Saturday, 30 April 2011

Beware the morning lie in...........

If I were to say to you

open curtains...morning lie in...window cleaner...

it would be pretty self explanatory wouldn't it.

It wouldn't be necessary to say I decided to have a nice long, luxurious lay-in this morning.  And I wouldn't need to add that because it was a lovely, bright, sunny morning I opened one half of my curtains so that I could feel the warmth of the sun on my face as I cosied up in my bed. 

I might need to mention that I was getting a bit cross trying to ignore lots of banging and thumping outside.

But I probably won't need to say that when the top of a ladder suddenly banged itself against my windowsill, at the open curtain side, I realised what all the banging had been.

I would need to tell you I leaped out of bed to dash across to close the curtains but as I heard the footsteps coming up the ladder I realised that  a) I wasn't even wearing Chanel No. 5 and b) I would never have got there in time, so...................

I dived under the duvet, just in time, and hoped he would think I hadn't made the bed.

Unfortunately not all of me disappeared under the duvet.

My abundance of curly hair was spread all over the pillow. 

So unless he thinks I wear a wig which I keep in an unmade bed - he knew I was hiding under the duvet.

Did I mention my window cleaner is drop dead gorgeous.  No, really, drop dead gorgeous.  CCV has met him; she concurs.  And young (younger than me - much younger than me).  My window cleaner is the stuff fantasies are made of - and now he knows what I look like almost hiding under a duvet.............

I might have to move. 

But then who would clean my new windows...........

Monday, 25 April 2011

Domestic Goddess in Training - A tale of two cakes - Cake the first

I have a list. Actually, I have  a lot of lists.  Many, many lists.  But not as many as MO's daughter.  She wins in the list making stakes.

I have shopping lists, one for each shop - Sainsburys, Boots, health food shop, cupcake lady (in case I forget to buy a cupcake as I pass her stall), Smiths, man in high street fruit stall list etc. etc. etc.   I have 'to do' lists of a daily, weekly and monthly nature.  On a bad day the daily list starts with get up.  I have a books to read list, a books already read list, my Amazon wish list, plays I must see before I die list, christmas card list, a what to do with my lottery jackpot winnings list - you get the idea - many, many lists.  Sometimes I throw them away.  Sometimes.

However, the list I am referring to is a special list.  My special list is a '60 things to do before I'm 60' list.  After my birthday in June I shall have four years in which to complete it. 

It is doubly special because it means I am healing.   I am getting better.  There is still a way to go but I am getting there.  Three years ago I just wouldn't have been able to comprehend making  a list of  future plans and now I have my list of 60.  Almost.

It is not yet complete.  I have 35 things on it so far.  I am sure I will have the other 25 by my birthday.    It is taking a while to draw up because my situation is putting constraints on the content of my list.  It would be amazingly easy to run 60 things off just like that and those things would involve lots of travel and excursions of the going to Venice on the Orient Express sort of thing (oh how I wish) but unless things change there is no way that will be happening so they are not on the list.  In the spirit of optimism and balance however, I do have a few money costing things on it and they are things I that I really, really would like to do such as visit JH in Australia, travel round America, do a Ballymaloe cookery course, visit Ronnie Scotts and a few others.  So it may be that not everything on the list will get done.  I am alright with that.  The majority of my list is modest and achievable. 

By the by the point of the list is to do things I have always or really wanted to do.  This does not include things like declutter various rooms, paint the bathroom or clear out the garage.  If I had really wanted to do those things I  would have done them by now.

And so to the cake.  I have wanted for a very, very long time to make a three tier cake and I  have never done it.  Simple desire, needn't be overly expensive and hopefully not beyond my capabilities (especially now I have a leaning towards domestic goddessdom). So now I will be doing it - because it is on my list.  I will make it next year for a certain persons special birthday.  I am going to make Lorraine Pascale's 3 tier Red Velvet cake from her Baking Made Easy cook book - as seen on television.

Then in a moment of panic I thought I had better practise first.  A three tier cake is a big thing.  So as AJ has a birthday coming up I decided I would make the smallest tier  as a birthday cake for her.   It looked fairly easy when Lorraine made it on her television programme.  And actually it wasn't too difficult.  In fact it went remarkably well. I didn't much like double lining the tin.  I got melted butter all up my arms but luckily I had rolled up my sleeves as taught me by my Grannie.  Other than that I had all the right ingredients (always a good thing), I added them in the right order, I used the right quantities and nothing fell in the bowl by accident.  The bits that should be fluffy and light, were.  I followed the recipe to the letter.  My only concern was this

It doesn't look exactly red.  

Now, Lorraine Pascale didn't cut her cake as far as I remember but I have had red velvet cake before and it has always been red. Also  I made red velvet cup cakes from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook - umm best not go there - but they were red and they were edible,  - just not quite, right and the kitchen was a mess - red cup cake mixture up the walls, over the floor, over me - not a happy experience.    Anyway, I put it in the oven and hoped that when it came out it would be red.  You know, some sort of chemical transformation happening with heat. 

Still doesn't look red

Aaaand - it isn't

Tastes alright though. 

A bit dry around the edges perhaps.  It was in the oven for longer than the recipe stated before the old skewer test thing (kitchen knife) came out clean.  But definitely, definitely not red.

Glad I practised but now have a dilemma.  Do I start messing about tweaking this recipe to make it go red by using the making it red procedure from the Hummingbird Bakery red velvet cup cake recipe with this recipe or am I aiming way too high given my track record.  Is 'tweaking' a step too far for me?

Well AJ's birthday is in a couple of days so watch this space..............................

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Domestic Goddess in Training - Bread 2

If you watched Panorama the other evening you will have come away with the impression, like I did, that those of us unfortunately out of work and over fifty haven't much of a chance of getting back into employment.  So after much  thought (and not a little worry and panic)  I have decided, apart from never watching Panorama again and to avoid statistics,  I would really  like to become a domestic goddess or rather, I think it's my best bet at the moment.  After all people have to eat and I doubt very much whether they care if you are 20, 30, 50 or 70 as long as you feed them and can cook - ah there's the rub with this particular idea, I knew there would be one, I think I may have a lot of practising ahead of me.

So, having just put another loaf in the oven and since there is nothing on television again (I am eagerly awaiting the return of Timothy Olyphant to my television screen next week - please don't let him clash with NCIS) I thought I would update you with my progress towards domestic goddessdom and thus a lucrative career.

Since I informed you of my first attempt at making yeast free bread (you may recall the loaf with the appendage?) the one currently in my oven at 200 degrees is  my 6th  attempt and I have to say I am waiting the outcome with interest.

The reason for this being when the second loaf came out of the oven it had on top of  it  a protruding piece of dough that looked not unlike the missile launchers the baddies would point at Thunderbird 2 (the big green one) from the top of a truck as they sped along the road in an attempt to create mayhem in the world of puppetdom.  Loaves 3 and 4 went into the oven together, in separate tins with a gap between them, but somehow the dough in each tin reached out to the other and formed together.  They came out of the oven clutching each other  the length of the tins as though they were conjoined twins.  It was strangely disconcerting.  I felt quite brutal breaking them apart in order  to get them out.  (It was a feeling a on a par with the time I had to saw the branches of my christmas tree off with a bread knife so that I could get it out of the door - a long and traumatic story).  Loaf 5 went in alone as I couldn't go through the 2 loaves episode again and when it came out a small portion of dough was in the process of climbing out of the corner of the tin in an attempt to escape - imagine Morph and you will have the picture.  And I didn't have the presence of mind to take photo's of any of these!!! 

However, apart from the first loaf which, while it could be said to be interesting to look at, was inedible, all the others have tasted nice.  This is not just the claim of a deluded Domestic Goddess wannabe. Other people have tried my bread on separate occasions and pronounced it 'not bad' (AJ) 'very nice' (JH) and 'very nice indeed' (CCV).  I didn't force them to try it.  There was no coercion involved.  I put some slices on a plate with a choice of other 'non-me' breads and bagels.  I merely pointed out that I had made those particular slices.  'Those ones there, but please don't feel you have to try it, I will quite understand if you don't' is what I said, so they were under no pressure at all to sample my cooking.  I felt quite chuffed when they said, of their own free will, that my bread was 'tasty'.  That means nice, right?

Have just taken from the oven  this almost perfectly formed loaf

Ok it's a bit bobbly on top but all these ingredients have gone into it.

there is an awful lot of fibre in that there loaf. 

As you will see,  there are  no bits of dough trying to make some sort of statement.  Oddly I feel rather disappointed, bit of an anti-climax really. I have no idea what I did 'right' as I never knew what it was I did 'wrong'. 

 Yum.  Things are looking up.

Next I shall try white yeasted bread, sandwiches for the making of.  Afternoon tea patrons - here I come.

The couple on the bus

I was stuck on the bus today.  Well, that's not strictly true, the bus was stuck in traffic and I was on the bus. I could have got off and walked but it was very hot, it had been a long morning  and it would have been a long, long way to walk.  The problem was with  the level crossing where the lights were flashing continually and the barriers kept going up and down, so we weren't going to be going anywhere until all that stopped.  It was hot on the bus,  I was getting stiff and people were getting grumpy,  so it was a bit of a dilemma.  Do I go or do I stay? (is that the title of a song?).  It was a dilemma shared by an older couple, who seemed to be in their seventies, who had got on the bus at the stop just before all this started.  As we sat there the woman kept walking to the front of the bus, peering out of the front window then wandering back to report to the man.

She said    'we had better get off'
He said     'you can't walk'
She said    'no, it's not good'
He said     'come and sit down'
She sat down
She said    'we had better get off'
He said     'you can't walk'
She said    'yes'
She got up, went to the front, came back
She said    'it was down for half an hour last time'
He said     'that's not good'
She said    'we had better get off'
He said     'you can't walk come and sit down'
She sat down
She said    ' we had better get off'
He said     'righty ho'

And off they got.

A short while afterwards the bus moved (with the crossing lights still flashing I might add!!)

At the next bus stop the elderly couple got on.

He said     'that's good'
She said    'we walked'

They sat down, not next to each other and didn't say another word.

You needed to be there.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Hearing voices

I like voices. Voices attract me.   I always notice voices and although I might not recognise someone I've previously met or may forget a name I never forget a voice. Of course I might not always  be able to  put a name to the voice or recognise the face it is coming from but I will know I have met the voice before.  So it is quite interesting that in my quest for a new life voices have come into the equation.

Because not only have I been considering my career options but so have my family, friends and relations -  which  is very kind of them.  Ignoring (in the nicest possible way) those suggestions leading along the path of finance one suggestion in particular has caught my imagination.  LP thinks I have a nice voice and suggested I could become another Sally traffic.  This is a lovely thought on her part but unfortunately I am rubbish at reading aloud - I wonder if it is something you can learn though?  If so a fortune can be made doing voice overs for commercials - hmmm is this my future calling I wonder?  Must make enquiries.

 Although other people have said the same thing over the years (the nice voice - not Sally traffic - that's a new one)  it's not something I can see, or rather hear, myself.  Whilst working at 'that place' I ran a self-massage and relaxation course on a couple of staff development days one year.  The irony of my running  relaxation sessions and then becoming so incredibly stressed myself has not escaped me.  Anyway, the relaxation element consisted of me guiding people through a visualisation exercise which meant gently talking for a period of about twenty minutes. I was so nervous but not in a debilitating way. There was no question of my not doing it but I did want to get through  without making a complete hash of it so  I rehearsed for weeks.   The feedback I got was quite positive, most people seemed to enjoy it and I was told my voice was calm and soothing.  I think people nodded off which is a good thing as it was a relaxation session after all  (and I am ignoring the side of me that is shouting 'boring voice' in my head). 

KR, husband of PR, thinks I have a sexy telephone voice.  SHH agrees and thinks I should set up a telephone sex line.  She thinks I would be very good at it - because of my voice. 

Well, not being in the position to ignore any possible career options I gave this matter some thought.  The thought consisted of a brief rumination as to how on earth this sort of business could be set up (there is a  shortage of telephone boxes for depositing  'business' cards in these days, let alone how do you get paid for it) and a sort of practise run.  The practise run took place in SHH's office.   Much hilarity prevailed as my various attempts to get past breathily saying 'hello big boy' resulted in both of us  dissolving into hysterical laughter. 

Not a viable future career option there  then.

Also when I shyly but proudly mentioned 'the voice' to other friends I was greeted with looks of barely disguised incredulity.  So, not everyone finds my dulcet tones alluring it would seem.

Ah well, there must be something out there I can do.......

Friday, 8 April 2011

It's Piccalilli - but not as we know it (captain)

A while ago I  made some Piccalilli.   Here it is.

In fact I made  several jars of it.  Before I made it I can't say it's something I ever had a burning desire to make.  In fact I don't particularly like it overmuch although I have been known to eat it.  So, you may well be asking - why?  Well, I will tell you............ it's down to a surfeit of cauliflower in my larder.  Why do I have so much cauliflower?  Well because................for as long as I can remember I have been prone to cravings for certain foods or food combinations whereby I would, as much as possible, exist entirely on whatever was the object of my craving for as long as that craving lasted. 

When I was a child my mother would occasionally call it faddy eating but in general she was well disposed towards catering for these cravings, within reason, that would be her reason not mine.  As I am one of five and four of us had odd food habits she probably felt  easier to accommodate us than have four children refusing to eat what was put in front of us. 

One of my brothers wouldn't eat anything green, not even a green fruit pastille - a dislike I was inclined to foster as I loved the green ones.  Another brother at one time went through a stage of only eating stew, dry bread and water as his main meal and my sister would only eat her vegetables raw - all her vegetables raw.  My middle brother was every mothers dream, he ate anything and everything going.  Occasionally my mother would rebel.   I remember the occasions she would put white chicken meat, white cauliflower and white boiled potatoes all on a white plate in front of us and look at us in a 'don't you dare not eat this' sort of way (I am sure I consider this to be the childhood trauma that drives me to ensure my food is very colourful). 

Mothers rebelliousness aside the only times we had to eat what we were given were when we were outside home.  Like the annual visit to my aunt in Sidcup for afternoon tea.  An event  which would fill me with a certain dread.  I would be forced to eat Birds Angel Delight because my aunt, who didn't have children,  was under the impression that all children liked it, especially the chocolate version.  Well this child didn't like it at all and would throw up in the car on the way home, an occurrence that was blamed on my occasional predilection's towards car sickness but knew it was that nasty, slimy stuff.  I still don't  like anything slimy such as  custard, semolina, tapioca and blancmange including those slabs with bits of coloured jelly in that were so beloved of  our school dinner ladies that we got it every week.  I mustn't get started on school dinners - that's a whole other issue - I  could write volumes on school dinners.   Perhaps that is where my fortune lies, a book on the horrors of school dinners!!!  Better make sure Nigel Slater hasn't done it  first.

Anyway, enough of the reminiscing the reason I have brought this up is because, for some time now, I have had a craving for cauliflower.  I hadn't eaten cauliflower for years so where this sudden craving has come from is somewhat puzzling.  Perhaps it has an essential vitamin I am lacking?  I shall consult my vitamin bible.

 Anyway, I had  been having cauliflower every evening either as a vegetable, in a cauliflower cheese or  in a vegetable curry.  However, there is only so much cauliflower a person can eat, it doesn't seem to keep very well  and because I bought so much of it I had to find something to do with the huge mound in my vegetable rack before it went off or I went off it.

So,  having seen Simon Rimmer make a jar of nice yellow, glistening Piccalilli on Something for the weekend it seemed a good  and easy way to use up the cauliflower. Thus I printed off the recipe and went shopping for the rest of the ingredients. 

Unfortunately, because I didn't read the recipe properly and so didn't realise I had to soak the vegetables in coarse rock salt over night, and as I hadn't been able to get rock salt anyway and because I wasn't going to be able to go shopping again for a few days, I had to eat an awful lot of vegetables in a short period of time until I could get some rock salt of the coarse kind.  I then had to go and get some more vegetables to go with the pile of cauliflower that didn't seem to have gone down any. 

On both shopping expeditions I was unable to get little silver skin onions and  had to get shallots and chop them up.  I couldn't get French beans and so bought Kenyan but I'm not sure what the difference is other than the name and the air miles.  There was an awful lot of chopping involved in this recipe and I was just beginning to lose the will when suddenly it was all done.  So, I covered the veggies in the rock salt for which there didn't seem to be enough and left it overnight to  do its stuff.  I then swept the floor of all the beans that had pinged across the kitchen as they were being cut!!!

 In the morning I expected no salt and lots of liquid as the recipe said to drain and rinse.  What I got was lots of salt and about 2 teaspoons of liquid?   I decided to ignore this occurrence and went ahead and made the yellow saucy stuff and shoved it all in a saucepan for the required time.   See...

This was before I learned that if I switched the flash off I got a much better picture.  That is why it looks a little unappealing - no - really - it is.

Then I put it in jars.

Now I haven't eaten Piccalilli for years but I was pretty sure that when I last tried some it was sort of gloopy.  A selection of al dente vegetables suspended in a mustard and vinegar sauce that slipped off the spoon onto the plate.  I am pretty sure you shouldn't be able to do this with it

Turn it upside down and shake it and have the contents stay in the jar!

CCV came round for lunch yesterday and spied a jar of Piccalilli that I hadn't been able to palm off on anyone and so I told her about its solidity factor complete with demonstration.  Just like this I said as I took the lid off and held the jar upside down whilst shaking it and watched as the contents came spluttering out all over the kitchen floor.   It obviously loosens with age.

I wasn't over keen on it myself but I gave jars to MO and AJ and they both liked it.  And, more importantly - they are still alive.  It wasn't hard to make - apart from the chore of chopping - but I don't think I shall make it again. Mainly because the cauliflower phase now seems to be over in as much as I'm not craving it and I have other recipes like buttered roasted cauliflower and cauliflower tart.  Fortunately I haven't gone off it but I am no longer buying it by the trolley load.

Possibly not one of my better efforts even though I followed the recipe to the letter.  Still never mind.

PS. for the uninitiated the title is a Star Trek reference!!!  I love Star Trek.  I am worryingly proud of knowing  the difference between a bird of prey and a warbird and I want it to be my millionaire question.

Entrepreneur - to be or not to be?

My friend Mrs Pao has like myself  been looking at options for future employment.  One option we have both independently been cogitating on  for a while has been the one of working for oneself.  We both have lots of ideas of an entrepreneurial nature.  I actually have a book of ideas in which I write pros and cons, things I would need to get the idea off the ground. However,  we thought we needed a bit more information on  how to set about realising our individual ideas  before wandering down that particular path and so, just before Christmas, we attended a seminar on  starting one's own business entitled - funnily enough - 'Starting a business - is it for you?' 

Not knowing what to expect we turned up with our pens and notebooks at one of those corporate chain hotels that exist on ring roads outside large towns and  don't seem to be on any public transport route.  As neither Mrs Pao nor I drive Mr Pao kindly drove us; he then sat patiently in  reception reading a book for three hours until we had finished (I am thinking of having him cloned).

We grabbed a warm beverage and a few packets of corporate biscuits (to sustain us)  and nervously took ourselves in to sit amongst the other would be entrepreneurs. We sat down in the middle of  a semi-circle of about fifteen people all of whom seemed to have folders containing charts, plans and expense sheets which was a little unnerving as we just had some ideas that neither of us had seemed to have written down anywhere.    Anyway as the dreaded ice-breaker session hurried towards me it seemed that everyone but me had actually put some sort business in motion or at the very least had a firm and well thought out idea of exactly what it was they wanted to  do.  As all I had was a glimmer of an idea that I had discussed with my Jobcentre advisor, and that's all, I was getting exceedingly nervous about opening my mouth for fear of looking as stupid as I was feeling.  As my  turn approached I sat there saying to myself (mercifully not out loud this time) 'don't mention cooking, don't say I can cook, just say the idea and shut up, don't mention the cooking'.  This, you may recall, is what I usually say when finding myself in these situations.  And I didn't. I said in a wobbly, little voice 'well, it's just an idea at the moment, but well I was thinking about setting up some sort of directory um listing peoples skills that anyone who needed someone for a job, er like a gardener or a bookkeeper  could consult and find it all in one place.  Like a local version of the website people per hour.  The information would all be in one place and I haven't seen anything like that around'.  I was soon put in my  place by the forceful man who was starting his own cleaning business because he had made several hundred thousand pounds for his employer last year and didn't see why he shouldn't be making that amount for himself.  A very valid point, but as he was rather obnoxious I wouldn't have him doing any of my cleaning, always supposing I could afford to  have someone do  it in the first place. He pointed out that there were several of those sorts of things around already.  Ok.  Back to the drawing board for me then.

It was an odd assortment of people sitting in that room.  A  man who had been  invalided out of the forces because of an injury was setting up a business enabling people with difficult backgrounds to get into the workforce.  A woman who appeared to be on her third business venture - it was obviously for her so one wonders why she was there. There was another woman who seemed set on world domination of the Internet by any means she could.  A lovely woman who worked with people with Alzheimer's was so upset at the funding cuts that she wanted to set up a business whereby people who had this awful condition would be able to get the latest help in coping with it.  Someone was setting up as a wedding planner.  Most people had something on the go, including the man who was already selling sex toys on line.  You wouldn't really expect someone in that line of business to blush an alarming shade of beetroot as they told you about it would you, but he did.

To find out if starting your own business was for us we had to do a quiz.  If your score was between 0 and 15 it was definitely for you, between 16 and 30 not really although you would probably be good in a partnership, over 30 definitely not for you.  Mrs Pao scored 12, I scored 26.  I have always known that I am not a leader.  I want to be one but I'm just not but, I am a very good supporting number 2.   I am good at sharing and so would be good in a partnership. All I need now is someone to go into partnership with me as I have other ideas in my book.

Mrs Pao is well on her way to becoming an entrepenuerial legend.  She has set up her web business and already has clients, she makes jewellery and sells it on line and at craft and wedding fares, see her website  fishingforpearls, she makes cakes for people, she knits and she makes jams.  And I feel somewhat diminished. 

Still, in the spirit of my new, what's the word, oh yes optimistic personality, I  am sure there is something out there that I am good at. I just have to  find it that's all. So, back to the drawing board and watch this space.  I might not be an entrepenuer but there is, out there, something I can be.  This is my quest.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

bloggs away

I have been embracing the world of blogging with such great enthusiasm that  I think I have become addicted or at the very least have a new obsession.  I have found so many wonderful blogs, many of them with really beautiful photos attached and almost all of them relating to food (my most  favourite being  Joy the baker).  And I think this is a large part of the bloggers block I am experiencing.  There are so many good blogs out there, how can I compete.  But then is it a competition?  Probably not but one does like to be able to measure up you know.

Also, because until last November I didn't know what a blog was, I have  been reading lots of advice on how to write one.  Lots of advice.  The result of which is quite some confusion as to how to proceed.  Some say - have a theme (yay, got that - food and unemployment), some say - have a direction (not my best feature, I do tend to be a directionally challenged person), some say - give helpful information and be of service, some say - be yourself, some say - talk as though you are addressing an unknown audience, some say - talk as though you are talking to your sister (not a good idea, the last time I talked to my sister she threatened to cut up my skirts  and I told her I would slap her very hard if she did, yes we are both adults).

Although, just looking through the blogs I can see they are all quite different. Among my favourites my friend  Mrs Pao writes about her creative life, her cats and Mr Pao. I don't have cats or a Mr (at the moment that is  - I am so embracing optimism) but I do make cards!!!.  Crazy Aunt Purl writes about her life, which is funny, sad, inspiring, interesting and at times traumatic but it is very personal.  Make it do is about an American family fallen on hard times who are trying to get by and passing on their tips on how they are managing (I am going to clean my windows with vinegar from now on).

Everyone seems to do it differently.  I quite like what pioneer woman said which  was essentially let it be what it will, so I suppose the best thing to do is to carry on and see how it goes, let it be organic and see what occurs in my little land of blogging.    Although having said that pioneer woman was the one with the sister idea, she also takes wonderful photos,  invents great recipes, appears on television,  has published her recipes and a work of fiction and she home schools her children - I think I had better delete her from my favourites, just thinking about her is making me feel inadequate. 

So I shall continue to blog, practise my writing skills, improve my photography, hopefully make lots of new online friends and who knows what will come out of it all - it's all a bit scary going with the flow!!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

A spring block

It's sad to have bloggers block when you've only just started.

Still, every cloud (and all that optimistic sort of stuff)........... means I have been taking my camera out and about in an effort to improve my digital age skills.

And so here is some evidence that spring has arrived (even if it is cold, wet, windy and grey today). It's been here for a week or two and will be here again hopefully tomorrow or the day after.  I'm getting so good at this optimism business.

When I step off the bus for my walk home this is the garden I see

I think it is so beautiful, it lifts my spirits.

All the following are flowers I see on the walk from the bus to the start of my road.  Don't know what this flower is though

I have always loved forget-me-nots

I think these might be pansies - but I could be wrong

are these pansies?? or are they violets??  Such a pretty colour

Some sort of primrose type of flower

and then we get to my road and all there is are straight lines or clumps of red and yellow tulips - boring ........... reminds me of Austria - - when I was in Austria I took a day trip over the Dolomites into Italy - I was so relived not see any more wooden chalet type houses with red geraniums in  window boxes.  When I came back I had to take a trip to Salzberg for much cake to get over the depression of leaving Italy.  I love Italy, it's not neat and tidy. 

I might not have lovely floral displays in my road but  later in the evening I get the most beautiful sunsets from my window

There are more photos but it has taken me nearly two hours just to load these from the camera and get them on to this.  I started before Miami CSI and now it's halfway through Holby!!!!

Proud of self for  learning how to do it , by myself,  but I really think there must be an easier and quicker way.  I need to approach a technology minded friend I think.

Well, thing to do next is work on removing the 'block'.