Laughter. Smiles. Happiness. Entertainment. Every weekend, one or two short blogs. Each one around a 2 minute read of thoughts, musings , comments on life in general. If it brings a smile to your face, informs, educates or does all three then I will be happy! Why this blog name? Well, I am very late to the world of blogging. Hope I was worth the wait! Please do like it (if you like it!) , comment, and share via social media. Thanks
If you live or have loved in the UK, (or possibly ex pat communities such as Dubai or the Spanish costas) , you will know that Mr Kipling bakes exceedingly good cakes! Not just because the advertising ‘strapline’ says this, but because they really are.
Mr Kipling alas is not a real baker but a fictitious baker invented in the UK in the 1960’s to support the evolving supermarkets.
Cakes had historically always been sold from small independent cakes shops or bakeries and Mr Kipling was devised by Rank Hovis McDougal, a large UK Miller and baker to create a brand for the supermarket shelves.
The reason for mentioning Mr Kipling is French Fancies!
I am not really one for lists of favourites…but I do have a league table of five various food inventions that are worthy of mention. At no. 5. Triple chocolate chip cookies – a slightly soft chocolate flavoured cookie featuring bits of white chocolate and milk chocolate. An amazing chocolate triple triumph.
No. 4 is Pork crackling (with apologies to all vegetarians) mmm, it might be 11pm but I could eat some now; ranking number 3, are baked crisps (for those in North America by crisps, we mean potato chips…whereas in the uk, chips are what you would call French Fries. Which in France are of course are just called Fried potatoes….and so on….. Anyway I have digressed…at number 2 has to be any cake containing marzipan… Battenburg and Simnel cake are two noble examples but far ahead, leading the no. 1 ranking…are French Fancies…..by Mr Kipling. The name has a slight hint of risque , or double-entendre but in reality it’s just a small cake. Albeit very nice being sponge cloth a fondant cream top and coated with soft icing. The whole thing is about 30% sugar!
I learnt only today that a special Christmas version of this is produced with frosted, sparky icing. It might only be March now…but I am getting excited already and look forward to introducing these into my life.
In recent weeks, for some bizarre reason I have had an immense craving for these…were it not for the fact I am male, and also aged well beyond pregnancy age, I would have been so convinced I was pregnant and showing signs of extreme food obsessions…
We are all too familiar with the ‘on hold’ message when calling a contact centre is to be told ‘your call is important to us, and we apologise for the delay etc.’
Well that might well be the case but my choice of music most certainly is not a big issue for them. A fairly recent call to my credit card company gave me the opportunity to listen to Divine Comedy’s …The Pop Singers fear of the pollen count!! I have now listened and listened to these lyrics with some detailed scrutiny but after much analysis, I really can’t find any relevance to financial services at all. It is however one of these tunes that once in your head will never leave it, at all, ever!!!!
Similar in takeover as is The Lighthouse family’s Ocean Drive .
The Divine comedy actually specialise in somewhat bizarre lyrics and a focus in subjects as part of their musical song writing and composing efforts. One of their equally left field charting successes was a song “The National Express” based on a UK bus company offering inter city travel.
It’s worth a listen on you tube if only to reassure yourself that not buying it, when it came out was the right thing to do!
Here for your delight is a sample of the lyrics!….
Take the National Express when your life’s in a mess It’ll make you smile All human life is here From the feeble old dear to the screaming child…
However….. all this has now changed.
This last week I was on hold again in a call but this time, the ‘voice’ in charge gave me a chance to select and plan the music’. It did trouble me that this might mean I might be in for a ‘long haul’….Anyway, great to be in the musical driving seat!!!
For those thinking this is the first line of a romantic monologue, prepare to be (slightly) dissapointed.The object of my affection here is Parkrun. I know I have written about this before here (do click and have a read if you have a minute) and indeed for those for whom even the thought of spending the first 30 minutes or so of their weekend running around a park is not a pleasant prospect, I wholeheartedly apologise.However for the thousands (actually tens of thousands) who do this in the length and breadth of the UK and much beyond, I really have missed your company, friendship and motivation. I have had a 3 month hiatus (sounds very medical, but I just mean interlude!) for a whole variety of reasons not for discussion now, but culminating in a long abscence. Anyway last Saturday was great, Spring Like weather, a park starting to wake up from the lashings of winter, and friendly faces not seen for months.So here we are on Friday evening again, it’s not too late for anyone to find their nearest Park run (or equivalent) dig out those trainers and a tee shirt and start the rest of your life .…I’ve yet to meet someone who has not started and been overwhelmed by the camaraderie, friendship and personal improvement that will transpire. Happy Friday! See you in the morning….. got to walk the dog? No problem, they are welcome too! Enjoying this blog? I hope so, please do comment, share and like.
When I was at primary school the phrase ‘who do you think you are ?’ was sometimes the retort from my teachers if they felt I had overstepped the mark on terms of individuality, free expression or indeed anything that was considered outside the norm.
That however was back in the 1970’s in Glasgow convent primary school and I am glad to say things have moved along a bit since then.
In the UK and other countries where it has been syndicated people more often associate it the TV documentary where celebrities trace their ancestry and without fail find some surprises…be that good or bad. No shortage of royal ancestry, notorious criminals and actors who thought they were first generation in the industry finding out that six generations back, great, great, great uncle was a star of silent movies. Of course what the programme doesn’t tell you is the hours of arduous research that the programme researchers have to undertake duscarding numerous celebrities who have not so much as a whiff of fame, scandal or notoriety and in fact are descendants of six generations of law abiding solicitors and accountants.
However who we are is not just about what our ancestors did, but where they came from . I was recently given a gift from my children of an ancestry DNA test. I had some strong pre conceived ideas about whst the results would be …on my mother’s side of family, the family tree is well documented and my expectations that this would generate more or less 100% Irish, perhaps with a bit of Spanish. There are people of Spanish origin in Ireland..myth says these descendants of ‘visitors’ grom the Spanish Armada when many ships were wrecked off the Irish coast, but the more factual reality is that several hundred years later there was much maritime trading between Ireland and Spain and an inevitable intertwining of families. And my family reasons for suspecting a Spanish connection…early photographs of my mother as a child indeed show a dark haired, swarthy skinned child that indeed would not look out of place in any Iberian family photo.
My father’s family are Irish immigrants to the UK but with my English/French origin surname, suspected that there would be Norman or Scandinavian origins too.
Anyway my results arrived…and is often the case not quite what I expected…
I am 98.5% Celt (ie Irish), so no surprise on that bit…….. and 1.5% Ashkenazi ….well that really was a surprise!!!
Do I feel different…actually I do. Very proud of my Irish roots (land always have been) but also intrigued by this other, small though it is heritage from an ancient people, who genetically can be traced back to just 300 or so people in the Middle East.
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This might seem a strange title when at the time of going to press, here in the UK and indeed the wider world things are not too rosy.
Coronavirus, although not yet at pandemic level is causing much mayhem and indeed economic distress by scaring the pants off the financial markets.
Weeks of rain has caused considerable flooding in many parts of the UK, and I could go on and on.
But in the words of Monty Python, Always look on the bright side of life.
We currently have some house guests and conversation turned to where was an optimal place to live in London when young and single. For the avoidance of doubt, that ship has sailed for me many years ago but anyway, we had the conversation just in case I became young and single again!
Many years ago I lived in the London/Essex borders and my lengthy and boring commute took me through Stratford in London’s East End. Stratford was a miserable place…poor quality housing, industrial grime of railway yards and general decay as the jobs diminished and nothing came to replace them. Standing on the station platform to change trains was fairly depressing and in reality gave me a guilt complex as I realised this was home for many people, not just a transit point, as it was for me.
But then came the Olympics in 2012. And then more importantly the Olympic legacy.
This area is now one of the best connected in London with new tube stations, a station on the International network with trains to Paris, Brussels and even Disneyland; a world class home for their local football team and a fantastic area of Parkland housing the newly orientated Olympic acquadrome and stadii.
And a very large shopping mall with not just shops but also numerous restaurants, bars and entertainment options. Given the opportunity now, a great place to live at that stage in life.
So what makes me write this, quite simply the fact that not all change is bad , and that generally speaking we overcome the difficulties and move on.
In the same way that we embraces the seasons, we have to embrace the changing world we live in, learn, improve and move on.
One of the interesting “fall outs” from the Coronavirus situation is that Chinese pollution levels have dropped for the first time in years…little comfort for someone impacted financially by not being able to work, but a telling fact all the same.