23 June 2021


The rain clouds have gone, the sky is blue and the sun is shining. Rufus and I had a lovely walk and then I had a scrumptious breakfast.
For probably the last 20 years or so my breakfast has been All Bran (for reasons I won't go into), with my homemade granola, yoghurt and fruit. The only exception to this is when I'm on holiday or when someone has made it for me, then I love a full English fry up, pancakes with maple syrup, toast and marmalade or croissants - not all together though! 

An absolutely delicious breakfast is one I had in Australia. My last visit to my daughter was in 2017 when she lived in Fremantle, we regularly had breakfast at Duck Duck Bruce They have a brilliant imaginative menu inspired by film titles, song titles, famous people, book titles etc.

I had the same breakfast each time 'Orange Is The New Stack' - vanilla pancake stack, burnt orange curd, toasted almonds, poppyseed cheesecake whip, and gingerbread crumbs topped with a slice of candied orange.
Three and a half years later I have finally devised my own version!! 

I warmed two Aldi buttermilk pancakes in the microwave, put orange curd inbetween and on the top one, vanilla yoghurt arround the bottom and a dollop on top, I replaced the gingerbread crumbs with granola crumbs, and then dropped orange segments around.

Aren't pistachio nuts pretty

I poured the juice from the orange around the side and topped with poppyseeds, toasted almonds, pistachios and crushed hazlenuts. 

Oh my word, it was beyond delicious. 

I'm not going to wait until I'm on holiday or for someone else to make breakfast, this bowl of taste bud heaven is going to be a regular event .

∼ Be safe and well ∼ 
Polly x

20 June 2021

Caveat Venditor

Seller Beware

I'm feeling aggrieved, disgruntled, well and truly stitched up, maybe that's a slight exaggeration but I'm cross. Let me explain. I've just put 5 items on ebay. Only one sold for £4.20 plus £3.20 postage and packing so my buyer paid a total of £7.40. After a small commission I expected £7.05 to go into my account, giving me a profit of £3.85 after deducting postage and packing.
Years ago when I last used ebay the only charge was a commission on a sold item. Now however it's 35p to list an item: I think some categories are chargeable: if you want to offer a "buy it now" option that's 50p, then an irritating pop up "offers" to re-list if the item doesn't sell. I ignored this at first but then thought "oh well why not, it's free"! WRONG, kerching, another 35p is rung up for re-listing, I'm not sure how many times their system will keep re-listing, I eventually deleted the unsold items. 
I contacted  the call centre where a very nice lady explained the charges, she had a slight accent so it took a while to absorb it. She directed me to my ebay account page where I could see the listings. I was utterly astounded by the explanation of how my anticipated £7.05 had dwindled to £3.85. THEN the realisation that after paying £3.20 for p&p I made a profit of 65p!!!!! be still my beating heart, no shopping spree just yet! It's amazing how those small 35 pences add up.
I wonder if ebay has lost a few customers to Vinted, FB marketplace or other selling platforms, or maybe the CEO just needs a few more millions to get by.

I will be more vigilant next time.
∼ Be safe and well ∼ 
Polly x

18 June 2021

A Good Read

The Dressmaker’s Gift by Fiona Valpy
Paris, 1940. With the city occupied by the Nazis, three young seamstresses go about their normal lives as best they can. But all three are hiding secrets. War-scarred Mireille is fighting with the Resistance; Claire has been seduced by a German officer; and Vivienne’s involvement is something she can’t reveal to either of them.
Two generations later Claire’s English granddaughter Harriet arrives in Paris, adrift and desperate to find a connection with her past. Living and working in the same building on the Rue Cardinale, she learns the truth about her grandmother – and herself – and unravels a family history that is dark and painful.
The story follows a common trend - modern day person finds an intriguing photograph in an attic, connected to a family member and embarks on a journey of discovery. The first chapter is a bit of a cliché. Harriet moves to Paris, obtains a job in the same building that her grandmother, Claire, worked in, and settles in the same apartment that her grandmother lived in. And Harriet’s roommate in that apartment happens to be the granddaughter of one of the girls in the photograph who also lived in that same apartment. It does get more interesting when the story goes back to 1940 and the lives of the three seamstresses unfold.

∼ Be safe and well ∼ 
Polly x

12 June 2021

Trooping The Colour

Today should be the celebration of Trooping The Colour when troops from the Household Division honour the Queen's official birthday. It's an impressive display of pageantry and military that has taken place in London for two centuries, since the accession of King George IV in 1820, except during the world wars and a national strike in 1955, and cancelled this year because of covid restrictions. A smaller alternative Parade is taking place in the quadrangle at Windsor Castle.

Although the Queen's official birthday is celebrated in June, her actual birthday is on 21 April. Monarchs are traditionally given a second birthday if they were not born in the summer, in case the British weather is unsuitable for an outdoor celebration!

What is Trooping The Colour and what are the origins? 
Regimental flags of the British Army were historically described as ‘Colours’ because they displayed the uniform colours and insignia worn by the soldiers of different units. The principal role of a regiment’s colours was to provide a rallying point on the battlefield. This was important because without modern communications it was all too easy for troops to become disoriented and separated from their unit during conflict. In order for the troops to know what their regiment's colours were it was necessary to display them regularly. This was done by officers marching in between the ranks of troops formed up in lines with the Colours held high. Hence the origin of the word ‘trooping’. So, what started as a vital and practical parade designed to aid unit recognition before a battle, is today a time honoured tradition.

The Guards are amongst the oldest regiments of the British Army and have served as the personal bodyguards of The Sovereign since the monarchy was restored after the English Civil War in 1660. The ceremony of Trooping the Colour is believed to have been performed first during the reign of King Charles II (1660 – 1685). In 1748 it was decided that this parade would be used to mark the official birthday of the Sovereign and it became an annual event after George III became King in 1760.

Her Majesty used to attend on horseback, but in recent years has travelled by carriage. She is escorted from Buckingham Palace, along the Mall to Horse Guards Parade, where she is greeted by a Royal salute, and carries out an inspection of the troops, who are fully trained and operational soldiers wearing the ceremonial uniform of red tunics and bearskin hats. The massed bands perform a musical troop and the escorted Regimental Colour is carried down the ranks. The Foot Guards, the Household Cavalry, The King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery march past Her Majesty.

Riding in a carriage the Queen then leads her guards  back to Buckingham Palace, alongside members of the royal family who are on horseback or in carriages.
Once at the palace the Queen takes the salute again from a dias before being joined by the other members of the royal family on the famous balcony to watch a 41 gun salute and a fly-past by the RAF. 

Over 1400 parading soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians come together in a great display of military precision, horsemanship and fanfare.

With the streets lined with flag waving crowds the whole event is a magnificent spectacle.

∼ Be safe and well ∼ 
Polly x

8 June 2021

A Good Read

Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He is handsome and wealthy, she is charming and elegant. You might not want to like them, but you do. You’d like to get to know Grace better but it’s difficult, because Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows. Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie.

A very well written story with some tense moments.

∼ Be safe and well ∼ 
Polly x

2 June 2021

A Milestone Day

This afternoon we had our first WI meeting in over a year! Historically our June meeting has been in a members garden planting summer pots. Mary is a great hostess providing us with tea and cake, today we had a choice of coffee or victoria cake, I had coffee cake. We didn't do any planting, just had a lovely time talking, catching up and arranging our activities for the rest of the year. It felt good putting those dates in the diary.
Onwards and upwards.
∼ Be safe and well ∼ 
Polly x
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