What’s for dinner?

We have a bit of a thing in our house, where 3 of us like donner meat, and 1 of us doesn’t.  Unusually, it’s the hubby who doesn’t like it…  He’s always called it “road kill”, and this conversation sort of spiralled out of control one day, and kebab meat is now known as “dog”.  This brings me on to the conversation I’ve just had…

Me:  “What’s for dinner?”

Hubby:  “I don’t even want to think about it yet – I’m fed up of cooking…”

Me:  “Well, we can either go the chippy, or we can go out for dinner?”

At this point, Gning and Donut come in to the room.  I ask Gning…

Me:  “Would you like chippy tonight?”

Gning:  “Yes!  I want dog!”

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Parenting done right if you ask me.  He loves donner kebabs with salad and sweet chilli & mayo – just like his mmymmy.


**For my readers who are not from the UK – a “chippy” is a take-away.

What’s the difference between Great Britain and the United Kingdom?

 

The Pendle Witches

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It is the most famous witch trial of the 17th century, the case of the Pendle Witches. Twelve women were accused of witchcraft, and while one died, eleven went to trial. One was tried and found guilty at York while ten of the ‘witches’ were tried at Lancaster. Only one woman was found not guilty.

Six of the eleven ‘witches’ on trial came from two rival families in Pendle. Elizabeth Southerns (Old Demdike) and Anne Whittle (Mother Chattox) were the old, poverty stricken matriarchs of the Demdike and Chattox families respectively. For over fifty years, Old Demdike had been known as a witch and in the 17th century, it was an accepted part of village life that some village healers practised magic and dealt in herbs and medicines.

The 17th century was also a time when witchcraft was not only feared but also fascinated. King James I was greatly interested in witchcraft even before he became King of England in 1603. One of King James’s literary works, Daemonologie, instructed readers to condemn and prosecute both supporters and practitioners of witchcraft. As the scepticism of the King was heightened, the feelings of unrest and fear over witchcraft became familiar with his people.

The story of the Pendle Witches began with the altercation between one of the accused ‘witches’, Alizon Device, and John Law, a pedlar. While travelling, Alizon passed John Law on the road and asked for some pins though Law refused her request. It is said that Alizon cursed John Law and a short while after he suffered a stroke, for which he blamed Alizon and her mystical powers. When the incident was brought to trial, Alizon Device confessed that she had instructed the Devil to blame John Law. After further questioning, Alizon divulged that her grandmother, Old Demdike, and members of the rival Chattox family regularly practiced witchcraft. The two families had been feuding for years and for the Chattox family, Alizon’s accusations were just an act of revenge.

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The trials of the Pendle Witches were held at Lancaster Castle on 17th and 19th August 1612. The dark, damp and dirty dungeon where the ‘witches’ were held were too much for Old Demdike to bear and she died before she could be brought to trial. One of the most surprising things about the Pendle Witch trials was the principal supplier of evidence. Jennet Device was only nine years old and usually wouldn’t have been allowed to testify in a trial because of her age. Under King James I’s system, all standard rules were suspended when giving evidence in a witch trial. Jennet gave evidence against her mother, sister and brother. It was reported that when the young girl spoke against her mother, Elizabeth, the accused witch had to be dragged from court screaming and cursing her daughter.

Alizon Device, Elizabeth Device, James Device, Anne Whittle, Anne Redferne, Alice Nutter, Katherine Hewitt, John Bulcock and Jane Bulcock were all found guilty at Lancaster. They were hanged at Gallows Hill on 20th August 1612. Elizabeth Southern lost her life while awaiting trial, and Alice Grey was found not guilty.

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In the present day, Pendle Hill hosts a Halloween hilltop gathering every year and in the Borough of Pendle, the witches have become the inspiration for its tourism and heritage industries.

So this Halloween, why not pay a visit to Pendle Hill and relive the sorcery and paranormal goings-on that occurred there over 400 years ago. You’re sure to be in for a spooky surprise!

Quit clownin’ around

Over the past several years, I have noticed that there are a lot of – apparently, newsworthy articles about people dressing up as clowns, and deliberately frightening people.

From what I have read (unfortunately, I cannot find the post, as it was a couple of weeks ago), people randomly dressing as clowns, and just “appearing” to frighten people started back in the early 80’s, however, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago when it started to become somewhat of a craze.

I remember seeing a few news articles, about a couple of “clowns” appearing throughout the UK.  These people weren’t doing anything – they just seemed to stand around, and wave at people.  I thought it a bit creepy, to be honest.

Pennington Flash, near Wigan, Gtr. Manchester

Pennington Flash, near Wigan, Gtr. Manchester

In August, this year, there were reports of “clowns” lurking in and around the woods in the town of Greenville, South Carolina.  A young boy told his mum that he saw a couple of people dressed in clown suits, acting suspicious, and making strange noises, so she called the police.

At the time it seemed like one of those weird-story-of-the-week things, however, that was just the catalyst for local news hysteria across the USA.  Since the initial clown incident, there has been a rash of clown sightings, almost certainly due to copycat pranksters who have a bad sense of humour and decided to start celebrating Halloween early.

Just a few examples: a man in Kentucky was arrested for dressing up as a clown, and hiding in the woods.  In Alabama, a woman called the police because she was terrified after seeing a man dressed like a clown in her local shopping centre car park.  A clown in New York chased a teen out of the subway…

There have been sightings throughout the USA, and the craze seems to be starting to rise up within the UK – and I suppose most of Europe, too.  Of course, each sighting brings more attention to the phenomenon.

It’s likely most people really did see a clown lurking in the woods. But we also know that people claim to see things all the time that they probably didn’t, like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster (although the latter still needs to be proven that he doesn’t exist to me).

Seeing a clown wielding a knife would scare anyone and as pranks go, this one isn’t funny.  I’ve heard lots of tales going on throughout the UK of clowns with hammers, cricket bats, knives, and even a shotgun at one point, but I don’t really know what to make of it all.

A warning from the Avon and Somerset Police, in the UK.

A warning from the Avon and Somerset Police, in the UK.

What about being afraid of clowns?  Is that a real phobia?

It is a “real thing” in the sense that there is a word for “fear of clowns,” which is Coulrophobia. But just because there’s a word for it doesn’t mean that it’s legitimate.  The term was made up by adding “phobia” to the word “coulro” (which means “stilt-walking), but the term is not recognised within the mental health and counselling world.

It’s unclear whether being creeped out by Ronald McDonald deserves to be called a clinical “phobia.”  There are very few cases of people who are actually diagnosed with Coulrophobia and it’s unlikely that, except in the most extreme cases, anyone would need diagnosis and treatment.  This current panic notwithstanding, clowns aren’t that common, so you can just avoid them.

They're frightening children

They’re frightening children

I’ve also noticed that there are a lot of pages and groups popping up on the infamous “Facebook”, not only for the clown sightings, but also clown hunting pages too.

When it comes down to it, let’s say that some poor dude is on his way home from a fancy dress party (well, it’s got to be a pathetic one if he’s dressed like a clown, ha ha), and he bumps in to one of these groups of so-called ‘vigilantes’?  Knowing from what I’ve read on a few of these pages, that man who has had to spend the evening from hell, dressed as a clown, would hardly make it home alive.

It get’s closer to home though.  I also noticed on one of these pages, a photograph posted, entitled “on Bewley Drive, Kirkby”.  That’s about a 10 minute drive from me, and if I’m being honest with you, I think if I seen one of those clowns hanging around near my house, I’d freak out, lock the windows and doors, and not come out until morning.  Yeah – I suppose I have Coulrophobia.

This was taken abouts 10 minutes away from where I live...

This was taken abouts 10 minutes away from where I live…

I had to laugh, yesterday, when I read a meme…  “People have been too busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, that no-one ever saw the clown apocalypse coming…”

What worries me now is what these peoples’ intentions are.  Are they doing it just to get laughs by frightening people, or is there something much more sinister behind it?  I’d imagine there are plenty of messed up minds out there who are seeing this as an opportunity to cause more than just mischief.

So, what are your thoughts on the matter?  Do you think this is a ‘thing’, or are people just clowning around?  Have there been any sightings near you?  Are you a fan of clowns?

 

 

A Groovy Kind of Love – Phil Collins

Phil Collins, born 31 January, 1951 in London, England.  He started as a drummer for Genesis, and when Peter Gabriel left the band, he took lead vocals.

Let’s face it.  He can’t sing.  Well, he can, but he’s certainly not got the best voice.  However, ever since before I came in to this world, I was addicted to the sounds and voice of Genesis, and later, Phil Collins.

Their music was constantly playing whilst I was in my mothers’ womb, and right up until now, my dad still plays their music loudly.

If I had to pick just one song, that ever has existed, to be my favourite, it would have to be Phil Collins’ version of “Groovy Kind of Love”.  It literally gives me goosebumps, and more often than not, a tear to my eye, and I don’t even know why.

Here’s the lyrics – the video is below.

When I’m feeling blue, all I have to do
Is take a look at you, then I’m not so blue
When you’re close to me, I can feel your heart beat
I can hear you breathing near my ear
Wouldn’t you agree, baby you and me got a groovy kind of love

Anytime you want to you can turn me onto
Anything you want to, anytime at all
When I kiss your lips, ooh I start to shiver
Can’t control the quivering inside
Wouldn’t you agree, baby you and me got a groovy kind of love, oh

When I’m feeling blue, all I have to do
Is take a look at you, then I’m not so blue
When I’m in your arms, nothing seems to matter
My whole world could shatter, I don’t care
Wouldn’t you agree, baby you and me got a groovy kind of love
We got a groovy kind of love
We got a groovy kind of love, oh
We got a groovy kind of love

10 things that made Christmas in the 80’s the best…

I’ve neglected this blog a little recently, so I think it’s about time that I brought a little “Festiveness” (is that even a word?  No?  Oh well…  I like it, so I’m going to use it anyway) to you, in the form of a list!  Afterall, who doesn’t love a good list?  🙂

Christmas just isn’t the same nowadays is it? We find it very difficult to feel that magic we felt as kids. The whole experience has changed so much over the last couple of decades, with Internet shopping, a million TV channels and a whole host of electronic gadgetry available to us, it’s easy to forget the simpler times.

In no particular order, let’s give you my top ten reasons as to why Christmas was so much better in the 80’s.

  1. TV Times / Radio Times

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With no internet or smartphones the only way to find out what was coming up on TV was on teletext or in TV listing mags. The TV Times and Radio Times were the go to TV guides and of course, back in the day, you had to buy both to know what was on all the channels. When the bumper Christmas Edition was released no one could stop us sitting and circling everything we were going to watch over the festive period.

2.  Selection boxes

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Let’s face it they were just better back then.  The bars were bigger, they tasted better and they had some awesome treats inside!  Oh, you also definitely got your moneys’ worth.

3.  The Argos catalogue

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The Argos catalogue, or any other catalogue for that matter (remember Index?!).  We couldn’t browse the internet back then so this is what we used to find things to put on our list for Santa!

4.  The music

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At least we had a couple of REAL Christmas N0.1’s in the 80s!  The charts were filled with Christmas classics from Shakin’ Stevens, The Pogues, Band Aid, Paul McCartney and Wham!

5.  The movies

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We had some classic Christmas movies in the 80s.  They were that good they are repeated every year on TV!  Santa Claus The Movie was one of my favourites, at the time.  What was yours?

6.  TV Christmas specials

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Christmas specials were the business in the 80s.  What ever your favourite TV show was, I bet they did a Christmas special. Some of the Kids Christmas Specials were a little interesting to say the least!

7.  Decorations

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They may seem a bit old fashioned and out of style now but back in the day the louder, the shinier, and the brighter, the better!  These decorations were hung all over our house – attached to the ceiling with a drawing pin!

8.  Christmas shopping

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Remember when we actually had to leave the house to do our Christmas Shopping?  The high streets were packed at this time of year with people trying to find the perfect gift for their loved ones.  Shops went all out with the Christmas decorations, and you couldn’t carry all of the FREE carrier bags you’d been given to get your purchases home!  Oh, and let’s not forget, that for some reason, it was also much easier to buy gifts to people too!

9.  Christmas present hunt

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I’m sure kids all over the world still do this, but do you remember when your parents weren’t looking, you used to dive into the cupboards and wardrobes to try and get a sneak peak at all the gifts they had bought you? You’d have to be quick though before they sent them all off to Santa for him to deliver on Christmas Day!

10.  The toys

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Toys in the 80s were just better.  There’s no doubt about it all of the things we had as kids were well…  Just cooler than the toys that are around now!  I never did get that Mr Frosty though (thanks mum) 😦  Ha ha x

Homemade Toad in the Hole

Ooo, you’re in for a treat today, stalkers.  Today I’m making a ‘Toad in the Hole’ from scratch…  No cheating here!  I have even made the batter from scratch today 🙂

If you’re curious as to what a “Toad in the Hole” is, simply keep scrolling…  Or, you can always Google for pictures.  No, it’s not an actual frog in a hole…  It’s pork sausages baked inside a Yorkshire pudding.  And it’s so easy and cheap to make…  It’s also a family favourite.

Ingredients

8 pork link sausages

Oil (vegetable, olive, sunflower…  The choice is yours)

100g plain flour

1 egg

150ml water

150ml milk (full fat / whole milk is best)

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 220C (200C for fan assisted).
  • If required, separate your sausages, and line in the base of an oven proof dish, ensuring enough of a gap in between each sausage.
  • Drizzle about a tablespoon of oil over the sausages.

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  • Place in to the oven for about 20 minutes or so, until the sausages have started to brown.
  • Now it’s time to make the batter!  Sieve the flour in to a mixing bowl, and make a ‘well’ in the middle.
  • Crack the egg in to the well, and mix lightly.
  • Add the milk and water slowly to the flour mixture, stirring constantly.  I put the water and milk in to a jug, and poured in to the flour mix whilst using an electric whisk.  The mixture should be of a creamy texture when it’s all combined.

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  • When the sausages are cooked, quickly pour the flour mixture over the top of the sausages, and return to the oven for a further 30-40 minutes.

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  • The batter mix should be a lovely golden brown colour when done.

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  • Serve one its’ own or with a yummy gravy.  Enjoy x

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