Thursday, 31 August 2017

Fun Philosophy

Over a year ago the British voted to leave the European Union and not a day goes by without it being somewhere in the news. Whatever your thoughts on the matter you can't have missed all the debates and questions that appear daily.
The British have been accused of 'wanting their cake and eating it' and today they were arguing about paying for 'everything including the kitchen sink.'
This reminded me of how often my mum and dad used these one liners to express their opinions.
Maybe they say a lot about a nation. British people will often say about something they are not sure about, 'it's not really my cup of tea.' When translated into another language these one line philosophies could sound quite funny.

My earliest memories involve hearing my parents talk to each other using a variety of these expressions. I would be playing with my dolls and their voices would quietly drift around me, comforting and reassuring with their soft tones.

'Old Fred has bitten off more than he can chew.'
'Well Betty always did have a bee in her bonnet about that .'
'It's the pot calling the kettle black really.'
'Well you know what they say about the early worm.'
'Don't beat about the bush and tell me what's the matter.'
'Ah, the other man's grass is always greener.'
'John's over the moon about his new job.'
'I think you're barking up the wrong tree.'

And so on, a seemingly endless supply of phrases to express in a calm way what was going on around them.

Their favourite ones to say to me while growing up were.-

'you can't put old heads on young shoulders'
'familiarity breeds contempt.'
'Actions speak louder than words'.
'Two wrongs don't make a right.
"Practice makes perfect.'
'Don't bite off more than you can chew.'
'Look before you leap.'
'Walls have ears'
'Keep wise counsel.'

Back to Brexit and having your cake and eating it, my mum and dad would say that too, to mean you can't have everything. It seemed it a bit strange because why would you have a cake and not want to eat it? It would go stale.
As for the kitchen sink one in the paper today, that would be used if we were going on holiday and there was too much luggage.

Just one final one tat is always good to remember, 'where there's a will, there's a way.'

Barking up the wrong day, a gentle reminder that you might just have got it wrong

Sunday, 6 August 2017

An Aperitif for August

Many people of my age remember being left in the car outside a pub while their dad went in to have a drink with his mates. It was a happy occasion, we enjoyed being left in the car watching the door of the pub. After a few minutes dad would come out bearing aloft bottles of lemonade and packets of crisps.  Tucked inside the packet of crisps was a small, blue, paper sachet of salt. We would untwist the paper and pour the salt inside the bag and give it a good shake. The lemonade was so delicious I couldn't understand why my dad didn't want it too,
Many aperitifs are a bit like that lemonade, thirst quenching and fruity. Here's the catch though, they often contain alcohol.
You have to be careful. One hot English summers day an Italian friend of mine drank quickly two huge glasses of Pimms, not knowing that it was alcoholic, it just tasted delicious and she was thirsty. Of course after a few minutes she had to go and lie down.

It's a funny thing about alcohol. Cigarette packets are plastered with dire warnings that should put you off smoking forever. We are told only to drink in moderation, women less than men because of something different about the liver, and not to drink and drive. That's it. Nothing on the bottle about how it loosens your tongue, dissolves your inhibitions and makes you say things that you regret. So you might find yourself this summer drinking what seems like fruit juice and all of a sudden your crying about.. Brexit, the dog you lost when you were ten, the plight of total strangers, how you miss your mum and dad, etc.

I'm going to give you a recipe for an aperitif which is perfect for a summer evening but you have to be careful, tell everyone what is in it.

It is called GRAZIE, which means thank you in Italian.


for one person
4cl gin
2cl sugar water, dissolve 2 teaspoons of sugar in hot water and let cool
10cl grapefruit juice
a few basil leaves
2 ice cubes

Simply multiply the ingredients by how many people

Wash and dry the basil leaves and place in a cold jug. Put in the fridge.
Mix together the gin, sugar water and grapefruit juice and then pour into the jug.
Add the ice cubes and then if you prefer you can pass through a sieve before serving. The flavour of the basil and the grapefruit juice is delicious.
Warn your guests that there is gin.

All ready to go

Believe me it's delicious

What can be more cheerful than an aperitif at sunset in the summer

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Always Room for one more

My grandmother had six children and lots of grandchildren. I was almost the youngest. Sadly I wasn't very old when she passed on, only eight, but I remember her very well. I haven't got lots of tales to tell about her but I know she loved me a lot and I loved her.
Every school concert, ballet show, play or whatever, she was there. I saw a sea of faces and in the middle she was there, waving, her face glowing, no matter that I was the most useless and untalented on the stage, she gave me a standing ovation. For her, I was the star of the show. She and my mum, together, their faces alight, their hands clapping, their arms waving, for me.

My mum told me that every time a new grandchild was on the way my grandmother would say, 'There's always room for one more.' She meant that there was always enough love in her heart for another little baby.
This is one of the most magical, wonderful mysteries of all, how our hearts can expand endlessly.
Well I've got someone new to love. A very small bundle of joy. Brand new. He might be small but he has already filled our lives. All the love in the world is there for him.
I'll just tell you this too, he might be small but can do very impressive burbs.

Looking at this brand new baby I would like to have a magic wand, to protect him, to make him strong and healthy and bring happiness to all who meet him on his way through life.

The night he was born there was a beautiful moon, it was very hot, music was floating through the air from a nearby park.

It seemed perfect for a new little family.
My wish for you, May you be happy always, and may a cup of tea be able to make everything better

The evening you arrived, welcome little one