Sunday Poem 221

This poem was chosen by one of Boy the Elder’s friends, Natasha and I love it.

Having a Coke with You – by Frank O’Hara (1926-1966)

is even more fun than going to San Sebastian, Irún, Hendaye, Biarritz,
or being sick to my stomach on the Travesera de Gracia in Barcelona
partly because in your orange shirt you look like a better happier
St. Sebastian
partly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for
partly because of the fluorescent orange tulips around the birches
partly because of the secrecy our smiles take on before people and
it is hard to believe when I’m with you that there can be anything
as still
as solemn as unpleasantly definitive as statuary when right in front
of it
in the warm New York 4 o’clock light we are drifting back and forth
between each other like a tree breathing through its spectacles

and the portrait show seems to have no faces in it at all, just paint
you suddenly wonder why in the world anyone ever did them

I look
at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in
the world
except possibly for the Polish Rider occasionally and anyway it’s
in the Frick
which thank heavens you haven’t gone to yet so we can go together
the first time
and the fact that you move so beautifully more or less takes care
of Futurism
just as at home I never think of the Nude Descending a Staircase or
at a rehearsal a single drawing of Leonardo or Michelangelo that
used to wow me
and what good does all the research of the Impressionists do them
when they never got the right person to stand near the tree when
the sun sank
or for that matter Marino Marini when he didn’t pick the rider
as carefully
as the horse

it seems they were all cheated of some marvelous experience
which is not going to go wasted on me which is why I am telling you
about it

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The Two Minute Review – 23: The Theory of Everything

Film:                The Theory of  EverythingTimer

Certificate:      12A

Starring:          Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox, Harry Lloyd, Maxine Peake

Director:          James Marsh

This film is perfect.  How Eddie Redmayne manages to contort himself  progressively throughout the film to the point where it was hard to imagine that one wasn’t watching Prof. Hawking is beyond me.  There is a word; ‘sapiosexual’ which means being attracted to clever people and it would hard to imagine any woman NOT being attracted to the young Hawking, so charming, humorous and diffident was he.  And this is the crux of this film; there is so much love and humour and strength that if you don’t blub a bit at any point, there’s something wrong with you.

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Perfect Hot Chocolate

Seeing as we’re on the subject of comfort food, this is how you make the perfect hot chocolate.  I make mine in the microwave so I don’t have to wash up a skanky pan.  I confess that I’ve taken a mug of this to bed with me the last couple of nights and I’ve slept like a baby.

1 x mug
1 x microwave

2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon sugar (or to taste)
1 drop of hot water
Milk – cow or soya
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 desert spoon brandy
double cream

Mix the cocoa and sugar to a smooth paste with a little hot water
Top up the mug, to within an inch of the top, with milk
Microwave for 2 minutes or until very hot
Add the brandy and vanilla extract and stir well
Swirl the cream on the top
Sigh ecstatically and wipe the cream from your top lip

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Chicken and Sweetcorn Chowder

I made a big pot of this on Monday to use up the leftover Sunday chicken.  I made stock from the chicken bones in the slow cooker and the resulting chowder lasted three days.  SO comforting on a cold day.



1 x large saucepan
1 x chopping board
1 x stick blender


2oz / 60g butter
1 medium onion – chopped
2 x medium potatoes – diced
1 medium carrot- finely diced
1 stick of celery – finely chopped
1 oz plain flour
¾ pint / 400ml milk
¾ pint / 4ooml chicken  or vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried parsley or 2 tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
A good twist of black pepper
2 x 12oz / 326g cans of sweetcorn
2 x cooked chicken breasts or equivalent of leftover chicken – diced
¼ pint / 150ml double cream
Finely chopped fried bacon to garnish – if you’re feeling saucy!


Melt the butter in the pan without browning
Add the onion and cook until soft
Add the potatoes, carrots and celery, and cook for another 5 minutes
Stir in the flour and gradually add the milk and the stock, stirring constantly
Bring to the boil, add the bay leaf , parsley and pepper
Add one tin of the sweetcorn, cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes
Remover the bay leaf and work with the blender until smooth
Add the chicken and the other tin of sweetcorn and heat through
Stir in the cream  and serve
Garnish with bacon bits if using and serve with tasty bread

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A very belated Happy New Year

Nobel PrizeYou are all going to get so sick of me, pleading for mercy for neglecting you so horribly and continually promising that I am back in the cockpit and then disappearing into the clouds again.

The truth is that I have been absolutely plagued with ill-health, both emotional and physical since the end of the summer.  I will talk about the emotional side of things imminently because I believe that talking openly about depression and anxiety not only helps other people to feel less isolated, but also helps to break down the stigma of mental health.

Physically, I had simply overdone it last year, and exhaustion was followed by a lengthy flu, a break for a wonderful family Christmas, and then a chest infection that would have left 19th century consumptives aghast with envy.  I was coughing up things that would have been more at home in the darkness of the deepest ocean trenches; some of  which genuinely had teeth and rudimentary brain stems.  Got that image fixed firmly in your head? Then we shall continue…

I am now back at work with a vengeance.  I have been making copious notes of all the ideas which flood through my head and am approaching publishers and agents appropriately.  As some of you will know, ‘How to be a Perfect 50s Housewife’ was put on hold because the publisher was taken over by a larger company and anything that wasn’t actually going to print was cancelled.  However, it was fairly far advanced in production so I am hopeful that it will taken on by another publisher very soon.

I am continuing to do talks, performances and readings at every opportunity and last year I performed the first chapter of an exciting and humorous novel which was extremely well received and my audience got very excited about the whole thing.   The day before yesterday however, I had another idea which has sent me into paroxysms of excitement, and when you read the finished novel, you will be writing to world leaders demanding that I win a Major Literary Prize.  No really!

But life is not all literary excitement.  We still have to eat soup and mend out socks, shelves still need putting up, antique lace needs cleaning and we will always need to know thirty seven different applications for  bicarbonate of soda.  Tomorrow I will share a recipe for Chicken and Sweetcorn Chowder that will warm you to the core on these dark and frosty days.

What I actually want to be doing.  But with more nuts.

What I actually want to be doing. But with more nuts.

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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone. With love and blessings to you all xxx

Here is the Christmas Cake wot I made.

Christmas Cake 2014Christmas Cake side 2014

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Sunday Poem 220

The Silent Knight – by Matthew Sweeney (b. 1952)

He went into a huff at Christmas,
there in the crowded church
with the choir behind him, singing hymns
about kings, and mangers
and a holy, silent night!

So he became a silent knight,
and stormed from the church
to don his armour, mount his horse
and head for his castle home
where he brooded in the bedroom

then pinned up a notice
sacking all the servants,
advertising for dumb replacements,
and warning his wife
never to speak to him again.

And each month at the joust
he was invincible,
his lance became a tin-opener
leaving the meat of the knights
for maggots to gobble,

while he never boasted
or cried out in triumph,
just galloped home to his silent castle
where harpists were barred
and monks went on the fire.

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General Slothfulness (do you see what I did there….?)

Ah, it’s all sloths with me at the moment.  Actually this is a word of encouragement to any of you who believe that you are ‘Not Ready for Christmas’ – whatever that means.  In order to encourage you this is where I’m up to:

1.  Today, I made my Christmas Cake – it’s just about to go in the oven.  I soaked the fruit for 24 hours in brandy and skipped the month of feeding.  Tomorrow I shall marzipan and ice it and on Tuesday I shall decorate it.  I have chosen a simple decoration so as not put any pressure on myself.

2.  On Thursday, I made my Christmas pudding.  NOTE:  I did it over night in the slow cooker saving both gas, electricity and anxiety about the pot boiling dry.

3.  Tonight and tomorrow, I’m going to wrap my presents whilst watching ‘Holiday Inn’ (I saw ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ at the pictures so I can tolerate a bit of deviance!)  There will be sherry

4.  This evening, I’m going to make a new Santa Sack for the Father of My Children who is coming for Christmas.

5.  At some point I will clean the house.  The Boys can tidy and clean their bedrooms and change their sheets ready for guests

6.  On Monday morning, I will place the ham in the slow cooker with a load of cider and herbs and let it cook itself until I come home.

7.  On Tuesday, I shall buy vegetables and any extra supplies needed for Christmas Lunch  and Tea

8.  On Tuesday evening, I shall collect the Aged Parent from London.  I’m hoping that this will avoid any horrid traffic and then we can relax on Christmas Eve.

9. On Wednesday evening, I will stuff the turkey if I feel like it.

10.  If anyone finds fault with my house, its state of cleanliness, the homely nature of the food or the fact that someone is going to have to share a room with a hamster, they can bugger off.  I can guarantee that this won’t happen.

11.  Remember that Christmas is about sharing time with your family and friends and not a PR exercise to show what a wonderful host and entertainer you are.  Whatever you’re celebrating, fill the next few days with joy, love and gratitude and you won’t go far wrong.

12.  Sherry.

Christmas Spirit

Christmas Spirit

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And the winner is……….

It’s Sloth – a modern sloth not a prehistoric sloth .

Thank you for all your mad ideas and I’m almost flattered that you might think I could make a Christmas Corkindrill!


Sara could you please email you address to asap and I’ll get it sent out to you.

Sloth Christmas

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CHRISTMAS QUIZ – What has WH got on top of her Christmas Tree in 2014?

Now don’t shout at me, I know this is a bit late but, as you will all be painfully aware, I’ve been a bit crap since the end of the summer but I am attempting to make amends.

There is only one prize this year and it is a small but wonderful WH Christmas Pudding which should serve two gluttons or three moderate people. It contains everything, nuts, beef suet, gluten and possibly some residual DNA from one of the Three Wise Men.

You have 24 hours to answer the question and I will post the pudding to the winner on Friday afternoon, First Class.

So what does the Wartime Housewife have on top of her Christmas Tree?


It can be found in the tropics.
It used to be as large as an elephant.
It shares an ‘order’ with armadillos and anteaters.

Off you go,

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