had their chicks and already departed,, but we did see some puffins in the water, in the distance.

Finally, as the sun was going down, we noticed to two ears sticking up at the top of a cliff. They belonged to a deer.

As we headed back into Poole harbour , the neighbouring town of Bournemouth had their weekly summer firework festival taking place. So we moored out at sea to enjoy the spectacle. It was a nice end to a wonderful trip, but for me nothing could come close to beating that view on those magnificent dolphins in their natural habitat.
Jumping Dolphin Clip Art

The wildlife Trusts are campaigning to create 127 Marine conservation zones around the coast of the UK there are more details here if you are interested.

 Welcome to my new followers to Susan (I can't find a link for you- if you have one please let me know), Kathrin and Suzanne thank you for your lovely comments and for joining me!

Sarah x

Monday, 16 July 2012

Gardening in July

This weekend we have spent time working in the garden and I thought I would share these pictures with you.

I always like to cut some flowers to bring into the house each week. This is one of my favourite roses from the garden, it is called Felicia, it is a shrub rose that has clusters of pale pink flowers. It produces scented flowers from June to October - what more can you ask of a rose? Isn't it beautiful?

The garden is looking very lush and green and with all the rain we have been having the slugs and snails have been causing havoc. Especially in the last week, when it has been so wet and I have been too busy to go out and round them up!

Another of my favourite flowers at this time of the year is Geranium Summer skies, it is quite tall but I love the colour of it! It's the only summer skies we have seen recently!

 Twinkle has been enjoying the catmint, as you can see! Unfortunately the catmint (Nepeta) does from time to time attract other cats into the garden too. 

Lavender is another of my favourite summer flowers. The smell instantly takes me back to a childhood summer holiday in the hills above Cannes in the South of France.

One of our last roses to bloom is Tuscany Superb. the colour makes me think of crushed velvet.

Our wildlife pond is full and very clear. We have a family of newts, water boatmen and we still have some tadpoles. I don't remember seeing them this late before. I tried to photograph the newts and tadpoles and all I got was the water boatmen, nevermind, they are in there somewhere!

Wishing you a good week.

A big hello to my new followers Anne and Molly thank you so much for following me.

Sarah x

Friday, 13 July 2012

The Olympic torch procession reaches Dorset!

The Olympic flame arrived  from Greece almost 60 days ago and the torch procession has travelled the length and breath of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It will arrive in London on the eve of the Olympic Games in 2 weeks time. The route was planned so that 95% of the population would be within an 10 miles (16km) of the procession.

I know I have many followers from other countries so I apologise to those in the UK who have already have seen the procession in their area and know all about it!.

Image from the Sun newspaper

I was fortunate to see the procession twice. It passed my office In Dorchester on Thursday afternoon (see first photo.)

After travelling through the west of the county of Dorset it arrived in Weymouth by boat in the mist and the rain on Thursday evening. My son was on the beach to see its arrival and take the photo above for us.

Picture taken from BBC Local South West News

 The torch contains 8,000 laser cut holes, which represents the 8,000 miles it is being carried by 8,000 people, who were selected because of the things that they have done - many of their stories are inspiring.

Image: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire/Press Association Images 
On Friday, the torch procession route passed the bottom of our road, so we went down to join in the fun,

The Olympic mascot getting a lift

There was quite a carnival atmosphere and a busy road on the outskirts of Weymouth was transformed for a short period. 

 Children from local schools and pre schools joined the crowds. My daughter was helping with the pre- school children and it was lovely to see the expressions on the children's faces as the procession went by.

The police escorting the torch were also joining in with the fun much to the delight of the crowds!

The picture I took was not good enough to show here! Luckly my son was using our other camera and got a better shot, despite capturing me in the corner! We all enjoyed the event, it was lovely to see the local neighbourhood come together, both young and old to see this unique spectacle.

As I have mentioned before Weymouth and Portland is hosting all the Olympic sailing events. The town has been smartened up and palm trees and Olympic flags have suddenly made an appearance. So it is likely that there will be more mention of the Olympics in the next few weeks!

Maria from one of my favourite blogs has just found out her son has been nominated a place in the Paralympion team, congratulations to him for this great achievement.

Thank you to all my followers for your continuous support and comments and a big welcome to Melmory, Encourage one another Riet, and Beach comber. I am a bit behind with reading everyones blogs so hopefully I will catch up over the weekend. Hope you have a good one!

Sarah x


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