Note Number 35…The Bunny Birthday Cake…

cakeathome

The Bunny Cake in Dorset before Transportation and a Few Final Additions..

The Bunny Birthday Cake

I said I’d make the birthday cake, how foolhardy am I?
‘A number one or a bunny?’ I had to give it a try.
I chose the bunny and forged ahead, feeling quite inspired…
Number one, would’ve been, a piece of cake…’scuse the pun, I’m tired.

Four sponges I made altogether, two chocolate, and two quite plain
The sizes seemed to be slightly off, though the baking tins were the same
I cut them down and shaped them, being careful as I went
And fixed them together with icing and jam, hoping that would act as cement

It sat in the fridge ‘til morning, when the next phase could begin
I needed a layer of icing, should it be think or should it be thin?
The shop bought fondant was perfect, it was quite therapeutic to play
Rolling and shaping, cutting and making – the highlight of my day

I wanted to make some carrots for the dear little bunny to nibble
But no orange colouring could be found…not even a tiny dribble
I mixed the pink and yellow, but that was awfully pale
Perhaps this bunny could be eating a healthy piece of kale

The bunny’s hind feet didn’t look right – fat and rather heavy
They could belong to a monster, or a mini sized, white-haired yeti…
An attempt to shape the lop ears, was an impossible task I found
Except for his tail, I should have put, the whole bunny, right under the ground!

In the end the cake was presentable, you could say a bit of a winner
The one-year old really loved it – and the four-year-old ate it for dinner
From the front he looked delightful, with two orange carrots to boot
From behind, he was giving two fingers up…so perhaps not quite so cute!

Ninette Hartley July 2017 ©

In the Making 

 

They did love it honestly

They did love it honestly… 🙂 (Note the orange carrots) 

from behind2

The Bunny Didn’t Care Either Way!  ha ha ha

Note Number 34…When our Granddaughter Came to Stay…

kite1Evie Flying the Kite at West Bay (you can just see her on the right hand side, almost out of sight behind the fence)  

Our four-year-old granddaughter came to stay from last Friday until Sunday afternoon. It was lovely but exhausting. Grandchildren are a delight, especially, as when you’ve finished with them…you can give them back!

I penned a little poem for the occasion…

Collected and home in time for brunch
Or maybe, it could have been an early lunch
‘A cheese sandwich please.’ The request for food
So I made it with love…I thought it was good
But the cheese was apparently far too strong
Trust Nonna and Popsie to get it all wrong

When staying with you – they get away with a lot
Because parenting is definitely one thing we’re not
Ice cream and crisps, TV and games, and buying them all
The toys that they want – though most things are small
A rubber snail she called Albert, a hopper, a kite
Popsie said, ‘there’s no wind’ but for it’s maiden flight
She and I went to West Bay and found enough breeze
Upwards it floated with the greatest of ease…
(I’m sure I’ve nicked that line from somewhere)

We went to the beach, we walked in the sand
And played in the rock pools hand in hand
We came home exhausted – us more than she
And Nonna needed something stronger than tea
She stayed just a few days, it was all good fun
Although none of the usual jobs could be done
Waking up at six-thirty is not to our taste
So this week we’re sleeping ‘til ever so late
(and even in the afternoon!)

The cottage has been left with remnants galore
Teddies, toys and books, all over the floor
The bathroom’s invaded with ducks, fish and boats
And a little girl’s wellies are stashed under our coats
But, who would have it any other way?
It’s great when the grandchildren come to stay

Ninette Hartley © July 2017

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Note Number 33…When The Man’s Away…

It’s been a busy few weeks and I’ve not had time to write much (not on my blog anyway). Poor excuse I know but The Man rode his bicycle for a week in the Alsace (Vosges)  and then instead of coming home on the 25th June he took the opportunity to cycle four epic climbs in The Alps and the Pyrenees. I am so proud of him!

Check out the Slide Show!

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I made the most of his absence by tidying up the garden and painting the garden furniture. It all looks fabulous. Paint used was Ronseal Garden paint and I can highly recommend it. We had some great weather in June…no complaints from me.

painted garden stuff

Newly Painted Garden Furniture

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Splendid Work on the Herbaceous Border 

Other things I did while The Man was away.

  1. I attended my third Black Venn Poetry workshop in Lyme Regis. I find these highly stimulating and never fail to produce a piece of work of which to be proud. I’ve even entered one for a competition, I’ll let you know how it goes.
  2. I entered a 2700 word short story for a competition run by the Literary Trust…It had to be a modern version of a fairy story. I chose Little Red Riding Hood, (I’m sure a few others will have done the same). I will let you know what happens, if anything, later in the year. I was pleased with it but don’t hold out too much hope as there will be plenty of brilliant entries I’m sure.
  3. I went to Bristol and to Weston Super Mare for my grand daughter’s first playgroup outing. It was…err…memorable. The day before it had been 30 degrees but the day of the outing, the rain clouds came in and the temperature dropped over 10 degrees the wind got up…

    So the sand ended up in everything, not just our sandwiches but in our hair and underwear. (think there’s a poem there somewhere). The baby ate the sand and the four-year-old got it in her eyes. But she still managed a donkey ride and an ice-cream before we beat a hasty retreat back to Bristol for a cup of tea and a piece of cake!

  4. I deep cleaned the kitchen and the bathroom in our cottage.
  5. I watched Poldark on Sunday evening.
  6. I have started doing Driving for the Disabled with the Forde Abbey Driving Group. Driving is a branch of Riding for the Disabled but we have ponies pulling carriages which are able to take wheelchairs if necessary.
    DRIVING

    Driving through the Arboretum at Forde Abbey

    I joined the group at the end of last year and so far, for many reasons, I have missed several sessions but I’m back on track now. It’s something I did for years when I lived in Devon and had my own pony, Ginger. Lovely he was. I don’t feel the need to get another pony but I am enjoying other people’s. I have to be re-assessed as a Coach Driver – more form filling and courses to attend. More learning and stuff to remember, for my poor brain to cope with. Hoping it won’t take long.

  7. I went to the ballet in Bridport and saw  Ballet Central. It was an excellent performance of several short pieces. The company is made up from students in their final year. By the look of things some of them will go far. Thoroughly enjoyable afternoon. How they managed to adapt to the small stage,without loss of performance, was quite remarkable. Well done all! 
  8. I read a few books, some better than others, but I enjoyed them all. The last one was My Animals and other Family by Clare Balding. I loved it, a beautifully written memoir of her childhood up to her twentieth year when she went to Cambridge University. I don’t know much about horse racing but I do love horses and dogs and that is the basis of her book. It’s written honestly and openly.

I think that’s most of the important stuff covered. Oh I did fall over and graze arm and knee pretty badly and when there’s no-one at home and even the neighbours are away you just have to get on with it don’t you?

It got worse before it got better but thankfully nothing broken…Oh wait a minute, I broke my tooth the following day. That’s three things then…no more to come, hopefully. 

Note Number 26… My Husband is A Cyclist…

cyclist copy

My husband is a cyclist and says he’s not obsessed
He doesn’t have just one bike but a couple, more or less
There’s one for the winter with disc brakes and thick tyres
And another for the summer months when, with the effort he perspires
Then of course there is the spinner that he sets up here at home
When the weather is against him and he can’t go out and roam

He’s found himself some special shoes, three pairs of them he’s got
They each fit to different pedals and of those he has a lot
I don’t understand any of it, it’s way beyond my grasp
I only had a bike for shopping, in the dim and distant past
That had simply three gears for helping on the hills
Nowadays, there’s twenty-three, enhanced with little pills

The weight has dropped off by the stone and he’s looking young and fit
And now the lycra’s not so stretched around the lumpy bit
More padding needed round the back and butt cream, liberally spread
When he reaches home after 100k, he sometimes looks half dead
He really loves all three bikes, but not more than he loves me
It’s the Strava App he’s constantly on, that causes jealousy

He uses it for logging all the rides, with hills, and speeds,
His buddies upload comments on their each and every feed
It’s a bit like Facebook for those on bikes, or swimming or a run
They strive to beat their highest goals and say it’s all in fun
But underneath the jolly remarks there lies a green eyed streak
And woe betide the person who makes fun of the Strava geek

So, my husband is a cyclist, he rides the hills and vales
In the rolling Dorset countryside for miles, and miles of trails
I’m not a clinging wife which is probably just as well
And I’m happy to let him pursue whatever rings his bell
As it keeps him out of trouble and gives me quality time
To write a bit of fiction, or complete another rhyme

Ninette Hartley April 2017©

Note Number 14…14th January…a Significant Date…

tosh2

Today, six years ago in 2011 our family dynamics changed forever. We lost Tosh at the age of 27. He was a son, a brother, a boyfriend, a cousin, and an uncle, all our lives were affected in different ways. Every day that goes by I think of him and a couple of months ago I wrote this poem, trying to capture some of the emotions I felt and still feel and I’m sharing it with you on this post.

Tosh

It is not right
It should not be
That he has left, ahead of me.

He was not done
Nor finished all
Before he took that tragic fall

There’ll never be a wedding now
Or children in whose face I catch
Some semblance of the boy I’ve lost
I wish him back no matter cost

I know

It’s better not to think this way
Of things he’ll never do or say
But just recall the good times had
Don’t dwell on minor things of bad

But then, I make him like a saint
This youth who loved to live and paint
On urban trains and midnight walls.
He didn’t heed friends’ warning calls
Or sirens from the boys in blue
He didn’t think their hearts were true

To him there was no wrong in graff
Sprawling images of this and that
Slashing authority’s senseless laws,
Fighting all the small man’s wars
Against the corporation greed
Upon whose profits politicians feed

He left behind some works of art
On streets, at home, and, in my heart
I know it was his destiny
To leave this world ahead of me.

Thomas Hartley November 30th 1983 – January 14th 2011

Note Number 2…Where Did You Get That Hat…?

 

Last night, Saturday 10th September, I attended the Vittles and Verse poetry evening in Lyme Regis. I did read a couple of my own poems and they were well received (I think!) The event is held every month and I’m going to miss a couple while The Man and I travel back to Italia for an autumn visit but I’ll be returning again for another session as soon as I get the chance. There are some amazing poets in Dorset.  I’m talking about the others Not Me!

Being in the poetry mood – I thought I would write Note Number 2 in the theme of rhyming couplets…Well – the Panto Season will soon be upon us!

shop-window

Charity Shop Window – Most of the shop windows in Bridport featured hats on the day.

Bridport Hat Festival Saturday 3rd September 2016

In Bridport one fine Saturday
The residents, their hats display

Of many colours, styles and shapes
It’s lots of fun and jolly japes

Roger Snook from the hat shop in town
Gave a knowledgeable talk at the Rose and Crown
(actually it was The Bull Hotel but that doesn’t rhyme)

He told us stuff about hundreds of hats
So much, that I’ve forgotten the facts

I’ll share some interesting bits with you
If my memory is able to drag up a few
(see further down post)

The Man and I were unprepared for the day
So improvised quickly – let us just say…

I favoured a fascinator with feathers so chic
He bought a luminous chicken – minus the beak

Music and dancing buzzed in the street
The atmosphere was festive ‘twas all such a treat

In Bucky Doo Square as the clock struck one
A group photo is taken – it’s jolly good fun (not)

The rain held off ‘til about half past two
So events ran smoothly – as they usually do

Next year the festival will be with us again
And I’m already designing the hat I’ll wear then!

the-mand-and-me

The Man as a Chicken…me in my Fascinator only Mr Snook said thay were orginally known as a ‘TANTALISER’ which I think sounds far more interesting.

mr-snook-and-hats

Mr Roger Snook with his array of hats…..

Snooks hat shop has been in business in Bridport since 1896 and although the town is known for Rope Making the hat making industry was also significant in the town because they used the flax for weaving them.  Mr Snook wanted to point out however, that the family are not hat makers but hat retailers.  He can pretty well get you any hat that you want, at a price though!
Roger Snook’s other job, apart from running the family shop, is to look after the town clock which he asures us chimes 13 times at midnight every New Year’s Eve. I’ll have to pop along this year and make sure he’s not telling porky pies. The shop holds a large selection Fedoras which I do believe The Man is going to check out as he rather fancied this blue one. Although he might choose the Al Capone style with the rolled edge Hmmm.

Al Capone on the left…blue Fedora on the right

The Panama hat originated from Equador and we were given a demonstation as to how to correctly fold one.  They are rolled up and kept in a tube but should be ‘let out’ at least once a year.  They must ocassionally be hung up in the bathroom whilst a shower is being taken so the steam will help to keep flexibility – don’t let it drop in the bath, this was not recommended.  I’m not sure I have a picture of a Panama hat…what a shame but I think this rather large pink and white ladies hat is an example… (not traditional I know)

pink-screw-up-hat

 

A Few Facts from Mr Snook…

A Deerstalker is also known as a Fore and Aft. (I think this is also the name for an army/navy hat that can be worn either side to side – athwartor fore and aft).
The Fez was banned by the Turkish Government in 1925 as part of modernisation reforms.
The Hat Pin was invented in Gloucester, England.
There are 4 pints in a Ten Gallon Hat…and the name is derived from Route 66 in America because it takes 10 gallons of petrol to get from one petrol station to another on Route 66. (I’m still not sure why they would name the hat after this unless everyone driving  on Routee 66 wore one)
In 1896 Mr Bowler, Lord Cobham’s game keeper invented which hat? You guessed it…the Bowler Hat. Originally from cow hide stretched over a post but devloped from that point.
In 1910 it was the most popluar hat in Bolivia. Sold to the people as a hat which would increase fertility if they wore it.
A Pith Helmet is called thus because it was/is made from reeds. They were orginally white and were dyed using tea to camouflage them in the desert during the Zulu wars.
Poirot is the only person who wears a white bowler hat (is this true? I may have got that wrong).

Lots of pictures of hats now….

 

 

 

And finally….