Saturday, 31 December 2011

Christmas Day!

Before we head into 2012 I had best quickly post about our Christmas. Alf's is HERE.

We had a quiet one, with hubby working over Christmas. Not sure if it was lucky or not, but he worked nights so spent most of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day in bed.

We had a hearty breakfast about 9.30 on Christmas morning, which gave hubby a few hours sleep before eating. We then opened the presents - here is a quick photo of mine!


Hubby headed off back to bed until 4pm when I woke him for lunch. We usually eat about 1.30pm on Christmas Day, so the whole day felt a bit odd to me. Hubby had of course snoozed the majority of the day away which was a shame, but I did get to operate the remote control for the television, it is simply a shame that I can not get the sound through the Blu Ray player system. Whatever happened to just using the television  speakers?....

I did watch The Queen's Speech, which was broadcast for the first year on Sky News, my favourite news channel.


One of my wonderful packages contained a Kindle and I see from Amazon that the manuscripts of the Queen's Christmas Message for 1952-2010 and 2011 has been released, free of charge, by The Monarchy.

There was some wonderful books in the other packages, courtesy of my Mum, as hubby I think gets pretty fed up with my head in a book, of course by buying a Kindle he has simply swapped one reading medium for another! Perhaps there are some fishing books for Kindle I can tempt him with?

Sunday Salon - 2011 into 2012


I started writing this on Christmas Eve here in the UK and am completing it on New Years Eve, where did that week go?

Over the course of the last couple of months I have been laid up with sciatica and feeling pretty miserable about being unable to continue with my normal routine. During that time I have read a few books, not as many as you might think, written a few blog posts and watched a few programmes on the television. I also seriously considered getting a Kindle.

I set about reading posts of those who had blogged about their Kindle, and in the end decided upon the Kindle Keyboard as this allows free 3G access and we are planning a trip to Australia in 2012, this sounded just the ticket. All being well, there is one wrapped and under the tree, or at least there looks to be a Kindle shaped box under the tree. Sadly, I can not bend down to pick up it and have a prod and shake! - update, there was one under the tree and I am delighted with it! Thanks Santa, sorry, I mean hubby!

While I was researching I discovered a few web pages and alike that give access to Kindle books including those that are free, or free for a limited amount of time.

There are just so many wonderful books out there, OK, there are some dreadful ones too, but....the ebook and the free ebook at that, does allow the reader to explore perhaps unknown authors, or for authors to test the water. I truly didn't think that I would become so interested in e-books. I love the feel of books, the smell of old books and looking at bookshelves. E-books can bring us reading at a different level and with ease. It was the obvious solution to the question of how was I going to choose books for a month in Australia? I would have to take books with me that perhaps I could leave there. This is the perfect solution and my Kindle model has the 3G capacity at no extra charge, so I might be able to explore email too!

I have a few book review to post, a few is actually about 10 - two of them are e-books, one is a review book for an organisation and another two are reviews for authors. The rest are my reading over the last few months.  

The 2011 Book Blogger's Cookbook (The Book Blogger's Cookbook) A recent, enjoyable and easy read, via e-book, which I read via iPad, was the Book Bloggers Cook Book for 2011. You can read my review HERE

The plan for 2012 is to get the reviews caught up. Plan my trip to Oz and make a serious dent in the mountain of books that I still need to read. I have signed up for a selection of reading challenges. About 6 of them, in the main I have opted for the smallest contribution for each challenge, which is easily manageable and will allow for extra reading and overlap.

I am also planning to complete the 30 day book meme that I started in November, but with my back and Christmas I fell behind, so aim to complete that during January. For those interested the list of prompts is HERE.

For Christmas I did receive some books. Mum is pretty much the only person to buy me books - so this was wonderful. More on that in a later post. 

During the lead up to Christmas I took part in the Virtual Advent Tour hosted by Marg of Intrepid Reader. I loved taking part and am still reading the posts others submitted - with all these great blogs and posts it is a wonder we have time for books! Anyway, I wanted to share with you in particular one of the two posts that I wrote for the event 18th December. The 18th December was selected because it would have been my Grandmother's 99th Birthday. I chose to make the remembrance different using Kiva. I plan to commorate other specific family events using Kiva during 2012.The other post was on 21st December and was written to commemorate my husband's special birthday. 

Well that is is, all that is left to say on this final Sunday Salon for 2011 is Happy New Year! and to share with you a New Year Postcard sent from the Battle Fields of the First World War. This card was sent in 1916. If you are interested in the people behind the card click HERE

Sepia Saturday 106 - Happy New Year from the Front - 1916





So, Who was Fred?.....

A search of the Marriages for a B Turner in Guildford 1916+ to a Fred revealed one such entry. The marriage of Bertha A Turner to Frederick W Wait in the September Quarter of 1917 at Guildford. (Ref 2a, 201).

Working backwards to the 1911 Census. Did that reveal more of Bertha? The index revealed one entry for a Bertha E Turner. I took a chance and looked at the data. It didn't pay off, and revealed a Bertha Elizabeth Turner residing at 144 Walnut Tree Close Guildford, a stones through of my Grandmother at 114. Isn't research curious?.

Anyway, A quick look through the First World War records didn't prove obviously helpful, neither did the Commonwealth War Graves website.  So I still didn't know who Fred was. A quick search of the 1911 Census for him and I was surprised. It revealed one entry; just one.

Frederick William Wait, Single and Aged 20 years born 1891 Guildford. On overseas military duty and recorded as in the 7th Dragoon Guards and stationed at Hislop Barracks, Trimulgherry, Duccan, India.

That I had not expected. This is still not conclusive that the Fred in India is the Fred in France. Were regiments pulled from various bits of the Empire in order to fight in Europe. Quite possibly. 


Taking part in Sepia Saturday

Friday, 30 December 2011

Postcard Friendship Friday - Happy New Year From the Front 1916




So, Who was Fred?.....

A search of the Marriages for a B Turner in Guildford 1916+ to a Fred revealed one such entry. The marriage of Bertha A Turner to Frederick W Wait in the September Quarter of 1917 at Guildford. (Ref 2a, 201).

Working backwards to the 1911 Census. Did that reveal more of Bertha? The index revealed one entry for a Bertha E Turner. I took a chance and looked at the data. It didn't pay off, and revealed a Bertha Elizabeth Turner residing at 144 Walnut Tree Close Guildford, a stones through of my Grandmother at 114. Isn't research curious?.

Anyway, A quick look through the First World War records didn't prove obviously helpful, neither did the Commonwealth War Graves website.  So I still didn't know who Fred was. A quick search of the 1911 Census for him and I was surprised. It revealed one entry; just one.

Frederick William Wait, Single and Aged 20 years born 1891 Guildford. On overseas military duty and recorded as in the 7th Dragoon Guards and stationed at Hislop Barracks, Trimulgherry, Duccan, India.

That I had not expected. This is still not conclusive that the Fred in India is the Fred in France. Were regiments pulled from various bits of the Empire in order to fight in Europe. Quite possibly. 


Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Tea Cup Tuesday - Tri-Handled Cup

This little beauty is a fairly recent purchased to accompany my Guildford and District collection. This first photograph shows the front of the cup complete with the coat of arms for my home town. Guildford is in Surrey England.


The china is delicate and has beautiful little flowers on a pale green back ground.


The bottom show that this piece was produced somewhere within the British Empire - I would date this circa 1910.

Taking part in Tea Cup Tuesday hosted by Artful Affirmations & Martha's Favourites

Joining the 2012 European Reading Challenge


Hosted by Read City Reader Click HERE to sign up. The Challenge runs from 1st January 2012 until 31st January 2013.

I am committing to reading five books known as Deluxe Entourage. The commitment is to read five books across five different European Countries or written by five different European authors. There is flexibility within the challenge in that I could specialise in foodie books  - Agritourisimo. Overlapping with other books challenges is allowed, which is excellent news!

Here are my books -

  1. The Scottish - Irish Pub & Hearth Cookbook by Kay Shaw Nelson (United Kingdom)
  2. TBC
  3. TBC
  4. TBC
  5. TBC

Monday, 26 December 2011

Alfie's Christmas!

Alfie, who does make fairly regular appearances on this blog had a wonderful Christmas. Under the tree were two presents for him.

As any dog owner will know, a dog has an acute sense of smell, so Alf was quite aware that what was under the tree was edible. He is such a good little chap, that most days he would simply sniff his gifts, which was pretty much like hubby having a small prod and feel at any additions under the tree!

Anyway, they were edible and Alf on Christmas morning was quick to investigate, after having some assistance with the wrapping!




After a small play and in preparation for a small Christmas lunch, yes, even with a few vegetables, Alf snoozed the morning away! Whoever said it was a dog's life was absolutely right!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas Wishes


"Remembrance, like a candle,
Shines brightest
at Christmastime"
Charles Dickens

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Birthday Cake

My dear friend dropped in this morning the birthday cake I ordered for Stuart's birthday. Made by Carole's Cupcakes. Isn't it wonderful?


You can read a bit more about Stuart's special day HERE

Virtual Advent Tour - A Very Special Day!

I am again delighted to take part in the 2011 Virtual Advent Tour hosted by Marg & Kelly. This is my first year of taking part and I am hoping that it won't be the last. It is a wonderful way to meet other bloggers and spread festive cheer! When I decided to take part I selected two special dates - this is the second of those two dates.You can read the first post, 18th December HERE.

Today is my husband's birthday. The sort that end in a zero! Buying a gift is always tricky, just a few days before Christmas all the suitable ideas have usually become Christmas presents. I wanted to mark the occasion in a special way. So, being incapacitated at the moment, wandering around the shops was not an option.

I was then delighted to see an advert for a distillery that produces and decants whisky, a favourite tipple, (although not too often!) into bottles with a nice personalised label. Now, I do not know the first thing about whisky, but a quick search of Google revealed that this was a well known company with a long history. So, I went ahead and ordered the bottle. It arrived in a superb presentation box.


I also ordered from another company here in the UK, a personalised mug. With the name on the front and on the bottom the dates. Which I think are a lovely way to commemorate a special day in hubby's life. I usually purchase his birthday card much earlier in the year. I find that regular cards are reduced in stock to make way for the rows and rows of Christmas cards. So, earlier in the year I ordered and paid for a personalised card which should arrive in good time. A former colleague made me a lovely cake which was delivered early this morning.

As some readers will know, my husband grew up in the Scottish border town of Lockerbie. I remember when we first met and he told me where his parents lived, the first thing I said was ah, the town of the air disaster.

On the 21st December 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was the victim of terrorist activity and as a result, all on board lost their lives. What is often forgotten is that as the plane crashed to the ground, some locals were also killed. A road and several houses were completely demolished. Now a park resides on that spot. The main fuselage landed just outside the small hamlet of Bankshill. This small hamlet is where my husband's family lived at the time. Thankfully, none of them were hurt. The local parish church at Tundergarth has a memorial room and a book of remembrance. Just on the outskirts of Lockerbie, at the local cemetery is a full memorial. It names each of the passengers and crew on the plane and there is a further memorial that names the locals, which included a friend of my husband.

Such an event rocked the entire World, and as one would expect the events of that day dominated the news and newspapers for several weeks, and of course in recent years there has been further mention of the event and the links to the politics of the Countries involved.

Whenever, we head to Lockerbie, we always visit the memorial and pay our silent respects and this plaque says it all - that even in tragedy we can be united.


For those interested further, photographs of the various plaques connected to the disaster at Lockerbie can be seen at Grave Encounters.

Whilst, I end on a rather sad note, there is joy as this is the festive season and for a very special man, today is his very special day. Happy Birthday Stuart!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The Book Bloggers Cookbook 2011

The 2011 Book Blogger's Cookbook (Theā€¦I recently became aware that this was available for
the Kindle. My Kindle isn't available until after Santa brings it! but I downloaded the book and was able to read it via the iPad app made available by Amazon.

What a fantastic idea; I so wish I had thought of it!

The layout is clear and simple. Starting with a photograph of the book cover with the name of the author, then followed by a synopsis of the book. Next comes the recipe with photograph, inspired by the book and lastly a small list of what several bloggers said about the book with click able links to their respective blogs, which hosts their full reviews.

There are indexes of books, authors, contributing blogs and recipes which is great, as so many books of this sort don't bother with indexes and that is a pet hate of mine!

I have a couple of favourites - Rosemary and Lemon Roasted Chicken, which accompanies the book, Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I also spotted a rather fun cozy mystery called Lemon Tart by Josi S Kilpack. Not too surprisingly, the accompanying recipe is for To Die For Lemon Tart!

This such a simple idea, yet a really enjoyable read, full of recipes to try, books to read and blogs to explore. Exactly what a book blogging cook needs!  I loved this book and plan to sign up to take part in the next edition. 

My advice is sit with a cup of your favourite drink, a note pad and pencil and jot down the names of those books, recipes and blogs to visit.....I did!

Available to purchase and download via Amazon

Tea Cup Tuesday - Santa's Around the World

A few years ago, I stumbled across a rather nice set of mugs made by Spode. Each Christmas, from 1998 until 2004, Spode released one mug featuring a Santa from a different Country.






Here they are in more detail -

In 1998 the First of the series was the British Santa



In 1999 Spode released the German Santa, which is one of the two I have missing and am still seeking.

In 2000 Bishop of Myra was released.


Then in 2001, The Russian Santa was release, the second one that I am missing from the set.

In 2002 The Norwegian Santa made an appearance



In 2003, The French Santa was released



And finally, in 2004 to complete the series, the American Santa was released.



I think of all the set that I currently have my favourite is the American Santa, because of the vibrant, festive colours. Which one is your favourite?

Taking part in Tea Cup Tuesday hosted by Artful Affirmations & Martha's Favourites

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Virtual Advent Tour - Kiva - Genealogists for Families Project

I am delighted to take part in the Virtual Advent Tour hosted by Marg & Kelly. This is my first time of taking part and I am hoping that it won't be the last. It is a wonderful way to meet other bloggers and spread festive cheer! When I decided to take part I selected two special dates - this is the first of those two dates.

The 18th December would have been my beloved Grandmother's birthday, her 99th one in fact. As I wandered up to my study to write this post I was suddenly aware that my Grandparents feature in pretty much every room in the house, despite the fact that we purchased the house a year after my Grandmother passed away. I have inherited lots of their belongings and photos.

Regular readers of this blog will have read various posts about my Grandparents and the families they descended from. I am very proud of them and the achievements they accomplished. I have been suddenly aware that apart from being my Grandmother, she was also a wife, a mother, a friend, sister and much, much more. In writing this post, I remember her, upon her birthday. The reality is, that I think of her every day and miss her the same. She was a huge influence in my life and her passing left quite a void

In the Spring after we moved here, I purchased a beautiful peach coloured rose. My husband planted it in her memory and every time I look out of the breakfast room window I ponder on what she would think of my zero gardening ability. The rose is lovely, and despite some fairly harsh Winters in recent years, it continues to flourish, with much assistance from my beloved. Usually on her birthday I purchase a bunch of vibrant coloured flowers, as that is how I recall her, bright, happy and always joking, and place the vase in a location where I can enjoy the flowers. This year I have opted for something very different.

About 6 weeks ago, perhaps longer, a fellow genealogist alerted me to a project called Genealogists for Families Project. The moto is "We care about families, Past, Present & Future" I joined the Genealogists team and logged in. I had a good read of the project and had a look at all the individuals listed who would benefit from a loan through the Kiva Organisation. I discussed it with my husband and shared my plans with him and pondered on how I could utilise the scheme with a genealogical link.

The basic principle is that you loan $25 through the scheme to individuals who do not have access to traditional banks. When the loan is repaid you can either withdrawal your money or loan again. You can make many loans or just one or two. The choice is up to you. I should point out, that you don't need to be a genealogist to join the genealogist team, who have made loans of a staggering $5,350 at the time of writing this post.

So, in memory of an outstanding lady, who gave me so much I have kicked off my involvement with Kiva and made my first loan. I have picked an individual who lives in Sierra Leone, because he is supporting several family members, purely because they are his family, and also my Grandfather was stationed in Sierra Leone during the Second World War.

Christmas is the time for giving and I want to commemorate the lady who was my Grandmother. Acknowledge her achievements and values and to assist others in her memory.

The photograph here is of my Grandmother, Lilian Edith Butcher nee Matthews (1912 - 1995) on the occasion of her 21st Birthday.

If you would like to join the team, then please click HERE

Friday, 16 December 2011

Sepia Saturday 105 - Mrs Beeton!





From my late Victorian copy of The Book of Household Management by Isabella Beeton.

Previously written posts are HERE and HERE

Taking part in Sepia Saturday

The Manor Reborn

Over the course of the last couple of weeks I have been following, using the wonderful BBC facility of iPlayer the programme called The Manor Reborn, centred around the National Trust property of Avebury Manor in Wiltshire.

At the start of the programme I did wonder if the BBC could possibly pull off this project. They convinced the National Trust to lend them the fairly run down and much undervalued property of Avebury Manor. In doing so there was a budget and the plan was to restore the inside of the manor to its former glory. Each room taking a spin from the the previous residents and a period of history. Rather than the usual do not touch philosophy of many of the National Trust properties, Avebury was to be recreated with a hands on approach.

Furniture was to be created from scratch using traditional methods of the time, the same with painting techniques and fabrics; all under the watchful eye of two historical professionals, and well known interior designer and the whole programme hosted by the very familiar Penelope Keith and Paul Martin.

The BBC site for the programme is HERE.

I have to say, that as a National Trust member, I was slightly irritated with the National Trust from almost the beginning of the series. Simply their lack of trust in a respected organisation and respected historical professionals; even in the final programme, at the handing back of the property to The Trust there was, from certain quarters disapproval, but the teams involved have achieved a remarkable thing. Avebury Manor is certainly on our visit list for 2012.

If you can access iPlayer and can view the series within the copyright time constraints view the programmes -  fascinating. The workmanship and dedication of the restorers was outstanding.

Anyway, here are a few photos that I managed to take from the television using my iPhone.












Well done BBC for pulling off, quite an achievement and for broadcasting a super series.

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