Sunday 29 May 2011

A Zen Story

What is it about Sundays that we often find our selves using a few moments of the day for reflection? It has a pace all of it's own, quite different from a Wednesday, much more serene than the Saturday that precedes it and certainly more sober than a Friday.

For me its not a religious thing, its just, even in this modern world, Sunday's seem to stroll through the minutes and seconds rather than hurtle at break neck speed.

A little bit of Zen Chez T-J
My Sunday morning musing took me back to a little story I heard many years back, when I was a philosophy student myself, 25 years on and it is still with me. I think it is fitting for a Sunday and so I would like to share it with you and see what you think?

"The Japanese Zen Master Nan-in gave audience to a professor of Philosophy.

Serving tea, Nan-in filled his visitor's cup and kept pouring.

The professor watched the overflow until he could restrain no longer:


The cup is overfull, no more will go in.

Nan-in said "Like this cup, you are full and overflowing with your own opinions, notions and speculations.

How can I teach you Zen, unless you first empty your cup?"

It's so true how can we truly embrace inner peace unless we forego some of our egotistical influences and create some room for it.

The opening lines of the wonderful poem Desiderata, reiterates just that. "Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence"

What do you think about the Zen story?

Thursday 26 May 2011

Thank you, Normal Day

Normal day, I am aware of the treasure you are.

You are not the soaring energy I feel on an amazing day, you are not the lunging depths I descend into on an awful day. I need days like you, you are an even keel day and because of that very special in your own right.

I am going to learn from you, love you and bless you before you depart. Normal day may not be resumed tomorrow, so I will embrace you whilst I can.
I will not let you pass me by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.
I am going to hold you while I may, for it may not always be so.

One day, who knows I may dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut raising my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return. A normal day!
Normal day I love you so. You make no unnecessary demands. You are, I conclude very powerful indeed in your own unassuming way because you are so gentle.

And you know what the Native American Indians said about gentle dont you?

Wednesday 25 May 2011

Susie did not like me!

Susie Baker did not like me.

Miss Prim n Proper, Miss Twee, Miss Butter wouldnt melt. Yep that's Mrs T-J she decided and her distain and indifference were palpable.

Fast forward 10 years and " Sweetie, You will remind of that forever wont you?" she laughed today as we chinked glasses.

We were chinking glasses on a Wednesday lunchtime in May to celebrate my dear bud's 50th.

We asked for Spritzers, they came with lemonade!!!! No! No! Soda and only ever soda. Why do so many places insist on turning a perfectly palatable glass of "dry" white wine into an alcopop?

We became friends under odd cirumstances following a conversation on a barmy Summer's day.

She was doing the leaving and I was the one that had been left. I will not elaborate more than that, as it is water that has long passed beneath the bridge. We found an effinity for eachother's predicament.

10 years ago - Spain!  I wouldnt wear a backless top, held together by two bits of string now, those days are gone. ho hum, so are the youthful looks and the fluffy blonde locks, oh Father Time! (we never paid for that meal, we did a runner, our taxi was waiting and they never brought the bill in time after several requests!)

We were inseparable, to the point that we moved in together and the rumours were rife. "They are surely the only gays in the village!"

Truth was we were were the two pillars of the temple, holding the fragments of our fractured lives together, determined to keep the scaffolding in place ready for a re-build one day.

Re-build we did and added a few storey's to our temples I think.

10 years later and Susie Baker is now an extremely happy Mrs Ellis and I am Mrs Tamblyn-Jones once more! Babe, we did well.
Miss Prim n Proper? I think Susie will agree that we saw the bottom of too many wine bottles together for that to be the case.

I'm Sweetie and she is Babe and this is our song!

Deep in the dark
You'll surrender your heart
But you know
But you know that you can't fight the moonlight
No, you can't fight it
It's gonna get to your heart

Mrs Ellis you will always be my friend, you know too much!!

Monday 23 May 2011

Just Beet it!

I have a glass just like this most days, with breakfast.

I must admit it seemed a bit odd at first and it does take a little getting used to, an acquired taste I would admit however, I can now actually say I enjoy it.

A nice Claret or Bordeaux, how about a full bodied Rioja?

Not a word of it, my current health fad is Beetroot Juice

Currently selling 3 for 2 in Tescos. I've stocked up. It really is a little glass of ruby red goodness. You cant go wrong!

The Magic of Beetroot Juice
  • An intake of one glass of beetroot juice daily can assuringly tame high blood pressure.
  • Beetroot juice has the ability to clean and build the blood, improve circulation and calm the nerves.
  • It also improves the health of the liver, kidneys, and bladder.
  • The juice is claimed to be beneficial in the treatment of gallstones and kidney stones.
  • It cleans the intestines and fights cancer.
  • For women, it improves the menstrual problems as well as cures anemia.
  • It is traditionally used for curing eye fatigue & tiredness.
  • Along with treating skin problems, the juice is effective in aiding weight loss
If you do decide to follow my love in with the Beet, then be warned it is very potent and your body needs to get used to it.

So I would suggest that you dilute it at first with water or milder juices like carrot or cucumber. Eventually you will be able to go hardcore like me. Put it this way, initially it may have an eruptive laxative effect.

 YES it does turn your wee wee Pink but being a girl I dont mind that at all!

Thats all folks but just before I leave you to ponder on the last sentence, loving my new Holster flip flops. Mrs T-J is very partial to a bit of bling.

Sunday 22 May 2011

Sunday Girl

The Hubster's CD collection is pretty one dimensional in my opinion; The Clash, Boomtown Rats, The Best of Punk, he is stuck in a time warp.
However I did find one gem and I have hardly listened to anything else since; Parallel Lines by Blondie. Appropriate to be listening to Sunday Girl on a Sunday methinks.

"I know a girl from a lonely street, cold as ice-cream but still as sweet, dry your eyes Sunday Girl"

I was just 9 years old when this was Number one in May 1979. Class is always timeless though isn't it? It really doesnt seem that long ago but................. time waiteth for no man.

I'm so thrilled the world didn't end yesterday, they referred to it as The Rapture, well the only rapture I 'm familiar with this morning is buttie shaped.

We always have the boys full attention when the aroma of bacon wafts temptingly under their noses. It produced a superb photographic opportunity though with the boys looking particularly handsome in this one I think.

Man or beast, the redolence of sizzling bacon results in instant "salivatiousness" Its a Debbie word! For me bacon has always signified one of two things Sunday mornings and/or camping trips and it always will.

Sorry boys, I eat the crispy fat too, sacrilege to discard it.

A long, languishing look through the papers, a linky, lonky walk with the dogs and time for a bit of pottering in the garden, this is a Sunday girl's Sunday, my Sunday and I love it.

Planting up the trough, I have gone for a bridal theme this year, in honour of K &W.

Once in full flower, we will have standard & trailing Geraniums, Lobelia, Begonia and Spurina and hopefully if I water, nurture and tend sufficiently, it will be all "white"

Down pipe? What down pipe?

After the bacon doorstop, lunch is a more delicate affair. Seafood, fennel and saffron soup. Having ready to go fish stock in the freezer is always a winner and worth the effort.

A culinary cocophony of river cobbler, mussels, king scallops and prawns, served up with a gusty hunk of granary and well, replete and the sofa calls once again. I also love to add clams or fresh cockles but they are near impossible to get hold of in the sticks.

Later on, Hubster starts packing for the week ahead. I have never been comfortable with this, accepting yes but ...... well it is what it is and we have our routine. He does what he has to do with his suitcase on wheels and I pour us both a glass of wine and wait.

We peruse the evenings viewing options together and then its snuggle time, him, me, the boys.

Chez TJ and home is where the heart is and this is a Sunday for the Sunday Girl.

Saturday 21 May 2011

The Missing Curtain

She very nearly didnt get them.....


......but the placatory and very generous gift of some fleurs for me....

.... ensured that she did. Happy 50th Susie.

Thank you Miss Pickering. Oh to have smell-o-blog, not only visually stunning, the stocks and peonies are an unabridged olfactory sensation.

So whilst the fleurs were being artistically assembled. My attention was drawn to a shop across the way called The Missing Curtain.  Now that sounds like my kind of place, just based on the name alone of course. Remember we do quirky Chez T-J.

Wonderful with exclamation, a non-pareil cache full to the rafters of fun and frippery. Beads n bangles and all manner of paraphenalia, trinkets and treasures from bygone eras.

Woo hoo! I'm in!

Did I pur-chase?

Och aye, isnt she a bonny wee lass?

My dear, your pond awaits. What shall I call her?

A beintot to the petit coin of Stamford that is Notting Hill on a lego-land scale.

Mwah, mwah, mwah!

Friday 20 May 2011

Quirky and eclectic are sexy

Quirky is sexy, like a gap in your two front teeth, a scar or a discreet tatoo. I like quirky. I like all manner of things and people that are "in left field" and "outre".

Eclectic is also sexy in my world, multifarious, diverse and varied.

Yes Quirky and Eclectic, to me, are like two slices of bread containing a delicious filling of individual flare and imagination.

The Missing Curtain

My petit sejourn to Stamford had both quirky and eclectic in abundance and I loved it.

It has been a while since I  frequented Miss Pickering at her floral emporium, so good is she at delivering her vintage, floral artistry straight to my door, that I had become a tad lazy.

I  pitched up to see the hound  too with serrano ham. Serrano ham, pourquoi? 

The boy wonder has his own oil painting above his 4 poster, so why the hell Serrano not?

What do you expect to see in a florist shop? Flowers of course!  But what about this?

Great, so now you are getting the vibe arent you? However, should you be wondering, Miss Pickering is a florist of some distinction.

Some people are just so clever, you can only hope to live and love a little in their light.

I asked the Hubtster am I quirky? And what about eclectic? 

He replied "Quirky 70% yes. Can I replace eclectic for random though because that's more appropriate and would make up the remaining 30%".

Hubster said "you posted some eye candy last night Wifey?" 

Yes I did, Tom Hardy, Paul McGann and Paul Bonhomme. Smoke on!!!

My turn  then he exclaims!

Blondie! Perfect choice.
Quirky character, eclectic music, she is perfect for this post.

"oh Danooby do I'm in love with you"

Thursday 19 May 2011

When he's good he's......................

When he's good, he's very good and when he's know how it goes.

Woo, puppy has slam dunked into adolescence quicker that Usain Bolt doing the 100m.

Wait till your Father gets home! Oh yes me and the "wrecking ball, butter wouldnt melt in my mouth would it momma?" puppy, have had a few exchanges today.

I was warned. Thank Dyl Bob. Thanks puppy trainer. Thanks Dmama. Thanks everyone who has raised a pup.

 You talkin about me Momma?

All his training seems fruitless, selective hearing, selective flippin everything,. What? Eh? Say again? What did you say?

 He has forgotten how to sit, stay and give a paw etc..................

Funny really how he produces a response of bionic proportions when has a vetted interest. Then, miraculously,  he remembers the whole damn lot.

Enter the puppy trainer and he is the perfect pupil, why are you putting the Momma through the humiliation Radders? - I feel like I am a rubbish Momma, dont make me look like a rubbish Momma!

Aww sorry, I,  well, when was this morning? Last year? I cant even remember this morning really Momma. Sorry I love you and our sofa.

Love you too, but now its Momma time.


 Blurry Yum

More blurry yum

Momma you are married, what are you doing?

Wait for it Radders!!!

Yummiest forever,  nothing blurry about it.
However,  you are still not off the hook puppy.

Wait till your Father gets home!

Wednesday 18 May 2011


My name, Deborah, is of Hebrew origin, and the meaning of Deborah is "bee".

So perhaps it isnt pure coincidence after all that I am so enthralled by these fascinating insects.

Luckier still, is the fact that I live only a few miles away from George Shepherd, who until recent times was the Secretary of the Leicestershire and Rutland Beekeepers Association.

George was extremely kind to allow me to accompany him on a hive inspection today. This time of year is incredibly busy for all beekeepers so the gesture was much appreciated.

George, waved me into the house, a beautiful old Rectory sitting proudly on the hill over looking the valley, towards the hamlet of Teigh

He was on the phone, expertly reassuring and advising a lady who had discovered a swarm on a fence nearby.

"Dont worry" he said, "they wont be aggressive, they are homeless and merely looking for a new pad"

Some beekeeper somewhere will have lost half of their colony and will be very keen to be reunited with it. Hope they make it back home.

Preventing a swarm is one of the most key roles for a beekeeper, not because swarms are dangerous, but because a beekeeper will lose half of his liquid gold producing colony if this happens.

Why do bees swarm and what instigates a swarm? Good question to be answered in another blog.

George was most helpful and resourceful. I knew I was in good hands. Whilst waiting, I looked out of the kitchen window, now you know I wouldnt mind doing the washing up looking out at that, would you?

All suited and booted we took the short car journey down the hill to the hives. Dont think I will ever forget the moment I donned my first bee suit!

First things first, George prepared his smoke gun to subdue the bees should they be feeling a tad feisty. Having had a bee inspector around the day before, he wondered whether they might be annoyed at being disturbed again.

I adored George's rustic hives. All handmade by himself and designed to suit the needs of the colony perfectly. I was very impressed. In fact I noticed George was ingenious with a lot of improvisation when it came to equipment. Why pay the prices the bee suppliers charge, he exclaimed.

It was mesmerising watching George tend to the hives.

He was methodical and meticulous but the thing I noticed most was how calm, gentle and respectful he was. This is their home, so going in there like a bull in a china shop is sure to upset them.
If it was my home I certainly wouldnt like it.

Up to 50,000 bees in a hive, thats alot of bees, especially when they are buzzing all around you and on you. I was surprised how relaxed I was and keen to have a little go myself.

George is incredibly knowledgeable, with over 20 years experience to pack into 3 hours, my brain turned into a sponge trying to absorb every droplet of information.

After a full inspection, the hives were reassembled but as careful as George was, a few casualties were squished in the process. The "supers" or hive layers are really heavy!

George gave me an analogy I will always use and remember:

"Think of the hive as the organism or the body and the bees are it's blood, it doesnt matter if a few droplets are lost" 

Isnt that a great way of looking at it.

Back at the ranch and George's work is not done.

Extraction and filtering of the honey. From this:

To this:

Yes George contstructed the filtering system himself.

Lets not forget the beeswax too!

At this time of year a beekeepers work is never done but I got the massive impression that George wouldnt have it any other way.

George's bees behaved impeccably, perhaps they knew I was a "newby" and no I didnt get stung. Result.

Encouraged and enthused by the fact that it's only a matter of when and not if, I left George and his bees, absolutely BUZZING!!!