Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Very Happy New Year

As I wish you and yours a very Happy New Year filled with all things good, I’d also like to say a very big thank you for your friendship and look forward to  more  sharing and visiting in 2011.

Thanks For Having Me in Your Heart

As 2010 comes to an close, my heartfelt appreciation goes out to all of you who have once again taken the time and trouble to mail me "forwards" over the past 12 months. Thank you for making me feel safe, secure, blessed, and wealthy.
Extra thanks to whoever sent me the one about rat poop in the glue on envelopes 'cause I now have to go get a wet towel every time I need to seal an envelope. Also, I scrub the top of every can I open for the same reason.

Because of your concern I no longer drink Coca Cola because it can remove toilet stains.I no longer drink Pepsi or Dr Pepper since the people who make these products are atheists who refuse to put "Under God" on their cans.

I no longer use Saran wrap in the microwave because it causes cancer.

I no longer use cancer-causing deodorants even though I smell like a water buffalo on a hot day.

I no longer go to shopping malls because someone might drug me with a perfume sample and rob me.
I no longer receive packages from nor send packages by UPS or FedEx since they are actually Al Qaeda in disguise.

I no longer answer the phone because someone will ask me to dial a number for which I will get a phone bill with calls to Jamaica, Uganda, Singapore, and Uzbekistan.

I no longer eat KFC because their "chickens" are actually horrible mutant freaks with no eyes or feathers.

I no longer have any sneakers -- but that will change once I receive my free replacement pair from Nike.

I no longer have to buy expensive cookies from Neiman Marcus since I now have their recipe.

I no longer check the coin return on pay phones because I could be pricked with a needle infected with AIDS.
I no longer worry about my soul because at last count I have 363,214 angels looking out for me.

Thanks to you, I have learned that God only answers my prayers if I forward an e-mail to seven of my friends and make a wish within five minutes.

I no longer have any savings because I gave it to a sick girl who is about to die in the hospital (for the 1,387,258th time)
I no longer have any money at all - but that will change once I receive the $15,000 that Microsoft and AOL are sending me for participating in their special email program.

Yes, I want to thank you so much for looking out for me that I will now return the favor!

If you don't pass on this this message, preferably in an e-mail, to
at least 144,000 people as soon as you have read it, a large pigeonwith a wicked case of diarrhea will land on your head at 5:00 PM (CDT) this afternoon. I know this will occur because it actually happened to a friend of my next-door neighbor's ex-mother-in-law's second husband's cousin's beautician.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

First Class Honours

I have a First Class Honours Degree in:

Engineering (Playmobile, Brick Building,), Home Construction (Doll Houses),  Mechanics (Broken Toys) Home Economics (Cleaning, Cooking, Laundering Shopping), Medicine (Children's and Husbands' Ailments), Veterinary (Sick Rabbits, Gerbils, Hamsters, Dogs, Cats), Chauffering (School and After School Activities), Sports & Gender Affairs (Swimming, Tennis, Off Road Biking, Gymnastics, Rugby, Karate, Golfing, Ballet, Tap Dancing), Music ( Piano, Drums, Guitar, Keyboard), Design (Art and Craft for School Projects), (Law (My House – You’ll Do as I Say), Finance (Home Tasks = Pocket Money) Administration (Home Work Helper),  Fund Raising (PTAs) Diplomacy (Cocktail  Parties and Company Dinners), Clairvoyancy (Mind Reading), Psychology (Speaks for Itself), Entertainment (Juggler), Languages (Interpretation of "In Phrases' and Grunts) Fashion (What to Wear and What Not to Wear).....................

I know there are thousands like me! What would they all do without us?!!

Have a great day!

Barbara M Lake 
December 2010

I Am 64!

My birthday ended officially one hour ago but unofficially, the celebration of life for which I give thanks, will probably go on until at least the end of the month.

The Goat - Capricorn December 22 to January 20

Traditional  Capricorn Traits

Practical and prudent
 Ambitious and disciplined
 Patient and careful
 Humorous and reserved

On the dark side....

Pessimistic and fatalistic (At times!)
 Miserly and grudging  (Don't agree with that at all!)

The Plodder

Monday, December 27, 2010

How Icicles are Made

Those who have known me for quite a long time know that I am at heart, an avid blogger. Even with a heavy workload it was unusual for me to go for more than two or three days without putting fingers to keyboard.

The last few weeks have been a bit hairy as they say with so much happening on both the home and the work front. Some of it fun (the wedding), some of it frustrating, some of it annoying, some of it scary (my husband's illness) and some of it down right unnecessary. But no one ever said that this road would be straight and easy. I have always maintained that it's a very good thing that we cannot see round those corners because if we could, many of us would give up before we even started the ignition!

I really hope to be around more in 2011 with more humour than I have dished out lately - or not dished out as it were.

Given the recent bad weather that has been plaguing many parts of the world bringing some countries to a virtual standstill, I would like to just give those of you who are snowed in, a very gentle reminder as to how icicles are made and for those tempted, keep your tongues to yourselves!!

Barbara's Bread Sauce

Category: Side Dishes & Condiments
Style: British
Special Consideration: Quick and Easy
Servings: Who Knows?

This was supposed to go up last night but as I was about to post, I lost the internet!!

Having always been an avid cook (my husband says that I don't cook - I cater) and one who loves to entertain, I have over the years adapted many recipes,

The members of my family are not 'turkey people' so most times when I bake a ham, I also make a bread sauce. When I baked the Christmas ham this year (through the night according to my blog!) I made other side dishes but omitted the bread sauce. My daughter has been on and on about it since and so when we came home from the annual family Christmas Day lunch earlier, I decided to throw it together.

I am giving the original recipe here but I tend to increase the quantities.

One onion
8 cloves
1 and 1/2 pints of milk (900 mls)
6 peppercorns
1 Bay Leaf

6 ozs Bread Crumbs. I don't weigh - I just keep adding until I get the right consistency

Stick the cloves into the onion. I use more than 8.

Put the onion into a pan and add the milk.

Add bay leaf. I use two/three

Add the peppercorns. I just throw in a few - counting is a waste of time!

Put pan containing onion with cloves, bay leaves, peppercorns and milk onto hot plate.

Bring to the boil.

Take off hotplate/burner/whatever - cover and put to one side. Leave for at least an hour and a half - sometimes I leave it overnight so that all the flavours really do fuse,

In the meantime, prepare the breadcrumbs. - chopper or whatever piece of equipment you use to make breadcrumbs.

Drain milk - i.e. remove onion, bay leaves, peppercorns and bay leaves.

Add the breadcrumbs to the milk. I don't weigh and certainly used more than 6 ozs. Six ozs is one mingy bread sauce!

Return pan to hotplate, bring to boil - add a couple of ounces of butter and stir until butter completely folded and melted into the sauce.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with turkey/chicken/ham. Can be served hot or cold,


I do not like my bread sauce to pour and that's why I add more freshly made bread crumbs. than the original recipe calls for. If you want it runny, 6ozs will suffice.

The longer you leave the ingredients in the milk, the stronger the taste. I prefer that - you may not!

Very important: do not ever make Classic Bread sauce from a packet!!


Friday, December 24, 2010

The Reason for the Season

Since my son's wedding I have been rather caught up in trying to get myself together for Christmas.  I don't think it's working because  yesterday I forgot to take the ham out of the freezer so that i could bake it today! Why? Because I thought yesterday was the 22 December.  Honestly, I had everything planned! It just so happened that I was a day out.  Can you believe that??

Apparently when I realized this morning that I was a day out  and passed a comment about not having defrosted the ham, the master of the house (or so he thinks!) said that as a result of a remark I made recently, he had decided not to interfere! Not interfere?!! Is he mad? There are some things that husbands are expected to comment on. Not butts, weight, extra tyres but definitely on hams that have not been taken out of the freezer! So I slugged a shot of Stolle, took the ham out of the freezer and did other things - like write a report of my department's activities over the last twelve months. It is now 12.35am Trinidad time, the ham has defrosted, is now oven prepared and I will shock the family by rising at three and throwing it into the oven!
I will then go back to bed for three hours!

I have been to a couple of Malls over the last few days - total disaster and exercises in futility. In one there was live music with Christmas carols and songs that people here think are Christmas carols. Just hearing 'O Little town of Bethlehem' reduced me to tears as memories of Christmases past came to mind.  you don't think that's going to happen when you get to my age but according to a friend of many years, 'it's an older woman thing'.  the mall where I broke down looks like this.  I made my reluctant daughter take a photos - 'they'll think you're a tourist'.!!! Whatever.....................

That's where Father Christmas was going to sit but I didn't hang around!

I didn't bother to cry when I saw this one - it's crooked!  But the main display was beautiful so I didn't look!!

The Malls were crowded - although it doesn't seem so looking at these photos.  Shops were crowded, teens were just hanging around, people stopped in front of you so that you bumped into them, you apologized to them although it's not your fault, they glared at you, the hustle, bustle, loud voices, Christmas carols and songs, a tropical nation pretending that there's snow and through it all, cash registers ringing themselves off the counter tops and shop owners rubbing their hands with glee.

I wonder how many of them actually remember the reason for the season!

Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Friday 17 Dec 2010 - A Wedding

For now, just four photos of my son's wedding.

My daughter making sure her brother's button hole stays secure.

The priest has just presented the couple as husband and wife

The happy couple with the Best Man and the Maid of Honour

The newly wed couple with Best Man, Maid of Honour, Groomsmen, Bridesmaids, Flower Girls and Page

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Mother's Love

 Photograph by Tess Kincaid - Magpie Tales

A babe in arms
A mother's love
No matter what

A growing boy
A mother's tears
No matter what

An adult man
A mother's thoughts
No matter what

Barbara M Lake
December 2010 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Four Days to Go!

My only son is getting married on Friday and the excitement is mounting.

Actually the bride and groom seem to be very laid back about the whole thing.  Not surprising really because they've been together for twelve yearsA month ago they made the announcement and everything has just fallen into place.

This is the church where the ceremony will take place. St Anthony's Roman Catholic Church in in the Archdiocese of Port of Spain, Trinidad, West Indies..

Laid back they might be now but I bet by Friday it could be a different story!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Shoes Galore!

Those of you who know me or have been following me for some time, will know that I'm very fussy about shoes and anything with clumpy heels or anything that doesn't make me at least four inches taller, is definitely a no-no. Silver with rhinestones are also definitely out as are plastic or whatever material it is that is used instead of leather together with yellow-gold, un-cushioned insoles, see through/plastic heels etc............... get the picture?

I spent almost eight hours today looking for a pair of shoes to go with the dress I'm wearing to my son's wedding next Friday.  The whole of today is worth an "Ours House Series' blog but at the moment I'm too frazzled!  All I know is that I walked that Mall with my daughter several times and went into at least twelve shoe shops some of which, the thresholds I will never cross again! Including the one where I took the photo seen above!  The shoes were expensive, tacky, the service dreadful and the staff  rude.

I have been coordinating for years so when a girl who is young enough to be my grand daughter has  the audacity to tell me that she wouldn't put a certain color with another and that she would definitely want to put silver shoes with diamante with my shade of dress, I walked out of the shop before I told her that all her taste was in her mouth!

Tomorrow is Sunday and whilst I know I'm supposed to rest on the seventh day, sorry God that's not an option.  I'm off to another Mall in a bid to close the deal!  Will keep you posted!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010



In another time
In a troubled land
A different sleigh
Bells in tandem
With the trot
Of horses hooves

Coats, hats and
Muffs of fur
Blankets covering knees
Keep out the bitter
Cold and wind
Of bleak winter

Only jingling bells
Break the eerie
Silence of day
As Zhivago and 
His beloved Lara
Escape to Varykino

Barbara M Lake
December 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010

When One Door Closes


I've heard it said
That when one door closes
Another opens
As I stand here
In front of this door
Which opens outward
Will I once again
Be knocked off my feet
As it swings 
Sweeping me to the ground
Leaving deep dents
In the once pure snow?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tea at Torosay Castle with Mr Toast

Mr Toast's Second Annual Tea has come round so quickly. Not that I'm complaining because last year was such a wonderful event.   This year he's holding it Torosay Castle on the Isle of Mull in Scotland. There are magnificent gardens but I doubt that we'll see much of them given the weather.

I'm just a little unsettled because the weather in the UK is so bad that flights from this part of the world are back logged so I'm hoping that all is well later on tonight.  If we do manage to get away, it looks as though we will be diverted from Gatwick to London Heathrow.

Pity there aren't any direct flights from here to an airport in Scotland.  However, Oscar the pilot of the jet is standing my at Gatwick waiting to hear if he has to get a move on to Heathrow.  Once we leave whichever airport for Scotland we should be okay although he will not be able to fly us into Mull. I think we may have to helicopter onto the Castle grounds so I'm waiting to hear from Mr Toast as to whether or not there's a landing pad.  If not it could be a bit ucomfortable on that ferry.

I took photos of the chopper last time I used it so of course this is what it looks like on a good day!! No snow!

My wardrobe is packed and bearing in mind how bitterly cold it is on Mull I have kept to very warm clothes for both inside and outdoors. Scotland is cold at the best of times so now it must we worse than the Antartic!

I'm wearing the following to travel which will also be ideal for when we arrive.

Just in case anyone is worried or wants to throw paint at me, it's faux - I locked my mink and red fox away years ago.

I'm travelling in these Yves Saint Laurent boots  

And will change into these on arrival:

This is the outfit or as near as dammit under the coat:

If I get really cold, I'll add this:

I know it's a bit much for a couple of days but I'm taking the following as well.  I never was one for travelling light no matter how much  I've tried. At least I've cut down on the shoes - there was a time when I'd take a pair of shoes to match every outfit!!!

I can't remember if I packed the shoes that go with this outfit so I may have to wear the following instead: decisions, decisions:

With these:

I'm taking some goodies as well. I hope they don't spoil but they are well packaged.

This cake is known as the  Carinthian Reindling Cake, Carinthia  being the Austrian province in which my mother was born - as I was. I used to watch my grandmother make this cake - hours and hours of patience and love went into it.  Growing up it was a favourite if not the favourite of all my cakes.

And a wicked Sachertorte as well.

And of course, I couldn't possibly come without a box of these for everyone.

The famous Mozart chocolates.

Looking forward to Gluwwein on arrival!

Happy and safe travelling everyone.  see you there.

Now where the hell is my date????

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