Friday, 31 December 2010

News from Middle Earth on New Years Eve

Middle Earth honours list: Gary and I have been honoured in the Honours List by Angela, we are 'dorks' Honourable Dorks but Dorks none the less, I do wonder what our Middle Earth artist, Lily Florence thinks of all this??? Talking of young ladies, have you seen how Mika has grown, quite the little lady, so much depends on our girls over the coming years and Mika will shine.

Humility is the mother of giants: one sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak. (GK CHESTERTON)

It seems strange that again we live with far flung loved one, Angela is 10 hours ahead of us and it is New Year there already. It is now 6pm and in South Africa it is 8pm. We will be ready for bed, they will be into the New Year. It is just a date, a time, a different place but on all this the same time, the same place. I miss you all, The Ozdales, Middle Smiths, Markus, Musmead, Faydales, Cookydales. We will be better in the New Year and all the New Years to come. We will return those calls, answer those texts and acknowledge those emails, we will, we will.

Dan and Travis are now motorcross riders, breaking their own records time after time. This is breaking news and will be reported on, when the satellite feed come in from South Africa.

Have a great New Year, comment when you want or do not want, be happy and be yourselves.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Chianti Reserve 2007

Bouquet: Very fruity
Colour: Deep red, swirled in the glass leaves a rose shine.
Taste: Full of tropical fruit, gooseberry and a hint of Italian wood, namely vanilla.

Not a wine you can get without good connections. This is a Claudosa family wine and if you are lucky enough to acquire a bottle, saviour the moment, it does not happen often.

Talking of family, did you see those shocking pictures of Pamagor on the Boxing Day blog!!! No modesty, no style, so unlike Pamagor. I will say this, it is the time to catch the sales and with due consideration, I reflect, Pamagor might have forgotten to put slacks on. Mally the farmer from Musmead Manor was not impressed, Femma could not imagine how Pamagor did not get a chill. I will leave this open for debate.

Evening tea for the Smiths is a wade of cheese, salami, salad and a banged a few rolls in the oven. Some left over Chianti and roast chicken. Magic. The naked chef strikes once more. For those more sensitive readers, I am fully clothed while writing this Middle Earth journal. Gussell has been known to wear fishnet tights and a black leather jacket to bed. All I know is that the New Year is fast approaching and we must think on our Near Years resolutions.


 

Boxing Day - so soon


Boxing Day is like living a bit of a dream, all the presents are still new and mostly unexplored and we have a day to revel in our glory. Not so here in the UK, or by all accounts Australia, some of us make for the after Christmas sales. Half price, Massive reduction, up to 70% off, are just some of the posters and adverts displayed on the internet, in the papers and on shop windows. I have spent enough and welcomed the peace and quiet of Boxing Day at home.

Road kill, left over roast potatoes, Panetone, Stilton, NZ Colombard, Roast Gammon and very good company at the Cookydales saw a pleasant end to our Boxing Day.

Pamagor has been seen at Top Shop and The house of Frasier with an arm full of shopping bags. The cameras do not lie as you can see from this typical Pamagor outfit.

The day St Nick paid us a visit

Finally we woke to Christmas, grey skies and very typical cold weather greeted our wander to the tree. What a kaleidoscope of coloured papers tempting not only the boys but Sam and I as well.

On earth we call this time of the year Christmas or the winter solstice. I am not a bit sorry for all the presents we received this year, they all seem to be just right. Loads of fine wine, an assortment of cheese and salami. Everyone else did alright I hope. A few must mention presents, a bottle of Bells from Susy Pie, a Christmas cake, homemade, from Julia, a bottle of Chianti from the Middle Smiths and glorious frying pan from Michael stood out above the rest and I can only say to those who were not mentioned, put a little more effort in next time. Seriously a big thank you for all you thoughtful, useful presents, I am most humble. Word is that Feter gave Mags such a horrid present she has asked him to come around and take it back.

Lunch at the Faydales was a huge feast, full of all those Christmas food we come to expect of this divine cook. Next year why don't you all come around, the more the merrier.

Talking to others from all around the Middle Earth, it was strange to have snow and ice here with sun and sea there. Well Middle Earth has always been the most popular destination for travellers during the festive season and no matter where Christmas finds you, you will have the weather you wanted. Well done weather.

Friday, 24 December 2010

The Last day before Christmas

Come all you children; gather around, Santa is coming tonight. We are all children at heart and no one more so than me. I have woken these last two weeks marvelling at the magic of Christmas. We all make promises for the coming year but if I can, I would like to find a way to keep you safe from harm, a special place from the storm.

I see you everywhere, in the sky, a cloud, a breeze wanting me to wrap my arms around you. My Christmas children, when I look or remember your eyes, I sometimes see the shadows of things you had to endure, the lines of the tears that ran down your face. I can feel you, you are everywhere, I wish that all man kind was like you. I still wonder how many tumbles a child must take until they learn to walk.

Christmas eve and I reflect, what might have been but more importantly what was. Tomorrow I will write from Middle Earth, a place I love. It is filled with all those I love. Until then listen for those bells and if you listen very carefully you might hear them too. 'Now Dasher! 'Now Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen! On Comet, on Cupid, on Donder and Blitzen! To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall, now dash away! Dash away, dash away all. Santa is on his way.

 

Thursday, 23 December 2010

2 days to Christmas

This time of the years is full of dreams, you have your dreams of Christmas and I have mine. What we all tend to do is try and discover each others dreams and then add them to ours and after much soul searching we wrap them together and Christmas takes over. Some dreams once unwrapped are more than we expect and others are a bit of a disappointment. Christmas is also sharing those happy and disappointing times, it is what makes Christmas and I for one will have it no other way.

Shopping is something akin to a death wish at the moment. Trolleys come at you from all directions, with a frantic, panic stricken festive shopper wielding her trolley like a scud missile to get to the last tin of baked beans before they are all sold. Relax, there are plenty more in the storeroom and they do replenish the shelves, is what I want to say but, fearing for my life, I kept quiet.

Santa is on his way, be good, be nice, Dancer, Dasher, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, Blitzen, Rudolf and Prancer are pulling their load? If you are lucky you will hear Santa say:

'Now Dasher!
'Now Dancer!
Now Prancer and Vixen!
On Comet, on Cupid, on Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall, now dash away!
Dash away, dash away all.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

3 days to Christmas and I await Postman Pat

I have 3 parcels to be delivered today and with all the snow inland and here, it will be interesting to see if they actually deliver today. They were posted in Yorkshire yesterday morning. Trivial bit of information but time wasting as well as I have to wait here to sign for them.

Susan and the boys are in London today, firstly getting Michaels visa to go to Austria in Feb, skiing trip, and then on to The London Eye, Madame Toussards and the Dungeon. I elected to stay behind and do Roberts paper round, walk the dog and wait for the post.

This time of the years brings out that festive spirit in me, I am joined by Michael, the Universal Child, in our excitement of what is to come. Salami, olives, good cheese and wine are hopefully in my Christmas stocking. I do hope Angela has a stocking this year, always one of her most important conditions at Christmas. Lily Florence will have a hammer to play with, so all is not lost for the Underdickens. Maybe you want to give me an idea of what you expect this Christmas? Ho Ho Ho, socks again.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Think on Christmas

Life is sometimes strange, forming a friendship blog, will never ever change… Remembering all the wonderful things this past year we have shared, leaning on each other, as we did. Sharing all our feelings both bad and good, knowing that we were there, for each other as best we could. Now the spirit of the Christmas is growing more and more each day, and the bond we made, is certainly here to stay…

Some have drawn away, life takes you there. Others felt part of the spirit of Middle Earth. A year of farewell, a year of growth, a year split in the middle by the unexpected loss of the dearest mother we will ever know. This is our year, like it, hate it, we are all we have, never lose sight of us. 5 days to hear those bells, they ring out the spirit of Christmas, our spirit, you and I leave this last Monday before Christmas, we might not all be home but I know those who are not, would want to be.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

6 days to Christmas


Now is the time for us to hear the Christmas bells. Stop reading, listen, do you hear the bells of Christmas. Close your eyes and imagine those bells of Christmas. I have heard those bells for the last 2 weeks and have missed listening to those bells with those I love. Well Michael has now heard the bells, join us in hearing the bells, feel good time when all we love, we love too much. I can not be with everyone, but I will be thinking of you with a smile and a good tingle as this is Christmas and I want you all to put aside those ghosts and enjoy.

It snowed today and it does that. A picture postcard day in reality. Sam was interested.

Friday, 17 December 2010

The weather turns chilly


Our trusted weather bureau has forecast a cold weekend ahead of us, rain, wind and misery. This is Christmas and we all expect cold, we want snow and would not be the same without that bitingly harsh wind, numbing our cheeks.

We are moving ever nearer to that magic day of December the 25th, Christmas day and the joy of giving. What we give is important, to us and hopefully to those receiving our humble gifts. My search for gifts starts tomorrow, and must end by Monday as those I love live too far away, for last minute shopping. Susan and the boys are on holiday from Monday until the after New Year, although Susan will be going in between Christmas and New Year. I will be at my station, doing as much as I feel is needed, keeping to the festive spirit and wondering what this Christmas holds in stall for everyone.

News from Middle Earth is that Lily Florence is taking on the added responsibility of doing lifeguard duty, as can be seen from the attached photo. Most commendable. I must take Sam for a walk and it has started snowing again so must dash before it gets too heavy.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

11 Days to Christmas

Have you bought all those important presents yet? By important I mean those you have a good idea of what to get. Susan is sorted, just about. Robert is coming close to completion. Michael, what do you get someone who has it all. Angela, Matthew and Lily, where do I begin? What can I give them poor, as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would give a lamb; If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part; Yet what I can give them is my heart. Not enough I hear you say.
Gary, Claudia, Mika and Dan, not even close. Mark and Travis are looking positive. Talking of Travis, you haven't forgotten it is his birthday on the 21st, no I did not think so. He is getting a PW50 motorbike. It is a surprise so I am not going to post the photograph but will say this much, IT IS BEAUTIFUL.

I came across this video today and thought I would share it, the names and faces of the people in the video are quite clear. http://sendables.jibjab.com/view/uRhmXZ17kQUK9T9n . Amazing what you find on the net these days.

D H Lawrance said of painting, it takes less of your soul to paint then to write. Well the way he painted it would. But his books are masterpieces and will be read forever.

Tomorrow we start the count down for the last 10 days to Christmas. Have heart my children we are made of sterner stuff. Will be strange without Granny June.


 

Christmas – An Italian Affair.

The Claudosa region of Italy comes with many traditions and the Middle Smiths, Markus Smith and the extended family of Claudosa's embrace this festive season in traditional style. The essence of Christmas Day in the Claudosa Family, is family, love and food, la famiglia, l'amore e il cibo. Italian festive food, taken from all the regions they have roots in, Christmas Eve is a day of abstinence from meat so a celebratory banquet frequently features fish – Claudosa has been known to prepare as many as 20 different fish dishes! Specialising in, il capitone, a dish made with fried eels is the center dish. Always accompanied by pasta, loads of pasta, all care of D'Italia.

Lunch, il pranzo, on Christmas Day is the most important of all the Christmas feasts and is a lengthy affair. The Family gather around their huge table and serve delicacies such as crostini with liver pâté or the classic tortellini in chicken stock, brodo are on the table, while lo zampone, a pig's foot filled with spiced mince meat, or il cotechino, a sausage made from pig's intestines containing a similar filling, are particularly popular in the Claudosa region. Lamb follows, l'agnello and accompanying vegetables include mashed potato and lentils, lenticchie. Tortellini, cotechino and lenticchie are often on the menu again on New Year's Eve.

The Claudosa's are known for their sweet-toothed, Bruno Canosa of the Claudosa family insists on dessert. They have been know to indulge in desserts such as nougat, il torrone, and a light Milanese cake filled with candied fruit and raisins, called il panettone. The main, traditional cake is gold bread, il pandoro, which is very similar but without the candied fruit or raisins. A gingerbread with hazelnuts, honey and almonds, il panforte, is also popular.

In fact, most Italian Christmas sweets contain nuts and almonds as, according to Claudosa folklore, eating nuts aids the fertility of the earth and people, increasing flocks and family.

Just a taste of the Claudosa Region to whet your appetite for Christmas. I know Gary of Middle Smiths, enjoys all these treats and hopefully this Christmas will be as traditional as the last 100 years. Long live the Claudosa Era, Long live the Claudosa Family. Happy Christmas.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Protestors, right or wrong?

England has seen some pretty violent protests over the last few weeks. Whether we agree or not to the way the protests are going is a personal choice. The police use a Kettling procedure which is at the very least a over reaction and at the other extreme very dangerous. I would get a little upset, if on a peaceful demonstration; I was confined to a small area with no chance of refreshments, toilets or being able to decide I have had enough and leave. It is a form of imprisonment with no rights.
Getting back to the demonstrations, the underlying problem is not just the student fees; it is the financial situation the banks have put us in. We did not cause this fiscal disaster, but are now being made to pay for it. This is a form of Kettling, imposed on us by the corruption and fraud of the banks and leaving us to pick up the pieces. I can not see an end to these demonstrations, I propose we liquidate the banks, shareholders included as they really own the banks and elected the directors, of all their assets and restore the economy to what it was before the bubble burst. The demonstrations will continue until those at fault pay for their crimes.

Still on a political note, I see the Labour Party is full of criticism against the present government. Also heard the new leader of the opposition saying.
'Our best years are ahead of us.' Well I do not know, we use to own half the planet and maybe he knows something we do not but they have just handed over a bankrupt government to the coalition and is already trying wheedle his way to glory?

To finish, let's remember Gary of Middle Smiths is still away in Ozdale and must be feeling a little homesick, longing for a cuddle from Claudia of Claudosa Era, a giggle from Mika and a word or two on life with Dan. 13 days to go, 14 to Christmas Eve.

Here comes Santa

16 days to Christmas and Susan took today off and then decided to take tomorrow off as well. Christmas shopping was the agenda and we only managed 4 stores. Danelin Mills which sell all those woven linen and everything else. The Range was the best, a new concept which gives you the feeling that they have a full range of items for your home. We must have spent an hour or two browsing the vast range of products on offer. I can not revel what there was as it is all about Christmas, Santa knows. Talking of gifts, are there any online shops of repute in Oz? The internet seems to think not, can anyone enlighten me on this very vexing topic. The other stores were John Lewis of Brownsea Island fame and Tesco. John Lewis was completely over the top, Tesco was Tesco.

Michael wants a skim board for Christmas, alas the new stock only comes in, in the spring and so he is doing a little think on what would be his second chose as it were. I have just opened a bottle of Blossom Hill red, this just to keep you up with what is being drank at the minute in this cold and wet Island we call England. It is cold, you have noticed but in reality it seems a little worse, a white Christmas is what we asked for but not the whole festive season.

Anyway getting back to Skim Boards, the new concept is to have a banjee cord, cast out to sea and then with the help of a few friends you banjee into the surf. This may sound strange but if you search for it on You tube you will be a believer.

Here come Santa you might ask, yes I heard it today, store after store, I really do wish he would just get here.

Tomorrow is 15 days to Christmas and I intend to blog the run up to this day of magic.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

It could be a cold week

It

This week has started a little chilli, -2° C and they will be saying it will get colder. The wind, that wee breeze that seems to find its way into you body, your extremities are the first to go and then it borrows into the heart of your very soul. This is very cold stuff, only for the stout hearted and the Scots.

Archbishop Tutu once asked a reporter if he was going on to interview Nelson Mandela, when he heard he was he remarked, 'He can be so boring?' Then he laughs outrageously, only Desmond could say something like that and get away with it.

Pamagor was seen in a white leather jacket, red scarf and black leather boots. I am sure there was more under all that but with the chilli winds blowing up a ladies extremities, I agree, better to be warm than sexy at this time of the year. Protester seem to attack ladies in fur rather than leather, they are just scared of the bikers.

Susan baked a Christmas cake in honour of The Matriarch and all the Christmas cakes she sent us over the last 10 years. It smells good, now we will feed it with whisky and love until we can not stand it any longer, then we will eat it.

 

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Will it snow this Christmas?


Mother Nature is throwing all she has in her arsenal at us this slow creep to Christmas. We woke to 4" of snow on Thursday. The abundance of soft snow with no wind made for a glorious day of no school for the boys, our road has a little rise and the toboggan was dusted off and then the race began. All ages risked life and limb to slide down the hill into the deep snow that had accumulated, teasing the children and soon the temptation was too much and the first snow ball flew true and straight hitting Robert in the middle of his back. War raged from then on until everyone was wet, cold and exhilarated. Friday nothing had changed so the fun was continued. Two days off school and the boys were suddenly very interested in the weather forecast for the weekend, more Monday than anything else.

I woke this morning, Saturday, to gentle rain and no snow, where had it all gone? So school will be open Monday and those living on Canal Boats are now stuck as the rivers have frozen. Serves them right, I can not stand those pompous boaters. 'I live on a river boat with my cat and some enamel.' Well it can't be much fun now.

In the early hours of this morning our phone rang, needless to say we did not answer it, yes it was still dark. Later picking up the message we were not too surprised to find out it was Gussell, fresh in to work at his Deli and ready to chat, what no customers? I will get back to the Lord of the Manor of Georgedale, cannot wait to hear the news on the progress on the Pamagor affair. Maybe that elusive Middle Smith presently travelling in Ozdale, will keep an eye open, as word has it Pamagor has travelled to the South to see the cricket. He is a great fan of Alistair Cook.

'You can dance, you can sing, but darling save the last dance for me.' Pamagor was heard to hum this song while watching cricket, makes you think!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Bendy boards in Oz - Pamagor offers a gloved hand.

The snow is one thing but bendy boards on the beach in Melbourne is something else. Life will take the wind away and the snow will melt but we were there.
Pamagor has been seen in Georgedale, looking for smoked ham and black olives, was it a deli he was in? This man is a cad, loveable rouge but a cad none the less. Gussell will get him in the end.

Snow has arrived


Over night the snow really set in, all great until you want to drive somewhere. We live our lives in this cocoon of certainty and then this strange weather comes and drops us down to earth. 4" of snow, the most in 45 years and all the snowballs and tobogganing did not delude us into thinking this was all a winter paradise. After the snow comes the ice and the cold. Nature has a comforting way of dealing with snow, when it snows we all are in that world of fantasy. The snow is soft and gentle, warm and uplifting. We are all so childish, we want to throw that snowball and laugh at the consequences. The snow trickles down our necks and we are reminded that the cooler times will come, not yet, but we will have had enough by then.

The boys through snowballs and tobogganed down the close, had breakfast at Tesco and did not go to school, that is the good part of our inability to deal with extreme weather.

I do think of all those far away and not that far and miss not having you around when this winter wonderland pays us a visit.


It is only 24 days to Christmas

My Christmas list is so simple, starting off a bottle of good red wine, a big salami, industrial size that will last for at least a month. Olives, a must and a mature stilton. Now that will make it a good festive time. With the cold and snow around maybe a woolly jumper or some long johns.
The lists from the boys read like a must have wish list from Apple, that is the beauty of Christmas, you can dream. Robert starts off with any Apple product over £200. The next in line is an Ipad, £459, iPhone, £499, Mac Pro, £825. Well as I said you can dream. A woolly jumper for him will do the trick.

I have just found Markus on facebook. He has a lot of friends. I felt honoured with 9 followers but he must have a couple of dozen friend who like him. There are a few comments I would have liked some more detail on and details to who they are and what they are. I am somewhat reassured by the fact that Russell is a friend and seems to be in contact. Some great photos and some early morning shots that need to be deleted, do not want small children seeing those, might give them nightmares.

You have probably seen the news on how cold and miserable it is here at the minute, well it is and will stay that way for a while. All those in warmer climates, enjoy, global warming is making it warmer for you and colder for us.

Must cook the humble fish and chips for tea, till later.