So Now You Know The Challenge

So once you have baked…

…what do we need you to do next?

cake

The challenge for

GBBO3

is to make a sandwich sponge cake

  • Your cake must have at least two layers
  • Your sponge cakes can be any flavour and any colour
  • You can fill you sandwich cake with any filling you like
  • We would like you to decorate the top of your cake

coffee and nut cake

Please send a photo of your cake so it can be featured in the The Great Bloggers’ Bake-Off Round-Up

crushedcaramel@gmail.com

disasterOur special judge A Jeanne in the Kitchen would love to see your bakes. Even if they are ghastly – please send them in – we would still really love to see them. Please have fun. It’s not so much a competition but a great day of fun for bloggers to get involved in. Baking disasters will only add to the fun! It’s all up to Jeanne to decide on our STAR BAKER!

Of course if you would like to create your own post about the making of your cake – please do so, and please mention The Great Blogger’s Bake-Off and invite your blogging buddies and followers to get involved.

question mark(If you have any questions at all – please feel free to post your questions in the comments of any of our posts and we will try to get back to you as quickly as possible.)

We will supply more details in posts leading up to The Great Bloggers’ Bake-Off including e-mail addresses where you can send your photos.

 

Advertisements

Calling All Bakers!

And Even Bloggers Who Don’t Think They Can Bake

Are you ready for something really special?

bake

Bereavedandbeingasingleparent

and Crushed Caramel (Learner at love)

would like to invite you to join us for

 

GBBO5

with our very special judge ajeanneinthekitchen

 

Look out for promotional posts!

All the details coming soon!

SAVE THE DATE: SUNDAY 24TH MARCH 2019

baker

Nut-orious Questions From A Questionable Nut

In recent weeks, there are many posts that I have started but not been able to complete. They are lingering in my drafts folder. One of them is a list of slightly nutty questions from one of my favourite nutty bloggers, Rory, the creator of A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip!

7 and Three Quarters Nutty

Here is my attempt at answering both nutty and nice questions from Rory:

Are you a Night Ninja or a Day Pirate?

I guess I am a Day Pirate on the whole.

Everything has changed since I received head injuries. I really need to be asleep at night. Three nights a week I have a very late night because of projects I am involved in. I am back at the little nest after midnight at the earliest.

It’s not good for me. It makes me suffer I have to admit.

What was the programme on TV that you watched as a youngster that would have you dancing around like a lunatic when it aired?

Dancing around as a lunatic…oooh. Let me think about that. I loved the outdoors, but I know I had a favourite TV show as a kid. I would keep asking my mum what the time was while I was playing outside because I wanted to make sure I was inside for the start of my favourite show. We did get up and sing and dance to the theme tune. In fact for years and years after we would sing the theme tune at the top of our voices in back of the car. I still know the words to the theme tune off by heart.

We loved it! Absolutely loved it. It was epic. It still makes Central and South America incredibly exciting to me. I wonder how many other bloggers will recognize it?

Do you believe that insects come back as ghosts to haunt the houses that caused their demise?

Er… No!

I like insects by the way – a lot. Fascinated by them actually. Not as much as a great friend of mine, Bev, who is literally an expert in everything creep-crawly.

What are  three things you like about being an adult?

Do you mean besides “the obvious”?  😉

  • Being allowed to choose what to have for my own dinner – although to be fair once I was ten years old I started cooking dinner for me and my sisters (Mum had started work when Milly, the youngest started school).
  • Being able to book a holiday and travel to wherever I want.
  • I also loved driving (although I have not driven since my head injuries)

What were three things that you liked when you were a kid?

  • A big gang of us going out to play together, climbing trees and having races and playing hide and seek in the woods.
  • Being allowed to wear shorts all the time without anyone assuming I just want to show off my legs to men.
  • People buying me sweets so often.

So are you a messy so and so, or a tidy freak?

I can cope with a certain matter of clutter. I keep things very clean though and once a week I have a really good tidy and put everything back where it should be. Then I can cope with things being out of place until the following week when I do the big tidy up again.

I keep life simple. I don’t have that much stuff, so it is relatively easy to keep things clean. Clean as you go!

What is your favourite colour if you took blue out of it?

Why is blue not an option? I am guessing because so many of us would choose blue? Well, if I can’t choose blue, I suppose I would choose green…bluey green especially. Everything at that end of the rainbow.

I like a little pink, a little yellow, a little purple…but I am not so keen on orange, red, or terracotta.

You can name any number between 1 and 10, as long as it isn’t 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, what is your favourite number and why does it make you who you are?

Oh…my first impulse was to say 6. The number 6 does not have any special significance though. It’s not exactly my favourite number. But you have only left us with 4, 6, 8 and 9.

  • I was six years old when I became a vegetarian.
  • I was six years old when I finally won my five metre certificate in swimming. I was so thrilled to finally be able to swim on my own, nothing could stop me after that point. A year later I had swam an entire mile.
  • I have six siblings.
  • I like the sixth month of the year – June – except that was when I was attacked – so that is a bad connotation.

I can’t think of anything else to say about the number six Rory. Except it is one of the only words that you could change the vowel for another and it would make another word…sax (saxophone), sex, six, sox (like the Red Sox) and sux or sucks. Hmm…moving on….

Do you like the feel of silk on your body?

I don’t mind it. I have a silk knit twinset. It is so pretty. It has a gorgeous scent to it. More so than the feel of it, I like the scent especially after you clean silk with special silk cleaning products.

I think I prefer silk to satin. But silk does require a lot of care. I don’t usually choose silk items. But I have had pretty silk blouses…and a very pretty silk dress which I am scared to wear in case it is damaged.

What is the nuttiest present you have ever received?

Well…recently Kristian gave me a gift that frightened the wits out of me! I should stop mentioning that though. I have already gifted him with a tea display box and a luxury tea treat to recompense for my ingratitude.

There are two gifts that came into my mind, but both of the givers know about this blogsite, so I am reluctant to mention them as I don’t want to hurt the givers! I was quite taken aback by the bizarre gifts they gave me. I didn’t keep them.

I guess that literally the nuttiest gift I ever received several times from both my sister and friends after their trips to the Middle East is jars or bags of pistachio nuts.

What is the nuttiest present you have ever given?

I have given a lot of pecan, hazelnut, macadamia, almond bakes to friends!

Not so literally nutty, but perhaps a bit of an odd gift was to a guy who I met when I was 17. I had a brief romance with him years later and then some time after that he moved to the town I was living in, and then after a few months of following me round like a lost puppy, asked me to marry him. Now when I first met him, he used to have panic attacks and had some other difficulties with interacting socially. I believe he had ADHD, but I am not sure. He was diagnosed with something, and was prescribed some kind of medication to try to help him with his concentration. He was phwwwwoarrrh kind of gorgeous. He was always tanned because he loved the outdoors. He knew everything about nature, birds, animals, trees, plants, rock formations. He only had one of his nuts, if you catch my meaning. He was always losing things – his wallet, his keys, his bosses keys for work, he lost a brand new camera on a train – never got it back of course.

When I first knew him he was a bit shy and awkward around girls. We teased him ruthlessly. He admitted he had never kissed anyone. I would have been more than happy to help him out in that regard, but instead I travelled all the way to Blackpool on a Saturday afternoon to buy him a “Kiss Me Quick” hat. (I also had a very close friendship which brewed into a courtship with my teenage sweetheart James, so kissing other boys was not on the cards.)

I said “no” by the way, in case you were wondering – but I will save that story for another post. It is not a sensational story, just a moment of madness from him, and a sensible decision from me. I am sure he is in agreement that I gave him the right answer. I have been there for him many a time before and after he popped the question, I will always be someone he can call on when he needs a shoulder to cry on, but marriage would have been a nightmare. Without being cruel to him…he and I would have clashed on too many subjects. But before we came to that point of no going back, we had some nice times together 😉

You Can Have As Many As You Like…If You Answer The Following Questions

There are already two batches of peanut-butter brownie slices cooling before I wrap them up in foil. I am going to use them as bait for the three bloggers I have tagged to carry on the Question-And-Answer series, which I believe started with Winnie! Winnie tagged me and Sadje. Sadje tagged Dr Tanya, who went onto tag me…well, now I have been tagged twice, I am going to crack on with my post before it is too late!

Rules

1. Answer the questions you receive (straight, funny, absurd, up to you)

2. Create three questions of your own for those that you tag to answer

3. Tag three people

Winnie’s Questions

1. What’s your favourite Christmas movie?

Almost every year at some point during the holiday season, the BBC, or another television channel, will broadcast the one film that can guarantee our entire family sitting still for almost three hours! I don’t know of any other film that can do that.

2. What’s your favourite Christmas tradition?

It’s not actually a Christmas tradition at all, but I love that we will still have a pyjama day at some point. Just one…Dad only ever let us have one day staying in our pyjamas, grabbing our blankets and being wrapped up on the sofa watching movies and eating treats. I would feel guilty if I stayed in my pyjamas any other day. My parents have trained us to be active. But that one day is allowed – my Dadda always said so.

This year I am going to be at my sister Milly’s home for a few days before I head to my parents’ home. I think the pyjama day will probably be with my sister and my twenty month old niece before we head to my brother-in-law’s family during the late afternoon.

3. What was your most memorable Christmas and why?

My mother’s parents were married on 22nd December. My Grandad always said he picked that date because it is one of the longest nights of the year.

I remember the year we had their ruby wedding anniversary party after forty years of marriage. I was a child at the time. Probably around 8 or 9 years of age. It was the last time every member of our family were all together during the holidays and everyone was well and happy. The feast was scrumdiddleyumptious!

It was not too long after that that Grandmother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and my uncle and his family moved to live overseas. Some of my older siblings moved overseas. We have never all been together since their fortieth wedding anniversary. My Grandmother died around ten years ago…and we lost my Grandfather this year.

Sadje’s questions

1.Which is the most fun vacation you have had?

I feel as if our whole trip to the North of Sweden was fun from start to finish – truly the holiday of a life time! Although we had no idea how much fun we were going to have. We just flew out there to visit a friend named Jan (pronounced Yan) without having any idea what he had in store for us.

We did so many things that we had never dreamed of. Our friend Jan surprised us every day with something special. I have never had a holiday quite like it.

We went husky sledging up a mountain and warmed our cockles in a hotel at the top which had no electricity, but a huge open fire.

We went go-carting on a frozen lake in Northern Sweden…I ended up skidding way off the track and then driving the wrong way round the track. I just spent the whole time laughing and screaming.

The snow-mobiles our friends took us on in the middle of the night in Northern Sweden – WOW! At midnight he told us we were going to go and empty the bins.  He told us to all get dressed in our ski wear.  We all traipsed outside and stood in the middle of the snow waiting for Jan who had disappeared when suddenly a mighty roar erupted and bright lights. Jan’s friends appeared on their snow mobiles and gave us two hours of the most fun I have ever had in the snow.  The mountain was empty of tourists at night, so they rode all over.  I was screaming with excitement while clinging to the driver with all my might.

I mentioned in a post recently our adventure with the herd of reindeer:

“You Cannot See Because Of The Ice On The Window”

That holiday was amazing.  Our friends gave us the time of our lives.  It was a complete adventure to all of us, especially because all we did was book our flights and arrive, our friend Jan arranged everything for us, all our accommodation, the hospitality we received from his friends and all of the amazing adventures.

2. Do you love summers or winter?

Summer. I love summer!

 

I am counting the days!

3. Which is your favourite blog post? Please share a link.

I was looking back at some of the posts that I had written about Goldfinch last week. I found one that described the most wonderful day I had with Goldfinch. He took me to a beautiful location. The whole day was very very beautiful:

I think I wrote it after we spent time together during the May Bank Holiday weekend. I need to check my diary. But it was still spring, yet gloriously warm like summer. He held me close for so long. It was one of the most perfect days of my life – so utterly happy.

Dr. Tanya’s Questions

1. What is your family’s favourite winter activity?

Often we have found fantastic deals for hotels, cottages or chalets up in the Lake District in January.

Because a lot of us work during the bank holidays at the end of December, we often have then had a break in January up in the Lakes and have been able to walk – burning off all the calories from having too much chocolate and sherry during the holidays.

One thing I love about the Lakes is that no matter the weather, you are always greeted by very beautiful scenery.

2. How do you plan to fit blogging in with your holiday festivities?

I have been very organized! I have already scheduled a post for every day right up to the end of the year! I won’t have any device I can use the internet for when I am in North Wales, so I have planned ahead. Who’s a clever girl then? From today…I am going to be ridiculously busy right up until the 10th of January! Aaaaagh!

I am going to fall way behind with reading…so I am wondering if other bloggers will forgive me for reading their posts so late. I am going to try my best to catch up with reading what I miss while I am away, but I can’t make any promises I don’t know if I can keep.

3. Have you started thinking of changes that you want to make in your life in 2019?

I don’t plan to make any particular changes. But changes may be forced upon me!

I am starting a new year without Goldfinch. I am not making any plans to replace him. But Goldfinch and I have talked about this, at some point I know he wants me to be open-minded to the fact there are other lovely men out there. He even said that to me at the airport when we were saying goodbye.

It will be weird because I don’t have the desire to be close to any other man, but Goldfinch wants me to make the most of my life. At some point the day will come when I agree to go for a drink with someone. It will be so strange. But it is a hurdle I am going to have to jump over eventually. It is a very lovely thing to have a companion who makes your heart flutter and brightens your days. I know I am happier with a man in my life. But not just any man. Someone who makes me happy to be around them and someone I respect and feel safe with. I am not in any rush…it might be 2020, 2021…or after that before such a man comes along. We will see.

I don’t worry about reaching specific goals since my head injuries…staying alive and making the most of each day is my priority!

My Questions:

  1. Was there a special day in your life that you remember very fondly?

  2. Do you have a favourite tipple?

  3. Do you keep a diary? Either a diary with all your appointments and dates to remember, or a diary which you note your thoughts or descriptions of how each day has been?

I am tagging:

Friendly Questions

I was recently tagged by Nova, the creator of My Namastè 365 Online to take part in:

20 Questions With Friends

answers to questions.jpg

 

Nova has asked some great questions and it has been an absolute pleasure to work on a post with my answers. None of them are silly at all – well maybe the one about hot sauce and ranch dressing! But I still answered it! I hope you enjoy as much as I did!

Finish the Thought*

1. Those words I couldn’t say…  

PLEASE DON’T GO, PLEASE STAY

Why didn’t I say that?

  • Because it would have been selfish?
  • Because I am a coward?
  • Because he might have refused to anyway?
  • Because I am not sure what I can offer him when I am still struggling with my head injuries?
  • Because if he did stay, he might have been unhappy?
  • Because goodbyes are always hard and if he stayed with me longer, eventually the goodbye when one of us became sick and lost our life would be a million times harder?

2. It’s quite simple really…  

JUST DO EXACTLY WHAT THE RECIPE SAYS

I like to bake, and I have success, but only because I do exactly what the recipe says. I don’t take liberties. I have no retention in my head for baking. Every time I bake, I am faithful to the recipe. If the instructions say FOLD, that means gentle, don’t beat the mix with all your might because you knock all the air out. Just do what the recipe says!

3. Sometimes I forget… 

IMG_20181216_151820

TO GO FOOD SHOPPING

I am so busy at times that I let my cupboards and fridge run completely bare! However, I always have a huge stock of different herbal teas and Nespresso capsules – I never neglect my supplies of those.

4. I can sum that up easily…  

love maths

LOVE

That seems to be the answer to most puzzles.

5. A famous person born on my birthday is… 

A LOSER WHO RULED AN ENTIRE COUNTRY AT ONE POINT

There was only one person I actually recognized and I was kind of dismayed he and I were born on the same date. There were lots of “famous” people Google listed, but if I have never heard of them how famous are they really?

The person I did recognize was a king who caused a lot of trouble and made himself rather infamous. However, he and I have nothing in common – the miserable so and so!

Firsts…?

1.Job?… 

RECEPTIONIST

My first paid job was working as a receptionist for a branch of the Royal Mail (national postal service) in Lancashire. It was very quiet. I was extremely bored. I decided to take books to read and study so that the time would go more quickly.

2. Thought in the morning?… 

headache.jpg

OUCH! COME ON MEL, YOU CAN DO THIS

Then I wander to the kitchen to take some pain-killers. This head pain each morning really is annoying!

3. Car?… 

NEVER OWNED ONE, BUT HAVE DRIVEN MANY…

The first car I ever sat in the driver’s seat and crawled slowly around an empty car park on an industrial estate was a Nissan Sunny which we called Vicky-Bob. We called her that because her number plate was VCK 808Y.

I have never owned a car but have driven a lot for work – some beautiful cars. I also had to drive one car that was so long that we called it “the hearse”. I have not driven since my head injuries though.

4. Decision you made as an adult?… 

AT THE AGE OF 18 I FELT I COULD GO PLACES!

I made the decision to travel to the Isle Of Man for a voluntary project even though I had exams that summer. I travelled back to the mainland on a Seacat day-pass for my exams and returned to the Isle of Man that evening so I could carry on with the project.

That kind of set the pattern for my life ever since. Juggling voluntary projects with other stuff that people told me was was important.

Of course I passed my exams! With top marks!

5. Concert?… 

HOT CHOCOLATE

I think I was about thirteen years of age when I saw them. I may have seen other live music before, my Dadda may have took me to see other musicians, but this was the first time I had gone to a live music event with my friends.

No I am not that old. I was born in the eighties…but Hot Chocolate have had a mighty good run.

This or That?

1. Hamburger or hot dog?

VEGGIE BURGER

I have been a vegetarian since I was six years of age. I vaguely remember Dadda taking us to MacDonalds in Southport (Merseyside) before then, where I tried a hamburger. I recall that I loved the gherkins. I don’t think I ever had a real hot dog, although I have had vegetarian frankfurters which tasted smoky salty weird to me.

2. Mountains or beach?

MOUNTAINS

I love both, but here in Britain, I think we have better mountains than we do beaches. There is nothing quite like the feeling of walking up a mountain and the exhilaration of the stunning views you are rewarded with.

3. Electric or standard tooth brush?

toothbrushes

STANDARD

The dentist and hygienist both told me off for brushing my teeth too often and too vigorously. I was brushing my gums away! So now I use extra soft toothbrushes and I am much more gentle. I only brush twice a day, and in between times I use floss and mouthwash.

4. Call or text conversations?

DEPENDS WHO I AM CONTACTING

I love talking to my family on the telephone or someone I love (like Goldfinch) …but if I need to keep things short and sweet texting is great. I wish I had talked on the phone more to Goldfinch. I was working over fifty hours a week for half of my relationship with him. So I had to text during break-times.

5. City life or country life?

IDEALLY COUNTRY LIFE

I have lived both way out in the sticks in the remote countryside, and I have lived in the heart of the city here in London. I am in London because there are a lot of volunteer projects here. I can be useful. I love the diversity of people here in London. London is not particularly English, it is multi-cultural and international in flavour.

But I genuinely feel cities are not a good thing. Sure they can be exciting, museums, galleries, restaurants and the like. But living in cities is not really what we were designed for. We should all spread out and learn to really live. It would be so satisfying if every human had some land of their own to look after and learnt to sow, cultivate and harvest crops, how to build their own home and furniture, how to live off the land rather than relying on a supermarket. It would be wonderful to see all humans living closer to nature.

Would You Rather…?

1. Would you rather become a creative person or a technical person?

TECHNICAL

I have never been particularly creative. But if I had the choice I would choose to expand my useful skills so that I could be able to help on more international construction and repair projects. I would live to be a technical engineer and have a host of different construction skills I was fully adept at.

2. Would you rather brush your teeth with hot sauce or with ranch dressing?

What a choice!!! Neither really!

ERM…HOT SAUCE…I THINK

I am not sure I have tried ranch dressing. I may have. But I like to eat my salad naked (not naked in the sense that some bloggers like to ski or zip-wire naked) that is, without dressing – the salad, not me. I tend to be always fully dressed when I eat salad or anything else.

Except for the time when Goldfinch arrived really late, and as I knew it was too late to cook (the aromas would have woken up my landlady as her bedroom is above my kitchen) I bought us some take-away food which we ate in my bedroom… but that’s another story, probably not for this website!

3. Would you rather have two permanent lazy eyes or always get nose bleeds at extremely embarrassing moments?

NOSE BLEEDS

I only say that because Goldfinch had a nose-bleed at an extremely embarrassing moment! Bless him, he tried to carry on. Blood all over my pillows and even on my forehead. But I loved making a fuss of him. I rather enjoyed being his nurse!

4. Would you rather eat pizza every day or never be able to eat pizza again?

NEVER EAT PIZZA AGAIN

I like pizza a lot…but it has to be vegetarian and non-dairy for me. More than pizza, I like variety. I would get really fed up of having the same food every day. So it would be much better for me to choose the never eat pizza again option as there are so many other foods I could enjoy.

5. Would you rather always get stuck in traffic or always have a really slow internet connection?

SLOW (OR EVEN NO) INTERNET CONNECTION

Other than sending e-mails to loved ones and using WordPress, I am pretty much a Luddite. I don’t have a device that has internet connection outside of this little nest…or the home of a close friend or relative who allows me to piggy-back on their broadband.

Being stuck in traffic is something I have experienced too many times and I don’t like it one bit. My Dad finds it incredibly frustrating. If there is no or slow internet connection, I would just carry on living. The internet is not life. It is just a tool. A very useful tool. But without it, life carries on.

Life is for living!

I Borrowed Another Credit Card

I have been the recipient of another wave of generosity this week and so I realize it is incumbent on me to continue the giving craze that Teresa aka The Haunted Wordsmith began. So as well as the latest gift that I have received, I have three more gifts for three other bloggers below.

This week, Rory, the creator of A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip! gave me a very thoughtful gift as you can see below:

“With Goldfinch currently not there to make her day a sparkle, l got her these. a Complete set of carefully disguised as decoration baubles, but they are actually a set of ‘Everyday is a Glitter Shower Day!’ Yep, you can programme to explode when you need them the mostest and they will cover you from head to foot in a special glittery pixie dust and they ensure happiness!”

sparkles.jpg

Well, so far so good Rory…I think… although next time I think I ought to wear goggles to protect my eyes in the shower.

_________________

So, as I never go into debt and refuse to have a credit card of my own, I have had to borrow another credit card (don’t tell Fandango!!! – I took it from the clothes he abandoned last time he went skiing) and so, I thought I would carry on with my generous streak.

The first gift today goes to Sandmanjazz, who I have only been following recently (I have not seen that picture by the way), but whom I believe likes a bit of jazz. So I am giving to him his own jazz club:

Then my next gift goes to My Dusty Flip-Flops, who is a fantastic travel blogger. So I have decided to buy the Lady Moura yacht along with it’s helicopter and smaller speedboat (kept within the hull) so that Dusty can set sail to various locations and write up super posts for us all to enjoy:

My last gift is for Jay-lyn Doerksen, the creator of The Wonderful and Wacky World of One Single Mom.

Jay-lyn has been very kind sending me very empathetic messages in recent months. She knows what it is like to have a long-distance relationship and I appreciate all of her lovely comments.

So to Jay-lyn I give a palace that she and her loved one can move into so that they can be together always and not separated by distance:

Well…before Fandango is back from the ski slopes and notices his credit card is missing, I better stop myself there.

A Pick And Mix To Sweeten Sunday

If there is one topic of conversation I find it very easy to talk about, it is food! Foodie questions are so irresistible. So it may come as no surprise that the second parter of my pick and mix of questions from our Queen of Questions, Teresa, aka The Haunted Worsdmith are yet again foodie orientated!

Ten Pick And Mix Questions From Teresa

To Sweeten Sunday:

What do you like on your waffles?

It’s so long since I had waffles! Here in England you can buy a box of frozen potato waffles and serve them with the other key ingredients from a full English breakfast which is a wonderful treat for a lazy morning at the weekend before you go and climb the nearest hillock.

But if I was going to go sweet with waffles, it would have to have some kind of caramel sauce – maybe some fruit like banana.

But to be honest, sweet waffles are such an amazing treat – one that I rarely deserve – I think I would be happy with any combination of fruit or sweet sauce.

It was a perfect snowfall…what do you build?

Screenshot_2017-12-11-20-42-24-1.png

I don’t think I could resist building a huge snowman.

If there was a big team of us, we would probably try to build an ingloo big enough for all of us to squeeze into.

The problem we often have is that we become so wrapped up in a snowball war, that we ruin the snow! We make it harder to build.

What flavor of potato chip (crisps) do you like?

One of my biggest weaknesses are vegetable crisps – beetroot, parsnip, sweet potato – but I don’t think that’s what you meant.

If it is potato crisps then a strong Cheese and Onion flavour or Sweet Thai Chilli. But I try not to buy any kind of crisps because they don’t do my waistline any good.

Is there a song that gets stuck in your head every time you hear it?

And whenever it happens it is terrible. It’s like having hiccups that won’t go away. It’s especially bad because I know all the words. Oh my goodness, why on earth have I pressed play? I am going to be singing this for days. It will drive me crazy!!!

Do you prefer stage, television, or movie productions?

The theatre is probably the most exciting. To see a live production on stage is fantastic, especially a musical. But I guess television and movie can often have bigger budgets and utilise an array of special effects and tricks of the camera. They often have a much bigger canvass and can pack in details that would perhaps be wasted on stage. I do admire that.

For example, I first saw the famous musical “Phantom Of The Opera” when I was about seven years old. It was actually Mandy’s husband’s uncle Dean who arranged our coach trip to Manchester to see it. I was absolutely blown away by some of the features of the stage production. It was very exciting. I have seen it so many times here in London with friends who were visiting for the weekend that sometimes I forget how exciting it was that first time.

When the film version of the musical was released my excitement was resurrected. I loved all the detail that could be packed into the bigger canvass. One of my favourite moments from that movie is the song “Prima Donna”. It is the biggest treat of the movie for me. So much is going on in the background – a feast for the eyes which cannot be replicated on the stage sadly.

If you could only have one drink for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I think it would have to be water.

I think I would tire of something with a distinctive flavour.

I drink a lot of water. I know I never tire of it. Although I enjoy them, I could go without other drinks easily.

British, American, Canadian, or Australian English – who does it best?

At the moment, it’s the mellow tones of a Goldfinch speaking Australian English that makes my heart flutter.

I am not picky about the way words are spelt…as long as we understand each other – and isn’t that what language is all about? I shall not be narking at you about missing vowels or completely different designations for vegetables.

How do you like your potatoes?

I love potatoes pretty much anyway! I love silky buttery pureed or mashed potatoes, I love roast potatoes, I love fondant potatoes. I made potato latkes last weekend which were scrummy. You can’t go too far wrong with potatoes surely!

One of my favourite potato dishes is dauphinoise – which is like a potato gratin with lots of cream and garlic. Sheer delciousness!

What literary character would be your significant other?

I guess Captain Wentworth…

…hmm, should I explain why? In brief…we fell in love, there was a separation, he would not forgive me, I have never been the same since. The agony and frustration of:

  • Is there anything that can heal the breach?
  • What are his true feelings?
  • Is he trying to punish me because he cannot forgive me?
  • Does he mean to be so cruel?
  • Does he not comprehend that I could never replace him in my heart?

What is your favourite thing to buy at a movie theatre concession stand?

I am going to confess, a cinema ticket costs so much that I normally would not then waste money on sweets and junk food within the cinema. I always have a bottle of water with me and I might sneak my own goodies into the cinema – peanut M&Ms, or Pringles or Butterkist popcorn.

I know from my own experience that food in the dark is not always a success. I once spilt a whole bucket of popcorn when trying to find our seats in the dark. It wasn’t even my popcorn. I was carrying it for a friend, who already had her hands full.

I have been on cinema dates, where the man I was with was keen on loading up with food for the experience. Don’t ask me why! Personally, I find a cinema date much more enjoyable without food to wreak havoc on all possibilities of romance blossoming.

So one guy ordered nachos loaded with cheese and salsa and jalapeno peppers. That was hardly romantic.  But bless him, he was obviously very hungry. It was like being on a date with Cookie Monster from Sesame Street.

Another guy bought a tub of Haagan Daaz ice-cream and tried to spoon-feed me whilst watching the movie, which all got a bit messy. Another young man threw half of his coke on me.

I make the exception for Goldfinch, who is the most wonderful person to sit next to in a cinema – you will have to take my word for it. He likes salty popcorn, I like sweet popcorn. I clearly love him more than he loves me. He wins! We share a bucket of salty popcorn and I think we have shared a coke too.

ardensOh I did sneak a box of my favourite snack into the cinema once with Goldfinch. He had never tasted anything like them and was not sure at first. But then he gobbled almost the whole box without me getting a look in!

Aaaaah – I will never have the chance to sit next to Goldfinch during a movie at the cinema again! Sigh! But I have his Odean cinema pass and a guest ticket. He told me if I have any male friends that look like him we could go and see a movie together. To be honest, I don’t want to go on any cinema dates, or any other kind of dates with anyone for a long time. Goldfinch is going to be in my system for a long time to come. When I am ready, I might think about agreeing to go out for a drink with someone, but I am not in any rush.