Blog of Oonah V Joslin -- please visit my Parallel Oonahverse at WordPress

where I post stories and poems that have not been seen elsewhere - also recipes and various other stuff.

and see me At the Cumberland Arms 2011

Friday, 28 November 2014

Black Friday Disturbing Trend -- Don't DO this

There are so many advertts on TV for BLACK FRIDAY. What is it? The day after THANKSGIVING of course. The American eqivalent of BOXING DAY sales.


Has it escaped your notice my fellow Brits that we are NOT actually Americans? We don't have Thanksgiving. And with our government trying to roll out all things American -- health systems and labour laws  
(fewer holidays in fact, less security, what -- unions? Why would workers need unions and holidays -- after all you have  three low paid jobs already, Drone!!) 
We already have much higher personal taxes and fuel taxes and food prices than in America -- really we have little to be thankful for.

And may I just add that my American friends really hate this Black Friday business too!

So don't do this. Stay home. It's going to be SALES SALES SALES

as long as you buy they'll sell -- but how can they afford such great savings??? Simple -- the stuff is worth a lot less than the so-called rrp to start with.

There's nothing that's worth buying. None of it's worth having. 
It can't buy you a moment more in this world or an ounce of happiness. 
It won't save the rainforests. 
It won't prevent a single extinction. 
It won't contribute to saving this planet for your children.  
(I don't have any so why should I care? Yet I DO.)

But I see by the news I am too late and people are out there fighting for holiday bargains for a holiday that doesn't exist.
Capitalism is the greater part of the problem. BE part of the solution. 
It's a black Friday indeed that sucks you into its retail vortex.  
If you ask me -- this is the real nightmare before Christmas!

Put on your wellies. Go for a nice walk somewhere peaceful. Stare a tree and breathe real air. Insist on a human face for the future.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Food for Thought for Friday -- SCONES

Scones are handy. They are quick to make, they taste good, they freeze well for quick reheating, they are the perfect accompaniement to a cup of tea and they are traditional part of High Tea. which was ever an upper class persuit and remains a great luxury for most people. But it can be done cheaply at home -- sandwiches, scones, cake :) Basically if you were a 
Farmer: Breakfast really early, Dinner about noon, Supper or Tea around 6 --early to bed
Worker: Breakfast really early, Lunch (pie or bread & cheese), Supper or dinner (maybe soup or stew) around 6 -- early to bed.
Gentlefolk: Breakfast later, High tea about 3 or 4, Dinner around 8 
The nouveau riche and middle classes tried wherever possible to emulate the wealthy lifestyle.

makes 6-8 scones
preheat the oven  
Tea Scones

8oz self raising flour (I always add an extra teasp of Baking Powder to this.)
OR the same amount plain flour with 4 tsps BP added)
half tsp salt
2oz butter (real butter!)
1oz fine /caster sugar
about a quarter pint of milk + a little for brushing 

sift flour into bowl 
rub in butter
add sugar
(I actually use a food processor and just dump the lot in an zizz it with the blade)

mix and turn out onto a floured surface
the dough should not be sticky but if it is just roll it round a bit in the flour. Don't knead it like bread! Just shape it into a round flat shape about an inch and a half inches thick. (I like nice big scones) but it's up to you. Cut with a round biscuit cutter or just cut into triangles with a knife. Place on a tray. Bake at 230C/ 45OF /Gas 8 for about 10 minutes. When they are risen and sound 'hollow' when tapped on the bottom they are ready for butter, cream (preferably clotted cream), jam (preferably home made) :)

For fruit scones add sultanas or raisins or dried cherries at the shaping phase.
Cinnamon and dried cherries make them festive.

All Purpose Scones

Why all purpose? Well they have no sugar and so you can make these into fruit scones by pushing a couple of oz sultanas in at the shaping stage OR you can put some cheese in with the flour and some mustard (English please) in the milk OR you can add herbs and put them on top of a stew for the last 20 mins of cooking -- like dumplings. These are versatile! I like to use wholemeal flour if I make cheese scones but it's up to you. Experiment. For a richer scone add an egg beaten with just a little milk and use the extra to brush the top for a shiny finish.

8oz SR flour or as suggested above
same amouts of salt, butter and milk as above

Same method and cooking times etc.

So there you are... Get scone making!
Invite some friends over for High Tea.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Food for thought for Friday -- Be an angel and BOGOFF

In her blog this week, my friend Amanda was railing against commercial Christmas pressures and I don't blame her. It's a pudding way over-egged. On the other hand Eat drink and be merry is not new. And in a way the feasting aspects of Christmas were a necessary boost in the middle of Winter for the lifestyles of the past. 

Elizabethan Christmas

It's just that we now gorge ourselves on a daily basis that is unacceptable (I am one to talk!) whilst others starve in this world of plenty. So take a look at the link above just for comparison on how to enjoy Christmas. At least we don't have 12 days of it -- or do we have 365? 

On Boxing Day they will advertise holidays and Easter Eggs will appear in supermarkets shortly after. The next thing and the next thing and the next.

I really feel sorry for those who have to accede to the demands of modern gadgetry, to fulfill the wishes of their children. That's pressure! A doll and a stocking full of sweeties was all it used to take.

I still haven't baked my Christmas Cake. I am wondering whether to bother. After all I don't NEED Christmas Cake AND Mince Pies AND shortbread. Do I? DO I?

 Be an angel and BOGOFF

Friday, 7 November 2014

Things to Remember in November

Hallowe'en and Guy Fawkes are over and Winter lies ahead. This week we remember.

For this remembrance weekend MAYBE THE BRAVE

Just Doing Her Job is my latest Microhorror tale. This one was written for my sister Esme who worked as a midwife in the Cottage Hospital at Ballymena and she once told me how on night duty she'd been on her way to the nursery to attend to a crying baby and on the stairs she came upon a very cold area. She found herself slowed in her progress 'like trying to wade through treacle', as she described it, and only when she said she was trying to get to the baby, did the cloud dispel. She was afraid to go back down on her own so waited for someone to come up before doing so. 

Now I for one believe her having had a similar experience in broad daylight in Little Dean Hall in the Forest of Dean, which is supposed to be haunted but nobody had mentioned that particular room!

I think my story is less terrifying that the real incident but I thought I would lay that ghost to rest as it has haunted me for years. We used to pass this building every morning on our way to primary school and I always thought it looked spooky. I wonder if anyone has ever seen the ghost?

Chasing Ghosts is What we Do and Little Human Voices are my other two microhorrors this season. 

I have some work coming up at PostcardPoems&Prose and also at Bewildering Stories and we are currently taking submissions at The Linnet's Wings and do go and browse our latest issue to see the kind of thing we like.

Also visit my Tuesday Blog Parallel Oonahverse for the rest of this month for some lovely poetry by Kathleen Cassen Mickelson.

7 weeks to Christmas