Alexa decides

Alexa selected Green Day. Don’t want to be an American Idiot. Tremendous – that doesn’t link with any of the threads I was thinking about. So let’s stick to the plan and see where this takes us down a political road.

Our PM stood in front of the nation this week and said nothing was her fault. But one line really stood out.

“I am on your side….”

Respectfully can I tell you PM May to sod off.

Where you on my side when:

– you actively started copying the current US Presidents approach to running a government

– you put your own self preservation above the need to properly consider a Brexit which helps and protects our country

– when you stood back and watched utility/transport companies flout the market and excessively raise prices

– when you ignored local and environmental objections, forcing fracking on our communities

– when you savagely cut school, health and policing budgets

– when you traded with rogue nations

– when you actively promoted feelings of little Britain. Sending out advert buses demonising good people who had decided to come to Britain to live and work

– when you turned your back on the Grenell Tower survivors and all those families still living in potentially unsafe buildings

– when you sat back and watched changes to the education system which so badly impacted kids with Dyslexia and Autism

– when your decisions continue to destroy our beloved NHS

– when the only voices you listen to are your own deluded tones plus a handful of your own far right MPs and 10 DUP MPs

– when you pay lip service to the mental health crisis facing this country

– when you tell the kids to stop protesting about the environment.

So NO you are not on our side, just your own.

Our gerbils are ready to roll. They will happily form a government which will truly be for the people and rodents. The price – just a few toilet rolls…

Need a direction pointer

My old laptop is happily grinding away on a job which modern kit will do seemingly in an instant. However my laptop as it’s powered by several knackered small pixies is much less efficient. So time to do a post. But which thread to go down, quite a few to pick.

Then an idea.

Last night talking to son about chance and the story of the person who lived life by the toss of a coin. As son said “a poor copy of Two Faced Harvey from Batman”. So why don’t I let chance decide. But too many options for a coin. What else can I find which is random. Alexa.

Asking the ever helpful Alexa straight up to choose for me failed. Then another idea. When I ask her to select a track from from music library ….. that’s random. So the idea firmed up. I will ask Alexa to play a song and I can use song lyrics to guide today’s post. If it’s an instrumental than I will just post a photo no words. If it’s a French or German or Italian or Spanish language lesson then I will have to post in that language.

On the surface it’s a brilliant idea. Even if I don’t have an idea some of the artists will send floods of creativity coming my way. Imagine the possibilities opened by some of the lyrics by artists like Pink Floyd, The Who, Leonard Cohen, Rush, Bruce Springsteen, Genesis, Kate Bush…

But in life you need balance. So for every Robert Plant or Green Day you need a Ted Nugent to bring balance. Then my thoughts cascades to some of the less favourable lines I might be presented with.

“Only time will tell if we will stand the test of time” – Van Halen

“This sex is on fire” – The Killers

“Let me put my love into you Babe” – AC/DC

“You pull the trigger of my love gun” – Kiss

“Pink ’cause your so very” – Aerosmith

“Love is like a bomb, baby, c’mon get it on” – Def Leppard

“Bang you head against the stage like you never have before” – Metallica

“All right. It’s Zee Wango, Zee Tango” – Ted Nugent

“Kiss my ass” – Ted Nugent

“I let my dog hump on my shin” – Ted Nugent

“Wang Dang Sweet Poontang” – Ted again….

“Awwwww yup” – him again

“That tofu might just kill you” – and again him….

I have to admit even the greats have some odd moments with songs. See AC/DC. But also see the likes of Zeppelin with the Lemon Song. So with trepidation I ask Alexa to select.

But I’ve taken this long waffling my laptop has finished its task so need to get back to earning some money. So the

Next post will be based on this song ……

The Great Bloggers Bake-Off

This might look like a fine birthday cake. I could say that it’s something I knocked together. It was so easy for me. You could say it was a piece of cake.

But that would be stretching the truth just a little.

The reality was that I had a spongecake in the oven. It was supposed to be in the oven for 25 minutes. I got slightly distracted and it was in the oven for 2 hours. Shall we say it was a little on the crisp side. Again I lowered the baking bar. Thankfully the local supermarket came to the rescue.

Hopefully you will join us for this Sundays GREAT BLOGGERS BAKE-OFF. It’s going to be great fun and we are going to see some great cakes. Hopefully we will also see some ‘not so great creations’. I think the non baking community can lower the bar further. Let’s do it gang…..

Crushed Caramel (Learner at Love) has a load of fantastic posts about the big baking day.

A Jeanne in the Kitchen is our special guest judge for the day. She has got some truly breathtaking examples of great baking on her site.

Please send a photo of your cake so it can be featured in the 

The Great Bloggers’ Bake-Off Round-Up to the following e-mail address:

Martians just made the list…

Sometimes you just have to get up close to flowers. Neighbours must think I am stark raving mad….

Sometimes you have those days. Days were you get up close to flowers and also end up pulling out what’s left of your hair.

School has been verbally told (many times) and been provided with extensive case notes for our son. Just in case school didn’t fancy reading War and Peace I helpfully provided a two page bullet point summary. Bullet Point 6 said

Can have poor judgement in relation to risk.

Bullet Point 7 adds

Has a diagnosis of Dyspraxia. Has very poor fine motor skills. Struggles to use pens. One to one Care and supervision needed when using sharp objects.

Under the section relating to specific school subjects

Design & Technology. One to one supervision required when using cutting tools, drilling tools and impact tools.

Additionally school has been given a verbal and written update on his current broken hand. Although the bone has heeled he is undertaking physio to try and get his hand working properly again. So he in effect still just using his weaker left hand.

Today was his first Design and Technology lesson. So it was also a fingers crossed type day. Funnily enough it was also a plaster type day……

He came back home. His thumb and two fingers covered in large plasters.

“Dad I had a bit of an accident. I was trying to saw using my left hand. The teacher shouted out an instruction to the class. I got distracted and I started sawing my hand rather than the wood…”

Apparently he wasn’t given any one on one supervision. He was allowed to use a normal saw with his wrong hand, with no additional safety measures in place. – Maybe I’m just being an over protective parent. It’s a natural thing to do.

Dad funny thing is the lesson was about safety in the workplace. Guess I’ve already failed…”

So that’s something else we will be discussing at his school review meeting on Friday. Could be a long meeting because it’s one sizeable issues list….

But let’s try to finish on a brighter note. We sat on the grass next to the daffodil patch with ice lollies in hand.

Dad up close Daffodils take on a completely different perspective. If your a bug looking up at those yellow giants, it must be terrifying. Do you think HG Wells got his idea for the mechanical Martians from Daffodils”

As I pondered that the mad dog ran up and before we could stop him, he cocked his leg on the Daffodils. Poor bugs scared to death by Yellow Martian Giants and now doused in Acid Rain. I wonder if an overprotective parent bug may have just added an item to a miniature and a tad damp issue lists. We can wonder.

Great Blogger Bake Off

It’s the Great Bloggers Bake-Off this Sunday. Hopefully everyone will have fun. It’s open to everyone – even f####### Gordon Ramsey….

Please don’t think it’s just for the really gifted bakers. It’s for every level of ability. Even my weapons grade cooking level.

I call today’s effort the ‘maybe my chocolate swirl idea needs refining a tad’ Sponge Cake. Or as son called it “The Abominable Cake – I’m not eating that abomination”.

So even if you can’t bake – why don’t you have a go. Disasters are welcome here.

Please send a photo of your bake to the following e-mail address with the subject BAKE-OFF:

What Will You Bake?

Thank you Mel for doing so much for this weekend Great Bloggers Bake-Off.

Crushed Caramel (Learner at love)

Have you decided what you will bake?

The challenge is to bake a sandwich sponge cake for…


  • Your cake must have at least two layers
  • Your sponge cakes can be any flavour and any colour
  • You can fill you sandwich cake with any filling you like
  • We would like you to decorate the top of your cake

Please send a photo of your bake to the following e-mail address with the subject BAKE-OFF:

We can’t wait to see your bakes! If you are not sure what to bake, to give you some inspiration, here are a few ideas.

The first is an amazing cake from our GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF judge A Jeanne in the Kitchen. There is a link below to Jeanne’s post with a step by step guide as to how she made this beautiful cake “cassata alla siciliana” (italian mascarpone cake with toasted almonds).


Cassata Alla Siciliana…

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This funny book is going to make me cry…

Every Christmas my mum would always check to see if Terry Pratchett had a new book out. It was always her go to present for me. It became a tradition. Looking back she bought me every book in the series since the first one came out in 1985. I have read all of his books except the last one. He is without doubt my favourite author. Funny, clever, inspirational and with a boundless imagination. The last book was written as his Alzheimer’s took hold. He wasn’t able to finish the planned final scene as his heath rapidly deteriorated.

Sadly both my mum and Terry have now left us.

I miss those Christmas evenings. Sat by the fire. The new Pratchett book in one hand and a box of miniature Cadbury chocolate bars in the other (mums second go to present).

After mum left us I had one final discworld novel to read. But I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. It just didn’t seem right. The tradition was broken. I think part of me also realised that it would be a deeply emotional process as well. Memories of two stunningly beautiful people flooding the pages of the final novel.

But now the we have crossed the line. The Shepherds Crown has arrived by post. The 41st and final discworld novel. Tonight I will start this cathartic experience. It won’t be easy but as it’s a Pratchett novel, it will also be brilliantly funny. The mini chocolate bars will be replaced with copious amounts of black coffee. I don’t think I am ever going to have such a book reading experience again – it feels like a once in a lifetime event.

The process has started I read the first couple of lines. Even those brought a tear to my eye. This one is for you Mum and Terry.

It was born in the darkness of the Circle Sea; at first just a soft floating thing, washed back and forth by tide after tide. It grew a shell , but in its rolling tumbling world there were huge creatures which could have cracked it open in an instant.”

Due South

Son was asking me for my favourite non rock song. His is Gangnam Style. I like it because he dances as bad as me…..

For me it’s a tough call. Could be:

  • Sinatra – My Way
  • Roger Whittaker – Durham Town
  • Elvis – Always on my mind
  • Louis Armstrong – What a wonderful world
  • Johnny Cash – If you could read my mind

But one song stands out. It always has done. It’s kinda sad, kinda uplifting. It comes from an old funny TV series. Due South. I can’t think how many times I’ve joined in the chorus. Let’s Ride Forever.

The Great Bloggers Bake-Off


The challenge is to make a Sandwich Spongecake

  • Have fun
  • Your cake must have at least two layers
  • Your sponge cakes can be any flavour and any colour
  • You can fill you sandwich cake with any filling you like
  • We would like you to decorate the top of your cake

coffee and nut cake

Please send a photo of your cake so it can be featured in the The Great Bloggers’ Bake-Off Round-Up

disasterOur special judge A Jeanne in the Kitchen would love to see your bakes. Even if they are ghastly – please send them in – we would still really love to see them. Please have fun. It’s not so much a competition but a great day of fun for bloggers to get involved in. Baking disasters will only add to the fun! It’s all up to Jeanne to decide on our STAR BAKER!

Of course if you would like to create your own post about the making of your cake – please do so, and please mention The Great Blogger’s Bake-Off and invite your blogging buddies and followers to get involved.

question mark(If you have any questions at all – please feel free to post your questions in the comments of any of our posts and we will try to get back to you as quickly as possible.)

We will supply more details in posts leading up to The Great Bloggers’ Bake-Off.

Sending so many hugs to Mel for putting so much effort into setting this up.

The Black Hole…

I could look at these flowers all day. Stunning yellows with one sneaky violet crashing the daffodil party.

The school bus was late. Very late. Our son went into meltdown. Panic attacks over detentions, expulsions and all the associated ever increasing butterfly effects. All today’s carefully constructed plans are in tatters. It’s part and parcel of being a child with autism. We now have a plan for this type of eventuality. A hand written plan we keep safely by the front door. When I say plan it’s actually an old food shopping list. The plan Z list was pulled from the wall.

Tell me 5 things you can see.

Tell me 4 things you can hear.

Tell me 3 things you can touch.

Tell me 2 things you can smell.

Smile once and breathe.

Plan now says Dad get the car keys and drives you to school.

Thankfully today Plan Z worked. Distraction and switching to another orderly plan. It’s funny as a shopping list it was poor (I remember it missed off non essential stuff like bread, milk, pet food…. but as a go to plan in times of crisis – it has been a winner. It’s so flexible the actual words on the paper are irrelevant. It adds credibility to any plan I come up with in an emergency. Because that plan must be good as it’s the plan on that piece of paper – it’s Plan Z. As we reached the school gates order was starting to be restored in his soul. He made me smile with some of his responses.

“I can see bird poo on your car. I think it must have been a big bird.”

“I can see a couple of blue flowers in the Daffodil patch. Maybe they are mutations. Definitely beautiful mutations. Flowers are very welcoming.”

“Dad I can still see that cake you made yesterday. It was so funny how you got it to collapse in the middle. After all these years and still it messes up. The cake was so like a black hole. It was both a thing of wonder and a piece of terror. It’s a special talent Dad.”

As the great Terry Pratchett once said “Wisdom comes from experience. Experience is often a result of lack of wisdom“.

So yes my sneaky practice run for this Sunday’s GREAT BLOGGERS BAKE-OFF didn’t go so well.

Hopefully you will join in the fun on the 24th.