Monthly Archives: April 2013

The “Old Bat” reflects on a few past blogs, April 24th 2013.

Today I have a day off from work so I have time to reflect on some of my past  blogs.  I start with “A Moral Dilemma” when I “stole” a fuchsia cutting from a derelict garden.  For two years I had passed this garden full of rubbish and noticed this little fuchsia stem  produce one beautiful flower after a frosty winter.  The garden just became a place to throw even more rubbish and I feared for the existence of this fuchsia so I managed to find a little cutting  and took it home hoping that it would root.  This was last November, it is now mid April, the cutting is now at least 2ft tall and flowering,  It had lived on my kitchen window cill but has now  been put outside to harden off and keep growing, it will probably end up as a  large bush, the flowers are  beautiful with dark purple sepals and  a shocking pink inside.  A great return for my dilemma , I  can now feel justified because after I had taken the cutting an Estate agent drove a “To Let” sign  stake right  through the root of the  mother plant.  I love it, it is my very special plant.!

My next thought concerns “A Sad State Of Affairs” when I wrote about a very young friend “David” who travels on the same bus as I do from work.  During the hard winter my friends have driven me to and from work so I have not seen the shy and rather cowed child with the trumpet who had been bullied by other children.  Imagine my pleasure when  on my first stint of waiting for the bus to arrive( it is always late) I spotted “David” rushing around with a group of boys his own age, behaving noisily, probably a bit badly, having just been let out of school, one of the “gang ” at last.  I found his reaction to me interesting.  While his friends were around we ignored each other (I did not want to harm his street cred) but as soon as they boarded their buses he came over and told me that every thing was going well, his sister was still bossy, and that he was getting on well with his trumpet lessons, I said that I was very pleased that he now had friends to rush around with.   He grinned happily as he made his way to the back of the bus as usual.

I am now going to give an up to date report on my “Container Garden”.  All the spring bulbs that I planted in containers turned out very well, I think that they all flowered.The daffodils and narcissus were particularly beautiful but my favourite ones were the purple and red anemones, I just wish that there had been more  red ones in the packet.  The primulas survived the winter frosts and are now in full flower.  My window cill and cold frame “Greenhouse” are full of tomato plants, pepper plants courgettes ,cucumber,squash and pumpkin plants waiting for the weather to warm  up so that I can put them out which should be sometime in May.   It is now April 24th and the Met. Office is giving “Frost’ for the week end, I hope that it will warm up soon before the plants force me out of the flat.  Here’s hoping!

The Book Group discuss “The Lacuna” by Barbara Kingsolver

Our Book Group met on Saturday night to discuss “The Lacuna”, a novel by Barbara Kingsolver.  This novel is set in Mexico and the U.S.A. based around historical facts.  The story is about a young American boy, Harrison Shepherd, who is taken to Mexico by his mother.  During his teenage years Harrison gets involved with and eventually works for the famed muralist Diego Rivera, his famous artist wife Frida Kahlo and their friend Leon Trotsky(the Bolshevik Revolutionary) who is in hiding from Stalin’s assassins. During his time with this group Harrison worked as a cook/secretary and general help.  After Trotsky’s murder, Harrison returns to Carolina in the U.S. where he makes a name for himself as a writer of historical novels based on ancient Mexican history.  Unfortunately, this was the time of the”Cold War” and the Federal  Investigations  into any one with Communist  or any  un- American sympathies. Harrison  was not a Communist but as he freely  admitted doing clerical work for Trotsky (an infamous  Communist) he was an obvious target for the investigators.   To find out what happens you will have to read this well written book.

The members of our Group who met on Saturday night  were ten adults, including one returning member, two new ones and three children who played happily while we discussed the book.  Of the eight adults, two had not finished the book finding it too slow, two had mixed feelings about different aspects of it , while the remaining four including me really enjoyed it, one of us is now  encouraged to read her other book  The Poisonwood Bible.

After discussing the book we then got down to the serious business of eating the wonderful cakes, made by our host,  luscious banoffee pie for those who can eat everything, carrot cake and honey and fig cake for those of us on special wheat free, dairy and sugar free diets. They were all delicious and imaginatively contrived so that we could all enjoy ourselves.

An enjoyable evening for everyone, book readers and children alike.

Our Family’s Easter Celebration

.  Every Good Friday for the last 50 odd years I. have made “hot cross buns” for the rest of the family.  This year was no different except that I also tried to make special ones for one member who is on an extremely restricted  diet,  I think that I was reasonably successful, ( they were edible).

We all met up on Easter Sunday evening for a celebration meal at my flat. I thought that I had everything covered weeks before, nice large piece of best beef in the freezer, good selection of fresh vegetables, and the makings of a vegetarian casserole for the non meat eaters.  How wrong I was!!!!  When I took the “large” piece of beef out of the freezer I was shocked to see how very small it was.  How on earth was I going to stretch this joint to feed nine people?  It was too late to buy another one, however I did have a  packet of stewing beef so decided to make  a casserole  as a back-up.  I wish I had a photograph of myself as I  took the piece of beef out of the freezer, the look of panic frozen for posterity!!!!!!!

Everything turned out really well with the help of my two sons, I needed their help as I had not been too well the night before, I cooked all the important bits, pot roasted the little beef joint,  made the yorkshire pudding batter and the beef casserole but left the roast potatoes and vegetables to them.  As one of them is a vegetarian he made a better vegie dish than I would have.  Even though I “pot roasted” the little beef joint it still shrank so it was even smaller to carve, however with the aid of a very sharp knife my elder son managed to carve enough for every one, second helpings were beef  casserole, both were good.  Dessert was fruit trifle and a large “Christmas” pudding.

We spent the evening playing games, the rest of the family played while I still feeling a bit  delicate, just watched.  It was very interesting, as the years have passed I have forgotten lots of the problems that we had to overcome when my children were growing up..  My two boys, both intelligent, had trouble learning to read, diagnosed as having a problem with  their “short term auditory memories” which affected reading and spelling, this was eventually overcome and they ended up with “Masters” degrees.  However the basic problem once more showed itself during the game of “Bogle”,when a mix of letters have to be made into words, the player with the most words wins..  Most of the grown ups scored between 16 and 21, the teenagers scored 12, the eight year old scored 4, and one of my sons scored exactly 1 !!!!!!!!!The next evening he went with me to my Quiz night where he absolutely shone when his “long term memory” came into play, Of course ,we won!!!!!   I had a wonderful weekend with my family, I hope that there will be many more to come.