Sunday, 30 January 2011

Worship in the Hospital

Having spent time praying around our local hospital for a couple of years our house church had permission today to worship and praise God in the hospital chapel. Apart from also soaking the place in prayer it was a priviledge to bring the presence of our God into this place. Christianity has been marginalised in the multi-faith chapel so it is a move in the right direction that a room has been given over for a Christian chapel. So we leave behind a cloud of Glory.

Being early Sunday morning the place is quiet but this atrium will be teeming with people tomorrow

The coffee shop on the left is not yet open and there is nobody playing the piano

but the restaurant is already open though quiet. It will be a bit noisier when we round off our time here with coffee

A very different faith experience last Thursday for me. I was involved in a quiet, almost silent day at Pilgrims Hall and found my time of just 'being' a good experience.
No telephone or computer or anything else to distract and even got to delve into the book that my dear blogging friend Sara sent to me for my birthday last year.

Although for sometime I have been interested in the Hebraic roots of my faith and am involved in some study in this field, I was not sure until I opened this book just what it was about. From what I have read so far (and I am sure there is much more)I am finding it very interesting to see what was behind many of the sayings that Jesus used and how the wording was very much a part of the culture in which He lived. So helpful in interpreting Scripture, especially the Parables.

One never knows what one is going to find in a book in more ways than one!
This little card was in a very old second hand book I bought at the
 Town of Books, Hay-on-Wye
some years ago
Obviously given to an Alice Hollis
on Whit Sunday 1884
I just could not throw it away, so laminated it instead, and kept it as a book mark. 

So what else dominated this last week of the first month of 2011?
A dinner party here and another at the home of a friend, tea and chats with other friends. 
Serving teas etc. at a churches together time to pray for and encourage the youth of our Borough who are out in the community seeing God working in people's lives
and another visit to the Drs surgery to arrange what I trust will be my last scan.
How quickly this first month of the year has passed. Hard to believe.

Monday, 24 January 2011

February 1900

So many took an interest in the letter in my last post written by a young man to his Mother when he was at sea in 1901. For those wondering what happened to him, here he is below.
He maried my Grandmother in 1899 so was obviously married when he wrote the letter.  They had 9 children, one of them being my Father.
He died aged 67 having lived a fairly prosperous life but I was only a baby so never knew him. 

Below is another interesting letter written to my Grandmother by her Aunt when grieving the death of a child. Note the black border which was always used (even when I was a child) when someone was in mourning. It is actually 2 letters in one as part of it is to my Grandmother's daughter. 

I am not actually researching my family tree but putting together all the information that I already have which has previously been researched by two cousins and myself. I also have several centuries of research on Alan's family and this was done by his brother and gifted to my daughter when she married.

Green’s House Farm
Feb 12th, 1900

My dear Niece

I received your letter and was glad to hear from you. I wish you both much happiness in your married life; may God bless you and prosper you, which He never fails to help them that trust in Him. I was very glad to know that Lily has got a son and doing well. Poor Joe I feel awfully sorrow for him & I do hope he will come back one day safe for I am sure his mother will feel it very much, his wife must be very anxious about him be sure & let me know if you hear from him, you did not say how your father was but I suppose no news is good news. I hope sister & little May will soon be all right, I should like to see Thomas I hope he is well.

Dear May, (one of Grandmother's daughters - my Aunt) I hardly know how to express myself in the terrible blow I have received. I have been broken hearted since my darling died it is God’s mercy that I have been spared, it came so sudden upon us that it threw me prostrate with grief. I miss him everywhere & more every day. I really feel I can never see through it but if it will please the Almighty to spare me that I may worship him in health & strength that I may be prepared to meet my Angel Boy above. I do not think I shall ever be happy again in this world, I was so much attached to my love. Mr Frith was very much grieved though he is keeping up very well. Elisabeth & Martha are very well they send their love to you all. Excuse the writing for it is in tears; you might bring your husband down never mind if you have no Mourning that will no make any difference. I shall be glad to see any one of you any time, you did not give me your name so I have addressed the letter to your Mother so that all may see it. Tell little May her photo is all right, not forgetting Lily & husband, so I think I have mentioned you all.

So with love
I remain
Your Aunt in trouble
J. E. Frith

Letter sent to: -
Mrs Ledson
2 Florida Street
Strand Road

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

December 1901

Why does one start to think about sorting Family Tree papers in the new year I wonder. Happens every time but whether I get the job done this year is anybody's guess. Did think I would do some posts on same though.

Click to enlarge for artistic detail
Having sailed the Atlantic on a ship with engines with husband Alan who was a Chief Engineer I just cannot imagine the discomfort of a sailing ship

This is a letter written by my paternal Grandfather to his Mother in December 1901  while away at sea.
He was obviously an artistic man as seen here in the original letter. I did not know him as he died when I was a baby but his artistic influence lives on in my family.

Dec 14 / 91

SS Rochdale

Dear Mother

I received your kind and welcome letter and was glad to hear that you were all quite well as it leaves me at the present. Well mother as we will be leaving here on Tuesday or Wednesday and we just get to St Vincent about two days before Christmas and we be about a week there and we will be going from there to New Orleans and it will be about the end of March and then the winter will be over.

Dear Mother I am going to try my best when I come home for the tug boats or some kind of a job on shore and if I don’t get a vacancy in two or 3 weeks I go on the month boats until I get a chance in them. Well mother I was very glad to hear that Rosina has gone to the Dressmaking and I hope she will like it and Lizzie is foolish if she don’t learn a trade while she is young she will be too old just now as I was when I went after a trade and I am sorry for it now.

Dear Mother I hope father is comfortable in his ship I am not as when I was here before the 2nd and 3rd engineer is not so nice as the others but the chief engineer is nice and he want me by the ship when we get home but I told him that a pound a month is not enough for me and I told him I am going to try and get in the tug boats.

Dear Mother you must write about 3 weeks time after you get this letter and don’t forget it is of no use writing to St Vincent but I will send home a letter from their. Dear mother you must tell Rosina to try and write me a letter to New Orleans. Well mother the weather here is very fine all the time and it is a very large town but I have not been ashore we are laying in the river and it is a long way from the town so I got no more to say at present hoping to find you all quite well from your son

Henry Alexander Gilland


I wish you all a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year a good plum pudding and a welcome cheer.

Yours Dear Henry

Saturday, 15 January 2011

What is Afternoon Tea?

Afternoon Tea
Taken from the above book

Afternoon tea is one of a pair of meals (the other being high tea), both of which are essentially British and which, although alike in having tea as the beverage served, stand in high contrast to each other in other respects.
Mrs Beeton expressed  succinctly the material difference when she remarked that "There is Tea and Tea" and went on to say that ' A "High Tea" is where meat takes a more prominent part and signifies really, what is a tea-dinner.....The afternoon tea signifies little more than  tea and bread and butter, and a few elegant trifles in the way of cake and fruit'
Although the custom of taking a cup of tea, at least occasionally, at a suitable time in the afternoon may have been adopted by some ladies in the late 17th century , it seems clear that neither afternoon tea nor high tea, the meals, started to become established until late in the 18th or early in the 19th centuries. Since almost all authors rely on the indefatigable Ukers, who had scoured available literary and artistic sources for indications on this point, he must be allowed here to speak for himself:

Dr. Alexander Carlyle wrote in his autobiography of the fashionable mode of living at Harrogate in 1763 that, "The ladies gave afternoon tea and coffee in their turn. 'For the custom of afternoon tea as a distinct and definite function, however, the world is indebted to Anna, wife of the seventh Duke of Bedford, 1788-1801In her day people ate prodigious breakfasts. Luncheon was a sort of picnic, with no servants in attendance. There was no other meal until eight o'clock dinner, after which tea was served in the drawing-room. The Duchess of Bedford struck out a new line; she had tea and cakes served at five o'clock, because, to quote herself, she had a sinking feeling'.
Fanny Kemble, the actress, in her Later Life, records that she first became aquainted with afternoon tea in 1842 at Belvoir Castle, seat of the Dukes of Rutland. She added that she did not believe the now universally-honoured custom dated back any further than that.

In the 20th century afternoon tea kept to a formula:
tea (loose leafed and in a pot)with milk and sugar, or perhaps lemon if China tea is served; dainty small sandwiches (cucumber very thinly sliced, is a favoured filling); scones with butter and jam (optional); some form of little cakes or slices of a large cake; biscuits (optional); and a serviette or napkin to complete the picture. The effect is charming and may be achieved by a hostess (or host) with far less expenditure of effort and money than a full meal, or even a high tea, would require.
A variant of afternoon tea is the Devon cream tea, which towards the end of the 20th century was advancing relentlessly across all the other counties of England, and indeed appearing in Scotland, Wales and Ireland, sometimes described as just 'cream tea'. This calls for scones, clotted cream, and jam.

As Harrogate was mentioned in this writing, you might like to visit my post showing the famous tea rooms there

Thursday, 13 January 2011

English Journeys

I bought myself a Christmas present
I just love this set of 20 Penguin paperbacks and know that I am going to get hours of pleasure from them.
The set is called 'English Journeys' and covers such a wide area of traditional English life written by many different authors.
The titles are as follows and I am sure I will be sharing some of the content from time to time.

1. Voices of Akenfield by Ronald Blythe
2. The Wood by John Stewart Collis
3. From Dover to the Wen by William Cobett
4. The Pleasures of English Food by Alan Davidson
5. Through England on a Side Saddle by Celia Fiennes
6. Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard and other Poems
7. A Shropshire Lad by A. E. Housman
8. Cathedrals and Castles by Henry James
9. Walks in the Wheatfields by Richard Jefferies
10. The Beauties of a Cottage Garden by Gertrude Jekyll
11. Country Churches by Simon Jenkins
12. A Wiltshire Diary by Francis Kilvert
13. Some Country Houses and their Owners by James Lees-Milne
14. The Clouded Mirror by L.T.C. Rolt
15. Let us now Praise Famous Gardens by Vita Sackville-West
16. One Green Field by Edward Thomas
17. English Folk Songs by Ralph Vaughan Williams
and A.L. Lloyd
18. Country Lore and Legends by Westwood and Simpson
19. Birds of Selborne by Gilbert White
20. Life at Grasmere by Dorothy and William Wordsworth

In my next post I will tell you all you need to know about afternoon tea from a  page in book No. 4

Saturday, 8 January 2011

White Chocolate, Lemon & Cranberry Squares and More

While we are on the subject of tea let's have a look in Barbara's Kitchen
 I Just love this recipe

Just out of the oven

White Chocolate, Lemon and Cranberry Squares

 7 oz unsalted butter,  9 oz white chocolate chopped
3 large eggs, 5 1/2 oz golden caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract, 7 oz plain flour, pinch of salt
finely grated zest of 1 lemon, 3 1/2 oz dried cranberries
icing sugar to dust

Pre-heat oven to 180C/350f/gas 4. Lightly grease a(10in x 10in) baking tin and line with non-stick baking parchment. Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and melt the butter and half the white chocolate, whisking until smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
In separate bowl beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla until pale and frothy. Stir in the melted butter and chocolate mixture. Sift in the flour, salt and reserved white chocolate with the lemon zest and cranberries. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 35-40 minutes (or until the top is set). Leave to cool in tin 20-30 minutes. Remove from tin and cut into squares, then dust with icing sugar and serve.

Passion Fruit Traybake with Lime Drizzle

I have not kept this recipe as although tasty I could not stand all the Passion fruit seeds. Quite hard to bite in a light sponge.

Amaretti and Almond Sponge

This I served as a dessert. It had the amaretti biscuits broken up within the cake and whole ones on top of the sponge
This is another recipe I did not keep as it is made with mostly ground almonds and although delicious I find I have become sensitive to too many almonds which make my tongue very painful

Millionaire's Shortbread with Almond Base

The base here is made with ground almonds but I think I like the shortbread base better so again it is not a recipe I have kept

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Lyons-style Tea Houses - And..............

Lyons-Style Tea Houses to take on the Coffee Shops

The first Cadbury Cocoa House
Photo not too clear as I took it with my mobile phone


In a world full of Starbucks and Costa etc., it I not so easy to get a cream tea with a good choice of teas on the high streets as coffee shops abound in our towns these days. Most good tea rooms are in the countryside and villages.

I well remember in the days before England was inundated with American coffee shops, most cities had a Lyons Corner House. These were tea shops and the first was opened in Piccadilly in 1894 and the first Corner House in 1909. They went into decline in the 1950’s with the arrival of the less formal coffee shops.

Now a group of entrepreneurs are taking a step back in time to the pre-war days of the Tea House. This time it is the Cadbury Cocoa House and here we see the first one at the Bluewater shopping mall.

The theme has echoes of the stylish Lyons Corner Houses, with their uniformed waitresses serving up finger sandwiches and pastries on a silver stand.

As well as classic British dishes, the restaurants will offer a ‘Ritz-style’ tea for two, including a selection of finger sandwiches such as cucumber, cream cheese and smoked salmon. These come with freshly baked scones together with a selection of pastries and Twinings tea. The outlets will feature furniture and accessories sourced from British craftsmen including chandeliers.

This is  not the Cadburys cocoa House
we opted instead for cup cakes at another outlet this time


Grandson Oliver's first day at school
Hard for me to imagine four and a half already

And for the many who asked about the difference between Jams and Preserves
Anything can be preserved, it does not have to be Jam
As far as Jam is concerned there are two kinds
Jam has water added
and then there are Conserves which are just fruit and sugar
no water

Monday, 3 January 2011

Tiptree Jams and Preserves

New Year's Eve was a good time as we did what we have done for some years now. Spent it next door with about 40 people from our street and house churches. A really nice meal with a choice of Salmon or Chicken with a side table full of goodies before a great choice of desserts. This was followed by 'fun' games until about 11.0 pm when we entered a time of praise and worship and prayer. As the New Year ushers in it's time for hugs and greetings all round. What a blessing.

So now it is 3rd January and although the Christmas tree is still up I'm thinking of the many projects I would like to tackle in the coming months while we still have short and often dark days.I am not going to list them - I have done that before and many of them have not changed because of the general busyness of life.

For now we will visit a tearoom with a difference. This is a place we always visit for tea if we are in the area. I am not posting photos of the tearoom today (I have done that before) because these tearooms are situated on the Tiptree estates where there is some added interest.

An old delivery van

Tiptree, the home of the Wilkin family who have farmed here for nearly three hundred years. The very first Tiptree conserves were made here in 1885 and to this day they still specialize in fruit growing on the Tiptree estates.

The choice is amazing and only a little of it shown here

One of the orchards - this visit was late summer 

There is a small museum on site showing how jam (jelly for USA readers) was made over a century ago

My purchases of the day

One can get a nice lunch here and
afternoon tea comprises sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and
 cakes all served on a three tiered plate

Happy New Year to everyone who visits