When I’m cleaning windows….


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My youngest Hobbit Em, is quite the self taught musician.

My oldest Hobbit gave her “Axle”- her treasured acoustic guitar which she never really used, and soon Em was spending hours every evening teaching herself using the internet. So it came as no surprise when recently she bought herself a Ukulele and took to it straight away..

She wanted me to try. Let me tell you I cannot play any instrument… it’s like knitting using needles, I just can’t do it. But Em insisted and I did want to be a good Mum and try- so I did. She taught me a few basic chords and a simple strum which I painfully got through at super slow speed.

All the time I was thinking of the 1940s and George Formby and thinking it might be fun to one day serenade my food and myself with some wartime music before scoffing it down.

And despite my inability to move my fingers swiftly, that first Ukulele lesson was fun and on a whim (and anyone who knows me will know that I never buy things on a whim- EVER) I found a super cheap beginners Ukulele on eBay and today it arrived.

I should be packing but instead all I can think about is “cleaning windows”

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Starting again in May


Taken 18 months ago weighing about 325 lbs

Taken 18 months ago weighing about 325 lbs

I’ve lost 105 lbs to date and last year I lost 80 lbs in one year living on wartime rations during the 1940s Experiment. Although my life has improved drastically, at 240 lbs ish, although no longer morbidly obese, I am still in a high risk obesity category. By losing another 80 lbs I will no longer be obese and my aim is to return to the 1940s experiment 100% on May 13th 2013, for one more year, to get the job done..

My goal is now to reduce to 160 lbs and when I reach this goal will have lost 185 lbs and over half my body weight.

photoSo weigh in day is May 13 and I’d love it if there is anyone else out there who may like to join me, whether it’s for health reasons or economic reasons or just out of plain curiosity. Maybe for a week, maybe for a month….

But first…

We are preparing for our move into town in the Hobbit house. Packing has started and I really don’t know how we will be ready in time for next Tuesday. Thank goodness for our awesome buyer who is being very tolerant.

12 weeks no hair dye

12 weeks no hair dye

On the “growing old gracefully” front- I’m now 12 weeks without hair dye. Let me tell you it’s a scary place to be but I’m rather glad to be rid of those chemicals. I’m trying to think of my new hair as turning silver rather than turning grey.

Hugs

C xxxx

Wartime Bara Brith – Recipe No 110


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I love the word “Bara Brith”. During my years of living in Wales, the language and the Welsh accent rapidly became one of my favourites in the whole wide world. It’s a very musical language and I do miss hearing it around me..

“Bara Brith” means speckled bread. The traditional recipe calls for lots of dried fruit, soaked in tea overnight and orange zest to give it a little zing. This recipe was quite easily adapted during war years by using marmalade instead of orange juice and orange zest and finely grated carrot could be used to replace some of the fruit. I did just that..

The recipe also only requires one egg (or dried egg) too. Being vegan I used a scoop full of ground flax seed instead which seems quite a good replacement for eggs in baking.

I have only one thing to say on the outcome of this wonderful Welsh fruit bread..

“LUSH”

Bara Brith

  • 1 lb of self raising flour (I used plain with 5 teaspoons of baking powder)
  • 1/2 pint of tea
  • 1 lb of mixed dried fruit (substitute 1/3 rd with finely grated carrot to save on rations)
  • 6 oz of light brown sugar
  • 1 medium egg (I used no egg but used one small scoop of ground flax seed)
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons of mixed spice
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon or orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon of orange zest ( or use 2 tablespoons of orange marmalade to replace the honey, orange juice and zest)

Method

  1. Make 1/2 pint of strong tea and add the dried fruit and grated carrot to the tea, place in fridge overnight
  2. The next day mix the honey, orange juice and zest (or marmalade) with the sugar and egg and then add that to the fruit and tea mixture
  3. Sift the flour and spice into a large bowl and add the fruit/tea mixture
  4. Mix until all flour is mixed in and place in two small greased loaf tins or one large one and cook at 160 centigrade or 320 F for about 1 to 1.5 hours (use foil to cover if getting too brown)
  5. Remove and cool for a while then glaze with honey or a sugar water mix
  6. Remove from tin and cool thoroughly before storing in a tin
  7. Slice and serve with butter (or a lactose free margarine if vegan)

1940sbarabrith2

Digging for victory and survival


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(Northfield Cottage- my favourite house and where I grew my first vegetables)

If there is anything the “1940s Experiment” has taught me is that eating plenty of fresh vegetables everyday makes you feel good and fills your tummy. Even better if you grow your own, do not use pesticides or synthetic fertilizers.

It’s incredibly cheap growing vegetables. Although I’ve not personally done so for a few years now, I did grow large organic gardens filled with brassica’s, beans, salads, corn, potatoes and other root vegetables. I remember the first seed I ever sowed was at the first ever house we bought 17 years ago…( a beautiful little estate cottage on the outskirts of a Fenland village in Norfolk, UK). It was a courgette (zucchini) seed..

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(We often let our courgettes/zucchini grow to marrow size- it made more food that way! My Hobbits at Lanygors Farm in Wales circa 1999)

I never knew such abundance would come from a single seed. Once the seed had germinated and its little shoot grabbed for the bright sunlight, I would be astounded how quickly it grew. It wasn’t long before the plants were bushy and the courgettes were coming through. I had sowed several seeds and therefore began to eat courgettes every day. I got behind with harvesting and soon a few of the plants grew marrows over 12 inches long. We began to eat lots of vegetable curries, there was so much food..

What I am trying to say is that from a few seeds simply planted into the earth and watered, we were able to feed ourselves delicious meals for pennies…

Food poverty concerns me. Many people with young children cannot feed themselves adequately. Reliance on food banks is at an all time high. Food banks make sure those that cannot afford to eat get food in their tummies but that is rarely fresh veg (the best medicine the body can consume).

What also concerns me is the reliance on the importation of food to feed a nation. The further away an economy moves away from food security and self reliance it endangers it’s inhabitants. Local agriculture is an important part of food security. Small local farms need to be re-established, allotments resurrected and gardens once again filled with food instead of flowers. Communities need to come together and make this happen.

It’s time once again to “Dig for Victory and Survival”…

PS: Please take a moment to read this recent article http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9996129/Britain-may-need-to-dig-for-survival -minister-says.html

183537_10151077654297361_1043085393_nOne of my old vegetable gardens. My plans are to get my name down on the allotment waiting list when we move to Nottingham City

Moving forward..


I’m sorry for the lack of updates- we are in the middle of packing and hope to soon be moving out of our house in the countryside to a town, 30 minutes away, while we prepare to move back to the UK.

Today I made three huge containers of stew. I cleared the fridge and some of the freezer out and used the older veg and half a bag of split peas, and now I have enough food for three days. I don’t mind eating the same meals for a few days in a row, infact I’ve found myself quite often doing this last year.

One thing I am looking forward to is hot running water… infact cold running water from all taps will be a treat..

We’ve struggled more than I’ve ever struggled in my entire life these past couple of years especially the last several months and repairs on plumbing and replacing a hot water tank was money we just did not have. Our daily routine has been boiling pots of water for bathing and washing up and it has been very time consuming.

BUT our house is sold, and soon we move, and soon there will be hot running water under pressure and bubbly hot baths for everyone.

I feel like I am the luckiest lady in the whole wide world!

C xxxxx