Thursday, 21 April 2011

Wigton Windows

Back in 2009, St Mary's Church in Wigton received three new stained glass windows, donated by Melvyn Bragg. He was a choir boy in the church as a child and gave the windows in memory of his parents. He was very specific about the details that he wanted to include in the window's designs and these included scenes from town life including the famous horse auctions and the Market Cross.

He commissioned two local artists to design and make the windows: artist and designer Brian Campbell and stained-glass artist Alex Haynes.

Since the windows went in, I have been meaning to go and see them and today I finally got around to it. I read the Cumberland News story and saw the photos in Cumbria life, but photos don't do them justice - they really need to be seen, and they are stunning. The fairly plain exterior of the church does not give a hint to the gorgeous designs inside. The other windows are really worth a look too if you ever get the chance. Below are my quick snaps of the windows. Please click on an image to enlarge.

A Little Thrill

I visited the book yesterday. I knew that Bookends in Carlisle was stocking copies of Moon in Leo so I decided to take myself down there to have a look. I have to confess to having a little thrill at seeing my cover on the shelf of a book shop and not looking at all out of place.

Moon in Leo has now been published for a little over two months and sales are going well. It has also had a number of really rather excellent reviews. I read some of these out to Kathleen the last time I went to visit her and she was clearly delighted to hear that people were enjoying it.

I couldn't resist taking a quick snap of the book in situ, but I do think the woman behind the sales desk considered me a bit crackers!

Latest Bead Additions

I always feel a bit guilty after a bit of a splurge, but the guilt fades quite quickly. I have now nearly filled up my bracelet. It won't be too long before I can start creating different looks combining my different colours. I'm still trying to add a few more silver beads to my collection, but being a bit more expensive this is happening a little more slowly. Yesterday I added two more beads to the collection.

Left to right: Lilac Prism, Silver Endless

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The Dangers of Twitter

No, it's not a tale of public embarrassment or offended followers, of hackers or meltdowns and flame wars. This is a simple a cautionary tale; Twitter is bad for your waistline! A few days ago @JustTeaching posted a link to a tempting recipe for carrot cake muffins. Well they sounded too good to miss, so today I gave them a go. They were incredibly easy to make and even easier to eat. I made them with spelt flour and three teaspoons of gluten free baking powder so that my mum (who is wheat intolerant) could try them too. Even with these amendments they were delicious. I would recommend making half the amount of icing suggested in the original recipe because it made a huge amount, and also using low fat cream cheese as it made no difference to the taste. Below is my tweaked recipe along with photo of the finished product. For those who need to know, it makes 12 muffins at 9 Weight Watchers ProPoints each.

Carrot cake muffins
Ingredients for the muffins (makes 12 @ 9 ProPoints each):
• 1 ½ cups grated carrot (about 2 mid - biggish carrots)
• ¼ cup oil
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup soft dark brown sugar
• 1 cup of self-raising flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Ingredients for the icing
• 200g icing sugar
• 100g low fat soft cream cheese

1. Mix all ingredients together
2. Place in cup cake cases in muffin tin bake in oven at 160℃ for 30-35 minutes.
3. Allow to cool on wire rack
4.  Beat cream cheese, add icing sugar and mix until smooth and thick
5. Pipe or spread on top of muffins

Of Transformations...

It seems like a lifetime ago that my garden looked like this. It has been through dozens of transformations in the 10 years that I have lived in my flat. Below is a little photo-log of the early days, as well as the latest transformation in the shape of a vegetable patch. Please click on an image for a larger view.