Friday, 15 January 2010

The Mind Boggles!

Hi Everyone,

A friend of mine who lives near by sent me the quote below from another neighbours blog. I have to say that I do not really like this other neighbour as I think she thinks she is above the rest of us and something special, well after reading this I can honestly say that my opinion of her still hasn't changed. During this bad weather spell and the one before Christmas we have gone to various elderly neighbours and checked that they are okay. I have phoned them to see that they don't need anything on an almost daily basis. I firmly believe that it is both our civic and moral duty to do so. This just astounded me, she spent 10mins pressing the old dear to go home, when in fact they were that close to the shops, she could have used that time to take her to the shop, help her shop and in another few short minutes be helping her home. As you may know we live on a hill, this is actually one of the biggest hills in London and you can not get anyway round here without having to go up or down steep and I mean steep hills to find flat, level ground. Something many of us with cars have been unable to do!!!!!!!


Thursday, 14 January 2010

2 weeks in...

Hello all, I'm back! We had a relaxing holiday in Scotland..mainly because we were snowed in and so couldn't do much. I have been following many blogs but mobile blogging made it hard to add comments.On Friday we returned to London.
After being stuck indoors for weeks, I made the monumentally stupid decision to take tot for a walk this morning. In the rain. And on the way, met a very silly neighbour who was inappropriately attired for walking about in rain with ice covering all the pavements. I had gone out in wellies, a fleece and raincoat. As I approached from behind pushing tot in her stroller I was a bit aghast that this elderly lady was inching her way down Cheriton Drive clinging to the wall. On asking if she needed help, she began to regale me about how unneighbourly others had been in not helping her. She was going to go to Woolwich. Not bloody likely love as you would probably kill yourself on the ice. After a few steps of trying to help her along, I spent about 10 minutes trying to convince her to turn back as even if I could help her reach the Co-op, who would help her on the way back. There was NO way she could manage it herself. She eventually agreed to turn back. I continued on our walk but even I had the sense to abandon it before the tot drowned in the rain." END QUOTE.

If that wasn't annoying me enough about this woman, she then goes on to say the below. Without thought or hesitation for what the old dear has already told her,
A- She NEEDS to go to the me this says that no-one has gone for her in the last couple of weeks
B- She has already said people have been unneighbourly...which is why she NEEDS to go to the shops
C-She jumps on the health and safety band wagon...Oh woe is me I might get hurt if I help someone.
D- She assumes that the old dear has enough money in her pension to pay out monies for shoes to walk on ice!!!!!

"Now, I'm a strong believer in assisting your neighbours, especially if they are elderly. And I think it's great that these ladies go about independently doing their shopping etc. (wow I sound a tad condescending now). However, I am also a bit annoyed if said neighbours take unnecessary risks. What if someone helps them and in turns gets hurt. She could have gone shopping later. Also, the snow's been about for a bit now, she could have got proper shoes for walking on slippery ice. And here's me thinking age brings wisdom." ...........END QUOTE.

Am I the only one who can not see this woman's strong belief in helping neighbours, especially if they are elderly?
I feel like killing her, the horrible mare couldn't be bothered to put herself out enough to help an elderly member of her own community and yet on her blog she will often bemoan the rudeness of others and complain that we have no community spirit.
"The lady doth protest too much, methinks" Hamlet Act3 scene 2.

I'd leave a message on her blog if I thought for one second I could do it without wanton swearing or if I felt it would make her wake up and smell the coffee. After all if you want a community I suggest you partake in caring for those around you, especially the elders and more vulnerable amongst us.
This is Britain 2010!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, 14 January 2010

.How To Build Snow Candles

Hi Everyone,

For those of you with any snow left, mine as almost gone now or I would be out there doing these. I found these today on some very eccentric mans web-site way thought you might like these. I say eccentric as he seems to do a lot of stuff with wires and batterries. I'm sure his not really eccentric, but anyone who can recharge their ipod from a bicycle dynamo has got to be a little eccentric, but I mean it in a mad nutty professor kind of way.

Here's what the guy said:-

Candle parts
When I grew up in Sweden a common thing to do with the children (that would be me back then) was to build snow lights. As you have a lot of snow, it gets dark at 3pm and you want the children to play outside you would hand them a bunch of candles and send them out to build snow lights all around the house. Later on you would light them up and stand in the kitchen window to look at them.
Well, back then, being a child and everything, it was the coolest thing to see as a well build one can burn all through the night and still be lit in the morning.

Now I have kids on my own and of course this was something I just had to do with them. But - no one here (I moved to the Netherlands a couple of years ago) ever heard of these and they were all amazed of my innovative little product when I lit it in the evening. So if people here haven’t heard of them then surly there are more people in the world missing out on some winter time fun with the children.

You can do this as long as the snow can be compressed into snow balls, so between +1 c / 33 f down to -7 c / 19 f or so.

Candle hat
To avoid some frustration later on we will take a piece of paper and shape it into a cone. This will be placed on the candle while we’re building it as we don’t want the wick to get wet by snow. You could skip this and if it gets wet by snow then you just have to use a couple of matches extra before it gets lit.

Placing candle in snow
Cut off the candle so that it has a proper length. In my case I just had to cut it in half. Then place the candle in some snow and press some extra snow around it so that it stays stable.

First ring of snow balls
Make snow balls! Press them together firmly but not too hard. They have to be able to slide into each other later on so one or to firm presses is usually enough. A good size of a snow ball is about 5 cm / 2 inches. Place about eight of them in a circle with about 5 cm / 2 inches space to the candle. Smaller ring and the snow balls with melt and larger and it will easily fall apart.

Second ring of snow balls
Build another ring of snow balls on top of the first one. Carefully try to push the ring together but don’t use more then a little force. Press to hard and all of it will collapse. We don’t want that

Finishing off the snow light
Now make the third ring with less balls, like 5-6 so that it gets smaller. As they will tilt inwards you will need to make them balance on each other without falling down into the centre. It takes some practice but it isn’t that hard.

Then place a last three snow balls on top to close it off.

Finished snow candle iglo
Wait until it gets dark and lit ‘em up! You would think that the heat from the candle would make the whole construction to collapse but that doesn’t happen. What does happen though is that the top balls melt on the inside but as it’s (hopefully) freezing the cold keeps the majority of the snow ball frozen.

To light one of these I usually use a candle lighter, you know one of those with a long tube. Just stick it in through a gap between the balls and flip the protective paper off then you can light it.

Finished snow candle iglo
If there’s a lot of wind then you can carefully take some snow and close off the gaps between the snow balls. It will loose some if its effect but the candle will stay lit.

If you build one - send me a picture. I’d love to see how creative you are!

Found HERE on an eccentric site, not really for us girls, more a boys site as the guy seems to want to make things or take other things apart.

NOTE TO NUTTY:- don't let the boy near this site!!!!!!!!
Hi Everyone,

Hope this finds you all well.
Was woken up this morning by what at first seemed a very unusual noise.
Rain, loads of it. My bedroom is at the back of the house and there was an awful din coming from the front of it, upon looking out the craft room window I discovered that the hill has been turned into a waterfall as the snow is being melted by the heavy rain.

I can't believe that over the last week or so that I have forgotten how noisy London can be.
The snow has muffled all the noise, that and the fact that people have stayed home, well they did if they had half a brain. I could hear the traffic over on the big main road, it's not that I can normally hear it loud, but this morning it was positivity screaming at me.

But the nicest noise was the bird song, I didn't realise that I had missed it till I heard it. We have barely heard them in recent days, so it was very plesent to hear them this morning.
Funny thing is that I woke up in the middle of the night and felt like opening my bedroom window, I wasn't hot or anything, just had an overwhelming urge to open the window.
I guess my sub-concious knew something I didn't.

Here's something to give you a laugh click HERE Seriously go look, I'm laughing too much to be able to post about it. Francis (with an i) is beside himself.

much love

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Meip Geis- A Heroine

Hello Everyone,

The sad news that Miep Gies has died aged 100 reach me today.
In case you don't know who this lady is I will explain.

Along with her husband, Victor Kugler, Johannes Kleiman and Bep Voskuijl, she helped to hide Edith and Otto Franks, Anne and her sister Margot. They also hid Hermann and Auguste van Pels, his wife and their son Peter and Fritz Pfeffer. As you may know Anne Franks and the rest of them were hidden in a secret office in an attic at a spice factory from July 1942 to 4th August 1944, kept safe warm and fed by the above named people at a great cost to themselves as they could have been shot for hiding Jews.

Early on the morning of the 4th August 1944 acting on information from an informant the Gestapo raided the attic, arrested and took away everyone, including Victor Kugler and Johannes Kleiman. Despite 3 inquieries after the war this informant was never discovered.

Before the authorities could get into the attic to empty it, Miep got there first and found Anne's Diary, she took it home with her and kept it safe in the hope of being able to give it back to Anne once the war was over. When the war was over and it was confirmed that Anne had perished in Bergen-Belsen Meip gave them to the sole survivor of the attic, Otto. Anne's father. They were more a collection of papers and notebooks, then one diary.

Miep actually did not read the diary while it was in her procession, she said years later that if she had, she would have destroyed them, as they named all the 5 helpers and their relation to them all. This was in a time when diaries were considered private and it simply would have not occurred to Meip to read such a private and intimate portrayal of someone's life, even if they were only the writings of a 13 year old girl. In fact Meip did not read the diary until Otto Franks persuaded her to read it on it's second printing. The first publication being in 1947.

In 1994, she was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.
In 1995, she was awarded the Yad Vashem medal.
In 1997, she was knighted by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

Although Jan (meips husband) was arrested on the 4th of August he was eventually reunited with Meip, they went on to have a son called Paul, an only child.
Jan died in 1993 from complications caused by diabetes.

Here is a quote from Anne's own diary where she talks about the struggles of those helping the Jews, as she knew they were not the only ones being helped and in hiding........

"The best example of this is our own helpers, who have managed to pull us through so far and will hopefully bring us safely to shore, because otherwise they'll find themselves sharing the fate of those they're trying to protect. Never have they uttered a single word about the burden we must be, never have they complained that we're too much trouble. They come upstairs every day and talk to the men about business and politics, to the women about food and wartime difficulties and to the children about books and newspapers. They put on their most cheerful expressions, bring flowers and gifts for birthdays and holidays and are always ready to do what they can. That's something we should never forget; while others display their heroism in battle or against the Germans, our helpers prove theirs every day by their good spirits and affection."
from The Diary of Anne Frank, entry of Jan. 28, 1944

I was first given a copy of Anne's diary on my 13th birthday, it had been given to my mother on her 13th and I passed it on to Patricia on her 13th, whom I hope will pass it on.
I remember when I first read it thinking that she was rather sullen and a misery, it wasn't till I re-read it later that I realised the true implications of the book. I have re-read it many times and it never fails to move me.

Anne's diary is to this day one of the top selling books World wide, but it is thanks to Meip that we have this wonderful insight into what it must have been like in the attic.

It is as some of you know only thanks to the quiet bravery of unknown people that I and my family are here today. In a strange way it has also made me realise that we will now never know who the people were who did help my Grandparents, but I will always hold people like Meip, her husband and all the others who helped in the highest regard, as I am only to aware of the dangers they put them selves in for strangers that they would never see again.

Meip has her own web site HERE if you want to know more about this heroine of WWII. Don't worry it is in english.

Hi Everyone,

I should really think before I come out with stuff, but some times I simply forget that we don't all live on the same street and have the same little quirky things that make our lives go round.

Little did I realise that my American friends would not know what a Twiglet was/is/are.
Basically they are a knobby crunchy wheat based snack that taste like Marmite, which is a yeast extract.
You either love them or hate them. I think it depends on if you like Marmite or not.
Marmite is a yeast extract that is in a spreadable form and is very spicy and tangy as are Twiglets. You may have heard of Vegemite, which is similar but no where as good. Sorry my Aussie friends, but I was raised on Marmite so I am possibly biased!!!!!

Twiglets were first made in time for Christmas 1929 and for many years the only time you could get them was at Christmas, this was certainly true when I was a child and I use to really look forward to Santa bringing me some. The flavour comes from brewer's yeast which is a by product of the brewing industry and a little something extra, but they don't tell you what the extra is!!!

Personally I love both Twiglets and Marmite and as Twiglets are baked and not fried they really are not fattening....that is till you eat a family sized packet to yourself and bearing in mind that I have to watch how much wheat I eat, as it can make me very ill.

While searching around the net for some info on Twiglets I found a few things that you all might find funny, remember or just find plain interesting.

Here's a blog dedicated to to the wonderful world of Twiglets click here

This is Justin Lee Collins doing the voice over for a Twiglet ad, For those of you who don't know he is a mad comic on British T.V and this was made before he hit the big time in fact he did the voice over for a number of Twiglet commercials . Also this was filmed on Brighton beach and next to the pier on a wet day. This advert is about curry Twiglets, which were not that nice and simply vanished ...thank goodness!!!!!

I thought I would put up a photo of Marmite and Vegemite, both these products have their own web sites if you wish to know more about them. Marmite has been around since 1902 and Vegemite was first released in 1922.

By the way it's snowing, I wonder if I will ever get off the hill!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Boredom, Twigglets and Pink Things.

Hello Everyone,

I hope you are all well and keeping warm.
Well silly here is well and warm, although I do seem to be sleeping a lot lately, I guess it's just me hibernating. I'm just like a grizzly bear come winter and I hate to be cold. Every year we have a big winter bill as I simply refuse to be cold. I stopped worrying about the bill years ago. I figure that as I don't spend money on myself and I now neither drink or smoke, It's a luxury I can afford.
I would love a log burning stove, but we live 7miles from the centre of London and therefore we are in a smoke free zone and the council won't give me permission to have one unless it's a smokeless one and we have to burn smokeless fuel. So that would make it almost as expensive to run, so what would be the point.

I still haven't been out as such, the boys took me to the supermarket, but other than that I have been nowhere, other than my own imagination. My sister won't be over tomorrow and I haven't seen her since Christmas day. I am missing her and her daft ways always make me laugh. The pavements are still really icy where she lives and not a lot better here.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I am bored to the number 99.99999999999 recurring. But it'll pass, maybe it's like Nutty keeps saying to me and that it's just the January Blues. But I'm bored of the snow and being stuck in.

Weighed myself today, shouldn't have bothered really as I knew it would be a disappointment.
You see there was this big big bag of Twigglets and they kept calling me from the me! eat me! eat me! go on you know you want to.! So I did, all of them, lol.
Oh well they are gone now. Before you shake your head at me, in my defence I did try to give them away to the boys, but they refused to rescue me from my dilemma.
So due to the Twigglet debacle, (oh ok, my lack of will power) I have only lost a pound. Still it's one less to carry around.

On another note. Patricia wants to come home. Yippee!!! But she doesn't want to come home! But she does want to come home, but she doesn't.........the kid is driving me nuts.
I have decided that she can come home any time she so wishes, but I am not going to pack up my craft room and move everything about until she darn well makes up her mind!!!!!!!
Blooming kids, there's nothing I would not do for them, but seriously they have to know what they want before I will turn the house upside down for them.
I'm just glad we didn't decorate it yet. This way she can just slot back into it with all her pretty pink things.

Funny thing about Patricia, when she was growing up she hated pink. It was partly my fault as I didn't really want her to she Pink as the colour of femininity. So many people get wrapped up in believing Pink is for girls and I wanted my daughter to be an individual.
Now I find that someone has come up with a campaign against pink called pink stinks wish I had thought of this 21yrs ago. It really is right up my street.
Anyway for 19yrs I managed to keep her away from the dreaded pink, then when two years ago we decorated the house, she asked for a pink room. A total shock to me and I got the colours for her. Now when she is here it's like a pink palace in there. But I am pleased to report that blue and yellow remain her favourite colours.

Anyway, I will keep you up to date on whether or not she returns home.

Much love
Lia xx
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