Saturday 30 November 2019

NaBloPoMo 2019

The end of the month has arrived.  I didn’t quite manage to post every day during November, but 28 days out of 30 isn’t bad.  I missed a couple of days, largely due to the fact that Mr Candytuft had major surgery on 19th November, so I’ve been doing a lot of driving to hospital appointments, in addition to working and going to physio myself (twice a week), after I aggravated a previously bad back.

I’m completely exhausted but, for some strange reason, I had already signed up to participate in The Writers’ HQ Writing Advent, which starts tomorrow!  Oh well, if I can’t manage to keep up with this, at least I’ll still have the emails to refer to after Christmas.

Friday 29 November 2019

Not Exactly Gardening Weather

As the song goes, ‘The weather outside is frightful...’ Well, it certainly is this afternoon.  The day started with freezing rain and winds strong enough that it was difficult to remain on my feet.  We now have sleet and the forecast is for snow squalls, so I’m not venturing out again today.  

I have the December issue of BBC Gardeners’ World magazine, which arrived in the post, and a cup of tea in my Christmas robin mug.  I can enjoy gardening without going anywhere. 

Thursday 28 November 2019

On Days Like These

There are some days when only chocolate will do...I’ve been having a lot of them recently.

Tuesday 26 November 2019

Lace Gloves

One of my knitting challenges this year was to learn how to knit gloves.  I’ve done lots of complicated garment patterns, but I’d never attempted gloves.

This vintage pattern made gloves on straight needles, so they have a seams along one edge of the hand part and each of the fingers.  I had started them six months earlier, then abandoned them because I couldn’t find time to sit down and concentrate on the pattern.  By the time I went back to them, I had no idea where I was in the pattern, so I had to unpick them completely and start again.  They were definitely worth the effort, as the results are so pretty and I love this Baa Ram Ewe Titus yarn in a colour called Rose Window.

Monday 25 November 2019

Thought For The Day - Part IV

‘An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.’

Henry David Thoreau

And sometimes, I get to feed the red squirrels - they are very partial to almonds.

Sunday 24 November 2019

Stir-Up Sunday

Today is Stir-Up Sunday, so it’s time to make my Christmas puddings.  I prepared the dried fruit last night and soaked it in brandy.  

Flour, sugar, spices and vegetable suet were mixed before adding the liquid, which consisted of eggs, milk and alcohol.

In a break from tradition, I used a different pudding recipe this year, loosely based on Emma Bridgewater’s recipe, which you can find here.  I tweaked it a bit, changing some of the fruit and my choice of alcohol.

The reason for the change is mostly because of the disappointing results that I had last year when using currants.  It doesn’t seem to make any difference where I buy them, as they are all gritty and full of stalks.  I’ve tried picking through the fruit in advance of using it, but it has been impossible to get rid of every bit and so I’ve opted for a change.  

This last photo is of one of the smaller puddings after it cooked for two hours.  Emma’s recipe is more than generous and made two small and one medium-sized pudding.  Good news, as I have some spare for a pre-Christmas tasting.

Saturday 23 November 2019

Mince Pies

As we have been having such cold weather, it feels more like late December, so I decided that it was time for some mince pies.  I bought a jar of mincemeat this morning and I remembered to buy an orange, as the pastry recipe I use contains freshly squeezed orange juice.

This is definitely slow baking.  First the fat and flour mixture is chilled in the freezer for 20 minutes and the orange juice is chilled in the fridge.  Then, once the pastry is formed, it is returned to the fridge for a further 20 minutes.

The anticipation was mounting as the aroma of Christmas spices filled the kitchen.  Once out of the oven and slightly cooled, they were dusted with icing sugar and enjoyed whilst still slightly warm.

There’s nothing better than a freshly-baked mince pie with a cup of Yorkshire Gold tea.  

Friday 22 November 2019

Wood Pigeon

Picture a wood pigeon: a small, round grey head, white neck patches, pink breast and greyish body.  The colours are reflected in West Yorkshire Spinners’ Country Birds’ collection.

Their wood pigeon yarn is absolutely perfect for autumn/winter socks.  

Learning to knit socks was one of my goals for 2019.  Although I’ve been a knitter since a young age, I had never tackled sock knitting before.  

I am delighted to report that these are my fifth pair of socks this year and my favourite colour to date.

Thursday 21 November 2019

Christmas Is Coming...

As the weeks pass, I’m busy feeding our Christmas cake with brandy.  It’s getting two tablespoons per week, so it should be well-preserved, though it won’t last long once Christmas arrives.

Wednesday 20 November 2019


Mr C had his foot surgery yesterday morning, which meant a rather sleepless night, followed by a very early start, as we had to be at the hospital by 6 a.m. and it is an hour’s drive from home.  

I passed much of the time reading, but I was glad that I took along a sock knitting project, as I finished my book and completed this sock (which I started knitting weeks ago!) before he came out of recovery.

We were back at our local Emergency last night, due to complications and then I woke at 3 a.m. to find that he had been in pain all night, so we decided to return to the hospital where he had the surgery.  At 4 a.m. we were on our way back to the main hospital, where we waited two and a half hours to be seen.  

Out came the knitting again and I cast on for the second sock and started the rib.  Once we were called into the department, a doctor decided to remove all the bandages and then took photos to send to the surgeon.  Within a short space of time, we were advised that it could be re-bandaged and we were on our way home with yet another prescription for pain medication.

This afternoon has seen no improvement in his pain, so it looks like we are going to have to see yet another doctor.  Tomorrow, I have to take him back to the orthopaedic outpatient clinic to see his surgeon.  Maybe I’ll have the second sock completed before the end of the week, as we wait for all these appointments.

Monday 18 November 2019

Ruby Slippers

As someone who hates being cold and always wears slippers indoors, especially in winter, how could I resist these beauties?  As soon as I saw them, I knew that they would be the perfect replacements for my rather old, worn-out slippers.  They may not be as fancy as Dorothy’s ruby slippers, but they are just perfect as mine.

Sunday 17 November 2019

Thought For The Day - Part III

‘You never know what you can do until you try.’

C.S. Lewis

The weather outdoors may be cold - actually, it’s freezing.  Perfect weather to curl up in the warm with a good book.  

I discovered watercolour painting earlier this year and this is my attempt at a copy of a picture that I saw on the wall of our local library.

Saturday 16 November 2019

Jelly Roll

I’ve had this fabric for quite a while, but haven’t yet found the time to start the project I have in mind.  For some reason (I’m not exactly sure why), this is known as a jelly roll.

There is a PEI connection, as the fabric designs are on the theme of Anne of Green Gables.

One of the reasons for the delay in starting my project was because I didn’t have the necessary tools.  I now have a cutting mat and rotary cutter, so I’m planning a little Christmas project, which I hope to share with you soon.

Friday 15 November 2019

The Acadian Kitchen

The Acadian Kitchen is a book that I found at our local library.  I was intrigued, so I placed a hold and collected it at the weekend.   

One of the recipes included in this book is for oatmeal cookies.  Not a recipe that I would immediately associate with Acadian cooking, but there is a link between early French settlers and the early Scottish settlers in the Maritimes, with a mingling of cuisine.

I’ve never made a recipe for oatcakes that included eggs, but this one made a lovely light and tasty biscuit.  Vanilla extract was yet another unexpected, but tasty, twist.

I’m looking forward to trying some of the other recipes before this book returns to the library.

Thursday 14 November 2019

A Taste of Britain

This is a small selection of some of our haul of British groceries.  The Atora will be used later this month when I make Christmas pudding.  

A little sweet treat included Cadbury’s Caramel.  It didn’t last long!

And something new - dark chocolate tea cakes from Tunnock’s.

Wednesday 13 November 2019

Aladdin’s Cave

Last week’s visit Halifax gave us an opportunity to visit our favourite place.  It even looks like an Aladdin’s cave, doesn’t it?

Walking in through the door, this is the reason for our visit. Yes, an opportunity to stock up on some British goodies.

It is impossible to find many of the grocery items that I commonly bought when we lived in Nova Scotia and Ontario.  I had a list and I was checking it twice...

The photo of the Jammie Dodgers was at the request of Mr Candytuft, though I didn’t actually buy any.  

How I wish that we didn’t have to travel three hours by car to visit this wonderful store!

I’m hoping that it won’t be too long before we can make a return visit, but we may have to resort to online shopping, as Mr C is having surgery next week.

Tuesday 12 November 2019

Swissair Flight 111 Memorial

On 2nd September 1998, Swissair Flight 111 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, not far from Peggy’s Cove.  The 215 passengers and 14 crew lost their lives when the plane plunged into the sea about 8 km/5 miles off Peggy’s Cove.

A simple memorial was constructed and, at the request of the families, it is consistent with its coastal environment.  It is reached via a short walking trail and overlooks the site of this tragedy.

The inscription reads: ‘In memory of the 29 men, women and children aboard Swissair Flight 111 who perished off these shores September 2nd, 1998.  They have been joined to the sea and the sky.  May they rest in peace.’

The second stone acknowledges the efforts of those involved in the recovery operations and supporting bereaved families.

Looking out to sea, my thoughts turned to those who lost their lives and I was grateful for this opportunity to pay a visit to this site.  I still remember watching the news of this tragedy unfold more than twenty years ago and that sense of disbelief felt by people around the world.

Monday 11 November 2019

In Remembrance

My great-uncle, who died at Gallipoli, aged 18.

They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning.
We will remember them.

Sunday 10 November 2019

Thought For The Day - Part II

We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came. 

John F. Kennedy

Saturday 9 November 2019

First Snow

We travelled home from Halifax yesterday evening and the weather turned decidedly wintry.  The snow started as we approached the Cobequid Pass and we saw the first snow plough out salting the road.  I may not feel ready for winter, but it has arrived regardless.

Friday 8 November 2019

Peggy’s Cove

The road into the village of Peggy’s Cove allowed glimpses of the waves breaking against the rocks.

This fishing community is located on the eastern shore of St Margaret’s Bay, about 40 km from Halifax.

The village is a collection of  wooden houses perched on the rocks of a narrow inlet, which is protected from the full force of Atlantic storms.

On a blustery November day, the village was quiet, with little activity and few tourists.

It was nice to be able to enjoy the views without the summer crowds and tourist traffic.