27 September 2022


The humble sandwich. Almost any foodstuff can be put into a sandwich. I have a few favourites - chicken, brie & cranberry sauce; ham and coleslaw; egg mayonaisse; pink salmon; and the good old staple bread and cheese. There is a huge variety of cheese available - I love a brie and cranberry sauce toastie, rustic bread dipped into baked camembert, boursin spread liberally onto a piece of crusty French stick, and the good old default, cheese and pickle, for me, it's Red Leicester with mango chutney, mmm delicious.

Some time ago I watched a programme called "Take A Hike" in which  contestants were leading various country walks, providing interesting commentry along the way and lunch. One of the lunches was jam sandwiches, which left the recipients visibly underwhelmed.

When I was a little girl bread and jam was a popular sandwich. I can remember my mum serving supper, just a slice of cake or a toasted teacake or jam sandwiches. It was an affordable food and formed a major part of the diet of the poor working classes. 

The reason why the contestants in the show were not pleased was because the bread was dry and the filling was sparse. 

For a really satisfying jam sandwich you have to have good white bread, real butter and lots of jam. I think strawberry is the most popular but I like cherry (above), apricot and raspberry. Sometimes I put peanut butter with raspberry.

The sandwich as we know it was popularised in England in 1762 by John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich. Legend has it, and most food historians agree, that Montagu had a gambling problem that led to him spending hours on end at the card table. During a particularly long session he asked the house cook to bring him something that he could eat without getting up from his seat. The cook put some meat between two slices of bread and, voila the sandwich was born. Montagu enjoyed his meat and bread so much that he ate it constantly, and as the concoction grew popular in London society circles it also took on the Earl’s name. 

Women, War, and Bread and Jam.
In 1917 The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps was created, and young women were allowed to join the army. A lovely book called 'Women and War Work' gives details of a typical week’s meals, “to show how well they are fed". Their daily meals were breakfast, dinner, tea and supper. Supper was always bread and jam.

With austerity looming maybe more of us will be turning to jam sandwiches to subsidise our meals!

Do you have a favourite sandwich?

∼ Be safe and well∼
Polly x

25 September 2022

A New Arrival - At Last

Nearly 8 weeks after my old laptop stopped working I have a new chromebook!! I'm such a procrastinator, not in a lazy way, in a way that worries I might make a wrong decision. I've had computers and laptops in the past, a chromebook was going into unchartered territory!
I knew I wanted either a Lenovo, Asus or Acer, a minimum 14" screen and a powerful processor. After visits to Currys and John Lewis asking questions, and comparing models online I narrowed my search down to two Lenovos and two Acers, then finally chose this one, the Lenovo
IdeaPad 5i. The touchscreen version was £70 dearer, which was comfortably within my budget but I didn't really think it would enhance my experience, also, and this was a BIG consideration, if I didn't like it and wanted to get another laptop it would be money wasted. HOWEVER someone in packaging at the warehouse sent the wrong one -  this is a touchscreen. So for only £238.99 I have a lovely Chromebook touchscreen (which is nice) and 1 years Mcafee security.
It's taking a little while to get used to, a few things are different - there isn't a caps lock button, it's press shift. There's no delete button, it's alt+backspace. Screenshots aren't as easy, but I don't do that very often. I had a mild panic when I could't insert images, but soon realised I had selected upload from computer instead of photos! I have a lot of photos on a memory stick but they were created on a Windows platform, so they aren't compatible with the Chromebook. I can access them using the home desk top though. I will get used to using Google photos as my main storage.
What I liked about a laptop is having the File Explorer to store documents, particularly pictures. I'm old school, I liked naming them according to the blog post they would be going in, then putting them in folders. I can still do that, just not name them.
I'm sure there will be more to learn along the way, but for now I'm happy, I can continue wiith my blog, shop online, stream videos etc., and store images. And the speakers are very good.

STOP PRESS - I've just worked out how to transfer my memory stick images. I emailed some to myself, they went into documents, then I uploaded them into photos!!

∼ Be safe and well∼
Polly x

21 September 2022


On Monday my friend M and her daughter joined me to watch the Queen's funeral. I think my daughter would have joined us but she and her husband are enjoying a fly drive holiday in New England. I made some sandwiches, M bought some scones and I bought these lovely little cakes. I forgot to take a photo before we devoured them!

Marks and Spencer Royally good victoria mini sandwich cakes, absolutely delicious.
M bought me the pretty cyclamens.
I also bought some Bucks Fizz for a toast to our much loved Queen,
celebrating a remarkable life. 

It was a long day starting with leaving Wesminster Hall for a service at Westminster Abbey, then the journey to Windsor Castle for another smaller service. At the Abbey the sound of the lone bagpiper was heartbreakingly beautiful. I'm not a believer but I recognised most of the hymns from my childhood, when my mother took me to church, and found myself singing along, surprised at how I remembered the lyrics.
I felt very proud watching all the pagentry and dignity, the pride and respect from the crowds lining the streets, whether it was a nod of the head, a curtsy, or a round of applause.  

I wanted to pay my respects at the lying in state, head said yes but my old body said "No, you can't stand for that length of time!" I'm still a pretty good walker but I can't stand for very long. It's something I hear from a lot of people my age. I've signed a book of condolences that we have in the village, and an online one.

The end of an era.

∼ Be safe and well∼
Polly x

17 September 2022

Rufus' Diary

Hello dear reader, I hope you are well. Phew, life sure does move at a galloping pace. September already, autumn has arrived, the nights are drawing in and the weather is cooling down, but we are still enjoying some lovely warm days.
One thing we like about autumn is blackberries. Polly has made some absolutely delicious blackberry and apple crumbles (yes I was given a small amount 😋). In the past she has used packet crumble mixes but this time she made her own and added breadcrumbs, they add a little extra flavour and texture.

Polly took these photos a few weeks ago

she calls it asphalt art. 

It's just shadows of roadside weeds! But if Andy Warhol can have soup cans,
and Tracey Emin can produce her bed then Polly can have road art! 
She took some of me but they are SO unflattering I haven't included them.

A lot more stuff has been collected in the bonfire area. We thought it was no longer burning because we hadn't seen flames or smoke for a long while, but then we saw it burning yesterday. 

Hylands Park had a dinosuar event during the school holidays, there were lots of figures and the sound effects were brilliant, it really did feel like Jurassic Park. 

Look what Polly found stuck to the back of the freezer whilst cleaning it out

yes it's a fish finger!

She still hasn't replaced her old laptop but she is getting close - it's definitely
going to be a chromebook, she's checking out processors at the moment!! 

Here's another Haiku

Some favourite things

Sunshine brightly in the sky

Birds singing on high

 Be safe and well   
Rufus 🐾

13 September 2022

A Good Read

The Art Of Racing In The Rain by Garth Stein
Named after Enzo Anselmo Giuseppe Maria Ferrari, the founder of the legendary racing team, Enzo, a terrier/lab cross knows he is different from other dogs - he is wise and loyal, a philosopher with a nearly human soul. Believing he will be a human in his next life Enzo has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny, an up-and-coming race car driver. Enzo loves Denny. 
Denny, a down on his luck dad is a kind owner who loves Enzo, and uses racing philosophies in his life. 
Through Denny, Enzo has gained much insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn't simply about going fast.
Enzo is the narrator of the story which begins with him taking stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through. 
It’s a heart-wrenching, funny and uplifting look at the tragedies, wonders and absurdities of human life as seen by a dog. At times I was crying, and at other times I wanted to reach into the book and punch Denny's horrible in-laws.
I’m not the least bit interested in motor racing but I was interested in the motor racing facts throughout the book.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it.

∼ Happy Reading ∼ 

Polly x

10 September 2022

A Very Sad Loss

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Her Majesty's reign of 70 years and 214 days was the longest of any British monarch. During that time the world changed dramatically but she remained a constant presence of stability, resilience and continuity in the lives of the people of the UK and Commonwealth.
Throughout those years her sense of duty and tireless work ethic never faltered. She carried out her duties with grace, elegance, humour and kindness.

An unprecedented and remarkable achievement.

Many have never known a world without her. For many of my generation she was like a mother.
The world will long remember her devotion and leadership.

1 September 2022

September is the ninth month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. It is the first month of autumn in the northern half of the world and the first month of spring in the southern half. September comes from the Latin word septem, meaning “seven,” because at the time it was the seventh month of the early Roman calendar.

🍇On the 1st September 1985, almost 75 years after the Titanic sank in the North Atlantic, a joint American-French expedition led by Dr. Robert Ballard found the wreckage. The ship was lying upright in two pieces on the ocean floor at a depth of 12,500 feet - about 350 miles southeast from Newfoundland, Canada.

🍇The ancient Horn Dance is an annual event held traditionally on the first Monday after the first Sunday after 4th September in Abbots Bromley in Staffordshire, England. This famous tradition is performed by twelve dancers, six carrying reindeer antlers, accompanied by the hobby horse, a jester, maid Marian, a boy carrying a bow and arrow, a musician playing an accordion and a boy playing the triangle keeping the beat of the music for the dancers. The dancers follow a 10 mile course and perform the ritual in 12 different locations in and around the village.

🍇On the 7th September 1838, Grace Darling, daughter of the keeper of Longstone lighthouse on the Farne Islands off the coast of Northumberland, risked her life to rescue shipwrecked mariners. With her father, she rowed a tiny boat for over a mile through treacherous seas at the height of the storm to rescue nine people marooned on a rock. They were the only survivors of the steamship Forfarshire, which had run aground and broken up. The courage that Grace and her family showed on that day is now legendary.
The newspapers of the time reported on Grace's bravery and a media frenzy ensued. She received several awards, including a Gold Medal of Bravery from the Royal Humane Society and a Silver Medal for Gallantry from the RNLI. Admirers sent letters, money and fine gifts to Grace, and even Queen Victoria sent £50. Artists travelled to Longstone to paint her portraits, which were sold to the curious public and Grace became immortalised in plays, songs, poems and memorabilia.
Grace was besiged with letters, visitors and request for public appearances. However, she did not enjoy being the focus of so much attention, preferring to live quietly at home with her parents.
Sadly four years after her brave act, aged only 26, Grace died of tuberculosis. Her funeral was a grand occasion, with hundreds of people crowding the little village of Bamburgh to say goodbye. 

🍇Cleopatra's Needle, an Egyptian obelisk, was erected on the Thames Embankment in London on the 12th September 1878. It was presented to the United Kingdom in 1819 by the ruler of Egypt and Sudan Muhammad Ali, in commemoration of the victories of Lord Nelson at the Battle of the Nile and Sir Ralph Abercromby at the Battle of Alexandria in 1801.

🍇The 13th September is Roald Dahl day

🍇International Talk Like a Pirate Day (yes really) is an annual event taking place on the 19th September. It was started by two Americans who thought it would be fun to talk like a pirate for one day!!

🍇On September the 21st 1915 Cecil Chubb bought Stonehenge in Wiltshire, UK, in a property auction for £6,600. Chubb remained Stonehenge's owner for three years and then, on the 26th October 1918, he formally gave it to the nation. Stonehenge is still owned by the Crown and managed by English Heritage.

🍇Harvest festivals are celebrations of the food grown on the land and are traditionally held on or near the Sunday of the Harvest Moon, the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox (about Sept. 23). In two years out of three, the Harvest Moon ocurs in September, at other times it occurs in August.
Thanksgiving ceremonies and celebrations for a successful harvest are worldwide and very ancient. In Britain, we have given thanks for successful harvests since pagan times. We celebrate this day by singing, praying and decorating our churches with baskets of fruit and food in a festival known as 'Harvest Festival'.

🍇"Calling the Mare" comes from an old farming tradition.
In Medieval England the 24th September was known as the Harvest month when farmers would gather in the last of their crops. Trying to prove that they had reaped the best crops they would try and beat their neighbouring farmers to complete the work first.
After gathering the last sheaf of the harvest and shaping it into a mare shape, the farmer would deliver it to the neighbouring farmers land, shouting “Mare, Mare”. This was supposed to signify that wild horses would come and eat their harvest if they didn’t gather it in quickly.
Once the receiving farmer had finished gathering his crop, he would pass it onto the next farmer who had not finished until it reached the last farmer. This last farmer would then have to keep the “Mare” on display for a year to show that he was the slowest farmer.
Similarly, corn dolls were also weaved into shapes and placed in the corn fields as farmers believed that these corn dolls were the spirit of the corn goddess. It was believed that if you did not place a corn doll in your fields the corn goddess would die and so would your crops.

🍇Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is one of Judaism's holiest days. It will begin in the evening of Sunday the 25th September and end in the evening of Tuesday the 27th September.

🍇The George Cross was instituted by a Royal Warrant dated the 24th September 1940. It is the highest civil decoration of the United Kingdom and is only awarded "for acts of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger".

🍇Greenwich Mean (or Meridian) Time is the average time that the earth takes to rotate from noon-to-noon. The use of Greenwich Meantime (GMT) began at 3pm on the 25th September 1676, when two very accurate clocks were set in motion at the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, England. Greenwich Mean Time became standard for England, and in 1884 it became standard for the world.

🎂September the 26th is my birthday 🎉 

🍇On the 28th September 1894 an immigrant pedlar from Poland and a Yorkshireman with a head for figures teamed up to create the first Penny Bazaar in Britain - and one of the most famous business partnerships in the world. Today fourteen million people shop at Marks & Spencer every week. Isaac Dewhirst from Leeds met Michael Marks from Poland and lent him a fiver to set up as a market trader - and introduced him to his cashier, Tom Spencer. When Marks decided to acquire his first permanent stall in Leeds's covered market, he invited Spencer to join him. They signed the agreement on 28 September 1894. Mark's slogan was "Don't ask the Price - it's a Penny". The first Penny Bazaar store in Manchester multiplied to twelve in the first six years. Today Marks & Spencer (M&S) is a major British retailer, with over 895 stores in more than 40 territories around the world.

🍇Michaelmas Day is the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel, celebrated on the 29th September. St. Michael is the patron saint of the sea and maritime lands, of ships and boatmen, of horses and horsemen. He was the Angel who hurled Lucifer (the devil) down from Heaven for his treachery.

🍇The building of Nelson’s Column in London’s Trafalgar Square, began on the 30th September 1840 and completed in 1843. The 56 m (171 feet) high column is made from granite and features acanthus leaves, cast from British cannons at the top. At the very top stands a 5.5m (18 feet) statue of Nelson.

I hope you have enjoyed these fun/historical facts.

∼ Be safe and well∼
Polly x

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