A new life at 67.Can a woman start all over again?

Archive for July, 2007

Bikers,What I really mean are Cyclists

I don’t really know what I’ve got against bikers. (Cyclists)
It’s not that I can’t ride a bike.The first bike I had was a lovely shiny blue Triumph.

I still remember coming downstairs on a cold Christmas morning to find it propped against the wall. I was six years old, going on seven. It was the only new bike I ever had,all the rest were second hand and painted over in a not so shiny black by my father who said I was growing so quickly he couldn’t afford new ones. I suspected though it was for the same reason that he repaired the shoes I wore to school with leather soles half an inch thick. They looked like clogs and I don’t think I ever got over the shame of it. That’s why I’ve got a bit of a fetish about them today and own more than thirty pairs.

I don’t own a bike,but I am thinking of buying one,purely for enjoyment purposes of course.

It would have to be a Miss Marples type of bike, you know those stiff back type ones with a wicker basket up front for the dog. You can almost imagine the rider sitting side saddle on it if it were possible to turn the peddles in that position.

It definitely would not be a racing bike, because I’ve got something against these, or rather the people who ride them. At least the ones in Switzerland, elsewhere bikers may be different?

First of all I see no need for the fancy uniform (Headgear excluded). I have no inclination to look like a bird of paradise if I’m only riding a couple of kilometers.

But it’s the impression that these athletes or otherwise leave on me,that makes me dislike them in general.
That is, that they think they are the Kings or Queens of the road.

The highway code is not for them, nor is a red light or speed limit. That a motorist or pedestrian might have right of way doesn’t concern them, no their credo is “I’m alright Jack”.
In Switzerland billions of francs have been spent building cycling ways parallel to the main roads ,elaborate wide paths half the width of the roads .(normal roads were too dangerous for them.) They are empty and the bikers are still on the roads.!!!

On the way home today I nearly had two accidents,and saw a woman almost run over on a pedestrian crossing because of people on bikes. (I suppose there is need for the colourful get up,at least we can see them.
I ask myself where the police are? Out fining motorists ,or training on their racing bikes.


Really good fast food,thanks to Delia Smith.

I was never a Jamie Oliver fan although I do appreciate what he has done for British cooking and school dinners.

No my favourite is Delia Smith.

I think her three “How to cook books” should be compulsory reading in schools. It might put an end to fast food.

Not wanting to spend the whole day in the kitchen myself I took down my latest addition to my Delia library and found something cheap, quick,nourishing,without meat, and so good I would really like to share it with you. For it was really the best cheese omelette I have ever eaten.

Delia’s Soufflé Omelette with Three Cheeses and Chives and a Sweet and Sour Onion Salad.

3 large eggs

1oz (25g) mature Cheddar finely grated

1oz (25g) Parmesan finely grated

1oz(25g) Gruyère or Emmental finely grated.

1 heaped tablespoon of finely cut chives ,

1/2 oz butter

salt and freshly milled pepper.

For the sour onion salad.

1 large onion cut into 8 wedges through the root.

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 heaped teaspoon of brown sugar.(Muscobado is best)

1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar (I used apple with a shot of red wine)

1 rounded teaspoon of grain mustard

salt and freshly milled black pepper.

You will also need a heavy based frying pan , medium sized, or large if you are doubling the quantity for two people.

First of all make the salad.

Heat oil in a small saucepan,add the onion,turn heat down to low and cook gently for 5 minutes,stirring now and then.

Next add sugar and one tablespoon of water.Stir well then cover with lid and continue cooking gently for 10 minutes.

After that ,add vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper, give it a good stir and turn heat off while you make omelette.

First seperate eggs,

Beat egg yolks with a fork and season well with salt and pepper.

Put frying pan on to low heat to warm through and melt butter. Turn on Grill to highest setting.
While thats happening whisk egg whites with electric mixer or balloon whisk until they form peaks,then using metal spoon quickly fold in egg yolks adding 3/4 of cheese and the chives.

Then when butter is foaming,pile the mixture into frying pan.

Cook for a minute,then loosen omelette from side of pan,it should be golden underneath.

Empty rest of cheese over the top.Put pan under the grill,handle sticking out if there is one and cook for a further minute or until gheese is melted ant top golden.

Serve immdiately with the Onions.

I served potato chunks roasted with olive oil and scattered with Rosemary leaves and sea salt to go with the omelette as my husband has a large appetite, but it wasn’t really necessary. I doubled the quantity given but we could only manage to eat half.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Peanuts and President Bush.

I personally hate Peanuts.

This hate arises from the day in my childhood when the Sunday School children went on a trip to Brighton,and I spent the last of my pocket money on a bag of salted peanuts.I must have had a lot left over because it bought me a very large bag full.

Having never been able to leave any “goody” food half eaten I gobbled down the lot and consequently suffered on the coach ride home. Since that day I can’t even smell them,not to speak of eating them.

The first time that I really had any contact with people from the United States was when I was working for the USAF in Germany.

I, of course stem from the toast and marmalade for breakfast people,so I couldn’t believe believe my eyes when I saw what the “Yanks” were spreading on their bread. Some kind of jelly -and PEANUT BUTTER!!!

Afterwards in the States I learned that this was almost the staple diet for the unfortunate people who couldn’t afford anything else. And children loved it.
I now live in a country where food has a high priority,or rather the preparation of it ,and we have some of the best cooks in the world.

Some of them are to be found cooking for Presidents.

Like their employers they sometimes hold summit talks too, useful of course when you don’t know who might pop in.

It was during one of these chats that the food preferences of President Bush was discussed.

You couldn’t go wrong apparently if you offered him a jelly and peanut butter sandwich.

I always knew we didn’t have a lot in common.

My favourite meal is a Pizza

On the horses

I like to look at horses, prefer the looks of a full blooded Arab to a hardworking Carthorse,although I probably prefer the character of the latter. I don’t know much about them, and have never really wanted to.

In fact ever since a girl who I wanted to impress at school told me to have a ride on her pony and I made an absolute fool of myself (it wasn’t that I couldn’t ride it,I couldn’t even get up on it to find out) I have never had any inclination to have anything to do with them except admire them from a distance.

I was rather relieved when neither of my two daughters ever expressed the wish to take riding lessons,even though their grand parents had been farmers,because I’m sure they would have got a pony had they wanted one.

Yesterday I had a phone call from one of them who told me she had been to a race meting for the first time .

It brought back a few memories from my childhood,when racing and  a betting on a horse was just as confusing to me.

During school holidays I often stayed in a small village in Hampshire,England with my Grandmother. After the morning chores were done she would sit down and study the racing pages in the paper.Then she would chose which race meeting she would follow on the radio!  (Later the T.V) and I was sent down to the bookmakers to  place sixpence each way on the horse of her choice.

It was a wonder of course that the whole experience didn’t ruin me for life,but children are very resilient.So by the time I was a teenager I had quite a good knowledge of the racing world,and Dick Francis gave me the rest.

Of course knowing a bit about stables, and jockeys and form in general does help if you want to win on the horses,but then there is Lady Luck who has to be on the friendly side.

Which makes me remember a story my Mother told me.

She had no idea and no real interest in racing in fact she hardly knew the difference between The Derby and The Grand National. One day while she working in the emergency room of our local hospital a man was brought in at deaths door. Luckily they were able to persuade him not to step over the thresh-hold.

Later my mother asked him if he had realised what was happening.

“Yeah” he said in broad cockney with a grin to go with it,

“never say die”

There was a horse called Never Say Die, running in the Grand National that day with the highest two figure odds to one.

My Mother put all the notes she had in her purse on it. To win.
Yes, you’re right, it did.

Yellow rubber duck Odysee

Fifteen years ago,15,000 yellow rubber ducks fell from a Japanese freighter in the north Pacific.

They were left to brave wind, waves, and icebergs. According to experts on ocean currents their odysee should be stopped any time now by Britain where they would be washed up on the shores.

The news today is that at least one has arrived and was found by an English schoolteacher while she was walking with her dog on a beach in North Devon.

The little duck was already white and brittle,and had endured an estimated 17,000 sea miles.

As a collectors item it is apparently worth GB£1,000.

The spying game


When I had time to spare my favourite reading to pass that time were books featuring spies. John le Carré being my absolute master of the game.

He of course knows what he is talking about having been educated within the ancient walls that housed,Burgess and Maclean,not forgetting Kim Philby.

The cold war ended, nobody wrote about spies anymore,what for, we were all buddies now, and even I went to Russia.

I sat in an Aeroflot plane on the runway at St Petersberg the night before new years eve just after the “opening” and saw out of the window, Russian soldiers in their long greatcoats with the collars turned up against the cold. On their fur hats the small red stars still shone- and I got goose pimples.
John le Carré found other themes, and Kim Philby got a State Burial in Moscow. Absolute friends.

A Brit friendly Russian was murdered in London,and two diplomats were sent home.

The British Embassy in Moscow are running short of staff this week too, and I’m eagerly awaiting a new spy book.

I have found another love. Crocs

So you all know about my love of yellow rubber ducks,but now I must tell me of my new love,also rubber. (no I’m not like that)

Yes I know they have been around for a while,but in this part of the world we are not always up to date.Recently though there has been a couple of articles in the press, so that’s why I recognised them today in an upmarket sports shop on the Bahnhof Strasse.

Pink,blue,green,grey,orange,silver,red and gold.
“Can I try them” I asked.

“Certainly,but you won’t want to take them off again.”

And they were right,-light as a feather, hugely sweet,and so comfortable. I fell for them at once.
My gold rubber Crocs from Boulder,Colorado.

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