Welcome to my blog

This is my diary blog which I started when I retired from the Civil Service in April 2010. I like to include some of the things that I see and do with as many photographs as possible. Thank you for visiting my blog I hope you enjoyed it and will return to see what I have been doing. Or you could always join and be one of my followers.

If you would like to use one of my photographs then please ask me first, as they are all subject to copyright.

If you are interested in my crafts then I have added these to my crafting blog -


Sunday, 27 February 2011

Chinatown - London

Last Thursday I met up with my friend Laura in London and we had a walk around Chinatown.  The reason for his visit was to get some inspiration to add a subtle asian/oriental touch to the wedding invites or decorations for Laura's wedding later this year.   We only found a few shops as most of Chinatown seems to be Chinese restaurants or supermarkets.  We came away with a few ideas and also stopped off for a very tasty chinese lunch. 

Laura is from the UK but currently lives in Singapore and you can follow her blog - Expat Adventures in Singapore - http://expatadventuresinsingapore.blogspot.com/

Monday, 21 February 2011

Savory muffin recipe

This is the basic recipe for the muffins.  Originally the recipe had wholemeal flour and buttermilk but I changed the recipe to ordinary self raising flour and milk.  I used goats cheese and rosemary in some of mine and they were yummy.

Red onion, cheddar and bacon muffins

These strong flavours work well together, but you can always play around with the combinations. Try spring onions instead of red, pancetta instead of bacon, and any strong cheese in place of the cheddar. Makes 12.

1 tsp oil
100g streaky bacon, cut into 1cm pieces
1 red onion, finely diced
250g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp salt
2 eggs
80g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
200ml milk
1 tbsp finely chopped chives (optional)
150g strong cheddar, grated

Heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6 and line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases.

Warm the oil over a medium heat and fry the bacon in it until just crisp. Lift the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. In the same fat, sauté the onion until just softened, about five minutes, then set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. In a jug, whisk the eggs, butter and buttermilk, stir them into the flour mixture with a spatula until just combined, then fold in the cooled bacon, onion, chives, if using, and two-thirds of the cheese until just evenly distributed.

Spoon or scoop the mixture into the muffin tin, sprinkle on the rest of the cheese, and bake for about 18 minutes, until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Muffin baking day

I found a recipe to make some savory muffins but I thought I would adapt the recipe to make something a little different.   The first batch were cheddar cheese, bacon, onion and thyme, topped with grated cheese and  the second batch are goats cheese, bacon, onion and rosemary, topped with sesame seeds.   Some of these are going to the freezer so I have something to take with me when I am going out and about.
Finally, I made some chocolate muffins and added orange zest and juice, just to make them a little different.  They will go down a treat - but they will probably not last very long.  

Spring Term - Digital Photography - week 5

This is the last class before half term.  We looked at each others photographs on the flickr group and commented on various pictures.  We then looked at focusing, so we found a button on the camera which produces the following image on the screen.  
Using the dial it is possible to choose which point you want to focus on, so you don't always want to focus in the middle.  The photos below show I have picked which part of the photo I wanted in focus leaving the remainder out of focus.

Friday, 18 February 2011


My friend Val and I went to Windsor for the day.  This was mainly a pottering about day so we wondered up the high street and passed the castle, the crooked building and down some of the shopping streets. 


 After a very nice lunch in the arcade which forms part of the central station we went to see the railway steam engine - The Queen.  
We then went over the bridge to Eton.  On the other side of the bridge there are some stainless steel bollards made by Wendy Ramshaw OBE and a tower bollard with a lens.  These are the bollards and the views through the lens.
A view through the lens of Eton High Street.
A view through the lens of Windsor
The walk along Eton High Street is very pleasant and there are some interesting shops and we found this lovely courtyard.
While in Windsor and Eton I could not resist ignore the old post boxes.
I have included a few more of the photos of Windsor on the my flickr photostream.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

London at dusk & night

I took these photographs last week just as the sun was setting and all the lights were coming on in London. 

And I took this photograph locally, but resting my camera on a bollard I used a slow shutter speed to get the effect of the lights from the passing traffic. 

The rest of the photos are on the flickr photostream.

Spring Term - Digital Photography course - week 4

Week 4 - we reviewed what we had learnt over the last couple of weeks with the aperture and shutter speed.  We then looked at the historgram which appears on the screen and how it can help when look at your photo and decide whether you need to make any adjustment to the light etc.  I think this something that is going to take sometime to get used to.  But even if the histogram is showing you that the photo is too light or too dark if you like the photo and you are happy with then leave it alone.

<< This shows the histogram

This is the histogram and also the amount of Red, Green and Blue in the photo

Our homework is to take some night shots including taking some photos with a slow shutter speed.  These should be interesting pictures and I will include them in another posting on the blog. 

Book - Worst Case

I know I have just finished A Tiny Bit Marvellous and i do have other books to read on my e-reader but I saw and bought this book from the supermarket.  It is "Worst Case" by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge.  The book is a detective story about kidnapping and murder so completely differentg from my previous read.   I found this such a good read and fast moving, I could not put it down and read it in 2 days.

Book - A Tiny Bit Marvellous

I have read A Tiny Bit Marvellous by Dawn French and it was very funny.  It is family and the usual problems with teenagers and parents plus the very amusing son who thinks he is Oscar Wilde.  Loved the book.   I had previously read Dawn's first book Dear Fatty which was equally good.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Chinese New Year - Year of the Rabbit

Last week was the Chinese New Year and the celebrations in London took place on Sunday.  I went up to town but China Town was so crowded I only managed a couple of photos of the celebration.  They are not very good photos but I here they are anyway.

I did managed to get a picture of the street decorations.

I took a bus back to Victoria I took this photo of Trafalgar Square and you can see the crowds of people.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Walk around Richmond - Part 1

Yesterday I went for a walk around Richmond following one of the Rambles from the London Tube http://www.londontuberambles.co.uk/index.htm I made my way to Richmond by train and on leaving the station I turned left.  The first interesting sight I saw was this mural for a beer garden.
I continued down the street until I reached the Square and then I crossed over the road and took the next turning on the right, which was a narrow road called Duke Street.  At the bottom of the road I came to Richmond Green.  The Green was used for jousting tournaments in Tudor times and cricket was played there from the 17th century.
I turned left and walked along the street and the first property I noticed was the Gothic House.
Then further along the street was this sign for an optimertrist.   Now I absolutely love this sign. 
Further down the street I came across the House of Chocolate, I was really good and did not go into the shop.
Then turning right along the Green passing the Tudor House and Maids of Honour Row built in 1724 for the attendants of Caroline of Ansbach, wife of the future George I.
(Note to self - next time carry some wet wipes to clean off bird pooh before taking photo)
Further down the street I came across and archway into the Old Palace Yard.

On the Green there is some tourist information about Richmond Palace.
I walked through the archway into the outer courtyard of the palace.  There were some lovely Tudor buildings and the house in front was called Trumpeter's House.   It was called this because of statues there used to be each side of the portico.   Turning right passed this house there are some bollards with the initials 'ER', this is the beginning of  Old Palace Lane.
At the bottom of the lane I turned left and walked down to the river.  At the river I decided to do a detour and turned right and went towards the Richmond Lock.  On the way I came across the George III's Meridian Line.   
If you peep through the steel posts you can see the Observatory that George III commissioned in order to see the transit of Venus in 1769.  He had it set up with 3 obelisks along with his personal Meridian. 
I continued to walk down to the Richmond Lock and to the footbridge over the River.
I decided to end my walk at this point as it was quite a windy day and I thought I could continue the walk another day perhaps when the weather was better.  

Afternoon in Tunbridge Wells and Spa visit

On Thursday, Rochelle and I spent the afternoon in Tunbridge Wells.  We went down by train and walked down to the Pantiles.  We had a very nice lunch in Woods and a stroll around the shops especially the Mottrams kitchen shop which is fab. 


Outside kitchen shop was this lovely Victorian Post Box. 

After lunch it was off to the Royal Day Spa where we had a facial and a relaxing time sitting around in the jacuzzi.