Tag Archives: Young Carers

Gosh! It’s Been A While.

Setting The Scene,Rocking Dog

Setting The Scene

Gosh! It REALLY has been a while since Rocking Dog blogged. We have been fortunate in having the opportunity to spend an extended break in Umbria. The beauty of having super quick wifi is that work things can be dealt with across the miles.

We started our trip with visiting more cemeteries for The Remember Me Project. By the end of our break a total of 38 poppies had been laid in near enough the same amount of cemeteries across France and Belgium. This figure includes the cemeteries visited in October last year. A dedicated post regarding my latest poppy laying trip will pop up on the Rocking Dog site in the next few days.

Eventually we left the Somme and headed close to the Swiss border for an overnight stop. The spectacular trip through Switzerland followed and finally after a bit of white knuckle driving through northern Italy we reached Umbria. The sun doesn’t always shine in Italy. We had rain, we had wind, there was the cold and the odd luxurious sunny day. Most nights we were grateful for the newly installed wood burning stove. With temperatures hitting in excess of 40 degrees in the summer affecting grape and olive harvests the Umbrian folk have now had to endure an uncharacteristically cold winter. Thick snow and temperatures dropping well into the minus’s, they have needed their famous down filled puffa jackets!

In November we had grass seed sown but unfortunately it has shown no desire to germinate and grow. The sowing will be repeated next week and hopefully with the warmth of an Italian spring we will soon have verdant green pasture. Fingers crossed! It is too early to tell whether there will be a good harvest of olives late October, but we are ever hopeful. We love the whole process of producing olive oil from our trees. There were weather weary shrubs to replace and new herbs to dig in, there were 15 barrow loads of pruning to put on the bonfire and jolly geraniums to pot up. Constructive time spent outside.

I was sad to have lost a very lovely friend somewhat unexpectedly and did lots of contemplative walking and lots of contemplative sewing. It’s taken so much of my life to realise that sewing really does soothe my sad soul. Beloved Bernina really is truly therapeutic. Can I ask what soothes your soul?

Flying back to Bristol for my friends Celebration of Life service, Andy was left to host ancestors of the farmhouse we now own a tiny part of. From New York, they were apparently lovely and really enthusiastic about the area and their kinfolks former home. We hope they’ll return and stop for longer next time. I’m sure they are going to be pretty busy as they have sold their home and are converting an old yellow school bus for a unique mobile home.

As ever there was gorgeous food to eat, starry skies to be amazed by and the odd Aperol Spritz to partake in by the lake. It is often the most simple things that give the most pleasure. I love the ancient olive tree just outside one of our bedroom windows. As dawn arrives, the tree fills with chirpy and busy little birds. They enjoy the olives which escaped the rakes of the late autumn harvesting. Such a perfect view and I absolutely know that we are truly lucky.

Back in UK there are sewing projects to finish, ongoing research for The Remember Me Project and a job to apply for. The garden of the damp woodland variety needs to be tackled and the dusty, crumbly house needs to be dealt with. Friends need to be loved and cared for, and the nest got ready for another little grandchild. Volunteering for Young Carer’s will restart and yes, there are really lovely things to come home for … just not the dusting!

Hope you have a good week. Love Rocking Dog x

PS Many thanks to Cliff at the British Legion, Frampton Cotterell for the box of poppy crosses. The box is sadly empty- each cross represented one young local soldier who fell or who died of wounds during the Great War.

Roman Rugby,Rocking Dog

Roman Rugby

Letting In The Sun,Rocking Dog

Letting In The Sun

Contemplative Walking,Rocking Dog

Contemplative Walking

Choppy Lake,Rocking Dog

Choppy Lake

Calm Lake,Rocking Dog

Calm Lake

Social Lake,Rocking Dog

Social Lake

Cake,Rocking Dog

Cake

Pasta....,Rocking Dog

Pasta….

& Projects,Rocking Dog

& Projects

 

Talking Food With Lovely Young Carer’s

Neat Apple Piles,Rocking Dog

Neat Apple Piles

What could be more lovely than talking food with lovely Young Carer’s. I love my time volunteering, this time I was asked to facilitate two healthy eating sessions for 18-26 year olds. I was delighted to be asked. The sessions are part of a Wellbeing course being run over the next six weeks. I quite fancy the Yoga, mindfulness and guided walk weeks!

We had a lovely time talking nutrition, how the group shopped, and top tips for cooking on a budget. The two hours flew! Obviously every good event deserves a goody bag. Dear neighbour Jenny asked me if I would like some apples on a recent visit. Starting to plan my Young Carer’s session I rather cheekily asked if I could indeed have apples for thirteen crumbles! Jenny so kindly obliged and we had a lovely time yesterday picking apples in glorious sunshine. Oats, brown sugar, wholemeal flour and margarine were weighed rather hurriedly and put into sewn paper pockets with the recipe attached. Voila! a DIY crumble pack.

Next week we will have fun in the kitchen cooking some nutritious wintry comfort food. Sorry to the chap who suggested steak, I don’t think the budget can quite stretch to that! I do so love my time with Young Carer’s and it’s a great organisation to be involved with.

On arriving back at the kennel I cleared the somewhat chaotic kitchen. Everywhere had a generous dusting of flour, oats and sugar! I rather disconcertingly came upon one solitary bag of Flour/oats. Oops! I rather hope everyone has got a bag of crumble mix. Apple puree anyone?!

Apple Harvest,Rocking Dog

Apple Harvest

Pick Me!,Rocking Dog

Pick Me!

Tea Towel Recipe,Rocking Dog

Tea Towel Recipe

DIY Crumble Pack,Rocking Dog

DIY Crumble Pack

Crumble In A Teacup,Rocking Dog

Crumble In A Teacup

Apples To Decorate,Rocking Dog

Apples To Decorate

My 400th Rocking Dog Post

Exquisite Setting,Rocking Dog

Exquisite Setting

Sorry that there is no Rocking Dog gingerbread house or cake with the number 400 on it. Life has been busy shopping and preparing for a lovely wedding at the end of the week. Rocking Dog is going to be pulling out all the stops! The atmospheric photo heading this post is taken in the garden where there’ll be a marquee, an undoubtedly very glamorous bride and groom and a melee of equally gorgeous guests. I am slightly worried that my own outfit is all together rather Handmaid’s Tale – I’m just needing the bonnet! The garden this morning was young, fresh, verdant and with the happy sound of little children enjoying the first day of the summer holidays, yay! The borders are looking wonderful with Bears Breeches, Agapanthus, Hosta’s and other botanical loveliness. The old warm brick walls which formerly would have had lean-to green housing for the growing of lemons, pineapples and other “showy” edibles now hosts wisteria with its scented mauve chandelier blooms. There really is nothing like an English garden and this one is truly, yes absolutely truly lovely.

It has taken Rocking Dog 7 months to leap from 350 to 400 posts. There have been times where writing has not come easily. In fact reading doesn’t always come very easily either. I am ashamed to say that in June I read my first book in two years and that felt quite an achievement. The brain is such a difficult organ to fathom.

Importantly, there has been a new grandchild this spring and in turn the nurturing of new parents. The name Biddy (as in old) is becoming a term of endearment I really love. I haven’t given up leopard print or silver wedge shoes and yes, I know I will love him unconditionally even when he’s a grunting spotty teenager!

The seven months have seen Christmas glitzily come and go, and in fact come back again! Indeed, we hosted “Christmas in February” at the kennel and raised £550 (plus GiftAid) for Young Carer’s. We can do “Christmas in a Box” for families in need Christmas 2017. Wee Tam’, Old gout ridden Toby and Mrs Mack (the present from Fleetwood) are busy conjuring up the theme for next years Burn’s Night…watch this space!

There has been lots of walking to be done with Real Live Rocking Dog with a myriad of wildlife- deer, kingfishers, weasels, buzzards, swallows and even a Russian Waxwing! The white rabbits still seem to be multiplying in the field and I never cease to think that it’s some weird scene from Teletubbies! Real Live Rocking Dog also got to walk in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Germany and finally Italy this Spring. Like us he likes the Umbrian way of life and he is particularly partial to the sausages stocked in the village shop!

Rocking Dog has continued to make food, sew, gallantly endeavoured to tackle two unruly gardens, volunteer, homemake, care for friends & family and always tried to be cheery (for a half empty glass gal’ I acknowledge I am).

Seven months in a nutshell! Somewhat alarmingly the next fifty posts should take me to Christmas 2017! There’ll have been Young Carer’s Christmas Boxes to pack, a charity pop up restaurant night under our belts, an olive harvest to bring in (fingers crossed), Real Live Rocking Dog having walked in the snow again and lots of happy times spent with friends and family.

Love to all those who follow my blog, I appreciate you hanging in there with me

Love Rocking Dog x

PS. Yes, another phenomenon of the 7 months is the Rocking Dog Creative Huddle. There is a Huddle this Wednesday (26th). Homemade cake (fingers crossed) creative stuff, friendly chat and you’d be very welcome 7-9pm. Donations into the teapot for Fine Cell Work inspiring and supporting prison inmates to sew and embroider.

Winter Walks,Rocking Dog

Winter Walks

Mrs Mac & Wee Tam,Rocking Dog

Mrs Mac & Wee Tam

Christmas In Feb',Rocking Dog

Christmas In Feb’

Marmalade Making,Rocking Dog

Marmalade Making

Cushion Making,Rocking Dog

Cushion Making

Creative Huddling,Rocking Dog

Creative Huddling

Field Full Of Flowers,Rocking Dog

Field Full Of Flowers

Chelsea Flowers,Rocking Dog

Chelsea Flowers

Quilted Flowers,Rocking Dog

Quilted Flowers

English Wedding,Rocking Dog

English Wedding

Spring In Umbria,Rocking Dog

Spring In Umbria

Swim In Umbria!,Rocking Dog

Swim In Umbria!

Enough. Enough Now. Christmas In February Over.

Habitat Angel,Rocking Dog

Habitat Angel

Enough. Enough Now. Christmas In February is indeed over! Saturday saw us host a special Burn’s Night at the kennel to pay tribute to Wham’s “Last Christmas”. Guests were asked to bring nothing but empty tummies and donations for Young Carer’s (Christmas in A Box 2017).

The evening started with Careless Whisper cocktails served in retro Babycham glasses. There were freshly baked haggis sausage rolls and Christmassy flavour crisps.

Guests arrived, some gallantly attired in 1980’s ski chalet wear. There was a very dodgy wig or two and leg warmers aplenty! It was time for music. The lounge was filled to the gunnels with RockPipe musicians who played a half hour set of “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”, Abba Medley, “Don’t Stop Believin'” etc..

The Haggis was piped in and addressed. It was hot in the kitchen- turning out turkey and all the trimmings for 50 was no mean feat! There were so many comments (mainly women!) that it was so lovely to be eating a Christmas meal without having had to cook it.

Menu- Free range bronze turkey, Bourbon glazed ham, Bacon wrapped sausages, Homemade white nut roast, Vegetarian and non veg’ haggis. Sprouts with chestnuts & pancetta, peas, Buttered baby carrots, Roast potatoes, Cauliflower cheese, Yorkshire pud’s (SO sorry son Alex not homemade versions!), gravy and homemade spiced apple jelly.

People found places to perch, we even made one of the bedrooms into a fairy-lit
private dining space. Meanwhile back in the culinary HQ it was time to clear the decks and get puddings underway.

RockPipes noisily restarted and the set included “Last Christmas” and a wonderful rendition of “Careless Whisper”. Thank you Simon for your amazing Sax’ playing… tremendous. There was also the unforgettable YMCA complete with false moustaches. Great fun.

Puddings were served.

Menu- Black Forest inspired trifles, Hazelnut Macaroon with homemade lemon curd & Mascarpone, Mince pies, Christmas Pudding, Christmas Cake. The Christmas cake was made especially for the event and given a retro snow scene.

Thank you to all who lent chairs, cutlery, lanterns, and to all those who took a turn in the kitchen sink. Thanks to cocktail shakers and all those who entered the spirit with singing and dancing.

A million thanks to those who so generously donated to our chosen charity. An incredible £515 (plus Gift Aid) will be used for making up “Christmas in the Box” for Young Carer families in particular need Christmas 2017 ( breakfast, full turkey roast with all the trimmings, tea and treats)

The £5 Ikea clearance tree is down and decorations boxed, Billy the boar who graced us with his snowbally presence is leaving Bristol for the sunnier climes of Umbria, Bon Voyage Billy! A sense of normality is gradually returning, though there is still a rather large drum kit to trip over!

Enough. Enough now!

£5 Ikea Tree,Rocking Dog

£5 Ikea Tree

Sprouty Chains,Rocking Dog

Sprouty Chains

Italy Bound Billy,Rocking Dog

Italy Bound Billy

Private Dining,Rocking Dog

Private Dining

RockPipes & Sax',Rocking Dog

RockPipes & Sax’

Cake Anyone?,Rocking Dog

Cake Anyone?

Rocking Dog’s Lost Week

It Snowed!,Rocking Dog

It Snowed!

I am the bear that hibernated for a week, no posts, no words, no thoughts for posts. Unlike a growly wintry soporific bear I was not sleeping in a cosy den, but I was feeling quiet. I let myself forget about words and painted. Ceiling, walls & skirting boards felt dashes of Wevet, bog standard white and Charleston Gray. The changes are insignificant, yet constructive.

I sewed for me and with my lovely brave friend. Sewing is so therapeutic, I can truly recommend it, I just wish it burnt of calories like a dose of Zumba! I cooked for friends, dishes included Delia’s golden rosti capped Fish Pie and Rick Stein’s Almond Tart. Comfort food to warm the cockles! I also allowed myself time to transcribe a few more recipes from my beloved 1846 handwritten cook book. There were recipes for potting shrimps, stewing cheese, making gooseberry vinegar and a recipe for making potato yeast when common yeast was scarce. How I love my little book, I should set myself the challenge of cooking all the recipes a la Julia & Julia!

Plans on how to do the final touches to our little place in Umbria occupied me as did planning for Christmas! No not THAT Christmas, the one that is happening on Saturday to mark Burn’s Night. Yes I know its late…. but.. This year I wanted a ski chalet theme so we are paying homage to Wham’s “Last Christmas”. So .. there is turkey and all the trimmings, Christmas pud’, mince pies (groan!), trifle and retro cocktails. I suppose as it’s belated Burn’s there ought to be haggis too. The tree is going up… again, there’ll be crackers, “Rockpipes” and mistletoe… yes, I am totally mad! However… on a serious front any cash donations will be put to providing “Christmas in a Box” for Young Carer’s families in particular need when the real Christmas comes around again. It will come around sooner than we know it.

It was so lovely to see snow last week, alas only a small dusting. It never seems to snow like it did when we were children. Depressing that it’s probably all to do with global warming… and YES Mr dumb arse Trump there really is such a thing! Pretty please can I order some snow for Saturday it would make my “Last Christmas” dreams come true!

No snow today, but a wonderful restorative walk close to the Severn with one of the Rocking Dog Huddlers. Lambs, winter sunshine, good conversation (thank you Karen) and six miles of mud later I was ready to stop hibernating and to get back to some words.

Thank you for your patience. Love Rocking Dog x

PS You may just ask where Andyman was during my brief hibernation… skiing in the same resort as the Geordie Shore lot were being filmed! Hmmmm, classy!

Snowy Dessert,Rocking Dog

Snowy Dessert

Snow Sprinkled Tart,Rocking Dog

Snow Sprinkled Tart

Promise Of Warmth,Rocking Dog

Promise Of Warmth

Paint Job,Rocking Dog

Paint Job

Therapeutic Sewing,Rocking Dog

Therapeutic Sewing

Ongoing Transcribing,Rocking Dog

Ongoing Transcribing

Planning For Italy,Rocking Dog

Planning For Italy

....Ditto!,Rocking Dog

….Ditto!

& Planning Christmas!,Rocking Dog

& Planning Christmas!

Restorative Walk,Rocking Dog

Restorative Walk

Aahhh! Baby Lambs,Rocking Dog

Aahhh! Baby Lambs

...& God Damned Tired Real Live Rocking Dog!,Rocking Dog

…& God Damned Tired Real Live Rocking Dog!

My Christmas List, Love Rocking Dog.

Are You In The Attic Zac?!,Rocking Dog

Are You In The Attic Zac?!

I should be getting on and frou’ing the kennel in readiness for Winter Wonderland this weekend. I hope I’ll get to see you then. However, I just wanted to sit down and take the opportunity to take a few deep breaths!

Have you repeatedly been asked what you’d like for Christmas? As I get older I really find it difficult to come up with anything. The things I do want are impossibly out of reach or need time. Anyhow I thought i’d just jot down my 2016 Christmas List. Are there the same things on your list ?

Here Goes-

1. Peace throughout the world. I have asked for that one for years and years (we are talking about when Ireland was in the midst of terrible bombings). Is it unreasonable to want a safer place globally for our children and grandchildren to grow up in?

2. My friend to get better. I miss her so much, but she’s come such a long courageous way. In with this big wish I want continued strength for her LOVELY family. Big love to all the staff too. You are all truly brilliant.

3. For Donald Trump to be a surprisingly good President… and that we all have to eat our words.

4. Patience and kindness with my Mother In Law. I will truly scream if I have to endure one more conversation about Bristol’s white elephant Metrobus. Just get the damned thing finished, get an operator to run it and we can all move on…. or maybe not… there’s always the weather and traffic to be gloomy about. Do you sense now why I need to sit down and breathe!

5. Love, hope, support and happiness for Young Carer’s everywhere. you are a truly amazing group of people and I love volunteering for the South Gloucestershire Young Carer’s group. Lovely friendly committed staff try to do their very best for these families. These youngsters have to grow up so very quickly and the levels of responsibility on such young shoulders’ is huge. A massive sprinkling of fairy dust coming your way!

6. Unlike Donald (Trump) I do believe in Global Warming- I hope that everyone makes small personal strives to live their life a little greener and be more respectful of the beautiful world we live in. Buy things you want to live with for the next 10 years (or even better life!) Sorry if this sounds preachy.

7. To make the time to sit, eat and socialise with friends. Time hurtles by so quickly and friends are so massively important. I’ll be ringing you to put a date in the 2017 diary.

8. Keep my family safe. I am sure I am not alone when as parents we say goodbye on the drive way to our children. They are instructed to text or ring when they get back (however relatively short the distance they are driving). Parenting really is for life and there is no switch off button to stop the anxiety and concern as they navigate life’s rich tapestry!

9. To have absolutely no more requests to make Roman Blinds… love you all that I do. It’s just a mathematical thing.

10. To eradicate fly-tipping and rubbish everywhere. Yes the kids will tell you it’s a real pet hate of mine and so unnecessary. This year there have been e.mails to Councillors, Pub management companies and MP’s. Exhausting. Finally, this seems petty but would the litterer who drops a cigarette packet in the lane on an almost daily basis please stop doing so- this simple thoughtless act makes my blood boil!

Yes I am a grumpy old woman. So there it is my wishlist and I hope i’ll be crossing off at least one or two of them in time.

Right back to the serious business of frou’ing the kennel!

Lots of love Rocking Dog x

PS another Real Live Rocking Dog would be lovely (but dogs are for life and not just for Christmas), and oh I do need a potato peeler!

Rocking Dog Winter Events 2016

Winter Wonder,Rocking Dog

Winter Wonder

Oh Yay! Oh Yay! Rocking Dog diary dates hot off the press. The Dog is hosting two events at the kennel in the next few weeks. I am humbled when people say that their Christmas really feels to be gloriously starting after coming to one of my festive jaunts. Indeed I hope visitors to the kennel this year will go away with a warming inspired festive glow.

The first date is a St Andrews Day Celebration. Wednesday 30th November 6.30-8.30pm.

Andyman is Scottish and I am half Scottish -so any excuse to cook up an event with a decidedly Scottish flavour! There’ll be fires burning in the hearths, candles, Mr and Mrs Mack together with Wee Tam and lovely things to eat and drink. There’ll be the opportunity to buy Rocking Dog makes and to chat with friends. The resident bagpiper will hopefully blow his pipes and i’m hoping that the toby jug folk don’t reel off the mantlepiece!

Winter Wonderland at the Kennel happens on Sunday 11th December 11am-2pm.

Rocking Dog LOVES Christmas decorations (Andyman has banned anymore coming into the house…boo hiss!!!) Come and witness Winter Wonderland Rocking Dog style. There’ll be lovely things to buy including Italian treats and Rocking Dog preserves (by popular request). Sit eating and drinking delicious things around my kitchen table and celebrate the forthcoming festive season. Many apologies for that very indulgent link-fave Christmas video of all time!

Profits from refreshments for both events will go to Young Carers (Bristol & South Gloucestershire) and BUST, such worthy and amazing local charities. Thank you to all who gave SO generously last year.

I hope you can grace us with your presents oops! presence. Love Rocking Dog x

PS  Thank you to friends and family who have given Andy and I such amazing support recently.

In The Pan, Rocking Dog

In The Pan

Heavenly Sweet Stash, Rocking Dog

Heavenly Sweet Stash

Rocking Dog Sewing, Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog Sewing

RD Winter Wonderland,Rocking Dog

RD Winter Wonderland

Marmalade Fruit,Rocking Dog

Marmalade Fruit

Gnome Hangout!,Rocking Dog

Gnome Hangout!

Bag For Haggis!,Rocking Dog

Bag For Haggis!

Famous Pies,Rocking Dog

Famous Pies

Warm Welcome!,Rocking Dog

Warm Welcome!

Stocking Tops!,Rocking Dog

Stocking Tops!

Christmas Inspiration, Rocking Dog

Christmas Inspiration

Italian Food Parcel, Rocking Dog

Italian Food Parcel

Rocking Dog Does Each Peach, Pear, Plum…

Each Peach, Pear, Plum..., Rocking Dog

Each Peach, Pear, Plum…

Rocking Dog does each peach, pear, plum. Just what project to complete or embark on? Having had a bit of a long lasting headache this week, decision making has been rather difficult. On Tuesday night I was awake at 4am and I decided on a peppermint tea, pain killers and cuddle with Real Live Rocking Dog. The thought of clandestine sewing or ironing I couldn’t contemplate, so I watched a little TV. A programme about Hitler’s drug habit followed by a smaltzy Christmas movie soon sent me scuttling back to bed!

So  on the Rocking Dog workbench there are indeed a number of projects which require my attention. There are three Roman blinds to finish for the newly weds. They require complete accuracy to ensure a good fit and un-wrunkled drop. Accuracy, I am the first to admit is not one of my strong points! I must persevere and deal with the mathematics of the folds. Curtains next time Alex and Kylie..curtains.

There is a sweet cross stitch panel (number 3) which has been worked by my very brave friend. It is so lovely to spend time bonding over embroidery. Panels completed, I then do a “Tailor of Gloucester” and make the work into something pretty and useful. I am SO proud of my lovely friend’s incredible strives for recovery. I am so sorry for my oh so painful needle threading- it must be so exasperating to observe! x

Talking of cross stitch, I loved the apron stitched by one of the East Quantoxhead village hall ladies. I did ask if I could photograph her charming cross stitched bosom!

Also on the bench is a bale of scrumptious yellow striped silk which will become simple window panels. They will be edged with some coordinating ribbon (fantastic choice to be found at Livingstone Textiles, Bridport).

A fabulous floral single quilt cover also awaits my attention. The cover will be engineered into four pillow cases to accompany a much larger quilt cover. Perhaps you are asking why I didn’t just buy pillow cases. In short, I bought the single quilt in TK Maxx for £16 and now discontinued, the pillow cases are a ridiculous price on eBay…so…

Other sewful things to contemplate are squares to cut for my heirloom floral patchwork quilt. Then somewhat scarily there is sewing for Christmas. My Rocking Dog sales at the kennel will soon come around! Weds 30th November 6.30pm St Andrew’s Day Celebration pre Christmas sale, and Sun 11th December 11am – 2pm Christmas at the Kennel. Profits from refreshments for Young Carer’s and BUST

In the kitchen, the table is laden with jars, jam sugar and local cider. Today I am going to ask my neighbour if I can buy apples from his mini orchard. We affectionately know him as the Log Stealer, for if we ever have any tree work he’s there in minutes with his mini tractor and trailer, helping himself to the lopped branches. Cheeky!! Apples hopefully scrumped i’ll make Apple & Cider Jelly. It will hopefully be for sale together with other preserves and festive eats at my sales.

I REALLY haven’t got time for any more headaches.

Sew Blind, Rocking Dog

Sew Blind

Vibrant Pillowcases, Rocking Dog

Vibrant Pillowcases

Silken Windows, Rocking Dog

Silken Windows

Brave Cross Stitch, Rocking Dog

Brave Cross Stitch

One We Made Earlier, Rocking Dog

One We Made Earlier

Quantocks Cook, Rocking Dog

Quantocks Cook

Patchwork Squares, Rocking Dog

Patchwork Squares

There's Always Christmas!, Rocking Dog

There’s Always Christmas!

Plea For Apples, Rocking Dog

Plea For Apples

Gold Stars For The Young Carers

Star Baker!, Rocking Dog

Star Baker!

Yes, definitely gold stars for the Young Carers. I had a lovely time in the kitchen with eight young budding culinary maestro’s yesterday. One trio made Chicken fajitas with a home made tomato and chilli salsa, together with wholemeal tortillas. Meanwhile another trio made some tasty Toulouse pork shortcut meatballs with roast sweet potato wedges. Finally, a very enthusiastic pair baked a peach filo pie in a very appropriate star shaped dish. Then chefs, staff and volunteers all came together to eat the feast. It was stupendous Young Carers- thank you.

The washing up fairy swished her magic wand and with goody bags in hand (containing all the ingredients for making a sugar free tomato sauce) the YC’s whisked themselves away to practice all they’d learnt.

Volunteering for over a year for Young Carers I can see just how vital the services are for these young folk and their families. The staff are so committed and the young ones benefit from knowing that they are absolutely not alone.

Gold stars to one and all!

Competition For Nando's, Rocking Dog

Competition For Nando’s

Sweet Potato Wedges, Rocking Dog

Sweet Potato Wedges

Shortcut Meatballs, Rocking Dog

Shortcut Meatballs

Mosaic…I’m Trying To Make A Start!

Drying In The Sun, Rocking Dog

Drying In The Sun

Somehow life is like a mosaic… it’s lots of little pieces of this and that, and lots of unexpected patterns and cracks! My plans to get going with decorating an ugly concrete wall in the garden is going slowly.

I have however managed to retrieve a shed load of broken china from the… shed! There are more beautiful shards to archeologically uncover but i’m a bit of a scaredy cat. There are some rather large moths and who knows what else to spook me in the said shed.

Three trays worth of china has been washed and dried in readiness for prettifying the wall. Isn’t it a good job human beings are so clumsy. The loveliest breakages have come from a lovely lady who gave me a cache of broken pots to Charleston-fy my garden. I love the porcelain with vibrant green dragons. It must have looked truly amazing in it’s unbroken format.

Today will not be a mosaic day, I am leading a healthy eating day with a group of Young Carers. We will be making Chicken Faijita’s, Shortcut Meatballs, Sweet potato wedges and a Peach Filo Pie. They will be also guessing how many sugar lumps in various foods. Can you believe that there are 28 lumps of sugar in Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food ?! Gulp!!

The remainder of the week the weather looks a little less favourable. Until I mix my swimming pool grout i’ll keep on being inspired by the likes of Julie Arkell, Cleo Mussi and by the memories of Cuba, the New York subway and Rome.

Last night I rustled together a tray bake supper and I couldn’t help thinking that the ingredients were a colourful Mediterranean mosaic. Smoked Cod, tiny plum tomatoes, heritage potatoes, herbs from the garden, olives and slices of lemon. A delicious quickly constructed mosaic!

Clumsy Cracks, Rocking Dog

Clumsy Cracks

The Wall, Rocking Dog

The Wall

Mosaic Stool, Rocking Dog

Mosaic Stool

Cuban Inspiration, Rocking Dog

Cuban Inspiration

Arkell Inspiration, Rocking Dog

Arkell Inspiration

NY Subway Mosaic, Rocking Dog

NY Subway Mosaic

Roman Mosaic, Rocking Dog

Roman Mosaic

Religious Mosaic, Rocking Dog

Religious Mosaic

Woolly Mosaic, Rocking Dog

Woolly Mosaic

Mussi, Rocking Dog

Mussi

More Mussi!, Rocking Dog

More Mussi!

Mosaic Meal, Rocking Dog

Mosaic Meal