Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Great British Baking Show/Goldfinch

Looks like I am not the only one who finds comfort from my British shows, I have a link to a writer urging Americans to watch "The Great British Baking Show" may read it just here.

"The Great British Baking Show" is being shown on our public television stations just now in the USA, so check your local listings!  It is AMAZING! If you miss it, you will be sorry even if you don't normally watch cooking or baking shows, you should like this one.  (Soggy bottoms, makes me giggle every time.)
Oh, and by the is called "The Great British Bake Off in the UK...I guess the networks just had to change the name for us just to be different!

Keep in mind, the show that we are watching just now in America will be completely changed next year...the witty hosts and the marvelous judge, Mary Berry will no longer be with the show.  It won't be on the BBC but instead on their rival network, ITV.   I mourn this fact!  I very much have enjoyed watching "The Great British Baking Show".  Not only are the bakers very good but they are just so doggone nice to each other, it is a pleasure to watch.  So much better than watching...well, just about anything else on American TV right now! Hey, don't fuss at me, I am not the only one to say that link that I gave you above and you will see!

                                      American goldfinch on sunflower seedhead ( This photo is from last year!)
During the filming of this show from England, right after the break and before they get back to the bakers, they will often show what is outside the baking tent: cheerful yellow buttercups, green grass and if you are lucky, you might see a bird that lands close by on a tree. Today, we saw an American gold finch on my Dad's sunflowers.  When we got home and watched "The Great British Baking Show" that we had recorded, we saw a bird on there that Richard THOUGHT was the European goldfinch and looking it up, he was right!  It somehow looked familiar to me, and I couldn't think why that seemed I had seen it in a painting somewhere.  I realize now that I know it was because it featured on the book by Donna Tart, "The Goldfinch".  (Has to do with a painting at the Met in NYC, apparently.)    

You all know that I hardly read any fiction, so it is surprising to me that I recognized the bird from the book cover!

The fact that I have mentioned the name "Donna TARTT" just goes right along with this post about a baking show, don't you think? And if you know how "punny" the hosts of the show can be, you will see what I mean!

  "The Goldfinch" by Carel Fabritius , 1654 (The painting at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City.)       From Wikipedia.

Remember, try and see this season of "The Great British Baking Show" if you can.
It must have already been shown in England, so you all might know who won...but don't tell me! (I have seen some of the shows while I was in England, visiting there...and you must know that is one of the most popular shows on the TELLY! My relatives in England say "telly"!)

Right now, it is has gotten down to the last four bakers!
Also, if you watch the show, look at everything that they show you, even the nature bits in between!  We love our gold finches, in America and in England!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Psalm 23 with "Crimond" Tune Written By Jessie Seymour Irvine

Recently, I saw a film on TV and there was a scene where a couple was on a park bench in London listening to a brass band playing a song.  It was lovely, so pleasant to the ear.  The song sounded familiar and I realized that I knew the tune but not the song so I looked it up.
It was Psalm 23 set to music.   I have heard this done before, most memorably to me was from the TV show, "Vicar of Dibley" but this was not the same tune. (Many tunes have been written for this Psalm... you may see the full list just here.)  With just a bit of research, I can tell you that what I heard from the brass band was written by Jessie Seymour Irvine around 1870, and the tune is called "Crimond" for the Scottish village where she lived! In my research, I think I remember that this is one of the few hymns where the music is written by a woman.  The words are paraphrased from the 23rd Psalm from the Bible, written by David, of course!
(Of course, you also know I had to look up more about that village in Scotland...if you look at the same thing I did, you will rewarded by seeing an amazing clock!  Here, look at this...Crimond.
The hour is coming.)

The Lord's my shepherd, I'll not want;
He makes me down to lie
In pastures green; he leadeth me
The quiet waters by.
My soul he doth restore again,
And me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness,
E'en for his own name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through death's dark vale,
Yet will I fear no ill;
For thou art with me; and thy rod
And staff me comfort still.
My table thou hast furnish├Ęd
In presence of my foes;
My head thou dost with oil anoint,
And my cup overflows.
Goodness and mercy all my life
Shall surely follow me;
And in God's house forever more
My dwelling place shall be.

My friends, I have noticed that several of my blogging friends are thinking of giving up writing on their blogs.  I feel a sorrow over this that I find hard to express.  If you are reading this and think you have decided to stop, then...think again! Even if you don't post very often, please...keep it up if you can!  Okay?  I am thanking you in advance of your decision! 

Now, these dog days of summer are getting me a bit down, so hearing the song that I gave you above is very comforting to me.
And by the way, I really prefer it from a brass band but that is my "English heart" coming through, I guess. The Brits really do like a brass band!

Saturday, July 22, 2017


Very often, I don't like films that the critics rave about but this time I am in agreement: the newly released movie "Dunkirk" is excellent!  The film is based on an original screenplay by the man who also directed it- Christopher Nolan.  In 1998, during the filming of his first movie "Following", he and his then girlfriend (now his wife, Emma Thomas) went across the English channel by boat to retrace the journey of the "little ships" of Dunkirk.  This is the first movie that Christopher Nolan has done based on a true historical account, the characters are fiction but the story is very real...

I should hope that everyone knows about the miracle of Dunkirk!
If not, I will direct you to read about it just here. 

Two things I want to tell you that won't "spoil" it for you but should actually help you to understand it a bit better...
  First,  You should know about a "mole".  A mole is built out onto the harbor for protection. It is large, usually built of stone,  similar to a pier but water cannot flow freely beneath it.  It was from the moles that many of the men were taken off. (The docks could not be used, they had been too badly damaged.)

Secondly, after the British had been evacuated, Churchill insisted on going back for the French troops.  Over 26,000 French soldiers were rescued on June 4, 1940.  (Sadly, between 30,000 to 40,000 were left behind and taken prisoner by the Germans.)

From May 27-June 4, 1940, the total men that were evacuated were 338,226. 

I know I haven't said too much about the movie, but that is because I want you to see it for yourself.  Remember that we know what came afterward now, but at the time, it must have been seemed very dark for the British Isles.  This film makes you feel as if you are living in that time and can experience the despair but then, the hope as the miracle of Dunkirk is revealed.  The boost of morale that this generated cannot be underestimated.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Great White Egret/Great Blue Heron

The Great Egret is a large heron that is white with black legs.  That is a fact for you but it does not describe the beauty of this elegant creature! Richard and I saw this at Alexander Lake at Panola Mountain State Park, at the lower lake, which after being drained is more of a wetlands area.  "A tall, stately white wader of quiet waters" is how the Audubon Society describes this bird.
The Great Egret was nearly wiped out at the end of the 19th century in North America and you would never believe the was for their plumes to decorate women's hats. 

Have you ever noticed the symbol for the National Audubon Society? It was chosen in 1953 and it is the Great Egret in flight.
Look!  Here I am wearing a National Audubon Society cap! The Great Egret is just behind me here but just to the right, not in the photo.  If your eyes are very good, you might spy another bird that we also admired. Can you see it? It is just above my capped head, just a bit to the left. (There are no natural lakes in Georgia, you can see all the tree stumps that were at the bottom of the lake!)

There, now you can see it!  It is the Great Blue Heron. We have often seen this bird at Alexander Lake but this was the first time we had seen the Great White Egret. (I do wonder if they are common in the Atlanta area!) 
Of course, I asked Richard to try and get both birds into the same shot.  You know he did!

I found a video from the Audubon Society for you!
We love our birds.  You really don't have to have any special equipment to enjoy them...just look out for them!

Our weather has been difficult for our nature walks is either boiling hot or threatening with thunderstorms.  I am ready for the autumn myself!  Hope you are all doing well.  Let me know if you like to observe birds as much as we do!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Dr. Who/ Some CHICK!

It was just announced today that the 13th Dr. Who will be...a woman!  WHAT was that?  Yes, the new regeneration this time will be Jodie Whittaker, you might know her from the TV show, Broadchurch, which by the way also stars David Tennant, a former Dr. Who!  (Um, I think the correct term is "regeneration", you have to forgive me, I honestly can't remember these kind of things.)
Here is my question for you, are you a Dr. Who fan?  I must admit my favorite was Christopher Eccleston but I also quite enjoyed David Tennant.  Here is a bit of trivia for you: David Tennant is married to Georgia Moffett and she is the daughter of the fifth Dr. Who, Peter Davison!  Now, I know this is not the news of the week but it is one of those little facts that will forever and always lodge in my brain not doing me any good so of course I feel obligated to share it!

So...what do I think of  woman as Dr. Who?  Keep an open mind, I say.  I might not like her just as I didn't like the last Dr. Who.  Couldn't quite my finger on why I didn't like him in that role, I just didn't. Here's the thing though, if you say you don't care for her in this role, you will be accused of sexism!

The Dr. Who news was released today just after the Men's Single Final at Wimbledon where Roger Federer won his historic 8th win! First man ever to do so! Did you see him after the match? So gracious, he spent the first few minutes praising his opponent.  They told us during the match that during this past week that Roger Federer had prepared a meal for 40 people, did all the shopping and cooking himself!  What a great guy! (Think that they said it was this past Friday...could be wrong about that, I don't get hung up on details too much, I look at the big picture, but when you write a blog, you have to pay attention, folks will call you out on it!)

Let's and sexism.  There must be something on YouTube that would somehow know I found it for you!

                                    Some chick!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Orpington Chicken

Do you know why Mozart didn't keep any chickens?
 (Answer at the end of this post.)

Hello, my friends! Nobody here but us chickens!  When you know someone who has chickens you feel obligated to take photos of them. I do anyway! See the pretty yellowish one above?  I asked if they knew what kind of chicken it was.  They didn't, so I looked it up!  From what I have read, I believe this to be an Orpington Buff (buff for the yellowish color) and would you believe it, the breed is from Orpington, Kent which is in south-east England!  What is more, that area is not very far from where Richard was born and raised!   There, you see...even a dang chicken can make me have a link to England!  Honestly, I don't look for these kind of connections, they just happen naturally.

It is entirely possible that the chicken might be another breed.  If I type this in a smaller font, perhaps no one will notice and believe me to be an expert on poultry. answer to my question at the beginning of this post.
Why didn't Mozart have chickens?
Because they kept saying, "Bach, Bach, Bach"! 

Foghorn Leghorn...I always thought he was funny! Voiced by the marvelous Mel Blanc, he was also the voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Sylvester the Cat, Yosemite Sam...the list goes on and on!  Hope you enjoy the little cartoon.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

"Make A Chain, Guys"- Amazing Rescue

Amazing Rescue

"Make a chain, guys!"  

Does anyone remember this line from the movie, "It's A Wonderful Life"?  George Bailey, as a child, saved his brother Harry when Harry had fallen into an icy pond.  He and his friends formed a chain by holding hands together they could reach Harry.  They saved him!
On the news today, I thought of this when we were shown an amazing sight from this weekend in Panama City, Florida.  EIGHTY people formed a chain to rescue a family who were caught in a dangerous riptide. (Two boys,  aged 8 and 11 were first caught in the riptide and the rest of the family tried to rescue them but became trapped themselves.)  The authorities wanted to wait for a boat but one woman saw the danger of this and shouted for a human chain.  And some of those who came forward to be a part of the chain could not even swim!
All were saved!  Let me repeat this...all were saved!

  Best Story of the day.
There, if you click on that link that I gave you, you can read more about it.
"Make a chain, guys!"   We all need to help each other.
                               Beach at Eastbourne, England. (If I had a photo of a beach from Florida, I would show that to you!)

Friday, July 7, 2017

Peace and Love!

             Peace and love. Peace and love. Peace and love.   All around the entire world!

           (Supposed to post this at noon at my local time. Let's pretend I am further west and on a different time zone!)

Ringo Starr (real name, Richard Starkey) is 77 today!  Happy Birthday to him! (You know I love him, right?)   Ah, those Liverpool lads will always be in my heart!

Our son loves the Beatles too!  Look at this photo of him from a few years it just me or does his beard remind you of Ringo?

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Brownies are All American!

Let's talk about ... brownies!

When I worked yesterday, we decided the week before that we would all bring food for the 4th of July.  I was asked to bring some baked beans.  Now, knowing that sometimes others don't come through on bringing dishes, I also took along a tray of brownies.
They were...drum roll, please... a big hit! YAY!
The men that I work with are not the kind that are given to superlatives.  You know the kind?  So, when one of them came to me and said, "Your brownies are AWESOME", I was thrilled to  bits!  (Oh sorry that is something that my English mother-in-law says, you get the idea.)  Another one of my co-workers told me that when somebody else ate one, his eyes rolled heavenwards (but in a good way) and exclaimed, "Oh, that is SO good". 

Okay, what is my secret for making good brownies?  Now, pay attention, and I will tell you.  Cook brownies slightly less than the time called for in the recipe. (Mine were just two minutes less than the specified time.)  Do NOT overbake them. Once baked, cut them into pieces that will fit into cupcake papers.  (In England, they say "fairy cakes"!) Place the brownies onto the prettiest tray that you have. 
That's it!   

Oh, and did I use some fancy recipe? Not on your life, I just bought a brownie mix and followed the directions. (Just baked them slightly less, that is all!)
Brownies were first developed in the USA at the last half of the 19th century.  All American, baby but hey, we don't mind sharing!
You may read all about them here.  Go on, you know you want to!

Wait...what is this?  I don't have a photo of my brownies but I made Richard a teacake recently...I will have to tell you all about that in another post!  Hmm...just noticing, that cake is on an English plate, and that is an English teapot and English tea in the background!  And this post was supposed to be all about my American brownies! Never mind, I like them both...brownies and teacakes!

I always think of Jimmy Cagney from "Yankee Doodle Dandy" on the 4th of July...doesn't everyone?

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

"Liberty Enlightening The World"/ The Statue of Liberty

Happy 4th of July!  Happy Independence Day to America!
On PBS this week, they repeated a documentary about the Statue of Liberty.  When I say "repeated", I really mean it, it is from 1985! It is a good one though, it is by Ric Burns (not Ken Burns that you might be more familiar with but his older brother Eric who has always been called "Ric".)  It is a fascinating story.  

We all know that the statue is a gift from France but where to put this gift?  It's hard to believe that this great statue was made before it was certain that there was a place where it could be erected! (Bartholdi knew exactly where he wanted it placed, in New York Harbor, looking out to sea!)  Joseph Pulitzer is a  name that should be associated with the statue as much as the French designer himself, Auguste Bartholdi. (Not forgetting Gustave Eiffel who designed the internal frame of the statue...yes, the same one behind the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris!)  Mr. Pulitzer was the main force behind the drive to raise money for the pedestal for the statue, asking Americans to donate money...not money from millionaires but from the working class Americans. He asked, "Give something, no matter how little".  The money was donated, much of it in increments of $1.00 or less.
Click on those links that I gave you...such extraordinary lives!

For me, one of the best things about it...the show began and ended with the song "American Tune".
The music itself is based on the melody of a hymn by Bach, "O Sacred Head Sore Wounded".
The words are by Paul Simon.

Most Americans will have this day off  but I am one of those who will be working.  Hope everyone who has the day off will have fun for me!  ("I've just got to get some rest"...that last line of the song is something I will be singing today!)

American Tune

Many is the time I’ve been mistaken
And many times confused
Many is the time I’ve been forsaken
And certainly abused
But it’s all right it’s all right
You can't be for ever blessed
And when I think of another working day
I’ve just got to get some rest
I’ve got to get some rest
I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered
Don’t have a friend who feels at ease
Don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered
Or driven to its knees
Oh but it’s all right it’s all right
We’ve lived so well so long
And when I think of the road
We’ve travelled on
So far away from home
So far away from home
And I dreamed I was dying
I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly
And looking back down on me
Smiled reassuringly
And I dreamed I was flying
And high above all my eyes could clearly see
The Statue of Liberty
Sailing away to sea
And I dreamed I was flying
We come on the ship they called the Mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come in the ages’ most uncertain hour
And we sing an American tune
Oh but it’s all right it’s all right
You can't be for ever blessed
And when I think of another working day
I’ve just got to get some rest
I’ve got to get some rest

Sunday, July 2, 2017

It May Be Raining But There's A Rainbow Above You

"Desperado" is a song from the early 1970's by the Eagles.  The songwriters are Glenn Frey and Don Henley. It was recorded in London with the London  Philharmonic Orchestra with Don Henley singing lead vocals.  Never released as a single, it is nevertheless one of their most well known songs.

Recently, it was reported that Vince Gill will perform with The Eagles on tour along with Deacon Frey, Glenn's son.  The two will share lead vocals on the songs that Glenn Frey sang with the Eagles.  Sadly, Glenn Frey died in January of 2016.

The video that I have for is from the 02 Arena in London from 2014.   I saw the Eagles when they came to Atlanta during the 1970's and they were wonderful...a very nice memory to think of those gorgeous voices!

You better let somebody love you...

I love how the crowd sang along at the end!