Discover my sagas and cosy crimes

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Boiled sweets

There is a joy to boiled sweets.  I blame my grandma for my addiction; she always had a packet of mints in her handbag and I find I'm much the same now.  And if it's not mints, it's a crumpled, white paper packet of rhubarb and custards or pear drops.

Here's my top three favourite boiled sweets;

Sasparella tablets
Rhubarb and custard

Pineapple cubes

I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Big kids

The more I cycle to work and back, the more cyclists I see on the route to and from the office. 

And the more other cyclists I see, the more I realise one truth about cyclists. 

We're all just big kids playing out on our bikes.

You might also like:

Life Cycle
18 miles high
Sunderland Big Bike Ride 2013
I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Monday, August 26, 2013

Linnet Way walk

Perfect Bank Holiday weather for a lovely walk along the Linnet Way in South Tyneside today.

Yes, we saw linnets. We also saw ducks, horses, blackberries ripe and ready to pick, rosehips as red and as big as tomatoes.  

I took a few photos of our four-hour-long walk and if you'd like to have a look, they've been posted to flickr.
I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sign of our times

To York railway museum for a birthday treat last week, where I spotted this fab sign.

There's a lesson there for us all, don't you think?

I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Corrie Weekly Update: Chesney chooses, Paul leaves, Fat Brenda diets

I've been writing Coronation Street weekly updates since 1995 and this week's Coronation Street update has just gone live here

This week in the Corrie weekly updates, Chesney chooses Katy, a miserable girl with lovely, shiny hair.

I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Big buns

I'm no fan of style when it's the sort of thing you see everywhere with everyone wearing the same thing, all trying to be different, all looking the same.  

And when it comes to hair I'm even less of a fan. Have it long, short, blue, spiked, shaved or in dreads.  But do something other than have a big bun.

A bun on the top of your head just looks a bit daft.
I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Fun shoes

My fun shoes have died. They are no more, ceased to be, expired and gone to meet their maker.   

Oh, alright then.

They've split. After more than 5 years of wearing them on weekends and holidays, and having some of the best FUN ever in them, they've split and can not be repaired.

And the worst thing is, I can't replace them. Converse All Star don't make these ladybird print shoes any more.  There are none for sale on eBay. There are none for sale on Amazon.  There are simply, none for sale.

I'm bereft.

If you spot a pair just like these in a shop near you, let me know. I'll send you the money, you send me the shoes. Ladies size 7.  Thank you.

I'll go and bury them in the garden now. I'll say a few words and raise a glass of fizzy pop.  It's what they would have wanted.

I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Courgette conundrum

This spring I was given a courgette plant. "Ooh," I thought. "I've never grown a courgette before. And I quite like them, so it'll be nice when it's grown and I can cook it and that."

I know.

In my defence, all I can say is I had no idea. I really did believe there would be just one courgette to a plant. And instead, there are hundreds of them, or at least it seems that way.  Over the last few weeks my one plant has produced enough courgettes for me to have eaten them baked, grilled, fried, raw in salad and cooked in soup. And they still keep coming.

Today I turned to Sir Nigel of Slater to see what he had to say.  This afternoon I've baked his Courgette and Lancashire cheese crumble (recipe here) and judging by the wonderful smells drifting in from the kitchen as it cooks, it's going to be good.  I think it's the one recipe that could put the Cor! into courgette.

Next year I'm growing carrots instead.

I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Flaming Nora! It's my 7th birthday

It's the 7th birthday of my Flaming Nora blog.

First started on August 18 2006 - and here's my first ever blog post.
I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Corrie Weekly Update: never get in a car with a strange man

I've been writing Coronation Street weekly updates since 1995 and this week's Coronation Street update has just gone live here

This week in the Corrie weekly updates, Rita's hair survives to fight another day.

I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Exotic beauty

On holidays in hot countries I've often see Bougainvillea growing wild, along the road sides, in all kinds of colours. And I've toyed over the years with the idea that I might grow one at home as an indoors plant, but never really dared to try, thinking they were too exotic and delicate for the likes of my clumsy if keen green fingers.

When I'd found Bougainvillea plants for sale online, they were expensive, and I thought, tricky to grow, so I didn't bother.  But the other week a local greengrocer had Bougainvillea plants for sale along with their apples and pears.

They had two sizes of plant, small for a fiver and large for a tenner. I went for the small one, thinking it would be less money to waste on a plant I might not be able to make survive as a house plant in the North of England, when it really should be growing wild and pretty on a Spanish plain.

But I've done it... and I couldn't be more proud. The plant that cost me a fiver has been repotted and grown huge, it's even flowered twice this summer so far and is as happy as larry.  And do you know what, so am I.

I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Friday, August 16, 2013

Summer rain

Isn't summer rain lovely?

It's so soft and turns trees and grass fluoro-green.
I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Pursuit of Happiness

Happiness is finding a book, reading it, enjoying it so much you can't put it down. You carry it around with you everywhere you go just in case you have a spare five minutes to read a few more pages. You take it into the bath with you. It's there by your bedside when you go to sleep at night and it's the first thing you put in your handbag the next morning to take to work.

Such was the intense relationship I've enjoyed reading Douglas Kennedy's novel The Pursuit of Happiness. It really was that good. 

My only gripe is the cover of the book. It's got nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with what's inside. And all of it's good, all of it.
I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My novel on Kindle gets a 4* review


I've never had a 4* review before.

In fact, I've never had a review.

But I've just been given a 4* star review for my novel Triple Whammy, available for Kindle.

I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Magical memory smell

There's a part of a road on my regular cycle route that's bordered by bushes and shrubs. The scent from the earth and the foliage hit me hard this week as it's the exact same scent of bushes and shrubs that I smelled once on a family holiday to Butlins in Filey.

Bear with me on this one, I promise it's going somewhere.

The smell took me straight back there. How odd is that? Maybe not that odd, I don't know, you tell me.  I was seven years old. I know this because my youngest brother was a baby and we had a chalet at Butlins.

It was morning and mam was frying bacon for sandwiches as dad and I got ready to pop to the campsite shop for some bits and pieces for breakfast. I remember dad asking mam something like: "What shall I buy?" and her reply was: "Oh, just get whatever you think." And that's when I realised my dad was magic. He was going to have to use the power of his very own mind to think about what to buy, without being told.  "Cor," I remember thinking. "I can't wait to grow up and be able to go to the shops and buy whatever I think". 

And so dad and I trooped to the shop through the Butlins park. It must have been mid to late August because that was always when we took our family fortnight holiday. And as we walked from the chalet to the shop, I remember breathing in a gorgeous smell of earth, flowers, trees, bushes and shrubs, all the time thinking how magic my dad was, because he had the super-power ability to buy whatever he thought.

And now, that same smell, that very same smell, returns to my life this summer.   Not every day and not very often. Maybe it's the scent after a rain storm, maybe it's the morning sun on the trees. Or maybe it's magic.
I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Corrie Weekly Update: Tracy wants to co-hab, Rob says 'no, no, no'

I've been writing Coronation Street weekly updates since 1995 and this week's Coronation Street update has just gone live here

This week in the Corrie weekly updates, Tracy's confused as to why Rob won't let her move in with him.

I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Jackie - The Musical

On a day trip to Dundee this weekend, spotted Jackie - The Musical is opening at the Gardyne Theatre in Dundee this autumn.

I wonder who'll play Cathy and Claire?

Remember Jackie magazine? You'll love this blog post.
I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Dundee - jute, jam and journalism

To Dundee by train for a day out with a difference.  The difference was, most of it was spent on the train.  Much as I love train travel, five and a half hours to get somewhere only to spend two hours there before a four hour journey back wasn't an equation I was happy with.

But listen to me! Moaning on!  The journey might have been too long for a day trip, but we travelled in 1970s-style British Rail carriages so it wasn't cramped. And it did pass some beautiful scenery, taking in a ride across the rail bridge of the Firth of Forth and the Tay Bridge too.

Beautiful, absolutely beautiful.

And then to Dundee - the city of jute, jam and journalism.  Sadly the first 20 minutes were spent gaining my land-legs as I was feeling somewhat discombobulated after such a long journey on the train.

We knew we only had two hours to explore Dundee before the train left for the return journey.  So it was straight to see the DC Thomson's comic character statues of Desperate Dan, his dog Dawg and Minnie the Minx.

We then headed to the McManus contemporary art gallery and museum where there was a fantastic photographic exhibition that just about made that DVT-inducing five and a half hour train journey to Dundee well worth it. 

The exhibition was called "What Presence! The Rock Photography of Harry Papadopoulos" and showcased photos of many of the 80s rock and pop stars I grew up listening to and loving.  A lot of the photos were of Scottish bands, and I've had this tune by The Associates in my head ever since.

After a quick drink in a nice poky pub, it was time to board the train back home, but not before a mandatory look around the visitor centre beside the train station where Dundee cake was bought. Also bought was a slice of Ma Broon's butter tablet, as I'd never had it before (it tastes just like fudge) and a bottle of Scottish real-ale called The March of the Penguins, to tie in with the exhibit of the RSS Discovery which was the ship that the Captain Scott sailed to the Antarctic in.  I didn't know that.  I found out a lot about Dundee that day. It's quite a decent place.

And so back to the train for a four hour journey home.  Was it a good day out? Undoubtedly.  Would I travel five and a half hours to get there again? Not by choice, my knees are still sore.

So there you have it, Dundee in a nut shell. It was only a two hour visit but I came away with a smile and a desire to visit it again to see more.

View my Dundee photos on flickr.

See also: A day out in Glasgow

I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Friday, August 09, 2013

Curly hair and crusts

In all my years (and believe you me, there's been a lot of them) on this planet, I've had straight hair. Hair so straight and thick it wouldn't even curl much with heated tongs or rollers.

Until now - and it's started going wavy. A friend tells me it's my age and these things happen. But I'd like to think it's because I've eaten all my crusts.
I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Sunday, August 04, 2013

August in the garden

August in the garden and it's looking rather nice.  Not a bare patch of soil to be seen, everything's in flower and in bloom.

Sadly, no ladybirds have been spotted this summer but on the plus side, no greenfly either.  Lots of butterflies instead, which are great, apart from when they sneak into the netting that is failing in its job to keep them off the cauliflowers.
I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Scarborough's open air theatre - and me

One of the highlights, for me as a kid, on our family holidays to Scarborough in the 1970s was a visit to the open air theatre, opposite Peasholm Park.  I remember variety shows, sing-a-longs and a tug-o-war across the lake that seperated the audience from the performances on stage. I remember It's a Knockout.  I remember having Happy Birthday sung to me from the hundreds of peple in the audience one night when everyone whose birthday it was had to stand up while we were sung at. I was one of a handful of kids whose birthday it was so I stood up, got sung at and sat back down again.  I remember the open air theatre fondly and with a smile.

And then over the years, it stopped the shows, the sing-a-longs, the tug-o-war and It's a Knockout. It stopped the birthday songs, and the theatre went into a state of some disrepair for many, many years.

In 2011 it was renovated and reopened by the Queen. Elton John played the first gig there and there have been many more big names on stage since.  The theatre is now doing a roaring trade, and rightly so. It's Europe's largest open air theatre with 6,500 seats, located in an enviable position.

And while I'm not a huge Status Quo fan, they played the open air theatre last weekend and I was there, as much to see the theatre as to see Status Quo.  The theatre is great and brought back a lot of happy memories.  The Quo rocked hard and friendly and the gig was a lot of fun, but still, no stand-up, sit-down birthday songs, no tug-o-war and no It's a Knockout. And maybe that's a good thing.

Some great old pics here.
I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Corrie Weekly Update: poison pen letters and thin Fat Lenny

I've been writing Coronation Street weekly updates since 1995 and this week's Coronation Street update has just gone live here

This week in the Corrie weekly updates, a poison pen letter sent a stiff breeze round the Bistro.

I'm on twitter @flaming_nora
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