1916 Trench Cake – Recipe

As this coming Sunday is the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1, I decided to make, what is known as, a “Trench Cake”, made from the original recipe from 1916.

Whilst men were fighting overseas, they longed for pieces of mail from home, and it soon became a tradition where the women back home would bake a cake that would not spoil quickly…  They would wrap it up securely, and the soldiers would often share the cake with the rest of their regiment.

Here’s how to make it:


8oz plain flour

4oz butter

3oz dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, dried cherries, etc.)

1/2 tsp bicarb of soda

1 tsp vinegar (malt)

1/4 pint milk (full fat)

2 tsp mixed spice powders (nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, etc.)


  • Preheat your oven to 180C (160C for fan assisted ovens).
  • Grease and line your cake tin (I used an 8 inch tin).
  • Rub the butter and the flour together with the tips of your fingers, until the mixture resembles crumble.


  • Add the fruit, sugar and powdered spices, and continue mixing together with your fingertips.


  • Measure out the milk in a jug, and add the vinegar.
  • Add the bicarb of soda to the milk and vinegar, then quickly add the liquid to the dry mix and beat well.


  • Pour the cake mixture in to your greased and lined cake tin, and place in the centre of the oven for anywhere between 1 and 2 hours – A big difference, I know, but you can tell that your cake is ready by inserting a skewer in tot he middle of the cake, and if it comes out clean, it’s ready.  My cake was ready after just 1hr 5mins.


  • Carefully turn the cake out on to a wire cooling rack, and allow the cake to cool fully before slicing and enjoying.

As you enjoy this cake, give a little thought to all of those who fought, and lost their lives in the Great War.  Lest We Forget.


Charity Event – “Time for Tea”

Join us for a late morning / early afternoon of tea, coffee, juice, cakes, games and more. We’re raising money for two amazing charities, and we’d love you to be a part of it.

Homemade cakes and biscuits, including:

Monkey Bread!
Lemon Drizzle!

Tea, coffee and juice will also be available.

If you’re in the area, please come on down…

Tarbock Village Hall, Netherley Road, Tarbock Green nr. Prescot, Merseyside, L35 1QG

Time for Tea 2

Live Video Stream NOW!!

Last week I published a post, to say that my husband is taking part in a 24hr live gaming challenge, raising money for Macmillan.  He’s now a little over 8 hours in to the session, and is still streaming LIVE!!

You can view his live stream HERE.  You do not need to register to watch, but you will need to register / log in to chat!

He’s been broadcasting from midnight, and will continue live streaming until midnight tonight…

The Just Giving page for donations is HERE.  Please consider making a donation to this great charity.  Even if you can only give a pound / dollar – it all goes a long way.

Thank you.

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!”


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


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.


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.


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?