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…..


http://youtu.be/CH1XGdu-hzQ

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.

http://youtu.be/Wu4krJJkkIs

The Great Bloggers Bake-Off

GBBO3

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

crushedcaramel@gmail.com

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.

Embrace the stain….

Picking up from this mornings post. Spiez is just a perfect place. The building at the front of the picture is the hotel we would stay at. The mountain dominating at the back is the Niederhorn. Before our son was born I was practicing for a mountain race. As part of the training I managed to run up this beautiful mountain. I remember lying at the top ignoring the stunning view – just thinking do I run back down or call for a helicopter evacuation…

I recount this story as it came to me again this afternoon. Setting a goal, achieving it then rather than basking in the success you immediately worry about the next step or challenge.

This feels a bit like fighting the system for our son. So many peaks to climb. You climb one but you then immediately have to face a new climb. It can be soul destroying.

We have potentially found a specialist who will assess our son’s dyslexia. But now I need to find the money to pay for it (the leaking washing machine will have to survive another year before it’s replaced). AND I somehow need to find a way of getting the education system to adopt the recommendations of the assessment. I was speaking to another parent who has been trying unsuccessfully for two years to get her school to adopt the same specialists recommendations. Why do we make it so difficult for our kids…

You then see the news which is dominated by talk of Brexit. Our so called Prime Minister is trying to bribe another party with up to a billion pounds of further funding if they will vote for her shambles of a plan. And yet they can’t find the money to adequately fund our schools or mental health support services. She takes great delight in telling the rest of us that money doesn’t grow on a tree. Clearly our Leader values her own career and legacy higher than the kids of our country…… Sadly she is not the only world leader like that.

Then my mind drifts back to that mountain. The Niederhorn. I didn’t ‘get into the chopper’ in an Austrian accent but decided to run down. It was an interesting decent. As some breathless pillock had collapsed at the top into a fresh pile of some unknown and clearly legendary bird droppings. Running while trying to prevent passerby’s getting a good view of the your oddly coloured rear is just embarrassing. Rather than embracing the stain I just tried to run as quickly as possible while keeping my bum always pointing away from people. I can hear my dad saying ‘son as quick as you run you won’t increase the separation between your shorts and that stain’. Maybe that’s a really good analogy for state of our governments overall strategy……

Great Blogger Bake-Off

Please join in the fun with

and special judge A Jeanne in the Kitchen

on Sunday 24th March 2019

The challenge for

GBBO3

is to make a sandwich sponge cake

(Below is an example is a classic sandwich cake with

two layers of sponge and a jam and cream filling – yum!)

  • Your cake must have at least two layers (we will be very impressed if you want to try more layers!

  • Your sponge cakes can be any flavour and any colour, plain, vanilla, chocolate, red velvet…

  • 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 cake so it can be featured in the 

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

crushedcaramel@gmail.com

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 including e-mail addresses where you can send your photos.

Happy Days – Spiez

Looking out at the rain and the trees bending in the wind. It’s all just a bit too grey. Sometimes you soul needs more. For us that was a holiday in Switzerland. We probably couldn’t afford it but was it worth it – you bet.

We always used the small town of Spiez as our base. A stunning and friendly place sitting by the banks of Lake Thun. A transport fanatics dream. On one side you can take the regular boat service (sometimes an old steamer) to explore the lake from Thun to Interlaken. On the other side a brilliant train station offering precision perfect links to the rest of Switzerland, Germany and Milan.

After a hours of exploring we always ended the day with a walk up through the vineyards to a small hill top with stunning views across the lake to the Alps.

Memories and views like that are worth so much more than money. It’s why my beloved partner indicated that she wanted some of her ashes scattering here. A perfect choice. One day hopefully I will do the same. So our souls can wander here forever…..

The Duvet Years

Thanks to everyone who suggested new ways of fitting a duvet cover. Yesterday’s Hulk Smash and Hulk Rage look is not good. So we had a second go this morning. Unbelievably the cover was fitted with 5 minutes. Happy Days.

The Duvet looked good on our son’s bed. Even Captain Chaos was excited. This excitement seemed to build and build. Suddenly he was desperate to get up close and personal with it. Urgently sniffing at it and wagging his tail. His excitement would not stop. So he was kicked out of the bedroom. But he just sat barking at the door.

What is wrong.

So again he was let back into the room. He immediately jumped onto the bed and started scratching at the Duvet. On a closer inspection – an unusual bump in the duvet. What alien object is that. So the cover was again removed. The alien object turned out to be a very well chewed blue crocodile. Sorry folks I must have missed the part of the instructions which talked about checking for dog toys before putting the cover on….

So order is restored. The cover is back on and Captain Chaos is reunited with his buddy…

Daffodils and that pesky problem.

It might be cold. It might be windy. It might feel nothing like Spring. But at least the daffodils are out in force.

I couldn’t sleep last night. On a hill the wind tends to howl. And wow did it howl. It’s been like that for days. A number of the local tourist sites are closed on safety grounds.

So today my brain has been running a bit in neutral. Processing a barrage of questions.

“Dad why does Gordon Ramsey swear so much?”

“How is May still Prime Minister?”

“Has the Champions League draw taken place?”

“When can we go to see Captain Marvel?”

“Why do Daffodils have such a short flowering season and why is it in a time period which is notorious for poor weather?”

“Why haven’t they made a new series of Gravity Falls?”

“Why do we focus so much attention on the Battle of Hastings and William the Conqueror. Yet we never talk about the years proceeding the battle. They are just as important.”

“What’s a Gravity wave?”

“How old is Alice Cooper?”

and on and on.

And yet I managed to hold my own. It was that sort of day. Maybe not on top form but ticking off jobs.

  • Cleaned the Gerbil Cage without accidentally releasing the little darlings to cause havoc around the house,
  • Managed to negotiate a cheaper broadband deal,
  • Get the old laptop working again,
  • Completed this weeks work requirements,
  • Change a wiper blade on the car,
  • Repair some knee holes in jeans,
  • Sort out some problems with son’s school iPad,
  • Prepare meals for tonight,
  • Replace a hose in the hoover,
  • Finish the ironing,
  • Clean the bathroom,
  • Get all the outstanding bills pad,
  • Convince the Council to give us a free replacement wheely bin as our old one is held together with 2 rolls of tape.

But then the success came to a grinding halt. Failure in the face of an insurmountable problem. Defeated by a super complex Riemman Hypothesis. My version of Star Treks Kobayashi Maru.

Changing our son’s Duvet Cover.

How difficult can it be. The cover comes off so easy. But when you try to put it back on. Suddenly it’s like trying to play a game of Twister with Ninja Octopus. Gets twisted, Rides up. Goes in the wrong way. Decides to turn inside out. Suddenly the duvet appears to be covered in the worlds stickiest Velcro. It’s just a nightmare. SIXTY PESKY MINUTES later and the only thing I had achieved was to go into full Hulk Rage.

Come on Spring. Please arrive soon. Bring in the warmer weather so I can ditch the duvets and those demonic covers – for a wonderful couple of months. Daffodils remind you that those happy days are coming.

Slice of life and a cake

I bravely ventured out to a store in one of local villages It’s not what you would call very big…

“Do you sell any floor cleaner?”

“No not been asked for that in ages. I thinks we sold the last one to Janice when she bought the Grandfather Clock from a vicarage three years ago. She wanted the room to look nice for when it arrived.”

“Ok” – it’s always a bit of an out of body experience in the shop. No idea who Janice is!

Would you like to try our new cake it’s a Lavender Sponge”

“It looks lovely but no thanks. I’m on a gluten free diet.”

“Oh that’s nice. Those clever scientists come up with some great inventions these days. Did you know that Bill has switched to contacts.”

“No I didn’t” – no idea who Bill is!

“So can I give you a bit of our Lavender cake?”

“No thanks I’m on a Gluten Free diet and I can’t have wheat.”

“That’s nice. Mary has become a vegetarian and she lives next to the farm. I wonder how that works?

“Oh” – Who the bloody hell is Mary!!!

“Did you see our Prime Ministers face yesterday. I voted for her at the last election. She seemed like such a nice person who would get things done. Last night she looked like she was chewing a wasp. She is a mean spirited, selfish idiot. If she had any decency she would have resigned by now.”

“I certainly didn’t vote for May but I completely agree with you. She is a complete embarrassment.”

“Did you vote to leave?”

“No I voted to stay. I asked my son what he wanted and I let him decide for us. It effects his future the most.”

“I voted for Brexit. It’s not that I wanted to leave Europe I just wanted to make a protest. Didn’t think that we would win”

Deep deep sigh – bite bottom lip before I say something.

“I can wrap the slice of cake up for you, freshly made this morning. That must be the same diet as that really famous Male Tennis Player is on, he was on the tv last week, oh what’s his name”

“Novak Djokovic I got the idea from an article I read a few months back.”

“No that’s not him”

“Andy Murray”

“No”

“Roger Federer”

“No”

“Rafael Nadal

“No, oh it will come to me.

“Do you sell anything like cleaning wipes?”

“No but we do have a special offer on. You get a free bag of bird seed when you buy the local paper”

Bizarrely I came out of the shop with some bird seed, a paper, piece of Lavender cake and a sensation which is probably similar to a frontal lobotomy.

Great Bloggers Bake-off

On the 24th March the Great Bloggers Bake-off takes place. The wonderful Crushed Caramel (Learner at Love) is doing so much hard work to get this going.

The special judge is A Jeanne in the Kitchen.

Think of it not as a baking competition. It’s an online family fun day. It’s open to anyone YOU, your family, your friends, your personal chef, Gordon f***** Ramsey, your pets, the Ghostbusters, Thanos, Wallace & Gromit, the milkman, Fox Mulder, your accountant, Harry Potter, EVERYONE. Any ability level. I am having a go and I’m a weapons grade chef. My entry will have to be monitored by the UN Chemical Weapons team.

Have a go at the baking challenge, take a photo and send it in. Simple as that. If you can’t bake or you don’t fancy baking THEN you can add you comments and support the people taking part.

Look out for more details this Sunday.

As a start it might be an idea checking you have the following ingredients (or alternatives)

  • Flour
  • Eggs
  • Sugar
  • Butter, Margarine or oil
  • Baking Powder

I’m going for a Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Sugar Free entry.

Just have fun with THE GREAT BLOGGERS BAKE-OFF CHALLENGE.