Sunday, 19 December 2010


We've been snowed in for 2 days now, although I don't think t's as cold as in central England. More expected tomorrow and we have the quandary of what to do about David. He's booked a train to Dorchester tomorrow but if it snows as predicted we don't think we can get there to meet him (8 miles of untreated single track roads and we don't have a 4 wheel drive vehicle). His hall is open for the whole of the holiday so we may have to tell him to stay there and we'll go and get him if and when we can get out. The decision will have to be taken first thing tomorrow when we see how much has actually fallen.
Went for lunch in the pub today and were the only customers for the second sitting at the carvery which is usually fully booked. There was certainly plenty of food.
We are so lucky to have a pub and shop within walking distance.
I've just looked out in the garden, there's ice on the inside of the conservatory windows but outside it's magical, moonlight on snow covered fields, it's as bright as day.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Victoria Sponge

So here it is, a bit baggy, but better than being tight I suppose.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Brushing up my sewing skills

When we moved here in August, everyone we met said
"You have to get involved in the pantomime, that's how to get to know people."
So we went round to the first meeting in September and volunteered.
I offered my fairly basic sewing skills (emphasising the basic bit) and Simon said he'd help backstage.
About a month later, Debbie left a message
"I'd like to come round and discuss a costume with you".
Over coffee, she said she wanted me to make a costume for the Dame.
"Ok, but I'm really a very basic sewer and I do need to follow a pattern."
In this particular panto the Dame is called Victoria Sponge and Debbie's idea was that she should look like a cupcake.
"Do you have a pattern"
Oh yes, and here are some pictures of costumes I downloaded from the internet.
Ok so far. But the pattern is for a woman, and the dame is a man. Debbie has taken his measurements without his false breasts and he is nine inches bigger round the waist than the pattern size. And , of course he is man shaped, wider shoulders, longer body...... so a lot of adjustments have to be made, added to which, when he does put on the false breasts they are positioned remarkably high for such a mature lady (even more adjustments, Debbie says it's because he hasn't had children).
The pattern is for a skirt and top, the skirt is orange with a big stripe of red round (cake and jam you understand), there's an overskirt of buff which is tied up and studded with bright red pom poms (icing and decoration). The top is also buff, fitted and boned (steep learning curve here, boning is completely outside my experience). It is made in three layers, I have no idea why, one of course provides the lining, by this time I've run out of buff fabric so the lining is orange, hey ho.
And finally the outfit is completed by a bright red mop cap, complete with stalk and leaf, to represent a cherry on the top of the cake. Which is fine, and not difficult to make, however, when I completed it, I put it on and went to show Simon. He took one look and announced that it's obscene and certainly not suitable for the matinee. Good thing I attached the stalk with an elastic band, is all I can say.
Last Wednesday I contacted The Dame to tell him his dress was ready to try on but his car was off the road, on Wednesday night we had 4 inches of snow and no gritters, so that prevented him from coming over. The result of all this is that tomorrow is the dress rehearsal and he still hasn't tried it on. So, I'm hoping I've erred on the big side and have fitted it with strategic safety pins, but the main thing is that I really hope I've made it the right shape. They really needed a much better dress maker than me, the finishing is appalling and I've had to make various tucks and pleats where strange extra bits of fabric kept appearing. So finger's crossed and watch this space.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Stuck in the house

Stuck in the house again, a replay of last winter.
When we moved from Dorset to Bucks, 18 years ago, it snowed on the day we moved in (in April), David was delighted because he hadn't seen much snow before,and I don't remember conditions like this here.
Perhaps we need to think a bit harder about global warming. Maybe it's not all bad.
I read somewhere that the start of the new Ice Age coincided with early man's mass burning of the forests to clear the land for farming which created sufficient co2 to stop the big freeze happening.
In the past Ice Ages have lasted anything from 80,000 to 100,000 years, with the intervening interglacials being much shorter, 10,000 years at most. We've now been ice free for 14,000 years.

"scientists used ice cores to decipher past changes in temperature, they also analysed the gaseous composition of trapped air bubbles in the ice. Such analysis revealed that during the last Ice Age, levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere were significantly lower than they were before mankind began polluting the atmosphere.
In fact, reconstructed records of temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide were found to match almost exactly. Since carbon dioxide is a significant greenhouse gas, it is believed that initial climatic changes resulting from orbital variations were somehow affecting the composition of the atmosphere, to the extent that a lowering of carbon dioxide concentrations was increasing the global cooling."