Monthly Archives: November 2013

Christmas Cards

A few years ago I decided to stop sending Christmas Cards – or at least greatly reduce the number I was sending.

We used to end up sending something like 100 cards and many of those were to people we see on a regular basis (even on Christmas Day) so as well as being an expense which I wanted to reduce, it seems better too for the environment as most people then throw a huge stack of cards in the recycling bin at the end of the Christmas holidays.

Cards can be quite expensive and as I usually sent a letter with the cards to people that I don’t see regularly, I decided to still send the letter with perhaps a nice photo incorporated and explain that we were trying to be a little more economical and also do a little bit to save the environment and wastage.

Most people I have found value receiving a letter more than a card and therefore appreciated being remembered – many times I have heard of people who say “we decided not to send a letter this year” only to be bombarded with complaints that the letter was missed – especially if you don’t see people because you live too far apart.  They still like to know what your year has been like (be selective though over boasting about little Johny’s achievements)

So now I will send a few cards, mainly just to family (who obviously don’t need the letter)

You could maybe (if you have free land-line calls) give someone a telephone call instead of sending a card or letter – postage is so expensive now I’m sure they would love to speak you


Laundry Tip

Does your Laundry/Airing cupboard disintegrate into chaos and you have trouble finding everything you are looking for?

Well here’s a simple little tip I’ve picked up which will help.

When you’ve washed and ironed your bed linen, sort and fold everything you need for each bed set (sheets, pillow cases, duvet cover etc) into a pile for each set.

Then take one pillow case from the set (if you have matching sets then the one which helps identify which set you want) and carefully place all the bed linen for each set inside the pillow case and fold down the pillow case over itself.

You can then place the set into your cupboard and when you next want to change your bed linen, everything is together in an organised bundle which you can simply remove without having to sort through to find the right number of pillow cases or the correct sheet for different size beds.

By using the pillow cover you can easily identify the set you wish to use and your cupboard stays neat and tidy


Creamy Coconut and Apricot Porridge


Having made Coronation Chicken last night I had some Coconut milk and apricots left over so I decided to incorporate them into my porridge.

I used;

1/3 cup Porridge oats (use 1/2 cup for hubby)

1/3 cup juice from the tinned apricots

1/3 cup coconut milk

1/3 cup water

3-4 apricot halves chopped

Mix together well and cook in the microwave for 2 minutes.

Remove and stir well and return for another 30 seconds

Repeat once or twice more depending on your microwave power (mines a 700watt) until creamy and steaming hot.

Stir well and enjoy.

I usually let mine sit for a few minutes to continue cooking and thicken up

You can adjust the quantities of liquid easily to taste by swapping the water for more coconut milk.  I did find that the juice makes it quite sweet (although very nice) so you may prefer to substitute that and just drizzle a little over the top before serving.

I have enough left for some tomorrow as well 😉

The Chicken – Part 6 (Easy Coronation Chicken)


Yet another dish from the bits of chicken stored in the freezer – I was going to make my chicken and pineapple curry ( but spotted a tin of apricots in the cupboard so made this instead.

You will need: (Serves 2)

approx 150g chopped Chicken

1tsp Curry powder

1tbsp Tomato puree

1 garlic clove (crushed)

Half a tin of Coconut Milk

Half a tin of Apricots

1tbsp ground almonds (or flaked)

Pinch Chilli powder (optional to taste)


Gently fry the chicken with the garlic until almost cooked.

Add the curry powder and tomato puree and mix together

Add the coconut milk, apricots and almonds and bring up to the boil mixing well and then turn down to a simmer for about 5 – 10 minutes stirring occasionally (the almonds have a tendency of sticking if you are not careful)

Check seasoning, adding a little salt and pepper if liked and maybe a little more chilli powder for more heat.

Serve with rice.

You could also add sultanas if liked (I don’t)



With the current publicity about the tragic number of cyclists being injured and killed in accidents a lot of the blame is being placed on drivers and probably in a high percentage rightly so, but my experiences recently make me think that cyclists should take more responsibility too.

Last night while I was driving, I turned right onto a stretch of a one way street, and a shadow went past me on the near side.  We realised that it was a cyclist riding in the wrong direction in dark clothing and with no lights.  There was no way I could have seen him (my assumption) and I was grateful that he did not hit me.

When I am out on my bike and I want to take a short cut like that, get across a busy road/traffic lights etc – I get off and walk my bike with the same care I would as a pedestrian.

A couple of weeks ago while walking into town I started across the road at a pelican crossing (a pedestrian crossing controlled by traffic lights) along with several other people and some on the other side of the road; when a large group of cyclists went through the lights at red.  How they missed the elderly man attempting to cross I don’t know and there were people with small children in buggy’s on my side too. Only one of them stopped, and that was probably because I had started to have a go at them.  Hubby commented when I told him about this that some bikes are quite difficult to stop but cars had stopped on the other side, when driving, you see traffic lights with pedestrians and you prepare yourself to stop – the same applies to cycling.

The rules of the road apply to everyone, cars, cyclists, motorbikes (who seem to think that speed restrictions don’t apply to them)  Red lights mean STOP!, One way traffic means the same for everyone.  If you are going to cycle in the dark you need lights – it’s no use then crying (if you survive) because a car driver pulls out in front of you if you can’t be seen.  Some bikes can travel very fast.

I always wear a bright yellow high visibility jacket when out on my bike to increase the chances of drivers seeing me and I take extra care at junctions, getting off and walking with pedestrian crossings if necessary.

I tend to walk more than I drive now so as a car driver (over 30 years) cyclist and pedestrian I take responsibility for my own safety and try as far as possible to consider other road and path users.  If on a shared cycle/footpath while on my bike and I come up behind someone I will shout to make sure they know I am there before passing as on many occasions I have been startled by a cyclist racing past me from behind with no warning.  I could probably go on but that’s enough of a rant for today.

Make Level Paths

Very often we think we know our bibles well but sometimes you read a verse and think “I’ve never seen that before” even though you know you have read it many many times and probably heard sermons on it.

Today I read this;

Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled but rather healed (Hebrews 12 v 13)

Perhaps it stood out to me and I noticed it more because of my recent posts about our responsibility to be an example to other believers and non believers alike but the commentary note in my Bible say that this is a call for upright conduct that will help, rather than hinder, the spiritual and moral welfare of others, especially the “lame” who waver in the Christian faith.

My first thought was that the “lame” referred to new or young believers but as I thought about it, it occurred to me that not many of us are actually born lame.  We learn as young children (or new believers) to walk through the love and guidance of those around us who encourage us and support us, hold us up until we become strong enough to walk on our own and grow stronger each day.  They picked us up when we fell down, dressed the wounds and helped us to continue until we no longer fell down.  They continued to guide us on how to walk safely, how to cross the road and make wise choices on which direction to go and how to negotiate obstacles safely.  We don’t expect a new born baby to be able to walk straight away.  Some learn more quickly than others but each of us usually learns eventually.

I realised that in most cases, we become lame.  We make a bad choice and get hurt or we have an accident from which the wounds are painful and sometimes never fully heal – we have the scars which never leave to prove it.  Sometimes we become lame simply through age and our feeble bodies wearing out.

In all these situations this verse highlights our responsibility to care for others, to support and love them when they find walking difficult, to make sure that there are no obstacles that will cause them to trip or stumble.  Sometimes we get a wheelchair to help them to keep going forward either under their own strength or with help, but again the path has to be level.  If there are steps, someone has to help get up that step so that they can continue to get to where they need to be.  Sometimes a person who has been in the faith a long time becomes weary and worn out over time no longer has the strength to be able to walk on their own but needs people to come alongside them and hold them up in the way that Moses needed in the end.

Those that are born lame often need more support, their problems (eg someone who had addiction problem) never fully go away but they have to learn to live life in a way that enables them to continue to live life to the full.

I also noticed that the verse before this says;

Therefore strengthen your feeble arms and week knees (Hebrews 12 v 12 and Isaiah 35 v 3)

The responsibility is on us to make ourselves strong so that we can make the path level for others

We would never consider putting obstacles in the way of someone with a physical disability but we do everything we can to make life easier for them.  We should therefore endeavor to do the same for those who may be “spiritually lame”  and to be honest, every one of us will have something that we have a problem with so lets help each other.

Women Drivers

It was late 1961 and 21 year old Avril had driven the 25 miles into London to collect her auntie from Victoria Coach Station.  She was looking forward to showing off her 6 month old baby son who was sleeping in his carry cot on the back seat.  Although it had only been a few months since Avril had passed her driving test, she already had a lot of experience as she helped her husband’s business by doing a lot of the small delivery jobs.

She was quite proud of herself for passing her test at her first attempt as she didn’t know many other women that could drive, especially those of her age.

She was driving the family’s Morris Oxford Estate car which was quite big for a small dainty young woman but she was used to it as she drove it most days.

Just outside the coach station she spotted a parking space and carefully went through her parallel parking routine and expertly positioned the car in the center of the space.  She turned off the engine and was then startled by a tap on the window.

It was a police officer, so she wound the window down and asked “Is everything alright officer? I am allowed to park here aren’t I?”

“Yes everything’s fine Miss but you’ve just cost me 10 bob” he replied.

“Oh Dear” said Avril “I’m sorry but I don’t understand how”

The officer replied “I was standing over there with my colleague and I saw a young woman driving a big car and I bet him 10 bob that you wouldn’t be able to get this big car into this space, but I was proved wrong ”  They both laughed ” Well done anyway Miss, Have a good day and safe journey home