Monthly Archives: May 2013

Top secret chocolate brownie recipe

Heat oven to 180/gas 4

Line baking tin with greaseproof paper

Break 250g dark chocolate into pieces, put into glass bowl with 175g butter/marg and melt in microwave (Other melting techniques are available).

Mix 3 eggs, 250g sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 150g plain flour in a larger bowl.

Then add melted chocolate/butter and stir again.

Finally, stir in 100g chocolate chips.

Bake in oven for half an hour.

If you can, let it cool before cutting up and eating. Makes about 24 pieces.

*Can use white chocolate/chocolate chips instead if you desire, but this is very sweet.


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From the train

Naked man standing at his window
A miniature railway going around a garden
Concrete steps in the middle of a field
Sheep, cows, pigs, horses
Deer, rabbits, birds of prey circling overhead
Disused stations, forgotten lines
Steam trains waiting for their big day out
Sea, river, stream, canal
Abandoned cars
Canal boats, sail boats, battle ships
Solar farm, wind turbines, power station

High bridges, dark tunnels
Old viaducts, level crossings
Raindrops racing down the window
Castles in good repair and falling down,
Tiny back gardens of terraced houses
Sweeping estates

Ever changing, never changing pattern of fields and footpaths
Flooded one moment, bone dry the next

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100WCGU#91 – No messing

100 word challenge this week gave the stimulus ‘…there’s always a sting in the tail…’


‘Take care when dealing with your fellow Scorpio. They are passionate, hard-working and loyal, but mess with them and there’s always a sting in the tail.’

So read Claire’s horoscope that morning, and her thoughts turned, as ever, to Rod. Both Scorpios, both feisty and argumentative, but making up was always amazing. Today though, there was some serious making up to do. A surprise party had been organised, against her better judgement, and things had not gone well. In fact, Rod had not come home that night. The message he sent read ‘I’ve found someone else.’

She took the scissors from the kitchen and headed upstairs.


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Eden Project – my big day out

So, for my half term treat I finally got myself organised to go and visit the Eden Project, like I said I would back in December.

It cost £104 on the train to Par, not bad considering I only booked two days in advance, and total travelling time was just over six hours. I love looking out of the window on a train, so this was not a problem! I stayed at The Royal Inn, which is right next to the railway station. The room was a room and the food was amazing. I will stay there again.

Anyway, Eden. I saw on their leaflet that they do a discount for ‘green travellers’ which was a bonus since I was intending to walk anyway. The ‘given’ walking distance from Par to Eden is 4 miles, along cycle trail #2. It only took me an hour and included some hills, so I don’t think that the journey was that long. The first view of the project was amazing, round a corner and there it is, just nestled in its clay pit.

It’s a place I’d LOVE to take my class, but distance makes it somewhat tricky. There’s an amazing touchable model at the entrance. The paths are accessible and the majority of information signs also have Widgit/CiP info on them, sadly many of these are too small for purpose and it took me a while to notice them. You’d think working with it all day…. oh, and there’s a changing places toilet too.

Anyway, the external gardens are well laid out, with paths so that you don’t have to double back on yourself too often. The range of planting is amazing, and I can imagine it looks very different as the seasons progress. The sculptures also are great, I think I took as many photos of them as I did of the plants!

Inside the Biomes is again, amazing. Having been to the real rainforest, I was impressed with what I saw, and braved the high platform for a different view. How lovely to see bananas growing as well. I had lunch in the Link (yummy) and an ice cream in the Mediterranean biome. By this time, it was raining, so that one was very busy and I didn’t enjoy it so much.

Again, the Core building (love the architecture) was heaving due to the weather, so I popped in but didn’t stay too long. On the way out I had to visit the plant shop. The restraint due to being on the train was amazing…and was the excuse I needed not to buy up the whole shop.

I’m already planning my next visit!

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Holiday diary/walking and trains

At least, I think it’s Tuesday.
So, despite the best efforts of the weather forecasters I just about managed to stay dry today. I decided to take a chance on the weather and walked along the south west coast footpath, from Par to Charlestown. Of course, I stopped on beaches on the way, and to enjoy the view. At Charlestown I went in to the Shipwreck museum. It was good, but too many exhibits in too small a space and an overwhelming need of a red pen or two. Still…


I then walked in to St Austell, but wasn’t feeling like shopping, so it was straight to the station. I realised it was far too early to return to the hotel so I got on the train the other way and went all the way to Penzance. On the train journey I had the misfortune of a drunk man talking to himself on one side and a couple arguing about how often they see each other in front. Out of the window, the best thing today was the old tin mines. Next time…

On arrival in Penzance I still wasn’t feeling the shopping. So I decided that the best course of action was to walk to St Michael’s Mount across the bay in Marzilion. Along the beach I went at quite a pace, splashing through the water. Was fun, but two miles of beach walking hurts. I had enough time to take some photos of the castle and buy an ice cream before turning around and back to Penzance to get the train home. I reckon I’ve walked 10 miles, on two separate parts of the coastal path. Tired now.

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Holiday diary/Eden project


Today I headed to the Eden Project. I will have more to say when I get home I’m sure, especially with some photos and perhaps a fit of jealous rage that I do not live close enough to bring my class (teachers, eh, always working).

I’m staying in Par, which according to the blurb is 4 miles from the project. Actually, when walking it is more like 2.5 miles, so having checked the map on the wall, and committing the route to memory – cycle path #2 if you’re interested – I was off. It was a pleasant walk, with a rather steep section in the middle. First viewing of the biomes came quite late into the walk but was most spectacular. There was no queue to get in and I glut the walkers discount which made it even better. First, since the weather was good, I explored outside. It’s lovely, there’s been a lot of work gone in to the project with a wide range of planting and sculpture to look at. Soon enough, I’d reached the bottom of the clay pit and entered the biomes, starting of course with the rainforest. Fortunately, the realism stops with the plants so there were no leaches. Phew. I had a melt down about them when I was in the real rainforest. The temperature is right, and there is a ‘cool room’ if needed but I couldn’t help thinking that people need to just take their coats off! The high walk was closed, so it was time for lunch. Cooked on site with local ingredients, lovely. Then back to do the high walk. Maybe when the trees are even bigger it will be better, it just made the biome look a little empty.

Next stop was the mediterranean biome. I was disappointed. It seemed to be mostly restaurant, but I guess it was busy because the rain had started and that wasn’t helping. Back outside, I completed the rest of the gardens. A bit of rain doesn’t stop me. There were some stunning gardens, and the building called ‘the core’ has a fascinating roof that actually channels and collects the rain water.

My undoing was the shop. Yes, I’ve bought more plants for the garden, but they are only little! A beautiful shop with so many lovely things…and then I had to walk home in the rain. Suffice to say I was doing my best drowned rat impression on return to the hotel, but it didn’t take long to dry off. As I write, multitasking with dinner, it’s still raining, so I shalln’t be heading to the beach this evening.

As I said, a more Eden Project pros/cons will arrive later, along with some photos.

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Holiday diary/talking to the wind

It struck me today as I sat on the beach watching the waves that I usually keep a diary when I go away, and this time I haven’t even bought a pen. I know it’s only 3 nights, maybe that’s why I didn’t think to bring the new notebook that’s waiting…

Anyway, holiday diaries tend to be a bit rambling, a way of sorting thoughts that might be bothering me, so if I get a bit tangential feel free to stop reading.

An early start today, to ensure that I didn’t leave getting up until the last possible minute and end up running for the train as usual. First leg of the journey was to Reading, and after lunch there on to Par, which is near St Austell in Cornwall. There was a total of six hours travelling, and I was happy that I’d booked a window seat. I love watching the world go rushing by. All sorts of things to see today – man flashing from his flat, fishermen, clay pigeons, someone practicing their golf in an empty field…only one delay, as we stopped so that a beach tent could be removed from our path. The train was fairly busy, but full points to first Great Western, for high seat backs and enough leg room for me!

On arrival at the final destination, I discovered that the hotel wasn’t joking when it said ‘by the station’. I checked in, and then went to stretch my legs, well for a walk, it was nearly a mile but I went to the seaside. I walked a bit on the beach, but mostly sat watching the waves, thinking.

About my job, about things people have said recently that really hurt even though they probably weren’t meant in that way, and generally stuff that I don’t let bother me at home. It was like being back in Sri Lanka, where I was lucky enough to go to the beach almost every day. It’s no secret I’m not happy where I am. There’s potential for something different, there or maybe elsewhere, but it’s out of my hands. Before I came away a colleague seemed surprised that I was going away on my own, and her wording made it sound as though I’d announced I have two heads. That same response I get when I say I don’t drink. She couldn’t grasp that I have no one to go away with  so it’s alone or nothing. And to be honest, quite often I’d rather go alone. It’s only when it comes to eating that I notice it.

And then there’s the reason I’m alone. Too picky. More like no one quite measures up to the one that got away, and the only person who does has made it clear his feelings are elsewhere. Hey ho. Mostly, like 98% of the time it’s fine. Hell, if there was someone, I’d hardly have got away with booking a holiday starting Sunday on Friday night, would I?

Dinner at the hotel is lovely, although the portions are a little large. Still, it’ll stop me eating the biscuits just because they are there! I should really check out the desert menu, must be some Cornish Ice cream on it.

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