Are your strawberriesready yet? If not a well known supermarket in the UK are selling them for £1 for 227g. The strawberries are also grown in the UK so you will be eating our wonderful produce and keeping our farmers and growers in business. I won’t name the supermarket but the first letter is A. The name is also very short, 4 letters to be exact!!!

Strawberry’s and chocolate are the food of love so why not mix both and create a lovely dip to dip the strawberry’s in?


100g bar of chocolate like Dairy Milk or other quality chocolate

500g home-grown strawberries

1 carton of double cream


1. Break the chocolate into smallish pieces.

2. Heat a pan of water on the cooker. As the water is heating up get a Pyrex or other ovenproof dish and place on top of the water.

3. Break the chocolate into small pieces and put into the ovenproof dish and allow to melt. As the chocolate is almost melted add the cream and gently stir the ingredients together.

4. Stir both ingredients together until creamy. Don’t let the mixture boil or go lumpy.

5. Remove from the cooker and allow to cool for a few minutes. Don’t let the chocolate set!

6. Serve in a bowl with strawberry’s on the side to dip in.

Another way to use this recipe is if you have kids round and you want to give them something different. Or at the end of a dinner party strawberry’s and chocolate are a great way of finishing off the evening with friends. How about after a romantic meal for two? Now that would give you a few good points, need I say more chaps?!

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Before I go shopping I always write a list. I then check my shopping prices online to see how much my shopping is going to cost at my favourite supermarket. The list is an invaluable tool for me in that it does save me money. When I walk around the supermarket I only look what is on the list, not at all those tempting items on special offer conveniently placed around the isles. I have a copy to hand on my computer desk and add to it whenever I see I need something like toothpaste, soap, meats, bread etc.

If you would like to use my copy of the shopping list then please do so. Click on the image and it will load up. It’s a .PDF file so you will need Adobe Reader which most computers have nowadays.

As the sun is shining I decided to go and spend some time down by the river. It’s a quiet

spot with a path running for about 600 metres alongside the river Tame. I have been there a few times and love it as it’s peaceful and tranquil, gives me time to reflect, come up with new ideas and just chill out. Back in September 2010 The Telegraph newspaper asked the question: “Is The English Countryside The Most Beautiful?” I have to say yes to that. Nearby where I live is the oldest National Park on earth, The Peak District National Park. We have some of this planets most beautiful areas of natural beauty topped up by stunning wildlife and people prepared to keep our green and pleasant land just that.

I sat on one of the benches and looked around, nothing and no one around, only the birds singing their warning calls to each other from their favourite trees. A warning to others to stay off their territory, but to us mere humans a song of beauty, tranquillity and peaceful with its melodramatic mesmerising tones.

I walked down to the river which is only thirty or so feet away. The murky brown

waters of the River Tame ran silently and quickly, following a path cut by countless hundreds of years of water coming down from the nearby hills. Its currents sweep away debris as it follows the route cleansing the water, banksides and ground over which it travels. Two plants are busying themselves along the bankside and now displaying their yellows, purples and candy pinks. I took some pictures which you can see, they looked stunning with the river as a backdrop.

I looked down at the water’s edge. Last time I was here frogs were close to the bank probably looking for nesting spots as now they have been replaced by their offspring. The tadpoles hugged the shoreline of the river in water only just deep enough for them to swim in. They know by instinct if they venture into deeper darker water they are at risk of being swept away in the silent but deadly current. Another problem awaits them in the murky depths, predators lie in wait in every nook and cranny waiting for them and other prey should they venture into their territory.

I walked back and sat on the bench, it seems I am not the only one to use this bench for on the floor are discarded parts of a needle, wrapping and a spoon. I presume that whoever was here had been using heroin or something, what do I know? I know nothing about drugs and their effects, I have enough trouble taking prescribed drugs. Still it’s a sad sign of the times when a place of such beauty is used for something sinister.

Not to be deterred I sit down look and listen to the events around me. No sign of human’s anywhere and that pleases me, I prefer to be alone in situations like this as I can relax and really enjoy the splendours our countryside affords us. I watch as a bee busies itself going from flower to flower to collect the life giving pollen that will sustain them and their colonies. 1 in particular catches my eyes as it’s only small but clumsily flies from flower to flower with huge golden orange sacks of pollen attached to its thin legs. It lands on a flower and descends inside. The weight of the bee is too much for the flower and it starts to bend downwards towards the earth as if trying to discard the overweight bee the only way it can. As the bee clumsily flies off, probably back to the hive, the flower shoots back upwards and once again faces the sun where it can bask in the glorious warm rays.

In the air above me house martins fly majestically through the air playing catch me if you can with one another. Their rasping calls shatter the silent still air around me forcing me to look skywards. I watch is awe and glee as these wonderful birds perform their magnificent, majestic movements with ease. They are such wonderful fliers and I can watch them all day, but, sadly it’s time for me to go. I walk past a beautiful wild rose and snap a few

more pictures before hobbling off back home. My hip is killing me as I walk the few hundred metres home, but it can’t wipe away the wonderful hour I have just had by the side of

the River Tame.

Last week I had to do my shopping. I always shop at the same supermarket and have it delivered. There are a number of reasons I have my shopping delivered, they include having no transport, and having some on-going medical issues which make it difficult for me to go out and shop. I know it’s not very environmentally friendly so I recycle as much of the wrappings, boxes and cartons from the shopping as I can.

I tend to do my shopping fortnightly with most of the items being for the coming 2 weeks. Some items will last longer like the vegetables, some meat, flour, pasta and eggs. I won’t name the supermarket I use but I will tell you that most of the items on the list are the supermarket’s own brand, Smartprice. My shopping list varies too. This is a large shop for me as next payday I will have bills to pay so won’t have much left for shopping.

I make my own meals when cooking, that is to say I don’t buy pre-made or microwave meals. I will make a sausage and bacon casserole, egg and bacon pie, and biscuits with some of the items I brought. The chops will be used to make scallops, onions and chops, a recipe my son loves. The Beef mince comes in a kilo pack. I split this into 4 portions which will give me 4 meals. I can do this as I live alone most of the time. The potatoes come in 2.5 kilo bags. I ordered 4 bags so that gives me 10 kilo’s. They will last me quite a while especially since I store them in a cool, dry place.

Next time you need to go shopping why not make a list and stick to it? It will save you time, money and effort and if you shop wisely you could make some wonderful dishes with the food like I have. You can even use the shopping list below if you wanted!

Qty Product Price
1 Peanut butter £0.67
1 Real Mayonnaise £0.92
1 Pork Chops £2.00
1 2 Hot & Spicy Chicken £1.00
1 Cracked Black Pepper Grills £1.00
1 Wholemeal Baps £1.87
2 Diet Lemonade £1.04
1 Fruit & Barley Apple & Blackcurrant (No Added Sugar) £0.66
1 Orange Squash (No Added Sugar) £0.28
2 Apple & Blackcurrant Squash (No Added Sugar) £0.56
1 Bacon pieces – smoked £0.75
1 Oven Cleaner £2.60
1 Cheese spread £1.00
1 You’d butter believe it – light £1.26
1 Eggs – minimum net weight £1.25
1 Plain Flour £0.52
1 Soap £0.25
2 Protect Mint Fresh Toothpaste £1.00
1 Toilet tissue – white £1.34
4 White Potatoes £4.00
3 White loaf – medium £1.41
3 Brown loaf £1.41
1 Mild coloured cheddar £4.00
1 UHT Milk Semi Skimmed £4.00
1 Soft margarine £2.89
1 Rich Roast Instant Coffee £1.48
2 Brown Sauce £0.78
1 Tomato ketchup £0.31
1 Beef Mince £4.00
1 Pork Luncheon Meat £0.85
1 Thin sliced ham £0.56
1kg Chicken leg quarters £1.94
2 Chopped Tomatoes in Tomato Juice £0.66
2 Spaghetti £0.40
2 Pasta Shapes £0.36
4 Baked Beans £1.12
1 Granulated Sugar £1.34
2 Frozen Sausages £2.00
1 Mixed Vegetables £0.59
1 Chosen By You Tea Bags £1.00
If you would like the recipes for the meals I have made during the last 2 weeks please get in touch and I will supply them to you.

Branta canadensis

Take a walk along any of the UK’s waterways, be it river, lake, reservoir or canal and you are sure to see a bird standing tall against all overs, that is the Canada goose. It’s the largest of all our geese standing at 100cm when an adult. Complete with a 6 foot wingspan and you can see why this goose is the largest of our geese, although its origins stem from North America hence the name, Canada goose.

Royal Approval

The Canada goose is thought to have been introduced to Britain around 1660 by the then King, Charles II. He introduced them to his already large wildfowl collection at St James Park in London. The birds, now having the Royal approval quickly became a common sight throughout England where one could see them from village ponds to



The Canada goose is a heavy bird with a brownish/grey plumage. They have a long

black neck and head with a white band running under the chin. These geese can live for 20 years in the wild and always mate for life. There are thought to be over 80,000 birds in the UK with more Canada Geese found in parts of Scandinaviain particular Sweden, Denmark and some parts of Norway.


The Canada goose lay between 2-8 eggs in a nest made from down, reeds and grass. They build the nest close to the water’s edge but sheltered from the elements by bushes or reeds. If there’s an island on the water then you will always find Canada Geese nesting on there as it’s a favourite place for them to nest. Telling the difference between male and female is quite difficult as they exhibit the same coloration and build.


Their diet consists of grasses, aquatic plants, roots, and seeds. They tend to eat in shallow water but if food is available onshore like fields they will gather and feed freely there. They will easily muscle out smaller birds especially if humans are feeding them bread, seeds etc. Canadian Geese can be quite aggressive too especially if you are close to their nest and will chase people away.

Other Characteristics Other characteristics of the Canada goose include forming noisy flocks especially forming nurseries for the young. They fly in the typical goose V formation although the Canada Geese in the UK don’t migrate. In some parts of the country they have become a pest. They will intermingle with other geese including the Barnacle goose, and interbreeding has taken place.

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Carry On Henry

Image via Wikipedia

I am old enough to both love and enjoy the Carry On films. They starred some of the greats of yesteryear like Sid James, along with up and coming actors and actresses like Barbara Windsor. Their slapstick “British” humour and style of comedy was a great attraction every time a film was released. Even though the films had been made since the late 1950’s it wasn’t until the 1980’s when I started to watch and admire them, oh and laugh.

In total 31 Carry On films where made between 1958 and 1992 with Carry on Columbus being the last and probably least favourite amongst Carry On fans, except me! I know the film is rather silly (ain’t Carry On supposed to be silly?) but I loved it. It also starred an actor people in the US will know as the voice of Harry Potter. He has recorded all 7 books of the favourite series for the American market and has even won awards for them. He first made his Carry On appearance in Carry on Cabby and has been in a few of the films since including a favourite of mine, Carry on Screaming!! The other favourite of mine is Sid James. Sid was a master of the film industry and could turn his hand to any type of acting. My first encounter with him was when he was in the series Bless This House. In it he played a father to 2 “Dippy” university kids who were also Eco-warriors and members of the CND! I love that series and try to watch it when it’s on TV. Sid starred in 19 films including Carry on Don’t Lose Your Head, Carry on Henry and Carry on Dick. All these films are favourites of mine especially Don’t Lose Your Head where he plays alongside Jim Dale as Sir Rodney Ffing and his best friend, Lord Darcy Pue. Set during the French Revolution, they both travel to France to save people from the Guillotine, with disastrous results. Not for them 2 but Kenneth Williams (Citizen Camembert) and his lackey, Citizen Bidet played by Peter Butterworth!

These films are brilliant and I’m sure every Brit has watched at least 1. They have stood the test of time, in my eyes anyway and are a regular feature on TV. I never stop laughing and many times see and hear things I hadn’t done before.

Other Actors/Actresses to star in the Carry On films were:

Kenneth Williams
Joan Sims
Charles Hawtrey
Sid James
Kenneth Connor
Peter Butterworth
Bernard Bresslaw
Hattie Jacques
Jim Dale
Jack Douglas
Terry Scott

Many more helped to make these films some of the best in British Comedy and I recommend everyone to see 1, you won’t regret it!!!


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If anyone has read my blog you will probably have guessed I love to walk, especially out

in the countryside, by the river or canal, in fact anywhere where I can be “one with nature.” Yesterday I had to go into the next town so I went along the canal, something I always do. Getting on the canal in Ashton and then walking up onto the first lock I noticed something was missing; the water.

Usually the canal is full as there are many narrow boats travelling up and down the canal which is great especially now the Huddersfield Narrow Canal has been re-dug out and pretty much follows it’s original path through Tameside and beyond.

I stood there for a few minutes surveying the scene before me with amusement wondering what had happened then noticing that what little water was left was quickly travelling through a sluice gate. I figured that someone had gone through the lock with their canal boat and had forgotten to close the gate properly, but what do I know? I have never been on a narrow boat before so don’t know the etiquette and fineries for narrow boating.

I  travelled on along the now well drained canal taking some pictures, looking for any dead fish and wondering who could have done this? The water level did rise a little in the middle part of the canal which is also the deepest so canal boats can travel safely up and down the canal, but it was moving quite fast and figured it wouldn’t be there for much longer if the second lock was locked stopping any water travelling into the lock in question.


I got to the 2nd lock and walked up the slope and looked. This part of the canal was ok and full so carried on, figuring someone had forgotten to close it off properly. Speaking to some fishermen fishing the second lock 1 said that some unscrupulous people around the area had drained the lock, netted it and taken all the fish out, probably to eat or “sell

      them on.”

Well that did make me think as I saw only 3 small fish in the remaining water, and I know there are some nice fish in that part of the canal including pike, carp and skimmer bream.

Did that happen I wonder or has someone forgotten to close the gates? Maybe that stretch of the canal has been drained for a reason, like removal of the rubbish one could see scattered everywhere in the canal? I hope to find out but I won’t hold my breath. If it is some callous people then I hope they get some strange disease or something. Destroying the countryside, rivers, lakes and canals in my eyes is something we should look upon with disdain and punish the people in question. Again I won’t hold my breath.


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