Friday, 22 October 2010

dramatic chipmunk..

The best ever banana bread....

 This recipe is a Nigella Lawson one I have made it lots and lots of times and it never fails to be excellent, I always have squashy bananas hanging around and they are the ones to use.. the recipe refers to this as a 'bread' but it's moist and cakey.. it is utterly delightful and I made one today, yummm... I usually scatter extra walnuts on top of mine before I put it in the oven..


 a view from my kitchen ;)



  • Vegetarian
  • 100g sultanas
  • 75ml bourbon or dark rum
  • 175g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • half teaspoon
  • bicarbonate of soda
  • half teaspoon salt
  • 125g unsalted butter,melted
  • 150g sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 small, very ripe bananas (about 300g weighed without skin), mashed
  • 60g chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 23 x 13 x 7cm loaf tin, buttered and floured or with a paper insert


  1. Put the sultanas and rum or bourbon in a smallish saucepan and bring to the boil.
  2. Remove from the heat, cover and leave for an hour if you can, or until the sultanas have absorbed most of the liquid, then drain.
  3.  Preheat the oven to 170ÂșC/gas mark 3 and get started on the rest.
  4. Put the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt in a medium-sized bowl and, using your hands or a wooden spoon, combine well.
  5. In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and sugar and beat until blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the mashed bananas.
  6. Then, with your wooden spoon, stir in the walnuts, drained sultanas and vanilla extract.
  7. Add the flour mixture, a third at a time, stirring well after each bit. Scrape into the loaf tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 1 to 1 and a quarter hours.
  8. When it's ready, an inserted toothpick or fine skewer should come out cleanish.
  9.  Leave in the tin on a rack to cool, and eat thickly or thinly sliced, as you prefer.
Serves: Makes 8-10 slices

Wednesday, 20 October 2010


Where did all the people go

The ones that taught me all I know

The ones that made the me today 

Who gave me strength to find my way

I hear their whispers in my ears

I smell their perfume, taste their tears

And as I near my twilight years

I feel their pain and share their fears

Could it be that we are one 

I've known them since my world begun

They've carried me when I felt weak

And found the words for me to speak

Such comfort to have such good friends

When I am torn such pleasure mends

I never want to step outside

For all I need is here inside.....

written by Cheryl Powling

The joy of owning a teenager...

If I'd kept the receipt perhaps I could have complained, got a refund, or even an exchange, but my teenager isn't something I can really blame anyone else for, no-one is at fault, because being a teenager is such a complex thing, and trying to understand it takes honesty and patience.

It is rebellion or just angst?, how can someone develop their values without testing just about everyone around them, to see what its like to be adored or even despised?, surely the someone who ends up with a rounded sense of values has challenged the rules, in order to form an individual and rounded definition of things they really love or hate.

We are all part of a large jigsaw in society, and we all have our place in the big picture, but where do we fit in, and who can decide for us? deciding for ourselves, is part of the autonomy that teenagers desire, and although they may appear to have the  invincible and all-knowing jacket on,  the truth is that they are probably feeling inadequate and scared.

Then whilst they are having to deal with all their physical and hormonal changes they also have their peers' hormonal and physical changes, to cope with, and the melting pot continues to boil until the heat is turned down, which I would say is about around the time when all the important decisions and exams have been taken... Yeah too bloody late!

 I think as parents or carers we need to make ourselves accessible and slightly sympathetic with a little bit of impartiality thrown in, in order to form a nice bond with our teenagers so that the confusion when met can be spoken about or shared, you cannot enforce rules and punishment with your children without a relationship otherwise you will end up with adolescent anarchy.

'Smells like Teen Spirit ' to me,  Hello Hello Hello How Low..

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

The Piano..

Tonight we watched 'The Piano' again..

Jane Campion's Oscar-winning movie is all about Ada (played by Holly Hunter), a mute who has not spoken a word for many years, who immigrates to the New Zealand outback ,and the arranged marriage to a man (played by Sam Neill) who tries to come between her and her passion for her piano, which is her voice and her biggest love until she meets Baines (played by Harvey Keitel) who is a tattooed illiterate loner who I think loved her at first sight.
The film is so beautifully portrayed it is compelling and really one of the most passionate and sexy films ever, and it's poignant ending is rather haunting as is the beautiful soundtrack by the ever remarkable Michael Nyman. 
I urge everyone to see this film, it's definitely in my top 5 favourite movies

Holly Hunter is a fantastic actress I can't imagine anyone else being so right for this part , in fact the whole cast was spot on. It is one of those films which makes you feel as if you are there, as the atmosphere was so cleverly captured, for all to see..

Don't delay watching it..

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Penis Envy..

Girls, do you have penis envy, well you too can piss whilst standing up!.

Me I use the SHEEWEE, It's bloody brilliant, the last time I used it was into a bush on the hard shoulder somewhere along the North Circular, it was so easy to use and now I keep one in my bag at all times. I even bought one for all my friends one Christmas..

 Get one here!

They really do work, the best story I have for you is the one where I was at Longleat Safari Park, with my family and we had gone half way around, and I wanted to pee urgently, obviously we couldnt stop or open windows as the wildlife would have had little sympathy for a middle aged woman with a weak bladder, so I had to scramble over to the back of my 4-Wheel drive over three teenagers and into the boot , and I managed to pee into an empty evian bottle. There is a video of it, but I daren't show you, as it is far to embarassing.

There are others on the market and here they are, but I would invest in the Sheewee, get one now


 Magic Cone








Saturday, 16 October 2010

The path of righteousness...

Let me make myself clear........

I have no religion, therefore I am a rebel in the opinion of some people
I have no belief in the afterlife, therefore I am without purpose after my death
In my life I have heart and soul and I do not rely on the bible to teach me, or to put fear into me
I am my own person, and I take full responsibility for my actions
And my salvation comes from the goodness in me, made by me, and I will not sell myself to God.

There is a difference between religion and spirituality.
Religion is about politics, and rules, and spirituality is about broadmindedness
A holistic state of mind, open and free.

I will fear no evil, for thou are inside of me 
And I shall want for no higher authority than I, to lead me from wrong
The explanations for many things I did not understand are now defined with science and technology
And this makes more sense.

Peace comes with the beautiful relationships that we have with others, and ourselves.
Religion is not reality.. It is not my shield..

written by Cheryl Powling

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Loveable Rogue

this describes how I feel about someone at the moment.... we all know one don't we?

Check out this website I think it's pretty cool, great for prezzies..

The great thing is you can customise your own crockery.. I love it!!  :D

Sign of the times..

I read with merriment that a new series of the costume drama Downton Abbey has been commissioned.

 The first episode of the series in September, starring Dame Maggie Smith, actually attracted an average audience of 8.8 million people, not that I'm at all surprised, what a fabulous and long awaited Sunday night treat.

Written and created by Oscar-winning Julian Fellowes the story is set in the year 1912 and follows the life of an aristocratic family who are living in a rapidly changing society, it lets us in to the servants downstairs, and their dedication and hard work, but also their concerns and ambitions, which is really quite moving.

Why is it that every time I watch something like this I wish I was there, there's something about the way things were conducted and dealt with that I really love, the romance, the scandal, the elegance, well that was if you were rich.
Those were the days just before the horrors of World War One, and when there was a class system that was unsympathetic and rigid, when 'downstairs' never reached the 'upstairs', where you stayed at the level you were born to, hmm, but wasn't there respect, and good behaviour?.. no actually, It was fear and surrender.

If you weren't lucky enough to be born into aristocracy your life as a woman during the Edwardian era was restricted by more than just tight corsets, no decent education, employment prospects rather grim, years of childbearing due to no contraception, and marriage whether happy or not, and an age also when women often died in childbirth, when TB, rheumatic fever, diphtheria and scarlet fever were commonplace.

The rights we have gained as women in the past century are unquestionable, but in many ways we have exchanged one set of shackles for another. I for one think that our role has rather lost it's charm and in our quest to "have it all", we are burdened with competing pressures to work, manage the home, raise children and look young and beautiful, the result being that the family foundations has lost it's ever so important role, I for one despair over this, I also wonder how without this nurturing structure, kids of today are supposed to become socially conscious, without the marrow of family values running through their bones.

Without a sense of belonging, the gang mentality takes it's victims, as everyone wants to be 'a part of' and where family has stepped down, this terrible wish to cluster into territorial and bullying groups becomes apparent, it always did and it always will.

How I got onto this when I started on about 'Downton Abbey' is really typical of how my mind seems to work, I am one minute feeling rather pleasant about something or somewhere, and I am whooshed along by a sudden gust of emotion, or even enlightenment.. sign of the times maybe?, but is it the century that I find myself living in or just human nature? you decide....

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

My many career moves.

Have you ever felt that there's something that you are good at , that you just haven't discovered yet?. I think I tried particularly hard to find mine.

 I for one left school with 1 O'level which was a total waste of the superb opportunity I had at one of the top girl's grammar schools in London, I was of a rebellious nature and exams and school clashed with boys and nightclubs, and at the time I was unaware that the latter could have entertained me into my twenties, and my education would come to an abrupt end by the time I was 16.

The only saving grace was that I was good looking and fearless, I drifted from job to job, and it took me 5 years to realise that I was unemployable, due to lack of motivation, and interest in having a routine, which I found restrictive and dull.

I worked in the advertising department for The Enfield Advertiser, Enfield Independent, and the Haringey Gazette which I only did because I got a car, and even though it was just a Fiat Panda it was worth it for a while anyway.

I worked as a recruitment consultant for Atlas Staff Bureau and could not believe the office politics, I was a photographers assistant, I was a promo girl in large stores, I worked for Mars and then Rowntrees and also Whitbread, as a merchandising representative and managed to fill out enough paperwork to say I was doing my job when I really wasn't, borrrring. I got a job as a Penthouse Pet but my boyfriend at the time hit the roof.

I was a sales rep for a cleaning company, got the sack for throwing lit cigarette ends out of the window to discover to my horror they had flown back into the back seat and burned thousands of deep holes into the upholstery, then to top it all I reversed into a tree at full speed whilst going for an audition as a session singer in a studio in south London, which I got and decided I wanted to be singer which resulted in me signing a contract with a small record label, funded by Chas Chandler of The Animals fame, which culminated into bugger all.

Me and Ian Dury

I worked in a wine bar in Islington, a restaurant in Southgate, and a pub, a Greek factory on the production line, where they made cakes, a car spares center in Haringey, and a sandwich bar in Earls Court.

I was a receptionist in a seedy massage parlour in Kings Cross (that was very interesting longest job I ever had), and I worked at the Pineapple Dance Studios in Floral Street, Covent Garden.

Me at the 'Cannes Film Festival' promoting some crappy film by the Cohen Brothers, note the stickers on the boobs, hahaha

I had a lock up shop in Camden selling second hand clothes ,( I actually  liked that ). I worked in a health food shop, a Chemist, oh a bookshop, and a shoe shop in Oxford Street.
I was a pin -up for the Marines during the Falklands War. (luvverly jubbly)

I worked for a press cutting agency, called Romeike and Curtis, but got sacked for chatting too much, and I was a care assistant in a Church Army old people's home for 4 months.

Oh, and I was a 'Starbird' aswell.

 All that in 5 you can't say I didn't try can you..?

Monday, 11 October 2010

Chicken Orthopedics.

Are you my mummy?

This was taken about 13 weeks ago she's one of my first born Polands, and she is wearing a little bandaid shoe I made her to straighten her foot. Sometimes chicks can be born with this, it isn't a genetic problem but a hatch one, because the chick did not use its feet enough during hatching so the muscles did not strengthen. It can also be caused by letting a new chick walk on a slippery surface. Often it can be fixed by taping the chicken's toes straight or by making a "shoe" out of pipe cleaners or plasters, but has to be corrected within days or it will be impossible to fix.

This poor little thing had two scrunched up feet, I had to make two shoes..
And this has all the info about Chicken Orthopedics:


P.E teachers.

Why are all P.E teachers so difficult?.. why can't they accept that some pupils aren't interested or good at P.E?.
 There's definitely a different mentality that goes with these strange people, they need to stop drilling and learn to deal with people sympathetically who are physically not always up for the challenge, because it's not always about pushing enthusiastic people to their limits, as you would if you were coaching.
I remember at school watching the more hopeless specimens being shoved around, threatened, and insulted simply for being "bad at games", and understood I had more in common with them.
As far as I was concerned, PE was a twice-weekly period of chaos during which the school's most aggressive pupils were permitted to dominate and torment those they considered physically inferior.
My run ins with my P.E teachers gave me a lifetime dislike of pretty much all sport. A bit like how going to a religious school, as a child, turned me into a lifelong atheist.
There were a pair of butch teachers at our secondary school, who would put you through the hardest of tasks in bitter cold and intense heat, then get to watch you in the showers.
Seems like they were always having all the fun..

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Red Mites...

Urgh today I have a red mite problem, I just went to clean out and replace straw in laying areas, and my arm was covered in red mite Grrrrrrrr..
I can't believe the faff this is going to cause, Poultry Shield to the rescue!

Red Mite Facts (I'm scratching as I type)......   :(

The red chicken mite is a common external parasite of birds. Although very small it can be seen by the naked eye. Mites feed on blood or feathers, skin or scales of birds. Mites are generally regarded as pests but heavy infestations can result in poor health, reduced performance (egg laying or weight gain) or, in extreme cases death.
The poultry red mite is considered one of the most important ectoparasites affecting egg layers in all types of production systems across the whole of Europe. This species, Dermanyssus gallinae, is an obligate blood feeding mite that attacks the resting hens mainly during the night for a blood feed that typically lasts 1-2 hours. After feeding the mites return to their hiding places in cracks and crevices where they mate and deposit their eggs. As a result of this behaviour daytime inspection may not detect large populations of red mites.
At high infestation levels mites cause increased stress to the birds which leads to reduced egg production, anaemia and death. Mites have been implicated as vectors of several significant diseases of poultry including chicken pox virus, Newcastle virus and fowl typhoid. Poultry mites will bite mammals, including humans, causing painful skin irritation.
The appearance of the red mite is dependent on when they last fed. When recently fed they appear red and this colour goes through black to grey as the time since the last feed increases.
Life Cycle
Red mites only feed on birds in darkness and blood feed for 1-2 hours each night.
Red mites spend most of their life in cracks and crevices and this is where the female mite deposits its eggs.
The eggs of red mite are small (0.4mm x 0.25mm) oval and pearly white. Under warm conditions the eggs hatch in 2-3 days into 6-legged larvae.
Before the first feed the larvae moult into an 8-legged protonymph (usually within 24 hours of hatching).
Protonymphs start to feed on the roosting birds and moult to a deutonymph that continues to feed before moulting into an adult male or female.
Under favourable conditions a mite can complete a life cycle (egg to egg) in 7 days.
Populations can build up very rapidly within poultry houses.
Red mite can survive for up to 8 months without a blood meal and, when hidden within cracks, are very resistant to desiccation.


Now the colder weather is drawing in, chicken breeding should be put off till the Spring. This is the time in nature when the most eggs would be laid, and gives enough time for the chick to reach a level of maturity where it might stand a good chance of surviving the coming winter. It takes 21 days to hatch a chicken egg under the correct conditions of temperature, and if done using a broody hen, they will 'pop out' in cold weather and could suffer as a consequence.
The other important thing about looking after your chickens in winter is their security. Foxes find food more difficult to find during the winter month's and may try that extra bit harder to get into your coop, so ensure you do a daily inspection for any weak areas and see if there are any tell tale signs of something attempting entry, and this is a good time to carry out any repairs on your coop before the weather makes it just that little bit difficult.
Also check for signs of water leaking into the house, because birds cannot stand draughts or being wet.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Another weekend..

This weekend more work on the house, Graham the hubby is installing kitchen units into our new utility room, plan is a large butler sink in corner to wash my beloved hounds in..

There he is with hammer in hand accompanied by our friend Lee with coffee in hand, can't help thinking if us girls would have been on the job it would have been done by now, if only I could replay to you the waffle and chit chat that holds them back.. This could be a long process...

Meanwhile in the kitchen Ozzy is looking a bit better, yesterday he looked so down, maybe he's also amused by the faffing about that the men are doing.

And the last time I looked they had progressed.... into the kitchen hahaha still droneing on..and on...and on

Friday, 8 October 2010

Familiar sights from the end of the road.

I have lived in Southgate for the past 28 years, and really love the community spirit, which is why although I have thought about it, moving from here would be a big mistake for me, at my age to leave all my friends and to go somewhere new just wouldn't be easy, although I do rather wish I could have a smallholding, maybe I will one day.

The Cherry Tree Pub as seen above, dates back as far as the 1700's, the first landlord of the inn was a Mr Edward Lomas. Regarded by many locals as the centre of the community, Ye Olde Cherry Tree has been used for a number of different purposes over its lifetime including the headquarters for the Loyal Britain Society, a coaching inn and a posting house. It is at the end of my road and I'm pretty pleased about that!, It's a fantastic meeting place that has a lovely atmosphere and has a great garden area to sit outside, and it is also a 19 bedroom 'Inn Keepers Lodge ' which is quite handy aswell..

Lovely Pizza lovely owners..

We bought our house from here..

 Southgate underground station was built in 1933 in a glorious Art Deco style