Saturday, 25 February 2012


This Spotty of mine in the garden is so incredibly sensitive to movement within the house, that it's virtually impossible to capture on camera.  This was taken after WEEKS of getting Spotty used to the feeder being in front of the Kitchen Window, rather than in the apple tree 'way over there'.   So the two of us have compromised rather beautifully.
My aim, however, is to encourage the two of my Spotties to bring their babies to feed here in a few months time, so that I can set the tripod up permanently in front of the kitchen sink, and never ever have to wash up dishes again on the strength of  interfering with wildlife?!

Now I'm pretty sure that you've all been formally introduced to my friends Ian and Medina since New Year.  To be perfectly honest with you, if you're at a loss as to just who these lovely peeps are, you should:
* Step Away From The Blog
* Put The Weapon Down, and Relax

I adore them, and they're about to have Piglets again. ...
On the strength of that, I am about to become a Hog Mother for the first time in my life, and I've promised them that I won't KNIT anything.
(See Wellie get the sewing machine out instead?!)
Keep Safe, Keep Warm.
For now, Your Wellie.X


Sunday, 19 February 2012


Minus 7 degrees predicted in the surrounding countryside to The Funny Farm tonight, and Plus 10 degrees  tomorrow lunchtime.  Is it any wonder that my newly germinated Greenhouse Seedlings are begging me for Therapy?!
Thankfully, we took delivery of another 500 litres of Oil during the week Children, so we've postponed the "Sh!t it's Cold Party", and you may as well chuck your invitations in the bin, because The Party is well and truly cancelled my friends!  Did I not tell you we ran out of Oil well over a fortnight ago?!  Shame on me!

I'm only sneaking in a Weenie Blog-Update for you (without photos), because Trousers is DEAD..... (I've told you before....don't make your own Story up?!) BUSY....., he's BUSY!  and has absolutely no time for me, let alone any of you lot, and hence, for now, no photos.
He DID manage to shove a Valentine Card across the table at me on Tuesday evening.
However, with no Kiss, no Flowers, no Chocolates, and certainly no Dinner Engagement.... Emma and I have decided to Elope.
No, I'm JOKING!...(Emma I'm SO Sorry to let you down like this Sweetie?X!)

Anyway, if you know me at all, you'll know me well, and I absolutely adore televisual advertisements.
My first job was as a Secretary in an Advertising Agency, (actually, so was my second, third and fourth?) but that's not important right now.....
My sense of humour began much much earlier, at my Father's side.  The two of us used to 'spar' off of each other with Jokes, and recounting funny adverts we'd seen on the telly, just as my paternal 'Poppa' used to with  the two of us.

When I eventually met my maternal Grandparents (I think I was in my Teens?), introduced to me as my 'Auntie Jean' and 'Uncle Mark',... I was so blown away to find that 'Uncle Mark' and I also shared a truly amazing Sense of Humour too.  Auntie Jean's 'accelerator foot' had a touch of humour in the driving seat of the old Saab, as I fondly recall...!
Whatever age you are, believe me, it's truly a relief to find common ground in adversity - allows you to 'start liking each other straight away', which is important if you want a positive connection for the future, which we absolutely did, God Bless the both of them.X

The 'START THE HEART' Advert earlier in the year with the gorgeous Vinnie Jones, completely 'tickled me', as a hardened Advertising Bunny, particularly now that I'm actually 'qualified' to pump your heart to the tune of 'Staying Alive, but not having to proclaim you Dead before I start...and I proudly have A Stertificate now - a proud moment in my life to 'potentially' save yours' if I happen to be nearby when you're feeling 'a bit peeky'.

And two other adverts have made me laugh out loud recently, are SNICKERS, in the bloke's Locker Room with JOAN COLLINS, and the DIRECT LINE (Red Telephone) advert with the beautifully camp STYLIST and the INSURANCE BLOKE ON THE PHONE.

I LOVE it when I laugh.


Sunday, 12 February 2012

New Life, A Sad Loss, and A Bit Of Fun

The very first 2012 Funny Farm Lambs have been born, and 'Freckles' here, completely at home basking in the warmth of the February Sun, has a smile on her chops that no sunbeam could ever claim to be warmer than...  Whereas 'Panda' seems to be startled to be on Planet Earth at all, bless her!

But sadly, with every wondrous birth in the world, it's tragically equated with an untimely death.  I wanted to mention this to you tonight, because, as a personal admirer of Whitney Houston I got close to this Superstar in a quite bizarre, but magical way.

Working as A Secretary in a London Advertising agency back in the 90's, I was in my twenties, and I think I'd once made a chocolate cake for my boss, the very lovely Susan, whose clients we worked on were Nikon Cameras and Chivers Hartley Jams.  Having made a marzipan Camera, and marzipan Strawberries to decorate the top of her birthday cake was a definite novelty to me, never having attempted anything like that before! But everyone had loved it, and I had such a personal 'blast' making it, that I knew it wouldn't be the last novelty cake I'd make.
A few years later, completely out of the blue, I received a telephone call at another Ad Agency where I was working, and the voice on the other end of the line asked if I would consider making a novelty cake for the 'after concert party' of a very high achieving pop singer.  Where on earth these people heard about me from is a mystery, but not remotely having an ego, not even contemplating that it'd be way too challenging, or that I might fail miserably and fall flat on my face, I said I'd do it.

Once I'd agreed, I was told that it was to be a cake for Whitney Houston, celebrating her newly awarded Triple Platinum Disc achievement, and that they would be presenting it to her at the special party they were holding for her after the concert.  They'd deliver the framed Triple Platinum Discs to the Ad Agency for me to take home, and make a replica Novelty Cake of it.

I suppose it didn't really 'sink in' that I was holding the original framed discs until I got them back home to Wendover in Buckinghamshire, and my then husband nearly fainted.  Anyway, to get on with the story, I made six 10 inch fruit cakes, because I had an abundance of time on my hands, and fruitcakes wouldn't spoil.  Then of course it was the marzipan layer - as flat as you can Wellie, because you're going to have to Royal Ice on top of this Luv, you're cr@p at Royal Icing, and it needs to be dead smooth to replicate the Cassette Cover, Platinums and Gold Frame.
Anyway, I'm not going to bore you with the endless weeks of work I did to achieve the finished cake, but let's just say that the board I mounted the cake on was a teeny bit bigger than the weeny cottage doorways, and it was a nerve-racking moment tilting it to get it to The Courier waiting at my Cottage Front Door to whizz it up to London in time for The Party!
And Yes, I did give the framed Triple Platinum Discs back!!
I feel very special and very privileged now to have been a small part of her celebrations that night.
Sadly, having meticulously taken 'step by step' photos of the cake's progress, not one single photo if anyone out there out of the kindness of their own hearts does have a photo of my Whitney Cake, I'd simply love a copy back for my own records and posterity......X.

Talking of Cake....when I sent my draft script email to the editor of our local parish magazine the other day, requesting a small paragraph be included into the March issue, the small paragraph read exactly this:

Shelley and Medina are looking for a friendly posse of people to help us create this year's Produce Show Tea Party.  Candidates must have Own Pinny, Sense of Humour, and Appetite for Fun.
Phone Shelley on:........... for details of our First Pinny Meeting.

Like that?!

Now, given that this first card was given to Trousers for his Birthday from Wellie:
And this card was given to Trousers for his Birthday from Medina and Ian (The Queen and King of Marmalade)....Once I wrestle the Chainsaw out of Ian's hands for 'choosing' that card, I might marmalise him Children?!
M and I have the 'Qualifications' to get this Tea Party up and running.  Own Pinnies, Sense of Humour, Appetite for Fun......and our next Show Meeting is in about 10 hours, so I better go bed now!

I apologise for not tucking you up in bed this Sunday Night with A First Aid Course Story Boys'n'Girls, but if you're good, I'll do it next time.
Stay Safe and Keep Warm.
Wellie. X

Wednesday, 8 February 2012


Before I tell you about yesterday's fabulous Dib Dob First Aid Course, this is the beautiful rural setting of our Village Hall, where it all happens.
Having been in the Hall yesterday afternoon with seven other peeps, this afternoon I decided to spend an hour on my own with a long tape measure, a piece of graph paper, a pen, and my camera.  The Hall is 44ft by 22ft, and any available wall-space will hang The Art Exhibits in this year's Show.
The Stage is 17ft by 6ft, and will be capable of propping up 7 'Doors' against the walls to exhibit all the Photographic Entries, and the Trophy Table, from which, the Opening & Award Ceremonies take place.
There are twenty 6ft tables at my disposal to use as Showbenches.
And there's a separate room to the side of the Hall, which has it's own small kitchen, from which to serve Afternoon Teas, and have a Cake Stall.
It's a beautiful facility at our disposal, and one that we're incredibly fortunate to have.  Now that I've got all of its measurements, I can maximise every inch of available space for our 2012 Village Show in August.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Dib Dob Ging Gang Goolie

I don't know about you, but when I've ever moved house and gone to live in a completely alien environment from the one that I used to feel way more comfortable in, it scares the proverbial pants off of me.

As a Girl, you're driven by your Parents, in a car, whether to a Convent Boarding Girl Guides,  or beautifully, to Finishing College in the Somerset Countryside. I never felt that I hugged my Dad quite so tightly enough to thank him with all of my heart for any of what he did for me before he passed away.....but truly, he worked his sox off for me.

As an Adult now, living with no children in my life, it's a very difficult story for me, but not a sad one. An English Rural Village happens to be where my heart truly belongs.  But Villagers do like to know just who you are, just why you're here, and exactly what you're doing in their village!  Which is kind of tricky, when you're not entirely sure of the reason yourself.

Isn't it gorgeous then, when you wake up one day and find that the very people around you, are what you've actually been missing all of your life?

Rightly, or wrongly, that feeling completely overwhelmed me today.
I drove for 'seconds' up to the village hall, into what is normally a grassy field that suffices as a Car Park.
There was a familiar face of a chap that I humped (don't make your own story up!) BALES OF HAY with onto a trailer, along with Trousers and another chap at the end of the season last year for someone else's  Sheeps to devour during the colder months, and they were spreading scalpings, and making 'A Proper Car Park' in the field for The Village Hall to use, on Farmers' Land?
No more thanks given than a nod and a word, but none more needed as far as we were concerned.
I was just about to try and put that into words, and then realised that actually, that's not possible.
It isn't words.... It's a feeling. And it's about doing everything that you can for your own community.

Funny Farm Leek & Cheese Welshcakes

Having tinkered about with the recipe, I'm happy with them now!  However, I would just say that there will be a difference in the moisture content of the dough, depending on whether you use white self-raising flour, or light brown self-raising flour, the latter being more absorbent.

Soften 150g finely chopped Leeks in a weeny amount of butter in a pan.  Allow to cool.  Sift 250g self-raising flour and half tsp sea salt into a large bowl.  Lightly rub in 100g unsalted butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, then mix in 100g grated cheddar, Caerphilly, or whatevver! add the cooled softened leeks, and then 1 beaten egg.  Bring the mixture together with a fork.  Add UP to 1 tblsp milk, a drop at a time, mixing inbetween, to form a soft but not wet dough (or bung it in the Magimix and 'wing it' like wot I do - saves time!)
Tip it out onto a lightly floured surface and just 'pat' or roll out to about 6-7mm thick.  Cut out scone-sized circles with a cutter and 'dry-fry' in a frying pan for about 3 mins on each side, until nicely 'golden'.
 Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container, freeze, or do what I do:
Spread immediately with ANCHOR BUTTER straight out of the pan, two bites, straight into your mouth, and it's gone!
Spread immediately with LOW-FAT spread for your MAN, two bites, straight into his mouth, and it's gone...!

I freeze them with waxed discs inbetween in a big stack in a polybag, and just put them straight into the Rayburn as and when I need them.

  AbFab for Brekkie buttered, with Ultan Walsh's Missus's Chestnut Sausages/Paul Rankin 85% Pork Sausages/Gloucestershire OldSpot Sausages, or ordinary 2nd-Rate Bangers, and the rest of The Full Monty.

Make them, enjoy them, and then maybe let me know how you got on?

Incidentally.  Nothing whatsoever to do with the above, but I went on a proper First Aid Course today in our Village Hall, which was ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT.  If you get the opportunity to do one - go do it.  Lots of fun, and you could save someone's life in the future.  I'll tell you about it next time.

And next time..... photos of the very first pair of Lamb twins on The Funny Farm.   Aaaah!.....
Keep Safe, Stay Warm,

Monday, 6 February 2012

A Quick Step Round The Garden

 The red Brussel Sprouts and Swede were spectacularly mediocre this time around...which is surprising, given that the previous crop were Legumes.  Fat lot of nitrogen nodules they fixed into the ground then! I think not... Still, the green sprouts in the soft fruit bed made up for it.
The late crop of Leeks are fattening up well now, and should be ready in time to replace the ones we're using at the moment.  Which reminds me, I need to post up the recipe for Leek & Cheese Welsh Cakes.  Doh!
Smashing the ice out of the birdbaths has been a twice-daily job of late, but a very worthwhile one, as my little feathered friends have really appreciated it.  And one Nuthatch has returned to feed.

With the flowering period of a Yukka being July/August time, I think Mother Nature is having a bad hair day here in the woodland garden.
 Don't you just love Garrya eliptica?  Absolutely gorgeous in full flower, and quite deserving of being called Silk Tassel Bush.  I'm making a stab at guessing that this is the male variety, as I'm 99% positive that I read that somewhere years ago, having longer tassles than the female one, but don't quote me....
 Once the thaw has taken place, I must get on and drastically prune back the Wisteria.  I'm determined this year to tie back the rambling roses to the barn wall to show them off to better effect.
 BC's not keen on getting her paws wet, but decided to put a brave face on to go for a walk with me round the farm.  There are about half a dozen feral farm cats in the yard here, so she's quite clearly 'out of her comfort zone', as you can see.
We're in a melancholy mood this week, so my P-Pod track is going to be 'The Dance' by Westlife, and I hope you enjoy it.

A big welcome to Jordan on the blog this week (the country, not the other one!), also to Egypt, Norway, and Ethiopia.  All of you are most welcome.

Will bring you recipes and an update on The Itton Village Show progress shortly.
Thanks to those of you not in hibernation for listening again.  The rest of you - are you all on holiday, or what?!