Thursday, 27 May 2010

A spot of afternoon tea

There is something very civilised about afternoon tea. It reminds me of years gone by and all the teas my Granny made for us. She was a fantastic cook and delighted our taste buds day after day. Cakes, puddings, biscuits, my Granny would make them all. Old recipes new recipes she had cookery books galore and was always on the look out for something new to try.

She had big strong arms and would beat cakes into submission. her orange tray bake was to die for. Those special Savoy cakes were heavenly......oh let me tell you about them. Fatless sponge turned into absolute decadence. She would make the sponge mix and then pour into individual pie trays. You know the sort that have 12 spaces on the tray but are rounded rather than the squarer holes for cake cases. When the little sponges were turned out and cooled, she would cover the top of one dome with chocolate, then she would join two domes together, one naked, one chocolate covered with lashings of whipped cream. My afternoon delight to be sure!

Brandy Alexander, that was another treat. Yes just like the cocktail! It had a crunchy chocolate base and then this wonderful thick creamy mix on top. Ohhhh I remember a naughty tale about the blessed Brandy Alexander! I had a party and she helped me to cater for it. Pride of place was the Brandy Alexander Pie. Her morning room had a Parkray fire. You know the kind of coal burning fire that has a door? Oh no that wasn't the Pie, that was the butter. Same party though, the lads thought it would be clever to put the butter on the fire and see what happened! Eighteen year olds can be such morons! 

The pie had another fate altogether. Perhaps the party goers were not as into Brandy Alexander as me or my Granny. And I remember now that I did not know this until sometime after, when my uncle remarked that there were some odd stains on the ceiling. I kept quiet and did not say a word, but I knew. You only had to look a little closer to see that the stains were a pale orangey brown colour and if you had sniffed them you might have had a scent of brandy. 

Anyway this afternoon I took a friend of mine to Cromwell's Restaurant in Irby because they have just started serving afternoon tea. They even have those lovely old fashioned cake stands to serve your goodies on. So my treat to myself was tuna and cucumber sandwiches followed by a wonderful chocolate muffin with naughty cream, and a chocolate brownie. Not strictly off the menu, but Kay and Kate are very kind ladies and eager to spoil their customers!

Now that's a linkybob to their web page. Not much use for Clive in South Africa or Paul in California but for everyone else, definitely worth visiting :-) The restaurant that is not the website, although its a very nice website too. 

One they made earlier!

Afternoon tea at Cromwell's and a trigger for some lovely memories of my Granny and her wonderful cooking. Will take another visit to granny's kitchen some other time, you see there is a wonderful rhubarb fool, not to mention her batter pudding!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

But on the bright side.....

Because there has to be a bright side

While I was on my own in Hemel Hempstead (see previous epic blog!) I read a sizable chunk of a book by a 'new to me' author Shirley Wells. Actually she is following this blog which is very kind of her. I met her on Twitter and as I have been trying out various new authors thought I would give her books a whirl.

The book is 'Into The Shadows' and it says on the blurb, Introducing forensic psychologist Jill Kennedy and DCI Max Trentham. Now this is right up my street. TV wise I love programmes like Criminal Minds and Cold Case, not to mention Bones oh and of course Midsommer Murders! Book wise I am a big fan of Patricia Cornwall and James Patterson.

The book is set in the Northwest and our heroine is in search of a serial killer known as 'Valentine' Its very readable and has me well sucked in trying to workout who dunnit. I read it all through my dinner last night and on into the night as England feebly fought off the Mexicans. 

Now call me a little OCD, but I actually bought four books by Shirley on Amazon the other week, so I have plenty to get through. Then again I'm off to Centre Parcs next week :-)

An eventful trip :-(

I am shattered. Its not that I have done very much, I just feel like I have!

To start at the beginning, my ex 'paid' (I use that term loosely as you will see) for my sons and a friend to go to see the England Mexico match at Wembley last night. Because it was an evening kick off it was decided that the boys would stay over in a hotel down there to save a late night journey home. This of course meant two rooms and the sudden need of a responsible adult to look after my younger son while the two older boys had a drink or two after the match. All eyes turn to mum, or is that muggins? Well naturally I can think of nothing better than to give up two days of my life to drive down to Hemel Hempstead to spend the night in a hotel room while they toddled off to Wembley!

But that's the daft kind of thing us mums do!

So the four of us crammed into Ben's Renault Clio because he insisted on driving. I didn't really mind as the trip was about 197 miles, but the arguments started when Tom did not want to sit in the back because there was not enough legroom, and so to keep the peace my seat was shoved right forward giving me precious little legroom. Now those who know me well know that my legs do not travel well as my circulation is not too hot and I've had one DVT already, but there I sat crammed into the little car for our pilgrimage to the revered stadium.

Being a kind mother I offered to pay for the petrol on the way down there. Little did I know he was about to put super unleaded in. £54 poorer we set off! Actually Ben is not such a bad driver after all, and on the way down he did managed to stay under 80mph for the majority of the journey, with our only conflict coming as I struggled to help the sat nav find its voice. Well is it my fault that his is inbuilt and comes with a remote that needs a first class degree in electronics to understand!

Long story cut short the boys caught a taxi from the hotel to Watford Junction as Ben decided he did not want to try and manoeuvre his car through the rush hour traffic. Of course muggins once again delved into her purse to hand over cash to facilitate this (probably sensible) move. But then it all went wrong, as Ben discovered his cash card was not working so he had to borrow money from Tom, who didn't get any food because he went at half time and the (non English speaking) servers took so long he was turned away as the match kicked off again, but not before he missed Johnson's stunning goal.

After the game Ben frogmarched Tom back to the station passing countless food kiosks without stopping and refused to stop so Tom could buy a scarf to celebrate the match. This meant that at 11pm when Tom came through the bedroom door he had had no food since lunch and of course the Premier Lodge had long since finished serving food. So dear old mum copped for the lot, the anger the frustration, the tirade of abuse meant for his brother, the regret for coming to the match in the first place, All the  'never again' s. The refusal to obtain nibbles from a vending machine in the foyer. It was all my fault!

I hate that feeling of not being good enough. Both my boys make me feel that way. It does not matter what time I give up for them, what I do, what I pay. Nothing is ever good enough. Nothing ever gets that 'thanks mum' Thanks for giving up your time. Thanks for sitting in the car for 3 1/2 hours while your ankles swell like footballs til you can barely walk. Thanks for waiting in the hotel for six hours on your own, and enduring the ribald abuse when you walked through the hotel bar and into the restaurant.....and the looks on the way back. Not paranoia believe me! Thanks mum for sitting waiting for us to come back and sorry for not answering the phone when you called, or answering your text to check all was ok even after we had phoned to say you might have to meet us to pay for the taxi on the way back...

Now you might think that was enough for one trip, but no! You see I snore! Apparently I snore very loudly. I snore so loudly that Tom wanted to kill himself to get away from me. So I lay awake for ages hardly daring to breath for risk of offending my son who now I think of it, reminds me of his father in the way he undervalues and belittles me.

And so this morning I woke after very little sleep to take my boys and friend down to breakfast which of course I paid for. Tom proceeded to be sick and returned to the room swiftly. Ben then wished to return and tutted when I asked for him to wait while I finished my coffee as I did not have a key to operate the lift. He suggested I use the stairs. Cheers.

Journey back was uneventful. Of course I paid for an early lunch for the three boys. They then sat in burger king while I had my coffee elsewhere. I had thought we could sit outside and enjoy the lovely day out by the ornamental pond with the ducks wandering round. But no, they thought I should have brought my tray to them to the dingy cafe burger bit. Mmmmm lovely! So I sat and drank my coffee alone before finding them near the toilets.

And here we are, home again. My ankles are hugely swollen, I'm totally shattered and wondering just why I gave up my time for two ungrateful children. Oh make that three, the friend did not even thank me.


Thursday, 20 May 2010

Like Bees To Honey and more

I should be going to Caroline Smailes' book launch of Like Bees to Honey today, but unfortunately I am suffering from a nasty throat virus. Normally I would struggle onwards, but a) I am totally wiped out, and b) I would hate to pass on my germs to Caroline as she embarks on an exciting month promoting her book.

I met Caroline on Twitter. I was intrigued by the surname as there is a chap by the same name in my Tranmere circle. I asked, and yes sure enough my fellow white is her hubby. Small world! I was also intrigued by her links to Malta, as this island has become one of my favourite places to visit. I've been four times so far, twice in the last eight months! I find it both magical and mysterious and am excited to read Caroline's new book as it is set in Malta so who knows what else I may learn.

I have read two of Caroline's books already. In Search of Adam, and Black Boxes. I found them quite harrowing and distressing, and yet I was compelled to read both. I found that they both had elements that echoed parts of my own life, my struggles with depression and life itself. I found both books took me on a journey into both the character's and my own life. Both were very well written and the style was unlike anything I had encountered before. I would recommend both but with the warning that they do make for uncomfortable reading and most definitely not 'holiday' books.

And so to 'Like Bees' Caroline is launching the book at Waterstones, Liverpool One this evening. But in duet with this, the whole book has been serialised over the internet. I've read three chapters so far, and will probably read more but I think I would rather wait til I have the lovely new book in my hands next week. (I have pre-ordered it from Amazon) Visit to begin the treasure trail that is 'Like Bees To Honey'

Good luck to Caroline, both this evening, and for the other events planned. So disappointed not to be there.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Just for a moment...........

Just for a moment
you caught me unawares
the softness of your words
took my breath away

Just for a moment
my guard was down
you found my naked soul
and caressed it

Just for a moment
my mind was opened
as you breathed the suggestion
that warmed me deep inside

Just for a moment
I revealed myself
so you took me to a place
that inspired me

Just for a moment
you filled me with your being
and my body sang
the music you created.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Be kind rewind.......

An old school mate got in touch recently. I remembered her which is a start, but that was about all really. i don't know if my depression is what has wiped my memory slate almost clean or my school  days were just so totally unmemorable, but I found myself feeling incredibly guilty for not remembering anything other than the girl's name and the fact she had great hair.
I have not been to any school reunions, or college for that matter. I am barely in touch with anyone from my past. There are a few tenuous links, but in reality the only people who remember me are my family. I understand now more fully my mums sadness as one by one older family members and friends passed away. Eventually there will be noone there to remember her when she was younger. Noone to share memories with, those sessions that start 'remember when....'
Recently I have been in touch with an old male friend. He knew me when I was 16 he remembers the spirited me, the ethereal me. the me before husbands and children. The time of drunken nights , dancing in friends garages, waking up together in parents beds well actually his parents, but honestly nothing happened. I remember his hangover afterwards. The way he never looked at me once as he and his mates packed up their golf clubs and disappeared off for the day and I made my excuses and took that long walk home to the inevitable questions. Actually I'm not sure he would want to reminisce all of that and I'm not entirely sure that Neil my OH would be particularly understanding. But these are things I did in my past, things that are in danger of being lost forever because I just don't remember any more.
I don't even remember my children as babies. The other day I pulled out my photo box and sat and looked at all of them. It made me cry. All the memories flooding back. moments I had completely forgotten about. Are you like that? Is it that my mind is just totally gone or in our busy lives do we just not have time to fit everything into our minds, so that our current activities just serve to blot out the past? Data overwrite or something? Definitely some kind of system failure!
If I don't remember you, or something we have done together, forgive me. I am trying but i think I have the wrong disc in my floppy drive!

Songs For A Lost Love

All I did was need you
All I did was want you
All I did was love you
Why was that so wrong?

All I did was give you
All my hope and dreams too
All I did was love you
Why was that so wrong?

Laughter in the rain
Sunday morning loving
You took away the pain
Your heart there for the having

Sunshine in your eyes
Wind between your leaves
Branches held me close
Protect me from the breeze

Storm clouds gathered over head,
Tempest broke you free
Tore up the roots that held you fast
Took you away from me.

My arms reach out
But you're not there
An empty space
That once was yours

They say time heals
And so I wait
The days turn into weeks

The clock ticks on
Its weary way
And yet nobody speaks

Of the love I held
so dear and true
Of the long dark hours
I wait for you

Of a soul that cries out in despair
For a love who is no longer there

Saturday, 15 May 2010


The milkman, early morning
Left the bottles at the door
The postman bright and breezy 
With that plop upon the floor
The curtains never fluttered
But stayed close, shut together
And noone knew the lady
Had chose to sleep forever
Much later as the binman passed
Ignored the bin not by the gate
And work phoned every hour
She wasn't usually  this late
At dusk the cat out on patrol
Returned home, pushing through the flap
Found his mistress sleeping still
Sat purring on her rigid lap
Next day the milkman on his round
Finding the past days milk still there
Raised the alarm and stood close by
With neighbours coming out to stare
The empty bottle, pills askew
That vacant look upon her face
And now noone would ever know 
Just why she couldn't stand the pace
That photo held tight in her hand
A romance spent, a Summers end
What a loss, a waste of life
A broken heart she couldn't mend

Thursday, 13 May 2010

My Disappointment

You are my disappointment
The love that was never meant to be
The balloon that burst
Before it was ever inflated
You are a moonlit cruise
On a cloudy night
A cherry blossom tree
After the winds have been
You are that sinking feeling deep inside
As I remind myself again to breath
Fighting to take the oxygen
From the stifling air
That holds my dreams
And lets them drift away
You are the sigh
The single sound
That escapes my lips
As the silence is ruptured
By the juggernaut of this failure
Riding out of town
A giant dust trail
In the wake of the nothingness

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

All the things........

All the things you never said
Spinning round inside my head

All the times you were not there
Such a heavy heart to bear

Chances lost and gone forever
In your land of never never

Reaching out to an empty space
Fading memory of your face

The special moments we never had
All the times you made me sad

Dry my tears, its done you're gone
I see that you were not the one.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010


I wasn't going to do just poetry but as soon as I made the site I ran out of things to say! Now if you know me you know that's really not true at all as I ALWAYS have things to say and yet suddenly I felt a bit pressure. Again rather daft considering I actually only have six very kind people following me at the moment. Must work on this one!

Anyway, the poetry is a cheat, I've only written one set of poetry in the last few years, and that was one night late when I could not sleep so I just turned the light back on and opened my mind. Four pages later I have still not gone back to edit, although I did let OH have a read. I may bravely go back there and have a look at some point!

The poems here have been written over a span of about thirty years! That's quite a scary though I still cannot believe I am in my mid forties. I've not really finished with my twenties yet. I've always had a lot of emotion inside me. Too many thoughts bubbling round and round. when I was at college I wrote under the pen name Barbara Owen Jones and had a number of pieces published in the college mag. Quite ironic therefore when I actually married a Jones although I could not get him to add the Owen part to our name. I suppose I could have made the name mine when I divorced him but I think that Barbara McGinlay has a lovely ring to it. I know at least one person who agrees with me!

I got my first personal computer (not counting my ZX81) back in 1996. I had a six month old baby and a desire to see what was out in the world without having to leave my living room. is it possible to be a gregarious sociaphobe? That's me. I love to communicate (oh really I hear you say) but I always prefer to be in my own little safety zone! I renamed myself 'Hazel Sometimes' and began to put my poetry on the net. I was joined by a number of others from both here in England and also America. I was the younger writer at 30 while 'Rialtos' was over 70. I suppose I would call that my poetry period. My life you see is full of phases. You might call them obsessions, but I'll share that another day!

So here we are at the latest incarnation and now I have actually managed to write something down, who knows what might happen! Watch this space as they say!

Just to let you know ......

If  I had the chance
all over
The words we choose
may damn us
I suddenly felt 
So tired
So old
So lost
So cold
No you 
For me
No love 
To be
No tears
No laughter
No Happy
Ever after
No open arms
No smiling charms
An empty space 
A darkened place

Monday, 10 May 2010



This poem
no shape
no form
it begins
as music
soft words
building up
into a wild crescendo
                            of sound
of laughing,
of words        
      frolicking          across         the           page
a rampage
           of   the       free     spirit
and then

Friday, 7 May 2010

Lost in Time

Rhyming poetry is a minefield and so for a long time I never touched it, but then certain things pop into your head and you find you just cant help yourself. That song by T.A.T.U ~ All the things she said plays over and over in my head and I wrote this poem. 

In between the tick and tock
The whirring hands of the busy clock
The constant buzz of the microwave
Round and round a willing slave

The autumn leaves that tumble and fall
I feel your presence in them all
The clouds that scud across the sky
My thoughts upon them way up high

My waking dreams run on forever
through the lands of never never
away to a place thats yours and mine
somewhere beyond space and time

My garden flowers all year long
Coloured echoes of distant song
This love that seems to grow and grow
Our spirits always free to flow

In between the tick and tock
The whirring hands of the busy clock
I dream my life away with you
Safe in the knowledge that you do too

Actually when reading it now another song pops into my head, All Things Bright And Beautiful. Do you see what I mean? 

I'm not sure there is a law that says that poetry has to be deep or clever, I think its whatever comes out of you. A bit like being an artist. You just paint, and if you like it, then its all good. Anyway I have never been much good at being deep or clever. I'll have to work on it!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Your Silence

Your silence speaks louder
than any word
Your lack of action
Thoughts unheard
An undialled number
Blank envelope
The empty inbox
Devoid of hope
The unoiled gate
Never sounding the warning
Of your presence here
Each lonely morning
The welcome mat
As fresh as new
No muddy footprints
No memory of you
Your silence speaks louder
than any word
But the message is clear
As any i've heard.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010


I had a blog on Myspace. Well its still there, but last night I went and captured all the poems I posted up there. I cringed at some and smiled at others. As this is a brand new shiny blog I am going to put some of my poems up here. ummm watch this space :-)

I'm quietly staying silent
I'm saying nothing at all
I'm keeping perfectly still
I'm not really here, dont call

I've gone away to nowhere
My mind's completely empty
The silence seems so deafening
I'm hiding away from me

I dont want to hear the words
Please dont even try
Let me curl up and disappear
Inside my silent sigh