Monthly Archives: December 2015

Merry Christmas One and All.

Phewww nearly there and nearly over and I bet I’m not the only one who will sit down, put their feet up with glass of vino or whatever your tipple is and give a big sigh……

In the meantime..ha ha…where shall we start???????

Bacon brining check, pressies wrapped check, well still waiting for 3, yes 3, princess dresses for my 3-year-old granddaughter to arrive..this is not because she doesn’t already have a wardrobe full..but she wants a long the ground Nannie???SAM_4095And if you aren’t familiar with ” Frozen” and no I don’t mean when you have been out in the cold and snow , walking the mutt and your fingers and feet are fit to drop off…… I mean ” Frozen” and that song is forever etched upon my brain..ha ha….I meant to order one but when said child is on your lap whilst you are perusing the can you say NO??????  Yeh, Yeh I hear you ……

Sausage rolls sorted and when you can’t get sausage adapt and I have  and I will say so myself you would not know the difference.SAM_7407

Woof…sneaked in while she ( my mistress) is taking a break……haven’t been around much lately……been a bit..just a tad…naughty……I like chasing joggers on the beach woof ….they spoil all my fun so now I have to stay on the lead…..sorted that one..chewed through it..he he……Well it was old I had it 3 days..ooopppps…. But woof I think I have learnt…because every time I growled and barked…and I must say…I sound fierce… mistress slapped me with her flip flop….and I thought they were for chewing and I can jump the wall even though my master has put something on the top …….woof…..pesky cats..gotta chase them…so when their friend came over the other day …woof…..I grew a brain…. Didn’t bark, let him stroke me and they were happy… I think I know what to do now…….those pressies look nice …I wonder if I can peek……do you think? woof…. Merry Christmas …

Oh I see Saang Chai has added his two penneth  ha ha……. he was such good boy the other day when a friend came round didn’t growl or bark, hopefully he has learnt, he is so lovely and I hate scolding him but he has been so naughty at times….puppies…..

So it’s nearly upon us …..just the last-minute bits to do and then it’s the New Year…..


I hope you all have a wonderful time, eat , drink and be merry as they say and laugh a lot…play all your christmas oldies and enjoy! Love you all xxxxx


Christmas Trees Around the World.

I can’t resist a challenge and the lovely Colleen   @   has issued a Christmas Trees around the world, my decorations have certainly covered more than a few miles with me on my travels. Trees well I have a few, 6 dotted around all artificial but real trees are very, very expensive here and my guess is they would soon drop their needles.



This is one of my oldest decorations and my Aunt in Kentucky gave it to me many moons ago, it’s now even more special as both her and my uncle are with the angels.


This one came from Germany on one of my trips to the Christmas markets.The rest of the year it lives with my rocking horse collection.


This one is my all time favorite, made who knows where… bought in a shop many moons ago which sold everything under the sun. It’s my favorite colour and sparkles.

I hope you are all nearly finished with your Christmas shopping and chores and can relax and enjoy……Until next time, have fun, laugh a lot and stay safe you all xx



Hugh’s Photo Challenge: Week 8 – Charity Christmas Tree Topper Challenge. Help Me Raise £250 For The Dogs Trust

Happy Xmas everyone xxxx

Hugh's Views & News

Welcome to this year’s Charity Christmas Tree Topper Photography Challenge.

Last year you helped me raise £250 for The Alzheimer’s Society by participating in my Christmas Tree Topper Photo challenge.  This year I’ve decided to run the same challenge again and to donate the money to The Dogs Trust.

Angela, my Christmas tree Angel, is out of hibernation and is now sitting on top of our Christmas tree.

IMG_4600 Hugh’s Charity Christmas Tree Topper Challenge: Angela the Angel

However, this year she has been joined by Macy who is sitting on top of a smaller Christmas tree we have also put up.

IMG_4602 Hugh’s Charity Christmas Tree Topper Challenge: Macy The Bear

But that’s not the end of the story because we also have two other Christmas trees up.

Here’s how you can all join in and help Angela, Macy, Toby and I raise £250 for The Dogs Trust.

1. Take a…

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A Fathers Nightmare.

This is the first chapter of the novel I am working on.


Freezing cold water was pouring into my mouth,up my nose, and I was gasping, struggling, desperately trying to breathe. Then the realization hit me that someone was holding my head underwater. Whoosh….I was breathing air again, panicking and gulping for breath. I was yanked to my feet and my head pushed forward and the ice-cold water hit my face, filling my mouth and nose. I was exerting all my energy but I was not strong enough to get free from the vise-like grip. My breath caught in my throat. I couldn’t breathe at all. Everything started to go black and I was floating, floating. I came back to consciousness still heaving for any air at all. Abject terror came over me and I shook uncontrollably. Who or what was doing this to me? Fear was choking me too and the smell of decay was strong. Where was I? It was dark, cold, and now very silent, apart from my heart pounding like thunder in my chest. I passed out.

When I woke my stomach was churning and my breathing was labored and shallow. I could feel the bile rising and I vomited. I lay trembling, willing myself to stay as still as I could. My fingers were tingling and numb because my wrists were tightly tied. A scream of absolute terror, unlike anything I had ever heard, broke the silence. A gruff voice shouted, “Shut up bitch. Speak to daddy. Come on girl, speak to daddy.” The girl sobbed pitifully as she tried to speak. “Daddy, daddy, please come and get me. Daddy please daddy please?” The child sounded quite young and very distressed. Her voice broke up hiccupping as she sobbed. Her words were coming out raggedly as she tried to catch her breath..Daddy my hand hurts, daddy…..Please daddy? A slap and a scream…..

I woke with my neck sore and stiff. My wrists hurt. Looking around, I found myself in the driver’s seat of my car. People were walking past going about their daily business. I looked at my watch. It was 5:00 p.m. September 10, 2005

My nightmares subsided. Memories of that day faded. I was beginning to convince myself that it was just a nightmare. Could it really have happened? If it did, should I have mentioned it to my security guys? Was something going to happen to Rosie? That child had sounded so much like my Rosie. These questions kept running through my brain over and over again. I would wake in the night covered in cold sweat. I thought I was going mad. Gradually as the days turned into months, my common sense took over. Life settled back into its normal and somewhat mundane routines.

December 15, 2005

Christmas is coming. Today instead of snatching a sandwich at my desk, I was meeting my beautiful wife. In her words, she was “beginning to feel a tad neglected.” Of course she had more Christmas presents to buy. As usual I arrived before her and waited. She glided into the café looking like she had stepped off the page of a glossy up-market magazine. The reality was that she was as normal as you and me. “You’re late darling” I said. “Sorry love. Rosie was busy with a painting and wanted to finish it for you. And that rush hour traffic is horrendous. Rosie,  show daddy the picture you painted for him.” Rosie scrambled onto my knee. I loved my little girl. We had waited so long for her to come along and she was a delight. Every day we marveled at how perfect she was. “Daddy, daddy. Do you like the card I made for you?” Amid restaurant chatter she clambered down and ran to the door just as a lady entered.

Rosie screamed with delight. “Billy, Billy! It’s my friend Billy!” Time stood still. I looked at the door to see Rosie following the lady out and running toward a large man holding the hand of a small boy. The boy was pulling back and squealing excitedly. “Come on Rosie, quickly.” She caught up with the boy. The large man held out his hand and Rosie took it. They turned and slowly walked away.

The waiter appeared by my side. “I have a call for you, Lord Grey.” He handed me the phone. A gruff voice spoke: “What a beautiful daughter you have, Lord Grey.” My wife was screaming hysterically. In that second my nightmare became a reality.

Christmas Recipes Part 3.

Ham Brined, cooked and yummy. After a few trials and stupid here who had her silly head on and just cocked it up! We have perfection! Well close..ha ha.

Mincemeat soaked overnight ( standing on a tray filled with water)SAM_7360 and wet t/towel..pesky ants..didn’t want to swim..ha ha. Where there is a will there is way says the human to the ants…. For those of you who want to make their own then here is the recipe..


36oz of dried fruit…..I used raisins, sultanas, chopped prunes and some dried cranberries.

12oz brown sugar.

Zest and juice of 2 oranges and 2 lemons.

2oz chopped almonds or nut of your choice.

1lb Apples peeled and chopped.

8oz vegetable suet.

4tsp mixed spice.

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4tsp fresh nutmeg grated.

6 tbsp Brandy.

Mix all ingredients except for Brandy, cover and leave overnight SAM_7359for fruit to plump up and absorb flavours.

Cook on very low heat for 30 mins.

Cool and stir in Brandy.

Spoon into sterilized jars , cover tightly. Store in cool dark place.

Home brined and Cooked Ham.


2 kilo Piece of Pork Loin.

For Rub:

4tbsp Salt.

2 tbsp sugar.

scant 1/2 tbsp Salt Petre.


21/2 Litres of Water.

900 gm salt.

2tbsp sugar.

1/2 tbsp salt petre.

Method Day One.

Very important …Put on gloves..I use surgical gloves.

Mix salt,Sugar and Salt Petre together. Rub over Pork and put in container , cover and leave in fridge overnight.

Brine: Measure out water into saucepan, add salt,sugar and salt petre. Bring to boil. Simmer 10 mins and cool. I cool overnight.

Day Two:

Remove Pork from Container..clean container with weak bleach solution.

Put Pork back and cover completely with Brine.

Put in fridge and leave for 4-5 days.

Cook by chosen  method either bake in oven or cook on hob. I prefer cooking on hob as I think it keeps ham moist. SAM_7362

I cover Pork with water bring to the boil then drain of water. Add fresh water and Bay leaves, Peppercorns, Coriander seed, mustard seeds black and yellow,Piece cinnamon, 4 or  5 cloves, cardamom seeds and tbsp brown sugar. You can use any mix you prefer I generally use what I have in my cupboard on the day,  I have also added cider to the water on occasions or beer.

Cook for 35 mins per kilo. Allow to cool in water.



This is my opinion and I have considered this seriously…I have used celery juice mix to brine which was ok but it had that underlying taste of celery which although I like celery did not particularly like the taste on my ham. Salt petre for the amount used and the dilution which according to my research the human body can cope with,  against the fact that if I contracted botulism because of my brining my body was unlikely to cope with .. my personal decision for myself and my family was to use it….You must however use gloves as if it comes into contact with your skin it will cause a reaction.

My personal take on this was I am sure that during my lifetime I have unknowingly consumed far more and maybe far worse than I could envisage so this to me was a considered decision and I believe this way I am consuming less preservatives than in bought ham or bacon. Again my personal take on this.

Wow that was a lot of spiel for me…