I’m thinking about time. A subject about which I am very dubious.

I’m not sure I really believe in it.

But earthly time, as measured in hours and days and weeks, does have its practical impacts.

I now have a date for the removal of the pot – or cast, or whatever you like to call it – from my right (writing) arm. November 30th: an earthly day that cannot come too soon.

Thus, whether or not I believe in it, time seems to be relative.

A theory supported by the evidence in this picture, taken at one of my favourite places,  Jodrell Bank. Where it’s either time – or not time – for a nice cup of tea and a sit down. A chance to ponder the meaning of signals from outer space – and the probable dearth of leaf tea in a black hole.

Some final words now – if it is now as you read this – on time past, present and future, taken from the Four Quartets. Because TS Eliot describes how I feel (fleetingly) about time better than I ever could.

For this I forgive him for measuring out life with coffee spoons (The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock), when it should, plainly, have been teaspoons.

And he was, after all, born American.

[I didn’t scrawl on my copy, that’s Microsoft Photo pencil]

Speed is also relative, at Jodrell Bank



Posted in Britain now & then, Thinking, or ranting, or both | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

What lies beneath

I asked permission to take a picture at the fracture clinic in our local hospital yesterday.

At first I couldn’t decide how I felt about the poppy, the symbol of remembrance for those who died in conflict, serving their country.  But then I thought, it’s a pretty stark reminder of what ‘the ultimate sacrifice’ means.

Tomorrow, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, some of the Saturday hustle and bustle will stop for one minute. On Sunday, services of remembrance will be held at war memorials around Britain and, in our local town’s case, around the peace memorial.

One side of Southport’s majestic peace memorial

The names carved in stone on these memorials, or engraved in metal, are predominantly of  those who died in the two world wars of the twentieth century.

Every small village seems to have its own tragic reminder of families who gave lives to the nation’s cause. And I believe it is fitting to honour their sacrifices.

Whether the cause is judged, with benefit of hindsight, to be worthwhile, mistaken or futile is not the point. They fought, they died, they served their fellow citizens to their last breaths.

But it is always a sad reminder of how easy it is for humans to choose to go to war. As they continue to do – and as more threaten to do, as I write.

As we slip further into the twenty-first century, thanks to certain men in power,  the threat of a nuclear conflagration rears its horrific, mushroom cloud of a head again.

For some of us it has never, of course, gone away.

When will we ever learn?

Why can’t we humans give peace a chance, as a boy from Liverpool, who would later be shot dead in New York, sang long, long ago.

Posted in Britain now & then, Lancashire & the golf coast, Thinking, or ranting, or both | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Food, inglorious food

I’m resting my broken wrist (and imagination) for the next few weeks. Well, as much as I can. The recent editing of 99,000 words of fiction down to 88,000, in two weeks, took its toll.

I am also confined to visiting places I can reach on two feet and with the local train since I am not supposed to drive. And new experiences are proving less inspiring. So far.

We still have to eat of course and I’m trying to think of simple things to make that won’t take too long when the Prof, now doubling as cook (or sous chef) whenever onion or other tricky chopping is required, comes home.

[He always shares the cooking at weekends, btw, but it makes sense for me to cook on weekdays]

So, instead of ranting or raving I plan to share the odd picture, or anecdote – and a few recipes.

Here’s the first. Not totally sound environmentally and a little extravagant (the lentils) but in the circumstances please forgive me. Fresh is also workable for all the ingredients if you want to do it all from scratch. I would rather eat before 9 pm I’m afraid…

Quick and easy cheat’s veggie casserole (Serves 2-3)

Make this in a frying pan with lid, or casserole that can be used on the hob.

1 Large-ish red or brown onion

1 Red pepper

Olive oil for frying

1 Pack of veggie sausages (I use Linda McCartney red onion and rosemary)

1 Pouch of ready cooked Puy & green lentils in a tomatoey sauce (eg, Merchant Gourmet brand)

1 Tin of ratatouille (I find the Co-op’s best)

Leftover red wine (yes, it does sometimes happen)

Worcester sauce* or mushroom ketchup

Slice the onion and red pepper and fry while cooking the sausages as per packet instructions in oven.

Add sausages, lentils and ratatouille to onions and peppers. Add about a third of a bottle of leftover red wine and a little mushroom ketchup or Worcester sauce, to taste.

Simmer for about 15/20 minutes or put in a 180 degree oven for a little longer – till you feel it looks thick enough and good enough to eat.


You can make this with meat sausages of course, in which case fry or grill them first.

You can use dried Puy or green lentils in which case boil them first without seasoning (except a bay leaf if you have one)  for 20 minutes or so and when you add them also add a tin of tomatoes and more seasoning.

You can also leave out the red pepper and add  courgette or a chopped fennel bulb if you prefer.


* small rant: it’s called Worcester sauce. The label is just the label. It’s the British way, that’s why. Sigh.

Posted in Simple Food for Simple Folk (like me), Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments