We’ve just arrived…

We’ve just arrived from the old blog on Google’s Blogger Blogspot – so please be gentle.

While Blogger was warm, cosy and Googley we feel WordPress offers much more compatibility outside the Google ‘world view’. There might be a period of transition where bits ‘go missing’ but hey, who cares…

So here goes…


2488 Cycling miles this year.

So, just for the record, since April, i've been cycling to work.
Via my Cardio Trainer we recorded:
Sunday 27 Feb. through to Monday 4 July = 851.71miles
I then changed to the Endomondo tracker and clocked:
Tuesday 5 July through  Thurs 22 Dec = 1636.93 miles
So that's 2488 miles recorded this year.
A wheely HAPPY NEW YEAR all!


Eat me!! Mini Meat Pies!

Christmas Eve, (Annie’s) Mini Meat Pies!

It seems every Christmas I remember from Cornwall included these mini marvels! But take my word for it they don’t hang around, soooooo morish – ansome me lover! From what I recall, this is me mum’s recipe with a few twists.

– Pastry, whatever you fancy either shortcrust,  flakey or puff (above’s with Short and Puff mixed! ‘cos we ran out). Sorry, didn’t make me own, it’s too easy to take of off the shelf.

– 1 large finely chopped onion.
– 6-7 mushrooms, finely chopped.
– pack of mince 500g.
Lea and Perrins.
Balsamic Vinegar.
1 Oxo Cube.
1 egg.

(i) with a yummy knob of butter fry onions, mushrooms till browning.
(ii) remove the above to a bowl.
(iii) in same pan fry mince (with a touch of salt and a good grind of pepper) till browning, then add the fried onions and mushrooms.
(iv) add to the pan, a shake and a bit of Lea & Perrins, a shake and bit of Balsamic Vinegar and sprinkle on one Oxo Cube. If too dry add a splash of water.
(v) fry till mixed and cooked.

(vi) Roll out your pastry and cut out appropriately sized circles with top of a glass/cup and place into greased pie/muffin/tart trays.
(vii) Cut out circle lids from same cutter.

(viii) put filling mix onto pies.
(ix) brush the inside edge of the lids with egg and place the tops on the pies.
(x) I use a smaller egg-cup to push down the lids on the pies to ensure the egg ‘glues’ the edges.
(xi) brush the tops of pies with egg.

Cook for 20mins in a 200deg oven.

Eat! over the coming days, warm or cold. But to be honest they’ll be gone in a few hours.


Sing… Sing… Sing… look, feel, think, share…

It’s time again for light and darkness, warmth and cold, myth and meaning… a time when to be honest we get a bit giddy. When we sing jolly songs, tell fantastic tales, and polish the tarnished days so that charm glows through once more. It’s been a long year. January seems an age ago.

However, This was shared with me and I just have to pass it on…

From all here, we wish you a hearty Christmas time.
May all cockles be warmed and your lamps burn bright so thatyour new-year starts with warmth, light and story or two to cherish.


Gingerbread Biscuit time!!

Here’s the recipe for Great Nana Daisy’s
Gingerbread Biscuits
from Porthleven Cornwall.

1 pound plain Flour
half a pound Marg
half a pound Sugar
1 desert spoon Baking Powder
1 desert spoon Bi-carb
Half ounce Cinnamon
2 teaspoons Ginger
A pinch salt
7oz warmed syrup

– Mix dry ingredients.
– Rub in marg.
– Add warmed syrup

Form into walnut sized balls and dab top into sugar.

Bake in a hot oven 10-14mins.


You can’t beat a good old SING!

Global Harmony is a mixed a cappella world music choir based in Melton Mowbray. I’ve been part of GH since 2008. Last week we had a great Christmas Concert at St Mary’s Church in Melton!

Above is a recording of  ‘the blokes and Vera’ singing the traditional Croatian song ‘U poju se mala’.
(Photo from last year)

Rough Translation:
In the field, a little, Orange tree is swaying. It’s not because of the wind, a little, Nor for the bright sun.
But a maiden, a little, In a great sorrow, For her mother, a little, Is giving her to a widower.

Below is a video of the choir singing ‘Kakilambe’, an African ritual dance tuneThis name is also used to refer to different percussion patterns in African music.
It really is a great experience to be part of Global Harmony over the last few years. It truly is a privilege and a joy to experience and be able to sing with such a vibrant bunch!  It is perhaps only as a collective that the human spirit really excels.

If you live near Melton and fancy a challenge on Monday evenings, come along!


What if Immanuel? Ordinary people, ordinary place, extraordinary story

(There's a new 2020 post click here with a free to download do-it-yourself template!)

2011 – I’ve produced some artwork recently for a project portraying people from a local village in Leicestershire and relating them to characters in ‘The Christmas Story’.
The local church identified 9 nativity characters and 9 corresponding pictures of people from contemporary village life. An interesting piece of creativity!

It’s to be on display in a shop window in Sibson Road in Birstall, for shoppers and passers by. Ordinary people, ordinary place, extraordinary story.

Extraordinary Story

It caused me to ponder various things… the obvious: ‘what if a God was one of us?’
The seasonal: Immanuel, ‘God is with us’?
“The Christmas Story” a curious story that I’m told differs in each gospel account and has had heaps tagged onto it over the years… to the point that I wonder if elves and reindeer were present in the stable? Oh and coke cola and red stuff.
God became man… ? We can wonder at the significance of the prophesied birth. Light and angelic hope…
I dunno…
The project above asks, if it happened today, “where would you (and I) be in it”?

Hummm… I can’t imagine…

I’d like to think that I could sense the majesty and grace of such a prospective happening, but can’t see myself as the chosen host, the visitors, the authorities or the worshippers… but I guess I am still one of the ‘us’.

Immanuel, ‘God is with us’?

Check it out anyway, it’s produced by the Methodist Church in Birstall all credit to Rachel Parkinson and her team. It’s on Sibson Road Birstall – from next week.

Ordinary people, ordinary place, extraordinary story.

Not much room…

I‘ve taken my foot off the gas recently – Imagination at dis-ease; as others are familiar, occasionally ‘stuff’ causes one’s picture of reality to confuse, fail and break-up.

I am reminded that paradigms power one’s perception, and perceptions power emotions. When the mind needs to create, see and feel ‘more’, the picture can blur and a cauldron of emotion and logic can tend to boil over ‘a tad’… So back to the reuptake  inhibitors.

Hence the lack of something to blog…

– Went to see singer/songwriter Martyn Joseph recently; an annual pilgrimage over the last 25 years; but in recent years he’s left me identifying with his song but disappointed or uncertain with my resolutions. As ever, great live music but the honest emotion didn’t help lighten the load.

– Turned 43 recently, that didn’t help lighten the load either.

– The prospect of the overinflated season of ‘want’ that’s approaching, doesn’t help.

Many years ago, relating to a certain lack of support from an academic institution, I casually complained that I felt as though we’d been drop-kicked and left to flounder in an undirected… yadda yadda…
My perspective was turned when it was pointed out that perhaps ‘a dropkick’ can potentially lead to points being scored, a goal, an achievement…  Easily said…

Here’s to being drop-kicked and riding with the curve…
Recent ponderings… the nature of ‘motivation’ and also ongoing wonderings about the mystery, rhythm and austerity of the ‘natural’ world…
…oh and fungi!
Images: Bradgate, Beacon HIll, East Goscote

Which way would you go? And why?

On my commute yesterday, reluctantly, I had reason to take another trip through suburban leicester rather than my usual rural route, as the crow (or barn owl) flies.
You’ll be aware of my previous reaction to the experience of this specific suburban cycling route.  However, having ridden this route again, I still have the same opinions…
But I was led to think….

In life generally, I guess it’s my nature to generally take the easier more pleasurable option. Surely would it not be madness not to?

My usual choice, is relatively comfortable; I enjoy flowing familiarity with negligible hurdles and man-made encounters. It is raw, spatial and rich in the spirit of something ‘natural’ (?)… It’s relatively smooth and takes me where I intend to go… skirting intriguing worlds and lives with little incident… yes, it does have has it’s unforeseen encounters but it’s a an enjoyable option.

An alternative choice is a way populated with life in abundance. Much of what you’ll find is in either in need of care and attention, badly designed, or both. It’s past is evident, daily life and common culture are stamped on walls and faces. You’ll encounter raw humanity… ‘warts and all’, but also what you find is rich in living lives, both sweet and sour.

Do Robert Frost’s thoughts apply? Challenge? Avoidance? Survival? Common Sense?

Which way would you go? And why?


Look local first!

After unsuccessfully visiting two larger city cycle shops this morning, I popped into the ‘small on the outside, big on the inside’ local town shop. I was after a quality chargeable front light for my bike – for commuting daily using unlit country lanes.
It’s fine immersing yourself in the supposedly ‘this is what you need, ‘cos this is want everyone else has’ on the interweb, but perhaps ‘real’ life is more… real, amenable, alive…?

  • The first large Half-auto store I passed; which adversities “For everything to do with bikes…”; didn’t have ANY rechargeable lights and what it had was relatively basic and arguably not suitable.
  • The second shop (an old standard of Nottingham origins) was helpful and informative and although they could order some (can’t we call) didn’t stock ANY rechargeable lights, and again what it had was relatively basic and arguably not suitable.
  • Embarrassingly, my last choice, because I was passing on the way home, (and to be honest I thought it was a big ask for a small shop to stock a large range of accessories) to my surprise had just the thing!

They were welcoming, knowledgable and helpful.
The Serfas ‘True 250’ is just what I was looking for. 

The spec and the price was just right – and having compared it’s credentials further I’m very pleased with it. It was a great to be able to see and try a range of options before I bought.

Thanks Cyclops, I had little faith but next time ‘Cyclops Cycles’ in Syston will be my first choice.