This is one of the busiest times of the year for my work as the charity I work for takes part in numerous outside events and I usually have to set them up and take them down at the end of the day. Last Saturday I was at a local school which raises money for us, and Sunday I was at the Dragon Boat Challenge in York, where we had a fundraising stall. So I haven’t had a lot of time for blogging, or reading the many which I follow.

The Optimistic Pessimist's poem on display in Lofty's rear window

The Optimistic Pessimist’s poem on display in Lofty’s rear window

However, I said in my most recent post that Lofty, my VW camper, had not only insisted I reblogged a poem – Campervan – penned by Bradford’s blogger the Optimistic Pessimist, but that I printed it out and displayed it in his window. That I had not had time to do.

So, apart from giving me all sorts of problems changing gear (he needs a new clutch), yesterday on a visit to nearby Bronte land – ie Haworth – he refused to start to bring us home.

I promised that the poem would go in today and, possibly helped by a jump start from the leisure battery, he got us home.

We have a lot of steep hills around here so I really must get the clutch done – I had quite a problem to pull away on a 1 in 3 today – but with no place to do it, not the tools necessary and, more important, getting too long in the tooth to do such things now, it’s a garage job so I have to find a day I can do without him as he’s my daily ride (and travelling B&B!).

He also runs on LPG, half the cost of running on petrol, so I will only trust someone who knows the LPG system to pull the engine (or, more to the point, put it back and get it running correctly again) for the new clutch.

I’ll have to get it done soon; I should be on annual leave for the rest of the month after 7 August so I don’t want to be stranded in the Yorkshire Dales, let alone maybe in the north of Scotland!

Originally posted on The optimistic pessimist:

Box of dreams

Wardrobe to other worlds

Part of the gang

We wave at our own

Like crazy people

Because we know

We share the joy

Perfect joy

Of freedom

On wheels

Where every day is perfect

Every meal the most amazing

Every moment with you

In that perfect little place

To keep us together

Trapped in the same room

Never bored

Always happy

Happy like

You can’t remember

What sad feels like

Just filled to brimming

With joy.

View original

Witches   tread with care

Beware our bouquet    spiky

Healthy human food

A black and white picture of wild garlic

Wild garlic in the Washburn Valley, June, Yorkshire

Photo on Olympus OM4, Zuiko 50mm f/1.8, Ilford PanF Plus 50, stand-developed RO9

madness frozen out

bones interred together        warmed

peace       buds in waiting

Early morning view from my sitting room window: the clock tower of the once notorious Victorian "lunatic asylum" at Menston, now luxury flats. Over 2,000 bodies of former inmates are buried close by

Early morning view from my sitting room window: the clock tower – about 1/2 mile away – of the once notorious Victorian “lunatic asylum” at Menston, now luxury flats. Over 2,000 bodies of former inmates are buried, together, close by

Chirruping crickets

All else mute   they look to dawn

Winter waits    restore

I got pollen

I got nectar

I got freedom

Who could ask for anything more?

         With deference to George and Ira Gershwin

Biscuits cut from sky

Baking in the summer sun

Heaven gives     look up

Alt for American audience:

Cookies cut from sky

Baking in the summer sun

Heaven gives    look up

These shapes immediately brought to mind the tiny ‘biscuits’ which are a part of any celebration in the part of Romania I know well – the northern part. In many different shapes – crescents, stars, cones and many others – they are known as ‘fursecuri’, which I cannot translate but can pronounce: foor-sec-oorr. The only picture I could find of them is:

I’ve left the haiku for today and diverted into a limerick.

And an enticing recipe for some soft-centre ‘cookies’ has led me to put up the recipe for my favourite cake – a cake with a soft centre.

Yet again it was bloggers doing ‘likes’ on my post which took me to their blogs

http://www.madkane.com/humor_blog/

http://homemadewithmess.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/soft-centered-chewy-cookie-recipe-3-2/

In the first I found a ‘limerick challenge’. Madeleine gives a first line and the challenge is to complete the limerick. In the second a cook who likes to make a mess.

Struggling with my first attempt at a short story the limerick came pretty easily:

Rueful limerick:

A fellow was starting to rue
Re-doing his story anew
The words wouldn’t come
He was almost struck dumb
And he knew that a few wouldn’t do.

My favourite cake:

Reine de Saba (this is a chocolate and almond cake, thanks to Mastering the art of French cooking, the book from which I Iearned to cook).

8inch cake tin, 1.1/2in deep. Butter and flour the tin.

Melt 4oz good plain chocolate with 2tbl rum or coffee (I go for half and half) over very hot water.

Cream 1/4lb of castor sugar with 1/4lb of softened butter, until they are a pale yellow, fluffy mixture.

Beat in three egg yolks until well blended.

Beat the three egg whites with a pinch of salt until there are soft peaks. Sprinkle on 1 tbl castor sugar and beat until there are stiff peaks (a copper bowl makes this much easier).

Blend the melted chocolate into the butter and sugar mixture using a ‘rubber’ spatula, then stir in 2oz of pulverized almonds (pulverize the almonds at top speed in a liquidiser for about 30 secs) and ¼ tsp almond extract.

Sift 2oz of fine cake flour.

Fold in a quarter of the egg whites.

When partially blended sift on a quarter of the cake flour and continue folding, then another ¼ of the egg whites. Fold in egg whites and flour alternately until all is used.

Turn the mixture into the cake tin, pushing the mixture up to the rim (so there’s a dip in the centre).

Bake in the oven at 350degF for about 25 mins. The cake is done when 2.1/2in to 3in around the rim are set so that a needle comes out clean but the centre moves slightly when the tin is shaken and the needle comes out of the centre oily.

Allow the cake to cool for 10 mins, run a knife around the edge of the tin and reverse the tin onto a rack. Allow to cool for an hour or two.

I like it just like this, but you can cover it with chocolate butter icing and make a design on the icing with almonds.

imagine     differ

climb out of the commonplace

halt     think free     proceed

Browsing around looking for inspiration I came across a site which, weekly, gives three words as a prompt to write something. This week’s three words were ‘imagine’, ‘differ’ and ‘halt’. The site is

http://www.threewordwednesday.com/

I thought I’d see if the words would prompt a haiku. They did.

In my previous post I said I liked the discipline of the 5-7-5 haiku. I also like the discipline of having to include a given three words, just from time to time.

I haven’t given up on the picture haiku, marrying up a photograph and a haiku, or just creating a ‘haiku’ from 17 pictures, as I did in my first effort – I find it very appealing and my efforts seemed to prompt quite a few ‘likes’ and ‘follows’, so I will persevere.

I find Romania inspiring so I’m hoping to find some haiku inspiring pictures there in August. There’s a little place called Sadova near which, several years ago, I experienced the greatest feeling of peace ever. I hope to go there and maybe recapture that. Just the thought of it has given me an idea for a short story – which will be my first ever if I can complete it (in fact it will not be my first; I’ve been told I wrote a lot of stories as a child. Somewhere along the way I lost that).

Another idea I’ve picked up from another blog, and I’m very sorry I cannot find it again to give a credit, was to assign a day of the week to each of various subjects. For me this might be a great idea as although some people seem to run a multiplicity of blogs, each for one of their interests, I cannot imagine being able to do that. One is hard enough. It might also help with keeping up with a post a day. I’m working on it. I guess it might help followers who find one of my topics interesting but not others.

I haven’t yet signed up to threewordwednesday but maybe I’ll work out how to do the link and make it.

From one year to three

From Shipley to Banbury

Skiffle liberates

Five pictures of grumpytyke stages

Seven pictures of grumpytyke stages

Five pictures of grumpytyke stages




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