Cheese Ham & Olive Loaf Recipe

I found these photos recently of the time I made this loaf in 2009. I’m planning to make it again soon! It was very moreish, especially when still warm.

“Serves 10”

For recipe, scroll down …

Ingredients :

  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 4 eggs
  • 150ml olive oil
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 140g Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 200g thick ham (chunks is best)
  • 280g pitted olives – green or black or both
  • Salt & Pepper or other herbs if you think you’ll need them

Method :

  1. Heat Oven to 190C (std) or 170C (fan). Butter a tin or dish and line with baking parchment.
  2. Beat white wine and eggs together until frothy. Add oil
  3. Sift in the flour and mix until smooth. Stir in the remaining ingredients to combine.
  4. Pour into prepared tin / dish and smooth the surface. Bake for 55-60 until golden brown & firm to the touch.
  5. Cool on a wire rack and cut into pieces.
  6. Enjoy!

The cutting I have states the nutritional values per serving, but I’m not sure what that is (1 tenth of the whole thing perhaps?)  – 368 kcalories, 14g protein, 20 carbs, 26g fat, 7g saturated fat, 2g fibre, 1g sugar.

(I think the cutting was probably from the BBC Good Food Magazine but can’t be sure)




Port Logan Plastic Trap

The coastline of Dumfries & Galloway around the Port Logan area is beautiful. One day in March 2017, we’d travelled all the way from Carlisle to explore the area because we’d never been before. We took the path north from the carpark which led alongside & behind the Logan Fish Pond.

P1110267 (2)

The thing about this part of the UK coastline is that it protrudes into the Irish Sea, on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, and it gets all the weather and waves thrown right at it. It’s also very close to a major shipping route. So we shouldn’t have been surprised when we saw a few bits of plastic; we just weren’t prepared for the absolute mountains of it.

P1110287.JPGThe deep natural clefts created by the local geology has trapped literally tons of plastic detritus. The apparent edge of the tide of plastic is not actually the edge – underneath that grass there’s more plastic bottles etc, you can hear them crunch & crack when you walk across the area.



There were obviously lots of large pieces of industrial waste plastic containers etc

But there were numerous smaller domestic items : (deep breath…)

A baby shoe, balloon knot, balloon ribbon, beads (toy jewellery or fishing?) a black comb, a toilet brush, some bubblewrap, the handle of a Bullworker, a bunny-shaped jelly mould, a dog’s chew toy, a child’s pink brush, another dog chew toy, a baby’s dummy, a brush, a green lid, a red disposable lighter, a margarine tub, a Nerd disc, a Heinz mayonnaise bottle (with trapped flies), a squashed football, a pill bottle and piece of sponge, a pink horse (!) a plastic duck numbered 68284 in pen (a duck race winner perhaps?), a shoe, a bit of toy with a sword emblem, tampon applicators, and a Tictacs cap, awkwardly trapped between some bits of granite.

(draws another breath…)

Another shoe, a coke bottle, a chipped container and a button caught in a crevice shared with a sea slater.

Take hope, as alongside these horrors, nature was doing its best to fight back.



lichen rocks.JPG


Carlisle Photo Festival 2013

(update to the post below, the former Carlisle Post Office is now the Halston Aparthotel)


From the website for Carlisle Photo Festival:

“Carlisle Photo Festival was founded in 2012 with the wish to focus on bringing emerging photographers’ work out to the public by displaying their work in urban and accessible spaces.The aim for Carlisle Photo Festival is to create an international and national platform for contemporary photography.A platform that explores all aspects in photography and where emerging talents, professionals, amateurs and photography enthusiasts can meet”

As soon as I heard about this event I knew I wanted to visit it – however we could only visit the festival on Sunday (the last day) so only two of the venues were still open: the Old Post Office and The Galley.

The last time I was inside the Post Office building on Warwick Road it was probably to buy stamps or send a parcel or something and was in slightly better nick than what you can see now. It closed in 2008 and they are about to convert it into a smart new hotel (not sure if there are any original features left to be preserved though). I took a sneaky pic through a hole in the partition into the old sorting area beyond.

There were some interesting ideas shown in the photos, although we thought that some of them were a bit pretentious (e.g. a bland photo of a few heather plants on a hillside, which honestly could have been anywhere). I liked the central images taken with old cameras of various places within Cumbria, the Kansas pics, microscope images taken using a phone, and the face-swap photoshop portraits.

Next we headed to the Galley, located in the Atlas Works , originally a Victorian textile mill. I honestly didn’t know this gallery was here so that alone was worth the visit. I found these photos a bit more interesting although the only ones I can remember as I write are the Lithuanian ones. I think I would have preferred to see more photos from each photographer; in some cases there were only 2 images per artist.

Overall, I personally would have liked to have seen more colourful images – perhaps the selection were chosen to match the more industrial settings, not sure. I seem to remember the brightest ones!

The Old Post Office, Warwick Road, Carlisle

Inside Carlisle old Post Office

Inside Carlisle old Post Office

Inside Carlisle old Post Office

Inside Carlisle old Post Office

Inside Carlisle old Post Office

Inside Carlisle old Post Office

Inside Carlisle old Post Office

Inside Carlisle old Post Office

The Galley, Atlas Works, Nelson Street, Denton Holme, Carlisle

Inside Galley, Nelson Street, Carlisle

Inside Galley, Nelson Street, Carlisle

Gmail namesakes fail ?

I’ve had a gmail account since the first days of the service – so I’m lucky to have an address that’s based on my real name. I discovered fairly early on in my internet timeline that I share my name with a romantic novelist. I know – it’s hilarious. I bought one of her books on eBay once, out of curiosity.  On its arrival, one look at it told me it wasn’t my cup of tea, but it always makes me “heh” seeing a paperback with my name on the spine, on my own shelf – so there it stays.

So ffw a couple of years, and I’m using my gmail account for job applications, personal contacts etc – the sort of thing where having your name as your email address is handy. I rarely get spam, because it’s mostly from very trusted sources.


I have a few different email addresses, including a yahoo one I pretty much double dare to be spam rammed – used for internet competitions, prize draws, etc. And actually, yahoo is pretty good at deciding what’s spam (I look in the folder occasionally to remind myself to be grateful for this service).

Meanwhile my gmail account has stayed pretty trash-free – however I did start getting emails that weren’t for me. I thought at first they were spam, but they were properly addressed, starting “dear-“, and when I looked into it the sender actually existed and had a publishing company, the one which happened to publish the aforesaid novelist’s books. He obviously just got the address wrong, by guessing, which is daft because her real address at that time was easily found on her email address, based on her book title Blush.

There were a few emails from this publisher, so I forwarded a few on to the Blush address, with an explanatory note, and got no response. I also contacted the sender – same. Perhaps my emails were ironically being captured into their spam folders.

The emails from the publisher continued for a while, the tone getting increasingly impatient as he wasn’t getting a response from her – apparently there were some of her books left in his possession that he 1. wanted rid of and 2. wanted paid for.  He would therefore arrange for them to be delivered to her address in Malaga, Spain (please confirm). Then, he’d sent the books complete with invoice for the remaining balance. So I now had this amazing mental image of a shelved author (pun intended) sitting in her peaceful sunny garden, taking delivery of hundreds of paperbacks, cash on delivery. I wonder if this ever happened.

By now, I’d ‘LinkedIn’ to her profile, so surely she was aware there was a namesake, but actually there are loads of us and I am facebook friends with one in Australia who I friended in a moment of madness but actually I have quite a lot in common with. Our 2-way conversations can be confusing for observers.

Now for the last few months I’ve been the recipient of another rake of emails, this time with a nature reserve in California as the subject. Were they trying to contact the novelist? Based on the list of Directors, yes. Look! That website even has her blush email address on it.

Ridiculously, I received an email forwarded to me, which had originally come from the Blush address, which contained not only the novelist’s phone number, but her postal address! Look how close she lives to the nature reserve:

Newport Beach pic

So all this made me curious – what if she really DOES have a gmail address, and she is perhaps receiving some of MY mail? So I tried experimenting logging into gmail in different ways.

For example: My “real” address includes punctuation. I tried logging into my mail by omitting the punctuation, and I still got in. I also tried just using the name, without the gmail bit, and I got in. Why should this be possible?

Apparently – it’s SUPPOSED to do this!

This page on google support says:

Sometimes you may receive a message sent to an address that looks like yours but has a different number or arrangement of periods. While we know it might be unnerving if you think someone else’s mail is being routed to your account, don’t worry: both of these addresses are yours.

Gmail doesn’t recognize dots as characters within usernames, you can add or remove the dots from a Gmail address without changing the actual destination address; they’ll all go to your inbox, and only yours. In short:

  • =
  • =
  • =

All these addresses belong to the same person. You can see this if you try to sign in with your username, but adding or removing a dot from it. You’ll still go to your account.

If you get mail that seems to be intended for someone else, it’s likely that the sender entered the wrong address, just like if you’ve ever dialed a wrong phone number for someone. In these cases, we suggest contacting the original sender or website when possible to alert them to the mistake.

Who knew? I didn’t!

So this poor woman should tell her friends to stop using the guessed address – perhaps a longer warning email to her is required (although I think I’ll miss getting these interesting snippets of her life)… watch this space…

“Family Heirlooms” – or get your jugs out

Other people have jewellery, furniture, paintings, houses even – what do we have?


And, a photo of the jugs. This was taken in my great grandmother’s kitchen about 100 years ago.

The Teapot Photo edit2

The two large flowery jugs at top right are mostly green with small pink flowers, my Mam has one of them, and also the one at the right end of the second shelf which is styled like a barrel.

The others tend to be various shades of brown and gold – I recognise a few of them as still being in the family.

I seem to remember that photographs were quite expensive to process in those days so I’m quite impressed that someone saw fit to take this image – Instagram before its time, perhaps?

The Cure for Hiccups

Yes, you heard me – the cure.

This works particularly well with those painful, hard hiccups, the sort you get when you’ve had too much wine or eaten too much (not sure why else you would get hiccups to be honest).

Just ordinary vinegar – anything you have handy – premium or bog standard. as long as it’s full strength.


So by now you’re thinking, “But it’ll taste horrible! What sort of person takes vinegar straight?” – Well, someone who wants to get rid of their hiccups, that’s who.

All you need is one teaspoonful to see the effects. It’s nothing to do with the chemistry – in fact if you’ve overdone it with food or drink the chances are that your stomach is too acidic and this will only add to it – no, this is to do with control of the diaphragm.

Hold the teaspoonful of vinegar in front of you – preferably over the sink or something because let’s face it, you’re probably going to spill it – and think about how painful it would be if you hiccuped* WHILE you’re trying to have that spoonful. I’ve done it – it hurts, believe me. In order for you not to hiccup, you need to control your breathing. You need to concentrate. Get in the vinegar zone. Ready?

Now, carefully pour out and drink the vinegar. DON’T HICCUP!

Now wait. If you hiccup again, take another spoonful. Oh, and don’t forget to breathe.

Have your hiccups gone? No? Well click here to get your money back.


*why does this not have two p’s? And, why do we put an apostrophe in “p’s”?


Woolly Gluvs

My friend Joanna Crosby wrote this poem. Read it carefully 🙂


Why am I wearing woolly gluvs
instead of woolly gloaves?
The Christmas spice is not a cluv
– it is, of course, a clove,
and deer don’t run through woodland gruvs
but stand in dappled groves,
and Michael Gove’s called many things – but never Mr Guv.
Ah, but. Did Frank Sinatra croon of loave
or how he’d been a ruvver?
And do you watch a mauvie
or hire a van to help you muv?
There’s always an exception, as I can quickly proave.
So I will wear my woolly gluvs
and look for treasure trove
returning home to warm my hands, beside my kitchen stuv.