Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Happy Happy

These are the wonderful teacups I have fallen in love with. The colours are brighter than the photo shows and all in all, just make me smile.

It seems to be a discontinued line and no-one can confirm they are dishwasher safe. So just the two teacups and saucers for now. There is a large plate (for cakes?!) and some side plates but I'll wait to see about dishwasher safeness.

Tea tastes different in a bone china cup upon a saucer. Not even a bone china mug can match. I wonder if it is the curve of the saucer as one holds it, or the straight open bowl that one sips from. Perhaps it is the apparent fragility of the china itself. The tea certainly seems hotter.

A few years back, during a visit to a bone china manufacturer, I discovered that it is called bone china because the material actually contains ground up bone! Perhaps it is obvious to others that might be the case but it wasn't to me and such a surprise. I wonder how vegetarians feel about it?

As for the volume compared to a mug, the resident nerd (moi) measured up contents into a regular mug and found the tea cup was nearly two thirds of a mug. So, by the time I have gone back for seconds (because one just has to have seconds when drinking from a cup and saucer) means that the volume at one sitting is more than a mug. Puts hairs on yer chest it does!

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Alternative Counselling

Another strange dream. This time it was after 5.15am this morning and before 7.47am when I awoke again.

As per usual, it was a rather involved dream until we get to this stage. A woman, who seems to be my mother in real life but wasn't exactly, was trying to find me a counsellor. The issues I had were somehow acceptable to her but she didn't quite realise they were to do with my childhood with her.

We had been up and down the promenade (not a Blackpool type promenade but one in a hot country with big wide avenues) checking out various people and finally came across someone who seemed OK to me and was available. The woman (mother?) settled down outside quite happily with our bags of stuff and seemingly encouraged I had found someone who could help.

Once inside the therapist was most interesting. The same person but at times a man and at times a woman! As a man he was extremely handsome. And as a woman I'd say she had similar looks to me but it wasn't me (though of course sub-consciously perhaps she was me.)

At first he was a man and sat on a wheelie office chair and as he talked, he wheeled his chair so close to me as I sat on a ledge or perch just under/by the stairs. (I am not actually under the stairs.) Anyway, he is so close our bodies are not only touching they are scrunched together, that he actually lifts one of my legs over his lap to make it more comfortable for me. (This is not an overtly sexual dream!)

We talk about how I feel about him being so physically close and I tell him that I don't mind; that it is different and that it is rather pleasant with him but might not be with someone else. At first I am a little embarrassed wondering if anyone else can see this carry-on, especially the woman (mother?) waiting outside. And then I start to ask him how he feels and does he do this often to his clients, whilst wondering to myself if he would do this if I was some elderly woman. He tells me that he is particularly enjoying it with me but yes, he does it with his other clients. In his words though, he made it seem like it was extra good with me! [Ahhh, is this an ego I see before me?!]

That questioning of mine goes on a little while with me following up what he is saying and apparently counselling him. I then realise this and realise I am paying to give him counselling so begin to stop that line of discussion.

He gets up to walk about the room and he is now a woman as she talks and then stops talking. I am aware of her walking up a few steps behind me and then silence. I think she is waiting for me to speak but somewhere between that thought and the next I have drifted off into a wonderful and restful sleep. [That I reckon I feel rested from in real life.] The next thing I am aware is that the woman says "And you?" or something like that. Suddenly disturbed I turn around to find that it was a ploy of hers to get me to talk but I had fallen asleep instead. She says that she had let me sleep as I needed it as much as I needed the counselling. I find that I have slept, according to the Therapist's clock, for forty five minutes. I am shocked that so much of my session was wasted and was a bit worried what the woman outside (mother?) would say if she knew.

But it was bang, straight into counselling again. The Therapist said she noticed as she had moved around the room to do things that I was always aware of her presence and I came out with an interesting theory that I was connected to everyone by an umbilical cord. I added that I thought perhaps it was time for me to cut some (or was it all?) of the umbilical cords and to let go. To not worry about others so much. In the dream, and the counselling session, I was aware that I had grown up children and that somehow an umbilical cord to them wasn't so bad; so it wasn't all bad.

Next thing, we are outside and the woman counsellor is offering me treats from the ice-cream van. At first I say "no" and then, with the help of some small children around, I am persuaded. She then ups the ante and offers me more which I again refuse out of politeness, and again I am persuaded to change my mind. It felt like she was giving me a second childhood full of giving and treats and abundance.

At this point I wake up at 7.47am about to cough and splutter.


I have the yuckiest cold ever. Yesterday I was out in a large chemist buying more supplies when I looked down to find a large runny snot trail down my shirt. How that got there I do not know, but I know I am currently a mess. On the other hand, I am not all ill, and am reading a brilliant book about riches and abundance. And there are some really good things happening and I am feeling optimistic.

Yesterday (in real life) I saw the most gorgeous tea cups and saucers that I want for our new house. The had bright pastel colours, were from the Johnson Brothers brand, and had a bright cupcake on each side of the bone china cup. They made me smile. It is not often I see something and truly want it, but I want those. There was no pattern name on the cup or saucer and the staff looked too young to even ask and I do have a stinking cold. So I came home and googled (and Yahooed) for them to no avail. I even phoned up the china manufacturers and they don't recognise the pattern. It could have been a special edition for Dunelm stores so I need to go back there and ask them. But why were these gorgeous creations slung up on the top shelf in amongst everything else? They deserved a display all of their own. Anyway, I want to know what else is in the range .... such a tea set would be outrageously gorgeous for me - and I can see myself enjoying tea from it with friends. And I have just the perfect tea to brew up in a pot to drink from these exquisite cups.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

The Boy, The Wolf Costume, and The Suicide

Very strange dream last week. The very next night was another strange dream and I thought I was going to have one of those occasional runs of strange dreams that I have noted down during my life, but I didn't and I didn't write it down at the time. So the second dream has just eluded me. On the edge of my memory banks but I can't quite put my finger on it or pin any of it down. But the first dream has captured me and if I could paint with any competence I'd paint this mural I see before me.

As a class assistant I have brought a group of school children to some woods on an educational trip, but quite soon I am no longer with the school party and they are not important to the dream. We have come to see the wondrous sight of an inhabitant of the woods: a young boy of maybe 10 to 12 years old in his wolf costume. His costume has a wolf-like head-piece connected to a flat section that covers his back and goes down to a wildly elaborate tail piece that stretches high up with a long pole, maybe three times the length of his body. The boy runs partly on all fours with long autumnal coloured streamers or feathers flowing from his tail piece.

He was an amazing apparition, a sight to behold, fleeting across our vision. This was a child of the woods and his purpose was to uphold the nature and ecology. His costume served to scare predators but it also attracted the tourists, and this was the problem. Somehow he and I spoke but it was telepathically. I knew he was very unhappy and was coming to too much attention from outsiders thus damaging the ecology of the woods. He ran to a huge barn like building recently and hastily erected by the baddies, in which appeared to burn the fires of hell, and had a huge apparatus for chewing up the woods of the forest.

Running after him, I stood at the door of this building unable to enter as the red orange burning heat held me back. I pleaded to him with my eyes to not do what he was going to do but he continued and ran up the ladder at the back of the giant tree muncher. He took off his costume and flamboyantly threw it onto the teeth of the tree muncher. I thought that was it and the extent of his protest against the tourists and outsiders. We both watched as his costume was crushed and eaten up.

Then he looked at me. I looked at him. Awake and a week later I can still see into his eyes through the fires of hell and high up on the apparatus. He then looked forward and threw himself onto the giant teeth of the tree muncher. As he travelled along the conveyer until the point the teeth started to crush he was silent. My heart wanted to stop. I wanted to stop him from dying but I couldn't enter the deathly hot building. The big, solid teeth of the tree muncher finally parted to start to come down on his tiny frame as he began to let out a scream. It was only half a scream as I presume his life was extinguished very quickly.

He had either sacrificed himself, and he wanted me to tell his story. Or else, he was just so fed up he didn't want to stay anymore and I shouldn't have been there as a witness. I am not entirely sure which. Either way, I was particularly moved by the quick death and was relieved for him it was so swift, but so sad at the waste.

His death was awful but most of all I remember him in his costume, tail magnificently flowing and fluttering behind him as he bounded along with the green woods as his backdrop.

Thursday, 10 January 2008


Delicious words weaving and wrapping. Or blunt, describing deeds. Whether from the toy box or the tool box the words matter. Sumptuous confections lifting one's soul or clipped harshness smearing one's heart on bloody walls.

Mediocrity stubbornly infiltrates the gaps.

Discrete words being discreet with innuendo and possibilities.

At the ice-cream parlour of words sometimes brevity is the order, or maybe three generous scoops with all the toppings; with glace cherry and angelica adorning the moment.

Take away this hollow box with overworked laminated words bouncing around! But it is the necessary stool beneath us all, that helps to reach up to the mysterious boxes with multi-syllabic offerings that curl salaciously around tongues and lips. Pushing boundaries, enticing minds, creating smiles. And having a laugh :-D

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Sign up to get chickens out

Chicken Out! Campaign Sign-up

By the way, as a single parent on benefit, my two children and I ate much less meat but what meat we ate was free range AND organic. We didn't have puddings nor a lot of other things, but we still ate well on a budget.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Old El Doris Fajita Mix

Last night I developed this recipe. Mr Doris had gotten the rest of the makings for the fajitas but couldn't get the Old El Paso Fajita Seasoning mix. Don't worry says I, remembering one of those army cadet roadshows and an army cook demonstrating cooking in the open. Using a big hot plate and finely sliced chicken (probably at a time when chicken was affordable), onions and peppers and just chili powder, salt and sugar as seasoning. Maybe a little paprika too but not much. It wasn't as red but quite tasty and tasted like fajitas.

Mr Doris insists there is cumin somewhere in amongst it which I dispute but he does some recipe googling and comes up with a recipe a little too complicated for my liking but does include cumin. So I adapted as you do.

Feeds 5 hungry mouths:

2 large teaspoons cumin seeds
2+ teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon sugar
quarter teaspoon chili powder (could be more to be spicier)
quarter teaspoon salt

2 small red onions, halved and sliced thinly
3 large peppers sliced into thin-ish strips
500 gm raw turkey meat sliced thinly

For serving:
2 tortilla wraps per person
salad leaves
soured cream
grated mozzarella cheese
small bunch coriander leaves chopped

Prepare the spice mix first. I haven't watched all those cookery programmes for nothing, such as the one that used to be hosted by the delightful Jeni Barnett. In fact, I didn't realise I was such an "expert" on the cookery programmes until I chatted with a friend the other night about TV chefs and found myself talking at length and quite knowledgeably about each of the chefs. Something that is quite rare for me as although I might witter on, I rarely feel I speak knowledgeably. Anyway the dear Nigella Lawson, whose delightful turkey in brine recipe I used for Christmas, can take her recent TV offerings and stuff it where the sun don't shine. Pity really as the idea of cooking fast food should be up everyone's street but I don't care for the phoneyness, over-done set-up family situations (do those kids really have an informed choice about being involved?); unrealistically stocked store cupboards and fridges, and most of all ... "this only takes me five minutes to cook" but then swans off out of the house with soup in flask having left devastation in the kitchen for, presumably, the team of cleaners to sort. The Barefoot Contessa is another one for the smarmy "I only had to prepare it the night before" and then switches off the light to go to bed leaving cacky kitchenware to go dry and be impossible for us mere mortals to wash. But I digress.

Dry heat a pan and toss in the cumin seeds to warm and roast. Maybe 90 seconds. Then put into mortar and pestle and grind to a powder - very easy once the cumin has roasted. Add other dry ingredients and pound and mix. Maybe a minute.

Wrap tortilla wraps in foil and put in hot oven to warm. Lidl do tortilla wraps at a quarter of the price of the Old El Paso wraps. They may be more fragile than the rubberised El Paso ones but they are bigger and you just have to be careful not to overheat and dry them out.

Pour olive oil into frypan and fry the turkey strips. We actually had the ready-cubed turkey so I fried that and then using kitchen scissors and a fork, picked up pieces and snipped them slimmer in between turning and tossing the meat. Once cooked, throw in all at once the spice mix, the sliced onions and sliced peppers. Stir and toss and keep it moving. I found it dry so added more oil. If I had a greater ratio of peppers to meat then it might not need that extra splash of oil. Keep it cooking for maybe five minutes at most.

Have the table set and the plates heated and the trimmings on the table and then take sizzling frypan to table and let everyone help themselves and wrap their own with chosen ingredients. The chopped coriander was a stroke of genius from Mr Doris which I am glad he insisted upon. It was just divine and made the whole wrap zingier and so delish.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

A Blank Sheet

2008 is a blank sheet. A gorgeous sheet of sumptuous paper ready to be writ, drawn, painted and doodled. Plans, aims and goals. Singing of love, happiness, health, joy AND prosperity. On the eve of 2009 I want to be taking this precious sheet of paper covered with exciting words and pictures beyond all expectations and placing it proudly in the scrapbook of my life.

Those are the first words on my sheet. Bring it on.