Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Bear Patch

Catching up with the documentary on Queen on BBC iPlayer. Absolutely bloomin' marvellous :)

I've been weedlin' on at The Bear that we needed to get a little veg patch underway. I have herbs dotted around the more colourful plants, in an attempt to defeat my gardening arch nemesis, the father-in-law.

He's the Dr. No to my James Bond. That's if you you could imagine Dr. No as a garden gnome with a flat cap. And a skinny (ish!) Santa as JB. I'd almost got to the stage of rugby diving my Coriander yelling, "Mine, MINE, I tells you". Brrrr.

Bear went to the doctors with back ache, came home, knocked back some tablets, and is attacking a patch, spade flailing, earth flying, with gusto, muttering "I will defeat the Strimmer King!". Whatever she's taking, I want some. Pretty Please :)

She's managed to rope in some local young girls in. Well, girls. Naturally. I think a little social pressure has helped. Next-door-neighbour who didn't like the idea of us having a new veg patch, was caught last month planting herbs and seed potatoes, which have come up swimmingly.

Her sister, way, way t'other end of the city, has a hubby, who like me is a cook-a-matic, dug up concrete for a herb bed. After chatting to other mates, Bear has discovered that it's quite the in thing.

I've just about finished carving an image of 'The Green Man', which I'll mount over the patch. We'll need all the protection we can get.

So, yo! onwards and upwards, or whatever.

Monday, 30 May 2011


So what's #BearTales all about on Twitter?

Hmm. Because I have quirky sense of humour. It is, I'm told, a mix of silent film, sarcasm, cringe-worthiness and slap-stick. Besides I'm a people watcher.

Because The Bear, aka, 'er indoors, is an absolute gift to someone with my sense of humour. Worse, she doesn't know she's done something until much later. Have you ever met someone who doesn't get a joke until 10 minutes after everyone else? It was probably Bear.

Which is even funnier. She's a gem :)

A secret of a good marriage is knowing each others little foibles and oddities, recognising them for what they are, and playing along with them with a dash of repartee thrown in. I live 24/7 with a natural Charlie Chaplin. It's heart warming and touching and funny.

I thought, meh, why not share it? I thought it would be a skill worth honing to fit it in 160 characters.

For the record, she reads them, and I live in dread she may well, one day, get her own back.

For the record, to sum it all up, when she managed to fall head first into 500 toilet toilet rolls in ASDA, she said her first thought wasn't "Help!..." It was "Oh, sh*t. Another #BearTales".

She texted me to tell me....... I rest my case :)


Apparently I'm in the market to get rid of 500 slightly damaged (The actual wording was used. No Bear. Not 'used' ) toilet rolls. I strongly suspect this a wind up.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Happy Birthday D.

Well, it's my daughter partners birthday today. So The Bears sister, her daughter and son, have travelled all the way from across the city to our place, then went off to the party. Then Little Bear, aka Tots, returned from Alton Towers with her big bro, and she's orf to the party too.

I suspect I'm going to have a houseful overnight.

Even though Daughter Mine only lives 6 mins away, today it's a long way to go. I'm just not strong enough to walk that far today. Still made me feel awful for not going :(

Got a bit of ribbing, but hey, private time is precious, knackered as I am, so I'm catching up with emails, loving some tweets and blogs, and I'm off to bed in a minute.

Bless you for reading.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Temporary Post.

For some reason, I've been unable to post comments on other peoples Blogs - seems to be those that I 'select profile'. I know it's not their end because other people are commenting.

It seems to have happened since I upgraded fire fox. Working on it.

My apologies - I'm not intentionally being unsociable...


Sorted. I had my security too tight. Apparently, if 'disable third party cookies' is disabled in a browser options, you can't post on blogger comments now. Third-party cookies can be abused, without getting too technical. Meh. Get rid of them as I go along.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Bear Tales

"Coffee" She said. I was a bit engrossed in my new phone. Amazing this new technology."Coffee" she repeated. "Your Coffee". Ah. Mine. That got my attention.

"You're nearly out" Ahuh. Fascinating is Goggle Street View on a motion sensitive phone. "Trouble, is, you don't drink it very often." Silence. "But when you do, you have it strong" I decided more silence was the better part of valour. Besides, I sensed...

"So when you do have it, you have a lot of it. So it runs out fast when you do have it..." I knew it, here it comes... "But if you didn't have so much when you did, it'd last longer" She was oblivious to the slack jawed, bug-eyes monster with elephant ears. "So, since yours is a bit expensive, I'll get you some more, but can you not use so much so it lasts longers?"

I knew it. A Bearism.

As my dear, departed old dad used to, 'If you catch me asleep, pee in me ear'. There's an App for that.

One jar of Nescafé Café Columbian please dearest. Now, where's the paracetamol?


In case you're wonderin' The Bear reads these. And on Twitter. The kids - if you can call 14, 22, 24 'kids' love Bear Tales, as does The Bear. 'Cause it's all true. Bear never, ever, complains. It's only something you can get away with after over 25 years together :)

I love my ol' Bear.
S'cuse me. Off to work out why for some odd reason I'm following my own blog. Never a dull moment, eh?

Wednesday, 18 May 2011


Heh! :) Mothers and daughters eh? Most entertaining. But Muumm!... :-)

Like any wise and experienced Dad, I go all deaf......


I'm an inveterate forager. I don't want to go into too much detail here. Just a brief introduction.

As I'm not 'allowed' out alone (could you imagine that? - I wonder what they think I'm going to do?) I have to take along a not-always-willing accomplice. Why unwilling? Because I have a habit of diving unexpectedly into hedges if something catches my eye. Getting out again is the difficult bit.

I know. Mad impulsive fool. That's me folks :-)

I guess when most people think of foraging, they think fungi. I'll hold my hands up in defeat here. Mushrooms are a tremendous resource, if you know what you're doing. I don't, could never get my head around it, so as a rule, I don't bother. There is a lot of poisonous stuff around. The only fungi I bother with is something half way up a tree.

You don't have to go far for free foodstuffs. If you have a garden, you'll often have 'weeds'. What's a weed? A weed is a plant that's out of fashion or unwanted.

Here in the Uk that's often dock, dandelion, often mint, which can go bonkers unless it's contained, nettles, elderberry, nasturtium, hawthorn, lavender, elderberry (flowers and berries) and Hawthorne (flowers, berries and leaves), chickweed, crab apple.

A warning about hawthorne. If you are on blood pressure medication? Don't. A lot of modern medication originally derived from studying extracts from plants. Hawthorne can cause blood pressure to drop. Not something you want if you are taking tablets for low blood pressure.

If you'd like a bit of 'bite' in a salad mix, young dandelion leaves can replace sorrel. They have a slightly bitter taste. If you're into herbal medicine, wizzy-wig in with strawberries and pear or plum to make a tasty diuretic - it can reduce the fluid in your body. Quite frankly, a lot can make you pee a lot :)

Young Dock is a cool replacement, and make a salad really tasty. Nasturtium buds are peppery and delicious. Surprisingly, lavender makes a great replacement for rosemary, both flowers and leaves.

Chickweed is hugely common. But it it shouldn't be thrown away. It's packed full of vitamins, and is no more different in it's taste than any other salad leaf.

Nettles? That stingy stuff? Chop some onions, garlic, carrots and a couple of good handfuls of nettles with a pinch of salt and pepper and sauté in a little olive oil and pepper, add a little stock and cook for 15 mins and you have a delicious soup. Alternatively, gently cook in a little olive or sunflower oil for 5 mins and add stir in an omelette mix. Top on home-made wholemeal bread, and you have a winner.

Particularity with some fresh basil :)

More laters.....

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Peter Fenwick

I believe Peter's celebration on Thursday 12th of May 2011 was recorded, at least in audio.

I'll post more details here, as and when details of availability reach me. Keep an eye Darron's Blog - aka Daz The Man - too. As he did the audio recording, he may well get info about the availability of the fruits of his labours before
I do. Assuming he blogs of course (cheeky grin!).

The Bear and others have told me it was a very joyous celebration, lasting almost three hours, and a 'fitting send-off' for a grand fella :) Lots of people from different denominations meeting up and mixing and acquainting and re

Scans of the programme. left-click twice to expand the pictures.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011


"......... call me Tots. I'm too old now. I don't look like a Faerie either. I bet you'll still call me Tots when I'm 50, won't you? Stop trying to change the subject. I'm wise to that trick. I don't need to know how you hide an elephant in a bowl of custard. I suppose you're going to tell me anyway, you always do...."

"Mom, tell him, he's trying to do my head in again....."

No you aren't. Yes you do. Yes I will. It's nice to know that I'm going to reach 100 and thingy too. Yes I am. You paint their feet yellow.

How do they do that? Whoosh through a string of sentences without pausing for for breath ?

Monday, 9 May 2011


As much as I love my mate Dazman, his taste in garden decor is like, gravel, wood flooring and paving.

Much like aged father-in-law. For instance, they both like my next door neighbours 'minimalist-plants-in-pots' style. Along with the recently bright yellow painted window sills. Reminds me of my student days.

If it stands still long enough, concrete it, is father-in-laws motto. I've warned Dazman not to stand still too long near him. Otherwise he might forget to polish his specs and think he's a tree. Messy. Worse, he might become a not unsubstantial garden gnome. THAT I'd like to see....

I feel a cartoon coming on..... :)


Bear said we're getting a bit low in the fridge. Uhuh. I pointed out the freezer needs a good hunt through. It's packed. "But we have nowt in the fridge...". Okidoke. After 25 years I can spot a stubborn 'ead coming on from 25 miles away.

There's only one way out for a real man. It's "Yes Miss". I'm safe with that. I know the routine after that. It's a bit like getting a nit in the nether regions, but it beats The Bottom Lip. If you've never had The Bottom Lip, can I come and worship at your shrine please?


Fridge it is then.

Doopy dooppy do. Hmmm. Eggs. It's true! Eggs for once! A rather aged carrot. Some rather wilted celery and leaves. Onion. Check. Some rather dubious looking bits of red and yellow pepper? Meh. Butter? Check. Some bits of cabbage stalk. Sorry. That's me that is. Hate waste. Mmm, peppery. Ooh look. Spring onion. A little celerac? That'll do me. A spud? A tomato, by gum, and half a tin of chick peas. Some rather sad looking garlic.

A bit of lamb liver, a couple of kidleys. Soz. Kidneys. One sad solitary steak. As it 'appen's I have cupboard full of dried herbs and spices. Sunflower oil, Virgin and Combined Olive oil, Hendersons Relish and Soy sauce.

Out in the garden, Rosemary, Thyme, Basil.

And no madam, it's not a weird omelette. Here we go.

Wheelie's Yorkshire Faggots

First the veg. Chop it up, and stick it in a pan with a little olive oil and butter. No water. The olive oil stops the butter burning as long as it's on a low heat. Put a lid on. Leave it, and let the flavour flood out. The moisture in the veg will keep it moist. Helps to stir occasionally. After five mins, throw in whatever herbs you have, and add as much water as you want, and some Hendersons and Soy sauce.

I tend to throw in some of my thousand year gravy and an Oxo too. Forget about it for a while.

After maybe 20 mins, leave the lid off. Let a skin form on top. Stir it in. Do it again. When you are happy, either push through a sieve, save the veg to make a soup, whatever.

I always have the last bit of a home made loaf on the go. Using whatever means you have, reduce it to bread crumbs. I use a wizzy-wig.

Finely chop the liver, kidney, and beef/pork. Very fine. The important thing is to get the mix of meats about equal quantities with bread crumbs. Feel free to add salt, pepper, and herbs to taste. Beat an egg, and stir it in.

The idea is that you're able to form meatballs, as big as you like. You might have to add more breadcrumbs. Leave in the fridge for half an hour.

Dip the Faggots in a little flour. Fry the Faggots in a little oil until browned all over. Put them in an oven dish, with the stock, covered tightly with foil and cook on a Gas Mark 4 for at least 45 mins.

Now you know why people prefer ready meals ;)

Sunday, 8 May 2011

This report.........

Has pissed me off big time.

Ok. So it's the Daily mail (uk). The readers comments make want me to poke my eyes' out with a pointy stick. So ok, that's the nature of freedom as we know it. Y'can do it 'cause you can.

But some things are just plain wrong

The cats in the cracklin'

Two cats, one dog, a 14 year old at home and the Scarlet Pimpernel. Hmmm. That'd be me then.

Sunday dinner in Wheelie Manor is fraught with peril.

I wasn't supposed to be doing it. The Bear was trying to supervise aged father-in-law in the garden, cook dinner, do washing, and eventually gave up when Little Bear demanded we watched three recorded Dr. Who's on the trot. Sweetheart - NO! I said as the smoke alarm went off.

Then, as I was doing the Shawadywaddy Dance around the kitchen, (I forgot the oven gloves) the midget cat-that-thinks-he's-a-tiger jumped into the pork crackling. Then Bear saved my Bacon by explaining why the smoke alarm went off in the first place 10 mins earlier. And ran out again. Followed by a cat with a gobfull.

No crackling today. No roast cat either, darnit. Sulk.


It was buggin' me, why the face of the young lady who served me at the credit union in our town centre seemed so familiar. Sure, I know the boss - we went to the same church more than 16 years ago. It's not hard to know why she remembered me. I've always looked - and sounded like, Santa on a gap year.

C'mon. Think about it? What else would Santa do the other 364 days a year? Other than deal with Elf and Safety that disadvantages children? And who else would have married a Bear..... Think. About. It.... :)


So why did she give my ID such a cursory glance?

Now I know. She visits my next door neighbour. It's astonishing. Never occurred to me.

Amazingly small world :)

Friday, 6 May 2011


Long, tiring day.

Needs must I guess. Had to do the 'out' thing to get some money to help a relative out of a very complicated situation. As I often rattle on about, I don't do banks. There are much cheaper alternatives.

Oddly, I thought the only price was time, according to the blurb. Not so with credit unions if you are frequent saver, even if you don't do loans. Which surprised me. I thought they were targeted at small loans. Apparently they have a concept of 'altruistic saver'. Those that save but don't withdraw much.

That's me then. Stick it in when I have a bit, but doesn't do loans.


Bear and I thought I could I could get to town with some anonymity. Nah. How about "Chuffin' eck, am I trippen'? What kinda mushrooms are in this bacon butty? 'Wheelie has left the buildin'!"

Or. A slap on the shoulder on the bus, a grin, and "Sweet!". I tried to be annoyed. But no.

T'ween you and me, I don't remember most of their names. I'm sorry guys if you read this :(

I've had no idea I am so loved and so much in focus by these young guys in their twenties. Nice to know someone looks out for you. Cool. I've no idea what I've done to deserve it.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Uncle Peter.

Peter Fenwicks funeral will be at St. John's church Sheffield on the 12th May 2011 at 13:00. As Peter used to say - More the merrier :)

Edit 06/05/2011 Notice in The Sheffield Star

It's fitting. Where a young publicans son from The Manor Estate Sheffield encouraged a group of young people to get together for a youth group. Encouraged by his vicar, he and his friends met in a flat at Norfolk Park Sheffield, and Sheffield House Churches was born.

Peter might have been up front with his preaching, but he nudged, gently nagged and - gosh, you have no idea what he did on the QT. He encouraged and built other groups and churches, and took young (and not so young) people under his wing. He quietly, and in the background encouraged people to live strong and fulfilling lives.

In his churches, or not. That's the mark of a good leader.

He became quite famous. The guy was a preacher extriodinaré world wide. But if you talked to those who knew 'Uncle Peter' you'll find a bloke who was a simple family man. "Uff Dray. Cuppa?"

Wednesday, 4 May 2011


That was weird.

I awoke to someone thumping on the front door this morning. Like heck did I want to get up, feeling absolutely out of it, so I ignored it.

A couple of minutes later, there they were again, only louder. It suddenly occurred to me I might have overslept. A groggy glance at the clock confirmed it was 7am - so indeed I had. I'm normally up between 5 and 6. Still early for a knock on the door though....

So I did my monkey swing down to the front door. Nope. Nothing. No-one. As I felt really rough, I grabbed my blood sugar meter - more out of foggy instinct than design. Which turned out to absolutely the right thing to do, as my blood sugars were 3.2 mmol/L, so my meter was flashing up a low sugars warning. Low isn't in it, I can tell you. I hit the Lucazade and sweet tea with a vengeance.

If I had stopped in bed, the consequences would have been quite unpleasant. 3.9 mmol/L is the danger limit. At 3.2 mmol/L, I was only a smigin above possible coma and death. At the very least it can lead to extreme grogginess, being unable to think, walk and confusion.

It's also a very rare complication for a Type 2 diabetic such as I.

To put that in context, non diabetics toddle along quite nicely around 5 to 8, rising to perhaps 10-12 after a meal, but dropping back down again within a couple of hours. Type 2 diabetics usually have the opposite problem with their blood sugars rising to very high levels and stopping there. I know people who have hit 30 mmol/L or above. Six is more normal for me.

Anyway. When I eventually got my head together, I phoned the usual suspects to find who's knocked. All said the same thing "You're joking! 7 am?"

Whoever it was, if indeed it was anyone, thanks. Lifesaver.

Where's the connection with Stroke? When I was first admitted to hospital with a stroke, the first thing they did was a battery of tests for diabetes. Eventually, they decided I had both T2 diabetes and had stroked, and that the strokes were almost certainly the result of long term, untreated diabetes.

The symptoms of low blood sugar - otherwise known as Hypoglycaemia (excellent link) or a 'hypo' - and Stroke can be very similar. In my case, I have the occasional 'mini-stroke'. These are sometimes refered to as TIA's or
Transient ischaemic attacks.

Less often nowadays because it's recognised that for some, such as I, they aren't that 'transient'. I lost function with my 'biggie' but the further mini-strokes meant I lost even more functions, regained them, but not completely back to where they were before. If you have more than one mini stroke, there can be an accumulate effect.

So if you are a diabetic Stroke Survivor, it's important to differentiate between a stroke, mini-stroke, or a hypo. A hypo, caught in time, can be quickly and easily treated by bunging fast acting sugars into your system. A stroke of any kind requires hospital treatment.

If you'll excuse me, I'm off to get the song "Ernies Ghostly Gold Tops" out of my head. No treatment for that :)

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Deep Sadness.

It's with tremendous sadness I've been told that an old friend and mentor, Peter Fenwick, passed away last night. Peter was the founder, driver and motivator behind Sheffield House Churches. His influence went much, much further than that. He built and taught at many churches across the world.

My Bear, in her mid-forties, has known him since she was three years old. I've known him for at least 28 years. He married us 26 years ago, and took my little brothers ( he was 40) funeral free of charge 6 years ago,
and my dads funeral a few years earlier. He married my litttle brother at his first wedding too.

Over the years, he quietly moved us between churches, and discipled and mentored us on the quiet. He rescued us when when the the Christian Free Churches went through a few ups and downs, and never lost faith in us. He used to say "Well, some people are too heavenly bound to be any earthly use!". The other thing he used to say often that made me chuckle was "The only consistent thing about life and churches was change". Massive, massive, influence.

He worked quietly, often under cover and with determination. Heck, I'm going to miss him :(

Anyway, I won't be wearing black at his funeral. Non of this
maudlin nonsense. I'm going to celebrate the life of a wonderful, wonderful man.

His family requests that no-one contacts them for a few days, and if someone should, it should be through the Eldership.