A Vegan Experiment

I feel the need to try something out and see if my body likes it. For a while I’ve been veggie on and off and I think my bod has reacted in interesting ways to the changes.

For the next six weeks I’m going vegan and wheat/gluten free – all is ready – things are being made right now. It’s not that difficult – so much is available and unless you are nut-intolerant, there are many possibilities and one or two international cuisines that can enable. But mostly, vegetables and fruit are the main ingredients. It’s difficult to get vegan and wheat-free ready-made things like sausages – so they are a treat. DSCF0340

I make my own bread, mostly, and will be doing entirely for this period of time. There are pittas in the freezer, Japanese crackers and  oatcakes for immediate take-out and lunch breaks -and yes, they are all without wheat and gluten.

My cottage bread today is  spelt/no gluten/oatmeal and smells wonderful, even as I knead it. There’s an aubergine and black-eyed bean casserole (topped up with onion, garlic, celery, carrot, courgette, green beans, tomato puree, marjoram, bay leaf, chilli flakes, seasoning), to be served with a dollop of soy yoghurt. DSCF0337

An experimental fruit n root loaf of sorts is in the oven made of grated apple, carrot, parsnip, dried apricots, pomegranate seeds, orange pith, walnuts and  binding ingredients including flax seeds gluten-free flour, almond milk, rolled oats. Will see how that turns out – it has risen, which is a good sign! DSCF0339

A weekend at Haworth SteamPunk – 20th -22nd November 2015

If I was to be asked where home was, I would say Haworth. I’m sure many people know about the village  and what its connections are to the literary world.  I also love me a bit of SteamPunk – again the literature – Nine Novels that defined SteamPunk, and the scene of event-making around the whole genre and era of Victorian steam. DSCF0296

It would of course be right to catch the steam train in to Haworth. ( The journey from Keighley to Haworth used to be my  meditative ride home from a difficult day’s work in crisis intervention in the 1990’s).  The carriages are warm and there was a bar offering local beers and hot drinks on board. Even better. A slow chug along the line is just enough time to forget the twenty-first century and to head back to another time and place.

I arrived at  my destination in time for performances by Roses (all women group of steampunkery gypsy cross-cultural belly-dancing) and the photo shoot of the weekend’s dressed up SteamPunkers outside the station doors.


There was a tiny bit of snow around, enough to generate the perfect magical atmosphere of the cobbled village tucked away in the Pennines. I hung around the station watching, observing, chatting and taking photos. They’re a friendly bunch of folk. Jovial. Polite. Clearly having plenty of fun, as was I.


DSCF0312DSCF0320The walk up to the top of Haworth from the station is a vertical one! A steep-sided valley that was once the hub of the wool industry has evolved in to a visitors centre with some delightful places to walk to and stop off at. I took a break in The Fleece with my favourite local beer – Golden Best by Taylor’s.  Main Street was busyDSCF0323 of course. Shopkeepers, cafe and pub staff entering in to the spirit of the weekend.

I meandered through the crowd and in to halls where everything SteamPunk was available to try on, take home and put on your mantel piece or just peruse and have a cuppa and slice of cake with the WI.

The weekend event is organised by a team of volunteers headed by Michael Young. It’s a fundraiser for the local hospice, Manorlands.

DSCF0316Events include a masquerade ball, local bands on in great venues, a fashion show and more. Ancient machinery is displayed courtesy of local manufacturers. All that is missing is the Time Machine! But if you go along, be sure to know, that you will be transported back in time and will be greeted by friendly faces and happy people.

As for the outfits. Some very dapper folk strutting the cobbles!

Haworth SteamPunk



Paris, Beruit. Dear everywhere….

We can get on our moral high ground on social media (guilty always) but as we are out and about we must be aware of our own feelings and reactions to everyone around us. Even a smile or nod hello, can help disperse anxiety and fear. There are incidents of hate crime being reported across Britain.
I know this sense of fear and anxiety well and how very rapidly, friends, neighbours, work colleagues and even family can fall out when there is a threatening atmosphere amongst us. This is how we all are around the world. Suspicion takes over. Trust leaves. Vigilance becomes a prejudice-based act.
War destroys absolutely.
We all think of our children first. Every time. All of us. That in itself means objectivity can vanish. But our kids have to be able to live in a harmonious world soon. All our kids should feel safe to play in their homes and outside on the streets and in fields.
I feel a deep sense of loss when I hear of young men who take to acts of violence and destruction. That hurts too as much as loss of life because of their acts.
Lead by example. Be the light. Children first. Always.
Love and peace  ‪#‎Bradford4Peace‬

Sunday mornings….

….are for BBC Radio 6, Italian coffee, local free range eggs and some reading. Later it’s off to Ilkley Literature Festival to listen to Jay Rayner. Yesterday was the York Races with champagne. Autumn is suddenly here –  the deciduous woodland is all showy in this part of Yorkshire

Coming home to the news that a peace demonstration was bombed in Ankara and that many died and were injured makes me sad.

When will we cross over.


International Peace Day and a new beginning….

Today is my first day of study at Bradford University in the subject of peace. When I look at the timetable, there’s not much there that looks like peace. No flowers in our hair, or guitars, no Woodstock, no holding hands. Instead it looks like this: Fragile States, Framing the Middle East, Political Violence and Terrorism, Security Studies and International Politics and so on. Politics. Economics. Weapons. War. Human Trafficking. In amongst all these are little glimmers of hope in subjects like Gender, Social Movements, Human Rights, Applied Conflict Resolution.
From what I have seen of everyone present last week, there is a lot of emotion and real heart-felt concern. People of all ages, but especially many young people, who want to strive for a peaceful existence. And it is when you are with young people from places like Cambodia, Nigeria, Iran, Sierra Leone, Pakistan, Japan, that you know and feel there is hope for peace and stability.
As my lot would say – Naprijet! (Onwards) in peace and please remember every day, that there are a small team of young people busy, working towards a better future, right here on your doorstep.
Today Yorkshire CND are coming for a session, so are the Quakers. Yorkshire, too, has a long history in the desire for equality and peace and that is why the course came about here, the first of its kind, and it’s been around for 40 years.
In the meantime, keep having a good time whenever you can. Mother Earth loves the positive vibes.

Always towards the light…


Books books books…

I’m wending my way through many different kinds – historical, fantasy, sic-fi, poetry, shorts, novels, academic. With thanks to authors, publishers, libraries and folk who have encouraged me through the decades. It’s encouragement, not the opposite, which enables a person, like me, who is a little bit challenged in reading and writing. It can help a person, at any age, to realise their potential and help them feel a part of the literate world around them.  Go gently enable…it’s one of the best things you can do.