Thursday 31 March 2022

School Segregation in Northern Ireland

 



To continue on the subject of growing up during the Troubles in Northern Ireland I recall that going to and from school became an anxious ordeal. Schools were segregated along religious lines, they still are for the most part, so we passed each other going in the opposite direction. Now we never played with or socialised with members of the other faith so "they" simply represented the enemy, faceless and featureless.Segregation allows for dehumanisation and that is what happened. Today,nearly 60 years on, only 7% of schools in Northern Ireland officially offer integrated education. (see link at end of poem for more on this.)

We would skirmish daily over the right to walk on the footpath, the losers being forced on to the road way... and some days it got out of hand.

APPEASEMENT

 

I am ten

and there is blood on my hands

and the faces around me, even the jeering ones, are silent

and there is blood on my coat

and I can taste it in my mouth - I have licked wounds before

and know what blood tastes like: not sweet or salty, but sticky - if that is a taste

and the sea of faces parts

and I am watching them envy me

and it has been coming for weeks : arm- linked gangs, us and them,

and each claiming the footpath for themselves

 

but this time he broke rank and went for my throat before the chain broke

and I see my mother’s face

and black out

and when I awake my father is talking

and there is shame in his voice

and the boy’s father is here too

and the boy, his face not so close now, holds a box of chocolates in his hands

and he offers them stiffly, his body held back as if he is afraid of it

and my hand reaches out

and I say thank you.

 

For that is what they want now.

 

 Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

 Published in Speaking for Sceine Volume 11 (Kenmare Poetry Festival)

Segregation in schools in Northern Ireland today

Wednesday 30 March 2022

Home Town Revisited-Dungannon

 It is estimated that over 500 historic buildings in Northern Ireland are at risk of falling into a state of wrack and ruin beyond repair. On a recent visit to my hometown of Dungannon I saw this at first hand. Perry Street completely gone to wrack and ruin and the historic Saint Patrick's Hall where we performed our concerts and celebrated our Feis Festivals now faces onto derelict wasteland and is  boarded up, graffitied and dying on its feet.

Dungannon was once the capital of the O'Neill dynasty who dominated most of Ulster and built a castle on the hill overlooking the town. After their defeat by the English Dungannon became a plantation town.With a current population of over 63,000 its population growth of 11% is 6% higher than the average growth rate in Northern Ireland. It is now the fifth most dangerous town in NI. And from what I saw not much investment is going into it.

A three year pilot scheme set up and launched by the Dept of Agriculture, Environment, Rural affairs and the Dept of Communities in 2019 aimed to restore four of those 500 derelict buildings referred to above and put them back under community care.

Neil Galway, a lecturer in Queens University has rightly said," If you come from a place that is blighted by dereliction, by vacancy, by lack of investment, that impacts the identity and perception of local residents."

Let's hope the pilot scheme was successful and that further investment is made into those other 496 buildings that so badly need it and that Dungannon gets its share of restoration.

My experience of growing up there in the 60s was one of tension. Violence seething beneath the surface of our everyday was soon to erupt

A snippet from my as yet unwritten autobiography....

 

THE SKIPPING ROPE

 

It was a mean spirited town. At its heart the burnt out remains of O’Neill’s Castle  smouldered, a scorched earth policy employed throughout history to leave our epicentre razed. Centuries later and the town cry was still, “No Surrender!” 

 

Buildings had eyes. As I stood at McAleer’s corner eating Pagni’s chips out of vinegar sodden Irish newspaper and watching cats in the family hotel basement window, I felt their presence. Panoptic surveillance emanating from the RUC barracks at the top of the Square, bolstered by the Ulster bank beside it, and higher up the British armoured watch towers, iron clad, cube shaped  set up to observe the occupied.

 

In 1968 the town was a battle ground flanked on two sides by council housing estates: the Ponderosa and the White City, pebble dashed rows and blocks built at right angles to each other on low lying bogs, inhabited by the poorest of both denominations who qualified for these after doing time in the vacated POW camp out the Moy Road.  Working class protestants occupied more salubrious zones to the south, Mill town and Moygashel where red brick industrial cottages nestled at the foot of the Windmill hill or around the linen factory, Dungannon’s industrial sector.

 

Bigotry ran deep in the runnels, in the rills, in the streams, and the air we breathed would soon smell of metal and burning flesh. The town was like a skipping rope strung slack between two hands, Irish Street on one side and Scotch Street on the other. And we waited for one of the players to tighten grip or loosen hold.

 

 Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

 

Tuesday 29 March 2022

Mr Middleton's Tulips



With the recent spell of warm weather I have, like many around me, been dragging out and dusting off the summer clothes and even shopping for , dare I say it, shorts and t-shirts. But of course  this behaviour is precocious and unwarranted and despite the radiance of those Mr Middleton Tulips I planted in Autumn Joanne Donnelly and Met Eireann are now forecasting our usual portion of overcast, fresh wind and gloom.

 So here's a little poem I wrote, maybe last year or the year before, probably at this time of year. 


SPRING

 Last week temperatures soared unseasonably.

But we knew you weren’t gone

in a dragon puff of smoke.


We knew you’d be back

Wreaking your monstrous ire.

Your tail toppling bins, roofs, trees,


Dropping leaves like scales,

Scattering dismembered branches.

Your breath freezing footpaths


Threatening elbows and ankles,

Beheading precocious green shoots

that dare to think….Spring???

 

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

 



Sunday 27 March 2022

Sunday Poem





Recently a friend asked me what my favourite poem was and as I deliberated she announced that hers was Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. I was sorry to be so slow to the draw....as it is a big favourite of mine too. Frost wrote it in about 20 minutes in 1923!!

And he said that it was his "best bid for remembrance." I think he was right about that. To hear him recite the poem follow the link.

Robert Frost reading Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening


Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here 

To watch his woods fill up with snow.


My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.


He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound's the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.


The woods are lovely dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.



Saturday 26 March 2022

The Sherlock Saga- Episode 2


 

Sherlock and Planet Earth

Luckily for me she’d been watching David Attenborough’s Plant Earth, the one about the turtles crawling out of the sea, up the beach,through the shingle, propelling themselves towards car headlights, thinking they have found the moon. And there was also the fact that she has twenty-twenty vision. Anyway, she thought she had just spotted one of those turtles, crawling up North Avenue and got her Dad to do a U turn and rescue me from certain squash. Another car pulled up at the same time and I felt like a getaway criminal about to be handcuffed and manhandled into the back of a cop car. My crime –running away from my Not Forever Home…

So when she opened the car door I just leapt in. Blind faith.... I don’t know what..., but it got to be a habit of mine- this hopping into cars and it would take me on many adventures and misadventures.

“I think it's lost an eye!” wailed a red haired teenage girl. That eye again. People couldn't seem to get past it. My one missing feature always the centre of attention.

“What are we supposed to do with this cat?” came another male gruff voice. The world must be full of grumpy males.

“We can’t leave it here.”

“That other woman driver would have taken it if you hadn’t been so quick to open that door and we’re gonna be late for the Forty Foot if we….”

“It’s Christmas. Everybody will be late. Bring it home to Mum. She’ll know what to do. Please Dad!”

“I’m not taking responsibility for this. It’s Christmas. Precisely. The last thing your mother needs is a stray cat with a damaged….”

“What about the Christmas spirit? No room in the inn and all that.”

“This isn’t the baby Jesus.”

“We should call it that. Jesus.”

“We’re not calling it anything. We’ll bring it home to Mum and she can decide what to do with it.”

Now I wasn’t too impressed with all this talk about it, me being a fine male specimen, and responsibility for it and Jesus and the fact that Gruff 2 was treating me like a pariah. But there was the definite whiff of turkey about them and I’d been eyeing up, with my one good eye, a turkey hanging on the back of a larder door for at least two weeks, so I knew what it smelt like, and was salivating at the prospect of a bite. So I put up with their, or rather his, disrespectful remarks and snuggled deeper into the red head’s shoulder, giving her the one eye, and crossed my paws that Mum, whoever she was, would find room in the inn for a hungry stray.





(To be continued...)

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

 

Friday 25 March 2022

A Birthday Poem


 The West Yorkshire Spinner socks (Pheasant) are done. They took me two weeks....the weather being so good I got drawn into weeding and generally rooting about on my knees outside. While knitting is a comforting pastime in dark cold evenings, for me warm days don't really go with the gritty feel of wool passing through my fingers. But this year I'd like to keep something going on the needles so that there'll be lots of hand knit Christmas presents completed before December.(Probably socks of course)

So now it's what socks to make with this bundle of leftover wool

I may need the help of  a ball of Fabel drops from Winnie's Wool Wagon.

https://www.winniethewoolwagon.com/index.html


Meanwhile since it is my father's birthday today here's a poem sort of about socks and other stuff.

The Brass Coal Bin

for my father

 

The clang of a brass bin-lid opening

Takes me back to you

Fishing a pair of black socks

Out of it

 

A cylindrical brass coal bin

Sporting sailing ships

Three of them heading for the Spanish Maine

Its ringed handles looped through the mouths of lions

 

Too good for coal, it bore your socks

I always borrowed them

And never gave them back

I think you minded-but never said

 

The clang of a brass bin- lid closing

Mouths shutting-

And silence-

And words never spoken

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

 


Thursday 24 March 2022

Poetry Prompts



 Today I wanted to offer some poetry prompts. The suggestions I found were based on important events: births, surprises, disappointments. But they prompted me in the direction of short story. And I realise that objects tend to focus me more intensely on feeling, especially objects that I have kept for a long time. So here's a poem prompted by my father's cardigan.He would have been 101 tomorrow 25th March.

Not his chair in the pic- but the salvage one from Mick and Pat- see blog on Salvage Furniture




My Father’s Cardigan

 

It’s a Kerry Classic, eighty-five percent lambs' wool, the rest silk.

The colour of moss and black bog and autumn fern, with scatterings

Of Montbretia and fuchsia red, Kerry boreens in summer

Its Leather button chestnuts peeling, bearing crosses like soda bread.

 

After you died I wore it like a talisman or draped it over your chair.

I wore the cuffs to shreds, and lacking your tailor-tact I rough-stitched

Them together with moss green thread, unevenly, not as you would have done;

But wearing it brings you back two decades on.


Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

 

Wednesday 23 March 2022

Rough and Ready Salads


Given the lovely unseasonal weather we are having, here is a salad recipe adapted from Cranks. ( See my blog on Healthy Breakfasts -March 7th) My salads usually are a combination of lettuce, scallions and tomatoes with a few sprigs of basil if any has survived. But I had some spinach left over from another dish and rather than just add it to my go-to I looked up a salad- Spinach and Mushroom.

Am not into eating raw mushrooms but this was tasty.

Cut bread, whatever you have, into half inch cubes. Cranks suggest wholemeal

Heat chopped garlic  in olive oil. Remove garlic when brown and fry bread cubes until crispy. drain if you must!

Shred spinach and slice mushrooms.

Add to croutons in a salad bowl. Toss salad in dressing of your choice.

I like 6 parts olive oil, 2 parts balsamic, some grainy mustard and crushed garlic plus salt and pepper.


Fresh and tangy for these salad days.

And a poem on the subject of food...sort of...

How to Crack a Crab or Edit a Poem

 

Immerse in hot water

Boil, steam or braise until pink

Remove unwanted parts by snap-

 

Ping. Pry open apron and lose it

Twist off the shell and extract the core,

The heart, the body meat

 

Avoid the mallet and discard the shell,

The tendons, the juices, the extraneous bits

And there you have it

 

Finger-picked clean

A cracked-crab or poem

On the very same theme

 

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2022

Tuesday 22 March 2022

The Sherlock Saga- Episode 1

 


In Search of a Forever Home

(The yarn, somewhat guessed at in parts, of our Sherlock)

I was fond of food. Too fond of it. That was my downfall. Always first to the bowl. The others soon got tired of my agility and determination and the swipe of a claw sent me packing, minus an eye I have to add. My lateral vision somewhat compromised I set off in my good-eye direction until I smelt something cooking.

The aroma of fish drifted through the air. I followed the deliciously scented trail to a window left ajar and threw myself at the opening. The thrill of it, pan fried plaice within striking distance. Even the shriek from the doorway didn’t deter me from my purpose.

With a scoop of paw I knocked the plaice out of the pan and launched into it. It was hot, but delish. The shriek ceased and someone said, “Poor kitten, he’s only got one eye! He must be a stray. He must be starving!” It was a phrase I was to hear iterated over and over, and one that worked well to my advantage. Maybe I had found my forever home.

 

“What about our dinner?” a gruffer voice asked. Maybe not.

 

Granny Flanagan, for that was the shrieker’s name, scooped me up in her pinny, produced a carton of milk and filled a saucer.

 

“That cat can’t stay!” declared Gruff. “I’ll put an ad in Ed’s shop window. Someone must be looking for it.”

 

The thought of returning to the litter and having to fight my corner for a morsel of Felix tasty shreds filled me with dread. Not my forever home. I’d be on my way. Soon. But meanwhile there was still a sup of milk in the bowl and a few flakes of that plaice to be licked off the floor.

 

Gruff went off to pen the notice for the corner shop, Granny flashed a camera in my face, and plan B began to take shape. I was off on my travels again....



To be continued...

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

 

Monday 21 March 2022

Yeats reading Yeats

 

The poem tells the story of a man falling asleep while working beside a lake. The idea of the newly wed bride being taken away is a common theme in Irish folklore. Yeats’ Host of the Air is based on an old Gaelic ballad he heard sung and translated in Ballisodare, Co Sligo. The host of the Air refer to the bread and wine which within the liturgy of the Catholic Church is associated with Christ, the host of the meal.

The poem was published in 1899 in The Wind among the Reeds. I'm not mad about a lot of Yeats' early poems and prefer the later stuff like The Second Coming but there's something magical about this one. I heard it first at a Feis when I was in my early teens. I fell in love instantly. With what I'm not sure but it took me to some hitherto unknown part of myself. 

For an in- depth discussion of Yeats’ supernatural follow the link:

landscape and the Supernatural in Yeats

For an animation of the man himself Yeats reading the poem:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSOgzUnbVwI

Sunday 20 March 2022

Sunday Poem-Yeats

 


The Host of the Air

 

O’Driscoll drove with a song

The wild duck and the drake

From the tall and tufted reeds

Of the drear Hart Lake.

 

And he saw how the reeds grew dark

At the coming of night–tide,

And dreamed of the long dim hair

Of Bridget his bride.

 

He heard while he sang and dreamed

A piper piping away,

And never was piping so sad,

And never was piping so gay.

 

And he saw young men and young girls

Who danced on a level place,

And Bridget his bride among them,

With a sad and a gay face.

 

The dancers crowded about him

And many a sweet thing said,

And a young man brought him red wine

And a young girl white bread.

 

But Bridget drew him by the sleeve

Away from the merry band,

To old men playing at cards

With a twinkling of ancient hands.

 

The bread and the wine had a doom,

For these were the host of the air;

And he sat and played in a dream

Of her long dim hair.

 

He played with the merry old men

And thought not of evil chance,

Until one bore Bridget his bride

Away from the merry dance.

 

He bore her away in his arms,

The handsomest young man there,

And his neck and his breast and his arms

Were drowned in her long dim hair.

 

O’Driscoll scattered the cards

And out of his dream awoke:

Old men and young men and young girls

Were gone like a drifting smoke;

 

But he heard high up in the air

A piper piping away,

And never was piping so sad,

And never was piping so gay.

Thursday 17 March 2022

Celebration of things Irish

 

In honour of St Patrick's day am posting a poem inspired by a lovely painting by Niall Wright which brought me down memory lane and back to the present and a Kerry landscape.


The Way We Are

 

This we take almost for granted:

The summer leaden Irish sky, green drumlin hills,

heathered and mossed, and dry stone walls,

Rivers forded by rock clumps and clumped reeds.

 

And somewhere in an album marked “Early Years”

I see you standing, lollipop in hand,

teetering on a rock mid-stream

your red hair blowing mid-current

your freckled skin awakening to the sun.

 

And I give thanks now that you have returned

from foreign climes and black-dyed tresses

and slick fake tan, to yourself,

Irish CailĂ­n, bog style and proud of it.

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

  

Written in response to A painting by Niall Wright. Follow link below for images

http://www.artnet.com/artists/niall-wright/


Tuesday 15 March 2022

Sibling rivalry

 

William Carlos Williams, This is just to say, (see link)  which reads like a note found on the kitchen table, triggered a couple of pieces for me. If you have teenagers and sibling rivalry you will get this immediately

 

 

 https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/56159

 

This is just to say


I have eaten

the raspberries

that you had

stowawayed

so carefully

behind

the iceberg

lettuce.

They were

delish

and berry,berry

raspish

 

 

RESPONSE

 

This is just to say

 

I have entered

your facebook

page

that you had

left

so carelessly

open

and have posted

some

berry,berry

cringish

posts.

 Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

 

Monday 14 March 2022

Poetry Sunday

 


I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

 

I wandered lonely as a cloud,

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

 

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the Milky Way,

They stretched in never ending line

Across the margin of the bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

 

The waves beside them danced; but they

Outdid the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed - and gazed - but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

 

For oft, when on the couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

What is a lyric poem?

 


Today I had hoped to blog about new socks but my knitting has been slow and I reckon it will take me another week to finish the Pheasant socks.


Meanwhile back to Wordsworth. Daffodils when first published was not an instant success but has since become probably one of Wordsworth's most famous poems.It was inspired by an event on April 15th 1802 in which William was walking with his sister Dorothy in the forest and they came across a belt of daffodils. 

It was Wordsworth's aim to bring the common language into poetry" Poetry should be written in the real language of men"  while coming from "a spontaneous overflow of feeling" recollected "in tranquility." He is considered to be one of the fathers of the Romantic movement in English Literature. 

Daffodils is a lyric  poem. To simplify ...There are three types of poems,narrative, dramatic and lyric. Narrative tells a story, dramatic is a play written in verse and a lyric is a private expression of emotion by an individual speaker.

For an interesting and  detailed discussion of the lyric follow the link

https://www.thoughtco.com/lyric-poem-definition-examples-4580236

And a lovely reading of the poem is found below

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/video/77369/daffodils

Saturday 12 March 2022

Cat Tales

 

 Our Sherlock makes a proper breakfast out of flies on a daily basis. Even with his one eye and the two pins in his leg he's a danger to the diptera species. But sometimes he aims a bit higher up the food chain...

To the Cat who Swallowed a Wasp.

 

I too have mistaken it for a fly.

Its buzz Incessant. Its flight maze path

Vertiginous.Its speed blindsiding.

And the urge to pursue instinctual.

 

The mind cannot compete with that.

Common sense-two steps behind.

But, beware, if caught up in a chase

That is headlong

 

That allows no time out

That plunges you forward

On the doomed trail of a Pied Piper.

It’s likely that you may be mistaken.

 

If you had swallowed a fly

You may have come a cropper anyway.

But the taste would have been

More to your liking.

 Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

 

Friday 11 March 2022

Poetry Competition

 Just to let you all know about this Poetry Competition-Kenmare Arts Festival


Poets meet Painters 2022

 

Poets meet Painters is a competition by Mill Cove Gallery for original, previously unpublished poems in the English language, inspired by the paintings featured on the Mill Cove YouTube Channel at -

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCC4vhb4D6oR9QBYAQqHFLkQ,  - or www.millcovegallery.com and on www.kenmare.ie, in any style up to 30 lines long.

Poets of all ages, gender or nationality are eligible to enter.

Closing date for submissions is the 17th June 2022 and the notification of selected poems will be made on or before Friday 15th July 2022.

Prizes: €250 (1st), €150 (2nd), 2(Highly Commended) €50

Submission Fees: €10 for 1, 2, or 3 poems

Results: Selected (10-14) poems will receive first publication in the anthology Poets meet Painters 2022 and will read at the Carnegie Arts Centre, during the Kenmare Arts Festival – date and time to be confirmed.

 

Thursday 10 March 2022

Poetry- To Rhyme or not to Rhyme?



Rhyming went out of fashion in poetry some time in the last century. Modern poets moved away from rhyme in the 1950s and 60s, the Beat poets are an example of this. But the modernist movement began in the late 19th Century and with it a move towards free verse where there is neither metre nor (necessarily) rhyme.   

When poetry was an oral tradition rhyming helped us to memorise. I think we love it really, secretly, closet love perhaps.... So here's to a little light rhyming on Spring or lack of. 

(Slant-rhyme here and there where I couldn't quite end-rhyme... but it was fun...)



To March

 

March is a month of tantrums

Forget your April showers

March puts me in the doldrums

For hours and hours and hours.

 

They say that Spring has sprung now

It’s not what I believe

For out there on the wind blows

Not a single bloomin’ leaf.

 

The daffs do shake their heads high

And much to my alarm

Jack Frost has not yet said goodbye

And Spring’s not shown its charm.

 

The signs are there I grant you

But I won’t hold my breath

I’m wearing winter woollies through

The weeks that lie ahead.


Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

 

Wednesday 9 March 2022

Left over wool and recycling

 

 
The Blue Lagoon socks are finished. I reckon it takes me up to 12 hours to complete a pair. You wouldn't earn much of an income making these, at least not at my pace.
The cost is probably around 4 euro. WYS (West Yorkshire Spinners) wool costs 8.50 euro a ball and Fabel Drops 3 euro. But I'm using left over wool here.

The recipient for these swam The English Channel- Lagoon socks have to go to a swimmer! 
Check out Winnie's Wool shop for lovely yarns and patterns.


Boxed and ready to go!
Don't forget to recycle pretty boxes and bags for your woollies

Tuesday 8 March 2022

International Women's Day 8th March




Women's day also happens to coincide with my mother's birthday. If she were alive she would be 98 today. A few years ago researching the census I discovered her birth place so I took a trip up North.

In Search of Mother

 A journey I could not have taken

Cross-border, Cross-time into a past Best-Forgotten

if not to find the street where you were born

 

In the row of Kirks and Dillons and Hursons and Stewarts

their back yards now a gap, an ache, a yawn

wasteland strewn with tyres and rims and spare parts

Nothing to salvage here of your beginnings.

 

We circled you like electrons, straying

from their nucleus, orbiting their sun

And now nearly two decades on

we still feel the pull and throb of you

even though you’re gone

 Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

 

 


Monday 7 March 2022

Healthy Breakfasts


 


Recipe of the week-Granola

As the saying goes ...   Breakfast like a king/queen

My granola has evolved from my reading of three books over the decades. Rose Elliot's Beanfeast, The Cranks Recipe Book and Peter Deadman and Karen Betteridge's  1973 Nature's Foods.


In a baking tray I put oatflakes, preferably organic, with sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and chopped nuts. 

I use a tray big enough to allow me to fill my old coffee tin and a bit of surplus mix for a gift jar. Follain's lovely colourful capped jam jars make great containers for gifts.

Meanwhile melt some coconut oil and pour over the mix. If you like your granola sweet add maple syrup or honey, the syrup blends in better. (You can use sunflower,walnut/groundnut oil but sesame is best left to stir fry and olive oil is a bit strong I think) You can of course dry roast instead.

Roast on the tray in the oven 180C for about 25 minutes.

When brown but not burnt! add coconut flakes, milled seeds, dried fruits, raisins,sultanas, cranberries...

Keep in an airtight tin. 

Serve with fresh fruit/yogurt

I don't measure quantities for this recipe. More oat flakes than seeds clearly.

Rose Elliot suggests wheatgerm and bran as additives at the end

She also suggests trying a variety of grains like bulgarwheat, couscous or millet flakes.


Another simple variant is to soak a bowl of oatflakes with sunflower seeds overnight in apple/orange juice.Soaking the seeds activates valuable enzymes.

Then add fresh fruit/yoghurt or whatever you fancy the next morning.


The difference between Granola and Muesli is that granola is roasted. Dr Bircher-Bennet at around the turn of the twentieth century invented his muesli for patients in a Swiss clinic. He suggested soaking rolled oats overnight and next day adding grated apple, nuts and some honey, topping the lot with condensed milk. Ordinary milk was not safe at the time. But you can now use it or any of the nutmilk alternatives.

Plenty to chew over here.....




Sunday 6 March 2022

A Poem for Sunday -Reflection

 


Have decided to make Sunday a day to blog a favourite poem. So here is William Blake's A Poison Tree. The message is clear enough.I found I still had a school copy of Songs of Innocence and Experience so have a look at the illustrations



You can look up notes on Blake through the following links and there's a good reading of the poem at the end of the section from Wikipedia. Blake was also an engraver,artist and printer and did wonderful illustrations of his poems.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Poison_Tree

https://www.comicsineducation.com/home/choose-your-poisontree-william-blake-and-visible-thinkin

A Poison Tree is part of the Songs of Experience



A Poison Tree by William Blake


I was angry with my friend.

I told my wrath. My wrath did end.

I was angry with my foe

I told it not, My wrath did grow.


And I watered in in fears,

Night and morning with my tears,

And I sunned it with smiles,

And with soft deceitful wiles.


And it grew both day and night,

Til it bore an apple bright.

And my foe beheld it shine,

And he knew that it was mine


And into my garden stole

when the night had veiled the pole;

In the morning glad I see

My foe outstretched beneath the tree.









Saturday 5 March 2022

Indian Takeaway

 

I just discovered why our Kitty, Sherlock Holmes, is not losing weight.

Always with his one eye to the pantry, he has found a fast food takeaway outlet right next door. All he has to do is scratch at the neighbour's window and hey presto- Indian takeaway.

The donor is not actually the neighbour..... but her new lodger.

Meanwhile back at the vets I am drawing up and redrawing up diet plans, scratching my head, buying fat free low calorie, probably taste free, nuggets from specialist outlets.

Yes, I did think about neighbouring food sources but everyone on the street is by now apprised of his weight loss programme- except for the new lodger, bless his soul.

Anyway Sherlock Holmes has now been caught in the act --

I'm re-posting one of my kitty poems and hope to make Saturday blog a day for Pet yarns 


Kitty Antics

 

He comes in from the sleet and rain and stands

while I towel dry him

 

And when he’s had enough of that he lets me know

his claws stretching for scratch

 

Then he throws himself on the kitchen tiles

Fridge magnet sprawl in front of fridge target

 

I shake fat-free nuggets into his bowl

But he's holding out for something better

 

I stroke his chin and tell him what a fine fellow he is!

He purrs up at this


Rolls on his back, gives me the eye


a look that rarely fails....

 

But when I walk away Sherlock knows -The Game’s Up 

And from the other room I hear the reluctant sound of feline crunch

 

Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved